For a serious camper, it matters a lot how much protection you get against weather elements while camping outdoors. It is surprising how far you could go just to set up a shelter that can withstand strong winds, or light or heavy rainfall. Well, at least it pays off to have you and your crew covered in a shelter when the wind finally blows (which happens a lot, by the way). Now, quite a few options exist but this doesn’t mean it is easy to find a perfect fit. Camping tarps are a great option if you want to offer some extra or basic protection from the different elements of the weather.
You can attest to the fact that it is hard to wake up one morning, head to the market, and bump into the best camping tarps lying there. It takes some hard work in terms of research before you can get a product that fully satisfies your camping needs. Well, we understand how hard it can be for a newbie, or even sometimes an expert, to search for a good camping tarp. This is partly because the market is full of similar but different products. We have put together a collection of camping tarp reviews as well as a buying guide so you can make your purchase easily. Read on!
Table of Contents
- Our Camping Tarp Picks
- Camping Tarp Buying Guide
1. Aqua Quest Survival Tarp
Material: 70D nylon and TPU with a DWR coating
Dimensions: 10 ft. by 7 ft.
Weight: 2.4 lbs.
The Aqua Quest is a 100% waterproof tent tarp made from a combination of 70D nylon and heavy TPU with a DWR coating. It is durable, thanks to the robust build quality that combines compactness with efficiency. You will not have to worry about a thing even amid extreme weather because this tarp is fully waterproof. It boasts of a hydrostatic resistance of 20,000mm which means that 100% of water drops will be kept at bay. When it comes to the aspect of portability, the Aqua Quest ranks quite highly as it packs to a compact and lightweight size of 7 x 7 x 5 in. that is easy to store and carry around. This tarp covers a total area of 64 sq. ft. and weighs 2.4 lbs.
- Unlimited set up options to suit any environment.
- Made from durable waterproof material.
- It is expensive and requires poles to give it a shape.
2. Arcadia Gear Backpacking Tent Tarp
Material: 90D ripstop nylon
Dimensions: 10 ft. by 10 ft.
Weight: 2.75 lbs.
This is a lightweight but durable camping tarp made from the best waterproofing materials. The fabric comprises 90D ripstop nylon which is highly waterproof with a hydrostatic resistance of 20,000mm. That is not all, despite measuring 10 ft. by10 ft., this camp tarp collapses to a compact 5 in. by 12 in. weighing only 2.75 lbs. This makes it an ideal camping tarp for backpackers. It also features a reflective undercoat made of aluminum polymer that is great at reflecting heat away thus keeping the inside of the tent cool. What’s more, the build quality, in general, is quite steady and it looks like it could withstand anything that Mother Nature throws at it.
- It has a large surface area of 100 sq. ft..
- It is lightweight and durable with the superb build quality.
- Waterproof rating of 20,000mm hydrostatic rating makes it a great companion in the worst weather.
- This camping tarp is quite expensive but it is worth it as you get the value for your money.
3. ENO, Eagles Nest Outfitters ProFly XL Rain Tarp
Material: 210D ripstop nylon
Dimensions: 13 ft. by 9 ft.
Weight: 34 oz.
It is an extra-large rain tarp with dimensions measuring 13 ft. by 9 ft. made from a waterproof and strong 210D ripstop nylon. If you are a backpacker, you don’t need to worry about a thing as this rain tarp is quite compact and lightweight weighing only 34 oz. and it comes with a stuff sack for easy carrying. As for stability, this rain tarp promises to withstand storms. It features six connecting points to enhance security and stability. In addition to that, the rain tarp is also quite durable thanks to the overall build quality making it a dependable shelter for just about any part of your camping gear.
- This rain tarp offers significant surface area, yet it is compact and lightweight after folding for easy carrying and storage.
- It is durable, which means you get to enjoy its services for a long time.
- High waterproofing capabilities.
- You will have to buy stakes separately.
4. Paria Sanctuary Sil Ultralight Camping Tarp
Dimensions: 10 ft. by 7.5 ft.
Weight: 10 oz.
This is one of the lightest camping tarps there is on the market today weighing in at 10 oz. As such, it takes all the ultralight credits. Apart from that, this camping tarp comes as a full kit with all the installation requirements included in the package. These include guy lines, adjusters, and stakes. What’s more, the package packs into a small, compact, lightweight piece that you can easily carry around in the included sack. To improve flexibility, the tarp comes with 12 perimeter attachment loops and catenary cuts. When it comes to the surface area, this camping tarp is quite generous. With measurements of 10 ft. by 7.5 ft., the surface area is spacious enough.
