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Buying guide: The best tarp
A tarp is a practical outdoor shelter and can be used as a replacement or supplement to a tent. The rain protection can also be used perfectly in the garden or on the balcony. We have compared the different tarp types with each other. Which one is our clear favourite and what else you should know about this versatile product, I would like to explain to you in this buying guide.
The most important thing in advance
- A tarp or tent cover can be used individually for outdoor activities and can be used as a tent substitute, as a supplement, as sun or rain protection or as an underlay.
- They come in different shapes and variations. These include triangular, rectangular, square and trapezoidal tarps.
- A weatherproof material such as ripstop nylon is particularly important.
- The most important thing in advance
- The most important thing in advance
- What is a Tarp?
- Who are tarps suitable for?
- What types of tent tarpaulins or tarp are there?
- Material: Tarps are made from these fabrics
- Assembly: This is how the tarp is attached
- Care: Cleaning your tarp
- Tarp or tent – Which is the better choice?
- Costs: This is how much you should budget for
- These are the features you should look for when buying
- The most important things in summary
The most important thing in advance
Empfehlung der Redaktion
ArtQuadratisches TarpRechteckiges TarpQuadratisches TarpQuadratisches Tarpviereckiges TarpQuadratisches Tarp
Größe3 x 3 m2,3 x 1,4 m3 x 3 m3 x 3 m3 x 4,5 m3 x 3 m
Gewicht950 g300 g800 g926 g1000 g930 g
Packmaß25 x 13 cm17 x 12 x 6 cm31 x 18 cm28,5 x 22 x 13 cm35 x 20 x 5 cm35 x 15 x 10 cm
MaterialRipstop NylonPolyester-Ripstop210D Oxford Gewebe / PU 3000210D-Polyestergewebe / PU 3000-Beschichtung190T Oxford-GewebePU-beschichtetes Polyester
Besonderheiten / Extrasversch. Farben zur Wahl, verstärktes Randmaterial, Tasche für Accessoires, packmaßinkl. Zubehörtascheversch. Größen zur Wahl, versch. Farben zur Wahlpraktische Befestigungsgurte, dppelt verstärlte Nähte an den Eckenversch. Größen zur Wahl, versch. Farben zur Wahl, Verstärkte Ösen und Schlaufen19 Befestigungspunkte für einen variablen Aufbau37,95 EUR19,99 EUR36,99 EUR36,99 EUR46,99 EUR69,99 EUREmpfehlung der Redaktion
Größe3 x 3 m
Packmaß25 x 13 cm
Besonderheiten / Extrasversch. Farben zur Wahl, verstärktes Randmaterial, Tasche für Accessoires, packmaß37,95 EURPreis-Leistung-Sieger
Größe2,3 x 1,4 m
Packmaß17 x 12 x 6 cm
Besonderheiten / Extrasinkl. Zubehörtasche19,99 EURLeichtgewicht
Größe3 x 3 m
Packmaß31 x 18 cm
Material210D Oxford Gewebe / PU 3000
Besonderheiten / Extrasversch. Größen zur Wahl, versch. Farben zur Wahl36,99 EUR
Größe3 x 3 m
Packmaß28,5 x 22 x 13 cm
Material210D-Polyestergewebe / PU 3000-Beschichtung
Besonderheiten / Extraspraktische Befestigungsgurte, dppelt verstärlte Nähte an den Ecken36,99 EUR
Größe3 x 4,5 m
Packmaß35 x 20 x 5 cm
Besonderheiten / Extrasversch. Größen zur Wahl, versch. Farben zur Wahl, Verstärkte Ösen und Schlaufen46,99 EUR
Größe3 x 3 m
Packmaß35 x 15 x 10 cm
Besonderheiten / Extras19 Befestigungspunkte für einen variablen Aufbau69,99 EUR
When looking for a tent tarpaulin or a sun awning, you will certainly come across the topic of tarp. This practical outdoor utensil can be used in a variety of ways and is suitable for use at home as well as on camping holidays or trekking tours.
What is a Tarp?
This is a usually rectangular, triangular or trapezoidal tent tarpaulin that should not be missing on your next outdoor adventure. Unlike a tent, the tarp is not closed, but can be set up individually. You can use the tarp as rain protection or a sun sail, or as a waterproof base on the ground. Due to its low weight, it can be easily stowed in a backpack and is therefore an ideal companion on hiking or trekking tours. Tarps are often supplied in a set with a transport bag, guy ropes and pegs and are therefore ready for immediate use.
