For people who love adventures such as hiking, camping, beach activities, and backpacking, the type of tarp they choose determines the success of the activity. You do not want to go for your outdoor activity and get rained on or suffer under the scorching sun. Therefore, you want to select a backpacking tarp that will protect you from extreme weather conditions so that you enjoy the day to the optimum. Additionally, the backpacking tarp you buy needs to be affordable and durable. The material used to manufacture a backpacking tarp determines its lifespan; thus, a good material should be considered when buying the tarp. You can choose a backpacking tarp from these top backpacking tarps that fits your outdoor needs as well as your budget. The guide gives the features of each of the tarp, its price, pros and cons to help you select a durable, waterproof, affordable and easy to use a tarp. You should not forget the importance of choosing an easy to set up tarp because you do not want to purchase a kit that gives you a hard time trying to set up. The last thing you want during a hiking or backpacking activity is stress when setting up the tarp.
- 1. Aqua Quest Guide Tarp
- 2. Best Choice Products Bug Net
- 3. Lightweight waterproof RipStop Rain Fly Hammock Tarp
- 4. WildVenture Tent Tarp Rain Fly
- 5. Free Soldier Waterproof Portable Tarp
- 6. Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp
- 7. Chill Gorilla 10*10 Hammock Waterproof Rain Fly Tent Tarp 170 Centerline
- 8. Terra Hiker Camping Tarp
- 9. Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp
- 10. Kelty Noah’s Tarp 2013
- Backpacking Tarp Selection Tips
- FAQ: Selecting a Backpacking Tarp
1. Aqua Quest Guide Tarp
You will get spoilt for choice with the Aqua Quest Guide sil tarps. You can get them in extra-large, medium, and large sizes. When you purchase the Aqua Quest Guide tarp, you are guaranteed of the best all-weather protection for an array of uses such as camping, home and garden, travel, emergency survival, and travel. The best part is that the product keeps you completely dry even when the weather is at its extreme because it is 100% waterproof. The buying price for Aqua Quest Guide Tarp ranges between $59.99 and $264.98 based on the size. It is available in olive drab color. The Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is available in large sizes that can fit several people, which makes it a good choice for large group of people.
• Ultra-light and compact
• 100% waterproof
2. Best Choice Products Bug Net
Also known as Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp, the Best choice Products Bug Net has a shipping weight of 2.1 pounds. It will cost you $35.97 to get this product for your camping needs. The Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp has all the accessories that you require for your camping activities. You can get it in orange and black bracelet and discounted gray 12*10. Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp offers protection in minutes because it has all the things you need to remain safe, dry and protected. The accessories include a survival kit, the only full rain fly kit, ropes, and stakes.
• Heavy duty
• 90-day money back guarantee
• Weather proof
• Waterproof and dust-proof
• Lacks a variety of colors
3. Lightweight waterproof RipStop Rain Fly Hammock Tarp
The shipping weight for lightweight waterproof RipStop Rain Fly Hammock Tarp 1.8 pounds, but the item weight is 1.85 pounds. It is among the top backpacking Tarps because of its quality 210T Dacron material. The top backpacking tarp is available in army green color, and at a cost of $24.99. The tarp has everything you require to create the fly tarp including 8 nylon ropes and 8 silver aluminum stakes that have adjustable tightening clips. You can use this tarp as a beach blanket, hammock tent, camping rain tarp shelter, picnic mat, shade tarp, and backpack tent tarp. The lightweight waterproof RipStop Rain Fly Hammock Tarp is suitable for outdoor activities.
• One year warranty
• Carrying bag
• Does not have various colors
4. WildVenture Tent Tarp Rain Fly
You can purchase the WildVenture Tent Tarp Rain Fly for only $39.99. WildVenture Tent Tarp Rain Fly is your protection against all outdoor or nature elements. Be ready for a safe and dry adventure with this top backpacking tarp. WildVenture Rain Fly Tent Tarp is the answer to all your backpacking adventures including partying at an outdoor event, hiking in the mountains, relaxing at the local park, and working in the backyard. You should consider adding the WildVenture rain Fly Tent Tarp to your gear kit for your next outdoor adventure.
