How To Choose The Best Hammock Tarp On The Market – Witty Camper’s Guide

One of the first lessons my father taught me about camping is that you should always think outside the box. He said: “Cindy, don’t settle for sleeping on the ground. Rise above others’ expectations. Sleep in a hammock”.

He is a funny man, and he packs his life lessons so smoothly, that I’m always intrigued by them.

However, I listened to his advice. I still go for a hammock rather than a tent.

the best hammock tarp

If you know a thing or two about hammock camping, you are well aware that although it is beautiful to lay in a hammock and stare at the stars, you have to set up a shelter at some point if you want to stay dry and safe.

Well, this is the moment when hammock tarps come in.

Today, I will help you choose the best hammock tarp on the market. I will stay true to the genius advice my father gave me, but I will incorporate them into the camping knowledge I gathered over the years.

Let’s begin!

How To Choose The Best Hammock Tarp?

the best hammock tarp

Choosing the best hammock tarp becomes much easier when you know what to look for. There are a few factors which will determine the quality of the tarp and whether it is the one for you or not.

I’ve learned the art of picking the best hammock tarp from an experienced hunter, and I am glad to share my knowledge with you.

Let’s dive in together:

​Size

As you know, hammock tarps come in different shapes and styles. Whichever you decide to choose, you have to keep in mind that size matters.

The rule of the thumb is following - your tarp needs to extend between 5-12 inches over each end of your hammock or shelter area. This way your ends will stay dry if it rains. If you neglect this rule, the ends might get wet, and water can seep into your hammock during the night.

I prefer to sleep in a 10-foot-long hammock. However, when set it up correctly, your hammock will sag which figuratively “shrinks” it length to just over 8 feet. In this case, a 12-foot long tarp will provide you with enough coverage.

Pro tip: I learned over the years that big tarps are ideal for bad weather, while smaller ones are better for sunny days. Big tarps offer you protection, but they are usually heavier and have limited ventilation, which leads to condensation. So, for optimal airflow in sunny weather, choose smaller tarps.


Style

As you start your search for the best hammock tarp, you will come across different shapes. Most commonly, campers and outdoor enthusiasts use hexagonal, rectangular, catenary and diamond (square) shape. Each one of these provides different coverage. Also, various shapes have different amounts of anchor points.

This is important for you because it will affect the ease and the convenience of the setup.

Make sure to find the one that will suit your needs regarding coverage space and comfort.


Material

Let me tell you a secret.

If you want the cheapest option that comes with tons of advantages, you should go to the hardware store. A blue polyethylene tarp can serve as a versatile shelter. They are very durable, and you can pick one for less than $10. If you have mean staking skills, you can build hundreds of different shelters out of it.

Unfortunately, there is a good reason why we invest in more expensive tarps. Blue plastic tarps are bulky and take up a lot of space, which makes them impractical for most of the campers. If you are a backpacker, this is probably a deal breaker for you.

When I was a child, we used to go car camping, so the bulkiness of these tarps wasn’t such a problem. However, I still remember the annoying noise this material made as we set it up and packed it back to our car. It was rather loud. This can be a problem when you are trying to sleep on a stormy night.

So, if you want to purchase the best hammock tarp, check if it is lightweight.

Today, the silnylon (ridgeline) tarps are the most popular kind. They are a bit more expensive but surprisingly light, and they offer excellent durability. Additionally, ridgeline tarps are waterproof.

If you can get a tarp that cuts down on the weight and space significantly while providing the same protection, why wouldn’t you invest a few bucks more?


Durability

All of the other aspects of the hammock tarp could be ideal – size, shape, price - but if it is not durable, it is not worth a buy.

You are purchasing something that is supposed to protect you from rain, snow, sun, and wind. This means it has to be sturdy. Waterproof and tear resistant features of the fabric are absolutely necessary.

The finest quality hammock tarps will barely show any effects of wear, even after it has been used in harsh weather conditions. The fabric should also dry on the sunlight and clean easily because your water and soap resources will probably be limited once you set your campsite.

Top 5 Hammock Tarps On The Market – My 2018 Reviews

Now that you know what to look for in hammock tarps you are ready see the best models on the markets. I tried all of them out for you, and I will use that experience to point out their good sides and their flaws.

Let’s begin!

Hennessy is here to present you their amazing, 70D PU-coated polyester ripstop rainfly. It works with all of their hammock models and provides generous protection from sun, wind, and rain. The rainfly is hexagon shaped, and it is 139x108” large. You’ll have to invest a few more bucks to purchase this bad boy, but you won’t regret your decision.

What I really liked about this hex fly is its versatility. It can be pulled down all the way to the ground for added protection, but it can also be pitched between two hammocks to create a perfect work marquee. It is lightweight, compact and has useful pockets for the ropes. I camped in the woods during heavy snow, and Hennessy tarp held out perfectly.

On the other hand, I have to admit, once you pack it, it can be a bit bulky. It is quite large, so you’ll have to figure out how to put it up on your own. In my opinion, the cords are too thin, so I would recommend you to bring a replacement or purchase thicker ones.

Things I like

  • check
    It is lightweight and packs away easily.
  • check
    It holds up great even during heavy snow.
  • check
    The pockets for the ropes are beyond useful.
  • check
    It is durable.

​Things I don't like

  • It is a bit bulky.
  • It might be larger than you expect.
  • The cords could be thicker. 

If you are looking for a quick and affordable camping solution, Bear Butt double hammock tarp is the model you should consider. It measures 12’ 10” down the middle and 9’ 4” on the sides, which makes it extra spacious. You don’t have to worry, Bear Butt’s model is made of waterproof polyester fabric that will keep you dry in rainy weather and cool in hot, sunny days.

