Amazingly Simple: What Size Tarp for Camping?

What Size Tarp Do You Need For Camping?

As an experienced camper and father of three, I understand that setting up camp requires careful planning and preparation. One of the most important decisions you often have to make is what size tarp to use. The right one can make all the difference between a successful camping trip, and one that’s miserable. But with so many types and sizes of tarps available, it can be hard to know which one is right for you and your camping needs. In this post, we’ll go over all the information you need to know in order to make the best choice for you and your family when it comes to camping tarps.

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Factors To Consider When Selecting a Tarp for Camping

  • Size – One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a tarp for camping is size. It’s important to get the right size to adequately cover your campsite. Too small and you won’t be able to properly protect yourself and your gear from the elements. And if you select a tarp that’s too big, you’ll have excess material and it may be difficult to secure properly.
  • Shape – Not all tarps are square or rectangular. Some, such as the diamond peaked tarp, provide more headroom in the middle or feature an A-frame shape which makes them more stable in windy or wet conditions. Others such as the hammock tarp are designed to give you more coverage when using a hammock.
  • Material – The material your tarp is made of will also affect your camping experience. Some, such as canvas, will provide extra durability and strength, while others like mesh can let in more air, sunlight, and insect protection. The material will also affect the weight of the tarp and how easy it is to pack.
  • Grommets and loops – When shopping for your camping tarp, it’s important to look for one that has grommets and loops at the corners and sides to make attachment to poles and posts easier.
  • Weather conditions – You’ll also want to make sure you choose a tarp that’s suitable for the type of camping weather you’ll be encountering. If you’re expecting heavy rain, you may need a slightly heavier tarp with additional waterproofing.

Camping Tarp

Once you’ve taken into account the size, shape, material, grommets, and weather conditions associated with a tarp, you’ll need to figure out what size tarp you need for camping. This will depend on what type of camping you plan to do.

  • Backpacking – If you’re going backpacking with a tent, you’ll want to get a tarp that’s at least 8′ x 10′ (or larger). This size should provide enough coverage to protect your tent from wind and rain, but not be so large that it’s too much to carry in your pack. You may also want to get a lightweight tarp that can be hung from tree branches or poles with ease.
  • Car camping – If you’re going car camping, you can get away with getting a slightly larger tarp. Look for one that’s at least 10′ x 12′ or larger. This size should provide ample coverage for multiple tents and more. It can also be staked or tied to larger objects for maximum protection and coverage.
  • Group camping – If you’re going camping with a large group, you may want to get a tarp that’s even larger. Look for one that’s at least 12′ x 14’ or larger for the best results. There are also tarps that come in larger sizes for even bigger groups.

Camping Tarp

It’s also important to consider how you plan to use your tarp. If you plan on using it as a shelter or covering an entire campground, then you’ll want to look for one that’s designed for that purpose. These types of tarps are usually larger and come with additional features such as loops and corner grommets for easy attachment.

If you plan on using your tarp for more than one type of camping, then you may want to invest in a tarp that can accommodate different types of camping. Look for a tarp that can be used for both backpacking and car camping, or one that’s suitable for both hammocks and tents. This way, you can save money by only needing to buy one tarp for multiple uses.

Finally, it’s important to remember that no matter the size of tarp you get, you’ll still need to anchor it firmly to the ground to ensure it stays in place and offers the protection and coverage you need. This is especially important when camping in windy or wet conditions. You may want to invest in some tent stakes, rope or paracord, and if you’re using a hammock, some slings and cords to help secure your tarp.

Camping Tarp


Selecting the right size tarp for camping is an important part of the preparation involved in a successful camping trip. Before you make a purchase, take into consideration the type of camping you’ll be doing (backpacking, car camping, or group camping), your camping conditions, material, size, and shape. Also, consider how you’ll be attaching the tarp and make sure to use the necessary stakes, ropes, paracords, and slings. Finally, watch the below video to gain more insight on how to properly set up your tarp for camping.