Updated on March 23, 2021

A backpacking tarp is a versatile piece of gear for any backpacker. A tarp can be used for quick shade on a day when the sun is beating down on you. It can also be used as a safe haven during a rain storm so you can still hang out and cook your meals while camping in the rain. And of course, the best backpacking tarp can serve as the perfect lightweight shelter when you have to carry your entire setup on your back.

The Adventure Junkies created a list of the 10 best backpacking tarps for you, taking into consideration a multitude of factors so you don’t have to do any extra research to decide which tarp is right for you. No matter what you are looking for in a backpacking tarp, you are guaranteed to find what you’re looking for here!

For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Tents


Quick Answer - The Best Backpacking Tarps

  1. Kammok Kuhli
  2. Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp
  3. REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL
  4. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 Catenary Cut
  5. Sea to Summit Escapist
  6. Kammok Kuhli Ultralight
  7. MSR Thru-Hiker
  8. Big Agnes Deep Creek
  9. Kammok Kuhli XL
  10. REI Co-op Camp Tarp 12


Comparison Table - Best Backpacking Tarp

For the best experience turn your device horizontally
NameSeasonCapacityDimensionsPacked SizeWeightFabricPriceRatingReview
Kammok Kuhli3-Season2-3 Person144 x 108 Inches4.5 x 8 Inches1.4 lbsRipstop Nylon$$5.0Read Review
Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp2-Season1-2 Person10 ft x 8 ft11.4 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches14 ozRipstop nylon$4.4Read Review
REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL2-Season2-Person115 x 115 Inches4.5 x 9 Inches1 lbs 12 ozRipstop Nylon$$4.0Read Review
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 Catenary Cut3-Season1-2 Person102 x 102 inches7.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches9.28 ozDyneema® composite fabrics$$$4.3Read Review
Sea to Summit Escapist3-Season2-Person102 x 78 Inches3 x 7.5 Inches9.5 ozCoated Nylon$$4.5Read Review
Kammok Kuhli Ultralight3-Season1-Person132 x 88 Inches3.7 x 3.7 Inches10 ozRipstop Nylon$4.5Read Review
MSR Thru-Hiker2-Season3-Person108 x 72 Inches4.5 x 9 Inches1 lbRipstop Nylon$$4.5Read Review
Big Agnes Deep Creek3-SeasonSeveral196 x 204 Inches29 x 7 Inches7 lbs 15 ozPolyester$$$4.0Read Review
Kammok Kuhli XL3-Season8+ person198 x 170 Inches5.7”x 10.4”2 lb 5 ozRipstop Nylon$$4.0Read Review
REI Co-op Camp Tarp 12 3-SeasonSeveral144 x 144 Inches12.6 x 7.5 x 3.9 Inches2 lbs 9 ozPolyester$3.5Read Review
NameSeasonCapacityDimensionsPacked SizeWeightFabricPriceRatingReview
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Tarps for Backpacking

Kammok Kuhli

  • Capacity: 2-3 Person
  • Dimensions: 144 x 108 Inches
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 4.5 x 8 Inches
  • Reinforced Anchor Points
  • Taped Seams/Ripstop Nylon Is Waterproof Treated
  • Reflective Guy Lines So You Won’t Trip Over The Tarp Tie Downs At Night
  • Aluminum Stakes Included
  • Lifetime Warranty
Kammok Kuhli


The Kammok Kuhli Shelter is large enough to cover you and all your friends, is totally waterproof, and is super easy to set up. 

The Kuhli shelter can fit six to seven hikers (sitting upright) and can sleep between two to three hikers at night. The space of this tarp makes it an ideal option for a kitchen shelter when cooking food in the backcountry or for a quick hideout during a rainstorm. 

Also a solid option for a tent substitute, this shelter is coated with waterproof treatments to ensure you’ll be dry underneath the tarp during a rainy night. 

Ten reinforced guyout points on this tarp provide several setup options and leave the creativity up to you. You can either set this tarp up connecting the guyout points to branches and trees, or by using trekking poles. This tarp is covered under Kammok’s lifetime warranty.

Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp

  • Capacity: 1-2 Person
  • Dimensions: 10 ft x 8 ft
  • Fabric: Ripstop nylon
  • Weight: 14 oz
  • Season: 2-Season
  • Packed Size: 11.4 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Ultralight
  • Silicon/PU dual-coating and fully taped seams
  • Full kit provided
  • 12 perimeter attachment loops and catenary cuts


For an ultralight option that costs under $80, you’d be hard pressed to find a better quality alternative. This tarp features 12 guy out points, high quality Dyneema guylines, and comes with six aluminum alloy stakes. The fabric is made from 30-denier ripstop nylon and coated with dual polyurethane/silicon materials, making it highly effective at keeping out inclement weather.

