Instead of creating a tent out of a blue tarp, a portable garage would make a stronger shelter in case of disaster relief. Although many companies offer different kinds of disaster relief shelters, including yurt-like round tents, collapsible horseshoe-shaped shelters, and insulated-foil domes, a standard portable garage can be adequate temporary shelter, as the structure is made out of sturdy steel and the canopy is made out of polyethylene, which allows for more circulation and protection than a blue plastic tarp. A portable shelter needs to be sturdy and impermeable to many elements and weather conditions, including sun, rain, hale, and snow.

In some natural disasters, such as in the aftermath of many Gulf Coast hurricanes, blue tarps have been used as temporary roofing to protect from leaks and internal damage. But, if used as an entire shelter, a blue tarp is not enough protection to last for months. Blue tarps are waterproof or repellant, but they often keep moisture under, which leads to dry rot and mildew on vehicles. For humans, this would create hot and humid living conditions.

A portable shelter can double as a disaster relief shelter, as long as it is strong enough; a portable garage rather than a less-sturdy party tent would last longer. A portable garage can often protect a vehicle throughout the winter months as long as it is anchored properly. This is nearly the same for a disaster relief shelter, assuming it is made out of the same materials as a portable garage. The most common portable garages are made from a 100% steel frame and a polyethylene canopy that is UV resistant, waterproof, and anti-fungal. Unlike a carport, however, which needs no sidewalls to protect a vehicle not in use, a portable garage turned disaster shelter should have walls and at least one door – or zippered opening. Ventilation is also necessary. Although polyethylene is far more breathable than a medium-duty plastic blue tarp, the tent should have some air circulation.

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