Best Budget Backpacking Tarp: Top Picks for Lightweight and Affordable Options

Updated on March 21, 2024

When it comes to backpacking, every ounce of weight counts. That’s why it’s important to choose gear that is not only lightweight but also versatile. One essential piece of gear for any backpacking trip is a tarp. A tarp can be used for shelter, as a ground cover, or even as a makeshift rain poncho.

In this article, we will be focusing on the best budget backpacking tarps. These tarps are designed to be lightweight, durable, and affordable. They are perfect for backpackers who want to save money without sacrificing quality.

When choosing a budget backpacking tarp, there are a few critical things you should consider. First, you’ll want to look at the size of the tarp. It should be large enough to provide adequate shelter but not so large that it adds unnecessary weight to your pack. Second, you’ll want to consider the material of the tarp. It should be lightweight yet durable enough to withstand the elements. Finally, you’ll want to consider the price. A budget backpacking tarp should be affordable without sacrificing quality.

After researching and testing various budget backpacking tarps, we have identified the top options that meet all of our criteria. These tarps are perfect for backpackers who want to save money without compromising on quality.

Best Budget Backpacking Tarps

As avid backpackers, we understand the importance of having a reliable and lightweight tarp to protect us from the elements during our outdoor adventures. However, we also know that not everyone has the budget to splurge on high-end tarps. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best budget backpacking tarps that won’t break the bank but still offer great protection and durability. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or just starting out, these tarps are sure to meet your needs without weighing down your pack or your wallet.

REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp – 83″ x83”, 4 in 1 Multifunctional Tent Footprint

REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp - 83" x83'', 4 in 1 Multifunctional Tent Footprint for Camping, Hiking and Survival Gear, Lightweight and Compact

If you're looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp, the REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp is a great option. We've used it on multiple camping trips and have been impressed with its durability and versatility.

Pros:
  • The 210D oxford ripstop polyester fabric is waterproof (PU1000mm), making it great for rainy weather.
  • At 82"x82"/208cmx208cm, it's the perfect size for 2-3 people and can be used as a ground cloth under your tent to provide an extra moisture layer.
  • The tarp is multipurpose and can be used for a variety of outdoor activities, including as a sun or rain canopy.
Cons:
  • While the tarp is lightweight and portable, it can be a bit bulky when packed into its drawstring pouch.
  • The brass grommets can be a bit difficult to tie down securely in windy conditions.
  • The material is not as thick as some other more expensive tarps, so it may not hold up as well over time with heavy use.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Overall, we highly recommend the REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp for anyone looking for a budget-friendly option that is still durable and versatile.

Camping Tarp by NatEtoile

Camping Tarp by NatEtoile - Versatile 10X10 ft Portable Rain Fly for Hammock with 19 Tie-Outs,PU 5000mm Waterproof Sunproof Tarp Shelter - Ideal for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Hammock Cover

If you're looking for a versatile and budget-friendly backpacking tarp, the Camping Tarp by NatEtoile is a great option.

Pros:
  • Featuring 19 tie-out points and a 10x10ft square shape, this tarp can be adapted to meet a range of needs, making it perfect for camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, and any of your outdoor exploits.
  • The heavy-duty tent tarp is crafted from 210T ripstop fabric featuring a PU5000mm coating, ensuring remarkable water resistance and superb waterproof capabilities.
  • Our hammock tarp is designed for strength with a high-density plain weave, making it stronger and more rip-resistant than most on the market.
Cons:
  • The tarp weighs in at 1.06kg, which may be heavier than some other ultralight backpacking tarps on the market.
  • Some users have reported that the included aluminum stakes are not as durable as they had hoped.
  • While the tarp does come with assembly instructions, some users have reported difficulty in setting up the tarp due to the number of tie-out points.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Overall, we recommend the Camping Tarp by NatEtoile for those in search of a versatile and budget-friendly backpacking tarp. Its numerous tie-out points and high-quality materials make it a great option for a variety of outdoor activities.

Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp

Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp, 9.8x9.8ft, UV Protection and PU 3000mm Waterproof, Lightweight for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Adventure

If you're looking for a budget backpacking tarp that can keep you dry in the rain, the Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp is a great option.

