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Tent, Tarp.... or nothing at all

Tent or Tarp… or nothing at all


I’ve had a grand chance of growing up in the south in the USA. The only fear was of Mosquitos while camping out. And we fixed that by always bringing with us a mosquito net whenever in the outdoors camping. Or plenty of repellent.


When we were in the outdoor camping we often only used nature to camp under on those summer night. Or we would take along with us a sheet of plastic we had around the house to build a shelter.


In the Army it was usually under the night or day sky to get a few hours of rest. We preferred under the tress to get some shade. As the heat in the summer was usually very hot. I can remember a few times we slept under a tent. And even living in a General Purpose Small Tent before and after the Gulf War in 1991. The first half was during winter cold weather. We had Hot tents with pot belly stoves that used Diesel and GP4 fuel to fire the stoves. But often we slept under our ponchos. Using elastic cord and a few of the orange metal tent pegs we panted black or olive to hold the corners down closely to the ground with just enough space to slide ourselves and our heavy large ALICE Rucksacks under to keep us dry as we slept under our poncho liners on top of a cut down foam mattress.

I've had the chance to sleep a lot under the stars, without a tarp or tent to protect me from nature. But I didn't regret it.

I remember a few times that really made me feel blessed.

Fort Irwin, California in the desert. At night it was a site to see.

My grandpaw's fields on our family farm in Louisiana. The sky was magical.

On a boat in the Mediterranean Sea. 

On the beach on the North Carolinian Coast.

Panamanian Jungle Clearing.

Super Cold night in Alaska.

I can go on...


But that was the Army, and today, although I prefer to sleep under a Tarp, I do so in comfort. I will use a tent if I need more protection from the weather, or if I’m more static camping. And I have several great tents I love to sleep under.  But it’s my tarp I prefer.


So, why is it I prefer to sleep under my tarp?


Great question.


I prefer the openness.


Ease of getting under it, and getting from under it.


My tarp is lighter than my tents.


My tarp allows me to camp close to my friends I camp with and we can still talk and hang out together even with it’s raining.


There are many reasons.


Many people are afraid of nature at night. Thinking animals and insects will invade their sleeping area if not in a tent. Sure it could happen. But I’ve never had many problems. Where I have had problems inside of tents where animals came sniffing around at night.


I also think about the condensation of sleeping under a tent.


I’ve used my tarps in the winter. And although a tent will hold on to some heat through the night. The condensation will freeze to the inside.

I guess you will have to see for yourself.


Get out there and see what best works for you. It’s such a personal thing.


Don’t allow someone to talk you out of a great experience by not sleeping under the stars. If the weather allows it. Just enjoy the night clear sky. And unless you plan to build a shelter from nature. I suggest you bring at least a poncho or tarp with you when camping. Although we teach building shelters in nature using what we can find in such as a debris shelter. Try not to damage trees etc, to build something.


So, like I said, get out there and give it a try. You will not regret it. Unless …. You don’t prepare.

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