September 7, 2020

Top-Rated Buyer’s Guide: Best Tarps for Camping

September 7, 2020

Top-Rated Buyer’s Guide: Best Tarps for Camping

The best camping tarps are important amenities that you should secure. Aside from your tent, you need to install these tarps to ensure that you get extra protection from the wind and rain. 

Of course, you can't expect that tents can do it all. Sometimes, you need this additional layer of defense against the weather elements. You wouldn't want these factors to ruin your outdoor adventure. 

Here are some of the camping tarps that will never disappoint you. 

Best Camping Tarps 

1. Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter - Editor's Pick 

Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter
  • Tapered, hexagonal design provides ground-to-air shelter without unnecessary weight
  • Constructed with silicone/polyurethane-coated Patagium™ fabric with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment and seam seals to stand the test of rain and snow
  • Knotless design allows for easy setup; line-lock and tensioners suspend the camping tarp above you
  • 8 guyout points work with the 4 stakes (included) and trekking poles (not included) to secure it closer to the ground
  • Hypalon™ anchors reinforce guyouts to sustain high winds and inclement weather

One of the finest tent tarps today is the Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter. This one is suitable in numerous applications, but it is really perfect for backpacking purposes because of its lightweight design. 

This tarp has a tapered, hexagonal construction that ensures ground-to-air coverage without adding unwanted weight. Its package weight is only 14 ounces, which is truly astounding. 

Despite being lightweight, it is far from being shabby. The tarp is integrated with silicone and polyurethane-coated Patagium fabric and durable water repellent (DWR) to guarantee that water and tiny dust won't be able to penetrate it. Moreover, it comes with seam seals so that it can protect you from rain and snow. 

Interestingly, this tent has a knotless design for quick setup. Instead, it uses tensioners and line-lock as its attachment mechanism. It has eight guy out points, too, that works with any stakes. 

Pros:

  • Ultra-lightweight construction
  • Rip-resistant fabric
  • Withstands rain and snow efficiently
  • Includes anchors for additional wind resistance
  • Enables quick setup 

Cons:

  • No known issues

2. Aqua Quest Safari Tarp - Runner-Up

The Aqua Quest Safari Tarp is a perfect choice if you want a fully waterproof option. This tarpaulin provides impregnable protection against different weather conditions. It ensures that you and your tent will remain dry, even amidst heavy precipitation. 

This tarp features the use of a dual coating of polyurethane and silicone. These treatments enable the surface of the tarp to be hydrophobic. Not a single drop of water can pass through it. 

The lightweight design of this tarp is quite decent. It is only 1.6 pounds, which feels virtually weightless. You'll never notice that you are carrying it. They can be packed compactly, too. They can fit small spaces, which makes them ideal for backpacking. Don't worry; it comes with its own stuff sack.

Keep in mind that this tarp has several reinforced webbing tie loops on its inside, and two lantern loops on the outside. As a result, you can set it up from different angles. 

Pros:

  • Provides full coverage
  • Lightweight and sturdy at the same time
  • Waterproof construction 
  • Includes a compact stuff sack
  • Resists wear-and-tear

Cons:

  • It seams are not reinforced

3. OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp Tent - Budget-Friendly Pick

OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp Tent Footprint Mutifunctional Groundsheet Picnic and Beach Mat with Drawstring Carrying Bag
  • 【Get One For Multiple Uses】Can be used as tent footprint, picnic mat, beach mat, groundsheet, hammock rain fly camping tarp, shelter rain tarp, camping travel tarp, backpacking tarp and etc. Make...
  • 【Waterproof and Durable】Made of high density 210D Oxford ripstop polyester fabric construction, it is water-resistant and wear-resistant, tear-resistant, moisture proof, reusable, it is a very...
  • 【Perfect Outdoor Gear】Great for outdoor activities like picnics, camping, hiking, climbing, go to the beach, a family day. About 70.8*86.6in (180*220cm)/ 94.4in*86.6in (240*220cm), perfect for 2-6...
  • 【Convenient to Take Out】Just fold it and put it in the attached drawstring carrying bag. Easily fit in your backpack, compact and easy to carry, reduce your luggage load and go out at anytime...
  • 【Easy to use】Just unfold the tent footprint and lay it on ground to use as groud cloth to prevent moisture , and can use stakes(not included) and guylines to fix it through the metal grommet...

