What Size Tarp For 4 Person Tent

Should The Tarp Be Larger Than The Tent When Camping

I hope you enjoy the things I’ve selected below; but, please be aware that I receive a commission on qualifying sales made via my Amazon affiliate link. This means that if you purchase something after clicking on one of the links on this page, I may receive a commission. When it comes to whether the tarp should be larger than the tent, there is a lot of uncertainty and dispute. The solution will vary depending on your specific requirements. If you’re using a tarp to go over your tent to give protection from the rain and shade from the sun, you should definitely choose a bigger tarp.

There are several compelling arguments for why this is a terrible idea, which we shall discuss further below.

The Tarp Should Be Smaller Than The Tent

A tarp laid down on the ground beneath a tent is intended to protect the tent material from abrasions and holes in the ground beneath the tent. This makes total and utter logic. A $10 tarp is far less expensive to fix than a $300 family tent with holes in the bottom. As a result, it is imperative that you safeguard your possessions properly. Placing a tarp on the ground prevents the floor of the tent from being damaged by unexpected and tiny twigs, pebbles, and other sharp objects. Opening a hole in the base of your tent when it is raining would almost likely damper the atmosphere within your tent.

However, you don’t want the tarp to be any larger than your tent’s footprint.

Don’t Let The Tarp Drown You

While a tarp may be used to protect against rain, if it is not installed properly, it can have the opposite effect. Consider the implications of this for a moment. Image a 20-foot-long tarp put out on the ground with a 16-foot-long tent set up in the center. Now imagine the sky opening up and rain pouring down on your tent from all directions. What is the source of all this water? It is as expected that water strikes the tent and pours down the sides of the tent. The water, on the other hand, has nowhere to escape.

As a result, water begins to accumulate around the base of your tent.

However, without having a tarp under your tent might result in the material of your tent deteriorating over time.

This will shorten the lifespan of your tent and also eat away at the waterproofing on the tent.

If you do not do this, water may accumulate beneath your tent and may eventually pour inside the tent’s doors. While also shielding it from being punctured by tiny pebbles and twigs, it is also useful.

What Tarp To Buy?

While a tarp may be used to protect against rain, if it is not properly installed, it can have the opposite effect. Take a moment to consider this. If you think about it, you’ve got a 20 foot tarp on the ground, with a 16 foot tent centered on it. Now image the sky opening up and rain pouring down on your tent. All of this water is going somewhere. .The water enters the tent and flows down the sides of the tent like it is supposed to, There is no escape for the water in this situation. It is met with a waterproof tarpaulin base from which it is unable to elude capture and destruction.

  1. The water then begins to seep under your tent, which is fortunate because you have a tent with a watertight bathtub-style foundation.
  2. Mildew and mold will grow on the base of your tent as a result of exposure to water, mud, and dirt.
  3. Your best defense against the weather and to ensure the longevity of your tent is to have the tarp that is underneath your tent set to be a couple of inches shorter than the dimensions of your tent.
  4. This is done while simultaneously guarding it against being punctured by tiny pebbles and twigs.

When A Larger Tarp Is Required

It is a common question if it is a good idea to bring a larger tarp along with you when you go camping, particularly one that is larger than the tent that you will be using. When you go camping, there is always the risk that you may be subjected to a significant amount of rainfall. If such is the case, you will definitely want to carry a tarp with you to protect yourself. Despite the fact that the majority of tents are waterproof, if the tent is exceptionally heavy, there is a great likelihood that water will seep through it.

Listed below are some of the reasons why you should consider utilizing an awning rather than a tarp over your tent when camping.

Shelter From WeatherSunlight

The primary purpose for bringing an additional tarp (in addition to the underlay tarp of your tent) is to provide cover from the rain and shade from the scorching heat when camping. In the event that your campground is sufficiently spacious, there is no reason why you cannot set up a tarp totally separate from your tent. This might be your activities area or even the camp kitchen if you have one. Whatever the cause, you now have a safe haven in the event that rain does come down on you. It is never a pleasant experience to be in a tent with a bunch of kids while it is raining nonstop.

Protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation is equally as crucial as protection from rain.

Exposure to the sun for the majority of the day can be detrimental. As a result, having your own enclosed area under the tarp is really convenient. This is especially true if you are taking young children camping.

Should You Always Take The Tarp Camping?

If you are planning on staying for a few days, you should think about taking one with you. If you know it’s going to rain, this is the finest thing you could possibly do to prepare. Weather forecasting is nearly hard, especially during certain periods of the year when it comes to predicting whether or not it will rain. The majority of the firms who offer them will make sure that they are completely waterproof. Nothing in the way of rain will be a concern for you here at all.

Should You Have One For Every Tent?

You should definitely think about bringing one for each of the tents that you want to bring. It will ensure that you and everyone else who is with you will be completely dry. This is especially true when employing a tarp to serve as a tent’s footprint. The majority of the firms who offer them will have them available in a variety of sizes. When it comes to tents, you never know what kind of tents will be purchased, and by bringing all of these, you will be able to safeguard each and every individual who will be accompanying you.

What If Your Tent Claims To Be Waterproof

If your tent has been certified as waterproof, there is a good probability that the water will not seep through to the inside. While many of the tents available for purchase are waterproof, this does not guarantee that they will remain so indefinitely. It is recommended to physically waterproof your tent at least once a season. This will extend the life of your tent and ensure that you remain dry throughout the year. Once again, not all new tents that you purchase will be watertight. As a result, it’s a good idea to waterproof it as soon as possible.

