Investing in a high-quality camping tarp is always a great idea! If you love camping, you’ll love the versatility this outdoor essential offers. Not only is it a lightweight alternative to a tent, keeping you sheltered from rain, wind, and other weather conditions. But this nifty accessory can also be used as an extra vestibule when attached to your tent, an extra rain cover over a tent or hammock, a wind blocker during your campfire cookouts, or even as an extra waterproof groundsheet to protect from wet underground. The possibilities are endless...
With so many options on the market, picking a quality camping tarp can be daunting. Because how do you know if a product actually lives up to expectation? This is where our team has come to the rescue! Our comprehensive Best Camping Tarp overview contains a curated selection of top-rated products that score highly on quality, value, and convenience. Instead of overloading you with 25+ options, we’ve deliberately kept our list short and sweet: instantly navigating you towards camping tarps worthy of your attention.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
- Protection: Rain or shine, our heavy-duty backpacking tarp provides reliable foul-weather protection to keep campers and hammock sleepers happy and dry.
Best Camping Tarp - Overview
Discover our favorite products in the Best Camping Tarp overview below, and upgrade your outdoor gear with this versatile piece of camping equipment!
- 100% WATERPROOF - The Aqua Quest Guide tarp will keep you completely dry, even in extreme weather. With dual coatings of non-toxic Polyurethane & Silicone you can be absolutely certain that not a...
The Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is made of ultralight, extra durable 40D ripstop nylon. To give this lightweight material extra tear-resistance and make it fully waterproof, the nylon had been treated with a special Silicone & PU coating. The tarp also features reinforced stitching and heat-taped seams, ensuring you won't have to deal with fraying or loose threads.
If you want outstanding versatility from your camping tarp, this model by Aqua Quest ticks the box. The design comes with 17 reinforced webbing loops, allowing you to easily mount it in a plethora of configurations. The tarp also has a loop in the very center for overhead hanging and offers total coverage of 92 square feet. Whether you want to guide it over a tent to act as a fully waterproof rainfly or want to use it instead of a tent by creating a makeshift teepee: the Aqua Quest has got you, and your gear, securely covered!
The Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is also very portable, which makes it ideal as a backpacking tarp. The tarp only weighs 1.2 pounds and packs down into a convenient stuff-stack (included). The packed dimensions of the tarp are 11.5 x 4.5 x 3 inches, whilst you also have the option to compress it fully to a neat 6.25 x 6 x 4.5 inches bundle.
Also good to know: the Aqua Guest Guide Tarp comes with a 2-year ‘No Worries Warranty’ by the manufacturer against any defects.
- WATERPROOF & UV PROTECTION - Hammock Camping Tarp made of 210T ripstop polyester fabric with 2500 PU waterproof rating, enhanced the shelter's waterproof function and offers long-lasting protection,...
The tarp is made of high-quality 210T ripstop polyester fabric. This durable material has an excellent 2500 PU Waterproof rating, ensuring it keeps you sheltered and dry even in challenging weather conditions. The 210T ripstop is also very tear-resistant and puncture-proof, meaning that even when you use it as a groundsheet on rough undergrounds, it gets the job done. The design has 9 guy points and 5 strengthened grommet points for easy mounting and a reinforced connector that prevents the tarp from sliding off. The FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Hammock Tarp also comes with a stuff sack and 4 nylon guy lines with tensioners included.
This heavy-duty tarp boasts a large size (118" x 126" when fully unfolded) and weighs 2.62 pounds. This means its not the most lightweight tarp on this list, but its weight should still be manageable for most campers. That said, backpackers may want to consider a more lightweight alternative, as this design does weigh nearly double that of comparable models.
A heavy, heavy-duty option
Overall, the FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Hammock Tarp may be a bit heavy and slightly pricey when compared to other camping tarps, but for the price and weight, you do get a lot of durability and functionality. This heavy-duty tarp provides secure shelter even in extreme weather conditions, whilst its high-quality standard ensures you'll get long-term enjoyment out of your purchase.
The FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Hammock Tarp also comes with a 1-month return or replacement guarantee. We would have preferred a slightly longer warranty period (such as the 2-year promise of the previously listed Aqua Quest tarp). We would advise you to mount your tarp the moment it arrives to check for any manufacturing defects, because if you leave it in the box for too long, the warranty period may have passed before you've been able to report any issues!
- RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: Made of polyurethane-treated 210D ripstop nylon, the ProFly XL offers long-lasting wear and features the best water-shedding capabilities. Stay dry and cozy all night long.
ENO is known for making several durable outdoor gears and this tarp is not an exception. With this tarp, it is certain you will enjoy your camping regardless of the type of weather. This model comes in two different designs that can be set up almost anywhere you are.
This ENO tarp is made of polyurethane materials that are treated with 210D ripstop nylon with the best water-shedding capabilities to have you covered when it is raining. This features also Makes it suitable for use in rough areas as it features a tear and puncture resistance to ensure it is durable for long.
Aside from proving shelter against the rain, sun, and other weather elements during the day, this tarp can also be used as a sleeping tent at night. This will put on a safe side against unforeseen changes in weather. Furthermore, this tarp comes with six tie-down points, to ensure it is sturdy against heavy downpour and wind.
