Stay Dry With The Best Bushcraft Tarps [2019 Review]

Bushcraft tarps are an absolute necessity for any outdoor adventure, even if you do not believe you live in a weather prone area. Adverse weather conditions can sneak up on anybody and everybody, and a bushcraft tarp can mean the difference between life and death in a severe storm.

Product

Rating

Price

Aqua Quest Defender Tarp

Aqua Quest Guide Tarp

Chill Gorilla Waterproof Tarp

Unigear Rain Fly Tarp

Foxelli Rain Tarp

What is a Bushcraft Tarp?

A bushcraft tarp is a device that is intended to keep you dry when you are out camping or backpacking in an area where you may encounter rain, particularly rain that is combined with heavy winds. Bushcraft tarps are typically used to set up a rain shelter over a hammock, although they can also be used for ground camping and can even double as lean-to shelters in a pinch.

Aqua Quest Defender Tarp

Why You Need a Bushcraft Tarp

To stay dry: Staying dry is about more than just a pleasant experience, it is also a necessary aspect of survival. Getting wet increases your chances for hypothermia, and when your gear is wet, it becomes dramatically less useful. You need to stay dry to ensure you stay alive while out in the wilderness.

As shelter from other elements: The number one cause of death out in the wilderness is not falling and hurting yourself, or being attacked by a wild animal, as you may expect. Note, the number one cause of death is simply exposure. Beyond protecting yourself from the wet, you need to also protect yourself from the wind and the cold and other elements that can begin to take a serious toll on your body.

Aspects to Consider When Buying a Bushcraft Tarp

There are a variety of components to a bushcraft tarp you should consider when making your purchase:

Ease of Setup

There are definitely going to be times when you overestimate your hiking ability, do not stop when you need to, and end up pitching camp in the dark. You want to make sure your tarp is easy to setup for situations when you may not have the best resources.

Unigear 2 Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp

Durability

Your bushcraft tarp is going to need to stand up to some really heavy weather – you want to make sure it is up to the job! You should never buy a bushcraft tarp unless it has proven itself durable in a variety of weather conditions.

Compactness

Your bushcraft tarp is just one of the many supplies you will need to bring with you to ensure your survival in the wilderness. Make sure it will not take up too much space in your pack and it is also light enough to carry for long distances.

Quick Take | Best Bushcraft Tarps

Before diving into our review of the best bushcraft tarps, here is a quick take of our top 3 picks:

Review of the Best Bushcraft Tarps

Check out some of the best bushcraft tarps available for purchase on the market today:

Pros

  • Durable
  • Tarps dries quickly
  • Has two different waterproof coatings
  • Reinforced tie out loops for extra security
  • Comes with a lightweight storage bag that has some extra space for a cord and line

Cons

  • On the heavier side

The Aqua Quest Defender Tarp lives up to its name…this is a tarp that will defend you from any and all moisture, and maybe even a few bugs! This tarp is heavy duty and not here to mess around. It has two different waterproof coatings for extra security. Users report being under this tarp for a full day and night of intense rain and remaining as dry as a bone.

Its high quality manufacturing will mean it holds up for years and years of heavy use. The coating also allows for rapid water beading, meaning that when you are folding this guy up after it has protected you from the wet, the water will run off quickly and allow you to fold and store this tarp without losing any time you could have spent on the hiking trail.

This quality also means the Aqua Quest will dry faster than other models, and have none of the mildewy smell some of the lower quality tarps begin to have after extended use. All in all, the Aqua Quest Defender is a reliable tarp that will get the job done and not inconvenience you in the process, and what more could you ask for from a tarp?

Bottom Line

The Aqua Quest Defender Tarp is an awesome choice for a reliable tarp that is guaranteed to keep you dry. It is heavier than some of the other tarp models, but a little extra weight is a small price to pay when it comes to moisture prevention.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Comes with a carrying bag
  • Great in emergency situations
  • Ratio of weight to surface area is excellent
  • Easy to both set up and put away after use

Cons

  • Only comes in bright green, which is not the most subtle when hunting

If you are looking for a solid, reliable tarp that will hold up well even in emergency unexpected weather conditions, the Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is the choice for you! This tarp strikes the ideal balance between durability and weight, meaning you could bring it along on any trip and fit it into any pack easily.

Even if you are not foreseeing any intense weather conditions, this tarp is still an awesome pick to have on hand – users report it being able to withstand intense rains and high winds far beyond the strength of what was initially predicted in the weather models.

