Camping trips are great. Whether it’s hanging out with your friends and family, cooking delicious food over the fire or telling stories and sharing a drink under the stars, there’s something about a camping trip that’s hard to beat. However, throw into the equation a torrential downpour, the unrelenting burning sun or ground which is too wet and muddy to sit on, and things become a little bit less enjoyable. For that reason, a camping tarp is an essential piece to have in your camping arsenal.
What is a Camping Tarp?
A tarpaulin, or tarp for short, is a versatile piece of camping equipment, which can help you hold back the rain, keep the sun at bay and give you a place to sit when the ground isn’t dry. Tarps are lightweight pieces of kit ideal for keeping in your bag until the moment they need to be called upon. And, they aren’t just useful for camping, either. Your tarp can come in handy at many other events and places, too. Some occasions when a camping tarpaulin may be useful include:
As you can see, the best waterproof camping tarps really are a versatile piece of equipment that can be useful on almost any occasion.
How to Choose the Best Camping Tarp for Your Needs
When it comes to choosing the best camping tarp for you, there are a number of aspects worth considering. Here are our essential factors to think about before buying your tarp:
Size – The most important question to ask is what size you need your tarp to be. Think about the tent it will sit under, the space it will cover or whatever will feel most convenient for its intended task, and then find the corresponding tarp. Tarps are available in a range of sizes, with some measuring a few feet on either side all the way up to larger 30-by-50-foot options.
Material – The quality of material used in the construction of a tarp can impact a number of factors, with durability and waterproofing sitting on top of this pile. When it comes to choosing your tarp, you’ll find nylon and polyester are the most popular options. While the majority of tarps are waterproof to some degree, if waterproofing is your priority, it’s worth looking for tarps featuring additional waterproofing treatments, usually in the form of some kind of silicone covering.
Accompanying Accessories – If your intention is to hang or fix your tarp in place, you’re going to need more than just the tarp itself. This is why many options are supplied with the fixtures necessary for such tasks. Most often these are ropes (guy lines) and stakes. However, some of the more accessory-filled options may include drawstring storage bags, carabiners and even a survival bracelet.
Color – While color may not be the main driving force behind your choice, it is handy to know there are many color options available. While the majority of tarps fit in the shade of green category, you can also find pink, blue, orange and camo options if you want something a little out of the ordinary.
Budget – There’s a camping tarp for every budget. It is possible to find an eight-by-10-foot tarp for under $10. However, adding to your budget will allow for higher quality materials, smarter designs and more accessories.
We’ve put together the 19 best camping tarps available on the web. Each option is well-reviewed and capable of keeping you dry on a rainy day. There are a number of different shapes and sizes available, depending on your needs, and many of these tarps come with a kit for attaching them in place.
Make sure you’re never caught off guard by a sudden rainstorm or burnt to a crisp because you couldn’t find shade in the peak of summer by keeping one of the best camping tarps in your kit.
1. AmazonBasics Waterproof Camping Tarp
The AmazonBasics Waterproof Camping Tarp is a tried-and-tested option with plenty of positive reviews from happy Amazon customers. It’s a multi-purpose tarp that is made from a durable and waterproof laminated, rip-stop fabric. Furthermore, it can be used for covering people, places or things. Each of the built-in grommets is reinforced with metal for a stronger and more secure hold. Plus, you’ll be able to choose between an eight-by-10 or 10-by-12-foot option, and this tarp comes with an AmazonBasics one-year limited warranty.
2. B-Air Grizzly Tarp
The B-Air Grizzly Tarp is the right camping tarp for many jobs. The heavy-duty tarp is made with tightly woven polyethylene fibers to make it waterproof yet lightweight. It can be used as a base for a tent, as a tent itself or in many around-the-home applications, such as a pickup truck bed cover, an emergency roof patch or protection for boats and campers through the winter. As an added bonus, the tarp has built-in aluminum grommets spaced every 36 inches around the edge to allow for securing it anywhere.
