We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Tarpaulin?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A tarpaulin is a piece of material which has been designed to treated to be waterproof or water resistant. Tarpaulins are used in a wide range of settings for everything from providing shelter from inclement weather to protecting flooring from paint drips. Many hardware stores sell tarpaulins or “tarps” as they are sometimes called, and it is also possible to purchase large sheets of tarpaulin material and cut them down into a specific desired size.

The term originates from palling, a type of heavy cloth which was once used to provide shelter. On ships, sailors covered their palling in tar to make it resilient and waterproof, and “tar palling” was born. Over time, other materials began to be used for much the same function, and they became known as tarpaulins. Most modern tarpaulins are made from synthetic materials like plastics, since plastics are typically cheap to produce and they are naturally waterproof without the need for additional treatment.

A typical tarpaulin is reasonably heavyweight, designed to resist high winds and airborne objects. Often, tarpaulins are produced in a woven pattern, which makes them coarse to the touch. They also typically have reinforced edges with grommets, making it easy for people to run rope through a tarpaulin to tie it to various objects. Tarps are often produced in bright colors like blue and orange, which makes them very easy to spot.

A classic use of a tarpaulin is in camping. Tarps can be set down under tents to provide groundcover, and people can also sleep in the open air on a tarpaulin. Tarpaulins are also used to make improvised shelters and tents, or to create a covered cooking area. When a camping trip includes hunting, a tarpaulin can be a good spot to process kills, keeping them out of the dirt and creating a tidy workspace.

Around the house, tarpaulins can cover woodpiles, farming equipment, and an assortment of other things. Tarps can also be used as an emergency stopgap to cover broken windows and damaged roofs, preventing water from getting inside until the situation can be addressed. Some people also use tarpaulins for things like lining the beds of trucks and cars to transport messy items like plants, or as drapes for painting projects.

Most tarpaulins are designed to last a very long time, if they are well cared for. However, if they are left in contact with the ground or exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time, they will start to break down. People who are concerned about waste may want to periodically check on their tarps to make sure that they are still in good shape; tarps can also be patched, if holes from wear start to appear.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.