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Updated on September 21, 2022 at 14:15
A quality camping tarp is one of the most valuable and convenient pieces of equipment you can take on your outdoor adventures. Whether you’re heading to the backcountry for a fortnight of solitude or just down to the lakeshore for an afternoon of fishing, a heavy duty tarp will make the experience more comfortable.
From a simple ground cover to a survival shelter, there are some times when a tarp will not serve any purpose. A great waterproof tarp can protect you from storms, keep your gear dry when the ground is wet, and act as a moisture barrier for your sleeping pad. Roofs are not created equal, and different types and construction materials are better suited for some jobs than others. Consider these different features when shopping for the best camping fabric for your outdoor adventures.
What to consider when buying a camping tarp
Because there is such a wide variety of tarps to choose from, it is important to determine how you will use it. If you’re going to carry it in a backpack, it should be light. If you are going to attach it over the device or on top, it should have enough loops so that you can attach it properly. If you are going to use it as a ground cover, it needs to be strong. And if you want it to double as a tent, it needs to have specific features to pitch out. Different types of tarps excel in different situations and conditions, so you may find that you need more than one tarp to meet all your needs.
Do you need a tarp for extremely wet conditions?
For those who enjoy the outdoors in rainy or wet environments, consider putting waterproof qualities ahead of all other factors when purchasing a tarp. Some extra heavy duty tarps are made to take hours and hours of heavy rain without leaking. If you’re back in the boonies with nothing to do but wait out a rainstorm, these are the types of tarps you want to have in your backpack with you.
If you’ll be outside in the wet, consider a tarp made from strong, durable polyethylene. If your tarp is waterproof but can’t withstand normal camping treatment, it will tear when you need it most. Then, no matter how waterproof it is, you and your gear will get wet.
Do you need a heavy duty tarp?
If you’re going to be camping in very rugged terrain, you need a heavy-duty tarp. Look for a tarp made of sturdy material so you don’t have to worry about it tearing or developing a hole.
Do you need an all-in-one tarp?
When it comes to camping and outdoor essentials, the old adage applies: it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. And this is especially true when it comes to tarps.
Tampons can be used for so many different purposes during typical outdoor activities that it’s surprising. You can use one as a ground cover under your tent to prevent water from getting onto the floor of your tent from below. You can place packs, stoves, and other equipment on a tarp to keep them off the wet ground. You can cover equipment and firewood that can get wet if a rain storm moves in overnight. You can even make a shelter out of a tarp. Of course, the tarp must be waterproof.
Will you be using the tarp as a shelter?
There are times in nature when you suddenly need shelter. It could be to keep you out of the scorching sun to avoid sunburn, to keep you out of a biting wind that could cause you to become hypothermic, or simply to keep the rain off you while you take a break and recharge.
A tarp is perfect for such a use. In fact, some experienced campers prefer to carry a tarp instead of a tent. When set up properly, it offers most of the comfort of a normal camping tent. However, having a tarp instead of a tent reduces the amount of weight you’ll be carrying, which is especially important for those who are backpacking or carrying their gear while in transit.
Some tarps made specifically for creating shelters come complete with ropes, stakes and even stakes. You can use it as a standard tarp, or put the poles and make a tent out of it.
Do you need a tarp for emergencies?
A tarp can be a great help in cases where an emergency occurs away from home. As previously mentioned, a tarp can be used to make a shelter fairly quickly if needed. You can throw one over your rig if a rainstorm appears. You can use a tarp to wrap a wounded or injured companion for warmth and use it to get an incapacitated person out of the woods. You can make a hammock out of a tarp if you need to get off the ground. If your tent tears, place a tarp over it to keep the inside dry. A tarp is a great thing to always have in your emergency kit.
WHITEDUCK Canvas Tarp Heavy Duty Waterproof 18 oz. Mold and UV resistant
This tear-resistant canvas fabric has rust-resistant glazing and its seams and edges are double-stitched with rot-resistant thread, ensuring a long and useful life.