• All weather protection
• Compact and lightweight
• An array of colors
5. Free Soldier Waterproof Portable Tarp
You can consult the multifunctional tarp shelter into various shapes. You can purchase the Free Soldier Waterproof Portable Tarp for only $44.99. It is made using the polyester 210T ripstop fabric that blocks snow and rain effectively. Purchase the Waterproof Portable Tarp to enjoy your hiking or camping irrespective of the weather conditions. The top backpacking tarp has nylon guy points that make it convenient to set up and a reinforced connector that prevents the tarp from falling off when inside. The taro is available in brown color.
• UV protection
• Stable and strong
• Portable and lightweight
• Simple to operate
• Not the most affordable
6. Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp
For only 28.99 you get rest and shelter for the rest of your adventure life. the tarp is available in brown. If you are searching for the top backpacking tarps, then the Unigear Hammock rain Fly waterproof Tent Tarp should be your perfect choice. It is great for hammocking, camping, backpacking, and hiking. The Unigear Hammock rain Fly waterproof Tent Tarp has been serving hikers and campers all over the world for the last five years. The tarp offers you an excellent opportunity to wander out into the wild and enjoy this beautiful world without worrying about the weather conditions. The Unigear waterproof Hammock tarp suits all your needs for outdoor adventures because you can it up under heavy sun or during eth weather season. The backpacking tarp not only protects you from the rain and sun, but also spacious space so that you enjoy your picnic or camping out in the wild. The tarp can be used as a tent footprint, instant shade, hammock shelter, and ground sheet.
• UV protection to keep harmful sun rays away and avoids sunburn
• Easy to setup
• Water resistance, which keeps you dry during the rainy season
• Multiple purposes for all outdoor adventures
• Anti-tearing, which gives it a long lifespan
• Comes with six stakes and six ropes
• Space saving for the bag
• Large coverage for the tent and hammock
• Few color choices
7. Chill Gorilla 10*10 Hammock Waterproof Rain Fly Tent Tarp 170 Centerline
The origin of Chill Gorilla was in the United States. It was invented by a former U.S. Marine who has traveled around the globe using this backpacking tarp to test it and make sure that the users are covered and protected. The former U.S. Marine loved outdoor adventures, which is why he founded the Chill Gorilla. The tarp uses measures to manufacture quality gear that its users can depend on regardless of whether you are a weekend warrior or going through the bush on adventure for a long time. Chill Gorilla is a perfect choice for professionals, and you should also make it your choice too. You can enjoy your outdoor adventure for $32.99 with guaranteed protection. The inventors of Chill Gorilla have a mission of offering top-notch and high-end outdoor gear at affordable prices. The Chill Gorilla tarp offers its users high comfort levels.
When selecting a hammock tarp, make sure you consider an array of factors to make sure that you select the right one that will suit your needs. For starters, make sure you choose the appropriate weight by comparing the same sizes. The Chill Gorilla weighs only 1.4 lbs, which is the perfect weight for an outdoor backpacking tarp. Chill Gorilla Rain Fly has 2000 PU waterproof rating. You also get to choose between a square and rectangular shape based on how you want to set up the backpacking tarp.
• Hassle free warranty
• Crushes competition for small diamond tarps
• Light weight and portable
• Indestructibly built
• 100% waterproof
• 100% customer satisfaction rating
• Not very affordable
• Lacks a variety of colors
8. Terra Hiker Camping Tarp
Available in dark green, blue and green colors and for only $18.99, you can now enjoy your outdoor activities with the Tierra Hiker Camping Tarp. A good camping tarp is vital for comfort when you want to spend a day at a local park or when heading to the beach. You will not regret choosing the Tierra Hiker Camping Tarp for your hiking or camping experience. The multifunctional utility offers an excellent experience regardless of where you are going. The backpacking tarp is manufactured using 210D Oxford material, which makes it durable. It comes with 1*drawstring pouch and 1* outdoor camping tarp. The Tierra Hiker Camping Tarp doesn't limit you to any purpose; you can use it for an array of uses like for picnics and beach activities.
• Easy to use and set up
• Easy to carry
• Can be used for different purposes
• Available in different sizes
• Multi colors
• Not very large
9. Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp
It is a high-quality hammock that everyone can afford. It is an upgraded version of the first hammock that includes many eye-catching and useful products, which are under the Wise Owl brand.
