To set up this structure you will need a ridge line and four stakes. Begin by attaching the tarp to the ridge line, and then stake down the four corners. Sometimes it is helpful if you lay down your sleeping pad first to give yourself an idea as to how much space you’ll need, and then stake down the corners. If you need a little more space under the tarp then try the barn setup which will require adding four guy lines and four more stakes to your setup. Attach guy lines in-between the ridge line and the stakes then pull them out at an angle that will create a barn like structure.
Alternatively you can rotate the tarp and set it up the same way, which I believe will give you more width space but it will retain less body heat. Again, connect the tarp to the ridge line and then stake down the corners one side at a time.
By increasing the pitch of this shelter I’ve found it to be a perfect quick shelter for waiting out poor weather. Or if the weather really goes sideways, you can even take the back two corners and by placing them together and then stake them down, it will create a fairly inclosed shelter. It’s also useful for keeping a stove going in windy weather.
To set up the A Frame with poles you will need two poles, two guy lines, and six stakes. When setting up this shelter with poles first determine how wide you will need the structure but understand the wider you make it, the less headroom you will have. Stake down one side of the tarp at a time and attach the center pole with guy lines.
If there is an issue of space to enter or exit try the cross pole method but you will need to add at least one extra pole to your setup. Holding your poles parallel, slip the pole straps over each other, or just cross the poles if you’re not using trekking poles, loop the guy line around them and stake it down.
Again by rotating the tarp it will give you a nice variation of this structure. Stake down one side at a time, allowing room to add center poles, do so, and then finish it off by staking out your guy lines.
Here is a little bonus setup, that will close off one end of the A-Frame so your shelter will retain more body heat and it will also help in blocking out the wind and rain, but keep in mind if you’re big or tall it will be an extremely tight fit. To set this up you’ll need a ridge line and five stakes. First attach the tarp to the ridge line, then going in a quarter of the tarp, stake it down there leaving a smaller triangular flap, and then stake down the front corner, then repeat this on the opposite side. On the back side of the tarp take the two left over flaps and stake them down together. If there is a little gap left over you can close that off with a stick and some shock cord.
To set this up with poles you will need at least two poles, two guy lines, and seven stakes. Stake down the tarp a quarter way in from one end and the front corner, then again on the other side, attach a pole and guy line to both sides of the tarps peak, and close off the end with the open flaps.
Tarp Rigging (Knots) Links:
Setting up a tarp with poles
A Comprehensive Guide to Tarp and Tent Guy Lines
Tent Stakes & How to Use Them
3 Tarp Ridgelines: Tied, Toggled & Hardware
5 Knots You Need to Know