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Video: How to keep your tarp corner grommets from tearing out

Aluminum tent stakes weigh virtually nothing. Combined with a tarp, and about 25 feet of paracord, the items can be made into an effective emergency shelter.
384 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

If you’re a tarp camper, you’ve probably had a situation where the wind blew hard enough to rip out the grommet at the corner.  Here’s a rope trick to stop that from happening.

by Leon Pantenburg

The wind comes up unexpectedly, and for a moment the tarp shelter turns into a huge sail. All the power of the wind in focused on one spot, the corner of the tarp.  It may rip out the corner grommet. Then, how will you tie that corner next time?

We camped in this Death Valley "forest" and later moved when it started to rain. Flash flooding can be a concern in many areas.

Death Valley, CA 1977: We camped in this “forest” and later moved when it started to rain. Tarp shelters can be improvised in most places. (John Nerness photo)

This tip came from my friend Bob Patterson, of Mankato, Minn. Bob is a retired firefighter and emergency responder, and knots, ropes and lashings are his thing. We’ve used tarps for shelters on many outings.

The idea here is to disperse that stress and strain from the wind among three grommets on the corner. Here’s how to do it.

You’ll need:

  • Several feet of of paracord or light rope (six to 10 feet depending on the size of the tarp).
  • A carabiner

Here’s what you do:

  • Run the cord through three grommets, creating two loops that will stretch out to about two feet.
  • Tie the ends of the cord to each outside grommet.
  • Gather the two loops to the midpoint, and attach the carabiner so it moves freely.
  • Attach your corner rope to the carabiner.

Now the corner rope will disperse all the force among the three points. If the tarp is moved in any direction, there will be enough flex so the material can move with the wind.

2 comments
  • Baiju

    I keep a Rothco Rip-Stop poncho in my bag, its aclaulty 7  5 X 4 8 and it also has grommets for tying it out as a shelter. Not to mention its use as a poncho. Its right around the same price as this tarp but its multi function. Plus it comes in a bunch of camo colors, including A.C.U. which is badass.

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