When Hiking or Camping with a Tarp, These Are the Tarps to Pack

Hiking or camping with a tarp is always a good idea. But which tarp (or tarps) should you bring with you? The answer depends on several factors, including how you plan to use the tarp and the exact nature of your trip. However, there are some general features that many outdoor experts agree your tarp should have, no matter what kind of outdoor trip you're taking: It should be as lightweight as possible, as you'll have to carry it; it should ideally be waterproof; and it should be versatile.

The Best Camp Tarp Selection

Luckily, at A1 Tarps, we have a huge selection of tarps that fit the bill. Our poly tarps and vinyl tarps are waterproof, while our cotton canvas tarps are water-resistant. They are all designed to be durable, have grommets so you can secure them in place and are UV-resistant.

With that in mind, the following camp tarp and hiking tarp recommendations include tarps that can address many needs you may have while in the forest or on the trail.

10 Recommendations for Hiking and Camping Tarps

  1. Poly Tarp in Camo Print - Will you be hunting on your trip? Bring a lightweight camo tarp. These can make for great cover as you track your targets. They're available in a range of sizes so whether you want to make a full shelter or a hunting blind, you can find the right dimensions.

  2. Canvas Tarp in the Approximate Size of the Bottom of Your Tent - It's generally advisable to put a layer between the bottom of your tent and the ground. This tarp can serve that purpose. Why canvas? Some people like the slight additional cushioning of a fabric tarp beneath them. However, if you prefer that your "tent footprint" be waterproof (as opposed to water-resistant) and lighter to carry, try a poly tarp.

  3. 6' x 8' Heavy-Duty Poly Tarp in Orange - Small and light but heavy-duty and versatile, this tarp's size is ideal for creating a shelter for a single person, according to many hiking experts. Why orange? Because it's bright. Especially in an emergency, you want people to be able to see you.

  4. 10' x 12' Heavy-Duty Poly Tarp in Orange - This one is included for all the same reasons as those noted above, but this size can shelter several people. Choose this one if you're traveling with a companion or two.

  5. Mesh Tarp in Black - Let's say you set up camp and want to enjoy some degree of shade and UV protection but don't want to block the sunlight completely. Set up a tarp canopy topped with a black mesh tarp. Fun fact: Black mesh offers a bit more UV protection than white and other lighter colors.

  6. Tarp To Use as a Rain Barrier or Windbreaker - Keep a tarp or two on hand to help shield you or your tent or other shelter from rain and wind. You can use almost any solid tarp to construct this barrier. (Just don't use mesh - that wouldn't be very effective.)

  7. Fire-Retardant Tarp - Campers often set up fire-resistant tarps above or alongside campfires. This can help keep the heat within the campsite, shield the fire from wind and decrease the risk of it spreading in ways you don't want it to. (This technique is not appropriate in all situations though, and you should always check on whether fire warnings are in effect before building a campfire.)

  8. Tarp to Use as a Ground Sheet - Lay this tarp down like a picnic blanket to help keep dirt, moisture and bugs away as you eat or just sit and rest. Virtually any solid tarp will work for this purpose.

  9. Truck Tarp - Obviously, you're not likely to need a truck tarp on the trail, but you are probably going to have to drive yourself to the starting point of your outdoor adventure. Many outdoor enthusiasts transport their gear in the back of their truck. A truck tarp provides an easy way to keep your supplies protected on the way.

  10. Economy Poly Tarp - Keep an extra, inexpensive tarp on hand in case of an emergency. For instance, if you have to cut the tarp into strips, it will likely be easier with the economy tarp than a heavy-duty tarp (and less of a loss, investment-wise).
May 15th 2023

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