It’s no fun getting rained on in the great outdoors or trying to sleep on a damp tent floor. Whether you’re going car camping or backpacking, a reliable tarp is a camping staple. We’ve researched the top options on the market and selected the 10 best camping tarps designed to be lightweight and easy to pack, waterproof, and durable enough to hold up well to camping use.

These tarps can be just as useful set over a tent to block rain and sun as they are put underneath a tent to protect from rocks and dampness. To find the best camping tarp, below are the best options to choose from. We’ve also created a guide on how to choose a tarp for camping, be sure to check it out below the reviews.

How To Choose A Tarp For Camping – Buying Guide



Before buying a new tarp, paying attention to the quality of the material used will allow you to get a camping tarp that’ll serve you well and last. The best camping tarp companies use ripstop polyester and nylon fabric coated or laminated with polyurethane to make it waterproof.  


Tarp companies offer many sizes so you can choose the perfect sized tarp for your needs. If you’re looking for a ground tarp, choose a tarp slightly larger than your tent footprint so you can create a waterproof rub for your tent. If you’re looking for a tent to keep a large campsite dry or shaded, you can get lightweight tarps up to 100 x 100 feet in size.


If you’re using a hammock and tarp as a tent, you’ll want the ideal shape for sleeping in your hammock whether it’s a one or two-person hammock. Square and rectangular shaped tarps allow you to configure your tarp shelter into a shape that will provide the most coverage and keep you dry.


If finding a compact travel sized camp tarp is important, it is wise to consider tarp thickness. The thickness of your tarp will also depend on your use. If you plan to use your tarp as a light shade cover for the day, a thinner tarp will do. If you intend to use your tarp as a bottom sheet, you may want to go with a thicker option.


Everything from the material used to the stitching will not only dictate how durable the tarp will be but also how you’ll use it.  Since the tie downs and grommets are how you will secure your tarp, you’ll want to ensure they’re strong and not likely to pull out of the tarp material. The corners should also be reinforced for extra strength.


For camping, backpacking or hiking use, you’ll want a tarp that’s easy to set up and take down. We strongly recommend finding a tarp that not only has everything required for setting it up but also instructions on how to do this quickly and efficiently.  


The weight of your tarp should be a key consideration, especially if you intend to trek or hike to your campsite. Thanks to technological advancements, you can find a camp tarp lightweight while still being waterproof and tear-resistant.


Tarps come in a variety of colors from the traditional blue and green to camo blends. If you’re camping in the wild, you may want to choose a green shade that’ll blend with the surrounding. If you want maximum visibility, high-visibility orange or neon is the best color option.



Q: What Is A Camp Tarp?


A camp tarp is a tent-like sheet of material that provides an added layer of protection when in the outdoors. These are not the traditional thick blue tarps but rather lightweight in design. They have many uses from camping shelters to tent ground covers and some even act as tents.

Q: Why Do I Need Camping Tent Tarps?


Tarp tents come handy whether you want to create a rain fly in the rain, need shade from the hot sun, or a base for your tent or hammock. The beauty of tarps is that they’re lightweight and packable thus easy to bring along and they will make your outdoor experiences much more enjoyable.

Q: What Is The Difference Between A Tarp And A Tent?

A: A tarp is simply a sheet of material while a tent is a complete package with walls, floor and ceiling. Tarps are usually waterproof while tents will usually require a rain fly to not allow water into the tent. Tents are almost always heavier and bulkier than tarps due to the material required to make a tent.

Q: What Are The Benefits Of Tarp Camping?


The main benefit of tarp camping is that you will have less gear to carry and setting up shelter will be quick and easy. Tarps are simple to erect and take down and they have a compact and lightweight design ideal for traveling. They are also compatible with the new trend of hammock camping.

Q: Should You Put A Tarp Under Your Tent?


Yes, it’s a good idea to put a tarp as a ground cover for your tent. Having one underneath will prevent ground dampness from seeping into your tent floor and act as a protective barrier to prevent sticks and rocks from puncturing your tent.

Q: How Do You Keep A Tarp Camping Dry?


The best way to ensure your camp tarp will stay dry is to choose waterproof camping tarps with heat-sealed seams. Rain droplets and moisture will just roll off and your tarp will stay dry. If you’re using the tarp as a tent footprint, make sure you get the right size to create a waterproof base for your tent to stand on.   

Q: What Size Tarp Do I Need For My Tent?


To offer the protection you need, your tarp size should be at least as long as the widest part of your tent and about 6 feet wider than the tent. To determine what size tarp to get, measure the footprint of your tent and have the intended use in mind as the ideal size to choose will depend on whether you intend to use it as a rainfly or ground sheet.

Globo Surf Overview

There are many features and aspects you should look for when searching for the best camping tarps. By using this guide and reviews, you’ll be able to understand which features you need to look for while choosing the best tarp for camping.

More Camping Reviews:

Have you ever tried camping using one of the tarps from our list? Tell us about how it helped keep you dry in the comment section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!