3. OUTAD Waterproof Tarp
This OUTAD waterproof tarp can be used in a range of different locations, depending on your needs. Its moisture-proof and comfortable-to-sit-on construction means it works well as a groundsheet for a tent or a mat for a day at the beach. Alternatively, the waterproof finish means you can use it as an above-ground cover for tents. In addition, the tarp comes with a handy drawstring storage bag, and you’ll be able to choose between two different tarp sizes and three different colors, including blue and green.
4. Ozark Trail Heavy-Duty Tarpaulin
From camping cover to tailgating, the Ozark Trail Heavy-Duty Tarpaulin is a ready-to-go answer to a variety of situations. At 10 millimeters thick, this nine-by-12-foot tarp is stronger and more durable than the average tarp and also includes reinforced corners to further stand up to the rigors of adventuring. For easy and variable fixing, heavy-duty, polycarbonate grommets are built into the tarp every 24 inches. In addition, at under $15, this tarp is ideal for anyone on a tighter budget.
5. OUTRY Multi-Purpose Tarp
The OUTRY Multi-Purpose Tarp is a versatile option that can be used for camping, hiking, fishing and a range of other outdoor pursuits. Depending on your needs, it’s available in two different colors and three different sizes. It’s also supplied with six metal stakes to hold it in place. The tarp is great for blustery conditions, keeping you dry even when the wind picks up. Furthermore, it’s well-rated by Amazon users with an attractive price point, making it an option for casual and keen campers alike.
6. REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp
REDCAMP is an outdoor equipment brand, so when they designed a tarp for camping, they knew what they were doing. This camping tarp is made from 210D ripstop fabric that’s extra durable and waterproof in order to provide an extra layer between your camping tent and the wet ground. In addition to being ideal for use with a two-to-three-person tent, this tarp can also function as a picnic blanket, as a beach mat or as sun shade when tied up. However, the best part of this tarp is that it folds down to a very compact size and fits inside an included drawstring pouch.
7. Terra Hiker Waterproof Camping Tarp
As a barrier between your tent and the cold or wet earth, the Terra Hiker Waterproof Camping Tarp works well. This multi-purpose tarp is made from durable, Oxford cloth combined with waterproof processing to protect you and your belongings from dampness. It also boasts rust-resistant grommets along the edges and on the reinforced corners for long-lasting use. As an added bonus, this tarp can be packed down into a very compact size for easy travel and comes with its own drawstring bag carrying case.
8. Foxelli Rain Tarp
Reviewers love the Foxelli Rain Tarp. This fly boasts an impressive 4.8 stars on Amazon after more than 300 reviews. It’s an ultra-lightweight rain fly that functions as a hammock canopy or camping tarp and weighs just 18.2 ounces. It comes with everything you need to set it up, including four extra-long nylon guy lines and two aluminum alloy stakes. Like all the best camping tarps, this product is waterproof, UV proof and snow proof, so you can use it during all four seasons.
9. Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp
The Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp is another well-reviewed tarpaulin that ticks all the boxes and comes with everything you need to get going. It’s constructed from a water-resistant, super strong, rip-stop Oxford fabric and includes multiple metal grommets on protruding tabs in the corners and along the seams for more options when it comes to mounting. Furthermore, the tarp is available in either green, brown or gray. It includes ropes and stakes, so you’re ready to mount your tarp as soon as you remove it from the accompanying drawstring carrying case.
10. Rain Fly EVOLUTION Waterproof Tent Tarp
When you buy the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Waterproof Tent Tarp, you’re investing in more than just a high-quality tarpaulin. This well-reviewed, 22-piece set comes with several additions, including drawstring carrying bags, ground stakes, carabiners, ropes and a survival bracelet. The tarp itself sports heavy-duty grommets alongside additional loops to give you a range of points to attach hooks, ropes and other fasteners. Plus, the drip and leak-proof tarp sports reinforced seams and stitching throughout. It comes in a range of different colors, including orange, green, blue and gray.
11. YuEdge Waterproof Tarp
The YuEdge waterproof tarp bills itself as a tarp of all trades. It’s a multi-use option that is ideal for backpacking, camping and hiking trips in variable weather conditions. The tarp is made from high-quality polyester so it can shed water with ease while the durable construction ensures it will stay intact for years to come.
