When you're going camping, the most important thing is your tent. But what happens when nature doesn't cooperate with your camping plans? When you have to face the relentless heat from the sun or deal with heavy snowfall, you might regret taking that trip. So, grab a tarp! A tarp can protect you from the rain, sun, snow, and wind.
When we checked out the myriad of choices, we decided that the B-Air Grizzly Tarp is the most impressive. It's a top pick for many camping enthusiasts too! We loved it for its quality, simple design, and waterproof capabilities. We've also got nine other great tarp options for you, so read on. Also check out our buying guide for more information to help you choose the right tarp for your camping needs.
Besides the B-Air Grizzly Tarp, we have selected nine more products that will protect you from the elements and stand the test of time.
|Size||8 x 10 ft.|
|Size||12 x 12 ft.|
|Size||8 x 10 ft.|
|Size||10 x 10 ft.|
|Water resistance||20000 mm|
|Material||210D ripstop oxford|
|Size||6.9 x 6.9 ft.|
|Water resistance||1000 mm.|
|Size||10 x 14 ft.|
|Material||210T ripstop polyester|
|Size||9.8 x 10.5 ft.|
|Water resistance||2500 mm|
|Material||210T ripstop nylon|
|Size||11 x 9 ft.|
|Material||210D ripstop polyester|
|Size||11.8 x 9.2 ft.|
|Material||210D ripstop oxford|
|Size||5.9 x 7.2 ft.|
Wise Owl Outfitters
Heavy-Duty Tarp With UV Protection
Waterproof Camping Tarp
Bushcraft Survival Shelter Tarp
Waterproof Camping Tarp
Reversible Poly Tarp
Waterproof Portable Tarp
Rain Fly Tarp
Waterproof Multi-Purpose Tarp
A Popular and Durable Tarp Preferred by Campers
UV-Coated Tarp for Heavy-Duty Protection
Multipurpose, Laminated, and Waterproof Camping Tarp
Sturdy Camouflage Tarp for Camping in the Wilderness
Compact and Portable Camping Tarp for Medium Tents
Dual-Laminated and Reversible Tarp for More Coverage
Versatile Shaped Tarp for Multi-Directional Protection
Bright and Lightweight Tarp With Large Coverage
Diamond-Shaped Tarp to Cover Bigger Hammocks
Multipurpose Lightweight Tarp for Camping in Extreme Weather
|Material||Polyethylene||Polyethylene||Polyethylene||70D Nylon||210D ripstop oxford||Polyethylene||210T ripstop polyester||210T ripstop nylon||210D ripstop polyester||210D ripstop oxford|
|Size||8 x 10 ft.||12 x 12 ft.||8 x 10 ft.||10 x 10 ft.||6.9 x 6.9 ft.||10 x 14 ft.||9.8 x 10.5 ft.||11 x 9 ft.||11.8 x 9.2 ft.||5.9 x 7.2 ft.|
|Weight||1.4 lbs.||4.75 lbs.||1.5 lbs.||3.3 lbs.||0.8 lbs.||2.5 lbs.||2.2 lbs.||1.6 lbs.||1.13 lbs.||1.03 lbs.|
|Water resistance||-||-||-||20000 mm||1000 mm.||-||2500 mm||-||-||-|
|Thickness||5 mil||10 mil||-||-||-||7 mil||-||-||-||-|
Unlike tents, tarps are easy to choose if you know what material and how much coverage you need. This is because they're designed simply, and the factors to consider are few.
When buying a camping tarp, consider its weather-proofing, waterproofing, and durability. This buying guide discusses all the necessary factors that you need to know about choosing a tarp for camping.
Nylon tarps are often combined with other materials, like silicone, to make them highly waterproof and durable. Ripstop nylon is an excellent choice for tarps as it is flexible and resistant to tears. These tarps are often used for parachutes and yachts, attesting to their durability under extreme weather conditions.
Due to the waterproof coating, nylon tarps might not be lightweight enough for those seeking to pack very lightly. When wet, these tarps can stretch and sag. But, if you're using the tarp as a tent footprint, nylon tarps are the best.
Poly tarps are quite popular with lightweight backpackers. Of these, silpoly tarps have a blend of polyester and silicone that makes them waterproof and lightweight. They don't stretch when they're wet and can withstand moderate weather conditions.
The lightest tarps are made from Cuben fiber. But, these tarps are susceptible to punctures when taut after they're fully-pitched. Tyrek tarps are less common, but they are lightweight and breathable. These are water-resistant as well but can take up more space than the other types.
If you want to know how thick a tarp is, look for the "mil" number. A mil of 6 is considered lightweight, while a mil of 10 or higher is more heavy-duty.
Flat tarps are flat like a sheet, and shaped ones are designed to be pitched in various shapes. Both have different pros and cons!
Flat tarps come in a square or rectangular form with flat edges, and they are larger and heavier than shaped tarps. Square tarps have room for more than one person, whereas a rectangular tarp suits solo hikers. Since they have more coverage, square tarps are good at dealing with heavy rain and wind.
