Camping, backpacking, and backcountry adventures require the service of the best lightweight tarps. Of course, these given pursuits have a heavy emphasis on the concept of travelling light. The extra pounds could make the journey more difficult to complete that it should be.
Most of the commercial tarps today are thick. Hence, it is given that they are heavy already. But at the same time, you might get worried that thin tarps are not durable and resistant to the weather. Fortunately, that's not always the case.
There are several lightweight tarps that possess the extra durability and sturdiness that you need. The best ones are listed below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Lightweight Tarps - A Complete Rundown
- 2 How To Choose The Best Lightweight Tarps
- 3 Conclusion
Best Lightweight Tarps - A Complete Rundown
1. Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter - Editor's Pick
- 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
Among the tarps today, the Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter is considered to be the one of the lightest. This rugged shelter encompasses a full coverage--from air to the ground--without being heavy at all. Specifically, it is only 10 ounces, which is downright jaw-dropping.
This particular tarp is designed to be tapered and hexagonal, which in turn, allow it to provide maximum coverage to your space. Such a design is one of the reasons why it is not as heavy as its counterpart.
The tarp is tailored from the silicone/polyurethane-coated Patagium fabric. The latter is a material known for its lightness. Aside from that, the fabric is already treated with a durable water repellent so that it will become waterproof. The seams are sealed so that rain and snow won't pass through the fabric.
The knotless design of the Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter enables quick setup. It has tensioners and line-lock so that you can pitch it steadily and tautly.
- Features ultralight design
- Includes reinforced guyouts to deter strong winds
- Fully waterproof construction
- Resistant to quick wear-and-tear
- Can be packed tightly and compactly
- It should come with more stakes
2. Aqua Quest Safari Tarp - Runner-Up
You can always trust the Aqua Quest Safari Tarp when it comes to backpacking trips. With a weight of approximately 20 ounces, this tarp is definitely worthy of being called lightweight and portable. You will hardly notice that you are carrying it.
You can also pack it compactly. It can fit tight spaces and doesn't become a burden to every weekend warrior out there. It also comes with its own stuff sack that ensures that you can fold it as tightly as possible.
This particular tarp features multiple reinforced webbing tie loops and additional lantern loops on its perimeter. Because of this, the tarp is capable of covering a large area without being too burly.
This unit is crafted from nylon fabric, which is completed by silicone/polyurethane coating for extra reinforcement and weatherproofing. It has taped seams and reinforced stitching for guaranteed sturdiness.
- Can withstand harsh weather conditions
- Packs compactly and lightly
- Impervious to scratches and pierces
- Encompasses a large area
- Ensures a hassle-free setup
- The guyouts have minimal reinforcements
3. Outry Waterproof Multi-Purpose Tarp - Budget-Friendly Pick
Lightweight tarps should be "lightweight" for your pocket, too. If you are searching for an inexpensive tarp for your day hikes and simple trekking adventures, the Outry Waterproof Multi-Purpose Tarp should be a good choice.
This tarp is made from the 210D oxford fabric. This material is not only tough, but it also guarantees a ripstop performance. With such a quality, you will not worry about pitching it on areas where there are a lot of branches, jagged rocks, and other sharp objects. By the way, this tarp only weighs 12.6 ounces.
Undeniably, this tarp has the standard backpacking construction. It comes with four grommets in its corners and another two in the center. Each of the holes is 8mm in diameter, which is sufficient for fuss-free pitching or staking.
Of course, this tarp features all the essential accessories such as tent stakes and stuff sack. Acquiring this tarp means that you are getting more than what you have paid for.
- Durable and rugged construction
- Versatile; can be used in different applications
- Guaranteed lightweight
- Folds tightly and compactly
- Includes all of the essential accessories
- It is a small tarp
4. Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Shelter - Premium Pick
- Large size is 10 x 10 ft. (3 x 3m), weighs only 350g and can comfortably sleep 2 when set up as an A-frame; it also makes a great tent awning or sun shelter
- Medium size is 6 ft. 6 in. x 8 ft. 6 in. (2 x 2.6m), weighs only 270g and protects 2 sleepers from the rain when set up close to the ground as an A-Frame
- Waterproof 15-denier silicone/polyurethane-coated Ultra-Sil® Nano fabric
- 8 hypalon tie-out points each hold the tip of a trekking pole (sold separately) for a wide variety of setup options; cord adjusters and reflective guylines are preattached
- The Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Shelter attaches easily to the Escapist Inner Bug Tent (sold separately) for extra protection
For lightweight tarps, the Escapist Tarp of Sea to Summit is definitely off the charts. It has an impeccable construction and design that ensure that it is versatile, durable, and compact at the same time.
Keep in mind that this backpacking tarp only weighs 12.3 ounces (large) and 9 ounces (medium). Regardless of where you look at it, these figures prove that the tarp will never become a cumbersome part of your journey. It is lightweight and serves as an effective means of sheltering you and your gears.
The tarp is made from 15-denier silicone/polyurethane-coated Ultra-Sil Nano fabric. It has impeccable weight management without losing its waterproofing or durability. By far, this patented material is touted as one of the most innovative options in tarp manufacturing these days.
