Outdoors Camping The 7 Best Camping Tarps of 2023 A large part of enjoying Mother Nature is being prepared By Nathan Borchelt Nathan Borchelt LinkedIn American University Nathan Borchelt has been working in the travel industry for more than 15 years as a writer, photographer, editor, and product manager. He covers everything from trail cameras to ski equipment. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 05/10/23 Share Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Tripsavvy / Chloe Jeong A camping tarp is a big piece of waterproof fabric meant to offer a bit of extra cover from the rain and wind, and it can also function under or inside your tent. The two biggest considerations when looking for the right tarp are its size and materials. The former is straightforward; the bigger space you want to cover, the larger the footprint. while solo or two-person outings can likely get away with a tarp around 7 x 8 feet. Regarding fabrics, camping tarps break out into two categories: heavy-duty and lightweight. Heavier tarps offer more protection from the weather, while lightweight tarps are better suited for backpackers. Beyond that, look for tarps with multiple reinforced attachment points—the four corners are a minimum, but the more places you can latch onto, the easier it is to set up and secure a taut fit. Some also include nice add-ons like guy lines and small grommets to let you use hiking poles to convert the tarp into a makeshift tent. It should be noted that most tarps don’t come with rope, which you’ll need to secure the tarp to the nearest tree, pole, or car rack. With all this in mind, our best overall pick is the Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp. Now that we have the basics covered, scroll down to see our picks for the best camping tarps. The Rundown Best Overall: Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp at Moosejaw "Wears its many functions on its sleeve." Best Budget: Stansport Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp at Amazon "It'll stand up to years of serious abuse." Most Weatherproof: Kelty Noah's Tarp at Backcountry "Made of no-snag coated polyester taffeta." Best for Thru-Hiking: MSR Thru-Hiker Wing at Backcountry "Will work as double duty, providing shelter overhead, or as your actual tent." Best for Hammock Sleepers: Eagles Nest Outfitters ProFly Rain Tarp at Amazon "Reliable foul-weather protection to keep hammock sleepers dry and off the ground." Best for Bigger Groups: Equinox Egret Tarp at Amazon "At 12 x 16 feet, this tarp will fit your entire camping crew and can be set up in various ways." Most Durable: Heavy Duty Vinyl Tarp at Amazon "If you need a tarp that can do it all, this is the only option." Best Overall: Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Amazon Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI Buy on Seatosummitusa.com What We Like Lightweight Easy to set up Multi-functional What We Don't Like Stuff sack can be hard to use The Escapist Tarp wears its many functions on its sleeve—literally. The stuff sack includes illustrations for how you can pitch your tarp, including as a standard overhead shelter, a handful of A-frame shelters (from classic to ridgeline to tapered), a windshield (with or without a roof), a tent awning, a bivy, and as a ridgeline fly to cover a hammock. Made of taped seam-sealed waterproof 15 D PU-coated nylon, it provides cover against all conditions, but it only weighs 15.5 ounces and packs down to the size of a water bottle, making it ideal for backpackers. You get eight bar-tack reinforced tie-out points, with reinforced corners with cord locks and guy lines that can be adjusted while under the tarp, a nice feature when the rain is really coming down. Sea to Summit made the Escapist with the backcountry in mind, and it’s easy to convert the tarp into a variety of tents as well, with or without poles, though the tie-outs are configured to fit the tip of trekking poles, which can make set-up a breeze. It also works with Sea to Summit’s Escapist Bug Tent/Net, which gets closer to a full-fledged tent at a fraction of the weight of other models. Price at time of publication: $239 Weight: 9.52 ounces or 12.3 ounces | Sizes: 8.6 x 6.6 feet or 10 x 10 feet | Tie-out points: 8 Best Budget: Stansport Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart What We Like Affordable Multi-purpose Long-lasting What We Don't Like Heavy Hard to pack down This workhorse is probably what most people picture when they think about tarps—in part because it's practically ubiquitous in camping, as well as to keep firewood dry, line the back (or cover) the bed of a pickup, cover a boat, or perform any other sort of rugged weather-proof task outside. Made of durable ripstop polyethylene and laminated on both sides, it'll stand up to years of serious abuse from Mother Nature and other trials. The edges are reinforced with rope and come with heavy-duty rust-resistant grommets positioned every 3 