A bushcraft tarp is one of the most important backpacking or camping gears for backpackers. I’ve been backpacking and bushcrafting for more than a decade and I always found a tarp easier and more useful than a camping tent. It’s much lighter and makes it easier for you to carry it around in your backpack for long hours while covering long distances by feet.
Most tarps are so light that you sometimes won’t feel that you’re carrying one. Moreover, these tarps protect you and your belongings from harsh weather conditions.
If you’re thinking about switching from tent to camping tarps, this review guide is going to be so beneficial for you. Here you can find your best bushcraft tarp from the five highest-quality tarps I’ve reviewed below.
Besides, you’ll find a buying guide at the end which I’ve included to simplify your shopping. We have tested and tried all these tarps to make sure that you get the best value for your money.
Why You Need a Bushcraft Tarp
A bushcraft tarp keeps you dry and safe when you’re out backpacking or camping in the wilderness where you might encounter rain or heavy winds. These tarps are mostly used for setting up a rain-shelter over a hammock.
The main reason you may need a bushcraft tarp is to stay dry. Getting wet will increase your chances of having hypothermia. Also, if your outdoor gears get wet, they become less useful. You must stay dry to stay healthy and alive in places with lack of resources.
Your bushcraft tarp will also protect you from other elements of weather including the cold and wind. These elements can cause serious health issues while staying in the wilderness.
Bushcraft Tarp: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Your bushcraft tent needs to withstand heavy weather sometimes. They will be exposed to some wear and tear when you drag them around through woods. Hence you must make sure that it’s resilient to natural forces and durable. It’s better to spend some extra bucks for a long lasting tarp than going for a cheaper option that would last only for a few months.
2. Ease of Setup
Sometimes you may end up making a camp in the dark woods during your hiking. You may not have enough time or resources to set your shelter up. You should ensure that your tarp has an easy setup for difficult situations with limited resources.
3. Compactness & Weight
Your tarp is one of the most important equipment in your survival kit in the wild. It should be lightweight and shouldn’t take much space in your backpack so that you can carry it for long hours. The weight and compactness of your bushcraft tarp depends mostly on its size and fabric. Square tents tend to be big and heavy.
4. Water Resistance
Outdoor conditions and weather can be volatile at times. Rain is a common problem for an outdoorsy person and their belongings. In such cases, you need a waterproof tarp to keep your things dry. Most bushcraft tents are waterproof, although some are more resistant to water than the others. Treatments and coatings on the tent material also make the tarp water-resistant.
Depending on what type of setup you’ll use and what you’ll do with your bushcraft tarp shelter, versatility is a major factor to look out for. It should have reinforced webbing ties-loops, corner pocket, center loops for overhead hanging etc. Consider a tarp that suits all your setup needs.
Some tent materials tend to make certain noises. If it’s something that may bother you at night or any time when you use your bushcraft tarp, you can consider getting one that is less noisy.
Size is a very important factor to consider when you buy the best bushcraft tent. However, it depends on individual preferences. These tarps are found in different sizes. Choose small or big sizes according to your need. If you need a tarp for a single person, you may get 8×5 to 8×10 ft tarp. For two people, 8×10 or 10×10 feet will be a comfortable option.
As far as the shape of a bushcraft tarp is concerned, you can find different shapes including rectangular, square-shaped, and hexagonal ones. Rectangular tarps can be a protection for a tent or sleeping bag while the square ones work best as a protection for your campsite and equipment.
A decent bushcraft tarp is made from good quality fabric. The material of the fabric should be able to withstand various weather elements. You’ll find most tarps with waterproofing coats and rip-stop technology. Choose one that is equipped with these features. Some manufacturers prefer vinyl or polyethylene nowadays to make the tarps less bulky.
Another factor to consider when buying a bushcraft tarp is whether it comes as a complete kit or package. While some tarps come with all the necessary things for setup, others lack some accessories which will require you to buy them separately with extra dollars.
11. Attachment Points
The durability of your tarp will also depend on how many attachment points it has. The more anchor points it has, the more secure the tarp will be against strong winds. Also, you’ll be able to configure the tarp to different shelter styles according to your need. Get a tarp with at least 6 to 10 attachment loops.
You may expect to get a good bushcraft tarp within a range between $35 to $200.
