The simplest of things, Tarps

What can keep your dry in the rain, warm in the cold, cool in the sun, collect rainwater for drinking, be converted into a stretcher, signal for help in times of emergency, and be used for countless other tasks? A simple tarp. I consider a tarp not just part of my survival gear; it's a staple in my pack. Regardless of the activity that way bring me into the outdoors I pack a lightweight nylon tarp and paracord. Quick and simple to setup, I can be out of the rain or sun in minutes. 

I keep my tarp or "hoochie" rigged aiding in quick setup. With a simple paracord ridge line and paracord guidelines I can pitch almost everywhere, I have at least one high point.  For the ridge line, I use a klemhiest knot, a cousin to the prusik. For staking out the sides, I prefer to use stakes that have extra large cord loops. This allows me to us a prusik knot to tension the guidelines. A prusik holds better in the wind than any sliding hitch I have used. When anchoring the guidelines to an object, a highway man's knot is quick and straightforward to untie. It will hold in heavy wind and can be tied with heavy winter mittens on. 

Tarps are light, cheap, and common.  There is not need to eat meals in the rain or bake in the hot sun during a rest break.