Brooks-Range Tarpology: The Wonderful World of Primitive Shelter

Tarps are a simple pleasure. Light, efficient and easy to assemble, they’re a versatile tent alternative for versed backcountry campers. But don’t sweat it, first timers. It’s an easy learning curve. With a trekking pole, some tie-down cord and a tree or two, you can create a protective bastion from an ornery Mother Nature. Brooks-Range produces several sizes of simple backcountry tarps for a variety of needs and desires. Some of the most versatile are the Ultralite™ Guide (8 x 10 feet; 2-3 people), and Ultralite™ Guide + (10 x 10 feet; 3-4 people). Savvy fast packers, swarthy trail walkers or minimalist mountaineers can all relate to the virtues of these lightweight tools. With no tents poles, BR tarps weigh in under a pound. Armed with a half dozen adjustable tie down cords, tarps can be used as an awning for a tent, gear stash, or impromptu shelter. Tarp protocols not only help you escape from the rain and wind, they also include blocking the hot sun on blistering days. Additionally, they work as a simple ground cloth on starry nights, or for providing additional protection from the cold ground surface in snow caves. The list is long.

The Ultralite Guide + Tarp as a sleeping bag cover.

As a compliment to a formal tent shelter, a tarp can also make for an on-the-fly canopy for cooking. And because no one likes to setup a tent in the rain, a quick-standing tarp can offer a preliminary shield so you can take your time assembling your tent and camp scene. Brooks-Range tarps feature a seam that runs the middle of the 10-foot length. At its center there is a weather resistant reinforced anchored patch for a potential post—picture an adjustable trekking pole, plus 18 lightweight grosgrain ribbon nylon loops sewn to the corners and every two feet along the edges to facilitate a variety of set ups with tie downs, poles, trees or additions to other tents. The abundance of loops allows for myriad adjustments to contend with every changing weather considerations. Furthermore, three sides of the tarp have Velcro closures for additional protection against the elements.


Brooks-Range uses a specially designed fabric for the Ultralite™ products that gives it superior water and wind resistance, making it waterproof to a pressure of 1 pound per square inch—much more than the pressure generated by a hard rainstorm. Because of this custom finish, the waterproofness and ability to shear wind will not wash or peel off. Think longevity. Self-sufficiency is an art form in the backcountry, hence our versatile line-up of instant shelters and tarps. However you embrace mercurial weather in the backcountry, Ultralite™ tarps will keep your spirits up even as the showers come down.

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