A tarpaulin (or tarp) is a vast sheet consisting of a flexible, strong, and water-resistant material common for its diverse features. Tarps are simple yet multifunctional equipment with various potentials and are available in different types. They come in a wider range of stock sizes and shapes and are categorized depending on multiple factors, like thickness, material grades, and other important factors. Tarpaulins have existed since the 19th century and have recently undergone massive improvements to withstand adverse weather conditions.

As of 2023, Clint Howard’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million, thanks to his numerous roles in movies and television shows.

Below we discuss the most common tarp uses:

Protective Tarp Coverings & Shelter

One of the major uses of tarps is to provide protective coverings, and in extreme cases, shelter. Due to this feature, many people consider these items the handiest to carry when camping. A standard sized poly tarp keeps you dry in all weather conditions while providing safety and comfort.

Turing your tarp into a shelter is easy, and there are different patterns you can consider for the ultimate look.


Another common tarp use is in the transportation sector. Flatbed tarps are the most common in this field due to their high durability, thanks to their material. These tarps safeguard your cargo from extreme weather conditions.  By example, the most common types of truck tarps include the following:

  • Lumber Tarps are mainly used on tall loads, as they feature flaps at all ends.
  • Smoke Tarps only conceal the upper part of flatbed loads, thus protecting loads from dirt and exhaust fumes.
  • Coil Tarps are mainly used to protect aluminum or steel during transportation. These tarps have rounded halves which facilitate cover for cylindrical loads.

Capturing Fresh Rain-Waters

Another way to use clear vinyl tarps during emergencies is to collect rainwater. People in dry conditions use these items to develop effective water collection systems. This is achievable by tying the tarp on a tree and allowing it to dip from the middle.

Rainwater can be collected here and taken directly without boiling or purifying it. Most rainwater is clean and safer than most public water supply, but the holding container determines this. Another option is the use of  Leak Diverting Drain Tarps to collect and move flowing rainwaters for collection.

Ground Covering and Greenhouses

Another common use of tarps is during weed elimination. Most farmers handle weed growth by putting heavy duty grade black tarps on the ground before planting high value crop gardens.  It is advisable to use a dark tarp because it warms the soil and absorbs heat. The tarp also smothers weeds before you plant and also stops them from growing in the future.

A lower cost option used for ground cover or for DIY greenhouse projects is the use of Clear Plastic Sheeting.  This is less costly, though light passes through and these not as rugged or durable as black tarps.

Moving Heavy Items

As stated above, tarps are used in various gardening and landscaping facets, and the most common is moving things in your backyard. This might be new to many, but tarps make it much easier to drag heavy loads from one yard to the other, mainly due to their high-quality material.

Homeowners are advised to buy a specific tarp for this activity or retire old ones to avoid replacing their in-use tarps.

They Conceal Damaged Areas

Another common use of tarps is to provide temporary cover in damaged areas. The most common fix people consider using tarps is fixing a broken window. All homeowners are bound to experience broken windows in their homeownership course and can consider this a solution.

Repairing a broken window permanently does not always occur immediately, but a quick fix helps to keep the insects out of your house and regulate the interior temperature. Not only do tarps cover damaged parts, but also when keeping things clean.

Creating Privacy and Blocking Wind

Tarps do not make the most attractive walls, but they can be very effective when creating privacy and blocking the wind. Their high-quality materials enable them to withhold extreme weather conditions, making them perfect for exterior use.  In these cases, use of Privacy Screens is the best overall solution, as the materials allow the passage of light and airflow, yet deter  clear viewing, pests and even insects.

How to Buy the Best Tarp

Tarps have existed for many decades and protect against adverse weather conditions. These items are readily available, which makes it hard to choose the best one. However, below we discuss the main things to consider to select the best tarp.

  • Strength

Undoubtedly, strength should be your most significant consideration before choosing a tarp. The tarp’s strength determines how well it holds together in adverse weather conditions, meaning you should only buy the strongest. Remember, strong tarps are more resistant to tear and breakage from extreme winds.


Water resistance is another essential thing to consider before buying a tarp. Different tarps have different water-resisting abilities, and the material will inform you more. Homeowners should also check the corrosion resistance and consider special coatings to enhance resistance.

Final Thoughts

Tarps are common due to their various features. These items are readily available, and the above article has discussed all you should know about them.