8 Best Tarps for Hammock Camping

By Emma
Best Tarps For Hammock Camping

Our team researched 12+ hours to select the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Camping Tarp as the best tarp for hammock camping. For 4-season camping we were blown away by the tent-like protection of the ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp.

As awesome as hammock camping is, your trip can quickly be ruined by uncooperative weather. 

Whether it’s a searingly hot sun or an unexpected rainshower, the elements can wreak havoc on an exposed hammock. (Oh, and bugs don’t help either! Check out our favorite hammocks with mosquito netting!)

As such, bringing a camping tarp (otherwise known as a rainfly) is almost non-negotiable.

So to ensure you have the best trip possible, we wrangled up this list of our favorite tarps for hammock camping.

Our top choice is the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Camping Tarp. We were impressed by how well this tarp combines ample coverage and weather resistance with a light weight and lighter price.

Meanwhile, the ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp is an incredible option for 4-season camping. It features 2 doors that can be left open on nice days or pulled shut like a tent if conditions deteriorate.

best Tarps for Hammock Camping – Top recommendations

Best tarp for hammock camping overall:

Best 4-season tarps for hammock camping:

Best small tarps for hammock camping:

Best large tarps for hammock camping:

In addition, we created this buyer’s guide so you can decide for yourself which tarp makes the most sense for your trip.

Rain Fly EVOLUTION 12×10 Lightweight Camping Tarp

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 9/10, 12×10’ provides maximum protection from sun and rain
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 9/10, handles storms with ease
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 6/10, guy lines are slightly weak; exchange them
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 8/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 8/10, 1.5lbs is extremely lightweight, especially for the size

Best for: taller backpackers who want a large tarp for minimal cost and weight; $$

If you carry a lot of gear or if you’re particularly tall, the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Camping Tarp is for you. 

At 12×10’, it provides ample coverage and protection from sun and rain.

And since the Rain Fly EVOLUTION offers UV protection, you’ll be cool and safe from the sun’s harmful rays in your own shaded canopy.

When it comes to rain, this tarp handles it like a champion. One camper particularly cited waiting out a 3-hour long storm with sustained gusts of around 45mph. 

Even so, the tents – and campers – beneath all stayed dry. 

That said, campers weren’t huge fans of the included guy lines. They felt a bit too flimsy, but a quick change to paracord remedied the issue.

Pros:

  • 12×10’ is quite large, but weighs only 1.5lbs
  • Remains affordable, especially compared to other tarps of similar size
  • UV protection
  • 2000 PU nylon withstands heavy winds and rain

Cons:

  • Guy lines are a little flimsy

ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 8/10
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 9/10, extremely waterproof and windproof
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 8/10, take this 1lb, 9oz tarp anywhere

Best for: a backpacker willing to invest in an all-in-one, 4-season, tent-like solution; $$$

For backpackers who worry that the tarps presented thus far just won’t cut it for extreme conditions, allow me to present the ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp.

This tarp is essentially a floating tent – it has 2 doors to prove it! 

When the weather starts getting severe, the doors can be pulled shut to keep you warm and dry. Now there’s no chance of a chill blowing in at your head and feet.

As far as staying dry, the ENO HouseFly is constructed of ripstop nylon and coated with silicone (not polyurethane!). Many users have waited out thunderstorms under the protection of this floating tent.

When the elements are cooperating, you don’t need to worry about getting stuffy inside a tent-cocoon. 

Instead, you can simply tuck away the doors for a more open, hammock-like experience. 

Finally, the ENO HouseFly can be your go-anywhere companion. That’s thanks to its meager weight of 1lb, 9oz, which makes it a perfect choice for backpackers

Pros:

  • Closing double doors provide tent-like coverage and protection
  • Users have confirmed its hardy waterproofing abilities
  • Extremely lightweight, can be carried anywhere
  • Doors can be folded back on nice days

Cons:

  • Expensive option

Free Soldier Portable Tarp

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 9/10, has been used to shelter 2-3 people
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 9/10, quite weatherproof
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10, campers were surprised at its quality build
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 6/10, 2lbs isn’t super light

Best for: a camper looking for customizable and extremely weatherproof protection at an affordable price; $$

The Free Soldier Portable Tarp is a beast of a tarp shelter, capable of withstanding gusty winds and rains of lightning storms, as some reports have confirmed. 