- It provides sufficient surface area and you can use it to set up a hammock.
- It is waterproof and durable.
- Doesn’t require you to buy any installation kits separately as all are included in the package.
- Installation may take some getting used to.
5. Unigear Hammock Waterproof Camping Tarp
Material: 210D ripstop nylon
Dimensions: 3m by 3m
Weight: 2.25 lbs.
This is a large camping tarp that measures 3m by 3m offering a large surface area of 9 sq. meters. It can be put to multiple uses including hammock shelter, simple tent, outdoor kitchen cover, and instant shade, groundsheet as well as tent footprint among others. And, the best part is that it is made from a super-strong 210D ripstop fabric that boasts of PU 3000mm waterproof rating. Other than protecting from downpours, the camping tarp is also capable of protecting against harmful UV rays from the sun thanks to the inner PU layer. It also features a reinforcement of double stitches to prevent leaking and ripping in extreme conditions.
- This tarp is suitable for a wide range of uses, which makes it quite versatile.
- It offers protection from both the sun and the rain and can withstand extreme weather conditions.
- It comes with all the things you will need for installation.
- Can be too bulky for a backpacker or survivalist.
6. FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp
Material: 210T ripstop polyester
Dimensions: 118 in. by 126 in.
This camping tarp is waterproof, UV-resistant, and most importantly stable in its construction because of the heavy-duty material used. Its material constitutes a 210T ripstop polyester fabric that has a waterproofing rating of 2500 PU. This makes it a superior waterproof and UV-resistant tarp. When it comes to the size, this camping tarp is quite spacious with the expanded size being 118 in. by 126 in. It means two adults can fit inside the camping tarp comfortably. The best part about this camping tarp is that installation is a breeze. This is probably because it comes with all the accessories you need to perform the installation.
- Its boasts a strong build quality to guaranty value for your money.
- It is easy to install since it comes with all required accessories.
- Provides waterproofing and UV-resistance capabilities to the user.
- You will need poles to get erect it to a perfect shape.
7. Gracosy Waterproof Camping Tarp
Material: 210T polyester
Dimensions: 6m by 3m
Weight: 1.54 lbs.
This is a multipurpose camping tarp that is quite effective in its applications. It is made from lightweight material that is resistant to both water and UV rays. If you are camping in a group of friends or family, this would be a great accessory to bring as it hosts up to 6 people. What’s more, it dries fast in case of contact with water or raindrops. The material comprises a three-layered fabric that includes a UV layer on the topmost followed by a PU layer and then a 210T polyester fabric beneath. This means that the fabric is not only waterproof and UV-resistant but also quite strong and scratch-resistant. The package includes all the installation equipment and also features a carrying stuff sack for easy transportation and storage.
- Multipurpose: you can use it at yoga, the beach, picnic, camping, and hiking.
- Easy to install since it comes with all installation accessories.
- Easy to carry thanks to its lightweight nature and the stuff sack.
- It’s too light and might not withstand heavy windfall.
8. Kelty Noah’s Tarp / Sun Shelter
Material: 68D polyester
Dimensions: 108 in. by 108 in.
Weight: 16 oz.
This is a highly versatile camping tarp that is minimalistic but with a high capacity of between 4 to 6 people. It comes with a roll-top carrying bag for easy transportation as well as guy lines with storage pockets to give you an easy time during installation. If you are a backpacker or a hiker, do not worry because this camping tarp is quite lightweight and compact weighing at only 2 pounds. It measures 108 in. by 108 in. and can stand 8.1 ft. above the ground. When packed, the dimensions are 10 in. by 9 in. by 3 in. The fabric is made from 68D polyester and it has fully taped seams.
- It is easy to install thanks to its minimalistic design.
- Offers a large capacity of 4-6 people.
- Can be used in a wide variety of camping and sporting activities.
- Does not include the installation accessories.
- The Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Camping Tarp
- Other Ways to Use a Camping Tarp
- Frequently Asked Questions
The following are the main points that you need to consider when buying a camping tarp for camping purposes.
