Let’s talk about tarps and camping!
When it comes to buying a tarp to go camping, there are a couple of considerations:
- Tarp for tent footprints. Yes, these go under a tent and keep it dry. Also called groundsheets, these tarps are designed to keep water away from your tent. (Pro tip: make sure the tent footprint tarp is not wider/longer than your tent. Why? Water that rolls off the tent can then roll back on the tarp . . . into the tent! Fold the tarp under your tent to so it is not any wider than the tent.
- Tarps for weather protection. Yes, tents are waterproof . . . but hanging a tarp as weather protection helps everything stay dry. Pro tip: get a tarp that is TWICE as big as your tent footprint. Angle the tarp so water flows off the tarp.
- Tarps to cover tables and other light-duty uses. Sometimes an affordable blue tarp is helpful to keep supplies off the wet ground or to cover a picnic table.
So given those key uses, here are our picks for best camping tarps.
Let’s start with tent footprint tarps. After surveying our readers and trying out different brands, we liked REDCAMP’s tarp best as a groundsheet under a tent. Here’s why:
What We Liked
• Sized for 2-3 person tent (82″ x 82″). Remember you want it to fit UNDER the tent and not extend beyond the tent edge.
• Lightweight at less than a pound (.66 lbs.).
• Machine washable.
• Comes with carry pouch.
• 210D ripstop material is well made.
• Grommets on each corner to stake it down. Grommets are rust-proof.
• Leak-proof heat sealed and taped seams.
What Needs Work
• Better for tent floor than weather shelter. That’s because the small number of grommets make it less ideal to hang up.