Guide to Building an Outdoor Shade Tarp Tent

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A shade tarp tent is a simple, lightweight solution to protect from the sun. It can be used as a camping tent or to cover outdoor equipment that may be prone to rusting in direct sunlight. Shade tarp tents are generally made of ripstop nylon with reinforced seams and grommets for easy anchoring. This guide gives you the basics of constructing your shade tarp tent using supplies.

Choose a Type of Tent

Various types of tents are available for you to choose from, so ensure that you find one best suited to your needs. The most common tents found in sporting goods stores include dome tents and cabin tents. Dome tents can be freestanding or non-freestanding, depending on the model, meaning they either have built-in ground stakes or need to be staked down separately. Cabin-style tents can be either dome or cabin-shaped; however, if it is not a dome tent, it will need to be staked separately.

Choose the Style, Size, And Material for Your Shade Tarp

The two most common styles are dome and cabin, although you can also decide to have custom tarps. A dome tent is a great option if you use your shade tarp to create additional space while camping or tailgating. It gives you enough room to spread out without too much space on your campsite or deck. A cabin-style tent offers more privacy than a dome but takes up less room than other styles because it’s designed with low walls around its perimeter instead of large ones at both ends like those found in traditional cabins. Customized tarps are designed as per your preference.

Get Your Measurements

The first step in building your shade tent is to get your measurements. Take the Measurements of the length and width of the area you want to cover and the height of that area. Take the height measurement from the ground to where you plan on placing your shade tent.

Select a Tarp Color and Pattern

One initial step to take when building an outdoor shade tarp tent is selecting a tarp color/pattern. It is the base for your project, so make sure you choose a color that blends with the environment. You want to ensure your tent looks good and hides from view from outsiders trying to see your campsite. Choose something bright and colorful, like reds, blues, or greens – anything bright enough will work great.

Decide on the Grommet Spacing

Once you’ve got a tarp and poles, it’s time to decide on the grommet spacing. This depends on the size of your tarp. You want this spacing to be evenly distributed across the entire tarp so that it doesn’t sag or become bulky in places with no grommets.

It’s also important that this distance is equal to or greater than your pole diameter so that they’re covered by at least one grommet each when inserted through them.

Decide If You Want Corner Reinforcements or Pockets for Poles

Corner reinforcements and pockets for poles are two options that allow you to attach the tarp to an existing structure. Corner reinforcements are useful when you need extra strength in high wind conditions—you can sew them into each corner so they’ll help hold down the corners of your shelter even if there aren’t any stakes. Pockets for poles are great if you need a more permanent way to secure your tent, especially if you use straight edges and don’t have many trees around.

Determine If You Want Webbing or D-Rings along The Edges

Decide whether you want webbing or D-rings along the edges of your canopy before building it. Webbing is significantly stronger than D-rings, but there are a few drawbacks. Webbing can only be attached by stitching it onto the tent’s frame or using heavy-duty staples, which isn’t always convenient or feasible. Webbing also is time-consuming and needs more effort to install than it does to install D-rings on an edge because you need extra equipment like a sewing machine and hammer drill (to make holes). On top of that, most sites selling webbing will charge significantly more than they would if they were selling comparable amounts of D-rings.


Anyone can build an outdoor shade tarp tent with the right tools, materials, and knowledge. The key is to take time and ensure everything is properly measured and stitched together, so it fits correctly on poles or frames. Once it’s in place, you will have a great place to relax under the stars or spend time with your family.

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