Why Should You Use a Bushcraft Tarp?
Camping or backpacking with a bushcraft tarp allows you to go to nearly inaccessible areas. Depending on the distance, terrain, your comfort, and weather, you can decide how much weight you’ll carry. A tarp is lighter than most other backpacking shelters and easier to carry. That is why it’s a favorite equipment for most traditional campers and backpackers.
You can cover more distances in a shorter time when you carry a bushcraft tarp shelter in your backpack. Most tarps are waterproof and strong enough to withstand heavy winds. It keeps you protected from rain and other weather elements. You should consider the potential weather and terrain before selecting your tarp.
Our Top 5 Best Bushcraft Tarp
1. Best Overall: Aqua Quest Defender Tarp
The Aqua Quest Defender Tarp, as the name suggests, defends you from different weather elements and even some bugs! This is a heavy-duty tarp that is made with high-quality 70D nylon fabric. Compared to other tarps in this price point, this tarp is more durable and will serve you for several years.
It has two heavy TPU + DWR waterproof coatings which provides extra security. You can spend a whole day of intense rain under this tarp and still remain fully dry. This coating also facilitates fast water beading. So water runs off the tarp quickly and you can easily fold and store it without wasting any time.
Since it dries faster than similar tarp shelters, it doesn’t have any mildew smell after long use like the low-quality cheaper tarps. The setup of this tarp is also fairly easy.
We were really impressed with its 20,000 mm hydrostatic resistance. It’s also extremely versatile, thanks to its more than 20 reinforced tie-loops. You can use it for several purposes other than bushcrafting for camping. You can also use it in your vehicle, hovercraft, or ATV.
This tarp is a bit heavier compared to other models. However, given the price and functionality, the weight is a petty issue for it. It’s also backed by an awesome lifetime warranty!
- Sizes: 10×7, 10×10, 13×10, 15×15
- Weight: 2.4, 3.3, 4, 7.2 pounds
- Total Coverage: 64, 92, 122, 213 sq ft
- No. of Tie Outs: 21, 19, 25, 37
- Hydrostatic Resistance: 20,000 mm
- Waterproof Coatings: Heavy TPU + DWR
- Fabric: 70D Nylon
- Two waterproof coatings
- Dries quickly
- Extra security with reinforced tie-out loops
- Includes a lightweight and spacious storage bag
- Lifetime warranty
- Relatively heavy
All in all, the Aqua Quest Defender Tarp is an excellent choice when it comes to reliability, versatility, and quality. It will keep you safe and dry even in heavy rain. It will definitely be a great addition to your backpacking or camping gears. Moreover, it’s a great value for money product. We give this tarp a big thumbs up!
2. Runner-Up: REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp
The REDCAMP is a multipurpose bushcraft tarp that you can use for various outdoor activities. You can effectively use it as a backpacking bushcraft tarp as well as a rain tarp-shelter. You can also simply use it as a sun shelter at your camping site or even as a blanket for your picnic.
This is one of those few tarps that fully satisfied us with its protection against all types of weather elements. It has a waterproof rating of PU 2000mm which provides extra protection against heavy rain. It’s quite unusual for an entry-level tarp to feature such a high water-resistance rating.
Moreover, this tarp is made of strong 210T polyester fabric that makes it extremely durable. The six eyelets are also rustproof to add to its durability. The army green color makes it quite eye-catching too.
Similar to most other models, this camping tarp comes with a storage bag, pegs, and ropes. You can use the given tent poles for building up your shelter or even form it into a bushcraft shelter.
It comes in different sizes and weights. The 10 × 12 ft tarp weighs only two pounds and takes up only a little space in your backpack. You can fold it down in such a compact size that it will easily fit into the drawstring pouch.
- Size: 10 × 12 ft
- Weight: 2 Pounds
- Open Size: 118″ x 141.7″/300 x 360cm
- Compressed Size: 5″ x 10″/13 x 26cm
- No. of Tie Outs: 6
- Waterproof Rating: PU 2000mm
- Fabric: 210T Polyester
- Durable and rust-proof eyelets
- Available in different sizes
- Great water resistance
- A bit shorter size than advertised
The REDCAMP camping tarp is an awesome option for bushcrafting in the wilderness. It’s going to work well for any of your outdoor camping and especially bush crafting. REDCAMP is already a very popular brand for manufacturing camping products and they live up to their name for this waterproof tarp. If you intend to use your tarp for two persons only, you can choose it without any second thought.