to 4 feet (depending on the tarp's size). It's far from the lightest camping tarp, and it's tough to pack down (even when using compression straps, and it doesn't come with a stuff sack), but it's reliable—and, given its low price point—easy to replace in the unlikely event that you need a replacement. Price at time of publication: $10 for 8 x 10 foot Weight: Starts at 0.25 pounds | Sizes: 8 x 10 feet, 10 x 12 feet, 10 x 16 feet, 10 x 18 feet, 12 x 14 feet, 14 x 16 feet, 16 x 20 feet, 18 x 24 feet, 20 x 30 feet, 24 x 36 feet, or 30 x 60 feet | Tie-out points: 4 Most Weatherproof: Kelty Noah’s Tarp Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com Kelty Noah's Tarp Sun Shelter Review What We Like Easy to set up Won't snag Wide shade footprint What We Don't Like Heavy Irregular shape The almost-aptly-named Noah's Tarp won't help you survive a flood during monsoon season—or house two of every known animal species—but it might be the most weather-proof camping tarp on this list. It has fully taped seam construction and is made of no-snag coated polyester taffeta that lets you pitch it tight, essential when the weather gets foul. Unlike most other tarps, it has loop tie-ins that extend off the tarp's edges and also runs tie loops down the tarp's center spines to let you create a veritable exoskeleton of support via poles or rope tie-offs. A smartly engineered pocket enables you to store lengths of rope, and it also comes with a carry sack. The three-season tarp comes in three sizes (144 square feet, 256 square feet, and 400 square feet), and a starting weight of 1 pound, 11 ounces means it's more appropriate for camping than backpacking. "The polyester tarp may feel thin, but it’s coated and durable enough to withstand your average bumps and pokes, as our clumsy toddlers can attest. We also sprayed the tarp lightly with our backyard hose and found that the inside stayed dry with no leaks at all," our tester reported. "If you’re a frequent outdoor enthusiast looking for a sun canopy, the Noah’s Tarp in the 9-foot option is an ideal choice. Just note that you’ll need to shell out some extra cash for the staff poles (which aren’t included) if you plan on setting it up as a free-standing shade." Price at time of publication: $60 for hydro/fallen rock, 9 feet Weight: 1.11 pounds, 2.3 pounds, or 3.10 pounds | Sizes: 12 x 12 feet or 16 x 16 feet | Tie-out points: 21 TripSavvy / Danielle Directo-Meston Best for Thru-Hiking: MSR Thru-Hiker Wing Shelters Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com What We Like Roomy Water-resistant What We Don't Like You need your own poles If Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (or the movie by the same name) inspired you to try your hand at thru-hiking the Pacific Crest or Appalachian trails—or if you just fancy a low-weight way to carry shelter on a two- or three-night backpacking trip—the MSR Thru-Hiker 100 Wing will work as double duty, providing shelter overhead, or as your actual tent, without adding on much pack weight. It comes in sizes 70 and 100 square feet, though both are big enough to accommodate two to three sleeping bags, and weighs as little as 12 ounces. Made of 20D ripstop nylon along with 1,200 mm polyurethane and silicone, it’ll fight off wind and rain and comes with ten reinforced tie points spaced out to accommodate a trekking pole tent set-up, with four flanking the “edges” and only one on either side of the point where you’d pitch the pole to create an A-frame shelter. Naturally, the tarp does easy double duty as a traditional tarp, and it can also be paired with MSR’s Thru-Hiker Mesh House for a complete backcountry shelter solution. Price at time of publication: $220 for amber, 100 wing Weight: 12 ounces. or 1.1 pounds | Sizes: 9.6 x 8 feet or 10.6 x 9.6 feet | Tie-out points: 10 Tested: The 8 Best Family Camping Tents of 2023 Best for Hammock Sleepers: Eagles Nest Outfitters ProFly Rain Tarp Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com What We Like Lightweight Versatile What We Don't Like A little small Asheville, North Carolina-based Eagles Nest Outfitters was deep into the camping hammock game long before lightweight hammocks started trending with Millennials, and they still make some of the best camping hammocks on the market. Their ENO ProFly Rain Tarp has been specifically designed to marry with their other products to provide reliable foul-weather protection to keep hammock sleepers dry and off the ground. That said, with six reinforced guy points, you can easily put the ProFly to other uses, providing cover for your side-country kitchen or blocking a persistent wind. Made of 210D ripstop nylon and measuring 10.6 x 6.4 feet, it’ll shed away rain and snow and stand up to years of ritualistic abuse. Price at time of publication: $80 Weight: 1.6 pounds | Size: 10.6 x 6.4 feet | Tie-out points: 6 The 9 Best Hammocks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed Best for Bigger Groups: Equinox Egret Tarp