August 7, 2020

Buyer's Guide: Best Rain Tarps

August 7, 2020

Buyer's Guide: Best Rain Tarps

Rain is actually a normal part of every outdoor adventure. Once you are off the grid, you are no longer in the shelter of your concrete roofs. 

Hence, it is essential that you should invest in the best rain tarps for camping. 

These tarps are designed to shield you effectively from the rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation. They aid your tent in ensuring that you and your gears are fully dry. Of course, their weatherproofing is a crucial aspect of their construction. 

The following tarps are rated to be impervious against water. Check them and see their performance. 

Best Rain Tarps For Camping 

1. MSR Rendezvous Sun Shield 200 Wing Shelter - Editor's Pick 

MSR Rendezvous Sun Shield 200 Wing Shelter
  • With a 200 sq. ft. wingspan, it offers protection from sun, rain, and wind for up to a dozen people
  • At 3 lb. 3 oz., it's light enough for one person to pack and carry, even into the backcountry
  • UPF 50+ fabric shields against harmful UV rays
  • 7-point design pitches taut and remains stable in high winds
  • Shelter height can be increased with the use of additional accessory poles (sold separately)

The MSR Rendezvous Sun Shield 200 Wing Shelter is one of the highest-rated tarps these days. It has a design that is not only tough but also protective. Under this tarp, you are fully shielded against various forms of elements. It can defend you from the wind, rain, and the harmful UV rays. 

This particular tarp has a span of 200 square feet. Hence, it is capable of sheltering up to twelve people. It is also lightweight, considering that it is only 3 pounds. It is easy to carry and can suit backpacking and backcountry adventures. 

The fabric of this tarp has a UPF 50+ rating. Therefore, it is quite effective in defending you against extreme heat. Meanwhile, its 7-point design guarantees that you can pitch it as tautly and steadily as possible. 

You can increase the height of the MSR Rendezvous as long as you have poles. But even without them, this tarp can shelter you sufficiently. 

Pros:

  • Can deflect different weather elements
  • It can shelter up to a dozen individuals
  • Constructed from ripstop polyurethane/silicone fabric
  • Ideal and suitable for backpacking
  • Stable against strong winds

Cons:

  • The included poles are not adjustable

2. UST Tube Tarp and Camping Shelter - Runner-Up

One of the most innovative tarps that you can get today is this unit from the UST. This tube tarp is constructed to be convertible. Specifically, you can switch it from a tent to a tarp and vice-versa. It gives you a versatile option in dealing with various outdoor situations. 

Of course, there are other functionalities that this tarp can perform. You can use it as a gathering space for your gears or ground cloth for picnics and other leisure activities. 

The other side of this tarp has flame retardants. It means that it is not susceptible to causing any fire accidents. At the same time, its inner side has been aluminized, too. You can wrap yourself with this tarp for thermal insulation. This construction further improved the tarp's water defense.

This particular tarp is complete with the essential accessories such as guylines, steel stakes, and a stuff sack. 

Pros: 

  • Features an aluminized interior for added waterproofing
  • Versatile and convertible design 
  • Durability and sturdiness are pretty decent
  • Packs lightly and compactly
  • Comes with the essential accessories

Cons:

  • It is a small tarp

3. REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp - Budget-Friendly Pick

When it comes to affordable and innovative waterproof tarps, the REDCAMP is a great choice. This one features a special bat shape that enables it to be versatile and usable in different environments and outdoor applications. You can use it on any terrain, too. 

This camping tarp is tailored from the 210T polyester, which is sturdy and durable at the same time. It is also notably thick, giving it the absolute qualities of being a waterproof tent. It can even protect you from the harmful UV rays. 

As I mentioned, this tarp has multiple uses. It is not only useful for camping, but it can be used for backpacking, tailgate parties, and outdoor cookouts. If you need a footprint or a grassland blanket, this tarp is extremely useful, too. 

Pros:

  • Made from a thick and waterproof fabric
  • Seams are tapered for extra water protection
  • Can be used in different outdoor applications
  • Includes large and fixed grommets
  • Features heavy-duty stitching for long-lasting use

Cons:

  • Cannot shelter a large number of people

4. Kammok Kuhli Pro Shelter - Premium Pick

Kammok Kuhli Pro Shelter
  • This Pro model of the Kuhli introduces Amphibiskin X™ 15-denier ripstop nylon for more robust storm protection, plus a reflective interior to help keep heat in
  • Amphibiskin X silicone-, polyurethane- and durable water repellent (DWR)-coated ripstop nylon is lightweight and impermeable; seams are sealed with waterproof tape
  • Setup modes include A-frame, hammock, storm, asymmetrical and awning—not to mention your own creative solutions
  • For protection from every angle, stake out the middle guyouts and fold in all 4 corners; toggles allow you to quickly connect/disconnect each corner flap as a storm door
  • Hypalon™ rubber reinforces all anchor points, providing lasting protection from inclement weather

When it comes to tarps that are designed to tackle rain and other harsh weather conditions, the Kammok Kuhli Pro Shelter proves to be one of the best options. It is ultra-tough and ensures versatility so that you can use it in various settings and applications. 