Pros:
  • The tarp is made of super strong 210D rip-stop Oxford fabric, PU 3000mm waterproof, which offers excellent protection against rain, sudden downpours, snow, and high winds.
  • All the 8 fix points on the rain fly are reinforced with a triangle dual layer, and all fix points are used double reinforced stitches, which can prevent ripping and leaking even in extreme conditions.
  • Coated with PU Inner layer, the lightweight tarp can provide UV protection in the sun, making it perfect for hammock camping, backpacking, hiking, or other adventure.
Cons:
  • The tarp may not be as large as some users would like, measuring 300x300cm/10x10ft.
  • Some users may find the included stakes and ropes to be of lower quality than expected.
  • The tarp may not be as durable as some higher-end models.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

In our experience, the Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp is a reliable and effective budget option for backpackers looking to stay dry in wet weather. The tarp is easy to set up and provides ample protection from the elements. While some users may find the size to be a bit small, we found it to be sufficient for most camping needs. The included stakes and ropes are serviceable, but may not be as durable as some users would like. Overall, we would recommend this tarp to anyone looking for a budget-friendly option for their next backpacking trip.

Texas Bushcraft Emergency Camping Tarp

Texas Bushcraft Emergency Camping Tarp, Waterproof 10×10 Emergency Shelter for Backpacking and Hiking, 70D Ripstop Nylon Survival Tarp with Reflective Aluminized Polymer and Loop Ties with Gromme...

If you're looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp that can withstand harsh weather conditions, the Texas Bushcraft Emergency Camping Tarp is a great option.

Pros:
  • With a 10' x 10' size, this tarp offers plenty of space for you and a companion to take shelter from the elements.
  • The tarp is made from 70D ripstop nylon with a 210T thread count, making it highly durable and resistant to punctures.
  • The tarp's reflective aluminized polymer helps to deter heat loss, keeping you warm in colder weather.
Cons:
  • At 2.31 pounds, this tarp may be a bit heavier than some other budget options.
  • The tarp's drab green color may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option for some users.
  • While the tarp has plenty of tie-points, it may take some practice to figure out the best configuration for your needs.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

In our experience, the Texas Bushcraft Emergency Camping Tarp is a reliable choice for backpackers who want a budget-friendly option that can withstand tough weather conditions. The tarp’s durable construction and reflective properties make it a great choice for emergency situations, while its size offers plenty of space for you and a companion to take shelter. However, the tarp’s weight and color may not be ideal for all users, and it may take some trial and error to figure out the best way to set it up. Overall, we would recommend this tarp for budget-conscious backpackers who want a reliable option for emergency situations.

NoCry Rain Fly

Rain Fly12x10 Lightweight Survival Camping Tarp; 100% Waterproof; Makes a Great Backpacking Tarp or Hammock Shelter; Comes in Multiple Colors, Survival Bracelet Included; Grey

If you're looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp that won't let you down, the NoCry Rain Fly is a solid option.

Pros:
  • Create a shelter in minutes with this lightweight tarp made from 210T polyester coated with TPU.
  • Stay dry with 100% waterproof protection from rain, wind, and snow.
  • Enjoy full UV protection while camping, fishing, traveling, or attending festivals.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported issues with the top seam seal leaking water.
  • The tarp may not be large enough for some users' needs.
  • The included survival bracelet may not be of the highest quality.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We recently took the NoCry Rain Fly on a backpacking trip and were impressed with its performance. It was easy to set up, and we appreciated the included carabiners, ropes, and stakes. The tarp provided excellent protection from the elements, keeping us dry during a rainstorm.

One thing to note is that the top seam seal may not be as effective as some users would like. While we didn’t experience any issues, some users have reported leaks during heavy rain.

Overall, we would recommend the NoCry Rain Fly to anyone looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp that provides solid protection from the elements. Just be sure to check the dimensions to ensure that it will meet your needs.

SURVIVART PRO Backpacking Tarp

SURVIVART PRO, Water Collect, Survival-Tent-tarp, Non Toxic Ultralight Hammock-rain-Fly, Emergency shelter Tent, Backpacking Gear, Tent-tarp, Camping tarp Waterproof, Hammock Tents, rain Fly

If you're looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp that won't let you down, the SURVIVART PRO Backpacking Tarp is worth considering.

