Amazingly Simple: What Type of Tarp is Best for Camping?

What Type of Tarp Is Best for Camping?

When you’re a regular camper, you know the importance of having the right equipment for your trek. From lightweight tents and comfortable sleeping bags to sturdy cookware and reliable sources of light, it pays to make sure that you have everything you need for your camping adventure in order. One essential item that often gets overlooked is a tarp. Investing in a quality tarp for your camping trip can be a lifesaver, making sure you’re prepared for rain or shine and ensuring a comfortable, relaxing stay outdoors.

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Choosing the right tarp for your camping trip can make all the difference. In order to protect yourself and your gear from the elements and guarantee the best camping experience possible, it’s important to understand the various types of tarp out there. Read on to learn everything you need to know about selecting the correct tarp for your camping needs!

Types of Tarps

The three main types of tarps that are used for camping are polyethylene, nylon, and canvas.

  • Polyethylene tarps are made of a synthetic material that is lightweight and highly water-resistant. This material is not only durable and tough, but it is also inexpensive, making it a great option for those on a budget.
  • Nylon tarps are waterproof and lightweight, but are more expensive than polyethylene. They are also highly breathable, making them a good choice for hot weather.
  • Canvas tarps are heavier than the others but very strong and durable. They are also highly water-resistant, making them ideal in rainy conditions.


When selecting a tarp for your camping trip, it’s important to get the right size for your needs. Think about whether you will be using the tarp for covering your tent or for setting up a shelter. If you’re covering your tent, you’ll need one that is larger than the dimensions of your tent. If you’re using it to make a shelter, a tarp of your desired size should do the trick.


The shape of your tarp is important, as it will determine how well it fits your needs. Rectangular tarps are good for tents, while square or diamond tarps are better for setting up a shelter. Tarps can come with or without grommets, but those that have grommets will be easier to use.


Weight is also an important factor to consider, particularly if you’ll be carrying your tarp in your camping backpack. If you’ll be backpacking, opt for a lightweight tarp such as polyethylene or nylon. Similarly, canvas tarps are best for camping trips where you’ll be driving and can transport your tarp with ease.

Added Features

Some tarps, particularly those made of polyethylene, come with added features such as heat-sealed seams, which make them impervious to water. Others come with reflective stripes, making them especially helpful for visibility in the dark. These features can help protect your gear and make your camping trip more enjoyable.


The durability of a tarp is important, as it will help you determine how long it will last through multiple camping trips. Canvas tarps are known for being the most durable, while polyethylene and nylon are not as long-lasting. That being said, they are much more affordable, so if you are on a budget, you may find that a polyethylene or nylon tarp is the right option for you.


When selecting the right tarp for your camping trip, it’s important to consider the various factors outlined above. From the material, size, shape, and weight to the added features and durability of the tarp, getting the perfect tarp for your needs can ensure the best possible camping experience. With the right tarp in tow, you can rest assured that you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

I know from personal experience that having the right tarp can make all the difference when it comes to camping. After years of camping as a family, I now know that a quality tarp is essential if you want to have a safe, comfortable camping adventure. So be sure to invest in the perfect tarp for your needs – it could make or break your camping trip!