Top 5 Ultralight Backpacking Tarps of 2023

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: Sunny day with ultralight backpacking tarp

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Choosing the perfect ultralight backpacking tarp involves looking at different important factors.

These include how strong it is, how big it is, how easy it is to set up, how heavy it is, and what other people have experienced using it.

Our helpful TOP 5 guide is here to make sure you can pick the best tarp for your adventure.

Top Ultralight Backpacking Tarp Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Zpacks 7′ x 9′ Flat Tarp (4.02oz/144g)
  2. Best Overall: SlingFin SplitWing UL Tarp (7.9oz/224g)
  3. Best Value: Gossamer Gear Solo Tarp (7.12oz/202g)
  4. Enclosed Option: Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp (12.98oz/368g)
  5. Budget Option: Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp (20.5oz/581g)

1. Most Ultralight
Zpacks 7′ x 9′ Flat Tarp

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: Zpacks 7′ x 9′ Flat Tarp

Key Specs

Weight: 4.02 ounces (144g)
Size: 7′ x 9′ (2.1 m x 2.7 m)
Material: DCF
Price: $$$


✅ Ultralight

✅ Small pack size


❌ None

The ultralight Flat Tarp from Zpacks is an excellent option for adventurers who like a straightforward setup. This tarp gives you plenty of room for you and your stuff.

It’s simple to put up and offers dependable rain protection. You can even arrange it in various styles to get more coverage in tough weather.

The tarp is crafted from Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is both waterproof and long-lasting. It’s built to keep you dry without requiring extra treatments. And it’s super small and light, which means it’s a great addition to your gear.

2. Best Overall
SlingFin SplitWing UL Tarp

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: SlingFin SplitWing UL Tarp

Key Specs

Weight: 7.9 ounces (224g)
Size: 5.9′ x 7.5′ (1.8 m x 2.3 m)
Material: 10D nylon ripstop
Price: $$


✅ Great in bad weather

✅ Additional accessories available


❌ None

The SplitWing ultralight backpacking tarp from SlingFin is designed for those who prioritize lightweight gear without sacrificing weather protection.

Ideal for long adventures like thru-hikes, it’s adaptable to various conditions and offers space for one person or coziness for two.

With its remarkably low weight, reinforced fabric, and unique pitching options, the SplitWing ensures durability even in tough weather.

Additional accessories like a vestibule and mesh body enhance its versatility, providing a balance between a minimal tarp and the comfort of a tent.

3. Best Value
Gossamer Gear Solo Tarp

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: Gossamer Gear Solo Tarp

Key Specs

Weight: 7.12 ounces (202 grams)
Size: 5-7′ x 8.92′ (1.52-2.13 m x 2.72 m)
Material: 10D nylon SIL/PU
Price: $


✅ Great in bad weather

✅ Small pack size


❌ No manufacturer bug net available

The Gossamer Gear Solo Tarp is a super light and compact choice for shielding you and your gear from the elements. It’s easy to set up using trekking poles and comes ready to use with sealed seams.

The clever design offers a good balance between space and weight, making it effective even in harsh weather conditions.

Just note that the manufacturer doesn’t offer a bug net, although bug net loops are available.

4. Enclosed Option
Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp

Key Specs

Weight: 12.98 ounces (368 grams)
Coverage: 44 ft² | 4 m²
Material: 20D nylon
Price: $$


✅ Good protection from the elements

✅ Relatively easy to set up


❌ A bit tight for two

The Deschutes tarp is a lightweight and efficient shelter designed for ultralight backpackers. It may be small and light, but it provides ample coverage and a comfortable sleeping space.

With its pyramid-style design, this tarp offers 360° protection against extreme weather conditions. It is easy to set up and remains stable even in high winds and light snow.

While it focuses on weather protection, it does not keep bugs out. However, when paired with the Serenity NetTent, it transforms into a double wall solo tent.

Overall, the Deschutes tarp is a reliable and affordable choice for backpackers looking to travel light and stay dry.

5. Budget Option
Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp

Ultralight Backpacking Tarps: Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp

Key Specs

Weight: 20.5 ounces (581 grams)
Size: 8′ x 10′ (2.43 m x 3.05 m)
Material: 30D nylon ripstop
Price: $


✅ Various shapes and sizes available

✅ Relatively affordable


❌ More top tie outs would be nice

The Paria Outdoors Sanctuary SilTarp is the perfect lightweight shelter for ultralight backpackers. It offers unlimited pitching options, top-notch waterproofing, and high-quality materials.

This complete kit includes a spacious silicon-nylon tarp, strong reflective guy lines, micro line-lok adjusters, and aluminum Y-stakes. With 16 perimeter loops and a top center loop, you can easily set up various shelter configurations.

Whether you prefer an A-frame shelter with trekking poles or hanging it overhead for a hammock, this tarp has got you covered. It provides excellent protection with its durable nylon, silicon/PU coating, and fully taped seams.

How to Buy the Right Backpacking Tarp

When choosing an ultralight backpacking tarp, consider the following:

  • Weight and packed size are key considerations for ultralight hikers seeking to cut ounces.
  • Evaluate durability and weather protection, as the lightest tarps often sacrifice resilience. Assess your camping style and conditions to determine if you need a more durable pick.
  • Consider coverage size and tarp shape based on planned use. Solo hikers can use rectangular and tapered designs for an efficient, lightweight shelter. Groups and those wanting more livable space may prefer a roomier square tarp.

Also know that square and rectangular standard tarps allow for more adaptive configurations. Specialized cat-cut tarps excel in taut pitches but offer less flexibility.

To delve deeper into the types of tarps, be sure to explore our comprehensive post here.

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