Coupling a 2500 PU waterproof rating with heavy-duty 210D ripstop polyester materials, it’s little surprise that people have had such success with the Free Soldier in the field.

Users also praised its construction and overall durability. Where some tarps have felt cheap, the Free Soldier seems to go almost overboard, especially regarding reinforced and double stitching. 

Additionally, we were impressed by the crazy amount of guy points. 

This tarp is equipped with 19 of them, meaning you can set up the Free Soldier in just about every configuration imaginable. Need a lean-to shelter? Got it. How about a standard rectangle? Yep, no problem.

You can even use this tarp on the ground to provide a bit of tent-like protection. The front two flaps can be pulled almost shut with a single loop.

Lastly, the Free Soldier comes in at a pretty attractive price. This is almost astounding considering all the protection and customization features.

Pros:

  • High amount of customization available for setup; 19 guy points
  • Impressive weatherproof specs have proven themselves through bad weather
  • Amazingly affordable option when you consider the features

Cons:

  • Heavier weight of 2lbs

ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp 

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 6/10, could be larger
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 8/10, incredibly tough in bad weather
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 8/10, users appreciate the easy pitch
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 8/10, 1lb, take it anywhere

Best for: backpackers that want a no-fuss solution that’s incredibly lightweight and weatherproof; $$

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, lightweight tarp for backpacking, the ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp is where it’s at.

Weighing a mere 1lb, this tarp is a highly portable solution for any backpacking trip. 

But don’t mistake its light weight for flimsiness; the ENO ProFly has earned its popularity. 

Campers have called it “bombproof” against storms, even withstanding hours of Alaskan downpours and the accompanying billowing winds.

Additionally, users have praised its’ easy pitch. Considering that it’s a simple rectangle with 6 guy points, maybe this should be expected.

One major issue with the ENO ProFly is its size. There were a lot of concerns that the tarp is just a little too small. 

Honestly, this could be a marketing move on ENO’s part, since they do offer an XL version, which provides an additional 2.5’ of coverage.

So if size is what’s holding you back, we’d suggest investing in the larger option.

Pros:

  • Easy setup; no-fuss, no-frills
  • Exemplary weatherproofing; campers call it “bombproof” through storms
  • Lightweight means you can take it anywhere; 1lb

Cons:

  • A little small, but an XL version is available
  • Somewhat pricey

KALINCO Hammock Tarp

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 7/10
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 8/10
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 6/10, 2.3lbs, a bit much for a small tarp

Best for: campers who want a versatile tarp in a small and affordable size; $$

If you don’t need a large tarp but you’re drawn to the numerous guy points featured on large tarps, the KALINCO Hammock Tarp could be a good fit.

At 10×10’, this is certainly a small but mighty package. It’s large enough to offer sufficient protection from the elements, while remaining a manageable size.

More importantly, it’s equipped with a whopping 19 guy points. That’s a large amount for such a small space! 

Thanks to this, you’ve got plenty of setup options, regardless of the surroundings you’re in.

When it comes to weatherproofing, the KALINCO’s got your back. It features a 210T polyester build, coated with 3000mm PU to ensure you remain dry.

Pros:

  • Small size still carries 19 guy points for any configuration
  • 3000mm PU coating for superior resistance to rain
  • Seam taped
  • Comes in a 10×15’ version if needed

Cons:

  • Heavier at 2.3lbs; somewhat disappointing considering its small size

Azarxis Hammock Camping Tarp Rain Fly

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 5/10, too small for some campers
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 8/10, good weatherproof specs for a budget option
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 9/10, astonishingly lightweight: 10oz

Best for: a smaller camper looking to try out hammock camping with little financial commitment; $

We get it – camping is expensive. So if you’re trying to cut costs while still gearing up for hammock camping, then check out the Azarxis Hammock Camping Tarp.

