Have you decided to use a hammock this year instead of a tent? Using a hammock can offer many advantages to backpackers. It is quite comfortable to sleep in a hammock instead of just an air mattress. And it is also very fun!
However, you will also want to purchase a cheap or lightweight hammock tarp in order to protect yourself against the wind and the rain. When you begin using a hammock tarp, you’ll wonder why you have never done this before. Here are two of the best hammock tarps comparison:
Best Hammock Tarps
Advantages of Using a Hammock Tarp
Dry and warm:
Laying on your hammock will not protect you against the rain or the wind. But having a hammock tarp will protect you against the elements.
Saves on costs:
Purchasing a good tent can be very costly. Hammock tarps are generally very affordable, and all of the tarps listed here are of high quality. Another unexpected advantage to a cheap hammock tarp is the fact that you can use it as a regular tarp for any other purpose. For example, if you choose to go camping in a tent one day, you can lay your hammock tarp on your tent ground.
Good for lightweight backpacking:
Taking a tent with you while backpacking can be a huge hassle. Most of the time, a regular tent will not fit into your backpack. Backpackers usually tend to purchase bivy tents, but they do not offer much room under the rain. Having a hammock and hammock tarp can be much more comfortable, and is just as light as a bivy tent.
Great for cooking:
While it is difficult to find shelter for outdoor cooking, a hammock tarp can provide the perfect shelter against the rain.
Enjoy your campfire:
It is difficult to place a campfire near a tent, as embers can fly and damage the tent walls. Using a hammock tarp makes it much easier to get your campfire a bit closer to you. Even if embers fly cause a little bit of damage, you can simply patch up the tarp with some duct tape.
Easy to pack up:
While it can take up to an hour to take down a tent and pack it up, hammock tarps take only a few minutes. This way, you can take more time to enjoy nature instead of messing with your gear.
Disadvantages of a Hammock Tarp
Some skill is required: You may need to practice putting up your hammock tarp before you even go on your camping adventure. But after you know exactly how you’re doing this, it is actually quicker to put up than a tent.
No bug protection: You will not be fully protected from bugs as you would with a tent.
Not fully protected against the elements: While having a hammock tarp provides some protection against the cold and rain, it will not fully protect you.
How to Choose the Best Hammock Tarps
Choose a hammock tarp that is about 3 times larger than the size of your hammock. This is because you will need to fold it on the sides and use up a bit of material. You also want to choose a tarp that extends about 12 inches beyond the ends of your hammock.
The guy lines will need to be at least 6 feet long. This will ensure that there is enough space under the tarp.
If you’re going to be camping in seasons other than the spring or the summer, choose an all-season tarp. Winter tarps have flaps on both ends in order to provide extra protection from the wind and snow. They are also thicker, so they will be better at protecting against the cold.
A larger tarp will be able to give you better privacy. Just remember that they will be heavier in your backpack. They will also require some extra practice to put up, as they will require you to put down stakes.
Top Hammock Tarps for Backpacking
Kelty Noah’s Tarp Shelter
Sizes: Comes in 3 size options – 9, 12 and 16 feet
The Kelty Noah’s tarp is great as a hammock tarp, as well as for regular shelter use. It comes in three size options: 9, 12, or 16 feet. The largest one can hold an entire picnic table. But the 12-foot lightweight hammock tarp is comfortable for two people to sit in. If you are just going to be using a hammock by yourself, the 9-foot tarp is enough.
The Kelty Noah’s tarp is perhaps one of the most popular tarp shelters being sold today. Perhaps one of the best advantages of this tarp is the fact that it is very lightweight. For even the lightest weight backpacking adventure, this one will meet your needs.
Although the manufacturer states that this tarp is water-resistant, customers of this product have noted that it is a completely rain proof hammock. This tarp will withstand the heaviest torrential rains without a leak. The taped seams help to prevent water breaches, making it even more protection against rain.
To enhance the quality of this product, it has reinforced guy line points in order to prevent rips. It also has adjustable corner guy lines, making it very versatile.
- The Ultimate Wilderness Wingman: Whether you’re setting up at camp, the RV park, or on a river trip, Noah’s Tarp is an essential and capable piece of your kit. This simple shelter comes in three sizes, throwing shade for groups of 1 to 16.
