Transform your hammock into a full-blown tent with a camping tarp!
Camping tarps are a lightweight, versatile, affordable piece of camping equipment. They’re considered a must-have for nature enthusiasts who can take advantage of their myriad uses, portability, and flexibility.
‘No time for reading? Here are our picks for the best camping tarp.’
This comprehensive guide includes in-depth reviews on the best camping tarps for staying dry, along with helpful purchasing tips.
This ultralight camping tarp only weighs 1.2 pounds, so it’s one of the lightest rain flies on the market. This makes it a great choice for backpackers who want to conserve weight and space.
Although it is light, it’s mighty. This rainfly is completely weatherproofed, so you don’t have to worry about it degrading in the sun or rain.
Its polyester fabric is totally waterproof so it will keep you completely dry even through the severest rain storms.
This hassle-free hammock tarp is easy to put up, only taking mere minutes. It also doesn’t require a hammock stand or additional hardware to set-up. Simply swing the fly over your hammock, and secure it to trees.
It even has additional safety features like reflective tracers which make it visible in any conditions. Overall, this is an excellent camping tarp. Its only downside is that the carrying bag that comes with it is a bit small, so it can be annoying to stuff this camping tarp inside of it.
- 11 x 9 feet
- 1.2 pounds
- 190T Polyester
- 10 x 10 x 4 inches packed size
- Durable, weatherproof polyester
- Easy to set up
- Tiny storage sack
If you’re looking for a hardcore tarp that can protect you from the worst weather conditions, the Aqua Quest Defender Tarp is a great option.
This rugged tarp is made with strong 70D nylon fabric. It was built with reinforced stitching and heated taped seams that won’t tear. It even has a DWR and TPU coating to make it 100% weatherproof.
This incredible tarp has a hydrostatic resistance of 20,000mm, which means it can keep an insane amount of water droplets at bay. Trust us, no moisture is getting through this tarp.
You won’t be let down by this extremely durable tarp. The company believes in this product so much that they offer a lifetime warranty with it, which is a huge deal. It makes its expensive price a lot easier to swallow.
As durable as it is, this tarp is pretty lightweight, weighing only 2.4 pounds. It even packs to a compact size of 7 x 7 5 inches within its own convenient stuff sack that comes with it.
Overall, this is an excellent tarp for people who want to stay completely dry in the rainiest conditions.
- 10 x 7 feet
- 2.4 pounds
- 70D nylon
- 7 x 7 x 5 inches packed size
- Durable, waterproof material
- Compact, portable size
- Lifetime warranty
- Set-up requires putting up poles
While this FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp isn’t free, it is very affordable, which is impressive considering its high-quality.
This versatile tarp has a compact and portable design which makes it an excellent option for backpackers. It only weighs 2.6 pounds, which is a light for hammock tarps, although it is one of the heaviest on this list.
It comes with a convenient carrying sack and has a compact, packed size of only 6.7 x 12 inches. This means it’s easy to fold away and take on the go.
Unfolded, it’s fairly large, measuring 126 x 118 inches. It’s big enough to cover a single or double hammock, or just 2 people sleeping side by side.
This durable rain fly keeps away the wind, rain, sun, leaves, and other debris. It’s 100% nylon and has a strong PU waterproof coating, so it’s completely weatherproof. The one downside of its construction is that the seal tapes at the center points can become weak over time.
Setting up this hammock is super easy. You can even pitch it in multiple different configurations.
- 10.5 x 9.8 feet
- 2.6 pounds
- 210T ripstop polyester
- 6.7 x 12 inch packed size
- Large size
- Compact and portable
- Weak seal tapes at points
- Heavier than other options on this list
The ENO ProFly XL Rain Tarp has an extra-large unfolded size of 13 x 9 feet, which is big enough to cover 3 people comfortably. Although it’s massive, it still manages to be compact and lightweight when folded up.
It only weighs 2.13 pounds and has a packed size of 5 x 9 inches, so it’s easy to take it on the go. It even comes with a stuff sack for easy carrying. This also makes a great camping tarp for backpackers who are adventuring with other people.
The strong 210D ripstop nylon fabric is completely waterproof. It has 6 connection points to enhance its stability which will come in handy if you face tough, strong storms.
Of course, since it’s ENO, this expensive rain fly doesn’t come with a necessary part: stakes. You’ll have to buy those separately.
- 3 x 9 feet
- 210D ripstop nylon
- 2.13 pounds
- 5 x 9 inches packed size
- Huge size
- Extremely stable
- Completely waterproof
- Stakes not included
Not only is the Sanctuary SilTarp one of the lightest tarps available in 2021, but it’s also light on your wallet, with an extremely affordable price.
You’ll be hardpressed to find a camping tarp that’s lighter than this one. It only weighs 10 ounces which makes it a great choice for backpackers. It also compresses down to an impressively small packed size of 11.4 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches.
Of course, in part, its lightweight and compact size are a product of this camping tarp being on the smaller side. It only measures 10 x 7.5 feet when unfolded. However, it still can fit 2 people comfortably.
This camping tarp comes with everything you need to install it including guy lines, adjusters, and stakes. However, installation can take some time.
- 10 x 7.5 feet
- 30 denier rip-stop nylon
- 10 ounces
- 11.4 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches packed size
- Comes with everything you need
- Time-consuming installation
Features to Consider for Your Camping Tarp
All of the camping tarps above are wonderful, so how are you supposed to choose just one? Narrow down which tarp is right for you by considering the features below.
This is a particularly important feature to consider if you are a backpacker and you need to pack light and conserve space. There are lots of lightweight, compact camping tarp options that are perfectly portable.
Of course, you need to balance your camping tarp having a small pack size with it still being functional, and therefore being able to cover and protect however many people are sleeping under it. You also need to make sure that it being lightweight does not compromise its durability.
Camping tarps typically are squares or rectangles.
Square camping tarps tend to be more versatile, larger in size, use more material, and are heavier than rectangular camping tarps. Overall, square camping tarps are regarded as the “better option.”
The purpose of camping tarps is that they will protect you from the elements, so purchase one that is not only thoroughly waterproofed but also has UV-resistant properties, and is made with durable materials.
The best material for camping tarps to be made of is ripstop nylon. It’s durable, versatile, and long-lasting. Also look for camping tarps with double-stitched, reinforced seams.
You can tell how long a camping tarp should last by viewing its warranty. Any product with a lifetime warranty is probably very durable.
How stable a camping tarp is depends on the number of points of attachment that it has. The more points of attachment, the more stable and durable it is. You should purchase a camping tarp with at least 4 points of attachment.
There are so many things you can use a camping tarp for!
Some options are listed below:
- Resting Place
- Supplies Protection
- Tent Footprint
- Hammock Camping
- Yoga Mat
Camping tarps are a must-have camping accessory for hammock campers or nature enthusiasts.
Hopefully, this guide helped you realize what an important and versatile tool they are. If you found this guide helpful be sure to share it and comment below with which camping tarp you decided on!