Shade is in high demand in the southwest.  We always got a campsite with a shelter, but the sun created moving shade.  Same with the awning.   We looked to see what campers around us were using.  By far, the usual was to hang a cheap tarp from the legs of the shelter.  Quite a few of those.  All bright blue.  In a good blow popping like shotguns.  As the grommets rip out like thin foil, the campers try to keep it up and working.  String tied here and there.  Duct tape is very popular.  Soon, they give up and let the tattered ends flop.  Pop.  Pop.  Flop.  Sometimes the tarp is new and well-anchored when that big gust hits.  The winner —  or should I say loser — was the fella who tied his huge tarp across two shelter legs across to his travel trailer’s outstretched awning arm.  Ripped the arm right off the trailer.  Lots of hammering and cussing.  Ma is no fool and hides in the trailer.  Ma, bring out the duct tape.  By the end of the fix they are upsetting the whole campground.  Who knew a tarp could destroy a marriage and create ill will for a hundred yards around.

My recent trips to the forest reminded me that I could also use a tarp when it is just me hanging out.  It certainly would stop me from driving deep into that brittle forest to find a shady spot.  With a tarp I can bring my shade with me.

I researched tarps like they were diamonds.  Ha, I could get diamonds cheaper.  I finally put an expensive one in my shopping cart and let it hang there for weeks without pressing buy.  I researched some more.  Argued with my cheap self like good cop-bad cop.  Took it out of the cart and argued some more.  I came to the conclusion there is no such thing as an above average, cheap tarp.  The thought of more research sent my lips curling.  I refused to think another dang thought on it.  I could buy good or buy crap.  In a spasm of savage activity, much like my hands when upending that last double rum and coke which I know I shouldn’t have, I put the tarp back in the cart and by god I pressed buy.

tarp free soldier bag 2017 july1.jpg

tarp spread out 2017 july 1

Big sucker.  Around 10’x10′

tarp old soldier corner 2017 july 01.jpg

Corner loops with lots of stitching and reinforced triangles.

tarp old soldier mid with grommet 2017 july 1.jpg

Some have loops and heavy duty grommets.  Can’t remember which have it.  Too lazy to get it out of the bag.

tarp old soldier ridge 2017 july 1.jpg

A really bad photo of a ridge line loop with grommet.  Yes, I can halve the tarp instead of fighting 10′.

We used the tarp at Percha Dam State Park.  It worked well and didn’t look gaudy.

In addition, it will work well with the canopy Margo bought.   Thinking I’ll tie the top off at the top of the canopy and stretch the ten feet out so the wind don’t hit a flat vertical surface.  Tie it down with big stakes.

I think I’ll take a break from working on the house and head to the mountains tomorrow to try out the tarp between trees.


About trekkingtess

Retired Industrial Arts and middle school computer teacher. Escaped Texas for the peace and quiet of New Mexico.
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