Monday, January 24, 2011

Building A Tarp Shelter

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

While I was serving in the United States Army, I attended the Jungle Operation Training Center (JOTC) down Panama way to learn about jungle warfare. We learned a lot of useful skills. One of these skills was building a poncho/tarp shelter.

So the first thing you are going to need is a ...

Tarp or poncho.

Since I didn't have a poncho handy, I am going to use a blue/green reversible tarp, purchased at Lowe's. Yes, It's the same tarp from the expedient water collection article.

Next, you are going to need some cord (I'm using 550 cord), a few stakes to hold the edge of the tarp down (the nails), and some two-inch long sticks (the sticks) ;-)

Trust me on the sticks.

The next things you're going to need are two places to tie your shelter. For this article, I used two metal fence posts. Now, you can use anything such as trees, 2X4s, or ... You are limited by your imagination and the length of your rope.

Next, you need to tie your string to the posts (or trees).

Now, this is where I tell you about the cool jungle survival skill I learned down in Panama. You don't have to tie your cord around the poles.

Yep, all you do is tie a small loop in the ends of your cord then bring the cord around the pole then make a half-loop in the cord, place it through the tied loop and stick a stick in the half loop. Don't make the cord tight, yet.

I know this picture sucks, but it's the best one I have. Plus, you and your family need to practice your survival skills before you need them.

The next step is to take your tarp and lay it over the cord/string/rope that you tied to the poles/2x4s/trees. Now, you line up the grommets on each side of the tarp, make a half-loop in the cord, and stick it through the grommet then stick a stick through it. Do this to both sides.

Now, you tighten the cord. To tighten the cord, carefully pull on the sticks, in the half-loops, until the cord is taut. Next, you tighten the tarp, so it doesn't have a bow in the middle of the shelter.

To do this, carefully pull on the sticks, in the half-loops, until the tarp is tight.

After you tighten up the shelter, you have to stake the bottom of the tarp. For this article I used nails, but you can use anything that will fit through the tarp's grommets (the little circle of metal on the edge of the tarp) such as ...


Once you are finished staking both sides, you have a basic "A" frame shelter. All that is left to do is find some kind of material to cover the ends of the shelter. I have used pine tree branches, a backpack, and huge fern leaves to cover the end of the shelter to break the wind and stop blowing rain from coming into the shelter.

Lastly, remember me telling you to trust me on the sticks. Well, the sticks allow you to quick dismantle the shelter. All you have to do is break the stick and the shelter and cord are ready to be packed up for travel, if you a moving to a better location.

Jungle Operations Training Center and the History of Jungle Warfare - Fort Sherman/JOTC History