You’ve heard of tarping right?  Wait a sec.  I’m not talking about carrying around those heavy sheets of plastic your dad used to cover the wood in the backyard. I’m talking about lightweight tarps that many ultralight backpackers are now turning to in order to cut down on pack weight and still sleep comfortably at night.

Don’t be put off at first by the thought of sleeping under a tarp.  It may not have walls or a flooring but there are many benefits to tarping instead of tenting.  First of all, tarps are insanely lighter than many of the tents out there.  Newer tarps made of modern composites can only weigh a few ounces and still be strong enough to stand against the strongest of wind storms if pitched properly.

Being exposed to the outdoors while sleeping under a tarp isn’t really that different than sleeping in a tent.  A tent’s walls are only a millimeter or two thick.  That isn’t going to stop anything from getting to you if it wants to.  But the biggest thing novice backpackers think of is that everything (the creepy crawlies and critters) are all out to get them.  This is a huge misconception. This idea is merely phsychological and nothing more.  

Tarping can be a great new way to experience the wilderness and bring you closer to your surroundings.  Connecting this way, by simply sleeping under a tarp, opens you up to the  wilderness.  Call it practical or spiritual, but tarping is one of the best ways to lighten your backpack and discover a whole new way of enjoying your trip.

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