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Home & Garden | October 11, 2020

Choosing the Right Tarp

Here in the Pacific Northwest, tarps get used to cover and protect a lot of stuff, including patio furniture, recreational vehicles, roofs, and animal shelters. We even use them camping. But not all tarps are created equal. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you pick the right tarp for your outdoor adventures and homestead needs.

Why Get a Tarp?

Be sure to check out our article Getting the Most from Your Tarps. There you’ll find quick tips on how to secure a tarp as well as where to use today’s tarps, including our Top 10 Tarp Tips on how to cover a grill or ATV, protect deck furniture, shield your air conditioning unit, or simply keep your woodpile dry.

Coastal tip: Punctures and holes will quickly ruin a tarp. By patching a tarp with tape or sewing the hole closed can add longevity to your tarp. 

Comparing Tarps

Tarps can be a necessity, whether you live on a ranch or simply live in a ranch-style home in the heart of the city. Here’s a quick chart to help you pick the right one.

Tarp Chart

Secure Your Tarp

Once you’ve chosen your tarp, you’ll need a way to secure it. Rope and twine, tie-down straps, bungee cords and more make that chore easy. Plus, they come in various lengths, allowing for a secure fit when you measure the distance from the eyelets of your tarp to the anchor point. Get all the details in our article Choosing the Right Tie Downs and How to Use Them.

Coastal tip: Securely tie down your tarps, especially when attaching to a moving vehicle or trailer. Movement and wind can quickly wear holes and fray the ends on even the toughest tarp. 

Coastal Carries Tarps

You’ll find a huge selection of tarps for your ATV, wood pile, pickup truck, barn, and backyard bungalow at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. These include reversible tarps, heavy duty tarps, and canvas tarps to withstand almost anything our unpredictable weather can muster. You’ll also find bungee cords, tie downs and heavy-duty tarp clips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best tarp for sun exposure?
The best tarps for sun exposure are both the silver poly tarps and heavy-duty black poly tarps.   

What are the best wind resistant tarps?
Wind will eventually break down even the thickest and sturdiest tarp available. But, to achieve the longest tarp life possible, look for a heavy-duty tarp that weighs at least 10 oz per square yard or is at least 23 mils thick (mils are a measurement of 1/1000 of an inch).

What is the best tarp material?
Depending on the use, poly or polyethylene tarps are among the best. These are a woven mesh fabric made from recycled plastic and sandwiched between sheets of polyethylene. They are UV resistant, chemical resistant, and stand up to a lot of weather conditions.

How do I choose a tarp for my tent?
Lighter tarps are better for protecting a tent from rain and other elements. Additionally, the lighter the tarp, the less weight and space that tarp will take up in your camping gear and backpack.

How thick is a good tarp? 
The best tarp for you depends on where it will be used and what it will be covering. A good place to start is with tarp thickness. Tarp thickness is measured in mils of 1/1000 of an inch. A lightweight tarp will be at least 5 mills while a heavy-duty tarp will be at least 23 mils.

What is the best heavy duty tarp?
The best tarp for you depends on where it will be used and what it will be covering. Tarp thickness is measured in mils of 1/1000 of an inch. A heavy-duty tarp will be at least 23 mils.

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