*Pilgrims of Pleiades, the original Tarpmasters who first turned me on to the sheer usefulness of the tarp. True Kings of the Road, the Pilgrims are rubber trampin’ it throughout the Universe.
On the importance of staying dry:
No great expedition is completed without one getting at least a little bit wet. However, the novelty of getting a bit wet is different than the experience of getting fucking soaked and being cold. This will ruin a day and can destroy your mindset. Whether backpacking or on a bike, you are out in the world at all times and living wet is no way to live. Remember this: humans are land mammals with scant hair and no gills.
The boy scout motto applies in this regard: always a carry a fucking tarp.
Tents with waterproof rain flys are, of course, a requirement; however, you need to carry some sort of tarp if you are serious about your expedition. You can try to cook in your tent but it is not advisable due to the possibility of fire.
Travel tip: Do not cook in your tent.
If you set your tent on fire you may also catch on fire. Even so, your sleeping bag and all your other shit (sleeping pad, clothes, passport, money, etc.) will also catch aflame and be destroyed. And even more so, all the aforementioned shit is expensive and hard to replace for the cheap road warrior. Tarps can be had anywhere for a pittance (and at times improvised or found) and therefore it is not a death spell if your tarp catches on fire.
Travel tip: Do not light your tarp on fire.
Spending time in your tent with the rain fly on and the sides zipped up is fine at night when it is raining and cold and dark. Spending time zipped up into your tent at most other times is a terrible way to live, especially if all your shit is wet.
Know this and you will always bring your tarp.
Repeat if over and over again like a mantra so that you never forget.
You can string up your tarp and cook under it.
You can put your clothes and boots under it.
You can put it under your expensive tent as added protection against rocks and sharp things.
you can cover your bike with it.
You can make a lean-to with it.
You can wrap yourself in it like a bivvy.
You can drape it over some freshly cut saplings and make a sweatlodge in it.
Your tarp weighs nothing and packs small.