Advantages of Wise Owl Outfitters
Wise Owl Outfitters are made with a super strong ultra-light nylon that has a water shedding ability and unparalleled weather protection to keep you dry all the time. Unlike other outfitters, Wise Owl outfitters aren't made with unreliable and cheap outfitters.
• Versatile and Portable
Wise Owl outfitters are ideal for camping, traveling, sporting events, boating, and hiking due to their moisture proof properties. It takes a few minutes to set it up. Wise Owl outfitter also comes with a pouch that makes it convenient to store when not in use and to carry around.
Nothing annoys than getting stuck in the rain. Fortunately, Wise Owl outfitters will protect you from any harsh elements during any season. Its features include impenetrable water barrier, 210T ripstop nylon, reliable aluminium tent stakes, taped seams and waterproof seals, fasteners on every cord, and a piece of Wise Owl outfitters trades at $69.95.
10. Kelty Noah’s Tarp 2013
• It comes with an instant shade shelter, which is suitable for sporting events, camping, festivals, backpacking, and boating.
• Kelty Noah's Tarp 2013 also includes a carry sack and tent steaks, which are ideal for boating and sporting festivals and events.
• It is easy to set it up and construct, and it protects against harsh climatic conditions.
Kelty Noah's Tarp 2013 comes in 12"x 18" dimensions, which are ideal for camping sites. It gives explorers other options at campsites or any other place. You can use it for shade purposes in beaches as it is easy to set up. The green tarp linen version comes with additional features such as a second water resistance rating. It is designed for a corner to corner space, and not the A-frame shape that most people often try to do with it. Kelty Noah's Tarp 2013 are designed for the users and the surroundings.
Backpacking Tarp Selection Tips
Camping Tents Vs Tarps
For some, especially those who are going to camp for the first time, they may not know the difference between a tarp and a tent. Even though they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are two different pieces of equipment. Many seasoned campers prefer a tarp as it helps them feel more connected with nature. Here are some of the unique benefits of tarps, and why it is sometimes the preferred equipment over tents.
Affordability. Tents are usually more expensive, especially since it is much more comprehensive and comes with additional features. However, it detaches you from the camping experience.
Portability. Compared to tents, a tarp is a lighter load to carry. In general, they are also more compact than tents. You can find a tarp that is made of a light material that won’t compromise on its strength. A heavyweight item can deter how far you can go while camping. Not only that, but tarps are easy to pack and fit in almost any backpack. Tents, on the other hand, require certain specialty backpacks for them to be carried in a pinch. Best of all, a tarp does not require poles for it to be installed. Tarps are typically paired with a hammock, with both items fitting any backpack. This combo provides shelter and keeps you off of the ground.
Aids in fire making. When it’s chilly, you can make a warm fire and use a tarp to protect against wind. You can enjoy cooking and keeping warm by insulating the area against the wind, and ensuring that the generated warmth does not escape. The shelter that is provided by the tarp will concentrate the heat of the fire within the campsite. Tents do not give you this benefit since it is too confined of a space.
Closeness to nature. Compared to a tent, a tarp will give you proximity to nature. A camping tarp won’t obstruct your views of the natural world — you can peer over and look at the trees, the mountain ranges, and wildlife. At night, you have untethered access to the starry sky as you fall asleep. It’s an aspect that is sometimes overlooked, but there is a sort of charm when you’re able to fall asleep underneath the stars.
Capability as a ground sheet. When camping outdoors, you will most likely experience the unexpected, even if you are prepared. If you are camping on wet ground or have difficulty accessing dry floor, then it can make the camping experience difficult to enjoy. A robust camping tarp is waterproof and can be used as a ground sheet whenever you need it. Just ensure that you spread the tarp on ground that sticks out to ensure that you and your campmates aren’t sitting on a puddle of water after a couple of hours. A large tarp can easily accommodate several of you and your friends, with many large tarps accommodating five people, providing a solid cover without making your friends feel cramped. Unlike a tent, a tarp will give you access to fresh air, which is a feature that you will appreciate especially if you have shared an enclosed tent with several people in the past.
A much appreciated dry area. Having more dry space available when the weather turns sour can make or break a camping experience. Having a tarp paired with a hammock extends available space under it. This usable space is great for when the sun is beaming down hard, providing you shade. A tarp can be used in a designated area to keep your campmates dry, especially when you know that you will be camping an area where there will be inclement weather.
