the market and look at their durability,
the material they were made with, thickness, size availability, color choices, brand reputation,
and customer reviews. The three tarps that we
have reviewed below topped the list in
all of the categories and provide the user with
an excellent, high quality tarp that can handle a lot of jobs.
|10 x 12||5 x 7|
– 24 x 36
|8 x 6||8 x 6||10 x 12||10 x 10||8 x 10||8 x 10||8 x 10||18 x 24|
|Green||Brown||Blue||Brown||Black||Blue/Silver||Blue||Blue||White / Brown|
|Polyethylene||Polyethylene||Polyethylene||Nylon||Poly Woven||Aluminum |
Tarp Buying Guide
Things to Consider
There are several things that a tarp can be used for. We have listed the most common uses for tarps below.
- Spread them on the ground underneath a tent for added protection from dampness from the ground.
- Put them over the top of your tent for protection from the rain
- Put them on the roof over areas that leak to protect from damage from the elements.
- Cover a boat, vehicle, motorcycle or bicycles that are outside in the elements
- Cover items that are being hauled in the back of a truck or a trailer
- Use them for shade by tying them to tent poles or even a homemade scaffolding
With all of these different uses, it is wise to get the most durable tarp you can get, especially if the tarp is being used for protecting items from the elements. Tarps come in all sizes and materials and some are much thinner and lighter than others. Almost all tarps are waterproof to some degree but the thicker a tarp is the better waterproof protection it will provide. There are three basic strengths that tarps come in:
- Standard – This type of tarp is good for light duty applications indoors like covering a piece of equipment in a workshop or garage. Standard tarps are not good choices for outdoor use due to the fact that the elements can cause them to fray and tear.
- Medium – This type of tarp is great for covering pools, boats, vehicles, and even roofs if they have been tied down securely.
- Heavy Duty – Heavy duty tarps are best suited for covering roofs, covering valuables in the back of a truck, construction coverings, covering pools and any other situations where the tarp is going to be exposed to the outside elements.
Different Tarp Materials
There are four different materials that are usually used to make tarps. We have listed each type below:
- Canvas – Canvas tarps are super durable and provide a nonslip surface. Canvas tarps are absorbent and not typically waterproof unless it has been specially treated so if you need something that provides protection from rain, water and dampness, canvas is not a good choice. Canvas tarps are extremely long lasting when taken care of properly and they are very breathable as well and won’t trap condensation or heat underneath it. They are most often used in construction applications, covering the floor while painting and covering machinery and tools.
- Polyethylene – Poly tarps are the lightest weight of all the tarps and can break down very quickly if used for the wrong types of situations. If you are looking for a tarp that is treated against UV light, is durable, waterproof and resists stretching, a poly tarp is a good choice. They are not advised for covering items in the back of a truck as repeated exposure to wind can cause them to tear and fray.
- Mesh – Mesh tarps are made from nylon threading and are useful in situations where you want to restrict wind flow and are sometimes called shade tarps. They are not waterproof or very durable so light duty use is recommended, although some have a fire resistant treatment that has been applied.
- Vinyl – This is the most durable type of tarp available. They will provide you with strong protection against stress, tears, abrasions and are waterproof as well. They can also be flame resistant and UV resistant. Vinyl tarps work well in extreme cold temps. If you want exceptional durability and protection from water damage is important, vinyl is an excellent choice.
Choosing the Right Tarp for the Job
There are a few things you can do to make sure that you purchase the right tarp for the jobs you need it for. It is very possible that you will need to purchase more than one tarp if you have a variety of things you need covered or taken care of. We have listed some tips that can help when it comes to selecting the right tarp for the job.
- What Features do You Need? – Do you need it to be:
- UV light resistant
- Flame – retardant
- Made from a Specific material
- Measure the area that you need the tarp to cover – Tarps come in a large variety of sizes so you should be able to find one that fits the area that you need to cover. It is better to purchase a tarp that is a little too big than one that is too small. On the other hand if you purchase one that is TOO big you could have trouble with all the excess tarp that is left over.
- How durable does the tarp need to be? – The durability of the tarp you choose should be in relation to the job you want it for. If you are covering items in the back of a truck or on a flatbed and the tarp will be exposed to the elements, you will want to get a heavy duty, thick tarp that can stand up to that kind of use on a regular basis.
- Does Color Matter? – Many tarps come in a standard reversible, brown on one side and silver on the other color scheme but depending on the type and manufacturer they can be available in green, brown, red, orange, light blue and black. If you’re going to be using the tarp for camping purposes to provide water protection for your tent, you may prefer to get a more natural looking color that blends well with the surroundings. Color is typically not a factor in the durability or thickness of the tarp.
Tarps are a super useful item that can provide protection from the elements and that is just the beginning. Many people use tarps to cover their wood piles outside or to provide shade in an area they are camping in. They are also very useful if you are using a pickup, trailer, or flatbed to move and need to protect the items you are moving from getting wet in the event of a rain storm.
With all of the choices on the market it could be very easy to get confused and not know which one to purchase for your needs. By following the information provided in this buyer’s guide, you will understand how to determine the type of tarp you need, the material you will want your tarp to be made of, the extra features you will need it to have and the size you need as well.
Having the right information gives you confidence to sort through all the choices on the market and make an informed decision as to the best tarp for your specific needs. This confidence ensures that you purchase a tarp that will provide all the features and protection you need and don’t waste your money or your time on a tarp that doesn’t hold up to the job.
The three top rated tarps that we have featured above are all high quality, durable tarps that can stand up to a large array of jobs. They are an excellent place to start when you are looking to purchase a tarp.