When people hear me say tarp camping the next thing they say is the bugs are going to kill you. Well that’s not necessarily true. I use tarps often.Why you ask? Because there light can be used for wind breaking,emergency, shelter,etc…. But the time of year is also important if I’m considering camping under a tarp. Early spring or fall are best times and there are no bugs at this time of year. Other benefits of using tarps is that they are easy to set up if there is a storm coming in you can set up and shelter under it till things pass. Even on day hikes I bring my tarp. I have a total of 3 of them a 9×7 8×10. And a 10×10. I use each base on what I will be doing. The small one I carry on day hikes the other 2 I use backpacking or on shoulder season canoe trips in the back country. I once spent a full week under a tarp on a 87km hike. It was wonderful. It had rain and snowed on 2 nites I was completely dry. The use of a bivy sac is also recommended in case you get wind driven rain on you feet area however on my Lake Superior hike I did not have any bivy and was completely dry. The way you set up your tarp is the most important aspect of tarp camping. My favorite way is the flying diamond set up. Basically you grab corner of your tarp and at chest level tie it to a tree and then stake the 3 sides to the ground. Make sure you check for the wind and pitch accordingly. Most tarps have a loop in the center I also tie that up to a overhead branch to make like a roof for water to run off.
Now I Am not here to convince anybody to convert to tarp camping. But if you give it a try on the shoulder seasons spring and fall you will see how enjoyable this type of camping experience could be at least for me it is.
Here is a video i did tarp camping. I have to warn you its extremely relaxing to watch.