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A tarp (also known as a rain fly) is essential for staying warm and dry when hammock camping in winter. But with so many different sizes, shapes, and materials to choose from, knowing which one to buy can be a hassle.
In this guide, I’ll share the best hammock tarps on the market and share some insight into the different types of tarp available and their best use case.
- Quick Summary
- Different Types of Hammock Tarp
- What Does the Waterproof Rating Mean?
- Best Hammock Tarps
- Comparison Chart
- Related Questions
In a rush? Here are my top three hammock tarps for 2023. Find the full list below.
- Good balance between coverage and weight
- High-quality material
- LineLoc fasteners for a quick and simple set-up
- Asym shape makes it lighter and more compact than others
- Very affordable price
- Provides limited coverage against extreme wind and rain
- Strong coverage from all directions
- Can be used with or without the doors
- Better heat retention
Different Types of Hammock Tarp
Here is a rundown of the different types of hammock tarp in order of the protection they provide from least to most:
Asymmetrical or Diagonal
Asymmetrical and diamond-shaped tarps are often favored by ultralight backpackers because they are compact and don’t add much weight to your gear. They are also easiest to set up as there are few guy lines. However, they provide little protection from side wind or side rain so are better for mild conditions.
A hexagonal tarp sits between asym and rectangular tarps, providing a good balance of coverage, portability, and set up time. If you are buying your first tarp and unsure which shape is best, I’d recommend a hexagonal shape as a good place to start.
Next up is the rectangular tarp (or square), these provide full coverage from side wind and rain making them ideal in harsh weather. They have a large coverage area which makes them great for hanging out during stormy weather and they are very versatile with several ways to pitch them or use them as a groundsheet. However, they tend to be heavier and bulkier than the previous two and also take longer to set up.
Winter Tarp (with doors)
Finally, a tarp with doors is meant for the most extreme weather conditions. They provide protection from all directions and are ideal for all seasons. You can usually set them up with or without the doors. As well as being the heaviest and bulkiest item, they also tend to be much more expensive than the previous tarps.
What Does the Waterproof Rating Mean?
For each tarp, you’ll see a waterproof rating which indicates how much water pressure the tarp can withstand. A higher number indicates better waterproofing.
To calculate the number, manufacturers use a method called Hydrostatic Head where they place a 1” diameter tube on top of the tarp and slowly fill it until 3 drops of water seep through.
A 1000mm rating means that you can fill the tube 1000mm (1m) before it gives.
Best Hammock Tarps
The best hammock tarps in [current_year format=Y] are:
- Best Overall: ENO ProFly
- Best Lightweight Tarp: Wise Owl WiseFly
- Best With Doors: Onewind
- Budget Pick: Gold Armour
- Best Rectangular Tarp: Kammok Kuhli
- Most Versatile: DD Hammocks
- Best for Heavy Rain: ENO DryFly
- Best Dyneema Tarp: Dutchwear Gear
Keep reading or my full reviews of each product with the pros and cons revealed.
At the end of this guide, you’ll find a full comparison table when you can look at the specs and key features side-by-side.
Best Overall: ENO ProFly
The ENO Profly is a tried and tested favorite when it comes to the top hammock tarps on the market. It’s a hex shape which is what I’d recommend for most people, although the edges are still very wide which provides good protection from side wind and rain.
The Profly is made from 210D ripstop nylon which has been treated with polyurethane to give it a 1000mm PU rating (see above to understand what this means), although keep in mind that ENO often use very conservative estimates of their products abilities to ensure they always over-deliver.
It’s made from 70 denier nylon which is thick and will provide excellent protection from both heavy rain and wind. The tarp is highly durable and has a ripstop reinforcement to prevent tearing. Even with the thicker material, it weighs 22oz (640g) which is light for a hex tarp.
It has 6 guy points with ropes included and comes with their LineLoc fasteners which offer a quick way to secure the tarp and maintain tension. Also included is a stuff sack for packing it away although it doesn’t come with any ground stakes.