Sanctuary SilTarp – Ultralight and Waterproof Ripstop Silnylon Tarp
Dimensions: 10 x 8 feet
The silnylon material of this tarp makes it one of the most waterproof tarps that you can find. It is technically a higher quality product than other hammock tarps. It also comes at a slightly higher price point but is well worth the price.
The nylon material of this tarp is coated with silicone, which provides better hydro-static resistance. This is the part that makes it more rain proof hammock. It is also ‘ripstop’ nylon, meaning that it will withstand rips with heavy usage.
With this product comes the full set of necessary essentials for setting it up. It comes with a 60-foot reflective guy line, 6 micro-lock adjusters and 6 aluminum stakes.
The Sanctuary SilTarp lightweight hammock tarp also comes with its own attractive carry case so that you can quickly store it away while you are backpacking. It is extremely lightweight at only 95 ounces. With the full kit included, it only weighs 20.5 ounces. Even the smallest Kelty Noah’s tarp weighs 28 ounces when it is packaged. But the Sanctuary SilTarp is extremely lightweight so that you do not have to worry about adding extra pounds to your backpack.
- ►WATERPROOF - The 30 denier ripstop nylon has a silicon/PU dual-coating and fully taped seams, providing 5,000 mm of hydro-static resistance. You can be sure you'll stay bone dry in any weather!
Go Outfitters Apex Hammock Tarp
Weight: 21 ounces; 29 ounces with accessories
Dimensions: 11″ x 9″5′
The Go Outfitters Apex hammock tarp is a higher quality product that comes with bells and whistles. This is a full-purpose kit with all of the stakes and guy ropes that you will need to set up over a hammock.
Perhaps one of the best things about the Go Outfitters Apex is the fact that it has 21 tie-off loops. This allows for great versatility. You will be able to tie this tarp off in many different ways. This can also enhance the weather protection of your hammock tarp. Each of the tie-off attachments is reinforced to prevent tears.
Since this is a high-quality product, it is made of a 70D polyester fabric. This fabric is coated with polyurethane to make it a completely rain proof hammock. Nothing will get through this thing, even in torrential rains. To make it even more waterproof, the ridgeline is professionally seamed with permanent waterproofing tape.
This hammock tarp is big enough to use over a picnic table, a few chairs, and of course your hammock.
The Go Outfitters Apex Hammock tarp was started during a Kickstarter campaign for hammocks. A lot of passion was thrown into this enterprise, and we fully support it. Aside from the fact that it is a high-quality product at a great price, every time somebody purchases this product, it gives one person in need some potable water for a year.
Best 4 season Hammock Tarp
An all-season or 4 season hammock tarp will help you go camping on a whim at any time of the year. This kind of tarp is essential if you’re going to be out in the winter or in the fall and needs to be sheltered against the cold winds. Winter trips tend to have flaps on both ends to protect against the elements. Below is the very best all-season hammock tarp that we could find.
Eagles Nest Outfitters HouseFly Rain Tarp
We love this 4 season hammock tarp for the fact that it allows you to escape into the wilderness at any time of the year. Like any high-quality tarp, this one comes with a silicone coating over its nylon fabric. This creates extra waterproofing so that you do not get wet while you are out in the cold.
With its thick material, it will protect you against the cold. But it also protects you against the wind with its flaps on each end. These are large flaps that are overlapping, so nothing will get through. These flaps (or doors) are completely stowable, so they will not get in the way when you do not want them to.
Because this hammock tarp is so large, you can use it in the summer to protect yourself against the warm sun. But apart from using it for above your hammock, it can also double as a regular tarp shelter. Under this tarp, you can place your equipment or offer your pets a way to stay out of the sunlight.
- WATERPROOF & UV PROTECTION - Hammock Camping Tarp made of 210T ripstop polyester fabric with 2500 PU waterproof rating, enhanced the shelter's waterproof function and offers long-lasting protection, strengthen tear resistant & puncture resistant material without any worries. FREE SOLDIER Backpacking Tarp also can be put up as awning is effectively for blocking ultraviolet ray and protect your skin from the sun.
Which One Should I Choose?
We would highly recommend any one of the hammock tarps above. Each of them can be used for multiple purposes, not just for placing it above your hammock. All of these tarps are completely waterproof and are of high quality. You might decide on which tarp to purchase to get based on the dimensions. If you need an all-season tarp, we would definitely choose the one made by Eagles Nest Outfitters.
In any case, we would be happy to provide any assistance we can with your choice of a hammock tarp. Please leave your question below in the comments section, and we will respond as soon as possible.