If you head to any camp ground in Australia, you're likely to see at least a few campers setup with their tents underneath a tarp set-up.
There are a few good reasons why putting a tarp over your tent is a good idea.
1) Protects your tent from UV Rays. Tents, like any material will slowly be damaged by UV rays. When possible, it is definitely a good idea to put a tarp over your tent to protect from UV rays, therefore extending the life of your tent.
2) Protects your tent from bird & bat droppings. This is mostly for asthetics, but sometimes bird and bat droppings can also damage the materials on your tent depending on the acidity in their droppings. Either way, its not nice to have your new tent covered in droppings as it's not that easy to clean either. Especially without damaging the water proofing agents in your tent.
3) Reduce the chance of condensation. Modern tents are all designed to be fully waterproof, so placing a tarp over your tent to make it waterproof is not really necessary. However, all tents can be susceptible to condensation. Putting a tarp over your tent can help reduce this risk.
4) Keeps dew off your tent. In humid areas there can often be a lot of dew in the mornings. If you're planning on packing up early you might not have time for the dew to dry off your tent.
5) Creating a covered area that incorporates your bedroom. If you spend a lot of time in your tent during the day and want it to be nearby your kitchen. Covering at least the entry way of your tent with your tarp setup could be a good idea. This way if it's raining heavily you will not have to run through the rain to get to the kitchen.
TIP! Before you go camping make sure you set your tent up and weather (soak) it to check for any leaks. If you do find a small areas that are leaking, address it with some seam sealer such as McNett Gear Aid Seam Grip and pack a wax stick with you to patch any small leaks you may discover.
When should you consider not using a tarp over your tent?
1) Overnight camps - Putting your tarp over a tent is not such a great idea when you're staying somewhere overnight.
Spending additional time to put a tarp over your tent for an overnight stay is time that could be better spent enjoying yourself, exploring the local area or just having a beer!
Reduce your setup time and maximise your relaxation time!
2) Keep your tarp setup smaller. Large tarp setups can be dear and the most benefit from having a tarp setup is a great place to spend outside but protected from the elements.
I hope you found this article useful. If you're considering putting a tarp under your tent find out why I think it's a great idea here. Visit 4 reasons why using a tarp under your tent is essential.
If you have anything else you'd like to see added to this article please let us know in the comments! Happy Camping!