12. Gold Armour Rainfly Tarp
BEST COLOR RANGE
From blue and pink to brown and camo, if you’re searching for a tarp of a specific color to match a surrounding or existing piece of kit, the Gold Armour Rainfly Tarp could be the answer. In addition to the range of colors, the tarp is also available in a range of different sizes, from eight by 10 feet up to 15 by 12 feet. The lightweight tarp is also backed by over 1,500 five-star reviews from Amazon users and comes supplied with ropes, stakes and tensioners. You’ll be ready to go right out of the box.
13. Kalinco Hammock Tarp
Whether you’re in need of a sunshade, rain shelter, picnic mat or even a beach blanket, the Kalinco Hammock Tarp has you covered. This lightweight tarp is available in multiple colors and three different sizes. It also comes with a handy carrying bag as well as everything you’ll need to fix it in place. It can be set up in a number of different orientations, depending on your needs, and it makes a great gift idea for any adventurous friends or family members.
14. FREE SOLDIER Multifunctional Tarp
BEST FOR BACKPACKING
This lightweight tarp can be shaped to offer shelter from both harsh sunlight and gusty rain. It’s also ultra-lightweight and compact, making it a great choice for throwing in your backpack on any camping, hiking or backpacking adventures. In addition, this multi-functional tarp is available in a range of different sizes and colors, including gray, brown, orange and blue.
15. Wise Owl Outfitters Rain Fly Tarp
With positive reviews from close to 100% of Amazon users, it’s safe to assume this tarp will work for you, too. It’s available in a choice of blue, gray and light gray and comes supplied with a drawstring bag, stakes and ropes for an all-in-one, ready-to-go purchase. The lightweight and water-shedding tarp is made from ripstop nylon and features leak-proof, taped seams as well as reinforced stitching to give it better performance in the field and a longer lifespan. Furthermore, the tarp is available in a smaller version if 11 by nine feet is too big for your needs.
16. Aqua Quest Guide Tarp
For extremely wet environments, you can’t beat the Aqua Quest Guide Tarp. This camping tarp is 100% waterproof thanks to its dual, non-toxic coatings of polyurethane and silicone. Together, these ensure the tarp far exceeds standard waterproof ratings. It will keep you dry even in a torrential downpour. In addition, this camping accessory is made from durable 40D nylon, ripstop fabric and boasts 13 reinforced loops, including one in the very middle of the tent.
17. Aqua Quest Safari Tarp
Whether your trips into the great outdoors involve hunting or you just like the idea of blending into nature, camouflage is always in fashion when you’re adventuring. This Aqua Quest Safari Tarp comes in four different sizes and four different designs, including the traditional camouflage pattern. Using the built-in grommets, it’s also possible to arrange the tarp to cover areas of different sizes, while the dual-coated, non-toxic polyurethane construction delivers impressive protection and durability. This tarp is very lightweight and easy to carry with reinforced stitching and heat-taped seams that are made to hold up in the roughest conditions.
18. Sanctuary SilTarp
With the included stakes, ropes and carrying case, the Sanctuary SilTarp comes with everything you’ll need to create a sunshade, rain cover or picnic base. It’s available in a range of shapes and sizes and is made from an impressively lightweight 30 denier ripstop nylon material, meaning you’ll hardly even realize you’re carrying it. The tarp is covered by a silicon and PU dual-coating, which makes it completely waterproof to ensure you’re dry when rain hits. Depending on the model you choose, you’ll find plenty of built-in tying points to keep your tarp in place.
19. Hanjet Waterproof Outdoor Tarp
At 30 by 50 feet, you’re going to struggle to find a bigger camping tarp than the Hanjet Waterproof Outdoor Tarp. This impressive size makes it great for covering huge spaces, or alternatively, it could be a handy option for completing yard work, such as collecting leaves or general debris. The tarp itself is made from polyethylene, which is water, mildew and tear-resistant. The design also incorporates aluminum, rust-proof grommets as well as rope-reinforced edges and industrial-capped, double-reinforced corners for added durability. Furthermore, if 30 by 50 is a little too large for your needs, this tarp is available in six other sizes, all the way down to a more modest six by eight feet.