So if you value staying dry while camping, don’t put it off any longer.

Some of them will have windows, maybe zip-able windows, and if you leave them open, water will be able to come in.

Even while camping may be enjoyable, if the inside of your tents becomes excessively damp, you may find yourself having to return home in order to dry everything out completely.

Finding The Right Size Tarp?

To browse through all of the numerous tarps that are now available for purchase, it will most likely take between half an hour and an hour. If you locate any that are entirely waterproof, you will want to separate them off from the rest of the ones you find. After that, you’ll go over the many manufacturers who produce them for you to consider. Take a look at the reviews that people have posted on sites such as Amazon(link to Stansport tarp reviews) on the different tarps that they are offering.

Depending on how much they are charging, you will want to further categorize them into subcategories. Once you locate one that comes highly recommended and is also reasonably priced, you will have found your match.

One Large Tarp Or Should You Get Several?

Only if you are going with a large party should you consider purchasing extra tarps. Consider the following scenario: if there are numerous groups of people, each group should have its own set of rules. If you have a family that includes more people than just you, your spouse, and two young children, you will almost probably need more than one tarp to fit everyone in your household. In the event that you are bringing guests, you should have a few more on hand just in case they don’t happen to have one of their own.

Always Get One That Has A Guarantee

Make certain that the tarps you purchase are covered by a warranty. Despite the fact that most firms have an in-store guarantee, if you are purchasing goods from a company that you have never heard of before, there is a chance that you will not be able to get your money back. If you are able to get your money back, it will be quite advantageous if the worst happens. It is possible that you may be able to upgrade to something even better as a result of your efforts. Most of them provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, or at the very least a satisfaction guarantee, and you may take advantage of this if you ever need to return something you’ve purchased from them.

Regardless Of Whether You Need A Larger Tarp Than Your Tent, Bring One!

In conclusion, the tarps that you purchase, regardless of their size, must always be larger than the tent when it is transported overland. You may either drape them over the tent or build a canopy over the entire area where all of the tents will be set up and sheltered. However, when utilized as a tent footprint, the tarp should be somewhat narrower in order to better protect your tent and keep the water out. If you are bringing a large group of people, it is advised that you bring many tarps.

Anyone who will be accompanying you on your next camping vacation will not get wet if you have one giant tarp and many smaller ones that are all larger than the tents that they will be using.

Should I Put a Tarp Down Under My Tent?

When it comes to setting up a tent, have you ever wondered why so many people use tarps? This is not an entirely new phenomena. For many years, campers have used ground cloths and tarps to protect the ground beneath their tents. Is it really necessary to use ground cloths and tarps? Is it necessary to place a tarp down under my tent? A tarp or ground cloth should be placed beneath your tent, even if it isn’t absolutely essential. When applied properly, they protect your tent from punctures and help to limit mud and water seepage into the tent inside.

Should I Put a Tarp Under My Tent?

The type of tent you have will determine whether or not you need to put down a ground cloth or tarp. Its primary function is to protect the floor of your tent against punctures, with moisture reduction serving as a secondary benefit. If the weather is fine and you aren’t concerned about ruining the tent, there isn’t much use in putting out the effort. When it comes to protecting a $20 Walmart tent, it doesn’t make sense to use a $10 tarp. In most cases, inexpensive tents are not intended to be used for more than a few brief camping excursions.

Once your tent exceeds the $100 mark, tarps and ground cloths become a practical investment.

The trouble of putting up a tarp or tent footprint to preserve your investment is well worth it at that time. Sharp sticks will ultimately find their way inside your tent, no matter how good you are at clearing rubbish.

How Big of A Tarp Do I Need

Tent Size Fold Tarp Down to Size and Use aGrommet Kitto Secure Alps Mountaineering Tent Footprint Size
2-Person 6×8 Tarp 7’2″ x4’8″ Footprint
3-Person 8×10 Tarp 7’2″ x 6’2″ Footprint
4-Person 8×10 Tarp 8’2″ x 7’2″ Footprint
5-Person 9×12 Tarp 9’8″ x 7’8″ Footprint
6-Person 12×16 Tarp 9’8″ x 9’8″ Footprint

It would be lovely if I could tell you what size tarp to buy that will work with every tent, but that is not how the system works at this time. It is necessary to get a tarp that is slightly smaller in size than the measurements of the exterior of your tent’s walls. Just keep in mind that the floor size of each tent varies. The tent sizes depicted in the chart above are based on the average size of tents for a certain number of people. It should serve as an excellent starting point, although your actual tent may be somewhat larger or smaller than this.

Customize Your Tarp So It Fits Your Tent

Unless you choose for a tailored tarp, you will most likely have to fold the sides of your tarp down and tuck them under the edge of your tent. All you have to do is fold it over and fasten the corners and edges with a cheapCoghlans Grommet Kit. The video below should guide you through the process of creating a tent footprint. Your tarp will be stronger as a result of the additional grommets, which will be useful when erecting the tent. In addition, the grommet kit is quite useful for designing clothing and other items.