For better durability and ease of use, the ENO tarps come with a well-stitched cord to help attach the tarp between trees. However, it doesn't come with stakes to attach to the ground in the absence of trees. This can be purchased separately for better convenience when camping in areas where there are no trees.
- Expansive Coverage: Featuring a 10’/12’ ridgeline and 9’ curve side, Dragonfly rain tarp can create a 120-square-foot coverage over your campsite or hammock setting. Larger than most of its...
Everyone is interested in a tarp that is easy to set up and also durable; sine durability is one of the most important factors when buying any commodity. Unlike other tarps on this list, this tarp comes with straps that make it easy to use anywhere you find yourself.
The Easthill tarp is made of high-quality diamond ripstop nylon with Sil/PU coating and seam seal to ensure it durable and suitable for various types of weather. The seaming and coating helps to ensure this tarp is waterproof and leak-proof throughout your adventure.
With this feature, the tarp can stand harsh weather conditions; it will also protect you from the scorch of sun, wind, and other unpredictable environmental conditions. The tarp is very durable as it is made from a 200mm waterproof material.
Additionally, this Easthill is portable and lightweight, which makes it easy to move around without adding much to your pack. The tarp, when folded, only weighs 250 ounces with a 5 by 6 inches in total size.
Also, this model comes with a dimension of 354 cm x 293 cm / 140" x 115" when unpacked, which can look pretty big. It comes with 6 long tie-down straps that make this tarp sturdy when fastening onto a tree or stakes.
The long straps also make it easy to use in different areas. Its long straps also allow it to be set up in different styles to suit your mood and enhance your camping experience.
- Instant Shade Shelter ideal for camping, boating, backpacking, sporting events and festivals
For those consumers that prefer an instant shelter, the Kelty Noah's Tarp 2013 is one of the best tarps on Amazon. This design features simple construction and super-quick set up, allowing you to rapidly create a makeshift shelter against the sun or rain. Do note that this is not a very heavy-duty tarp, and we'd mostly recommend it for casual usage, for example at the beach or festivals.
The Kelty Noah's Tarp 2012- as listed in this product review - is made of ultralight 68D Polyester taffeta with a waterproof coating. The design also features taped seams and comes included with tent stakes and a roll-top carry bag/stuff sack. However, the tarp poles are not included and will need to be purchased separately. For the price listed, we're a bit disappointed by that, but we nevertheless would recommend this product as a quick set-up camping shelter.
A quick-setup camping shelter
The 4-point shape of the Kelty Noah's Tarp can be set up in multiple configurations and measures 12 x 12 feet. When used as a groundsheet, it, therefore, has a floor area of approximately 144 square feet. When packed in the included carry bag, the tarp folds down to a relatively compact 12 x 10 x 3 inches bundle. Do note that the Kelty tarp tent is quite a bit heavier than its competition: 2.6 pounds (packed).
It's not the lightest, cheapest, or most versatile camping tarp, but it is super quick in setup and can provide instant shelter when needed. Plus, the design is made by an expert brand in outdoor gear, which adds to its appeal. When you buy from Kelty, you know you're receiving a product that closely monitored on quality assurance. And that can give you some valuable peace of mind about spending a bit more on this highly-rated shelter.
You honestly can't go wrong with any of the camping tarps as listed in this overview, as all are highly-rated on quality, durability, and value. We've ensured to only include products with outstanding customer review ratings, to ensure they don't just promise to keep you safe and sheltered, but actually do the job and live up to expectation. Which is 'the best' tarp for you depends on where and when you plan to use it. For example, if you're looking for a quick set up, instant shelter to provide some much-needed shade in warm conditions, the Kelty Noah's Tarp could be a match. However, if you want maximum durability and the guarantee that a tarp will keep you dry, even in bad weather conditions, you may want to consider upgrading to the Aqua Quest tarp, which is more expensive, but also made of top-grade materials.
Also, do you want a square tarp, rectangular, or hex tarp? Because what may be a perfect fit for one consumer, is completely the wrong type for another.
Don't stress, as long as you pick the right size and shape for your need, you can't make a bad choice with any of the brands in our overview. And we're confident that no matter which tarp you pick, you'll get plenty of usage and camping enjoyment out of your purchase!
It is almost impossible to pick a winner from our line-up, as each has its pros and cons. However, if we had to select the best-value option, we'd say the Wise Owl Outfitters Hex Tent Tarp is a solid choice. This mid-budget product combines the quality and performance you want from a top-grade tarp, with the affordability of low-grade tarps. Its 210T ripstop nylon fabric is waterproof, lightweight, and tear-resistant, whilst the 9 x 11 ft tarp only weighs 1.6 pounds when packed in the included stuff sack. The portability of the packed tarp also makes it suitable for backpackers, hikers, hunters, or fishing enthusiasts who need to carry their tarps over longer distances. This style won't weigh down your pack, whilst it's still heavy-duty enough to provide a secure shelter when encountering a downpour. With nearly all 5-star reviews, the Wise Owl Outfitters Hex Tent Tarp is almost guaranteed to make you a happy camper...
