Why on Earth would you need a camo tarp?
We like to put camouflage on a bunch of different things, from clothing to the outside of our trucks, but what purpose does it serve on a tarp?
If you’re a hunter, then you know how important your visibility (or rather, lack thereof) is when you’re spending time out in the field. Either that, or you just really like camo, and want to make your back deck shade canopy out of it.
Either way, we’re going to run down some important information you need to know about camo tarps that actually differ from standard-colored tarps.
What Are Camo Tarps?
Camo tarps are simply green tarps that bear a camouflage design on the outside, while generally just being army green on the inside (good way to tell them apart). They’re made out of polyethylene to give a natural level of UV resistance, light blocking, and being flame retardant.
The only distinct difference between poly tarps and camo tarps is the color and design. The grommets, seams, and everything else will still be the same on a brand-to-brand basis for tarps. It just comes down to the aesthetics.
For instance, we have a wide selection of tarps available, and amongst them we have camo tarps. The same level of quality, effort, and strength go into every one of them, because they’re just like the poly tarps we produce in other colors.
While it seems a bit absurd to many, camo tarps come in handy for very specific things (and they look cool). Let’s take a look at some of the uses that camo tarps have.
You park your truck, and you want it to be protected from debris like falling leaves, branches, and eventual hail on that next big storm. If your truck is your baby (like it is for a lot of us), you don’t want an ugly neon blue cover messing up the aesthetics of it while it’s parked.
If you drive around with your tarp in the bed, nothing sticks out more (in a bad way) than a vibrant tarp. To put it frankly, camo tarps are just cool, and they bring a rugged element with them while protecting your truck from the elements, and wrath of mother nature.
If you’ve ever hunted duck, then you know exactly what I mean when I say that your cover isn’t enough. Ducks are actually fairly perceptive, and they’re going to spot your setup if you aren’t careful. If you’re using a rifle to hunt them, you need as much cover as possible.
Out in the open, a camo tarp is going to stick out to a human, but it’s not going to be seen by any waterfowl. Position this right, and you can blend in with the edges of lakes where the foliage is still thick.
Tree Stand Hunting
Deer have terrible eyesight, and they’re the most commonly hunted creature in North America. The thing is, tree stands are not perfect; maybe you don’t put it as high as it’s supposed to go, maybe the light shines just the right way and you become visible to your prey.
Anything could happen. Using a camo tarp to help conceal your place is going to just blend into a deer’s view of the area around them, and make them feel safe. That, and you can use one on top of your tree stand if it starts raining, but you aren’t ready to give up the hunt just yet.
You can use a tarp to make so many different things, and chief among them is a tent. One line of rope, one camo tarp, and four stakes to go through the grommets – that’s a shelter. It’s basic, and it’s not insulated, but it’s there.
This isn’t a situation that you should find yourself in too often, but it’s good to have it handy. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than buying an actual tent, if you don’t mind a bit of the cold.
Is It Legal to use Camo Tarps?
Yes, it is legal to own camouflage tarps. Tarps cannot be used to conceal anything you want just because they are used by the United States military, and in the right circumstances, it could look like you’re hauling something military-related.
It’s not a good idea to use it on dump trucks or flatbeds for this reason, which is why you never see this on the highway.
But it’s still legal to own them. You can use them on your truck or during camping, like we talked about earlier, and not run into any legal problems whatsoever. You just have to apply some common sense and ask yourself, “Is this a situation where I need a camo tarp?” and work off of that.
The way I look at it is camo tarps are not a necessity outside of camping and hunting, but there’s nothing wrong with using them for reasons that you enjoy.
DIY Camo Tarp
You want to make that camo tarp on your own?
That’s completely doable. It’s pretty involved, but I have no doubt that you can get it done, and make an effective tarp. This is a list of the materials and tools you’re going to need. It’s important to note that we’re making a square tarp with no seam in the center; just a basic tarp.
- Seam Sealer
- Sewing Machine
- Polyethylene Fabric/Silnylon Fabric (Camo)
- Steel Grommets or Eyelets
- Tape Measure
- Hole Punch
1. Measure Your Material
You can use polyethylene fabric or silnylon fabric here, both of which are inexpensive and solid choices. A silnylon cover is a little bit thinner and doesn’t offer as much UV protection, but it’s still viable.
Once you know what project you need the tarp for, lay the tarp down and start drawing the lines on the tarp so you can cut with the scissors.
Keep in mind that before you bring the scissors to the tarp, you’re going to need about four additional inches on either side apart from what your dimensions tell you that you need. This is because we need to make the seams.
Four inches out from those lines, make another mark, and cut on this. You still need that initial line, because it’s going to tell you where you need to fold the four inches of fabric over to make the seam.
Cut everything as straight as you can if it’s a little bit rigid or it’s not perfect, that’s okay. We’re going to cover up any imperfections with the sewing machine.
3. Fold and Stitch the Seams
Now that you have your cuts, it’s time to run the tarp through the sewing machine. The fabric is very thin, so you want to go carefully and slowly so you don’t accidentally tear it from the force of the needle and pulling on it too hard.
Sew the seams together nice and tight. If you don’t know how to use a sewing machine, it’s time to learn, because standard sewing would take too long and likely not be anywhere near as effective.
4. Grommet Time
Take that hole punch and your grommets; it’s time to make our anchor points. Go around on the inside of the seam (about an inch away from your stitch marks), and make your punctures.
It’s important to measure this out so you can repeat the results all around the tarp as needed. Otherwise, it’s going to pull more on one side and make the tension uneven.
Once you’ve done this, your grommets can slip into the hole, with the bottom cap on the other side attaching fairly easily. Just make sure they’re secure.
5. Sealing Those Seams
Now that everything is done, we have to be super confident in the capability of our seams. On the bottom of your seams, where they’ve been met with the main piece of fabric, use Spray Sealer to coat them.
This helps to provide a waterproof seal on them so you don’t end up trapping water unintentionally, because then you run a risk of mildew which will eat the stitching before it eats through the tarp.
Sealing is important, so be sure to do it properly, and leave plenty of time for curing before you use your tarp.
Use it Well
Whether you paint it yourself (which you can do), or you buy a tarp with the camouflage pattern already printed onto it, it’s possible to own one if you use it for the right purposes.
Whether you want to use your canopy fixtures to set it up out back, or use it on the road, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Check out our collection of tarps, which include green camouflage, and grab one or paint a different one yourself with our tarp painting guide.