Pros:
  • Easy to set up with multiple guy-out tabs
  • Unique water catch design for rainwater collection
  • Durable and well-made with high-quality materials
Cons:
  • Slightly heavier than some other budget tarps at 2.66 pounds
  • Only available in one size (3m x 3m)
  • Limited color options (only available in Olive Drab)
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We recently took the SURVIVART PRO Backpacking Tarp on a three-day backpacking trip and were impressed with its overall performance. Setting up the tarp was a breeze thanks to the multiple guy-out tabs, which allowed us to customize the setup to our liking. The unique water catch design also came in handy during a rainstorm, allowing us to collect rainwater for drinking and cooking.

One thing to note is that the tarp is slightly heavier than some other budget tarps we’ve used, but we felt that the added durability and quality of the materials made up for the extra weight. Additionally, the tarp is only available in one size (3m x 3m), which may not be suitable for larger groups or those looking for more coverage. Finally, the limited color options (only available in Olive Drab) may not appeal to everyone.

Overall, we think the SURVIVART PRO Backpacking Tarp is a solid choice for those looking for a budget-friendly option that still delivers on quality and performance.

NoCry Rain Fly

Rain Fly 12x10 Lightweight Survival Camping Tarp; 100% Waterproof; Makes a Great Backpacking Tarp or Hammock Shelter; Comes in Multiple Colors, Survival Bracelet Included; Camo Pixel

If you're looking for a budget-friendly backpacking tarp, the NoCry Rain Fly is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • We were impressed by how quickly and easily we were able to set up this tarp.
  • The NoCry Rain Fly is incredibly lightweight, making it a great option for backpackers.
  • We appreciated the included survival bracelet as a bonus.
Cons:
  • The tarp's claimed size is not entirely accurate, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.
  • Some users have reported issues with the included stakes and ropes.
  • While the camo pattern looks great, the large white logo stamped on the tarp can detract from its camouflage capabilities.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Overall, we think the NoCry Rain Fly is a solid choice for anyone in need of a budget-friendly backpacking tarp. Its lightweight design and easy setup make it a great option for those on the go.

Acazmpar Waterproof Camping Tarp

Waterproof Camping Tarp, Ultralight Tent Footprint Backpacking Tarp for Camping, Hiking and Outdoor Activities (Green)

We highly recommend the Acazmpar Waterproof Camping Tarp for budget backpackers who want a versatile and lightweight tarp for their outdoor adventures.

Pros:
  • The tarp is made of high-quality Oxford woven fabric with tear-proof technology, making it tough enough to prevent scratches and punctures.
  • At 79"x55", the tarp is large enough for 3-5 adults and kids, while being able to fold down to a small size of only 5" * 3" * 2". It also comes with four wind-resistant stakes, so you can set up a safe campsite in minutes without worrying about security.
  • The ripstop polyester is lined with a durable waterproof and sand-proof coating, so you can take it on your next picnic or beach trip without the wet grass and sand seeping through.
Cons:
  • The stakes that come with the tarp are pretty soft, making it difficult to drive them into harder ground.
  • The tarp is not quite long enough to completely cover under a 1-person tent.
  • It needs more grommets to make it easier to pitch with a center ridgeline between two trees.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Acazmpar Waterproof Camping Tarp is a multi-purpose tarp that can be used many times in tents, picnic mats, camping mats, car seat protection mats, pet mats, and awnings. Its lightweight and compact design make it ideal for camping, hiking, or lounging around with friends or family. The tarp is also suitable for camping on different grounds and can be used as a pad tarp.

Overall, we believe the Acazmpar Waterproof Camping Tarp is an excellent choice for budget backpackers who want a durable and versatile tarp for their outdoor adventures.

FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp

FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp Multifunctional Outdoor Camping Traveling Awning Backpacking Tarp Shelter Rain Tarp (Brown)

If you're looking for a budget backpacking tarp, the FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp is worth considering.

Pros:
  • The tarp is made of 210T ripstop polyester fabric with 2500 PU waterproof rating, making it waterproof and UV-resistant, which is great for protecting your skin from the sun.
  • The reinforced ridgeline seam and puncture-resistant fabric make the tarp strong and stable, providing excellent protection in stormy weather.
  • The tarp is large enough for two people, but still portable enough to be folded and put into a lightweight stuff sack when not in use.
Cons:
  • At 1.2kg (42oz), the tarp is not super light, but still manageable for backpacking.
  • The tarp comes with nylon guy lines with tensioners, but some users may prefer to replace them with higher-quality lines.
  • The FREE SOLDIER tarp is not the cheapest option on the market, but it's still a great value for the quality.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We recently took the FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp on a backpacking trip and were impressed with its performance. The tarp was easy to set up and provided ample coverage for two people. During a sudden rainstorm, the tarp kept us dry and protected from the wind. The reinforced ridgeline seam and puncture-resistant fabric gave us confidence that the tarp would hold up in stormy weather.