Surprisingly, this tarp carries some decent weatherproofing specs. Made of 1,500mm coated polyester, you can rest assured that you and your gear will be kept dry.

But there’s a small caveat to that rain coverage: this tarp won’t offer that much shelter from the rain if you’re a taller camper.

Unfortunately, the Azarxis’ overall dimensions are 7.5 x 4.5’, making this the smallest tarp on our list. 

Yet, to be fair, this is an incredibly affordable model; tradeoffs have to happen somewhere! Not to mention, the entire package only weighs a mere 10oz. 

This makes it an appealing choice for someone who’s looking to travel light. It could also be attractive to anyone wanting to dip a toe into the world of hammock camping without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Incredibly affordable option
  • 10oz weight is super light
  • 1,500mm waterproof rating and PU coating is surprising for a cheaper product

Cons:

  • Extremely small tarp won’t offer full coverage to taller campers

Kelty Noah’s Tarp

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 8/10
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 8/10, highly waterproof
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 6/10, not the lightest choice

Best for: campers looking for multiple configuration and size options; $$

If you’re searching for a tarp that will work for 1 camper or 16, the Kelty Noah’s Tarp could be a great fit.

This diamond tarp comes in 9’, 12’, and 16’ options, though we’d recommend the 12’ as the sweet spot between coverage, weight, and price.

Speaking of weight, the Kelty Noah is definitely one of the heavier options on our list. The 12’ option weighs in at 2.3lbs, so this probably isn’t the optimal choice for a long-distance backpacker.

On the bright side, this tarp offers a high level of customization when it comes to setup options. 

Featuring 19 guy points, you’ll be able to pitch the tarp in a variety of ways to maximize coverage and keep you and your gear dry.

For weatherproofing, the Kelty Noah lives up to the flood reference in its name. 

It’s fully seam-taped, and the no-snag coated polyester fabric can be pitched quite tight to allow for easy rain runoff.

Pros:

  • Multiple sizes for different groups; 9’, 12’, 16’
  • Lots of guy points for custom setups
  • Highly waterproof according to numerous campers
  • Reported to keep cool in 90 degree days
  • Corner pocket is a great bonus for storing the guy lines when not in use

Cons:

  • Heavier weight; not the best for backpackers
  • Have to purchase the poles separately

Gold Armour Rainfly

  • Space & comfort (40%) – 9/10, 12×10’ is plenty of space
  • Weather resistance (25%) – 9/10, amazing in the water
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of setup (10%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (5%) – 6/10, a little heavy at 2.5lbs

Best for: a camper who needs an incredibly waterproof shelter for soggy areas; $$

If you’re looking for a flexible hexagon tarp to accompany you on rainy-day trips, consider the Gold Armour Rainfly. 

The 12×10’ shape provides more than enough room for not only your hammock and gear, but also allows extra space for a camp chair if desired. Lounge in your personal canopy, rain or shine!

It’s equipped with a massive 25 guy points, meaning you can rig it up however you want. Additionally, the extra guy points mean you’ll never be put in an un-pitchable position.

When it comes to weather protection, the Gold Armour Rainfly doesn’t mess around.

It boasts a 5,000mm waterproof rating, the highest on our list. But of course, we know that HH ratings aren’t the only factor to staying dry.

Thankfully, the proof is in the harrowing stories of campers, who recount taking shelter amid 30mph winds. The tarp withstood the wind without damage, nor did it leak or sag in the rain.

As such, it’ll make an ideal companion for damp weather.

Pros:

  • 12×10’ hexagon is large enough to sit with a chair
  • 25 guy points allow you to configure the tarp any way you’d like
  • Massive 5,000mm rating has proved that HH numbers matter after all

Cons:

  • 2.5lbs is a little heavier than desired

How to Choose the Best Tarp for Hammock Camping

At first glance, tarps seem like an incredibly simple piece of gear. 

But there’s a bit more to tarps than meets the eye. A good tarp will not only meet the needs of your specific trip, but it’ll also be packable and easy to carry.

So that said, let’s check out a few things to keep in mind when picking your new tarp.