Best Camping Tarp - Buying Guide
Camping tarps come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, which is why it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different buying options available. Below, we’re listing some of the most important factors to look out for when buying a camping tarp. Get educated on the basics, and make a well-informed choice that matches your camping needs best!
Size & Shape
One of the first steps to determining what is the best camping tarp for you is deciding its sizing. Camping tarps come in all kinds of configurations, so (fortunately) you’re spoiled for choice. The most common shapes are either a half pyramid, an A-frame, a rectangular tarp, and a flying diamond. If you want a tarp that provides an extra layer between the underground and your tent, carefully check the total floor space of your tent to match it to an adequately sized tarp.
Note: bigger isn’t always better. An extra-large tarp may seem tempting, because of its generous sizing. However, this will also add quite a bit of bulk and weight to its packing dimensions.
Though camping tarps are available in a wide range of materials, the most common options are synthetic fibers. These include polyester, Cuben Fiber (also known as Dyneema Composite Fabric), nylon (for example, Silnylon), and Tyvek (high-density polyethylene fibers).
Each material has its pros and cons, and there isn’t a single option that reigns supreme. However, if we had to advise you on one, we’d settle on a Silnylon tarp. Silnylon (the word is a blend of silicone and nylon) is made by saturating thinly woven nylon fabric with liquid silicone. This creates a special ‘coating’ that makes the nylon extra strong and improves tear-resistance. The process also makes the nylon fully waterproof, ideal for outdoor usage. Do note that a minor downside of Silnylon is that this fabric is not breathable, which can mean it traps heat more quickly.
Regardless of which material you choose, ensure that the actual compounds meet a high-quality standard and are waterproof or water-resistant. The easiest way to check the material lives up to expectation is to consult the Amazon customer reviews. This gives you a general overview of how well a material performs in outdoor conditions and if you're truly looking at a waterproof tarp. Also, take into account that some materials, such as cheap polyester, can be highly flammable - which adds certain risks if you plan to use them around camping fires or camp stoves.
You may assume that the thicker the tarp, the more durable and water-repellent it is. Actually, this is not entirely true. Yes, though thicker tarps tend to be a bit more tear-resistant, it mainly depends on the material used. These days, synthetic fabrics such as Silnylon are lightweight and thin, yet just as durable as thicker, traditional options. So, simply settle on a tarp made of high-quality materials, instead of looking at thickness; as this is less important for your camping enjoyment.
If you plan on carrying your tarp in a backpack, or over longer distances, weight is an important factor. The heavier a camping tarp, the more it will weigh down your pack. For car campers, truck campers, or RV-enthusiasts, the weight of the tarp will be less of a deciding factor. But for hikers and backpackers, this is certainly something to pay close attention to. An easy way to save on weight, yet don’t compromise on sizing, is to pick an ultralight material such as Silnylon, Rip-stop nylon, or another synthetic fabric. Avoid heavier fabric options, and always double-check the product’s weight before buying, if you want a tarp with excellent portability.
Camping tarps come in all colors of the rainbow, so which one is ‘best’, depends on where and when you plan to use your tarp. For example, choose a neutral color or camouflaged print if you plan to camp out in the middle of nature. Or a bright, vivid option if you plan to use your tarp at festivals and events - as this makes it easier to locate your camping spot in busy settings. Also note that darker colored tarps are more prone to retaining sunlight/heat, whilst lighter colored tarps are more efficient at reflecting sunlight.
If you plan to carry a rain tarp or camping tarp in a backpack, portability is another key factor. Part of the portability of a tarp is related to its weight and size. That said, there can be a big difference between product dimensions and packing dimensions. Some larger tarps are extra foldable, meaning they pack down to neat little bundles. Whilst a smaller tarp made out of thicker canvas may be more bulky and cumbersome when folded than you originally assumed. Always check a product's' packing dimensions' to get a better understanding of how it folds down or rolls up.
Tip: we'd recommend you to pick a tarp that includes a stuff sack or carrying bag. This keeps a backpacking tarp or tent tarp securely stored during transport. Whilst also compressing it to a handy, portable packet. If you like a certain tarp that does not come with a stuff sack, consider buying one separately - as this accessory really improves portability and helps keep your tarp safe on the road or trails.
When shopping around for a tarp shelter, camping tarp, or rain fly tarp, we'd always advise you to buy from an expert brand in outdoor gear. Sure, there are other cheaper options by second-rate or unknown brands on the market, but with these, you're always taking a risk. By buying from an established brand with a great reputation, you're drastically reducing the chance of being disappointed by your tarp. Expert brand invest a lot of time, money, and effort in the development of their products, which - in our opinion - results in higher-quality products. Plus, some established outdoor brands even offer a product warranty or 100% satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if you have any issues, you can arrange for a quick refund or replacement.
So, which are some of the recommended brands by outdoor experts? We'd consider tarps by Chill Gorilla, WildVenture, Free Soldier, Aqua Guest, Thru-Hiker, Kelty, and Eno - which are some of the most popular options amongst other camping enthusiasts.