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Why Are Tarps Usually Blue? (And Other Vital Nuggets Of Wisdom…)

Why Are Tarps Usually Blue? (And Other Vital Nuggets Of Wisdom…)

If you’ve ever wondered why tarps are blue, there is a good reason. Based on a color-coding system, tarp colours are a way to identify the specifics of that particular coloured tarp.


Why Are Tarps Usually Blue?


The informal system for identifying the traits of colourful tarps indicates that the blue tarp is durable and affordable. It is also an indication that the tarp is coated with polyethylene. This coating is durable, waterproof, tear-resistant, stretch resistant, and resistant to ultraviolet rays, which makes the all-purpose tarp usable for everyday outdoor protection.


Why Does the Tarp Colour Matter?


While there is no official color-coding system in place for tarps, there are a few guidelines some consumers and manufacturers follow.

Basically, colour is a means of identifying what the tarp is being used for. As noted, blue tarps are affordable and durable, which is a good combination when needing a cover that will last while not breaking the bank.

Blue tarps are also usable for landscaping projects and general construction projects. You may also see blue tarps used to cover a roof that may have a leak. Green and brown tarps are also used for these purposes.

Brightly coloured tarps of red, orange, and yellow provide a high level of visibility. If you want the covered item to be seen clearly, these colours ensure it will be seen, versus using a tarp that blends in with its surroundings. Red and orange tarps symbolize that one should either stop or use caution. The two colours can also be used as a symbol to be alert.

The use of a clear tarp allows plenty of sunlight to penetrate the material, but it is still susceptible to natural elements. The tarp offers protection to whatever it is covering while still allowing full sunlight. A clear tarp can be used to provide protection while still allowing for clear views.

A silver tarp serves as a reflector of light, making it a great option when protection from the sun is needed.

A white tarp offers the best of both worlds. In sunny locations, a white tarp allows some natural light to filter in while still providing some shade.

For the ultimate in remaining cool even with extended outdoor exposure, a black tarp is the answer. Black tarps usually have a UV coating to protect them from extended time in the sun. The black tarps are designed to absorb heat, which helps keep items placed under the tarp to stay cool.

Camo tarps are the perfect companion when blending in with the environment is the goal. For campers, a camouflage tent allows campers to blend in with the landscape.


Blue Tarps and Camping


Because a blue tarp provides superior protection due to its many features, it’s no wonder it is a valuable and useful accessory for campers.

For campers, regardless of the time of year, a blue tarp is ideal for setting up a comfortable camp site. With its waterproof construction, the tarp can be placed between you and the ground when using a floorless tent. It can also be placed over a tent to provide an extra layer against the rain, as not all tent materials are waterproof. Last but not least, a blue tarp can serve as a barrier to help block the wind.


Blue Tarps: What to Look for When Buying


When a camping or backpacking adventure is being planned and a blue tarp is going to be part of your gear, there are several things to consider to ensure you are buying a quality blue tarp that addresses your individual needs.

Buying A Tarp

Before buying a tarp, determine in what way you will be using the tarp and under what type of weather conditions.

Is the tarp to be used as a floor liner or is it to be used as protection against heavy rain? For either of these situations, you will need to know the size of your tent so that you buy an appropriately sized tarp.

Tarps are available in many sizes, and you will want one that provides ample coverage whether it is being used as a liner under the tent or as a protective layer over the tent.

The thickness of the tarp should also be considered. Tarp thickness is measured in mils. A mil equates to 1/1000 of an inch. The higher the mil number means a thicker tarp, which makes it more durable.

A lightweight tarp will have a lower mil rating, which makes it less durable. Other factors to consider are the weight of the material per square yard and the mesh count. Overall, the average mil count for a lightweight blue tarp is 5 to 8 mils. To be considered as having heavy duty thickness, generally the starting point is 12 mils. Poly tarps can be as thick as 24 mils, providing the utmost in durability.

The weight of the material is also a factor in determining a heavy-duty tarp. The weight is determined per square yard (3 x 3) of the tarp material. Poly tarps are generally considered heavy duty at 6 ounces. As a comparison, tarps made of vinyl or canvas are considered heavy duty at weights starting at around 15 ounces.


Best Blue Tarp Brands


Blue tarps are available from many manufacturers. Examples of some of the best tarps are available from ULINE, BOEN, Sigman, Members Mark, Northern Tool, Blue Hawk, and TARPATOP to name a few.

From ULINE, choose a 16 x 20 feet, 20 x 40 feet, or 30 x 50 feet lightweight polyethylene-coated tarp that holds its own against the sun, wind, and water. It is also fitted with rustproof grommets, laminated on each side, and corners reinforced with plastic.

BOEN’s all-purpose blue tarp provides ample outdoor coverage or is used as a liner. The tarp is constructed with an extra strength weave, a double laminated coating, reinforced hem, rust-proof grommets, and is water and mildew resistant.

Sigman’s 30 x 30′ blue tarp is ideal for all-weather outdoor usage when camping is on the agenda. The tarp is woven with reinforced poly fabric with each side featuring UV coating.

Double your protection with a 2-pack of blue/grey Members Mark tarps available at Sam’s Club. The heavy-duty blue tarps provide all-purpose and all-weather protection. Each tarp is UV and mildew resistant, tear and crack resistant, waterproof, reinforced corner tie-downs, heat-sealed tarp edges, and 42 rust-proof grommets,

The Dize 8 x 12′ Poly Tarp from Northern Tool has the standard material type of polyethylene. The multi-purpose tarp is waterproof, rip-resistant, mildew resistant, and has rustproof grommets.

The 30 x 50′ large general usage Blue Hawk tarp is blue/green in colour. It is reversible, waterproof, UV resistant, and mildew and tear resistant.

TARPATOP blue tarps are available in sizes from 5 x 7′ to 30 x 40′. The multi-purpose heavy-duty blue poly tarp is a camper’s favourite for providing shelter. It is made using high-density polyethylene material interwoven with poly strips, making it rip and tear resistant. The tarp is lightweight, fitted with aluminium grommets, rot and rust resistant, UV resistant, and waterproof.


Final Thoughts


Anytime an accessory can enhance an outdoor experience, it is worth the investment. With a high-quality blue tarp, comfort, convenience, and protection are standard features you can count on.