This heavy-duty tarp has cleats spaced every 18 inches, giving plenty of options to tie it down tight and keep the rain off you and your gear. It is made of polyethylene to last for a long time. Xpose
This heavy duty camping tarp is made from extra thick material that can withstand rough use and is UV resistant. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors, so you should be able to find a size that’s right for your uses, from a ground cover for a small tent to a rain and snow fly for a hunting camp.
This lightweight tarp converts into a large shelter and stores in its own pocket. SJK
The SJK Satellite Tarp has built-in drop-off points and comes with 10 stakes so you can make a tight, secure shelter. A hanging pocket allows you to keep small items off the ground and the tarp tucks into the pocket for easy transport.
This lightweight nylon tarp is constructed from 210D Oxford nylon for extreme durability and reinforced windows make closing the tarp a breeze. Lewis N. Clark
This extremely durable tarp is lightweight and comes in a zippered carrying case for easy storage in your pack. The 6×8 foot version is less than a pound, so it won’t weigh you down on the trail.
This multi-purpose tarp features heavy-duty, rust-resistant tarps and rope-reinforced edges. standard
This strong and durable polyethylene fabric is laminated on both sides and is suitable for light use around the house and camp.
Q: How to hang a camping tarp?
You can hang a camping tarp by tying one corner or side to a tree and stake or weighting the other side/corners to the ground. Attach the cords to the side knots or corners and tie them to the tree or push the ropes down to keep it taut.
Q: Are camping plugs worth it?
Camping tents are worth it, especially if you plan to use one as part of your shelter. Camping tarps have many uses, from shade shelters, rain shelters, cover equipment or a tarp to protect the underside of your tent. Invest in a tent that fits your purpose to get the most out of its camping use.
Q: How much do camping tents cost?
How much camping tarps cost depends a lot on quality and intended use. You can get a tarp for as little as $5, or you can pay upwards of $150 – product materials, durability, size, versatility and waterproofing all affect the price.
Q: What kind of camping tarp should I get?
The type of camping fabric you should get depends on your needs and how you plan to use it. When choosing a camping tarp, waterproofing and durability are the two main things to look for. The versatility of the fabric may not be as pressing, but it’s a nice perk. Read our buying considerations to help you narrow down the best camping tarp for your needs.
Q: How thick should a camping tarp be for camping?
How thick a camping tarp should be can also be determined by its intended use. For example, a ground tarp should only be about 2 mm thick, while, for general use, such as covering utility items as a shelter, 5 mm or more thick is ideal.
Q: Is a tarp better than a tent?
When used as a shelter, tents provide better protection overall. Tents are great for survival, ultra-light rigs and hammock camping. The tents provide full coverage from the rain, and they seal, keeping out insects and other pests. Tents are more packable and versatile, but tents often do a better job of shelter.
Q: What is the strongest tarp material?
Caps made from vinyl-coated polyester or high-density polyethylene are among the strongest and most durable options. Other tarp materials like canvas and nylon are also very strong, but don’t always work as well in packing and waterproofing.
Camping plugs can be used for many different purposes and it is better to have one that is not perfect for your needs than not to have one at all. Err on the side of too big instead of too small – you can always fold the excess. Tampons are not expensive, so buying one is a worthwhile investment. Even if you haven’t found the best camping tarp for you on our list, refer to our buying considerations to help you make the best choice for your needs.
Choosing the best camping tent, like any outdoor gear, depends on how you plan to use it. Ground tarp may not be the best fabric to make a main shelter, but there are many versatile tarps that can work for both. Looking at purchase considerations is always part of the decision-making process, but we also evaluate products based on the following:
- Stability: how long is the tarp expected to last? Are there cleaning and storage instructions to help it last longer? Does the company provide repair information? Is there a warranty?
- Skill: can the tarp be used for different purposes?
- Stability: what materials is the tarp made of? Can these materials be reused or recycled? Does the company accept returns or damaged tarps to be disposed of properly? What type of waterproof clothing is used?
- Customer service: Does the company respond to customer questions and concerns? Are they transparent about the production process and what can be expected from the product?
Other factors that influence our recommendations include some personal experiences with certain products, verified customer reviews and company-specific research.