Flat tarps are also versatile; they are easy to set up as a rainfly or a tent footprint. The shelter space it gives depends on how you pitch the tarp. Depending on the terrain and weather conditions at your campsite, these flexible tarps can be pitched in various shapes.
The best part is that you can pitch it very low to the ground for ultimate protection from wind and the elements. It may take a while before you learn all the ways to pitch a flat tarp, though!
Shaped tarps come with catenary curves (curved edges) and ridgelines that give them different forms. Due to their angled walls and curved edges, they are the best fit for cold weather conditions. And, when there's snowfall, the snow will slide off the angled surface without accumulating on top of the tarp.
Tarps with catenary curves or cat-cut tarps correctly spread out the tension through the ridgelines. If you fully pitch it, the tarp will give you perfect tautness. However, when fully pitched under extreme weather conditions, the tarps may shrink or expand; this can eventually cause damage.
These tarps also lack versatility, and the ways you can pitch them are limited. They cannot be pitched low like a flat tarp.
The curved edges also reduce the amount of shelter space these tarps provide. This tarp also isn't a great choice if you're camping under tight quarters. Since they're not flexible, pitching them in cramped spaces can be challenging. However, they're a hit amongst the backpackers as they are lightweight and easy to set up.
A 100% waterproof tarp isn't easy to find. A water-resistant tarp still can offer protection against moisture, including dew and condensation. If you're camping in areas with light to moderate rain, water-resistance should be enough.
But, if you plan to camp under extreme or unpredictable weather conditions, you need to be prepared with the best gear for protection. A waterproof tarp made of nylon, polyester, or vinyl will have a waterproof coating that makes it impervious to water.
A lightweight waterproof tarp can weigh up to one pound, and a heavy one can weigh a few pounds. Again, the weight depends on the tarp's size. A heavy-duty waterproof tarp is less likely to flap in the wind and tear, and it can offer you reliable protection for a considerable amount of time.
Water-resistance is measured with a hydrostatic resistant rating, which can be anywhere from 2000 millimeters and up. A 2,000 millimeter rating means the material can withstand a water column of 2,000 millimeters a day before the drops start penetrating through it.
Anything between 1,000 and 5,000 millimeters is ideal for icy and wet weather conditions, especially for extended camping trips.
Whether you need temporary shelter or a footprint for your tent, your tarp should give excellent coverage and shelter space. The size of the tarp depends on the number of people that need shelter. To use it as a hammock rainfly, you need to measure the hammock and consider the number of hammocks you'll use.
If you plan to use it as a rainfly for your tent, it should give enough space to protect your tent and any other camping gear placed outside. Again, a bigger tarp can save you from the elements, but a narrow one cannot offer that protection.
Raindrops can also fall sideways, so it's essential to have a broader tarp to offer enough shelter space. It's best to go for a tarp that is at least 60 square feet, regardless of whether you will use it as a footprint or survival shelter. This size can cover two sleepers and leave some space for their gear.
If you're putting up a shelter under the sun, you don't want a dark tarp that can attract a lot of sunlight. Silver and white are sought-after colors for tarps since silver can block sunlight well, while white allows some natural light to pass through.
Wildlife photographers might need to camouflage themselves with a green or brown tarp so their presence won't startle animals. But, a camouflaged tarp can also be challenging to spot if you get lost in the wild. Some tarps have light reflectors on their guy lines, which are an advantage if your tent's color is difficult to spot.
Bright tarps are the best as they reflect sunlight and help you quickly spot your tarp. If you're camping alone, it's best to go for a bright-colored tarp.
No one wants to spend a ton of time setting up a tarp! If the tarp has grommets, it will be easier to tie ropes and guy lines. However, metal grommets can make the tarp heavier and damage it over time. A tarp with tie-out loops is a better option for longevity. If it has at least 9 tie-out loops, you can make most configurations!
If you're planning to use the tarp to protect your tent's base, keep these points in mind. Measure the floor and go for a tarp one size larger. Make sure not to choose a rectangular tarp for a square tent, too! An excessively big tarp can be a burden for the backpacker who needs an easy-to-setup tent, as well.
A tarp that gives maximum support with minimal accessories will be the best bet. Ensure that the tarp has at least four attachment points, regardless of its size. A tarp with six to eight attachment points will have more stability under windy conditions.
Also, look for connectors to attach items like insect-proof liners and lanterns. If you're camping in a place that's rich with mosquitoes, midges, or other insects, these add ons will be beneficial!
Camping doesn't mean you need to give up your creature comforts altogether! Check out these products to make your next camping trip fun and relaxing.
A camping tarp should be made of quality material to ensure that you can use it for a long time. Besides the material, you should also consider the coverage it gives and how you can pitch it.
Missing one or two checkpoints can result in a wrong choice. And when you've found the right one, make sure that it gives you the protection you seek in a temporary shelter!
Author: Biji Ravindran
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