Three really great tarp designs, ideal for hammock camping - ranging from ultra-light to ultra-coverage. NOTE: Side panel pulls are optional, and will require an extra 4 D-Rings and 2 feet of webbing. Ground Tarp designs will be added eventually.

38 thoughts on “Tarps

    1. Hi Jim. Because we tend to use lighter weight fabrics (like 30d, 70d, even 210d material), for almost everything I use a size 11 needle. When I am building heavier gear like backpacks or something with thicker material and many layers, I go with a 14 or 16. Hope that helps.

      – Scott

  1. I followed these plans but came upon a problem with the Winter Tarp instructions.

    The winter diagram for the RL tie out show it is a point, which is right for the asym and hex tarp.

    Unfortunately. …The winter tarp RL tie out has a V shape to it due to the fabric that makes the doors.
    It made it difficult to fold and hem the RL tie out area without overstretching the fabric at the bottom of the V.

    I needed to unpick some of the seam and hem the vertical door edges indipendently.

    It would have been easier to hem the perimeter of both cut pieces before sewing the RL seam.

    Just a thought.
    The rest was great, thanks.

  2. Nothing I can say here, but I would just like to give thanks for sharing your valuable information it is also helpful. Thanks,.

  3. I’ve had the materials to make my winter tarp for a very long time now. I’ve been procrastinating for fear of messing it up but now I just want to get it done. One thing which has held me back is deciding on its length. I know it will vary depending on hammock length but is there a general rule when it comes to length? For example, should the length of a winter tarp be one foot longer than each end of hammock so 2 feet longer in total? Or 2 feet longer on each end? I realize the bottoms of the doors will be even longer but I’m referring to the tarp’s ridgeline length. How long should it be?

    1. Hi Robert,
      The pattern I have up has the ridgeline at 11 feet, after hemming it. That’s long enough for almost any hammock out there, keeping in mind that because of the curve, or sag of the hammock, the actual length from end to end of the hammock is going to be quite a bit shorter than the full length of the hammock if you stretch it flat. I’d want at least 1 foot of tarp past each the end of my hammock – more can’t hurt.


  4. I have read through all the comments/questions and feel like I am missing something. I am looking at making the hex tarp. Are the reinforcements pieces sewn onto both sides of the tarp (lined up on top of each other with the tarp in between) or are they just sewn on the top or just sewn on the bottom? I want to make this to last and don’t want to waste material. Thank!

  5. I have seen photos of winter tarps with doors similar to your design. It appears as though most of them leave a slight gap between the doors when they are shut. Is there a way to avoid this? If I were to try to block frigid winter winds, then I a 2 inch gap from ground to ridgeline would let the wind in. Or am I making a false assumption?

    1. Hi Mike. A better way to close the doors is to overlap them. Use the door tie-out and attach it to the opposing side ground stake, and if you use shock cord you can even get in and out without having to unhook it. Works really well.

  6. Hi all! My lovely wife bought our family a Coleman WeatherMaster 10-person tent at a yard sale. Unfortunately she did not check to see if it came with a rainfly, and it didn’t. So, I was thinking about making one. Does anyone have plans for this, or are their “generic” plans for a rainfly like this? Thanks!

    1. contact coleman and order a replacement. every style tent is different, i would think it would be hard to sew something to match the tent.

  7. Hi, I want a light weight tarp that I could use with my hammock tent but also be versatile & big enough for a cooking shelter. I think a rectangular design ? So just wanted to get any opion what would be the best design or size. I am backpacking with 2 kids so I was thinking at least 10 ft x 10 ft ?

    SOunds like the Silnylon is the go to material. But what about the Coated Ripstop ?

    thanks for any advice


    1. Hi Lisa,
      Yes, a 10×10 is a very versatile size and should serve you well with yourself and 2 kids to cover. If you are carrying the tarp, your back and legs will thank you for choosing Silnylon. If you are car camping and are not carrying it around for any distance, then the heavier coated ripstop would be just fine.


  8. Thanks for the info here, I’m going to make a hex tarp with your info. Trying to figure out which denier will be best for the main tarp body. Looking for the tarp to hold up as a fully waterproof ground tent as well as a rain tarp for a hammock. Thanks.

    1. Hi Nolan. 30d Silnylon is the go-to tarp fabric for cost and weight conscious backpackers. There are lighter options, but they’re very expensive comparatively (cuben for example – definitely worth it if you’re counting grams in your pack weight though). If you want more durable then I would go with 70d PU Coated Ripstop – but it will be at least twice the weight of the Silnylon.

  9. I’m going to attempt to make the Hex Tarp and need some clarification. I will add the side panel pulls. Do I sew them on the same side of the tarp as the tie-out reinforcements, or on the opposite side of the fabric?