What we like most about the Sanctuary is how lightweight it is for such an affordable tarp, weighing in at 20.5 oz total.

REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL

  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Dimensions: 115 x 115 Inches
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 1 lbs 12 oz
  • Season: 2-Season
  • Packed Size: 4.5 x 9 Inches
  • Ripstop Nylon Is Waterproof Treated
  • Seam-Sealed For Weather Protection
  • Reinforced Anchor Points Mean This Tarp Can Withstand High Winds And Rain
  • Reflective Guy Lines Prevent You From Tripping At Night
  • Stakes Included


The rectangular design of this tarp allows for countless setup options yet it still compresses down to be smaller than a 16 oz water bottle.

You can use this tarp as an A-Frame tent, a hammock shelter, a flat shelter for midday shade, and several other options. This tarp can be pitched by using trekking poles or nearby trees and branches.

The Ripstop nylon this tent is made of is coated with a waterproof treatment and is seam sealed to ensure you will stay dry amid a storm. All guyout corners of this tarp are reinforced with an extra layer of fabric so you can sleep soundly knowing this tent-tarp will withstand the conditions. 

This tarp comes with eight stakes, six guy line cords fit with adjusters, and a stuff sack to make for an easy and secure setup and quick and efficient packing.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 Catenary Cut

  • Capacity: 1-2 Person
  • Dimensions: 102 x 102 inches
  • Fabric: Dyneema® composite fabrics
  • Weight: 9.28 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 7.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches
  • Catenary curve ridgeline with taped, bonded and sealed felled seam
  • Three interior ridgeline D-rings; D-rings on all tie-outs for accessory attachment
  • Ultralight guy lines with line-locks
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Echo 2 Catenary Cut Tarp


Hyperlite is known for creating impressively durable products that stand up to the rigors of long distance backpacking in foul weather across rugged terrain — and the Echo 2 Tarp is no exception. The Echo 2 features an intuitively tight cut sealed ridgeline and double reinforced guy out points. You can pitch it an endless variety of configurations using trekking poles, trees, and other natural features.

What we like most about this tarp is that it provides for nearly 70 square feet of coverage while weighing in at less than a glass of water.

Sea to Summit Escapist

  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Dimensions: 102 x 78 Inches
  • Fabric: Coated Nylon
  • Weight: 9.5 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 3 x 7.5 Inches
  • Only Weighs About Half A Pound
  • Nylon Is Waterproof Treated
  • Each Guyout Point Is Designed To Easily Hold Trekking Pole
  • Reflective Guy Lines Prevent You From Tripping In The Night


Sea to Summit’s Escapist Tarp Shelter is versatile, ultralight, and easy to set up.

This tarp can be set up as an A-frame, an awning, or as a tarp. Each guy line of this shelter is designed to fit the bottom of your trekking pole, making setup a breeze. This shelter only weighs about half a pound, and compresses down to the size of a 750 mL CamelBack water bottle, making it ideal for a thru-hiker looking to shed weight and save space in their pack.

The inner measurement of the large size of this shelter is 10 x 10 feet, making it a comfortable overnight option for two hikers and all their gear. The medium size of this tent is 6 x 8 feet, a good option for two hikers without their gear, or one hiker with their gear. 

The waterproof treated nylon of this tent makes this shelter completely waterproof. Eight guyout locations make setup simple and effective. When pitched correctly this tarp can withstand severe winds, rain, and thunderstorms.

Kammok Kuhli Ultralight

  • Capacity: 1-Person
  • Dimensions: 132 x 88 Inches
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 10 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 3.7 x 3.7 Inches
  • Ultra Lightweight
  • Tapered Design Provides Shelter Without Unnecessary Weight
  • Taped Seams/Ripstop Nylon is Waterproof Treated
  • Reinforced Anchor Points Keep This Tent Secure In The Wind And Rain
  • Line-lock Tensioners and Cord Hooks Make Setup Easy
  • Lifetime Warranty


The big difference between this tarp and Kammok’s other tarps is that it only weighs about half a pound.

This shelter is slightly smaller than the Kuhli Shelter and the Kuhli Shelter Pro, but can still comfortably sleep one hiker and their gear. This shelter could also house two to three hikers looking to beat the heat on a brutally hot day or seeking cover during a torrential downpour.

Speaking of a rainstorm, similar to other Kammok shelter’s, this tarp is treated with a durable water repellent treatment to keep you dry amid a storm.

