Ditch the Tent: How to Set Up a Tarp

Mountain weather in September is typically dry and warm–the perfect time to lighten your load with a versatile tarp.

Set up in a sheltered, well-drained spot. Look for trees spaced about 10 feet apart for rope-rigging, or use trekking poles to provide structure.

In poor conditions, pitch your tarp A-frame-style by stringing a ridgeline four feet high between two trees or poles; anchor the tarp's edges close to the ground for protection from rain. When it's blustery, orient the lowest wall against the prevailing wind direction. Rig the tarp with one side higher than the other for better ventilation in good weather.

Pack a warmer sleeping bag than usual, or wear more layers to bed. Prepare for varying terrain and conditions by practicing different pitches at home.

Click here to learn how to make your own tarp