    1. Hi Amber. I usually sew side panel pull reinforcements on the underside of the tarp, same side as the corner reinforcements. Then I sew the webbing on the outside afterwards.

  10. When making a tarp using the 70d coated ripstop nylon, should the coated side (shiny) go to the inside or outside of the tarp?

    1. Hi Wayne. The coated side should go on the underside of the tarp. This way the coating is sheltered from most of the weather, direct sun, and falling debris and will last much longer. With Silnylon, the coating is on both sides, so no worries there, but with fabric coated on one side, always put the coating side on the “wrong” side of the project.

      Enjoy your tarp!

  11. Hi, Can the winter tarp be made smaller? Im looking for a 7.5 foot ridgeline, maybe about 36 in high, this will be used for ground camping. I cant get the doors right.. Thanks

    1. Hey Pete. Yes, you can definitely make the tarp smaller – any size you want really. My favorite way to mess with design ideas is to get use graph paper so I can draw things to scale. Then, if you want, you could even cut it out and play with the paper model for how things can setup, fold up, etc. It saves me a lot of wasted time with the sewing machine.

      With the size you’re talking about, you could almost get away with using just one sheet of fabric and no seams! That would make it really easy.

  12. Quick question: Are those measurements the finished dimensions or the cut dimensions?

    In other words, do I add a little to my cuts to account for the seams?

    Ordered my stuff, can’t wait to give this a go!

    1. Yes, they’re not necessary. Because Nylon stretches, Cat curves help nylon tarps get a nice taut pitch. While the curves are useful, they are not necessary. I’ve made plenty of straight side tarps and they work just fine.

  13. I’ve been interested in making one of these for a few summers no. I may tackle the job. I’ve worked with you in the past Scott. You have great products and excellent CS.
    1. On average, what does the tarp weight without the string attached as this could vary for each person as to how much they want.
    2. Could I get away with using some extra 1.4 oz. ripstop nylon I have lying around as reinforcement or do you recommend using the 20d?
    3. No cuban fiber? Is this fabric still really expensive?

    1. 1. Weight depends on which tarp. If memory serves, the Winter Tarp usually weighed 21oz finished off with Silnylon 1sts.
      2. Yes, you can even use scrap from the Silnylon for reinforcement. I prefer the 200d because it is so strong but flexible, and I like how it works at stress points. We’ve got some 12″ wide 200d for $0.50/yd and a yard will do a whole tarp.
      3. Cuben… yes, unfortunately, it is still expensive. I plan to carry it soon even so. Hard to beat how waterproof and lightweight it is.

  14. Hi Ben. The Winter Tarp design has the outside edges longer than the ridgeline, so that the ends can be swung in to function as doors. No need to add doors to it.

  15. Hey Kevin – great question, and yes, there is a reason.

    This is certainly not always the case, but grommets can cause more problems than other methods. For one, they are metal, and if bent can cause cuts in the tarp fabric during stuffing or if the end is flapping in the wind. Second, they put a hole in the fabric and will tear out easier than properly sewn on webbing loops. Third, they are not as easily mended when they do fail. And Fourth, using a plasic D-Ring gives a safe break-point – the D-Ring is likely to break before the webbing could be torn from the fabric. Better to have failure at the hardware than in the tarp fabric.

    With the webbing loop and D-Ring, if the D-Ring breaks – no worries, you still have a webbing loop to tie-off to. It’s also easy to sew on a new loop if one ever fails (never had that happen).

    If done properly, because you’re spreading the load over a larger area with the sewn on loop, a webbing loop will outlast a grommet, every time.

    If you like grommets, and they are very handy, a good way to use them is to put one on the webbing loop itself. That works great and retains all the benefits of the webbing, while offering most of the advantages of the Grommet.

    Oh, and we always reinforce every tie-out point, whether it’s grommets or webbing loops.

  16. Is there a reason the tie outs are done with webbing and D rings as opposed to reinforcing the corners and using grommets? Thanks

  17. Aaron- a straight stitch set 6-8 stitches per inch is recommended. For your reinforcements most use oxford nylon I think. As far as the edges go grosgrain works great. Seam sealing should be done with a sealant that works with whatever type of fabric you are using-different for PU coating as it is for silnylon.

  18. Hey DIY Staff,

    First time DIYing a tarp. I’m going to attempt the inter tarp. I have a few questions…

    1. When sewing the two pieces of ripstop together, what kind of stitching is recommended?

    2. Should grosgrain or similar be sewed in for reinforcements?

    3. What kind of sealant, if any, do you recommend?

    Sorry for all the questions, thanks for all your help.

    Best Regards,

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