It is quite interesting that the OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp Tent is placed at an entry-level category. Given its capabilities, purchasing it will give you more than what you have paid for. 

This tarp is waterproof. Specifically, it is tailored from high-density 210D Oxford fabric construction, which is both waterproof and durable. It is not easily torn or pierced by branches and stones, either. 

The OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp Tent is available in multiple sizes. Hence, you can always use it as a canopy, regardless of how big or small your tent is. Furthermore, it is portable as it is designed to be fold-friendly. It comes with a drawstring bag so that you can transport it easily. 

Versatility-wise, this tarp is pretty outstanding. It can be used as a footprint for your tent. You can also convert it as a mat for your outdoor picnics and cookouts. 

Pros:

  • Features decent durability
  • Ensures protection against the water
  • Available in different sizes
  • Portable construction
  • Can be used in different applications

Cons:

  • The grommets are small 

4. REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL Tarp - Premium Pick

REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL Tarp
  • Polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon is not only super durable, it's also waterproof
  • Seam-sealed for weather protection
  • Square, symmetric cut offers maximum coverage and versatility
  • Can be used as a sleeping shelter, or for cooking and eating under when weather gets rough
  • Corner grommets with double-layer reinforcement provide a strong, stable pitch; multiple webbing loop lash points along the edges provide easy setup

For lightweight camping and backpacking purposes, the REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL Tarp is an excellent choice. The tarp has been engineered to possess structural durability and strength without bearing excessive weight. 

Specifically, this item is made from polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon that is both rugged and waterproof at the same time. Unlike other tarps in the market, all of its seams are sealed, ensuring that water will have no opportunity of passing through. 

This tarp has a square, symmetric design so that it can provide maximum coverage to your tent. Its large surface area makes it a versatile tarp, too. You can use it as a sleeping shelter and footprint for your tent. 

The corner grommets of this tarp have two layers of reinforcement. Such a design enables the grommet to generate a stable and robust pitch. It also comes with several webbing loop lash points for easy setup. 

Pros:

  • Provides full coverage
  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Comes with a stuff sack, stakes, and reflective guylines
  • Versatile; can be used in various outdoor applications
  • Waterproof construction

Cons:

  • The stuff sack should have a simpler design

5. Kammok Kuhli Shelter

Kammok Kuhli Shelter
  • Hyper-strong Hypalon™ rubber reinforces all anchor points, providing lasting protection from inclement weather
  • Lightweight 15-denier ripstop nylon is coated with 1,200mm polyurethane and silicone and seams are taped for a waterproof shelter
  • Cord pockets at each guyout point plus cord hooks with line-lock tensioners make setup easy
  • Grommets fit telescoping or trekking poles (sold separately)
  • Reflective guylines and stuff sack drawstring

The Kammok Kuhli Shelter is definitely an exceptional camping tarp. This one features the ultra-strong Hypalon rubber that reinforced all of its anchor points, which enable the tarp to have long-lasting protection against harsh weather conditions. 

The tarp is not that heavy, either. It is only 1 pound. It is exceptionally suitable for backpacking and trekking trips. It is made from the 15-denier ripstop nylon that has been coated with 1,200 mm silicone and polyurethane for added durability and waterproofing. It seams are also taped so that water and snow won't breach it. 

There are cord pockets on all of the guy out points of this tarp. There are also cord hooks that have been equipped with lock tensioners for a sturdy but quick setup. The grommets are large and capable of fitting trekking and telescoping poles. 

Multiple accessories come with this tarp, such as reflective guylines and stuff sack. 

Pros:

  • Compact and travel-friendly design
  • Seamless construction 
  • Durable and can withstand consistent use
  • Great for backpacking applications
  • Not prone to ripping

Cons:

  • Cannot hold a large number of people

How To Choose The Best Camping Tarp

Again, let me emphasize that camping tarps are essential for every outdoor expedition. You will not just rely on your tent when it comes to protecting yourself and your gears from the weather. You will also need an extra "roof" that can shield you from the elements.