3. Great Value: Free Soldier Bushcraft Tarp
The Free Soldier bushcraft tarp is a great budget choice. It boasts high-quality and heavy stitching to ensure that you’re completely safe and dry during heavy winds and rains. There is an orange trim that gives it an overall nice touch and also makes it more visible at night.
This tarp features a great waterproof coating of 2500 PU. The 210T rip-stop polyester fabric makes it quite durable too. This material also makes it puncture-proof and tear-resistant. However, with 2.2 pounds of weight, this model is a bit on the heavier side.
The stuff sack and suspension cord included with the tarp are of decent quality too. It comes with 10 attachment points. So you are offered countless configuration options to get the setup you prefer. You can use this multi-functional tarp as a tarp-shelter, a rainfly, a sun shelter, or a groundsheet.
Additionally, the mounting and setup of this tarp is also pretty with the 9 guy lines and 5 grommet points. There is also a reinforced connector to prevent it from sliding off.
What we love about this tarp is that you can close it for extra protection during heavy winds. This feature will also help you to keep warm on a chilly night.
- Open Size: 118″ × 126″
- Weight: 2.12 pounds
- No. of Tie Outs: 19
- Waterproof Rating: 2500 PU
- Fabric: 210T ripstop polyester
- Guy Lines: 4
- UV Protection: Yes
- Plenty of setup configurations with 10 attachment points
- Easy to use
- Large coverage
- Very affordable
- Relatively heavy
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bushcraft tarp with large coverage, the Free Soldier tarp is an ideal choice for you. It’s an awesome two-person bushcraft tarp. With decent waterproofing properties and a rustic brown color, it’s become a best-seller on Amazon. It might not be very light but considering the price and quality ratio, it’s a steal.
4. Compact Choice: Sanctuary Bushcraft SilTarp
The Sanctuary Bushcraft SilTarp is a top-rated choice among the outdoor enthusiasts. It’s one of the most compact tarps in the market today. It impressed us the most with its function as a rain tarp shelter.
This bushcraft tarp is designed for keeping you during rain and snow. It’s made of 30 denier rip-stop nylon fabric material with a dual coating of silicon and PU. This coating makes it 100% waterproof. Besides, it has fully-taped seams that prevent the tarp from wear and tear.
It’s also one of the lightest tarps. With a size of 10 x 7/5 feet, it weighs only 14 oz. Moreover, it offers 13 attachment points that allows you to get a huge number of configuration setups.
You’ll love that this Sanctuary tarp comes as a whole package. You don’t need to pay extra for any accessory. It includes a reflective guy line, micro line lock adjusters, and six aluminum stakes. It also comes with a stuff-sack to keep all these accessories.
However, it can be a bit difficult to adjust the line tensioners. If you have your own stakes, you can replace these stakes with your own.
You never have to worry about the durability of this high-quality tarp. The manufacturers also offer a lifetime warranty, so you’re all sorted in case there is any issue.
- Size: 10 x 7/5 feet
- Weight: 14 oz.
- No. of Tie Outs: 13
- Hydrostatic Resistance: 5,000 mm
- Guy Lines: 12 pieces, 1.5 mm
- Waterproof Coatings: Dual silicon/PU
- Loops: 6 perimeter
- Fabric: 30 denier ripstop nylon
- Ultra lightweight
- Unlimited flexibility
- Easy to carry
- Durable fabric
- Lifetime warranty
- Adjusting the line tensioners can be a bit difficult
If you’re particularly looking for a compact and super lightweight backpacking tarp, then look no further than the Sanctuary Bushcraft SilTarp. It offers you infinite configurations to give you your preferred setup. It’s so simple to use and can be a great option for hobbyists and starters. We recommend you use this tarp as a rain shelter at your campsite.
5. Most Durable Choice: Kelty Noah’s 9 Tarp Sun Shelter
Kelty Noah’s tarp comes in four different sizes. This one is super strong and will smoothly last for years. It’s made of no-snag coated 68D polyester and comes with fully-taped seam construction.