Kammok’s Kuhli Ultralight Weather Shelter has eight guyout points, all constructed with line-lock tensioners that make pitching the tarp a breeze. This shelter can be setup using trees or rocks, or can be set-up using trekking poles and is covered under Kammok’s lifetime warranty.

MSR Thru-Hiker

  • Capacity: 3-Person
  • Dimensions: 108 x 72 Inches
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Season: 2-Season
  • Packed Size: 4.5 x 9 Inches
  • Ripstop Nylon Is Waterproof Treated
  • Versatile Setup Options
  • Reinforced Anchor Points Mean This Tarp Is Secure Even In High Winds
  • Weighs Less Than A Pound
MSR Thru-Hiker


MSR’s Thru-Hiker 70 Wing Shelter is the ideal option for thru-hikers, or a backpacker who goes on long distance trips often.

This shelter comes in two sizes. The medium size has a wingspan of 70 inches and can accommodate up to two hikers. The large size has a wingspan of 100 inches and can accommodate three hikers. Both of these options weigh a pound or less, making this shelter one of the most lightweight options out there. 

Similar to other shelters, the ripstop nylon this tent is made of is coated with a water repellant treatment to keep you dry amid a storm.

This tarp can be pitched using trees or trekking poles. All corners of this shelter are reinforced with a double layer of fabric, making this tarp durable for all of your outdoor adventures.

Big Agnes Deep Creek

  • Capacity: Several
  • Dimensions: 196 x 204 Inches
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: 7 lbs 15 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 29 x 7 Inches
  • Adjustable Poles Included For Setup
  • Versatile Setup Configurations
  • Reflective Guy Lines Prevent You From Tripping In The Night
  • Seams Taped With Waterproof Tape


Big Agnes Deep Creek Tarp Shelter won’t let a family of six or less wake up cold or wet during a rainstorm. 

This tarp is large enough to cover an entire family, and tough enough to withstand all of nature’s harshest elements. Aluminum poles are included with the purchase of the tarp, so although this option has a bit of a steeper cost than the rest, it’s important to factor the poles into the cost.

The guy lines of this tarp are precut for you, so you don’t have to take measurements yourself. Each guy line corner also has a pocket for you to put the excess guy line rope in so you can stay organized during setup. 

An option for adding a third pole to the center of the tarp allows for extra security and is available for purchase through REI.

Kammok Kuhli XL

  • Capacity: 8+ person
  • Dimensions: 198 x 170 Inches
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 2 lb 5 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 5.7”x 10.4”
  • Ripstop Nylon Is Waterproof Treated
  • Can Fit Up To 12 Hikers And Comfortably Sleeps Eight
  • Reinforced Anchor Points Make This Tarp Secure Even In High Winds
  • Stakes Included
  • Versatile Setup Options
  • Lifetime Warranty


Kammok’s Kuhli XL Group Tarp Shelter is big enough for you to fit the whole family and some friends, while still not breaking your back while you’re lugging it up mountains in your pack.

The wingspan of this tarp is nearly 200 inches meaning it can fit up to twelve hikers sitting or standing up, and can sleep up to eight. Even with its massive wingspan, this tarp only weighs 2.5 lbs.

This tarp is made of ripstop nylon that is coated with a waterproof treatment to repel rain in even the toughest storms. Sixteen guyout points allow for several setup options, and the tarp comes with eight stakes and a stuff sack. If you’re planning on hiking with a big group, definitely consider taking the Kuhli XL along for the trip!

REI Co-op Camp Tarp 12

  • Capacity: Several
  • Dimensions: 144 x 144 Inches
  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packed Size: 12.6 x 7.5 x 3.9 Inches
  • No-Sag Design Creates Taut Pitch
  • Symmetrical Design Provides Maximum Coverage
  • Reflective Guylines Mean You Won’t Trip Over The Tarp At Night
  • Fabric Won’t Stretch When Wet
  • Stakes Included


REI’s Camp Tarp is a great option for a backpacker looking for a large tarp that will not only keep their tent dry but will also keep their campground dry.

This tarp is large enough for you to have a dry night sleep in your tent or hammock, but also have enough room for a chair or two, and for a camping stove setup. This is also a great option if you’re looking for a tarp to cover two hammocks. 

For the size of this tarp, it is a lightweight option, but the polyester material doesn’t pack down as well as nylon would. This tarp also has set up poles available for purchase to aid in the setup process. Otherwise, you’ll be counting on trees to create a taut pitch.

This tarp comes in two smaller sizes available at REI.




When picking out a backpacking tarp, knowing what you will be using it for is important. Ask yourself a few key questions before deciding which tarp is right for you. Like:

  • Where will I be using the tarp the most?
  • What do I plan on using the tarp for – as a primary shelter, an emergency back-up, or a casual awning while camping?
  • Do I plan on taking it out on solo backpacking trips, or will I be backpacking with the whole family or a bunch of friends?
  • Will I be taking the tarp to high elevations where weather patterns are inconsistent?