Of course, camping tarps just don't serve as shelter. They can also be used as footprints and mats if you want to set a weekend picnic party in your yard. 

But of course, not all tarps are equal. Some may not work camping trips. You simply need to pick something that would serve you in any off-the-grid adventures. 

Here is a guide that can help you choose the right camping tarps. 

Size

One of the crucial aspects of choosing a camping tarp is its size. Now, let me tell you that there's no such thing as the wrong size when it comes to tarps. At the same time, one-size-fits-all is something that doesn't exist in this context. 

When picking the right size for tarps, you should always think of your application first. If you are going to cover your tent, make sure that the tarp can provide full coverage to it. It should be able to accommodate your entire shelter for maximum protection. 

A small tent may not need a tarp that is too large. Simultaneously, large tents will require large full-coverage tarps. 

Waterproofing 

You should never pick a tarp that is not waterproof. After all, the very essence of these tarps is to provide protection against a myriad of weather conditions. It should be able to keep you dry amid rain and snow. 

There are numerous ways tarps are embedded with multiple waterproofing capability. Some received durable water treatment so that they can have hydrophobic surfaces. Adding a layer of fabric also improves the defense of the tarp against water and moisture. 

Finally, some manufacturers seal the seams of the tarp through taping or welding. When there are no holes or entry-points, tarps are essentially waterproof. 

Durability

We also need to pay attention to the overall durability of the tarp. After all, you would want something that is brittle and easy to rip. Keep in mind that your application is camping. If you are going to set your adventure in wooded areas or rocky terrains, you would need the fabrics to be extra tough. Otherwise, they are prone to tearing. 

One way to examine the durability of a tarp is its thickness. The thicker it is, the more resistant it is from damages. The drawback for these thick tarps is their weight. It is difficult to bring them in backpacking applications. They are strenuous to fold and pack, too.

However, some lightweight and semi-thick materials possess exceptional durability. They have been engineered to strike the perfect balance between durability and weight management. 

Material

The material of choice affects the overall quality of the tarp. Now, the number of materials being used in the construction of tarps is quite many. It is difficult to mention all of them here. 

All the tarps that I mentioned here are built differently. Some were tailored from nylon, polyethene, and special grade made materials. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is better if you can check which one is suitable for you. 

Weight 

Mind the weight, especially for specific applications. For backpacking, you will really need something that is lightweight and easy to pack. Carrying bulky items on a hike or trek is such an ordeal. 

For camping purposes, you are free to bring tarps that are slightly heavy, given that your camping ground is accessible. If you are bringing a heavy tarp, just load it in your vehicle.  

Frequently Ask Questions About The Best Camping Tarps

Q: Do you really need a tarp in camping?

A: Absolutely. Even if the weather is fine, your tent requires added protection from the elements such as the wind or heat of the sun. You would not want to expose yourself to these factors as they could ruin your trip. Well, you can't guarantee how much your tent can endure. So you better implement additional protection.

Q: How do you use tarps when camping?

A: Tarps have multiple uses when it comes to camping. They don't only work as a canopy or overhead roof. These tarps are also useful as footprints for your tent if you don't have one. You can use them as a form of a sheet where you can place your food and do some picnics. Others utilize their tarps as gear storage. 

Q: How big a tent tarp should be?

A: It really depends on your needs. As I said a while ago, you don't need a tarp that is too big or too small for your tents. Instead, they should be on the right fit to ensure that you don't encounter any inconveniences.

Q: Why use a tarp under your tent? 

A: Tarps are often placed under tents to provide extra durability. When they work as ground cover, your tent is more impervious to moisture and wetness. It will remain dry and insulated. 

Q: Are thick tarps better than thin tarps?

A: If you are concerned about the durability of the tarp, then you pick those units that have extra thickness. You can guarantee that they will be rugged and resistant to various damages. However, keep in mind that thick tarps are not that lightweight. For backpacking applications, they might not be suitable. 

Conclusion

These are the things that you need to learn about the best camping tarps. Right now, you need to ensure that the tarp you get should fit the size of your tent or the things that you are going to bring. Make sure that it is durable and provides impeccable waterproofing so that you'll remain dry throughout the extent of your trip. 

That's it for now. I hope you learned from this guide. If you have other questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. 

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