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Tarp for group backpacking

I am setting a goal for monthly camping trips and as I live in the PNW I am thinking of adding a tarp. This would not be a tent replacement but something to cover a group cooking/social area.

What is a recommended size and any durable light weight tarps?

12 Replies

Hey @MountainManPNW - Thanks for reaching out. It's exciting to hear that you're gearing up for monthly camping trips!

There are some folks here in the community that have shared about using tarps for many different situations, so we're hopeful they'll weigh in with their suggestions. @Tim_DeBoer@timskrbelieve@hikermor@CanYouCanoe - do y'all have any recommendations for tarps to use for common areas at a campsite?

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I'm currently looking at the WildVenture Tarp tent! (see the link below) It is 13 x 13 and has 25 tie outs on it. It would make a killer waterproof group shelter. The price for it isn't very high either.  And the best part, it doubles as a tarp tent! Personally I would not even consider one of those blue drop cloth tarps you can pick up from Loews or Home Depot. While they will provide great sun protection the simple fact is that they just aren't water proof. Your going to get wet. If your going to go the plastic route, you can get a large tarp from your hardware store or even better, drive past a construction project and ask if you can pick their trash for Tyvek!! It's water proof and best off-it's free!


When you write "cover the ground," do you mean as "roofing" to keep all dry while you sit/stand and cook/converse, etc., or do you mean as a ground covering that you all sit/stand on?


@JBG - I mean to use it as roofing so people don't get trapped in their tents if it is raining.


Right! Just use the plastic drop cloth's or that Tyvek idea! It would work great. Just be sure to have a ridge line and some stones to help in the tie out. I've done it before and it works great!

Ah, got it. We use the medium size tarp from this company for that very thing - Outad Waterproof Camping Tarps.

Cheers -


Nice! I looked up the stats on that Outad and it's pretty impressive. It appears to be pretty well built.  I like it, but sadly it's currently out of stock LOL
Not that I really need another tarp! 🙂

I have a large 9'x12' tarp I got from Walmart for this exact purpose. We typically bungee the corner grommets to trees.

I have a 10 x 14 tarp set for delivery either today or tomorrow! I can hardly wait for it to arrive. It will be the first Non Square tarp in my arsenal but I'm up for the challenge. It's time to revisit my tarp pitches Whooo Hoooo!!!