Thursday, February 23, 2012

Foremost Tarp Company Tarp Review

Foremost Tarp Company Tarp Review

MMMMmmm, tarps.  Yeah I know what you are thinking, but these handy little tools are likely to save your butt more than that sexy $2000 AR will any day of the week.  Tarps can keep you dry, warmer or cooler depending on the situation, block the wind and sun, provide a ground insect and vapor barrier, help collect water, used as an improvised sail, provide camoflauge, provides an array of carry methods for supplies, food, and wounded buddies, and protects you and your equipment from the elements.  It is another Ductape/Leatherman level of utility that you should never be without.  Even in my 24 hour “get home” Bug Out Bag, I have a small tarp.

In my case, my well used tarps were in need of replacement and I picked up several sizes of tarps from Foremost Tarp company available through a number of hardware chains. The sizes I purchased were tarps in 8’x10’ and 12’x16’ Camouflage, and a 5’x7 green/brown reversible tarp.
Foremost Tarp has been in business for over thirty years and is one of the oldest operational tarp manufacturers in the US.  Foremost Tarp is a US based supplier and OEM manufacturer to many of the major retail chains’ tarps you see on the shelves.  Foremost Tarp has developed a reputation as the most trusted name in tarps and can be found either OEM or Foremost branded on the shelves of many hardware and farm stores across the US and Canada.

As you can image there are a litany of tarp companies with most being located overseas, however Foremost has found that their attention to quality, consistency, and US service is what brings their large retailers coming back year after year.   Like nearly every tarp these days, Foremost utilizes overseas manufacturing, but insists on quality screening and random testing to assure final production is up to their design specifications.
Using a Cow Hitch knot
will allow easy removal of
the rope later
There is an un-true assumption that your can tell the quality of a tarp by its color.  One manufacturer did market their tarps in that manner decades ago, however today you should not buy for quality based on the color of the tarp, but instead a few ques such as material weight, overall construction.  Foremost has the features you should look for in a basic tarp such as grommets every 36”, rope reinforced hems, 10x8 weave, and strong 2.9oz./sq/ yrd. weight.

Extra grommets allows more versatility and distributes the tension and stress points across multiple points versus other typical tarps than only having grommets at each corner. The 10x8 weave and material weight are signs of high quality which inexpensive tarps will not match up to.  A tarp above the 2.5oz/sq yard weight with a internal weave will generally support the weight of an average 200lb man if you use the tarp for a makeshift cot, stretcher, or hammock, but the heavier the material the better.  Foremost’s waterproof rip-stop material with 10x8 is a great compromise between durability and weight.

Typically tarps are sized by their “cut size” vs. their “finished/final size”.  Cut size is about 6" less width and length than stated, so a 16’x20’ Cut Size tarp will be a finished size of 15'4"X19'4".  Plan accordingly our you may come up short. Foremost assures their tarps are marked as the finished size.

Most people think a tarp is only good for draping over your lawn mower that you leave outside, however they can provide so much more in a survival or everyday outdoor situation with a little ingenuity.  After searching the Internet for a hour for some decent tarp use diagrams, I decided to create and share my own crude versions of various ways to use a tarp.  Please excuse the quality of the artwork.  One winter passes and the wind dies down I plan on replacing these diagrams with real pictures so bear with me.


Use a smooth stone of ball
as a mounting point
for added strength

Everyone should have a couple tarps and a few rolls of sheet plastic as both come in extraordinarily handy in every day life. The sizes I recommend are 8’x10’, 12’x16’, and and 5’x7’ in your choice of color.  The 5x7 is small enough that is can be stuffed into a small 24 hour bug out bag like this 830cu/in Blackhawk S.T.R.I.K.E. Predator hydration pack.  
The 8’x10’ is a good two person size which offers a lot of options for 72 hour camping and bug out packs and the 12’x16’ is a size that can provide large coverage for a family, but will most likely be something carried in a car due to the weight.  All you need is a 50’ pack of paracord from and you can create some handy shelters and useful devices.  That pretty AR won’t keep you warm, dry or out of the sun, so I would suggest picking up a quality Tarp on your next visit to the hardware store chances are it will be from Foremost Tarp.

10x6 Weave
2.9oz/sq. yrd
Grommets every 36”
Rope reinforced hem
MSRP $15.99-$29.99 as tested

Foremost Tarp Company