In addition, the Aqua Quest Guide is incredibly durable. Users had stories of bringing it with them on trips up to a hundred times a year, and say that this tarp is still performing just as well as it did when they first bought it.

The Aqua Quest Guide is made of extremely high quality material that dries quickly, even after heavy rain, and is easy to handle even for novice tarp users. There is not much this tarp can’t do.

Bottom Line

The Aqua Quest Guide Tarp is a fantastic option for a tarp that you will always be able to rely on, no matter what your situation. Make sure you are okay with a bright green tarp before you buy, though.

Pros

  • Dries quickly
  • Held up to 48 hours of steady rainfall
  • Chill Gorilla provides good customer service
  • Can double as a shelter for a hammock, and also as a lean-to for ground camping

Cons

  • On the heavier and bulkier end
  • Does not come with very many stakes

The Chill Gorilla Waterproof Tarp is a good bargain tarp that will make do in rainy situations. It is not as high of quality as some of the other tarps on this list, but it will certainly keep you drier than if you did not have it.

This tarp is a bit more versatile than some of our other reviewed tarps – users report being able to use it as a traditional tarp is meant to be used, for sheltering a hammock, but also as a lean-to for ground shelter, and even for sheltering both humans and dogs! If you want to bring Fido along when camping, you may want to consider the Chill Gorilla. 

Another plus of buying a trap from this brand is the customer service Chill Gorilla provides – they will quickly refund or replace the tarp you purchase if there are even the slightest issues with it. Good customer service goes a long way when navigating the purchase of survival gear.

Bottom Line

The Chill Gorilla Waterproof Tarp is a good tarp for preventing moisture exposure. You may need to buy additional stakes to make sure it is secured in place, as the original tarp does not come with more than three.

Pros

  • Easily resists heavy wind and rain
  • Very compact, even the pouch is small
  • Provided lines are bright orange for easy spotting
  • Tarp has a reflective layer which makes it warmer to lay under than other models

Cons

  • Does not come with instructions for setting up
  • On the shorter side, may not cover larger hammocks

The Unigear Rain Fly Tarp is an excellent lightweight tarp that is extremely easy to carry along when backpacking. It is probably the most compact tarp on this list and quickly folds down to an extremely small size, and the included pouch is also so small that you may not even notice it when it is inside your backpack!

The Unigear tarp also has an added bonus of being made of reflective material – this means that when you are laying under this tarp, your body heat is reflected back at you and you will actually be warmer than under other tarps, and you may be able to save even more space in your backpack by not needing to pack along a blanket.

This tarp is an excellent choice for those who are trying to maximize space in their bug out bags for survival gear while still ensuring that they stay completely dry in all weather situations.

Bottom Line

The Unigear Rain Fly Tarp is an excellent tarp for users who are trying to save space in their bug out bags. It is smaller than some of the other tarps on this list, and if you are a tall person with a hammock that is of above average size, this tarp may not stretch to cover all of your hammock properly.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Extremely durable
  • Made of high quality material
  • Stakes are not made of metal, so they are lighter than a lot of other stake options
  • High quality ropes with reflective strips so they can be seen easily even when you do not have good lighting (as often happens when it rains)

Cons

  • High quality material is heavier than some other tarp brands

The Foxelli Rain Tarp is the premiere choice in bushcraft tarps. Its signature claim to fame is including a reflective strand in its tie down ropes – you will never have to worry about clothes-lining yourself when getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom ever again!

This tarp is made of high quality, heavy duty material that users report can stand up to literally all kinds of weather. Users have brought it down to the beach for sleeping in a hammock next to the waves, and the Foxelli has been able to keep about the wind and rain of coastal storms with ease.

Additionally, users who have brought it into the mountains report that it can even act as a snow shield, and will not collapse under the snow’s weight.  It can even act as a sun shade for desert camping, as the material will not become too warm. The Foxelli tarp is pretty much the ideal choice for any serious camper or backpacker.     

Bottom Line

The Foxelli Rain Tarp is, quite honestly, your best option when it comes to rain tarps. You do compromise a bit of weight for this one, but when you consider its versatility and guaranteed effectiveness, extra weight is not too much of an inconvenience.

Conclusion

Bushcraft tarps are one of the most essential components of any backpacking or camping kit. Make sure you find a tarp that is durable in all weather conditions, easy to set up and break down, and can compact into a small size to accommodate all the other supplies in your bug out bag, and you can sleep easy knowing that no matter what happens, you will always be able to stay dry! Or warm, or protected from the wind, or whatever weather condition may come your way – these tarps can really do it all.

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