Who are tarps suitable for?
Now you may be wondering if a tarp is right for you and if it will serve your purposes. In fact, these tarps can be used in a very functional way. They are especially popular with outdoor enthusiasts because they can be stretched out as rain protection in no time. So if you are surprised by the weather on your hike, you can quickly take your tarp out of your backpack and stretch it between two trees, for example. The tarp is also a practical addition when camping. For example, you can use it as an awning, as an underlay to protect the ground from cold and damp or as additional rain protection over the tent. By the way, the tarp is also very popular with beach holidaymakers. Especially in windy places, you can use it as a wind and sand shelter or pitch it as a beach tent for sun protection. You can also set up a tarp at home in the garden, on the terrace or on the balcony and save space for a parasol. It also serves as rain protection here.
What types of tent tarpaulins or tarp are there?
Let’s take a closer look at the different variants, after all, your tarpaulin should meet your needs and wishes. You will probably need a different model for a camping shelter than for sun protection on the balcony. Basically, the tarps are differentiated by their shapes.
The square tarp
Let’s start with the square tent tarpaulin. This is characterised by the fact that the length and width are the same. This means that you have the same size surface to lay under or to stretch out – depending on what you want to use your tarp for. Popular sizes are 3 x 3 m, 3.5 x 3.5 m and 4 x 4 m. If you want to use the tarp for the whole family or protect a large area from rain, you can also opt for an XXL version with 5 x 5 m. However, you should bear in mind that large dimensions also increase the weight.
The rectangular tarpaulin
Also popular are tarpaulins with a rectangular format. In contrast to the square version, one side is significantly longer. This means you have more space available and can cover a larger area or set up a tent roof with the corresponding length. Especially if you are travelling with several people, the extra centimetres can make a big difference. Especially in the rain, you are well advised to use the rectangular version. Tarps usually start at 2 x 3 m, 3 x 4 m, 4 x 6 m and so on.
The trapezoidal tent cover
Tarps in trapezoidal shape are somewhat rarer, but are nevertheless becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to the special cut, the tarp allows enough air to circulate even when erected and protects against rain. You can also use the tarp as a practical sun awning and stretch it out in the garden or on the balcony. Here, too, you can choose between different sizes and dimensions.
Das dreieckige Tarp
Lastly, I would like to introduce you to the triangular tarp, which you will more likely find under the term sun sail. Since it only has three corners, you can only use this type of tarp to protect yourself from the sun or rain. The square and rectangular tarp, on the other hand, can be set up with pegs and poles to form a shelter that is closed on two sides. The triangular awning can of course also be used in nature. All you need is a suitable spot between the trees. The triangular tarp usually starts at 2.5 x 2.5 x 3.5 m, goes up to 3.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 m and ends with the XXL version in 5 x 7 x 7 m and larger.
Material: Tarps are made from these fabrics
Tent tarpaulins should preferably be made of a tear-resistant and robust material so that they can withstand the various weather conditions. The choice of materials is really impressive. From nylon to polyester to cotton, everything is available.
This is a synthetic fibre that is virtually non-elastic. This is particularly beneficial in rain and moisture. In addition, the very close-meshed fabric offers practical UV protection, but is not breathable. Polyester fabrics are usually quite light, so you can easily transport it. Cleaning is also very easy, so all you really need is a damp cloth and detergent if necessary.
This material is a very elastic synthetic fibre. When nylon gets wet, it expands and only contracts again when it dries. If you are travelling in an area where it often rains, this material can only be used to a limited extent. The advantage is that nylon has a very low weight and can therefore be easily stowed in a rucksack. If the tarp gets dirty, you can simply wipe off the dirt with a damp cloth. Please note that nylon does not provide sufficient UV protection.
The use of ripstop is particularly popular for tarps. This is a fabric with a special weaving technique. Nylon is additionally treated with silicone so that this synthetic material is extremely tear-resistant. Ripstop is also UV-resistant, which is why this material is preferred for tents and tarps. Another advantage is that this plastic is permeable to air. When buying, however, you should make sure that the ripstop fabric is labelled as waterproof. Otherwise you may have to impregnate the tent tarpaulin afterwards.
Cotton can also be found as a fabric in tarps. There are both uncoated cotton tent tarps and coated cotton blend fabric. However, normal cotton is rarely used anymore, as this material is not waterproof and also dries very slowly. Although it is breathable, it is not really suitable for unstable weather. Cotton blend fabric, on the other hand, is processed with a synthetic fibre so that it combines the advantages of cotton and the synthetic fabric. However, it is important to remember that cotton is significantly heavier than polyester or nylon.
