How To Choose Best Tarps: 5 Features To Consider Before Purchase

How to choose best tarps

Tarps are probably the best thing since sliced bread. We use it for so many purposes, from covering woodpiles, outdoor furniture, grill and the like, to protecting vehicles like cars, trucks, and boats. to cover driveways, floors and truck beds, haul construction dirt and debris, and so much more.

We use it as camping gear, whether as a tent or as a bed, RV cover, or a temporary shelter especially when it’s raining or snowing. Because it has so many uses, the tarp is one of the items you should have at home or in your car. You never know when you will need a good quality tarp.

But how to choose the best tarps that are worth your money?  You need to consider quality, tarp type, size, ease of use and color before buying.

1. Quality

Topping the list is of course – quality. Tarps are often used outdoors, primarily as a protective tool for all sorts of objects, from vehicles to commercial goods, construction materials, machines and equipment, and so much more.

Thus, you really want to pay attention to the quality of the tarp you are buying.

You want something that is light for easy handling but durable enough to withstand changing weather conditions. Speaking of durability, a good way to spot the best tarp is to check its thickness and the type of material used in the fabrication.

The actual thickness of tarps is measured in mils (1/1000 of an inch). For general use, such as covering items, look for a lightweight blue tarp that has a thickness of at least 5 mils. If you’re using the tarp for transporting goods or covering machines and equipment, you should look for a heavy-duty tarp with at least 23 mils of thickness.

2. Tarp Type

Just like most things in the market, tarps come in different types. Choosing the type of tarp that fits your needs is essential if you want to make the most out of this product.

  • Poly tarp – this is perhaps the most commonly purchased tarp. Polyethylene (poly) tarp is made from heavy-duty plastic and has so many applications. It is great for camping, home construction and remodeling (e.g. temporary roof cover), or as a temporary cover or shelter. Its greatest feature is it’s lightweight and absorbs nearly 0% water, making it perfect for many outdoor applications.
  • Canvas tarp – made from highly durable plain-woven fabric (cotton or hemp), canvas tarps tend to be more expensive than poly tarps but last longer and are more capable of handling more abrasions and is perfect for tougher applications, such as long-term construction or painting projects, and as roof or barn cover. Canvas is flame-resistant as well.
  • Vinyl tarp – fabricated from ethylene molecule, vinyl tarps are stronger than poly tarps but are more expensive. They are commonly used for covering trucks, RVs and trailers, equipment, furniture, and more. The vinyl tarp also makes a good long-term roof cover.
  • PVC tarp – this type of tarp is highly durable and flexible, and makes an ideal choice for industrial purposes such as welding curtains and floor coverings.

3. Size

When it comes to tarps, size really matters. Generally, you want a large tarp that could give you enough coverage, whether you are using it to build a tent or to cover your vehicle.

Thankfully, tarps come in various sizes. Some tarp manufacturers even customize the size to meet the client’s needs.

4. Ease of Use

Another important feature worth considering when selecting a tarp is the ease of use. Look for tarps that have grommets so you can easily install or attach it to where it needs to be.

Whether you’re putting up a tent or a temporary shelter, you’ll need an easy way to secure the tarp and ensure that it doesn’t fall down.

5. Color

When it comes to tarps, color is not only about the look and design of the product. It speaks of the quality, type, and strength of the tarp too. Tarps come in a wide range of colors.

Among the most common ones is the silver heavy-duty tarp which is really effective in blocking sunlight, and white tarp that provides some shade but at the same time allows natural light to come through.

The blue, green and brown tarps are normally used in general construction or landscape maintenance, while the red, yellow and orange ones are used in applications where high visibility is required.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a frequent traveler, and camper, or an entrepreneur, you will most likely require a good-quality tarp at one point or another. Thus, choosing the best tarp for your project is very important to ensure maximum output. Determining the desired applications, size and specific features is the key to buying the best tarp in the market.


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