What’s a tarp?

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Tarps are waterproof or water-resistant materials used for shelter or protection. They were originally made of heavy fabric covered in tar but are now made of synthetic materials. They have reinforced edges with eyelets and are often produced in bright colors. Tarps are used for camping, makeshift shelters, covering piles of wood, and emergency infill. They can last a long time if taken care of but can break down if left in contact with the ground or exposed to sunlight.

A tarp is a piece of material that has been designed to be treated to be waterproof or water resistant. Tarps are used in a range of environments for everything from providing shelter from the elements to protecting the floor from paint drips. Many hardware stores sell tarps or “tarps,” as they’re sometimes called, and it’s also possible to purchase large sheets of tarp material and cut them to a specific size you want.

The term comes from palling, a type of heavy fabric that was once used to provide shelter. On ships, sailors covered their palling in tar to make it tough and waterproof, and tar palling was born. Over time, other materials began to be used for the same function and became known as tarps. Most modern tarps are made from synthetic materials such as plastics, as plastics are typically cheap to produce, and are naturally waterproof without the need for any further treatment.

A typical tarp is a reasonably heavy one, designed to withstand high winds and airborne objects. Often, tarpaulins are produced with a woven pattern, making them feel rough to the touch. They also typically have reinforced edges with eyelets, making it easy for people to thread rope through a tarp to tie it to various objects. Tarps are often produced in bright colors such as blue and orange, making them very easy to spot.

A classic use of a tarp is camping. Tarps can be laid under tents to provide ground cover, and people can also sleep outdoors on a tarp. Tarps are also used to make makeshift shelters and tents, or to create a covered cooking area. When a camping trip includes hunting, a tarp can be a good place to process your kills, keeping them away from dirt and creating a tidy workspace.

Around the house, tarps can cover piles of wood, farm tools, and an assortment of other things. Tarps can also be used as an emergency infill to cover up broken windows and damaged roofs, preventing water from getting inside until the situation can be addressed. Some people also use tarps for things like lining the beds of trucks and cars to haul messy items like plants or as tents for painting projects.

Most tarps are designed to last a long time if taken care of well. However, if they are left in contact with the ground or exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time, they will start to break down. People concerned about litter may want to periodically check their tarps to make sure they’re still in good shape; tarpaulins can also be patched, if holes start to appear due to wear.

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