The 9-feet tarp weighs only 1.95 pounds, which makes it more suitable for camping. There are attached guy lines that let you secure the tarp onto trees. It has a total of 12 attachment points which makes it versatile and an all-rounder. You can take it for your hiking or use it as a sun shelter at a car camping or festival.
This tarp is moderately waterproof with an improved 800mm hydrostatic head rating. It might not survive a flood but it’s one of the most weather-proof bushcraft tarps. You can pitch this tarp tight whenever the weather becomes foul.
Unlike the Sanctuary Bushcraft SilTarp, this tarp has a tie-ins loop to extend the tarp’s edges off. Moreover, there are four smartly-engineered unique pockets at each corner of the tarp where you can store the rope’s length and other small items.
We love the roll-top stuff bag in which it comes. It fits well into any backpack and easy to use as well. Although it can be pretty noisy at harsh weather conditions, it’s quite common for most bushcraft tarps.
- Size: 9 feet
- Open Size: 108 x 108 x 81 inches
- Compressed Size: 10 x 9 x 3 inches
- Weight: 1.95 pounds
- Total Coverage: 81 ft2 / 7.53 m2
- No. of Tie Outs: 12
- Hydrostatic rating: 800 mm
- Fabric: 68D Polyester
- Extremely durable
- Improved hydrostatic rating
- Quality construction
- Good coverage
- Plenty of tie out points
- Can be a bit loud
- Moderately waterproof
Overall, the Kelty Noah’s tarp provides you a pretty good coverage at such a reasonable price and good weight. It’s an excellent option for a variety of uses. It’s well-designed and pretty easy to use. If durability is your biggest concern, this tarp will be the best choice for you. It’s designed and made with high-quality materials to last for a long time.
It’s Time to Wrap Up
After going through this detailed review guide, I believe that it’ll be easier for you to find the best bushcraft tarp. The above reviews will also help you compare between different tarps available in the market today.
If you’re still in any dilemma, I’ll personally recommend you to go with the Aqua Quest Defender Tarp. No other bushcraft tarp shelter can defeat it when it comes to quality and durability. If you’re camping alone or with one person only, you can also choose the very compact Sanctuary Bushcraft SilTarp.
I hope you have already found your perfect camping gear. It’s time to bid goodbye to the heavy camping tents and enjoy an easier camping style with the lightweight bushcraft tarps. Happy trails!
- 1. What is the weight of a bushcraft tarp?
Ans: A bushcraft tarp’s weight depends on its size and fabric material. You’ll find plenty of lightweight options in the market, starting from only two ounces. These are ideal choices for backpackers. However, the very strong and heavy-duty tarps are usually heavier in weight since they are typically made of polyester. They can weigh around a couple of pounds or more.
- 2. What is the best fabric for a tarp?
Ans: Nylon is the most popular fabric choice for bushcraft tarps. It’s one of the best too. It’s also lighter than polyester fabrics. However, polyester is stronger for harsh weather conditions. It’s also better when it comes to stretch, water resistance, and UV.
- 3. What are the best coating options for these tarps?
Ans: The common coatings for bushcraft tarps are either polyurethane (PU) or silicon. Polyurethane(PU) coatings are ideal tarp treatments for long-term survival and tough weather conditions. These coatings tend to be heavier and harder. In contrast, silicon coating makes the fabric more tear and water resistant. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is another lesser-known tarp coating which offers even better features but it’s more expensive.
- 4. What is the best shape for a bushcraft tarp?
Ans: Rectangular bushcraft tarps are the most versatile ones. A square tarp is also good and it’s better for covering your belongings. You’ll also find many bushcraft tarps with special shapes and designs. However, they aren’t worth the tradeoff for emergencies.
- 5. Can a bushcraft tarp be used as a tent-footprint?
Ans: Yes. You can’t turn tent-footprints into backpacking or camping tarps but a bushcraft tarp can definitely be turned into a tent-footprint. Just lay your tarp under the tent on your ground. Make sure you don’t extend the tarp much from the tent’s edge because it will gather water when it rains.
- 6. Where should I set up the trap?
Ans: You must consider windbreaks and water drainage before you set up your bushcraft tarp. When you are using a tarp, you will typically not have a floor. So you must avoid any water flow from the campsite. You should look for a place that is sheltered enough to protect you from different weather elements.