Tarp Tips #6
A Brief History of the Tarpaulin (tarp)
Mainly, I have always associated the tarpaulin with camping trips. But the history of the tarp is quite interesting and so is the colour code guide used to determine each one.
The tarpaulin, commonly known as "The Tarp", has been around for many years and dates back to 1595 - 1605 as a protective covering of canvas or other material waterproofed with tar, paint, or wax. It is usually a large sheet of waterproof or water resistant material that is strong but flexible and it can be made of polyethylene, canvas, vinyl or silnylon.
The word Tarpaulin (Tar-POLE-In) is made from tar and palling
TAR - referring to a tarred canvas pall which was a canvas that had been soaked in tar.
PALL - refers to a stiffened cloth or sheet and was used on ships to cover loads or cargo.
The English sailor was known as a Jack Tar as these sailors often tarred their own overclothes in the same manner as the sheets or palls.
In Australia it can be called a hoochie (also hootchie, hootch, or hooch) from the japanese "uchi" meaning house and the name also taken from rural Asian communities during the war in Korea.
Today, the more modern tarpaulin tends to be a heavy duty tarpaulin but very light in weight and made from modern materials such as polyester coated with plastics such as latex or PVC which makes the tarpaulin available in many different and vibrant colours.
For years most manufacturers have used colour to indicate the grade of tarps.
You can follow this colour-coded system some of the more common colours in that scheme are:
- Blue Tarp
Light-Duty Tarpaulin with eyelets or grommets that is suited to short term coverings and is NOT recommended for quality camp shelters
- Yellow Tarp
Medium-Duty Tarpaulin with eyelets or grommets that is suited to short term coverings and is NOT recommended for camp shelters
- Green Tarp
Medium-Duty Tarpaulin with eyelets or grommets that is suited to short term coverings & can be used for overnight or short term camp shelters but is not recommended for this
- Silver Tarp
Extra Heavy-Duty Tarpaulin with eyelets, grommets or D-RINGS that is most suited to long term coverings and is highly recommended for all camping tarp set-ups, in particular medium to long term camp shelters
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