If you’re like me, you want a Plan B when you’re out hiking. A tarp is one key item that will come in handy in many situations! Tarps can be used for shelter, wind breaks, gear protection, and a lot more. Backpackers love them because they are so light weight and can be used instead of a tent.
I had the chance to test the Brooks Range UltraLite Mini Guide Tarp, a super high quality tarp that is ultra light (hence it’s name!). It weighs just 9.8 ounces yet can be a suitable shelter for 2 people, and when opened it is a spacious 6.75 feet by 9 feet! There are lots of cool features, which I discovered during my testing and explain below.
- Easy to Set Up. The Ultralite Mini Guide tarp is relatively easy to set up because there are convenient nylon tie loops, so it can be attached to trekking poles or tied to trees.
- Extremely durable fabric. As with other Brooks-Range products, the quality of their materials is very high. This tarp is made with wind and water resistant 20 denier nylon, so it is lightweight yet super strong. It can get a bit noisy when flapping around in the wind, but so do all tents/tarps I’ve ever used!
- Water resistant to withstand a heavy rainstorm. Since I haven’t had a chance to test this in the rain yet, I tested it under a simulated rainstorm with a garden hose… Moisture beaded up under what I would consider moderate simulated rainy conditions.
- Well designed velcro around all the edges. A layer of velcro is stitched on to the outside edges of the tarp, making it highly versatile. The velcro makes it easy to wrap up the tarp and make it like a bivy sack. It also makes it easy if you want to use just a portion of it.
- Packs down small As all avid hikers and backpackers know, this is a key feature of any piece of gear. The Mini Guide Tarp packs down to just 4 inches by 8 inches, making it easy to include as a piece of emergency gear on a hiking trip, an extra convenience item in addition to a tent on a backpacking trip, or a replacement for a tent for the ultralite backpackers out there!
- Price. The Brooks Range Mini Guide Tarp retails for $115. This is a steep price to pay, however, the quality is evident. For a piece of gear this lightweight and strong, it is worth it.
- Size: Unfolds to 6.75 feet by 9 feet!
- Weight: 9.4 ounces.
- Packed size About 4 inches by 8 inches
- Price: $115
Do you use a tarp instead of a tent? Would you take it along as an emergency item? I’d love to hear what Hiking Lady readers think!