When out camping, choosing the best hammock tarp is very important to protect you from harsh weather conditions. Not only can a hammock tarp protect you from the rain, it can also protect you from snow and strong winds. Several campers have reported that their sturdy hammock tarp was able to protect them from snow falling from trees and from snowstorms.
If you want to take a step back and look at tent camping and hammocks in general, take a look there as well.
How to Choose a Hammock Tarp or Hammock Rain Fly
Hammock tarps and hammock rain flys are often used interchangeably. Some even refer to them as dry fly. Choosing a hammock tarp depends upon several factors. Here are two considerations in choosing the best hammock tarp for you.
The size of the hammock tarp depends upon the size of the hammock. Usually, a hammock tarp should be a little bigger than the hammock for full coverage. In general, the hammock rainfly or tarp should be able to cover the hammock width and along the ridgeline. The ridgeline should be at least 12 inches in length for maximum coverage. The tarp should extend at least six inches from both ends of the hammock.
Hammock Tarp or Rainfly Shape
Hammock tarp comes in different shapes when laid flat. Each type has its own level of difficulty when pitched. The tarps vary in weight and level of coverage too.
For instance, an asymmetrical tarp is the simplest type of tarp. It is the lightest and is very easy to pitch. However, it provides only around 25 percent coverage, therefore, you need to sleep in line with the tarp for maximum coverage.
Next comes the diamond tarp, which provides a little more coverage than the asymmetrical type. However, it is a bit heavier than the former type but both are easy and quick to pitch.
Hex or Cat Tarp
The hex or cat (catenary) cut has six sides when laid flat. The shape provides a taut pull on the tarp. It provides around 50 percent coverage and is similar to the rectangle-shaped tarp.
Winter or Four Season Tarp
The winter or four-season tarp provides the maximum coverage and has flaps on both ends when pitched to provide protection against snowstorms and harsh weather conditions. Some flaps can be shut closed for optimum protection. However, it is the heaviest and most complex of all tarp shapes and takes time to be pitched.
Suggested Hammock Tarps and Rain Flys
Ultimate Survival Technologies created one of the sturdiest hammock tarp in the market. This tubular tarp measures 120 inches (10ft) x 84 inches (7ft) when laid flat. The tarp weighs a little more than a pound. When rolled and stored in a bag, it measures around 12 to 14 inches long and around 6 inches in diameter.
The tarp is in safety orange on one side (for easy spotting) and silver on the other side. The silver portion is coated with aluminum to provide thermal insulation. According to the product description, it is also flame retardant. Apart from the bag, it also comes with guylines and steel stakes. It would be best to purchase additional tarp clips to attach it easily to the rope.
The greatest advantage of the Ultimate Survival Technologies’ BASE Tube tarp is its versatility. It can be used as a tarp, tent, or an emergency blanket.
The limited size is disadvantage, though. It is not completely waterproof as it leaked on the seams. So, before using it, make sure to use a seam sealer all throughout. It also has a tendency to get ripped at the seams because of strong winds so a seam sealer will reinforce things.
Check out the Ultimate Survival Technologies BASE Tube Tarp 1.0 here!
The Kelty Noah’s tarp shelter comes in three sizes – 9×9 feet, 12x12feet and 16×16 feet. The tie down straps makes it easier to set up. It comes with nylon ropes and some aluminum stakes, though do not expect it to be sturdy. You also need to purchase poles separately.
Many owners swear by its water resistance capability. It can even hold off the weight of the snow falling from trees. The tapped seams make it weatherproof. The newer version (green color) has even better water resistance capability. This tarp is more cat cut in shape than square though.
Check out Kelty Noah’s Tarp Shelter here!
The Henessy rain fly comes in two variations – symmetrical and asymmetrical. It is made of PU-coated polyester, has six tie out points, has diamond braid guy lines on all four corners and provided with strong polyester cords. It is definitely bigger so it could be an advantage for rainy camping days when you need to cook under a tarp. However, it could be challenging to fold and store since the bag that comes with it is really small. It fits almost all types of Hennessy hammock.
Check out the Hennessy Hammock – Hex Rainfly – Rain Tarp here!
The Eagles Nest Outfitters’ (ENO) rain fly tarp is made of nylon polyester, weighs only around 22 ounces and is 10ft. 6in. x 6ft. 4in. It comes with ties on all four corners and two eaves plus it has a cinching buckle too. It does not come with stakes, however, so you have to purchase some separately. The ENO ProFly does a great job to keep you dry during rainy days and it dries rather quickly. Although the tarp is lightweight, it is actually bulky when packed so you might find yourself struggling with the ENO ProFly plus a bug net, hammock and its accessories.
Check out the Eagles Nest Outfitters – ProFly Rain Tarp here!
When it comes to choosing the best hammock rainfly or hammock tarp to go with your hammock, it is best to choose products from the same manufacturer but if this is not possible, choose other brands with dimensions close to the one you need. Overall, a hammock tarp should be able to protect you from various weather conditions and to provide you privacy when without being too limited to move around. It is always best to read product reviews and feedback than to rely on manufacturer’s product description solely. Have you decided on the best hammock tarp rain fly for you? Maybe you want to take a look some indoor hammock beds? Maybe a portable hammock setup?