One thing to note is that the tarp is not the lightest option on the market, but the thickness of the fabric makes it heavy duty and durable. The tarp comes with everything you need to set it up, including four nylon guy lines with tensioners and a stuff sack.

Overall, we would recommend the FREE SOLDIER Waterproof Portable Tarp to anyone looking for a budget backpacking tarp that provides excellent protection from the elements.

DAKOUT GEAR Ultralight Backpacking Tarp Ground Cloth

Ultralight Backpacking Tarp Ground Cloth 2.7 oz Waterproof Mini Pocket Blanket 27.5 x 48 Inches Compact Packable Groundsheet Hiking Gear for Two Pouch and Carabiner by DAKOUT Gear

This is a great budget backpacking tarp for those looking for a lightweight and compact option.

Pros:
  • The tarp is made from rip-stop materials that are puncture and tear-resistant, making it perfect for roughing it in the wild.
  • It is certified PU8000mm 100% waterproof, ensuring that no water seeps through and keeping you dry and comfortable.
  • The tarp is large enough for two people to sit comfortably on, making it ideal for removing boots to keep dirt outside the tent.
Cons:
  • The tarp is small in size, making it only suitable for one person to sleep on.
  • The tarp is not suitable for use in windy conditions as it does not come with stakes to secure it to the ground.
  • The tarp is not machine washable, and it can only be washed on a gentle cycle and line-dried.
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We recently took the DAKOUT Gear Ultralight Backpacking Tarp Ground Cloth on a hiking trip, and we were impressed with its performance. The tarp is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to carry around in our backpacks. It is also compact and comes with a mini stuff sack where we could also stow our phone and keys.

The tarp is made from rip-stop materials, which are puncture and tear-resistant, ensuring that it can withstand the harshest of conditions. We found it to be perfect for roughing it in the wild. The materials are also certified PU8000mm 100% waterproof, making it ideal for keeping us dry and comfortable while sitting on it.

The tarp is large enough for two people to sit comfortably on, making it ideal for removing boots to keep dirt outside the tent. However, we found that it was only suitable for one person to sleep on, as it is small in size.

One downside of the tarp is that it does not come with stakes to secure it to the ground, making it unsuitable for use in windy conditions. Additionally, the tarp is not machine washable, and it can only be washed on a gentle cycle and line-dried.

Overall, we would highly recommend the DAKOUT Gear Ultralight Backpacking Tarp Ground Cloth to anyone looking for a lightweight and compact option for their backpacking trips. It is a great budget option that performs well and is versatile enough to be used for multiple purposes, such as a workout mat or a beach blanket.

Buying Guide

When it comes to buying a budget backpacking tarp, there are a few key features to consider to ensure you are getting the best product for your needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Material

The material of the tarp is an important consideration when choosing a budget option. Look for materials that are lightweight, durable, and waterproof. Common materials used for backpacking tarps include nylon, polyester, and silnylon. Nylon is lightweight and durable, while polyester is more resistant to UV rays. Silnylon is a popular choice for its water resistance, but it can be more expensive.

Size

Consider the size of the tarp based on your needs. A larger tarp will provide more coverage and protection from the elements, but it will also be heavier and bulkier to carry. A smaller tarp may be more lightweight and easier to pack, but it may not provide enough coverage in certain weather conditions.

Shape

The shape of the tarp can also impact its functionality. A rectangular tarp provides more coverage and can be pitched in a variety of ways, while a hexagonal tarp is more versatile and can be pitched in different configurations depending on the weather and terrain.

Weight

The weight of the tarp is an important consideration for backpackers who need to keep their pack weight as light as possible. Look for a tarp that is lightweight and compact enough to easily fit in your pack, without sacrificing durability and protection.

Additional Features

Some budget backpacking tarps may come with additional features such as guy lines, stakes, and stuff sacks. These can be helpful for setting up and packing up your tarp, but they may also add extra weight and bulk to your pack. Consider whether these additional features are necessary for your needs.

By considering these factors, you can find the best budget backpacking tarp for your needs. Remember to prioritize durability, functionality, and weight when making your decision.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist