7 Best Camping Tarps (2022)

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    Camping can be fun, especially when you bring the right equipment, including the best camping tarp you can get your hands on. Unfortunately, the camping tarp doesn’t get as much love or recognition as other camping and backpacking equipment.

    As you have probably experienced and know very well – the weather can change on a dime regardless of what the forecast says. As enjoyable as camping trips can be, all that can be ruined once it starts raining heavily. This is when you realize that the trusted tent you have had for almost a decade has sprung a leak and can’t keep out all of that rainwater.

    Suddenly, you also realize that it doesn’t have that much of a vestibule, and the ground just outside of your tent is not only getting wet, but it’s getting soggy and, therefore, muddy. Any time you go in and out of your tent, you are dragging all that mud with you into the tent.

    Yes, a waterproof camping tarp is one of the most important yet least recognized pieces of camping gear. You really should get one for your next camping trip. As luck would have it, there’s a long list of incredibly convenient and durable tarp camping options right here.


    Best Camping Tarps – Winners

    Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:


    Best Overall Camping Tarp

    1. Aqua Quest Guide Tarp

    • Dimensions: 10 x 7 ft.
    • Material: Nylon
    • Weight: 0.9 Pounds
    • Packed Size: 11 x 4 x 3.5 in

    Pros:

    • Tough
    • Made out of non-toxic silicone and polyurethane
    • Durable
    • 40D Ripstop Nylon fabric
    • Ultralight

    Cons:

    • 64 sq. ft. of coverage might not be ideal for large camping parties

    Covering a total of 64 sq ft., this Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is 100% waterproof and will keep you dry through the most torrential of rain storms while you are out backpacking or camping. Designed with dual coatings of non-toxic silicone and polyurethane, it’s one of those tarps that you can trust to keep every drop of rain out. At only 0.9 pounds, it is considered an ultralight tarp and is also quite portable. It packs up into a small and tidy package, making it great for backpacking.

    Designed with a total of 13 reinforced webbing loops (there’s also one in the center just in case you need to hang the tarp shelter overhead), this flat tarp gives you 64 sq. ft. of bone dry coverage, ensuring your gear and sleeping bag stay dry, as long as it is set up correctly.

    It’s an extremely tough and durable tarp that features 40D Ripstop nylon fabric, reinforced stitching, and heat taped seams, making it one of the best tarps on the market today. Couple all that with the affordable pricing and money-back guarantee, and you might just have an excellent deal on your hands.

    View on Amazon >>


    Best Budget Camping Tarp

    2. Amazon Basics Waterproof Camping Tarp

    • Dimensions: 10 x 12′
    • Material: Polyethylene
    • Weight: 2.4 Pounds
    • Packed Size: 15.83 x 13.46 x 2.32 inches

    Pros:

    • It’s made out of tear-resistant material
    • It has rust-resistant grommets on the edges
    • Light
    • Affordable

    Cons:

    • The cords at the corners are clamped as opposed to being tied

    Featuring tear-resistant, waterproof and Ripstop fabric, this Amazon Basics Waterproof Camping Tarp shelter is ideal for protecting you from all kinds of elements, including the harsh sun, rain, and even high winds. The material used here is polyethylene which features lamination on both sides. As a result, you are protected from wet conditions even when you lay it down as a ground foundation for your tent.

    This camping tarp has reinforced edges and corners, which make it durable and quite sturdy. The outer edge features rust-resistant grommets, making it easy to secure this tarp whether you’re tying it or staking it into place. At 2.4 pounds, it isn’t the lightest tarp, but it isn’t the heaviest either, making it easy to carry with you whenever you go camping.

    View on Amazon >>


    Most Durable Camping Tarp

    3. Aqua Quest Safari Tarp

    • Dimensions: 10 x 7 ft.
    • Material: Nylon
    • Weight: 1.2 lbs.
    • Packed Size: 11 x 5 x 2 in

    Pros:

    • Superlight
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Can withstand 5,000mm of wind-driven rain
    • Features 70D nylon fabric
    • Versatile
    • Good quality

    Cons:

    • Doesn’t necessarily come with pegs or tensioners

    Several things stand out about this Aqua Quest Safari Tarp. The first and probably most important is that it’s designed to withstand up to 5,000mm of wind-driven rain, making it one of the most convenient tarps on the market today.

    Furthermore, it’s highly portable and ultralight, weighing in at a measly 1.2 lbs.; you won’t even notice it when carrying it with you.

    Featuring 70D nylon with reinforced stitching, this tarp was built to last and is quite durable. Designed with 15 reinforced webbing loops, this tarp covers up to 92 sq. ft., keeping you and your items bone dry through torrential rain and snow. It even has a top center loop that can be tied to a tree or placed directly over your tent for convenience.

    View on Amazon >>


    Best of the Rest

    4. ENO ProFly Rain Tarp

    • Dimensions: 10′ 6″ x 6′ 4″
    • Material: Nylon
    • Weight: 1.37 lbs.
    • Packed Size: 1 x 1 x 1 inches

    Pros:

    • Ultralight
    • Made out of polyurethane-treated nylon
    • Durable
    • Easy to setup
    • Comes with a stuff sack

    Cons:

    • Doesn’t come with stakes

    Best known for their hammocks, ENO has gone a step further and created some of the best hammock accessories, such as this ENO ProFly Rain Tarp. Made out of polyurethane-treated 210D Ripstop nylon, this is an extremely durable rain fly that offers you excellent water-shedding capabilities keeping you dry throughout your hammock tarp camping trip.

    Designed with six connecting points, this tarp is easy and quick to set up so that you can stay dry even through the most sudden of downpours.

    Weighing in at only 1.37 lbs., this ProFly tarp shelter comes with a stuff sack, which makes it conveniently portable. It’s versatile and highly durable, making it one of the best hammock camping accessories to keep yourself and all your gear dry.

    View on Amazon >>


    5. Kelty Noah’s Tarp

    • Dimensions: 9ft X 9ft
    • Material: Polyester
    • Weight: 1.9 lbs.
    • Packed Size: 12.8 x 9.4 x 2.7 inches

    Pros:

    • Minimalist design
    • Multiple guy lines and guy out points
    • Made out of 68D polyester
    • Sturdy construction

    Cons:

    • Doesn’t come with a tarp pole or stakes

    Designed to offer comfortable and adequate shade and shelter to large groups of up to six people, this Kelty Noah’s Tarp is the ultimate tent tarp for those looking for something robust yet ultralight. Granted, it’s not as light as some of the tarps on this list but 1.9 lbs. isn’t that heavy either, making it rather portable. Furthermore, it’s designed for the minimalist camper who likes hammock camping or simply sleeping under the night sky.

    Even though this is a minimalistic tarp, it features extremely robust construction with 68D polyester, sturdy guy lines attached at the corner, and multiple guy out points which are virtually everywhere you look.

    View on Bass Pro Shops >>

    Also Available on Amazon


    6. Sanctuary SilTarp

    • Dimensions: 10ft X 8ft
    • Material: Nylon
    • Weight: 1.2 lbs.
    • Packed Size: 8.75 x 5.25 x 3.5 inches

    Pros:

    • Ultralight
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Can withstand up to 5,000mm of rain
    • Comes with everything you need, including guy lines and stakes
    • Affordable
    • Extremely flexible

    Cons:

    • The stitching on the edge might be a bit flimsy in some

    While this list has several excellent tarps, there isn’t any that comes as fully loaded or kitted as this Sanctuary SilTarp. The first thing you notice about this option is that it comes with 60 feet of the best 1.5 mm guy line (reflective Dyneema), six Y-stakes, and six micro line-lock adjusters. This means that you don’t need to dig deeper into your pocket to buy these extra accessories that every tarp needs.

    Other than that, this tarp is also excellently built. It’s waterproof, thanks to the fact that the nylon material has silicon and PU dual-coating as well as fully taped seams that can keep you bone dry under 5,000mm rain.

    At only 1.2 lbs., this is a lightweight tarp and very portable. It also features a flat shape with 16 perimeter attachment loops that make pitching it a breeze. It also has one center loop that allows for excellent flexibility.

    View on Amazon >>


    7. Stansport Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp

    • Dimensions: 8ft X 10ft
    • Material: Polyethylene
    • Weight: 0.25 lbs.
    • Packed Size: 15 x 12 x 1 inches

    Pros:

    • Ultralight
    • Made out of durable Ripstop polyurethane
    • Has rust-resistant grommets on the edges
    • Reinforced corners
    • Rope reinforced edges

    Cons:

    • Doesn’t come with stakes

    By far the lightest tarp on this list, the Stansport Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp is an excellent addition for people who already have too much camping gear and might be worried about the overall weight. At only 0.25 lbs., this tarp weighs close to nothing yet delivers like the best of them in the market.

    Not only is it durable, but it’s also quite flexible and impermeable. It can be used as ground cover or can be thrown over your tent to give you and your gear a nice waterproof shelter when you are out camping.

    Made out of extremely durable Ripstop polyethylene that has been laminated on both sides, this tarp features heavy-duty grommets that are rust-resistant every 4 feet with double reinforced corners.

    View on Amazon >>


    What is a Camping Tarp?

    A tarp or tarpaulin in full is a piece of highly versatile camping equipment that can be used as shelter from the elements, be it rain or extreme sun. They are typically lightweight and can be set up rather quickly. The general idea behind a tarp is that it should be waterproof and strong enough to withstand high winds.

    Most tarps are either square or rectangular in dimension. While they are typically ideal for camping, tarpaulins can be used for a large number of purposes, including:

    • Hiking
    • Hammock camping
    • Beach days
    • Tailgating
    • Yard chores
    • Natural disasters
    • Gardening

    Ideally, every camping gear packing list should include a tarp in it because they are not only versatile but also lightweight enough, meaning that they hardly ever make a big difference in your load.


    What Is the Best Tarp Material?

    Tarps are made out of a host of materials such as nylon, vinyl, poly, or polyurethane, and some are made out of a blend of these materials. The idea is that the material should be waterproof and tough enough to withstand high winds, drenching rain, and the burning sun without quickly deteriorating.

    While every single of these materials works well, the longest-lasting material for a tarp has to be vinyl. This material provides all the other qualities, but it goes above and beyond to outlast every other material. Vinyl can last up to 10 times longer than your standard poly tarp.


    How to Choose a Tarp for Camping – Buying Guide

    Camp set up with tarp

    Source: Shutterstock

    In many cases, people tend to look at factors such as price and brand when going for outdoor gear, and with good reason. Some of the best brands on the market have spent years perfecting their craft and now produce consistently reliable products that won’t let you down when you are outdoors.

    Choosing a tarpaulin is not at all different. You need to find something that is reliable and affordable. However, there are a host of other factors that need to come into play as well. These include:

    Weight

    How heavy the tarp is determines just how portable it is and what kind of outdoor activity it can be used for daily. For the most part, tarps are ultralight, which means that you can simply throw them into your rucksack or just carry them alongside your other camping gear. While some heavy-duty options are considerably heavier and might only be used when car camping, a majority of tarps are super lightweight.

    Size

    How big do you need your tarp to be? The answer to this question depends on how many people you want camping with you. If you are a solo camper or enjoy hammock camping, then you don’t need anything extra-large. You just need something big enough to cover both your tent and most of the essential camping gear you have with you. This can be something like an 8ft by 7ft tarp. If, on the other hand, you prefer camping with a large group of friends or family, then you might want to consider something bigger. What you need to bear in mind is that the bigger the tarp is, the heavier it’s likely to be.

    Shape

    Tarps tend to be square or rectangular in shape, although you will periodically find tarps of random shapes such as triangles. Rectangular or square tarps are often easier to set up.

    Material

    The material used to make the tarp will determine how heavy it is, how waterproof it is, and how durable it is. As already mentioned, nylon and polyurethane are some of the most common materials for tarp construction.

    However, there are other materials such as vinyl which happens to be more durable than nylon or poly. You can also go for canvas tarps that are often very handy when dealing with hot and humid conditions despite not being as waterproof as the rest. They are, however, much heavier and more cumbersome to set up than the rest.

    Waterproofing

    If you consider no other factor when choosing a tarp shelter, consider this! Waterproofing is one of the main reasons why people buy tarps in the first place. Yes, in many cases, a tarp is used to shield campers from the sun, but its primary use often comes down to shielding campers from sudden rainstorms.

    How waterproof the tarp is, meaning how much torrential rain it can take, matters. We have tarps designed to withstand up to 5,000mm of rainfall on this list.

    Your next camping trip will be incomplete without the right kind of tarp included on your camping gear list. This list gives you a good idea of what’s available now and what you need to look for when shopping for the best camping tarp. All you have to do now is pick one and buy it. 

    Samantha Bos

    Samantha is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring the great unknown. She’s traveled all across the globe to sample nature’s delights. And her travels have taken her to all corners of the world: from hiking the famous Inca Trail in Peru to ice-hiking on glaciers in Alaska. Besides hiking, Samantha likes to challenge herself with all kinds of outdoor activities. She doesn’t shy away from testing her limits. For example, navigating Grade 5 rapids whilst whitewater rafting in New Zealand, and avoiding close-encounters with bird-eating spiders and poisonous plants in the Australian rainforest. Currently based in Manhattan, New York, she’s traded in the real jungle for an urban jungle. But she tries to get out and explore nature in the surrounding Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Harriman State Park areas as often as she can. She shares her knowledge of hiking, backpacking, and outdoor activities in handy ‘Best of’ overviews. Bundling the best-value, top-rated products that will no doubt make every reader a ‘happy camper’.