If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in the great outdoors, you realize how important a trustworthy tarp is. Tarps are one of the most versatile and underrated pieces of equipment that you can take camping or hiking.
If you know what you’re doing, they can be turned into a shelter to save you from a storm or even crafted into a canoe. Let’s look at some of the best bushcraft tarps on the market.
Best Bushcraft Tarp Criteria
There are many things that determine how good a bushcraft tarp is. It takes more than being waterproof or lightweight. You should also look for durability, versatility, and so much more. Here is a list of things you should consider when choosing the best bushcraft tarp for your next trip.
The last thing you want is to be purchasing a new tarp every couple of weeks or months. A good tarp should last long and remain free of holes and leaks. The durability of a tarp is determined somewhat by how you care for it and maintain it, but more so by the material that your tarp is made of.
Poly or polyethylene tarps are some of the most durable on the market. They’re made of recycled plastic, the same material used on poly furniture, fences, and PVC pipe, all of which are incredibly durable and weather resistant.
Your best bushcraft tarp should also be extremely lightweight. If you’re on a long hiking trip or extended camping stay, you don’t want your walks bogged down with a heavy tarp. Material plays a big role in this, as does your tarp’s ability to wick off the water. A tarp that soaks up moisture should be avoided at all costs.
How compact a tarp is refers to how small you can pack it down and fold it up when you’re not using it. Compactness is an essential quality of a bushcraft tarp because you’ll likely have lots of other things that you need to carry around on your person.
As I said before, tarps are some of the most versatile tools you can have on a camping or hiking trip. A quality tarp will come in handy, whether you need a quick shelter, something to protect you from the rain, or any other number of things. Here are some of the other things a best bushcraft tarp is helpful for.
1. Catching rainwater when you’re running low on drinking water.
2. Dragging heavy items such as a large animal you’ve killed or a bundle of wood that’s too heavy to carry.
3. Blocking the wind during a sandstorm, thunderstorm, or windstorm.
4. You can even use a tarp as a canoe or small raft if you know what you’re doing.
Perhaps the most important ingredient to a quality bushcraft tent is how waterproof it is. A tarp is worth next to nothing if it doesn’t repel water but instead absorbs it. If it isn’t water-resistant, you won’t be able to use your tarp for a tent, a shelter, a raft, or anything meaningful for long-term use.
While compactness and weight are very important, you also need a tarp that’s big enough for what you’re doing. If you’re building a shelter or tent and want to use a tarp, it’s extremely important that you have one large enough to house you and anyone else who needs it. A tarp that’s too small will be irritating, inconvenient, and won’t make for a good bushcraft tent.
At the end of the day, tarps are important, but you need to save your money for lots of other things too. Luckily, most tarps aren’t overly expensive compared to other things like knives, sleeping bags, tents, or bedrolls. Having the best bushcraft tarp is essential, but overspending on one and ruining your budget will hurt you in other areas.
Overall Best Bushcraft Tarp
Now that you know how vital it is to provide yourself with the best bushcraft tarp, and what to look for in one let’s dive into the best options on the market!
1. Aqua Quest Defender Tarp
No matter which website you’re looking on for the overall best bushcraft tarp, the Aqua Quest Defender Tarp will likely pop up in the top one or two. This tarp is the best for several reasons, but mainly because it checks off all the boxes listed above. It’s made of a durable, 100% waterproof material, will last for several years, and is meant for heavy-duty use.
This is the type of tarp that you would take on long hunting, hiking, or camping trip where you need somewhat of a permanent shelter without actually building a cabin. It’s made of nylon fabric with a water-repellent polyurethane coating. This combination makes it durable, waterproof, wind-resistant, and everything else you’re looking for in a tarp. It’s available in three different sizes to accommodate everyone’s needs.
All in all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better overall tarp than the Aqua Quest Defender. Compared to other tarps at the same price point, this best bushcraft tarp is head and shoulders above the rest.
- Extremely durable
- 100% waterproof thanks to two waterproof coatings
- Dries quickly after a storm
- Very compact for how big it is
- Aqua offers a lifetime warranty on this tarp
- On the spendy side for some at $80
- Slightly on the heavy side as well and can weigh anywhere between 2.4 to 7.2 pounds, depending on the size you choose
Runner-Up for Best Bushcraft Tarp
2. REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent
The REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent gives Aqua a run for its money in terms of versatility, price, and quality. The REDCAMP can be used for many different activities but makes its name when used for camping purposes.
This lightweight, water-resistant tarp is made of strong polyester fabric that’s a unique combination of durable but lightweight. Turning this tarp into a tent or shelter takes very little time, and it also has generous dimensions of 10 x 12. This bad boy will get the job done whether you need shelter from the rain, wind, or sun.
Throw in the fact that this best bushcraft tarp only weighs 2 pounds and can fit into a small corner of your backpack, and you’ve got one of the best hiking or camping tarps that money can buy.
- This tarp comes with tie-outs for an easy camping setup
- Very lightweight at just 2 pounds
- Highly water, sun, and wind resistant
- Very durable and the metal eyelets for your tie-outs are rustproof
- One of the most versatile tarps out there
- Extremely budget-friendly at right around $30
- Not as waterproof as we would like
Second Runner Up Best Bushcraft Tarp
3. Aqua Quest Safari Tarp
If you haven’t noticed yet, we really like Aqua products for tarps. The Aqua Quest Safari Tarp is another excellent option and is the perfect combination of the Aqua Quest Defender and the REDCAMP. It combines all the amazing qualities typical of Aqua products with the light weight of the REDCAMP.