See also:  Why Does Dinah Say I Hated My Mother In The Red Tent

Backpackers Should Use a Tent Footprint Instead of a Tarp

If you intend to backpack, you should pick a tent footprint that is specifically designed for backpacking. They are slightly more costly than tarps, but they are far easier to use. Smaller tent footprints will be significantly less expensive than larger ones. The Tent Floor Saver from myAlps Mountaineering is one of my favorites. It is somewhat more costly than a tarp, but it is far lighter and simpler to handle. It may be folded down to be roughly the same size as an envelope if necessary. That is far smaller than a tarp.

Continue reading for assistance in determining the tent footprint size.

Benefits of Putting a Tarp Under Your Tent

There aren’t any negative consequences to putting a tarp under your tent. They are a little hefty and weigh a couple of ounces, but everything else about them is great. Tarps are useful for four different reasons.

1) Tarps Protect Your Tent From Punctures

The use of a tarp as a tent footprint helps to extend the life of your tent by reducing wear and strain. It adds an extra layer of protection from sharp surfaces, if you need it. It’s as simple as putting down a tarp and you’re done. You won’t have to be concerned about stray rocks and stones poking holes in the ground beneath your tent floor. It significantly reduces the number of those seemingly random holes that always seem to allow in moisture. Just keep in mind that a tarp won’t fix all of your difficulties on its own.

It’s only a thin layer of protection, but it can help prevent tiny punctures from occurring.

2)Tarps Fight Moisture

Tarps are useful for keeping the ground of your tent dry. It’s just one more layer of protection between your sleeping system and the muddy, damp earth beneath your feet.

Simply make certain that you get the proper tarp size by reading the section below. It should be 2-3 inches smaller in circumference than the outer measurements of your tent. If your tarp is too large, the water will draw it around the exterior of your tent.

3) Adds Insulation to Your Tent

The majority of our body heat is lost through our feet and legs. Attempting to create enough heat to combat the earth’s heat is a futile endeavor. It all comes down to building more insulating layers between your body and the chilly earth beneath your feet. Despite the fact that it does not significantly increase the warmth of your tent, every little bit helps. Tarping your tent is similar to spreading a picnic blanket on the ground for the occasion. You won’t have to deal with the dampness or the cold grass, but it won’t provide much more warmth either.

4) Tarps Help Keep The Bottom of Your Tent Clean

Have you ever been stuck in a muddy field? It makes no difference what you do. You constantly wind up with muck on your clothes. That’s exactly what will happen to your tent if it rains on a weekend like this one. Is it really necessary for all of that muck to become caked on the bottom of your tent’s floor? When you consider the cost of a low-cost tarp, it just isn’t worth the trouble. Simply purchase a tarp or a tent footprint and call it a night. In the long run, it will save you a significant amount of time and money.

Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarwash is highly recommended by me.

Watch Out For Pooling

The majority of individuals use a tarp that is far too large for their tent. They go into their garage and decide that any old tarp will suffice. When the weather is beautiful, a large tarp will serve its purpose admirably; however, when it rains, you will quickly discover that it is ineffective. During heavy rains, oversized tarps create major pooling problems. All of the water that drips from the top of your tent accumulates quickly. As a result, your tent will be submerged in a 3′′ pool of water.

Where Can I Buy Custom Sized Tarps?

As a result of some internet comparison shopping and playing about with the specs, I discovered that bespoke tarps were out of my financial reach. They typically range in price from $20 to $70, depending on the size you want. Take a look at coversandall.com to see what we mean for yourself. You could be pleasantly surprised with a decent bargain right now, but it’s probably best to explore what you can find locally first. I was pleasantly impressed by the number of tarps available at my local Harbor Freight store.

For around the same price, you can sometimes purchase a tent footprint that is particularly made for your tent.

Perhaps you’ll be able to locate one that is particularly designed for your tent.

How to Setup Your Tarp as A Tent Footprint

90% of the fight is won when you get the proper size tarp for your tent.

Remember to go to the part above where I discuss size and customization of your tarp before we get started.

  1. Ensure that the tarp you choose is the right size for your tent. The outer measurements of your tent should be 2-3 inches less than the outside dimensions of your tarp. This will aid in the prevention of pooling. Prepare the area where you will be erecting the tent by clearing it of debris. You want to get rid of all of the branches and jagged rocks in the area. Anything that appears to have the potential to puncture the tent must be removed
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up your tent on top of the tarp. Make certain that all of the corners are aligned and that any excess tarp is tucked under the tent’s edge. Fabric straps with grommets protruding from the corners of prefabricated tent footprints are commonly found on these structures. All you have to do is thread the tent poles through the grommets and proceed to set up your tent as usual. Because tarps do not have grommets, you will need to devise a different method of attaching them to the corners of your tent. I generally have a couple of those bungee balls in my bag, although they aren’t absolutely required

Tarp size suggestions – CampingForums

In response to Tarp Size Suggestions We once tented over a very wet weekend, and people kept arriving up with tarps to protect themselves from the elements. At this point, we had a massive campfire that was completely encircled by vehicles and campers that were covered with tarps (you could walk completely around the fire without getting wet). It was even brightly colored; blue, orange, green, camo, and so on (wish that I had a pic but it was before digital cameras). It was previously possible to build a “community center” consisting of a single 10×20 footer surrounded by three 9×10 (or close to it) structures.