Rectangle and square are two of the most common shapes for camping tarps. Of course, each shape comes in different sizes. To choose the right shape, you should consider the purpose you want the tarp to serve. Generally, square camping tarps use a lot more material in terms of the fabric than their rectangular counterparts. And, the more the material, the heavier the tarp is going to be. It is also worth noting that the square-shaped camping tarps take up more space than the rest. If you are looking for a camping camping tarp to protect, say your sleeping bag, then a rectangular tarp will come in handy, but if you want one that will cover your tent or some outdoor kitchen in the camping area, then the square one is better.
As far as shape is concerned, square camping tarps will serve you better than their rectangular counterparts. They are versatile in the sense that they do more than work as camping tarps. It is also worth noting that you would probably benefit more from a nicely-shaped camping tarp as it helps to create appealing impressions in your setup. You do not want to get a tarp with a funny shape that will stand out negatively from the rest of your set up at the campground. You want a tarp that will easily blend in with the other tents. Ensure you are in a position to make comparisons while on the market for a camping tarp.
Manufacturers use different fabrics to manufacture camping tarps. The main materials found in most of the tarps on the market are polyethylene, ripstop nylon, and silnylon and cuben fiber. An ideal fabric needs to be waterproof and tough enough to withstand the normal wear and tear that comes from day-to-day use. It is important to note that the main purpose of a camping tarp is to protect you from the rainfall and scorching sun in case it decides to ambush you in the middle of your camping activities. See also: Helpful Tips for Camping in the Rain
When selecting a particular fabric, look out for its waterproofing rating, the presence of UV-resisting properties, and how it holds up to normal wear and tear. If you can, also check out the mechanisms that the fabric uses to keep off harmful rays of the sun. Most UV-resistant fabrics are either double or triple-layered featuring a UV layer and a PU layer.
While checking the fabric, also be keen to find out the weight of the fabric. Some fabrics weigh more than others. If you are a backpacker or a hiker, it would be in your best interest to buy a camping tarp that is as lightweight as possible.
Durability is an important consideration in almost anything that you will ever buy. In fact, the value of money is realized in how long a product serves you without breaking or damaging. Camping tarps are no exception when it comes to durability. You are going to want to buy a camping tarp that you will use over and over again without it breaking down. We have learned the hard way not to take the manufacturers by their word when it comes to durability. However, there is only one way you can tell a tent tarp is durable. Look at the material of construction as well as the overall build quality. There is no way a flimsy camping tarp will withstand the normal abuse you put it through at the campsite.
These days manufacturers extend the lifespan of camping tarps not only through the use of high-quality fabrics but also by ensuring seams are stitched perfectly. Double-stitched seams last longer than their single stitched counterparts. Also, they prevent leaking almost effortlessly. When buying a tarp, do not forget to pay attention to the stitches and the texture of the fabric. You’d want to pick a fabric that is tough enough to withstand normal wear and tear.
How many Points of attachment does it have?
Before you buy a new camping tarp, take the time to check out the number of attachment points it has. Tarps with fewer attachment points are less durable. This is because each point of attachment represents the tarp’s contact with the surface which is where it obtains stability. You’d want to get a camping tarp with at least four points of attachment. Although it doesn’t hurt to have one with more attachment points. The majority of camping tarps on the market come with either four or six points of attachment. If the manufacturer cares about your satisfaction as the customer, they will include six and above points of attachment. In addition to that, they will also include an installation kit that includes the guy tent stakes and wires.
By including installation kits in the package, the manufacturer saves you the trouble of spending extra cash to buy the kits. Also, these kits are usually designed to work with the specific tarp that you will be buying. So, they will work perfectly making installation even easier. If you can get your hands on a camping tarp that comes with the setup kit included in the package, then it serves your best interests to go for it. If it doesn’t have an installation kit, then at least let installation be as simple as possible. This way, you will focus much of your attention on having fun at the campsite.
The ease of carrying the camping tarp from one point to another is just as important for a camper. Remember that camping is a temporary activity and whatever setup you have going on at the campsite will get to a point in time when it needs to be dismantled and taken back home. Imagine having a camping tarp that is too hard to carry. First, it will be a hassle bringing it to the site, and even when you finally manage to bring it with you, taking it back home will be a whole new hassle.