Best Lightweight Tarp: Wise Owl
If you’re looking for a lightweight hammock tarp that’s compact to fit in your backpack, then this Wise Owl Wisefly might be just what you need.
The asymmetrical shape and use of lightweight 210T ripstop nylon mean that the tarp weighs 18.6oz (527g) making it the lightest of those reviewed here and among the lightest on the market.
Although the material is thinner than some of the others here, nylon is known for its strength-to-weight ratio and the ripstop reinforcing will ensure it is still durable.
The downside is that the asymmetrical shape (like a diamond) doesn’t provide as much side coverage as a hex or rectangular shape so you won’t be as well protected from side wind or heavy side rain. It also won’t retain much heat so I’d only recommend this tarp if you expect the conditions to be mild or you are an expert at choosing a good hammock spot.
Best with Doors: Onewind
There’s no doubt in my mind that the best hammock tarp with doors is the Onewind tarp. I’ve always been a fan of Onewind’s gear which sits in the middle of the market with a good balance between price and performance.
It’s a four-season hammock tarp suitable for cold weather. It can be used as a regular hexagonal tarp or you can adjust the setup to use it with doors for the winter.
It’s made from silnylon which is nylon impregnated with silicone. This makes it much stronger than ripstop fabric or a simple PU coating alone and means that a thinner material can be used for lightweight gear. The Onewind tarp weighs 29oz which is very light for a tarp with doors (35oz with all the accessories included), although still makes it one of the heavier tarps in this review.
Whilst silnylon is an excellent material, in very heavy rain there can be a problem with misting. This is where the rain is hitting the tarp so heavily that tiny amounts of water are forced through it due to being such a thin material. This is unlikely to cause any major issues although check out the ENO Dryfly if you plan to hammock camp in heavy rain.
Shown here is the larger 12ft long tarp but there’s also a 10ft version if you want something a little more compact. Everything you need for either a standard set up or a winter set up with doors comes with the tarp, including aluminum y-beam stakes, reflective ropes and suspension, guyline cord adjusters, carabiners, door suspension, and separate stuff sacks for the tarp and accessories.
Budget Pick: Gold Armour
For anyone looking to save a few bucks on their tarp, the Gold Armour Rainfly is a great buy at a budget price. It’s a hexagonal tarp similar to the ENO in the top spot, only slightly larger.
The reason this hammock is so affordable is due to the use of polyester rather than nylon as most other hammocks here. This is a much cheaper material although heavier when compared to similar strength nylon.
The hammock weighs 39oz which is above average for a hexagonal tarp and almost twice the weight of the hexagonal ENO. It’s great if you’re only traveling a short distance to campsites, but if you’ll be taking multi-day treks then you might want to consider upgrading to a lighter product.
Aside from the price, another big benefit of polyester is its waterproof properties. Polyester resists water far better than nylon which is why this tarp has the highest waterproof rating of those reviewed at 5000mm.
Included with the tarp are guy lines, guy line tensioners, aluminum tent stakes, and two stuff sacks for the tarp and the accessories. It’s also available in other colors, sizes, and shapes depending upon your needs.
Best Rectangular Tarp: Kammok Kuhli
The Kammok Kuhli rainfly is a 12ft x 9ft (366 x 274cm) rectangular tarp which can be used in several different configurations and packs away to be very compact. As well as being used in the standard hammock tarp set-up, you can use it with trekking poles to create a handy shelter without trees.
Similar to the Onewind tarp with doors, the Kuhli also uses nylon with a silicone coating and ripstop reinforcement. They have used an even thinner fabric than the Onewind at just 15D and without any doors, the tarp comes in at an incredibly lightweight for its size at 21oz.
As a material, nylon can stretch when it becomes very wet, and being a 15D material makes this even more of an issue so you may end up having to reconfigure your guy lines if you’re out in constant rain. Refer to the Onewind review earlier because the misting point also applies to this tarp.
The biggest downside to this tarp is the price. Kammok are known for their high quality, high price products, and the Kuhli is no different at more than double the price of my top pick. Still, you won’t be disappointed because it’s a durable and long-lasting product.
