When going on a nature trip or hiking, you should always be prepared, especially when it is raining or thunderstorms. That’s why you still need a tarp. This article will tell you what are the critical factors when purchasing a survival tarp for your bivouac.
The Best Tarps For Bivouac
Anyoo Ripstop – Survival rain tarp material: 190T silver-coated polyester
- Weight: 1.8 kg
- Tarpaulin size: 3 x 3 meters
- Included: 8 stakes, 6 guy ropes, and a carrying bag
- Guarantee: 3 years
This Anyoo brand tarp is our winner in this category. It can be used as both rain protection and sun protection. No matter if you are having a picnic, on the beach, from the bivouac in the forest, it will always offer you protection against what comes from above.
The survival tarpaulin has a reinforced wedge to ensure solidity and durability; the eyelets are well placed. The poles have a maximum height of about 2 meters, but it is always possible to adjust it better.
The stakes that we find with the tarp are of good quality; they are robust and accompanied by cable, there is enough for all uses and sardines.
The canvas is opaque enough to sleep underneath without being disturbed by the light, and it is waterproof.
Besides, this tarp can also serve as the ground for a tent, although this is not its primary function. The price-performance ratio is quite convincing!
Unigear Tarp – Hiking Shelter
- Material: 210D Oxford cloth, tear-proof
- Weight: about 1kg
- Tarpaulin size: 3 x 3 meters or 3 x 4 meters
- Silver interior
- Included: 6 aluminum poles, six long ropes, and a carrying bag
Unigear is a recognized brand in the outdoors; it has been in existence since 2014 and offers all kinds of equipment for bivouac and hiking in nature.
Unigear’s tarp is easy to install; it is available in two versions three times 3 meters and three times 4 meters and different colors. You can use it as a tent canvas, a shelter for your 2-person hammock, or as a groundsheet. Great for hiking, camping, survival.
All corners and edges use double reinforced stitching to increase strength and prevent tearing.
This tarp can also be used folded up as a picnic blanket. It is also waterproof and offers protection against UV rays. It is therefore particularly suitable for people who like to be protected from wind and bad weather.
D&D – Camouflage tarp
- Material: polyester 3000 mm
- Weight: 790 grams with sardines
- Tarpaulin size: 3 x 3 meters
- 16 reinforced side fixing points
The D&D tarp is of high quality. The tarp belongs to ultralight tarps and has a minimal package size (33 x 20 x 7 cm) due to the material used. So you can transport it easily.
The trapezoidal cut allows sufficient air circulation and provides excellent and reliable protection against rain, sun, and leaves. You can tie a hammock to this tarp and get the right place to sleep.
The real asset of this tarp remains its weight and strength, the camouflage color works well, and the tarp comes with stakes.
Tatonka Tarp 2 – Green
- Material: polycotton (65% Polyester / 35% Cotton)
- Weight: 1.26 kg
- Tarpaulin size: 2.85 m x 3 m
- Included: carrying bag
This tarp has good size (285 cm x 300 cm). It has a lot of attachment points and when you buy it. Due to its UV resistance, you can also use the tarp as a UV protection canopy or as a shade.
If it is dirty, you can clean it by hand. Thanks to the numerous fixing points, the tarpaulin can be used in very variable way and almost all places. It is also quite simple to build and therefore also suitable for beginners.
Questions to ask yourself before buying a tarp
What can a tarp be used for?
A tarp is very versatile and easy to use. It is not only suitable for outdoor use or camping, but it is also ideal for the balcony or terrace.
The following list gives you a more detailed overview:
- Rain shelter
- Tarpaulin for tent
- Beach tent
- Sleeping bag cover
- Protection against damp and cool soil from below (underlay)
- Picnic underlay
- For collecting rainwater
- Windbreaker Etc.
With these examples, you can see how varied the uses of a tarp are. You, too, can find out which function is best for you. However, please note that it may be necessary to use various additional materials to manufacture and ensure proper functionality.
What sizes are available?
The canvas size depends mainly on the number of people and luggage you want to put under your tarp. You should also pay attention to the height of people.
Also, the size depends on the shape of the tarp.
Most of the time, sellers indicate the tarp size in length x width in meters. But the information can also be given in cm. Rarely is the size shown as S for “small.” M for “medium,” L for “large,” or XL for “extra-large.”
I have found the most common sizes in my research:
- 3 x 3 meters
- 3.5 x 3.5 meters
- 4 x 4 meters
- 240 x 220 cm
- 285 x 300 cm
- 285 x 400 cm
- 295 x 300 cm
- 425 x 445 cm
- 3 x 2 meters
- 3 x 2.9 meters
- 3 x 3.5 meters
- 3 x 4 meters
- 3.6 x 3.6 x 3.6 meters
- 4 x 4 x 4 meters
- 5 x 5 x 5 meters
How much does a tarp cost?
The price of a tarp depends primarily on its size and shape. It also depends on what materials the canvas is made of and which manufacturer you choose.
You can get a simple little tarp for around € 20. Higher quality and larger tarps can cost you up to $ 300.
In some offers, accessories are already included. I advise you to check in advance what exactly is included in the price. If it is just the tarp itself, there will be an additional cost for the props.
Where can I buy a tarp?
As with any traditional tent, you can purchase tarps from various local specialty stores or any sporting goods store of your choice.
It is also possible to buy tarps online on Amazon, for example.
Also, on e-bay classifieds, it is possible to find a fair offer for a tarp. You can also find used tarps there if you don’t want to buy a new one.
