ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPS COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPSBACKPACKING TARPS REVIEWSENO HOUSEFLYSEA TO SUMMIT ESCAPISTMSR RENDEZVOUS 120 WINGW-UPBIRDMSR THRU HIKER 100 WINGRAB SILTARP 2ENO PROFLY XL SILAQUA QUEST GUIDE TARPYUEDGEREI CO-OP CAMP 9HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPSWEIGHTSIZEDESIGNMATERIALSHAPEFUNCTIONALITY Let’s face it, lugging around a heavy tent and all its trappings can literally be a pain in the back for any hiker! Switching from a tent to a tarp is a brilliant way of cutting down on weight. But out of all the options on the market, would you be confident in selecting the best backpacking tarp? A tarp is a great way of getting closer to nature, but it will also expose you to the elements. To prevent an uncomfortable night’s sleep it’s important that you make the right choice to suit your preferred style of backpacking! Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’ve done the hard work for you and selected the best 10 backpacking tarps available on the market. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPS 1. ENO HOUSEFLY VIEW AT REI 2. SEA TO SUMMIT ESCAPIST VIEW AT REI 3. MSR RENDEZVOUS 120 WING VIEW AT AMAZON 4. W-UPBIRD VIEW AT AMAZON 5. MSR THRU HIKER 100 WING VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 6. RAB SILTARP 2 VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 7. ENO PROFLY XL SIL VIEW AT REI 8. AQUA QUEST GUIDE TARP VIEW AT AMAZON 9. YUEDGE VIEW AT AMAZON 10. REI CO-OP CAMP 9 VIEW AT REI COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPS PICTUREBACKPACKING TARPBEST USEMATERIALSIZE WEIGHT PRICERATING PICTUREBACKPACKING TARPBEST USEMATERIALSIZE WEIGHT PRICERATING Eno HouseflyOverallSilnylon105 sq ft 25 oz $$4.9 Sea to Summit EscapistLightweightSilnylon97 sq ft13 oz$$$4.7 MSR Rendevous 120 WingComfortSilnylon120 sq ft56 oz$$$5.0 W-UpbirdBudgetPolyester100 sq ft30 oz$4.7 MSR Thru Hiker 100 WingOverallSilnylon100 sq ft 20 oz $$$5.0 Rab Siltarp 2LightweightSilnylon80 sq ft14 oz$$3.5 Eno Profly XL SilComfortSilnylon119 sq ft26 oz$$3.9 Aqua Quest Guide TarpComfortSilnylon130 sq ft30 oz$$4.7 YuedgeBudgetPolyester97 sq ft24 oz$4.2 REI Co-Op Camp 9BudgetPolyester81 sq ft29 oz$3.7 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. 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BACKPACKING TARPS REVIEWS ENO HOUSEFLY Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Backpackers wanting a light weight tarp that can shelter up to three people MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 105 sq ft WEIGHT: 25 oz (0.7 kg) PROS: Overlapping doors for extra weather protection, generous size CONS: Limited attachment points SEA TO SUMMIT ESCAPIST Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Backpackers needing an extremely light weight, high quality tarp that can accommodate two people comfortably MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 97 sq ft WEIGHT: 13 oz (0.4 kg) PROS: Very high quality, very light weight, good size, can be paired with insect-proof inner CONS: None MSR RENDEZVOUS 120 WING Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Backpackers wanting a very large ‘shaped’ tarp with excellent stability MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 120 sq ft WEIGHT: 56 oz (1.6 kg) PROS: Excellent stability in high winds, very large CONS: Very heavy W-UPBIRD Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Backpackers needing a large tarp with multiple attachment points MATERIAL: Polyester SIZE: 100 sq ft WEIGHT: 30 oz (0.8 kg) PROS: Good number of attachment points, large CONS: Poor durability, waterproofing not as good as silnylon options MSR THRU HIKER 100 WING Check out the latest price on:Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Backpackers looking for a high quality tarp for two people MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 100 sq ft WEIGHT: 20 oz (0.6 kg) PROS: High quality, good size, can be paired with insect-proof mesh house CONS: None RAB SILTARP 2 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Backpackers that need a tarp of the highest quality with excellent design flexibility MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 80 sq ft WEIGHT: 14 oz (0.4 kg) PROS: Excellent quality, numerous attachment points, very light weight CONS: Not as large as other tarps of similar weight ENO PROFLY XL SIL Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Backpackers needing a very light weight tarp that is also large enough to accommodate up to three people MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 119 sq ft WEIGHT: 16 oz (0.4 kg) PROS: Very large, light weight, can be paired with insect-proof inner CONS: Some users report that colors vary from what is advertised AQUA QUEST GUIDE TARP Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Backpackers wanting the ultimate in comfort and size, with excellent flexibility in attachment MATERIAL: Silnylon SIZE: 130 sq ft WEIGHT: 30 oz (0.8 kg) PROS: Extremely large, excellent weight for size, very large number of attachment points CONS: Seams not as strong as other tarps YUEDGE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Backpackers needing a large tarp with a reflective inner MATERIAL: Polyester SIZE: 97 sq ft WEIGHT: 34 oz (0.9 kg) PROS: Reflective inner useful in cool conditions CONS: Heavier than other options, waterproofing not as good as silnylon options REI CO-OP CAMP 9 Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Backpackers needing a ‘shaped’, light weight budget tarp MATERIAL: Polyester SIZE: 81 sq ft WEIGHT: 29 oz (0.8 kg) PROS: Good ‘shape’ resulting in a tight pitch CONS: Smaller than other options at the same price point LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING TARPS WEIGHT If you’re considering to buy a backpacking tarp, it’s likely that you want to cut down on weight. By their nature, tarps are lightweight. However, not all tarps are made the same. Depending on the material, thickness and size, the weight could vary from as low as 10 ounces up to three pounds or more. When you start getting a tarp that heavy, you may as well be looking at a tent instead! Lightweight is the goal. Unfortunately, the lighter you go, the more you typically need to pay. If you value ultralight backpacking and the ability to move fast, then this additional investment may be worthwhile. Meanwhile, if you’re planning on basing yourself in one location for a few nights, then you can probably afford some extra weight. SIZE A tarp that packs down nice and small will not only keep the weight down, but it will also let you consider either carrying a smaller backpack. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to find room in your larger backpack for all your essentials, then a tiny tarp may be the space-saver you need. Packed size is important, but you do need to keep in mind the unpacked size as well. Why? Because the larger your tarp, the more room you will have underneath for sleeping space and gear storage. A larger tarp will also provide you with greater flexibility in construction techniques to cater for all weather conditions. Tarp camping will be exposing you to the elements, so a larger one (in terms of weight and size) is recommended. For a single person, we recommend a tarp that is around 80 square feet or more, while 100 square feet would be ideal for two people. DESIGN A well-designed tarp will make all the difference in getting a good night’s sleep! There are three design factors to consider when purchasing a backpacking tarp: the material, shape and functionality. MATERIAL Modern tarps are generally made of one of three materials, namely, silnylon, silpoly or Cuben. Silnylon and silpoly consist of a nylon or polyester core coated with silicon to improve the level of waterproofing. Both are both excellent choices for durability, reliability and cost. Nylon is extremely abrasion resistant, whereas polyester doesn’t “stretch” as much and can be manufactured at lower costs than nylon. Cuben is like a “synthetic sandwich.” It is made from multiple layers of high-strength synthetic fibers. It offers excellent tensile strength (i.e., it won’t tear easily) and is extremely lightweight. But as you might have expected, the additional complexity significantly increases its price point. It is also worth considering that Cuben can puncture easily. It isn’t as durable as silnylon or silpoly as well. This is one of those instances where you need to consider whether the weight savings of Cuben justify the additional investment. You may come across some tarps made of cordura or rip-stop nylon. Both are simply another form of nylon and will typically be coated with a silicon layer to provide waterproofing. Maintaining and repairing all material types isn’t difficult as most manufacturers provide repair kits that can easily be applied when necessary. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that a simple roll of duct tape is all you need to patch up a Cuben tarp in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, silnylon or silpoly repairs are more complex as they need a silicon-based adhesive together with patches for both sides. SHAPE It used to be that you could only get a tarp of the plain old “flat” variety. Square or rectangle was as hard as it got! Manufacturing techniques have improved and a “shaped” option is now available. What this means is that the tarp has been designed with either a curved ridgeline through the center of the tarp or with curved edges. This “shaped” design makes it easier to achieve a drum-tight surface when all corners have been strung and pegged, meaning there is no loose fabric that will flap around in the wind. The disadvantage is that the tarp needs to be strung in the same position every time, removing the incredible flexibility you have with a flat tarp. If you do decide to stay with the traditional flat tarp, it’s worth considering whether a square or rectangular shape will best suit your needs. Due to its symmetry, a square tarp is more versatile. However, depending on your preferred tarp configuration, you may find a rectangular tarp to be more suitable. FUNCTIONALITY No matter how small or lightweight, a tarp without attachment points is of no use to anyone! It is critical to ensure that the tarp you select has enough eyelets around its perimeter to let you construct the tarp in your preferred configuration. While four is the least you need (one per corner), six or eight is preferred. It isn’t essential but is very handy if the tarp includes one or more “prop points” in the middle to allow it to be propped up from the inside. This will not only create more headroom but will also help keep the walls taut, reducing movement in strong winds and improving drainage. It is also common now to see tarps offered with a degree of modularity. This means that in addition to the basic waterproof tarp, you may also be able to purchase an inner “net” that is installed underneath the main tarp and can protect against insects. Similarly, some manufacturers also offer an attachable groundsheet. Essentially, it turns your tarp into a non-freestanding tent! These additions do come with extra weight and cost. If they sound useful to you though, you should really determine whether a free-standing tent would be more suitable for your needs. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.