Assembly: This is how the tarp is attached
As a rule, your tarp comes with the appropriate instructions, so you can’t really go wrong. With the appropriate poles, pegs and guy ropes, which are included in the delivery, you are already well equipped. If you want to set up the tarp as a large tarpaulin, you can find a spot with suitable trees to which you can tie it with the ropes. If you want to erect the tarp like a tent, you need a place where there are no trees or bushes in the way. Now lay your tarp on the ground and fasten the guy ropes in the eyelets provided. Use the pegs to secure the tarp to the ground. Then use the poles. To do this, lift the tarpaulin and place the poles in the middle and on the side. The last thing you have to do is check that the tarp is taut. And you’re done.
To attach the tarp to the tent or motorhome, it is useful to use a piping and piping rail. This way you can easily connect them together. If you have a simple tent without a device, you can simply let the tarpaulin overlap a little with the tent.
Care: Cleaning your tarp
How you clean your tarp depends on the material. Polyester and nylon can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. Cotton, on the other hand, can sometimes even be washed. In this case, however, you should impregnate the tarp again afterwards for better protection. In general, there is nothing to be said against treating your tarp with an appropriate product before a longer outdoor adventure.
Tarp or tent – Which is the better choice?
There is no concrete or correct answer to this question. It all depends on your wishes and preferences. A tarp can be used in many ways as a tarpaulin, as a shelter, as sun protection, as an awning or as a base. It is open on at least two sides and therefore cannot be compared to a tent. A good outdoor tent can be closed completely so that you are protected from insects, bugs and cold at night. A tarp as a substitute for a tent is only suitable if you want to spend the night in the great outdoors. As you can see, the tarp is more of a practical addition to your tent or a near-natural overnight option.
Costs: This is how much you should budget for
When it comes to price, it all depends on your wishes and preferences. A simple and basic tarp in a small size (3 x 3 m) is available for as little as 12 euros. A high-quality tarp with complete equipment can cost between 20 and 40 euros. However, here too it depends on the size. Extra-large XXL tent tarps cost considerably more than a small version. For large triangular awnings, you usually have to dig a little deeper into your pocket. Prices range from 20 to 100 euros.
These are the features you should look for when buying
Once you have made your decision and want to buy a tarp, you will be faced with quite a large selection. I would like to briefly explain which features and characteristics you should look out for when making your choice.
First of all, it is advisable that you decide on a shape of tarp. You can choose from square, rectangular, trapezoidal and triangular tarps. If you only want sun protection for the garden, a triangular awning might be sufficient. However, rectangular and square tarps are more suitable for individual use in nature.
Size and weight
As with many outdoor utensils, size and weight play a decisive role. Especially if you are travelling with a backpack, the tarp should be neither bulky nor heavy. If, on the other hand, you are travelling with the whole family or friends, the tarp should not be too small to protect all of you.
Most manufacturers work with synthetic fibres that are well suited for outdoor use. Ripstop is particularly popular, as this material has all the advantages that are important as rain and sun protection. But other plastics that are waterproof or impregnated are also suitable for a trip into nature. There are also polyester, nylon and cotton blends to choose from.
So that you can use your tarp straight away, it is advisable to buy a complete set consisting of tarpaulin, poles, guy ropes, pegs and transport bag. This way you know that everything fits together and the poles are the right size.
The weather resistance of your tarp should also not be underestimated. In any case, your tarp should be waterproof and offer you protection from rain. Some materials do not absorb moisture and others have a special coating.
The most important things in summary
- A tarp is a rectangular, triangular or trapezoidal tent tarpaulin.
- Tarps are open on at least two sides, but can be used and erected quite individually.
- A tarp is particularly suitable for outdoor enthusiasts, as it can be used as a sun and rain protection, as an underlay, as a tent substitute, as an awning or as an underlay.
- When making your choice, you can decide between different shapes and sizes.
- Which one suits you best depends on your preferences.
- Most tarps are made of polyester, nylon, ripstop or cotton blend.
- For optimal pitching, you need enough space, the poles, pegs and guy ropes.
- Most tarps can be cleaned with a damp cloth and are very easy to care for.
- A tarp is usually a practical addition to a tent and is only suitable as a sleeping place if you want to sleep more or less directly in the open air, as you are protected from two sides at most.
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