Selecting a Backpacking Tarp
When it comes to picking a camping tarp, there is a myriad of materials to choose from. There is the lightweight nylon tarp that offers a great compromise between weight and mobility. There are also other materials like Tyvek and visqueen. These are a type of plastic used for construction purposes.
Tyvek is used as a moisture barrier between different layers of wall, particularly in insulating exterior walls and the siding of a home. These are economical options since they usually come in industrial sized rolls that can be cut and customized to your liking. Visqueen is one of the more lightweight materials used in tarp constructions. Usually, you can get a size big enough to make a tarp shelter for under five dollars. They can be bought in opaque and clear colors — you will typically want to select an opaque color to protect you from sun, rain, and precipitation. Tyvek may be a bit more difficult to source since you may need to go through a building contractor to obtain it. Tyvek and visqueen are ideal tarp materials if you want to save money but do not want to skimp on durability.
Nylon has a dedicated following, with many outdoorsmen preferring it over all other materials. These are folks you do not want a heavy tarp but want something that is highly durable. Many high-end nylon tarps can be rather generous in size, but only weigh a couple of ounces. Although expensive, they also come with grommets and reinforced materials for easy installation of fastenings.
There are also dedicated shelter tarps. These are essentially tents without a mosquito netting. These shelter tarps are created to work with poles and are made with a specific design. There is a range of many high-tech designs to choose from. Although more expensive and don’t have the usability of a traditional nylon tarp, they might be beneficial for a specific use. The design should be chosen to fit your needs and the type of area that you will be using it in.
FAQ: Selecting a Backpacking Tarp
What are the popular backpacking tarp brands? Kodiak Canvas specializes and sleeping bags, tents, and tarp. The brand has a dedicated ground tarp of various sizes that can be used for different applications. If you need accessories to take your tarp to the next level, then consider the Big Agnes brand for accessories like tarp poles and large shelters. Kelty, Coleman Company, and Kelty are other brands to consider.
How much does a tarp weigh? The weight of the tarp will typically depend on the material that it is designed with and also its size. When it comes to material, high-quality nylon tends to be the lightest. It is highly sought after due to its durability and portability. You also have the option of purchasing traditional tarp that is used in construction sites. Although not ideal due to their weight, construction tarps can still be useful, especially if it is a smaller piece.
For a reference point, most blue tarps that are used in retail or hardware stores are about six mils. This is the thickness of the tarp. Thicker tarps are more appropriate for heavy-duty use like covering a carport. These types can be anywhere between 12 and 23 Mills. The size and weight of the material are dependent on the environment that it will be used. If you’re going to be camping in an area which you know there will be a lot of snow or rainfall, then you would want a more robust tarp, one that has more than 12 mils. However, if you’re going to be camping in relatively moderate environments, then you can sacrifice the thickness of it by going with a lightweight material of six or eight mils.
What is the thickest tarp? You can buy specialty tarps that are made with more than 20 mils of thickness. These are high durability tarps. However, they may not be practical for most situations as they can be a bit heavy. However, smaller rolls of such heavy duty tarps can be useful, especially when used in designated areas in the campsites. A more lightweight tarp might be more appropriate for different uses.
A tarp has almost infinite uses. It is a perfect cover for keeping designated areas on a campsite dry, it can be used to protect the campsite from wind and precipitation, and it can be used in conjunction with a hammock. It’s a makeshift tent, a rain catching system, and can be used to make your campsite more discreet, especially if you are sharing a campsite with other members. With so many uses, it’s essential that you pick a tarp that is best for your purpose.
For example, If you plan to protect yourself from the sun, then you want a tarp that is designed with UV protection to shield you and your valuables. For protection against rain and sleet, a polyethylene tarp is a perfect choice since it is naturally designed to be waterproof. Canvas tarps, especially, are particularly water resistant and leakproof. A heavy duty tarp with grommets is best to protect from the wind, as they will be able to be fastened against a tree or another stationary object. Poly tarps and vinyl tarps are best if you are camping in winter condition since they hold extremely well against frigid temperatures without fear of it possibly warping.
Elizabeth Sparks received a Masters Degree in geology from The University of Colorado. Elizabeth has been working as a full-time geologist for the past 5 years. In her spare time, Elizabeth participates in rock climbing competitions and frequently goes camping with friends.