Buy on Amazon What We Like Double-stitched seams Long-lasting Doesn't weigh much What We Don't Like Not as water-resistant as others At 12 x 16 feet, this tarp from Equinox will fit your entire camping crew. Its 16 individual reinforced tie-out points allow for various setups and a taut configuration. Made from rugged ripstop nylon, this extra-large tarp is robust enough to stand up to the foulest conditions of Mother Nature, with fully taped seams for added durability. But it only weighs 3 pounds and 13 ounces, making it suitable for lightweight hikers to haul. Reviewers noted this tarp is made from high-quality materials and loved how many camping trips it lasted. Price at time of publication: $143 for 12 x 16 feet Weight: 3.13 pounds | Size: 12 x 16 feet | Tie-out points: 16 Most Durable: Chicago Canvas & Supply Heavy Duty Vinyl Tarp Buy on Amazon Buy on Chicagocanvas.com What We Like Versatile UV protection What We Don't Like Heavy This is the only option if you need a tarp that can do it all (for camping or being used as a canopy for your deck or porch). Unlike most tarps on this list, it’s not made of various thicknesses of PU-coated poly. This one comes in vinyl and is impervious to the soak-through that can happen when lesser tarps start to collect pools of water, and it’s highly damage-resistant; no fabric can fend off punctures, but this one will stand up to almost anything save a knife blade. It measures 8 x 10 feet and includes reinforced grommets every 2 feet on all sides, with double-thick hems that have been heat-sealed for added strength. At 10 pounds, it’s pretty much the opposite of lightweight, but it packs into a relatively truck-friendly 12 x 10 x 4-inch package. Price at time of publication: $120 Weight: 4 pounds or 10 pounds | Sizes: 5 x 7 feet or 8 x 10 feet | Tie-out points: 4 TripSavvy's Pick The Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp comes in first because it's lightweight while offering superior protection from the elements and can be used in a variety of configurations. Save a buck or two without sacrificing quality and utility with the Stansport Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp. What to Look for in Camping Tarps Material The best camping tarps are those that are waterproof and durable. Both nylon and polyester are inherently water resistant, but companies might also add a waterproof treatment. Other materials to look for are Silnylon (a synthetic nylon covered in silicone), Silpoly (polyester enforced with silicone), and Cuben Fiber. Of the three, Cuben Fiber is by far the most expensive but also the lightest and the most waterproof. It's understandably great, but for a better balance of price and weight, go for tarps made of Silnylon or Silpoly. Size It's really a matter of what will be covered and personal preference. A single hammock can get away with a size of 6 x 8 feet, whereas a group would need something larger. But remember, generally speaking, the larger the tarp, the heavier it'll be. Price Interestingly, the lightest tarps are usually the most expensive. They're meant to be used by ultra-light hikers who spend long periods in the wilderness and can't be bothered by wet belongings. Those that don't fall into that camp can probably opt for something a little heavier and cheaper. Frequently Asked Questions What if rain isn’t in the forecast? Tarps can keep nature seekers dry, but even if there’s no cloud in the sky, a good camping tarp can provide shelter from the sun and a more coherent camp organization. Plus, it can double as an extension of a tent’s vestibule for added privacy. Are there any additional features you should consider? Some tarps—particularly those made specifically for camping and backpacking—come with guy lines already attached to the tarp at most of the attachment points, making it easier to set up since it's unnecessary to pack an additional rope. And the more attachment points, the better; this makes it easy to pitch the tarp in various configurations—including under the tent—or lets users tie off sagging areas in the tarp with relative ease. Also, look for taped seams to reinforce the tarp's waterproofness. Is it a good idea to put a tarp under your tent? Yes! A tarp under your tent protects the contents—and people—inside the tent from any moisture that may seep through from the ground. It also protects the bottom of your tent from abrasive terrain, thereby extending the its usable life. Why Trust TripSavvy Nathan Borchelt has been caught in more downpours while camping and backpacking than he can remember—in fact, rainstorms are almost a guarantee in his favorite stretch of wilderness, West Virginia’s Dolly Sods. He’s pitched dozens of tarps in all types of weather and relies on them on any outdoor adventure—from multi-day backpacking trips to erecting a quick sun shelter in his backyard. Tested and Reviewed: The 11 Best Camping Chairs of 2023 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 7 below.