Most of the time, we just carry a couple of tiny tarps, the largest of which is 10 by 15, as well as at least 100 feet of paracord to rig them (if needed).

For DD”civilized” camping, a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport with 4WD, ARBtorsen diffs, 4.10 ratios, and a 32-gallon fuel tank is recommended “MTs are a type of medical technician.

Experience combined with a correctly configured 4WD vehicle will allow you to travel through areas (on existing, sanctioned 4WD trails) that are inaccessible by 4WD alone.

What Size Tarp for Camping?

Suggestions for tarp sizes We once tented over a particularly rainy weekend, and people kept arriving up with tarps to protect themselves from the weather. A massive bonfire was built and completely surrounded by vehicles and campers that were covered with tarps (you could walk around the fire without getting wet). In fact, it was brightly colored in various hues of blue, orange, green, and camo (wish that I had a pic but it was before digital cameras). It was previously possible to build a “community center” consisting of a single 10×20 footer surrounded by three 9×10 (or close to it) structures, but then someone created popup canopies, which have virtually eliminated the need for tarps (save as sidewalls in our camps).

Jeep Rubicon TJ, model year 2006; 4.11 gears, 31 inch wheels “A set of tires, a 4:1 transfer case, and lockers on both axles complete the package.

Using your knowledge and skills in conjunction with a correctly configured 4WD vehicle will allow you to go into areas (on existing, approved 4WD paths) that are otherwise inaccessible by 4WD on its own.

4 Considering Facts to Find out the Right Size Tarp

As far as I recall, there wasn’t a lot of rain while I was camping out in Georgia. We brought the tarp with the intention of putting it beneath the tent, but the rain compelled us to use it as a rain shelter instead. But, otherwise! It was unable to completely cover the tent and served as the poorest possible shelter. In reality, not all tarps are capable of supporting you under a variety of conditions.

Purchasing a tarp, on the other hand, is not the solution. It is preferable to measure all terms and negotiate a transaction of a reasonable size. Okay, now let’s go through the information that you should bear in mind while determining the appropriate tarp size.

1. Sorts of Camping

You should be aware that, despite the use of a single term, camping may be classified into a variety of categories. The most frequent and widely used forms are as follows: So that’s why I mentioned them, and I hope you received them. You are correct in that the first thing you should consider is the sort of camping you intend to do. It is quite important. What happens when you’re forced to live beneath a tent? You’ll need a tarp large enough to cover the entire tent, whether you’re sleeping beneath it or above it.

Using it above the hammock will provide a very different image than using it below the hammock.

2. The Purpose of Uses

Surprisingly, the tarp contains a large number of usable characters that you might not have expected. So, what are the most important characteristics of a tarp? Protective clothing against the rain and the sun: The most common application is as a protective shelter from the sun, snow, rain, or other weather conditions. You must keep your tent or hammock up in order to accomplish this. In this case, the size is determined by the total area on which your bed is placed. Proof on the ground: A tarp can also be used in the ground, which is a common occurrence.

  • A tarp is an excellent tool for keeping your tent or bed ground dry and comfortable while camping.
  • Shelter and protection: Tarps provide an opportunity to use them as a form of shade or shelter in certain situations.
  • And in this case, you will need to remain in the shade, where the tarp can provide protection from the sun.
  • It is not necessary to have a large one for this.
  • Tarps, to everyone’s delight, serve admirably as a windbreaker in this situation.
  • You’ll need a place to cook if you want to eat.
  • In those circumstances, a standard-sized tarp is perfectly adequate.

3. Number of Member

One of the most important facts among those is the measuring of numbers. The term “member” refers to the folks who are camping with you. You can go with your friends, with your family, or even by yourself on a trip. According to the number, you’ll need to decide what kind of bed you’re going to use (tent, hammock, or something similar).

And the size of your tarp is directly proportional to this fact. If you want to remain single, you will certainly require a little home because additional people imply more room to cover. It is for this reason that the number is important to remember.

4. Carrying and Maintenance

What else should you keep in mind while choosing the ideal size for a camping tarp, as a last point? Well, I’m keeping the maintenance and transportation facilities at this location since they’re just as necessary as the previous ones. The carrying portion of your item has a significant impact on the weight of your item. Simply put, greater weight implies more effort to transport. That isn’t an issue at all while traveling by vehicle or going camping. However, if you are planning on hiking, this may be a source of concern for you.

Furthermore, sustain an increased level of effort on large scales.

In reality, it is entirely up to you to decide which side you will place greater emphasis on.

What Size Tarp for Camping: Tent, Car, and Hammock

You’re not sure what kind of camping tarps you’re looking for. However, we will explore the subject of size in three areas under this category. I trust that our efforts will not be in vain in providing you with the size you require. Okay, then, let’s go forward.

For Tent

The tent is one of the places where tarps are most frequently utilized. This product has a variety of applications. Perhaps you’d want to keep it beneath or over the tent. Furthermore, you have the option of camping with family, friends, or even by yourself. As a result, you must cope with a variety of various sizes in every situation. So, what size tarp do you need for camping? It is now necessary to become familiar with tents and tarps. “Do I require larger tarps than I do for my tent?” is a topic that is commonly posed.

