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Backpacking Tarps

Backpacking Rain Tarp Backpacking tarps are different from camping tarps. Not only are they smaller in size they are also made of different materials. When camping, you can get away with a blue poly tarp. However, a blue poly tarp takes up more room, weighs more and is not as strong as a backpacking tarp.

A backpacking tarp is made of rip stop nylon, the same material used in tents. While a blue poly tarp is close to waterproof when new it can easily rip and wear out from use. Because rip stop nylon is stronger the grommets are harder to tear out.

Blue Poly Tarp

Blue poly tarps come in one shape, rectangular. Tarps made for backpacking come in square, rectangular and butterfly. The butterfly shaped tarps are designed to be used with a hammock system but the tarps can be used individually.

You can put a good size poly tarp in a compression sack so it will not take up much room but the stress put on the tarp at the folds causes the material to break. While the nylon in the material will not break it will leak. It is not necessary to compress a smaller tarp, besides you will have a hard time finding a compression sack small enough to be useful.

Backpacking Tarps

You can use a backpacking tarp for a wind block by tying it between two trees. You can also use a tarp for a place to get out of the rain instead of hiding in your tent. Besides, you need a dry place to eat because you do not want food in your tent.

If your tent does not have a full fly you can use the tarp to help keep your tent dry. To find different ways to put up a tarp using ropes, trekking poles stakes ect. see our How to Set up a Tarp page.

Kelty Noah's Tarp

Kelty Noah Tarp
Kelty Noah's Tarp 12

The Kelty Noah's Tarp comes in 3 sizes 9x9 foot, 12x12 foot and 16x16 foot. All styles are made from ripstop nylon with taped seams.The best size for backpacking would be the 9x9 which weighs 4.6 lbs. It may be a little heavy but will keep a large area dry. One tarp would suffice for a group.

The tarp comes with grommets large enough to handle points of trekking poles so you do not have to lug extra poles to set it up. The tarp does not come with poles but they can be ordered seperately. If you are backpacking you may want to leave the poles behind and just use a ridgeline for setup.There are also numerous guyouts for tying off the tarp to handle just about anything Mother Nature can throw at you.

ENO Pro Fly Rain Tarp

Eno Pro Fly Rain Tarp
ENO Pro Fly Rain Tarp

If you go in small groups or by yourself, smaller tarps are available. Such as the Eno Pro Fly Rain Tarp which is made of poly treated rip stop nylon, weighs 22 ozs and is 10 ft 6 in X 6 ft 4 in. The tarp comes with an external compression stuff sack. The tarp is designed for a hammock system but can be set up seperately using a ridgeline and tying off the corners.

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