Ask yourself all of these questions and then read through our considerations below so you know just what you’re looking for before deciding which tarp to buy off our list above.

It’s also important to know how to set up your tarp once you make your final decision. There are many different ways to pitch a tarp, and knowing how to set it up to suit your needs is essential for a successful tarping experience.

Check out this how-to guide from REI about how to set up your tarp in several different configurations to find some insight into which tarp from the list above can best be used for your ideal configuration.


When deciding what type of backpacking tarp you want, you first have to ask yourself what you’ll be using the tarp for. Will you be using your tarp as a quick shade during hot summer days? Or will you be relying on your tarp to keep you dry during sudden rain storms?

Differentiating between these options is important, and it’s also important to decide if you’ll be using your tarp as your primary shelter while backpacking. A tarp is such a versatile piece of gear, and deciding what you’ll be using yours for the most is the first step to finding which one is right for you.

Once you’ve figured out what you’ll be using your tarp for the most, look for specifications in each tarp that cater to your needs. If you plan to use the tarp to shelter you from rain, make sure you get a tarp with waterproof treated fabric. If you plan to use your tarp as your shelter, make sure you pick one that allows for versatile pitching options.



Almost all tarps are built to withstand summer and spring weather, but if you plan on backpacking through the months where the colors of the leaves are changing, it’s important to get a 3-season tarp. This will ensure that your tarp will keep you warm AND dry during a storm.



Size is a factor similar to weight. When determining what size tarp you need, consider first what you’ll be using it for. If you plan to use your tarp on family backcountry outings, you probably need a larger sized tarp. If it’ll just be you on a thru-hike across the country, you’ll need a smaller size.



Most of the tarps in this article are made of ripstop nylon, which is a lightweight material that doesn’t rip easily. Ripstop nylon is a great fabric for you to count on as a shelter or as a quick shade during your adventure.

If you know you’ll be taking your tarp into the backcountry where there could be rain, make sure the fabric of your tarp has been coated with a water-repelling treatment. You will thank yourself later when you don’t wake up soaking wet from the previous night’s rain storm.

A lot of the tarps in this article also have double layers of fabric on corners of the tarp. These extra layers of fabric in the high-use areas of the tarp improve its durability and guarantees that you tarp won’t rip from overuse.





Ripstop nylon is the most commonly used fabric in the tarps featured in this article. Using a crosshatch pattern, ripstop nylon is woven with a sewing technique that prevents against ripping or tearing.

Nylon is already waterproof, but adding this sewing technique ensures the tarp will be durable in addition to waterproof.


Anchor points are the areas of your tarp where you will tie a string to create a taut pitch. Anchor points are strategically placed so you can pitch the most common tarp configurations. Several tarps in this article have 6, 8, 10, or even 14 anchor points. They usually look like round metal holes dispersed evenly over the corners and edges of the tarp.

When anchor points are reinforced, it simply means that there is a double layer of fabric fitted to this area of the tarp. It allows you to put the pressure on this area of the tarp, such as you might when tightening a cord to create a taut pitch, and have the relief that it won’t rip or loosen the fabric.


Another waterproof technique, taped seams means all the seams of your tarp are taped with a waterproof material that will ensure that no water or moisture will get in the inside of your tarp.


A guy line is a rope or cable used to tighten something. In this case, a tarp. You will use guy lines through anchor points to create a taut pitch with whatever tarp configuration you choose.

Some of the tarps in this article come with pre-measured guy lines. This is a blessing because you won’t have excess rope, and you won’t have to spend time trying to decide what is the best length.

Several of the guy lines are reflective, an added bonus that will help identify your tent after your nightly campfire and prevent you from tripping over them in the night.


Line-lock tensioners are designed to ease the tightening process of your guy lines when pitching your tarp.

Once your tarp is basically set up, you can go around and tighten your line-lock tensioners, located on your guy lines. You do this by holding the cord that is staked into the ground, while pulling down on the loose cord connected to the guy line by a line-lock tensioner.

Line-lock tensioners are a blessing in getting a taut pitch and basically do the hard work for you. They can be a bit confusing at first, but think of it like tightening a buckle on a life jacket, only on a much smaller scale.

If you find you’re having a hard time using your line-lock tensioners, check out this helpful video.


There are several ways to set up a tarp. Some of the most common are an A-Frame tent setup, an awning, or flat. When getting a new tarp, it’s fun to play around with different setup configurations to learn what would be your best option for different circumstances.