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Of the many types of tarps, canvas tarps remain among the most popular. Despite the benefits of synthetic materials like vinyl and poly, natural canvas is still one of the most popular options for everything from protecting outdoor equipment to making canopy covers. Canvas is typically made out of cotton, which is treated with a chemical to make it water-repellent while still maintaining its natural properties.
One of the best natural properties of cotton canvas is that it is breathable, which makes it more mildew-resistant than synthetic tarps. Canvas is also less slippery than vinyl or poly, which makes it a great option as a drop cloth. If you’re going to be walking back and forth across the fabric, you want to make sure you won’t slip. And while cotton can shrink or stretch over time, canvas tarps are generally more abrasion-resistant than poly.
There are two main types of canvas — duck and plain canvas. Duck is tightly woven, making it more durable than plain canvas. But plain canvas is still very durable, and is used for everything from sneakers to sails.
Whether you need canvas for painting, protecting your outdoor gear or your DIY project, these are the best heavy-duty canvas tarps to get.
1. Chicago Canvas and Supply Canvas Tarpaulin
This tarp from Chicago Canvas is made from a heavy-duty 21-ounce fabric. The fabric is 100% cotton. It’s good for outdoor use — it’s treated to be water and mildew-resistant, and there are grommets every 2′ for easily securing it at multiple points. The olive drab canvas is available in several sizes. This option is 6′ x 8′, but you can also choose 8′ x 10′ or 10′ x 12′.
Pros: 21-ounce fabric is the thickest of the options on this list, making it good for a variety of heavy-duty settings. 100% cotton, treated to be water and mildew resistant.
Cons: There’s a strong smell when you initially open the packaging.
2. Tarp Nation Heavy Duty Canvas Tarp with D-Rings
Instead of traditional grommets, the tarps from Tarp Nation utilize D-ring loops that protrude from the outer edges of the tarp. This setup makes it even easier to tie ropes through the tarp. The tarps are coated to be water-resistant, and they’re made out of 100% cotton. The largest available option is 12′ x 16′. These heavy-duty tarps are made in the US.
Pros: Tarps are made in the US, and are 100% cotton. Water-resistant. D-ring loops instead of grommets, which are easier to tie.
Cons: Has a strong initial odor. Expensive.
3. Chicago Canvas and Supply Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth
This drop cloth is made out of cotton canvas, and it’s a great option for protecting floors and furniture when painting. It’s woven from duck canvas, making it extra durable and long-lasting. It also comes in a bunch of different sizes, so you can choose the one that suits the job you’re doing. This particular cloth is 9′ x 12′. The hems and seams are double-stitched to resist tearing. The simple natural canvas look makes them a popular option for patio curtains, too.
Pros: Made from cotton duck canvas, which is more durable than plain canvas. Available in many sizes to suit whatever project you’re doing.
Cons: Since it is a drop cloth, it doesn’t have grommets on the ends like some other options.
4. Cartman Olive Drab 10 oz Canvas Tarpaulin
These tarps from Cartman combine the benefits of natural cotton with the affordability of polyester. These tarps are UV-resistant, water-resistant, and breathable. The reinforced grommets are spaced every 2′ on all sides, making it easy to securely tie down the tarp in multiple places. The tarp is made from a thick 10-ounce polyester fabric.
Pros: Affordable, water-resistant and breathable fabric. UV-resistant for outdoor use.
Cons: May be slightly smaller than the listed size.
5. Melca Drop Cloth
This affordable canvas drop cloth is made out of 100% cotton, and it has a natural off-white color. While it’s obviously suitable for use as a drop cloth, it’s also a great option for artistic projects. The reason it excels for artistic purposes compared with other canvas drop cloths is that it does not have a seam down the middle. The stitching is only on the ends. This option is 9′ x 12′.
Pros: No seam down the middle, making it a good option for artistic projects. 100% cotton. Made from durable duck fabric.
Cons: 6-ounce fabric is thinner than heavy-duty tarps.