Besides, discounters like Lidl, Aldi, etc., from time to time offer these tarps on a seasonal basis in their “Weekly Deals.”
What accessories do I need to make a tent?
If you decide to buy a tarp without any other accessories, you will need additional items to make a tent. In this paragraph, I give you an overview of what you need besides canvas to build a tent.
These ropes are necessary to give a good hold to your canvas. You can choose to use either a static rope or a paracord. This is purely a matter of taste, the most common variation being the paracord.
You can use different things as poles. On the one hand, it is possible to use professional poles (for example, telescopic poles) or hiking poles. On the other hand, you can use branches as poles for building your tent.
If your tarp does not have eyelets or if you need additional attachment points, I can recommend clips. You can easily attach them to your canvas. On the other side, you attach a carabiner, which you then connect with ropes.
This can be a useful accessory for building your tent if you are building with the clips described above. Plus, they can also help you use your tarp as a hammock.
Tent poles (Sardines)
If you don’t have sardines with you or don’t want to buy any, they can be replaced with sticks (sharp) or branches.
When buying tent poles, you should always pay attention to the surface for which they can be used. We recommend that you buy sardines, which can also be used on more hardened soil.
It is always useful to have a repair kit with you. If your tarp breaks, you can fix it anytime and keep using it without buying a new one.
If you want to camp in the wild with a tarp but don’t like being bitten by insects, I can recommend that you attach an extra mosquito net to your tarp. They can be purchased for around € 10 and protect you from normal-sized mosquitoes.
However, if you want to be protected from tiny insects, you should be aware that the fine mesh mosquito net can be quite expensive.
What are the different alternatives to classic tarp?
A tarp poncho is light and minimalist piece of equipment for hikers. You can use it as rain gear or as a shelter. It is mainly aimed at hikers with very light luggage, as it weighs only about 250 g. You can also use the poncho as a bag and carry your gear in it.
A pyramid-shaped shelter usually consists of an outer pyramid-shaped shell that can extend with a “nest” if necessary. A significant advantage of this tent construction is its wind stability.
The more corners your shelter has, the better it holds up even in windy conditions. On the other hand, it also means more weight because of the stakes you need to hang the tent.
A Tarp tent combines the advantages of a tent with those of a Tarp. It is a simple, single-walled tent. You can often find them with an asymmetrical shape. It has lightweight and is space-saving, but its construction usually requires more skill.
Tarp tents are generally just as waterproof as real tents. However, since they only have one wall, moisture can seep inside more quickly due to condensation.
A tent is not as light and space-saving as a tarp. Typically a tent consists of an inner canvas, through which the inner frame is threaded, and a top canvas. The advantage of tents is that they are easy to dismantle, move and transport.
Features to look out for before buying a tarp
A Tarp is light and space-saving version of a tent. But here, too, the weight can vary considerably. It always depends on the size of the canvas and the manufacturer.
Here, the rule is: the bigger it is, the heavier it is. In addition to this, you should also pay attention to the material used.
Tarp comes in different shapes, from triangular to hexagonal. However, the most common shapes are rectangular, square, or triangular. What form you choose in the end can only be decided by you. The following paragraphs should help you determine what shape to choose.
You can use the rectangular tarp in the most versatile way.
I recommend beginners use this form because it is the easiest way to build a bivouac shelter.
In principle, a square canvas can be used in the same way as a rectangular canvas. However, it does have the downside of losing area with different construction variations, which means it may be more difficult for tall people to use (e.g., too short of lying down entirely in the dry).
This form is very well suited as a sun veil or as a shelter in the rain. Turning a triangular tarp into a tent is quite tricky. Here you should already have some tarps building experience and some skills.
Of course, there are also various unique shapes in which tarps are available. We have summarized the most important ones in this section.
An asymmetrical cut is perfect for a hammock cover. The diagonal lying position is covered. In the event of light rain, these tarps are quite sufficient. However, as soon as it rains and thunderstorms are more severe, it becomes difficult to keep the equipment and hammock dry.
This form of tarp usually has slightly curved sides. When tying, this shape produces good tension. Folding the fabric is, therefore, almost impossible. This type of tarp forms lateral “points,” which constitute an additional surface of cover or protection.
4 seasons tarp
They offer protection all year round as they have extra fabric on the sides that can be folded up and secured. So the sides are closed. More privacy and splash protection are the advantages of these tarps.
It is also good to know under what weather conditions a tarp is designed. The most critical weather conditions are rain, snow, wind, and sun. The following points show you what to watch out for when buying and using your tarp.
Most tarps are designed to protect from the rain. The waterproofing of the different fabrics depends on the coating and the material used.
Note that some materials can expand when wet. You should also pay attention to how quickly the tarp dries.
In general, a tarp can be used in snow or the event of snowfall as soon as it is waterproof. However, when stretching the canvas, you have to make sure that it cannot sag quickly due to the snow’s weight. I recommend that you regularly remove the snow from the tarp and tighten it.
Wind / storm
A tarp is not very wind stable in most cases. For this reason, I recommend setting it up relatively flat in strong winds. It is best to let the side facing the wind go down to the ground so that the wind cannot easily pass under the shelter and there is no draft.
A tarp can also be used as a parasol or as an awning. It would be best if you verified that the material offers UV protection.
What is the origin of the use of tarps?
Originally, tarps were used as many other outdoor types of equipment by the military. They offer adequate protection against wind and bad weather. The military still uses this type of tent today because they are compact and easy to transport. They are mostly used for military purposes in khaki green or camouflage colors.