Most Versatile: DD Hammocks
The thing I like about this hammock rain fly is that it’s a large square shape with 19 different reinforced attachment points which makes it very versatile.
You can set up in several different ways including A-frame, diamond, lean-to, and as a tarp tent using a trekking pole. If you enjoy tent camping on the odd occasion too, you can also use it as a groundsheet.
It’s made from polyester which repels water very well and explains why it has a high PU waterproof rating of 3000mm PU. However, it is also one of the heavier hammocks at 27oz due to the extra weight of polyester compared to nylon.
As for price, it’s a little on the expensive side for a polyester tarp given that this is a cheaper material, but it compensates for this
It’s available in 4 different colors although users have pointed out that the colors are darker in real life than appear on the listing. Included with the tarp are pegs, 4 guy ropes, and a stuff sack.
Best for Heavy Rain: ENO DryFly
If you’ll be camping in heavy rain but don’t want to carry a full winter tarp with doors, then the ENO Dryfly is a nice compromise that offers extended coverage from the elements without the extra weight and bulk.
Like most of the gear here, it’s made from nylon which has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio so it comes in at 22oz which is the same weight as the Profly and just above average.
It’s an octagonal shape rain tarp with 8 guy line points that can provide superb protection from the wind making it ideal if you find yourself out in stormy weather.
It’s the same length as the Profly but at its widest point, the Dryfly is 9’3”. With the extra guyline points, it will take slightly longer to set up than a standard hex or asymmetrical tarp, although still faster than the winter tarp with doors.
Best Dyneema Tarp: Dutchwear Gear
This final recommendation is for people who take lightweight backpacking to the next level and are prepared to pay top dollar for ultralight materials.
If you’re not familiar with Dyneema, it’s one of the strongest materials on the market, even stronger than steel on a weight-for-weight basis. When used in fabric, it’s strong but still lightweight and resistant to rain, UV, and chemicals.
The Dutchewear Gear hexagonal rain fly with an 11ft ridgeline weighs just 7oz which is less than half the weight of my ‘best lightweight tarp’ pick earlier.
I can’t recommend it for a typical hammock user because of the extreme prices which can easily reach mid-three figures when you include the accessories too. However, if you can afford to splash out, then you’ll reap the benefits with a super high-quality product.
Here’s a comparison chart with the full product specs of each hammock tarp shared in this review:
What’s the Best Size Tarp for Hammock Camping?
You should aim for a tarp that’s 1ft longer than your hammock down the center (where the ridgeline would sit). This will ensure enough coverage over each end of your hammock. If you’re considering small and lightweight tarps, the absolute minimum would be 6 inches longer than your hammock.
Can You Hammock Camp in the Rain?
Yes, you can use hammocks in the rain just as you would with a tent. However, you will need to ensure that you have all of the appropriate gear to stay dry including a decent tarp and waterproof clothing.
Even when using a tarp, it’s a good idea to use driplines or water breaks on your hammock suspension so that water doesn’t run down the straps into the hammock.
What’s the Difference Between a Tarp and a Rainfly?
When it comes to hammock camping, both tarp and rainfly refer to the same thing, the shelter that goes above your hammock to protect you from the rain and wind. In this guide, I’ve used the words interchangeably.
Will a Tarp Stop Wind?
Yes, tarps are just as effective at stopping wind just as they are stopping rain. However, it largely depends on the type of tarp and how you have set it up. Larger tarps with a rectangular shape or those with doors are most effective against the wind, whereas smaller asymmetrical tarps do not provide much protection.
You can also increase performance by angling the sides of the tarp more steeply to provide a better barrier. Where you set up your hammock can also make a difference, look for natural windbreakers such as trees, large bushes, or rocks to provide additional protection.
Leon and the team over at Survival Common Sense recommend pitching the edge leading into the wind very low and even placing a log on it. They also have many more great tips for pitching tarps in the wind.
How Much Wind Can a Tarp Withstand?
An average tarp can withstand wind speeds up to 30mph (c. 50kph) although, with practice and an excellent setup, you may be able to withstand a little more.