This is the best rain tarp design I have found in my years of camping.
Step 1: Tarp Design
Step 2: Advantages
- Drains water at only 2 points
- Does not collect pools of water
- Keeps the tarp high
- Area can be free of poles and trip hazards if trees are available
- Uses commonly available rectangular plastic tarps
- Works with large tarps
Step 3: Poles
The same design works with poles.
Good poles can be made from 3/4" EMT conduit. Ten foot lengths are available from building stores for about $7. Ten foot long poles are too long for my van so I cut them in half and made up some joining hardware. The joining hardware consists of two 5/8" bolts welded together at the head. An additional 5/8" bolt and 3/8" bolt welded together at the head is used for the top of the pole. The 3/8" bolt is small enough to fit though the tarp grommets. A little duct tape can be used to make the 5/8" bolt a snug fit inside the 3/4" EMT pole.