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Explore Tarps & Shelters at Public Lands

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors were already building simple shelters. Fortunately, with the shelter options from Public Lands, you won't have to work as hard as they did.

No matter what kind of shelter you choose, there are a few features you'll want to look for.

Protection From the Elements

UV-blocking shelters are vital on sunny days. UV radiation can get through many materials, so don't assume that a shelter will block it unless you've checked.

Make sure that your shelter is waterproof. Even if the material itself repels water, look for options with taped and double-stitched seams to prevent leaking.

Vestibules

Vestibules add extra shelter to your tent. They can serve the following purposes:

  • Storage space
  • A place to cook during rain — as long as you keep the vestibule open
  • Space to leave wet clothing before entering your tent
  • A buffer zone between your tent's entrance and the weather

Tarps

Tarps are a classic shelter option, but they can also be challenging to use. Unless a tarp comes with easy-set-up features, this option is best left to experienced adventurers.

To properly use a simple tarp, you must skillfully create the structure this shelter relies on. However, some tarps do come with complete, lightweight anchor systems.

What a tarp lacks in natural structure, it makes up for in versatility. There are well over a dozen configurations in which you can set up a tarp.

If you don't want to use one for shelter, tarps are still helpful. They're excellent groundsheets, and you can use them to collect water.

Canopies

For a shelter you can stand in, pick a canopy. They are primarily useful for activities near your home or vehicle. Because they come with long poles, they're impractical for backpacking.