Aside from these features, the Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Shelter is also capable of being held by trekking poles. With this design, there are numerous setup options that you can do with this tarp. Meanwhile, the reflective guylines and adjusters of this unit are all pre-attached already.
- Features exceptional structural durability
- Portable and lightweight construction
- Can withstand harsh weather conditions
- Features sealed seams for improved waterproofing
- Multiple setup options
- No known issues
5. Kelty Noah's Tarp
- Multiple configurations available; you can set it up without poles (using 2 trees) or with 2 poles (not included)
- Fully taped seam construction provides rain-or-shine shelter
- Stores in a convenient roll-top carry bag to go with you on every kind of adventure
- Features a sturdy, attached corner guyline with handy storage pocket
- Multiple reinforced guyout points let you set it up virtually anywhere
This tarp is certainly a great piece of amenity for any outdoor adventure. The Kelty Noah's Tarp can save you from being drenched in the rain or exposed to the heat of the sun because of its fully protective features.
The tarp is made from 68-denier polyester, which is a little bit thicker than the materials used on other lightweight tarps. But definitely, you should not worry about its weight. The packed weight of this unit is 32 ounces (12 feet model) and 64 ounces (16 feet model). It is still a decent choice for the most enduring travellers.
The tarp is fully waterproof. All of its seams are fully taped so that no elements can pass through it.
Moreover, the tarp can be stowed in a roll-top carry bag so that you can take it anywhere conveniently. The guyout points of this tarp are reinforced, too, ensuring that you will be able to pitch it anywhere.
- Fully sealed seams
- Made from durable and rugged fabric
- Guyout points are reinforced
- Comes with a roll-out carry bag
- Setup is pretty easy
- The paracord ties that come with it are short
How To Choose The Best Lightweight Tarps
There are various outdoor adventures that require efficient weight management. This means that there's a limit to the number of items and weight that you should carry.
Backpacking and trekking are among those applications that need the reduction of load. You can do these things conveniently and effectively if your back is carrying large and heavy packs. Moreover, the presence of tents, sleeping bags, and tarps are among the factors that would compel you to shed some pounds in your outdoor luggage.
Tarps, for instance, are notably heavy, especially if they are made from thick materials like plastic, canvas, or polyurethane. Such materials are acceptable if you are just doing campground camping, backyard picnics, and other activities where there is proximity and accessibility to vehicles.
But if you are just left with your feet, you have no choice but to get tarps that are designed to be lightweight and portable. They are the ones that can ensure that you are dry while in the wild.
So how do you choose a lightweight tarp? Should they be worried about their durability? The following factors can answer these questions.
It is pivotal that the tarp you get is durable. Going for a lightweight tarp doesn't mean that you should settle for something flimsy. Take a look at the Kammok Kuhli Ultralight Tarp. This one is considered to be one of the lightest tarps in the line of Kammok.
This one is almost featherweight; you can barely feel carrying it. But at the same time, it possesses the durability that you need to a tarp. After all, it is made from the patented Patagium fabric that possesses exceptional structural strength minus the weight.
Of course, there are other materials that are lightweight and durable at the same time. Oxford fabric and nylon tarps are among the choices that you have for weight-conscious and user-friendly canopies.
One of the essential features that any lightweight tarp should possess is portability. The tarp should not only be light; you should be able to pack it compactly, too.
If it is backpacking in your mind, you need to minimize the actual size of your pack. The smaller they are, the easier it is for you to carry them through the loops, curves, and ups-and-downs. If you are burdened by bulky items, even the simple act of walking will become arduous.
Lightweight tarps must be foldable in a manner that they will not consume storage space. If they are not designed like this, bringing them would become a problem on your part.
One of the clues that would determine if a tarp is portable is the availability of a stuff sack. If the tarp includes this storage system on the package, you can guarantee that it is tailored to be hassle-free.
The thickness of a tarp determines its weight. Needless to say, you should ensure that the tarp is not too thick, as it is not lightweight nor portable.
You would need tarps that have reduced thickness to ensure that you can carry them in backpacking and backcountry applications. But at the same time, you should not pick those that are too thin. Trust me. They are not durable and impervious to the elements.
A lightweight tent should be at least water-resistant. But if possible, you should get something that is fully waterproof. After all, the goal of having a tarp is to protect you from the rain, snow, and the harmful UV rays.
There are several means of how tarps are being made to be waterproof. One of the typical and effective techniques is the use of durable water-repellent treatments. When they are applied to the fabric, the latter becomes hydrophobic. And if an item is hydrophobic, water will not be able to pass through it.
Another technique for waterproofing is reinforcing the fabric with additional fabric. This extra layer prevents water breaches. Sometimes, they are also used to deflect UV rays.
Lastly, the stitching, taping, or welding of seams ensure that a tarp enables it to have a foolproof defense against the water. Even the tiniest droplet of water will not be able to pass through.
The best lightweight tarps are must-have amenities. They perfectly suit applications that have strict restrictions when it comes to weight and size. As I said, they are extremely useful to backpacking, hiking, and trekking. But you can still use them on other simple outdoor activities like picnics and tailgate parties. They can shield you from the elements without becoming a burden to your logistics.
I hope that you learned from this guide. If you have other questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.