What size tarp

Looking at getting a square/rectangular tarp for car and kayak camping. So something that will cover a picnic table for cooking in the rain or be used over the tent or by itself.

I was thinking of maybe a 12’x12’ nylon and then maybe getting a smaller ultralight one eventually. What do you all find useful? Thanks.

Right on with my thinking and practice.
And just like boats themselves, there are never too many.



graduated to a 15x15
For many years I used a 10x10 Sierra Designs tarp, then when it lost it’s waterproofness I invested in a Cookes 10x10. Great tarp, colorful, superbe workmanship. But it just adequately covers a picnic table, and if the rain is horizontal it leaves you and friends huddling ON the picnic table.

Earlier this year I ordered a Cookes 15x15 which arrved in time for a trip to the Chesapeake bay and storms with small craft warnings. The larger size really covers a table, leaving enough room for folding chairs, and I was even able to slide my small tent partially under the edge. That allowed me to enter and exit th etent during downpours in a dry manner.

My advice is to go for the 15x15. But a 12x12 would be better than a 10x10. And for my money, a Cookes Tundra tarp cannot be beat.


cookes tarp
did a google search and didn’t come up with anything.



Whats going on here?

– Last Updated: Jul-15-06 6:14 AM EST –

I cannot locate a link via Google either! What has happened? ANyone know if Cookes Custom Sewing is out of business???

One other source is Piragis in Ely Minn. They list a 15x15 in their catalog - I always thought they were made by Cookes.




best tarps on planet Earth
are found here:


I’ve got a collection of tarps from many years of hiking/biking/paddling and Brians are simply the best…the catenary cut works, i’ve lived through many a horizontal storm watching not a quiver in the fly…the deluxe model gives a huge parcel of real estate under the hammock for sitting/cooking during the storms…

Dont be put off that Brian is a high school student (though taking college level courses), he started his company to finace his future thru-hike of the AT.

Sweet tarps!
I am tempted to order one for my Hennessey. I spent quite a bit of time futzing with it’s diamond tarp a couple of weeks ago trying to get it to pitch taught. I had to add a ridgeline for the tarp to keep it from creating a pond in heavy rain.


here’s the Cooke’s link

It looks like they improved the web site a little.

Another Opinion
I have been a tarp camper for years and used to be the Gear Master for a year round Wilderness Challenge Program that camped exclusivley in tarps.

We used the Madden 10x12’s for years with good results. Eventually they got prohibitively expensive and I was charged with the task of finding an affordable alternative. The tricky part was finding a tarp that had enough tie downs (15 or more preferably) that also had strong anchor points (bar tacked webbing is signifigantly stronger than even the best grommets) I eventually settled on sewing our own 10x12’s out of 1.9 oz ripstop and medium weight non tubular webbing. Ours ended up being relatively heavy, but 3 years of heavy consistent use all 10 of my homebuilts are still in the field.

I am not sure of a source for 12x12’s but I know there are a number of 10x12 options.

I own a Cookes 10x10 1.1 oz silnet tarp and love it. It is a fantastic solo use camp tarp with plenty of strong tie downs for windy conditions.

WX Tex also has a new line of tarps. I have not used them, but I have a bunch of their dry bags and I am very pleased with the companies build quality.


Thanks Brian!
I wonder why I couldn’t get a google hit…Iwas begining to fear the worst. I see they have a redesigned websit.


And I particularly like the WCA (Whoopie Cushion Adaptor).


Don’t have much use for tarps. They take to long to set up and the lines are a tripping hazard. There are several types of stand alone sun shelters on the market. I have a small Kelty myself.

Windproof Tarps
I do tend to agree about the tarps tripping folks, but they definitely out perform stand alones in windy conditions.

On our last January Assateague Island trip we had winds in the 40’s and my well strung 10x10 untralight Cookes was the only tarp the kept taught and weathered the storm.

Always been hard to get Cooke site.
Has to be typed just right and if you are comming from the right place, using wrong search still can not get there.

I always figured it was the name and similar names standing for so many things and there popularity throughout history.

Can anyone else shed more light on why it is hard to zero in on some sites such as Cooke’s Custom Sewing is?