Be sure to select a camping tarp that is lightweight and compact especially if you are going on a backpacking or hiking camp. As a backpacker, you will be spending most of your time on the road with your camping gear on your back. Make it an endearing experience by carrying lightweight and compact stuff that can easily fit in the backpack. However, do not go all-in with the lightweight bit because you may end up compromising the stability of the tarp and its ability to withstand weather elements.
There are several ways you can use a camping tarp at the camp. The following are just some of them;
4 Creative Ideas ( Alternative Uses )
Using a camping tent tarp as a tent footprint
This is probably the most common and easy way to use a tarp. camping tarps are simply large fabrics with attachment points. You can easily turn it into a tent footprint by spreading it on the ground in the tent. To do this, you will need to ensure that the tarp is large enough but it should not extend to the outside of the tent. In fact, the tent footprint should not come any closer to the edge of the tent. This is because the tarp could easily gather water, which will in turn accumulate on the floor of the tent. You can imagine how much damage that would cause to the things on the ground such as sleeping bags and other camping gear.
Using a camping tarp as a hammock tarp
This entails suspending the tarp over a hammock. It is a common method of using a tarp especially for those people who engage in hammock camping. This way, in case you are camping in an area with lots of sun rays, the tarp can help prevent the direct rays of the sun from harming your skin. For this kind of use, the camping tarp should be having anti-UV properties. If not, then it should at least be able to reflect sun rays from the surface of the tarp. A tarp with a dark surface will increase the heat underneath causing discomfort so you should ensure that it has light-colored.
Using it as a tent
In some cases, the tarp can serve as an actual tent. However, it has to have several points of attachment. Tents made from tarps are mere improvisations and therefore cannot function fully as independent tents. You cannot improvise a tarp to make a sleeping tent because the lower part of the tent will allow the free flow of air in and out of the tent. The best tent that you can make off of a tarp is a camping shower tent or a kitchen tent. These types of tents do not really have to be fully covered in the bottom parts.
Using it as a yoga mat
If you are a yoga enthusiast, you will have the opportunity to engage in it while at the campsite thanks to the versatility of a camping tarp. Most of the camping tarps are made from materials that can easily serve as a yoga mat. This is because they are waterproof to prevent penetration of water droplets through them. Performing yoga can be satisfying if you are doing it at the campsite as it helps break the monotony of doing it from the same place every day.
The following questions have been asked multiple times by buyers on the market for a camping tarp.
- Q: What size of a tarp is the best for camping purposes?
Tarps come in either rectangular or square shapes. So, their size dimensions are in length by width. It gets tricky when deciding the right size because the dimensions of the fabric often get smaller once the tarp is set up on the ground. To be on the safe side, it is advisable for you to buy one that is a couple of inches larger than what you think you will need. Always let the camping area as well as the size of your tent or hammock guide your decision regarding the size of the tarp.
- Q: What are the most important things to look for in a tarp?
The two most important things you cannot afford to overlook are the size and the type of fabric. Size is important because it determines the amount of surface area you can cover with the tarp. A small tarp will cover a limited surface area whereas a large one will have plenty of room to cover. As for the type of fabric, you should consider the physical properties of the camping tarp and its ability to withstand wear and tear. Most importantly, the weather resistance capabilities of the tent are important too.
- Q: How can I use my tarp as a tent footprint?
You can use a tarp as a tent footprint provided that you ensure it does not overlap the edge of the tent on the floor. This means that the surface area of the tarp when spread on the ground should be less than that of the ground inside the tent.
- Q: How do I set up a camping tent tarp?
The basic concept of setting up a camping tarp is similar across all types of camping tarps. Start by tying the guy ropes onto the attachment points at the edges of the fabric. Then anchor the other end of the rope on tree branches close by but wide apart using stakes. Some tent taps will require poles to give them shape but most are self-sufficient.
In summation, camping tarps are great camping accessories that you cannot afford to leave behind especially if you are going on an outdoor camp with friends and family. However, this doesn’t make it necessary to just hop on to the decision of buying one blindly. If you take your time and carry out research, you can actually buy a nice camping tarp that will give you the value for your money. Luckily, you don’t have to do all that because our team of researchers has done everything for you. We have brought you the list of the best camping tent tarps. The list is drawn from best camping tarp reviews from actual users that have had first-hand experiences with the individual tarps. So, you can rest assured that the reviews are honest and reliable. Alternatively, you can use our buying guide to make an informed decision.