The Khuli Pro features the patented Amphibiskin X 15-denier ripstop nylon as its main fabric. It is ultra-sturdy and provides the utmost protection against harsh atmospheric situations. It can withstand storms and strong gusts of winds. Moreover, it comes with a reflective interior for improved insulation. 

This specialized nylon sounds heavy, but it is actually light. It is great for backpacking and backcountry purposes. It is impermeable, too; all the seams are sealed with rugged tapes so that water won't be able to pass through. 

Interestingly, there are various setup modes for this tarp, namely: asymmetrical, hammock, storm tarp, and awning. Meanwhile, the Hypalon rubbers provide additional reinforcement on all the anchor points of this item. As a result, the Kammok Kuhli became an exceptional shelter that can endure inclement weather. 

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and rugged
  • Easily withstands harsh weather conditions
  • Ensures quick and hassle-free setup
  • Anchor points are reinforced
  • Surprisingly lightweight 

Cons:

  • Would be better if it had a rain collection system

5. REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL Tarp

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

This highly configurable tarp is definitely a suitable choice for dealing with rain and heavy precipitation. It is designed from the polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon, which is not only waterproof but also durable and rugged. 

All of its seams have been sealed so that not a drop of water will be able to pass through it. Meanwhile, the symmetrical square structure of the tarp ensures that it can provide maximum coverage. With this tarp on your head, you and your gears will be fully dry.

The versatility of the REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL Tarp is also outstanding. You can use it as a sleeping shelter, a footprint, or a canopy when the weather during your camping trip gets rough. 

You will be impressed that the corner grommets have double-layer reinforcements. They enable a strong and steady pitch so that it will not be blown by the wind. Moreover, the webbing loop lash points on its edges guarantee a quick setup. 

Pros:

  • Weatherproof construction
  • Ensures a stable and wind-resistant design
  • Rugged and resistant against wear-and-tear
  • Allows hassle-free pitching and setup
  • Comes with reflective guylines and stakes

Cons:

  • Its stuff sack is quite quirky

How To Choose The Best Rain Tarps For Camping

As I mentioned, torrential rains are a part of any outdoor pursuits. I am not saying that they happen all the time, but heck, they happen frequently. Most of these downpours take place unexpectedly. You started the day under the grace of the blazing sun, and suddenly, the skies went dark. 

Getting wet on a camping trip is not good. Actually, it is a bad experience. Nobody wants to get drenched, especially if it involves their precious gears. 

Sure enough, a lot of you would say that tents are sufficient already. That's not really true. If the tent you have doesn't have a rainfly, then it is quite vulnerable to the elements. Tarps ensure that you'll not get exposed to anything that would ruin your stay in the wild. 

But how do you know if a tarp is waterproof? How do you even choose one?

Thickness

The thickness of the tarp matters when it comes to waterproofing. The thicker the material used on the tarp, the better defense they can provide against various weather elements. 

A thick tarp is quite impervious to being penetrated by water. In contrast to thin tarps, they are vulnerable to this, especially if they are not reinforced or have been applied with a durable water repellent to make their surfaces hydrophobic.

Sealed Seams

Another aspect of tarps that you need to check is their seams. You have to make sure that they are sealed through taping, welding, or other similar means. If you let them open, droplets of water will pass through. 

Keep in mind that even the smallest openings can cause unwanted leaks. These droplets might be tiny, but they can accumulate and can cause flooding in your area. Moreover, they are quite annoying, too. 

Durable Water Repellent

A durable water repellent is a special component that improves the resistance of any fabric against water. Specifically, it is coating being applied in the manufacturing stage of the tarp so that it can be rated as waterproof. 

Most of the time, these water repellents are used side-by-side by waterproof fabrics such as nylon, Gore-tex, and other breathable materials. When this treatment is applied, the fabrics become resistant to water saturation. 

Keep in mind that water repellents wear out over time. Hence, they require re-treatment whenever necessary. 

Size 

The size of the tarp matters when it comes to waterproofing. It doesn't matter if the tarp that you have is exceptionally waterproof. If it is too small for your desired application, you have to expect water breaches. 

Tarps have to encompass the entirety of your tent and a portion of its ground. I am not saying that you should pick tarps that are excessively big. That's not practical and quite laborious, especially if you are backpacking or trekking.

Durability

The kind of material that has been used in the construction of the tarp affects the overall durability of the tarp. Of course, I have to emphasize that durable tarps provide better resistance against the elements. The mere fact that they can withstand abuse is already proof that they are worth taking in various expeditions. 

Now, there are several materials that can be used in the making of these tarps. Some materials are common, such as nylon, silnylon, and polyurethane/silicone. Meanwhile, others feature patented construction, making them lightweight and durable at the same time. 

Conclusion

You should check out these aspects whenever you are searching for the best rain tarps for camping. Overall, you can see that the very core of these waterproof tarps is the way they have been built. Don't forget to use the right stake for your tarps.

You might also want to prioritize the list of tarps that I listed on this guide. They are designed to negate various weather conditions with enough survivability so that they can last long in service. 

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