lightweight camping-tarps

i would like to lighten the load some an add some versatility–thinkin about buying the macat tarp—anybody use this or have a different tarp recomendation==thanks for your thoughts—phil


I personally use a Cooke’s and don’t hammock much. also have an old Walrus Aero or sumthin’ like that. not as lite as the Cookes


Check out

Yup! Second de Cooke’s sil-nylon tarp

Integral designs
… has several nice tarps of various configurations.

Integral Designs
I’ve used an Integral Designs SilTarp 8x10 for years. It packs up to almost nothing and weighs 14 ounces.

I’ve also used a Snow Peak Penta tarp, which doesn’t pack as tightly, weighs a bit more (1.9 pounds), but it can quickly be set-up using a kayak paddle. A big plus at some campsites.

just bought
the Speer Winter Tarp 10x11’ 16 oz… I chose that one because of the layout of the tieouts which allows you to close the ends into a makeshift tent.

Etowah Gear
10 X 14

Regardless of the size you pick, SilNylon is a great lightweight tarp material. look for versitility in setup…don’t just settle for edge tieouts, and choose loops over eyelets that may pull loose.

I’ve used several different kinds. I’ve got the large kelty sunshade. It’s heavy!! But it works really well on the beach where there are no trees to tie to. You do have to do some out of the box thinking to pack it in your kayak. I’ve got plenty of the el-cheapo tarps that you buy from walmart. They’re also heavy and don’t fold up small at all. I’ve got a 12 x 12 silnylon tarp that I made. It stuffs into a very small bag (also made it) weights next to nothing. I put tie outs on it at about every two feet, used kelty tent rope with the reflector tape in it. The light weight stuff. This type of tarp is very handy and easy to arrange into different configuations. And a whole lot cheaper to make than to buy, found fabric here Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics And I just ordered a tarp from Bargain Outfiters called a Gear Guide 12x12 that’s really cheap, haven’t got it yet to say how good it is.

There is a lot of info in the Tarp section in the Hammock Forum:

another link
more than you ever want to know about tarps:

I use
a WXtex sil tarp

Lightweight Tarps
Kelty Noah’s Tarp…come in several sizes, have tie points and grommets all along the edges, and tie points in the middle as well. Very light, packs small, comes with 4 lightweight cords and 4 stakes

Carry about 50’ of parachute cord and just use your imagination to rig it for the situation.

Cookes vs McCat
I have a 10x10 and a 15x15 Cookes, bioth in urethane-coated rip-stop. I plan on ordering a McCat this spring.

Flat tarps such as the Cookes are the champions of versatility. They can be adapted to virtually any configuration from high and airy to low and weatherproof. That is their forte’.

My plan for the McCat is for my Hennessey Hammock. I want more coverage than that provided by the standard diamond-shaped fly. Some use McCats with trekking poles which apparently works well.

McCats, MSR wings, Kelty wings etc are great for quick set-up but are not as versatile as flat tarps IMO.

Choose your tool for teh job at hand.


tarps links

MEC Guide Tarp
Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op has a Guide tarp - got one about five years ago, around $80 CDN - when you hear me say it’s the best $80 we ever spent on outdoor gear you’ll know how good it is :->))

Light, tough, very versatile - real good value for the money.

Even Solo I take 2 tarps …
I have my 10 x 14 cooke custom sewing I try to place over my fire pit. Rain protection and great for gathering smoke from my smudge to keep insects away when cooking or relaxing. Very light and tough, extremly water repellent sil-nylon. I also put up a Kelty tarp, I think like 9x9. It is not as water repelent as my Cooke, but it is very good and tough. I put a hammock under that. They take up very little space in my pack, and do not require really good canp sites, it just need to have a few trees, and need not be level. The ease of put up and take down is a snap.