Since my cycle tour across Europe, I’ve always carried a tarp or two. It took some time to discover that a 3m X 3m was one of the most versatile sizes.
I used a 1.5m X 2m camo tarp for a few stealth camps but I’ve stuck with the DD Hammock 3m X 3m. Over the years I’ve used it in various configurations, enabling me to bed down almost anywhere. It’s also been handy as a shelter on rainy days when I needed to repair my bike.
A tarp is good value and has multiple uses, so I highly recommend carrying one. You can spend a little more and get ultralight tarps which will be on my list of gear upgrades. (There may be a tent upgrade first).
Once you start experimenting with tarp configurations, you’ll soon be using it in lots of situations. I originally bought it to cover my hammock which it does admirably. That’s its main purpose for my setup.
However, you can have a low A-frame configuration for when it’s windy. It’s large enough to hang in an A-frame with doors to prevent drafts. During the day or early evening when I’m admiring the view and drinking coffee. I can have it in porch mode. I enjoy this configuration when it’s raining as I stay dry but can watch the rain.
On hot or clear nights I can raise the tarp up, so I have a good view. If it rains I’m still covered so I don’t get wet. I can also lower one side if the wind picks up.
Hanging the tarp is easy as the DD Hammock 3m x3m has 19 fitting points making it ideal to hang on or over a ridgeline. I opt to hang my tarp over the ridgeline as this means I can slide it out of my view on a clear night. I also can hang my glasses, socks or anything else under the tarp to dry overnight.
The tarp can be used in dozens of configurations on the ground too. A low stealthy setup is simple. As is turning the tarp into a tent, all you need is a walking pole or two or even a good fallen branch.
The material is very strong and by folding the tarp in half you have a makeshift stretcher. A decent ground sheet or a handy poncho. I’ve even used it as a bike cover, a porch extension to my tent and a canopy to cook under. In fact, out of all my sleeping kit, I think I use my tarp the most.
The only downside to my current tarp is the weight, I’m surprised that it comes in at 830 grams, my new tent isn’t much more than that. I will need to replace this DD Tarp with a lighter one. I would love a Cuban silk tarp weighing in at only 76 grams but it’s nearly £400. I will probably end up with the DD Ultralight tarp at 460 grams which is nearly half the weight as my current tarp. The DD Ultralight Tarp is still £65 compared to £37 for the 830 gram version. Isn’t it amazing the less weight the more it costs?
Our recommended shelter for hammock campers of all experience levels, the DD Tarp 3×3 offers reliable protection wherever you go. Its 19 reinforced attachment points offer a huge number of setup options, and it’s the tarp of choice for bushcraft & survival schools, the military and countless wild campers worldwide!
With the perfect dimensions for our regular sized hammocks, the Tarp 3×3 is what we recommend as ample cover for a single person plus gear. Arrange it in an A-frame or diamond over your hammock for all-round protection, or simply use it to extend a porch on your tent. Cook underneath it. Use it as a ground sheet. Craft it into a tipi-tent.
This tarp can be seen used by Chris Ryan (ex British SAS) in very extreme monsoon conditions in the Amazon rainforest on ‘Alone in the Wild’, aired on Discovery Channel.