(Heads up! Did you know tarps vs tents for backpacking are actually a hotly debated topic in the outdoors world? Check it out in our article!)

Size

Tarps are rated at two different capacities, but come in several sizes.

It’s common to see both single-person and double-person tarps, but usually, you can get away with a single tarp even if you’re camping with someone else. 

This is because two people don’t typically hang their hammocks in the same two trees.

A single tarp, like the ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp, is generally around 9-10’ wide by 6-9’ long. If you have a lot of gear that you want to keep protected, then err on the side of a wider tarp for more coverage.

Regardless of what you choose, just remember that your tarp should extend at least 6-12” beyond the hammock on either end.

Shape

The most recognizable tarp shape is the simple rectangle, seen here on the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Camping Tarp

It’s the same concept as an A-frame style tent. Simply fold the tarp in half and hang it over the ridgeline. 

Rectangle tarps are ideal for maximum coverage and ease of setup. However, some campers dislike the extra weight that comes from the full rectangle shape.

Hexagon-shaped tarps, such as the Gold Armour Rainfly Tarp Hammock, are also quite common. 

They’re especially favored among lightweight backpackers since it uses slightly less material than rectangle tarps, and are therefore less weighty.

Finally, we have tent tarps, sometimes called winter tarps. 

As their name implies, tent tarps wrap around you like a tent or a cocoon. They provide unrivaled coverage and protection from the elements. 

(To learn how to stay even more warm and protected while hammock camping, we wrote all about this as we attempted to settle the question of sleeping pad vs underquilt in hammocks)

Unlike the other tarp shapes, they can be used in all four seasons thanks to their robust nature. The Free Soldier Portable Tarp is a great example of a sturdy and waterproof shelter.

Guy Points

Similar to tents, the areas where the ropes stake down your tarp are called guy points. 

These areas are subjected to the most amount of tension. Thus, they must be able to withstand a lot of force when strong winds kick up.

Typically, you’ll see 6 guy points on a standard rectangle tarp. However, it’s always great to see more guy points, because they dictate how many configurations the tarp can be pitched in.

For reference, the Kelty Noah’s Tarp is an example of a tarp that features extra guy points.

Materials

Nylon is pretty much acknowledged as the champion of synthetic fabrics. It’s incredibly lightweight while still remaining surprisingly durable. See for instance the ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp.

Because of this, you’ll see nylon featured on pretty much any outdoors product, from tents, hammocks, and tarps.

Meanwhile, polyester is a close runner-up. It’s often used on car camping tents and anything that’s meant to be a little more bulky. 

This is due to polyester’s heavier weight. But on the bright side, this tradeoff results in a fabric that’s a lot more affordable than nylon. 

Weather Protection

Since you’re looking for a tarp primarily to offer some protection from the elements, it’s important to pay close attention to a tarp’s weatherproofing.

First, we always suggest checking a tarp’s hydrostatic head (or HH) rating. In a nutshell, this number indicates in millimeters how much water can build up before the fabric begins to leak.

It’s also critical to check other factors, like whether or not a tarp is equipped with taped seams. 

Seams are always going to be a potential weak point where water can sneak in through the fabric’s pinholes. 

To combat this, some tarp manufacturers lay down a thin layer of polyurethane to plug up those pesky pinholes.

Lastly, look for tarps coated with either silicone or polyurethane. These coatings further boost a tarp’s waterproofing capabilities. 

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about weatherproofing, check out our article on the 10 best tents for bad weather.

Final Verdict

To sum it all up, our favorite tarp for hammock camping is the Rain Fly EVOLUTION Camping Tarp

Offering an ample 12×10’ of coverage, it still only weighing in at 1.5lbs. In addition, it’s equipped with UV protection and a 2000 PU coating that’s protected campers in both rain and sun.

Yet even with all this, it manages to remain wildly affordable.

For 4-season camping, we loved the ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp

This tarp is basically a floating tent – simply pull the doors shut when it rains, or leave them open when the weather is fair. 

Thanks to its insulation, waterproofing properties, and light weight, this tarp can accompany you on even the most harrowing of adventures.

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AUTHOR

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips over the past few years. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.