This best bushcraft tarp is available in five different sizes ranging from 10 x 7 to 20 x 13. The smallest tarp weighs only 1.5 pounds, but the biggest is only 4.5 pounds, which is staggering compared to the heavier Aqua Quest Defender. It’s made of the same nylon material and comes with a waterproof polyurethane coating.
No matter what you’re looking to do in the woods, the Aqua Quest Safari Tarp will see you through. It’s durable, versatile, lightweight, and can hold up under most conditions.
- 100% waterproof
- Very lightweight at only 1.5 pounds to 4.5 pounds
- Very compact and lightweight
- Aqua offers a lifetime warranty on this product
- While it’s durable and resilient, it’s not quite as durable as the Aqua Quest Defender tarp.
- A little on the spendy side, ranging from $75 for the smallest tarp to $240 for the largest.
Best Bushcraft Tarp on a Budget
4. Free Soldier Waterproof Tarp
If you’re on a bit of a budget but still want a high-quality bushcraft tarp, look no further than the Free Soldier Waterproof Tarp. As you can probably tell from the name, this tarp is very proud of the fact that it’s 100% waterproof. It makes for the perfect tarp to turn into a tent or shelter, but without paying an arm and a leg for it.
The Free Soldier is made of polyester fabric that’s extremely durable and lightweight while also being tear and puncture-proof, to a certain point, of course. It comes with 19 tie-outs and enough holes to easily convert into a decent-sized tent. Weighing in at just a shade over 2 pounds, it’s also extremely lightweight for its 10′ x 10.5′ size.
The total tarp package also includes a sack and a suspension cord and ten attachment points. The amount of attachment points gives you lots of options when you go to set your tent up. You can even use it as a shelter, a rainfly, a sun shelter, or a groundsheet.
- One of the most versatile tarps on this list
- 100% waterproof and very durable construction
- Designed for backpacking and camping, but can be used for a variety of things
- Very lightweight and affordable at right around $40
- Not the largest tarp in terms of overall size, so make sure it’s big enough for your needs before purchasing it.
Best Compact Bushcraft Tarp
5. Sanctuary SilTarp
If you’re tight on space but still need a reliable tarp, the Sanctuary SilTarp is the tarp for you. Outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds rave about this tarp because of its combination of compactness, size, and versatility. This best bushcraft tarp can be used for anything, but it’s designed to cater to campers and hikers and comes as a full package. Not only do you get the tarp, but you also get six tie-down stakes and the rope you need to create a tent shelter.
The Sanctuary SilTarp is 10′ x 7′ in size and weighs less than a pound at just 14 ounces. It’s hard to get more compact than that! It comes with its own carrying bag if you want to carry this best bushcraft tarp and its accessories separate from your backpack.
Just like most camping tarps, if you’re worried about rain or snow, this bad boy will keep you as dry as a bone. It consists of a rip-proof nylon fabric with silicone and polyurethane dual coating, which is guaranteed to keep you and your belongings dry. The fabric also features fully taped seams in order to prevent any tear and wear and to make it as durable as possible.
- Incredibly lightweight and compact
- It comes with all the tie-downs and ropes you need to make a tent
- 100% waterproof
- Surprisingly durable for how lightweight it is
- Extremely flexible in terms of stretchiness
- Not quite as large as other tarps and best suited for one or two people
Best Bushcraft Tarp for Durability
6. Heavy Duty Vinyl Tarp by CSS Chicago
If durability and strength are your primary concern with a bushcraft tarp, check out the Heavy Duty Vinyl Tarp from CSS Chicago. CSS Chicago is a company that specializes in heavy-duty products, and this tarp is no exception. While it’s definitely on the bulky side of things and not meant for hiking or backpacking, it’s meant for a variety of other survival practices.
This best bushcraft tarp is made out of 100% waterproof vinyl polyester material, which also makes it next to untearable. There isn’t much this tarp can’t do, from building a shelter to waterproofing a raft. It’s also ideal for dragging large animals or logs across the ground, thanks to how thick and durable it is.
- Extremely durable material that can hold up under any conditions or circumstances
- Versatile in the ways you can use it
- 100% waterproof
- It comes in a ton of different sizes and colors
- Definitely on the heavier side at 10 pounds for the 8′ x 10′ tarp
Why Do I Need the Best Bushcraft Tarp?
If you’re serious about venturing into the great outdoors for an extended period of time, you’ll want the bushcraft tarp you can get your hands on for sure. Tarps are one of the most versatile items that you can pack with you as they can be used for many different things. Most good bushcraft tarps are also lightweight and durable and come with tie-down accessories to easily convert into a shelter.
Wrapping Up the Best Bushcraft Tarp
As you can see, there are many different quality options when it comes to picking the best bushcraft tarp. The right tarp for you will depend on what size you need and what you plan to use it for. However, if you’re in the market for a top-notch tarp for outdoor living, one of the options in this article should fit the bill.
While you’re here, check out this Complete Guide to the Best Bushcraft Packs?