  1. Under Tent Tarp: Campers use under tent tarps to keep their tents dry, clean, and free of water, as well as to keep them insulated.
  2. In this case, the computation will be based on the floor area of your tent.
  3. In order to have the best possible set up, a tarp that is 7-12 inches bigger than the floor is recommended.
  4. And if you have a space of 7.7 by 3.2 feet, opt for an 8 x 4 foot size.
  5. You may use a simple method to determine the size of the object.
  6. In the event that you are traveling alone and have a tent floor of 7.7 x 3.2 feet, the dimensions of 10 x 6 feet will suffice.
  7. We did, however, organize a poll to determine the ideal sizes of tarps for use while tent camping.
  8. Additionally, 10′ x 12′ spaces received the most votes since they allow you to camp with more people.

By the way, some outdoor enthusiasts prefer a somewhat smaller tarp in extremely hot weather than they did in the past since it allows for more convenient ventilation. Basically, that’s what it’s all about: how and what sizes are most suited for your tent.

For Car Camping

Camping in the automobile is one of the most popular methods to spend time in the outdoors. There have been several debates on the appropriate size of the tarp for it. Some people enjoy tiny spaces, while others believe that large spaces are the finest. As a result, what is the most appropriate tarp size for vehicle camping? Well, based on my own personal experience and the opinions of industry professionals, 12′ x 12′ is the ideal size in this situation. With that size, you will be able to protect the shelter from the rain, a picnic table, or an empty room from the elements.

See also:  How Many Round Tables Can Fit Under A 20X20 Tent

It is OK to utilize this size if you have a small vehicle and are traveling alone.

This is due to the fact that at this large size, you will not have to be concerned about rain, cooking space, a table, or a camp chair, among other things.

The maintenance requirements for huge sizes, on the other hand, are higher.

For Hammock

Different sizes of hammock tarps are available, depending on a number of different considerations. So, which size will be the most comfortable for you? Before we get into the specifics of the sizes, let’s go over some fundamental words related to tarps and hammocks. There are two sorts of shelters that may be used for this style of camping:

  • Diamond/A-symmetric: The sizes of these are nearly identical to one another. When compared to A-symmetrical geometry, the diamond has a square and hence provides greater protection. It is referred to as a hexagon since it has six sides. I’m referring to hexagonal shapes.

Another important phrase to consider while calculating the tarp’s length is the ridgeline. The distance between two segments of the hammock is known as the ridgeline. Essentially, the size of the rainfly is influenced by your height and the size of your hammock. In the case of diamond/A-Sym: For starters, look for the ridgeline and base your decision on it. Choose the tarp so that it is longer than the ridgeline by up to 6 inches on both sides. If your hammock and ridgeline lengths are serially 13′ and 11.2′, respectively, the tarp size should be 12′ x 12′ for a family of four.

  1. Again, the 7′ x 7′ hammock is the only option if you want a single 11′ hammock with an 8.6′ line.
  2. For example, you’ll need to make both of them 6 inches longer than the line.
  3. And the size for 8 will be 7.7′ x 10′.
  4. It is dependent on the size of your hammock, the ridgeline, and your height.


I’m very sure you’re wondering why you have to go to so much trouble for something as simple as the size of a tarp. However, it is very vital to ensure the correct size. And, contrary to what you believe, it is not tough in reality. The formulae, sorts, charts, and sizes are all provided along with a link to where you can simply figure out which one belongs to you.

We hope that you are no longer perplexed as to what size tarp to bring camping is appropriate. And, of course, if anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. More Blog Posts

  • How to Keep Your Tarp from Flapping
  • The Pros and Cons of Hammock Camping (Major Points)
  • How to Keep Your Tarp from Flapping The Eight-Point Guide to Preventing Back Pain While Camping In this article, we will discuss how to insulate a tent for winter camping (13 hacks). How To Cool A Tent Without Using Electricity (13 Ingenious Methods)

How Big Should Your Tarp Be? Tarp Sizes Under 8 Scenarios

Tarps are highly important items of camping equipment to have on hand. To make a windbreak, lay them down on the ground and let them hang over your shoulders to provide further shelter. Tarps are available in a variety of sizes. The average lone camper will want a tarp that is at least 6 by 8 square feet in size. If you want to have some additional protection when you go outside your tent, a tarp measuring 8 by 10 square feet is an excellent investment. It’s generally recommended to use a tarp that’s one foot bigger than your tent.

How Big Should a Tarp Be For Camping?

Generally speaking, seasoned campers advise that for a lone camper, a tarp of at least 6 by 8 feet be used. For hammocking and bivy camping, a tarp that measures 8 by 10 feet would do nicely. Tarps should be somewhat bigger in size than your tent, hammock, or other sleeping accommodations. A tarp may be used for a variety of different forms of camping, as you can see in the list above. The sort of camping you’ll be doing will influence the size of tarp you’ll require; what you want to do with your tarp will also influence which size will be the most comfortable for you.

  • Car camping: You could want to use your tarp as a ground cover, a roof cover, or a windbreak when you’re out camping. Backpacking: A tarp is frequently used over a bivy or sleeping bag instead of a tent when hiking or camping. A tarp is usually draped over a hammock to protect you from the weather
  • However, this is not always the case. Sleeping beneath a tarp in your truck bed, or using it as a floor in a truck bed tent, are all options.

It is essential that you understand what you want to perform with your tarp before purchasing one. If you select a tarp with a size that is appropriate for usage beneath your tent, you will have a difficult time suspending it over the tent.

Tarp Size For Using A Tarp Over Your Setup

Before we get started, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of tarps that may be used for camping. While researching the finest tarps for hammock camping, you can find instances of some of these techniques. TARP size will vary based on the sort of tarp used, therefore for the sake of this essay, let’s stick with a standard A-line square or rectangular tarp. The KALINCO tarp, seen below, is an excellent example of the sort of tarp I’m referring to. When utilized in any of the conditions listed above, the triangle form is an excellent method to make a shelter, but it may also be used flat on the ground.

Car Camping

When vehicle camping, you’ll most likely be sleeping in a dome or cabin tent, with the tarp serving as an extra “roof” kind of setup to keep the elements out. You must not only take into consideration the size of your tent, but you must also take into consideration the bend or crease in the ceiling of your tarp. The sloping angle of the sides will help give the impression that it is smaller than it actually is. This is why you should choose a tarp that is larger than your tent. One size larger is sufficient, but if you’re going camping in wet or stormy weather, two sizes larger is a wise decision.

When picking your tarp, make careful to measure the size of your tent as well as the size of any new tent you want to purchase and compare them to the measurements listed below.

Tent Size Tent Occupancy Tarp Size
7 x 5 feet 2 people 10 x 8 feet
9 x 7 feet 4 people 10 x 10 feet
10 x 10 feet 6 people 12 x 14 feet
16 x 7 feet 8 people 14 x 20 feet


In order to be effective when hiking, your tarp must be rather large. Instead of a tent, you simply need to cover yourself. It’s usual for folks to recommend that you use an 8-by-9-foot rectangular tarp when they’re looking for one, and a 9-by-9-foot rectangular tarp is also effective in many situations. This, however, is intended for solitary travelers exclusively. What about groups of people? It’s common that you won’t have a large enough clearing to set up a large number of individual tarps, so it’s ideal to acquire one huge tarp and sleep beneath it in a group of people.

Backpackers Tarp Size
1 6 x 9 feet
2 6 x 13 feet
3 9 x 16 feet
4 12 x 16 feet

You’ll have to experiment with your sleeping arrangements in order to make the most of your tarp’s available space. When using a 12 by 16-foot tarp, for example, you could fit three people side by side, as well as two people laying end-to-end horizontally underneath the feet of the campers who were side by side.


The majority of the time, your tarp should be the same length and width as your hammock. Getting anything at least a foot wider than your hammock is a good idea, however if you can’t locate something long enough, focus more on breadth. In the event that you are just 6 feet tall and your hammock is 10 feet long, you will not take up the full hammock. In other words, if all you have is an 8-foot-long tarp, you should be fine. As you can see from the table below, hammocks come in a variety of sizes.

Hammock Length Tarp Size
9’10” x 6’6” 12 x 10 feet
9’ x 4’7” 6 x 10 feet
7’7” x 7’3” 8 x 10 feet
9’2” x 4’ 6 x 10 feet

The most important thing you can do is choose a size that is comfortable for you. Experiment with various tarp sizes until you find the one that fits perfectly. You may discover that a certain tarp size is either too large or too tiny for you, and that is just OK. You may also experiment with other tarp locations, as described by the camper in the video below.


Truckbed camping is the most straightforward type of camping to outfit with a tarp. Truck beds don’t come in a lot of different sizes, and the most typical truck bed length is 6’5″ in length. Getting a tarp that is at least 8 feet long will guarantee that you have complete covering. You’ll need to measure the width of your truck bed in order to determine how broad it is. An 8 by 6-foot tarp would be ideal for this, but your truck bed won’t always be the conventional size, so be prepared to cut a few corners.

Tarp Size For Using A Tarp Under Your Setup

You may also want to consider putting a tarp below your sleeping arrangement. In fact, the topic of “should I need a tarp under my tent?” is one that both new and experienced campers alike frequently inquire about. Because you won’t be on the ground, hammock camping is not an option, although tarps are often used beneath tents, for hiking, and during truckbed camping, among other things. Let’s take a look at the most frequent sizes.

Car Camping

Additionally, you may want to consider sleeping under a tarp. As a matter of fact, the issue “do I need a tarp under my tent?” is one that is frequently asked by both new and experienced campers.

Due to the fact that you will not be on the ground, hammock camping will not be applicable, although tarps are widely used beneath tents and for hiking as well as truckbed camping in this environment. Look at the most often seen sizes.

Tent Size Tarp Size in Feet
2-Person 7 x 5
3-Person 7 x 7
4 to 5-Person 6 x 8
6-Person 10 x 10

If you’re using your tarp underneath your tent, you don’t have to be as rigorous with the size of your tarp because you can always fold up any excess material. When you’re using a tarp to cover your tent, this isn’t an option. Always remember, though, that a little too big is preferable than a little too little—you won’t be able to use a tarp that’s too small since it won’t fit. Going too big, on the other hand, is not a good thing. This results in pooling, which is detailed in further detail in the page mentioned above.


When you’re hiking, you won’t need to carry a large tarp to cover your feet. Only anything at least as broad as your shoulders and a bit taller than you will suffice for this task. As an example, if you are 6 feet tall, a tarp that is 7 feet or longer will enough. If you’re looking for breadth, the average adult man has a shoulder width of less than 2 feet, therefore anything 3 feet broad or greater foranyperson should be plenty. You won’t have any troubles if your tarp is far broader than you are.

A tarp that measures 4 by 8 feet isn’t common, but if you can find one, it’s a perfect size for a solitary traveller.

See also:  How To Increase Humidity In Grow Tent Reddit

However, because tarp sizes frequently rise in both width and length, you may need to size up as well as width and length.


You’ll need to take measures of your truckbed to figure out how big it is, but a tarp that fits the dimensions of the bed would work nicely. It makes no difference whether you purchase a tarp that is too large for your truck bed. Extra material may be tucked in with relative ease. Additionally, if it is feasible, you may let the excess cloth hang over the length of the bed. Experiment with putting tarps of various sizes into your truck bed to find which one works best for you. Truck beds frequently have various projecting pieces in them, such as storage bins, and the way your tarp fits will be influenced by these features.

How Do You Use a Tarp as a Windbreak?

Make sure your windbreak is large enough to block any prevailing winds that are blowing toward you. Having rope or guylines to suspend your tarp will ensure that at least a portion of it remains upright during the storm. The ground-laying section of the tarp should be secured so that it does not flap in the wind. If you do not have any trees or shrubs to serve as a natural windbreak, this will aid in keeping severe winds away from your campsite. If you want to create a windbreak, a tarp can be used.You’ll need to be familiar with your camping spot in advance, though, because you’ll need to measure it to determine what size tarp you’ll need.Be careful not to use a tarp that’s too small, as that may create two additional channels for the wind to blow through on either side of the tarp.Using an oversized tarp is preferable to using an undersized tarp.A Use pegs or stakes to hold the corners of the tarp in place so that it doesn’t flap about.

Another option is to use a portion of the tarp as an overhead shelter; there are many different methods to make a windbreak that works for you.

Other Factors That Affect The Tarp Size You’ll Need

Unfortunately, choosing the appropriate tarp size is not as straightforward as it appears. When choosing a tarp, there are a few considerations that must be taken into consideration.

Tarp Design

A-frame tarps or tarps that can be converted to A-frame structures are the focus of all of the proposals above, as previously stated. However, they aren’t your only alternative in this situation. You may want a flat square to cover your tent, and that is quite OK. A tarp that isn’t nearly as large will be required because there will be no bend or slope to the area in question. There are also tarps that are designed like tents and have little flaps that open and close. There are tarps with a lot of corners that you stake into the ground to keep them from blowing away.

Pay close attention to the tarp size that you want, since the design is critical when attempting to pick the appropriate size.

Finished vs Cut Size

Occasionally, you’ll purchase a tarp that is far smaller than you anticipated. This is due to the fact that the completed and cut sizes are different. The cut size of your tarp refers to how large the tarp was before the hems, seams, and eyelets were attached. The finished size of your tarp will be a couple of inches less than this. If you’re purchasing a tarp, double-check that the size mentioned is the cut size, not the final size, before purchasing. If the manufacturer just specifies the cut size, then get a tarp that is a few inches larger than the cut size.

Weather Conditions

If you’re going to be putting your tarp over you or your tent, you’ll need some form of ventilation to keep moisture at bay and prevent you from becoming overheated in the process. It is important to retain as much heat in during the winter months, so make sure your tarp is tightly attached to the sides of your tent and as close to ground as you possibly can get it. Even with a little space between the tarp and the tent, you’ll want to attempt to keep moisture at bay as much as possible. Because it’s warmer in the summer, the distance between the tarp and the ground may be bigger, and the tarp doesn’t have to be as close to you or your tent as it would be otherwise.

Avoid These Mistakes When Choosing Tarp Size

Prior to embarking on your tarp shopping expedition, there are several more variables to consider. Let’s go over them now, before you start on your tarp shopping binge.

Choosing Too Small

Choosing the smallest tarp feasible to save money is tempting, but choosing a bigger one is preferable due to weather and location factors, as explained in the next section. In the summer, a smaller tarp will suffice because it will be used mostly as a sun shelter; however, a larger tarp is preferable in the winter because any potential rain or snow will strike the tarp, slide down, and fall away from you.

Ignoring Ventilation

You should experiment with different tarp sizes while attempting to figure out the best ventilation solution for your situation. Large tarps have sides that are long enough to reach the ground in a low-ventilation configuration, which is advantageous. However, it must be placed high enough above your setup so that it does not close in on you too much throughout the game. If you want greater ventilation, raise the height of your tarp above the level of your tent. For this, you’ll need a tarp with sides that are long enough to completely cover your tent despite the fact that you’re further away or higher up.

It is for this reason that experimenting is essential. Experiment with different tarp sizes and positions until you discover the one that best suits your needs.


If you’re going hiking, stay away from canvas tarps as much as possible. They’re cumbersome and hefty, and they’re not going to make for great travel companions. The best tarps are hydrophobic tarps, which are synthetic and frequently manufactured from polyester mixes. Because hydrophobic tarps are also waterproof, they will dry considerably more quickly after being exposed to rain.

Ease of Storage

Another advantage of using a hydrophobic tarp is that it will be less difficult to store. They have the ability to roll or fold down to a reasonable size. The majority of car campers will not have to be concerned about this, but backpackers and hammock campers will want to look for something that can be stored in a little amount of space. Keep this in mind when you’re out shopping for a tarp to protect your vehicle.


It will be easy to store a hydrophobic tarp, which is another another advantage of using them. They have the ability to roll or fold up into a reasonable amount of storage space. The majority of car campers will not have to be concerned about this, but those who backpack or camp in hammocks will want to look for something that can be stored in a tight space. This is something to keep in mind when you’re out looking for a tarp.

Best Dimensions for a 1 Person Backpacking Tarp

A rectangular tarp was thrown, with a fallen tree serving as a back wall to keep the elements out. If you’re looking for an intimate connection with nature, there’s nothing like sleeping under a square or rectangular tarp to achieve that. It takes more thought to set up a tarp than it does to set up a tent because you have to think about what the best setup or “shape” will be for the night and whether it needs to be wind or weather resistant, the slope and composition of the ground and whether you’ll be swamped if it rains, and whether it is safe (for widow-makers) or desirable to tie your shelter to a nearby tree for support.

It is effective as a wind break and as a built-in ground sheet.

During a downpour, the bathtub bottom will keep you dry, and the poles will not be blown over by the wind.

Tarp Shapes and Sizes

In order to adjust your shelter to the surrounding environment, flat tarps with 90-degree corners that are either square or rectangular are the ideal choice. They can be folded into a variety of forms, known as pitches, and are the most versatile of the shelter options. They vary from shaped tarps, such as pyramids and their derivatives, which can only be pitched in a single direction and in a single form, such as squares. Likewise, see: What is the difference between flat tarps and shaped tarps, and how can I tell the difference?

I lean toward the square tarp camp because it is simpler for me to imagine different pitches in my head when using a square tarp rather than a rectangular tarp, which has two sides that are of varying lengths on either side.

When you add organic components from the surrounding terrain into your pitches, the number of tarp forms that are conceivable increases indefinitely. The pitch is being adapted to the surrounding environment.

Plans for a 1 Person Square Tarp

When it comes to square hiking and camping tarps, what are the ideal dimensions and qualities to look for? In the end, I came to the conclusion that a 9 by 9 foot tarp is the right size for one person after deliberating for several years. As a result of my own personal experience, I can tell you that an 8×8 foot tarp is somewhat too small and a 10×10 foot tarp is far too large. Consider the following scenario: If you’re 6 feet tall and you pitch an A-frame with an 8 × 8 foot tarp, you’ll only have 1 foot at each end of the structure to cover yourself from the elements.

The tarp has a surface area of 100 square feet when measured at 10 feet per side, which is just too much cloth to wrangle with.

Guyout Points

When it comes to flat tarps, however, size is not the only consideration. It’s also critical to provide guyout points in strategic locations so that you may fold the tarp or tie it up in a number of configurations. If you want a real square tarp, the guyout points must be symmetrical; otherwise, you will only be able to generate the same pitches as a rectangle tarp. Design of a 9 x 9 Tarp – Guyout Points and Tarp Dimensions The idea of making a tarp out of one piece of fabric with these proportions seems simple enough, but the reality is more challenging because materials are only available in a limited number of different size options.

The tarp will still have an element of “handedness” since it will prefer to drape in a certain direction, but the use of symmetric guyouts will help to mitigate this tendency.

Interior Attachment Points

The interior of a flat (or shaped) tarp should be equipped with glove hooks or small webbing loops so that you may hang items such as a bug bivy or an inner tent from it. Customers who purchase tarps from companies who do not provide inner attachment points on the bottom of the tarp experience a significant level of annoyance as a result of this. When tying your bug bivy to a trekking pole at the end of your tarp (to keep the netting off your face), you’d also need to attach a drip line between the bug bivy line and the trekking pole, to prevent rain from trickling down the line into your face.

Design of a 9 x 9 Tarp with Interior Attachment Points Such internal attachments are ideally placed at the center point of the tarp and 3 feet out in either direction along the central seam of a 9 × 9 tarp.

Line-Locs vs Webbing

Final details on a flat tarp are the guyout points itself, and the decision between utilizing line-loc connections, plastic loops, or webbing loops, as well as a technique to strengthen their attachment points so that they don’t rip out while the tarp is being pulled taut. Several different guyout connector treatments are available. A flat tarp does not need that you tie cords to each guyout point each time you pitch it, and it would be wasteful to weigh down the tarp with extra line-locs and cord that you may never use.

This is a more flexible solution.

It is also necessary to reinforce the guyout points in order to prevent the guyout webbing from ripping out under strain.

This normally necessitates the addition of a second layer of fabric or reinforcing material around the attachment point in order to prevent the cloth from being torn. Another impromptu pitch made using a square tarp

Who Makes This Tarp?

Final details on a flat tarp are the guyout points itself, and the decision between utilizing line-loc connections, plastic loops, or webbing loops, as well as a technique to strengthen their attachment points so that they don’t rip out when the tarp is pulled taut. Guyout connectors can be treated in a variety of ways; In the case of a flat tarp, you don’t have to tie cords to each guyout point every time you pitch it, and it would be wasteful to weigh down the tarp with extra line-locs and cable that you might never use again.

In order to tension your tie-outs without the use of a line-loc, you must first have a rudimentary understanding of friction knots.

In order to prevent the fabric from ripping, it is common practice to add a second layer of fabric or reinforcing material around the attachment site.

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