My favorite thing about this tarp is the fact it comes with all of the necessary equipment. You will get the needed line and two metal stakes to secure it. Also, it is lightweight, and it can be easily packed in your backpack. As I said, it is ideal for the spur-of-the-moment trips, as you can set it up within minutes, by simply swinging it over the hammock and securing it to the same trees or posts.

Unfortunately, this rainfly can be used only in the diamond setup so that you won’t have many options in your hands. Also, I would like it to be a bit bigger and more durable.

Things I like

  • check
    The price is fantastic.
  • check
    It comes in five different colors.
  • check
    It comes with the needed line and two stakes.
  • check
    The seams don’t leak.
  • check
    It is lightweight.

​Things I don't like

  • The tarp can be used only in the diamond setup.
  • The material is thin and doesn’t seem too durable.
  • It could be a bit bigger. 

There is no doubt I like Chill Gorilla models, so I decided to present two of them. The first one is 10’ tarp with a square design. This lightweight, tear and puncture resistant rainfly has 170” long diagonal centerline. That is a lot of coverage space! It comes with nine tie-down loops, stakes, ropes and tensioners.  Also, if you register on their website, this product will be covered with free Chill Gorilla’s no-hassle warranty.

I was astonished how lightweight and handy this hammock tarp is. It has multiple anchoring points, and the set up can be done in minutes. It is reliable, and it will keep you dry. It even comes with a rainproof gear sack, which means you’ll have no problem taking it on trips in rainy weather. Chill Gorilla’s square tarp is ideal for backpackers and above all – affordable.

Unfortunately, it is not compatible with other Chill Gorilla products, such as their bug netting. Also, the grommets are made of aluminum, and they are too soft, so I recommend you to buy sturdier replacements. At last, the material might leak on the seams.

Things I like

  • check
    It is affordable and versatile.
  • check
    The instructions are clear.
  • check
    It is spacious and easy to set up.
  • check
    It is compact and great for backpackers.

​Things I don't like

  • The tarp is not compatible with other Chill Gorilla products (e.g., bug netting).
  • The grommets are too soft, and it might leak.
  • The center tie might be off center.

If you prefer hex tarps over square ones, Chill Gorilla still has you covered. Just like the previous model, this one as well comes with free, no-hassle warranty. It is made of polyurethane-treated ripstop nylon, which makes it highly durable and truly waterproof. This hammock tarp is about 20% larger than other brands’ models, which means you will have sufficient coverage, wherever you go.

I decided to go hard on Chill Gorilla’s hex tarp, so I took it out in awful weather conditions. The rain was pouring for hours! Amazingly, there was no drip or my hammock. Even though there was some condensation, which was expected, I remained completely dry.  Other than that, you’ll get a lightweight, practical rainfly that dries quickly and can be set up even quicker.

However, the material is a bit heavy, which means you might want to reconsider if you are a backpacker. Also, the stuff sack is pretty tight, and if you don’t fold the tarp correctly, it probably won't fit in it. At last, I noticed some fraying on the edges, which means it is not as durable as expected.

Things I like

  • check
    The shape provides excellent coverage.
  • check
    It is lightweight and super easy to set up.
  • check
    It will protect you from both rain and condensation.
  • check
    It dries quickly in sunlight.

​Things I don't like

  • There might be some fraying on the edges.
  • The stuff sack could be a bit larger.
  • The material is pretty heavy.

If you want a genuinely lightweight hammock tarp, Eagles Nest Outfitters is here to offer their ProFly rain tarp. Weighing only 22 ounces, this tarp is easy to pack, fold in a backpack and store away once you are back from your adventure. It is made of polyurethane-treated 210D ripstop nylon, which offers excellent durability and amazing water-shedding capabilities.

ENO’s tarp has extra-long tie outs and six points to connect, which gives you more opportunity to set it up wherever you want and feel completely secure underneath it. Also, it offers the best balance between coverage and footprint. At least, its stuff sack has a clever design which makes pulling the tarp out much easier.  

However, it is a bit expensive when compared to other models I presented today. Also, its price is even higher, when you take into account the fact that it doesn’t come with the stakes. You have to buy them separately. In my opinion, the material doesn’t seem sturdy enough; it is too thin which might indicate flimsiness.

Things I like

  • check
    The tarp is entirely waterproof.
  • check
    Line tie outs are extra-long.
  • check
    The stuff sack has a line you can grab to pull the tarp out easily.
  • check
    It has a fantastic balance between coverage and footprint.
  • check
    The cord management system makes the set up much more straightforward.

​Things I don't like

  • Stakes are sold separately.
  • It is expensive.
  • It doesn’t seem sturdy enough.

Conclusion

the best hammock tarp

Don’t worry.

You won’t make a mistake, whichever hammock tarp among these five you choose. I selected the best ones on the market, and all of them offer excellent performance.

You won’t make a mistake, whichever hammock tarp among these five you choose. I selected the best ones on the market, and all of them offer excellent performance.

The most important thing is to stay dry on rainy days and cool in sunny ones, and all of the tarps fulfill this requirement.

However, the rain fly that ultimately won me over is - Chill Gorilla 10' Hammock Waterproof Rain Fly Tent Tarp.

It is square shaped, which makes it more versatile. It is incredibly spacious, which means I can share it with my friends or use it to protect my gear. Also, it is affordable, which is quite essential for the outdoors enthusiast like me, who purchases new camping equipment more often than new clothes.

I hope you’ll find this guide helpful and you will quickly select the best hammock tarp for yourself. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll be happy to hear your opinions.

I hope you’ll find this guide helpful and you will quickly select the best hammock tarp for yourself. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll be happy to hear your opinions.

What are you waiting for?

Grab your hammock and your new tarp and head out to your new adventure!

Cindy Herrera
 

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: