Owning a boat is a serious investment. You would want your boat to last a long time. Even though an average boat can last between ten to twenty years, your habit and discipline in maintaining it can help extend its use and life. Whether you’ve been boating all your life or you’re a rookie, it’s vital to cultivate good habits from the beginning.
One of the best ways to maintain your boat’s good looks is to use a boat tarp. Not only that, using the best boat tarp can help protect your boat from the weather and any other harmful elements. Natural elements such as rain, wind, and snow can damage your boat’s interior if your vessel is not protected. Furthermore, other factors such as dirt, dust, grime, and even bird droppings can also damage your boat.
It can be quite hard to choose the right boat tarp because there’re so many on the market. So, to help you find the right tarp boat cover, we’ve put together for you 10 of the best. Any of these will help protect your boat, but we’ve provided you with some insight into each of the products to help you choose better!
Table of Contents
Best Boat Tarp Reviews of 2023
1. Kotap TRA0810 All-Purpose Tarp
Have you ever needed a tarp but it’s just too big or too small? Having the right sized tarp is important because you’re not only covering your boat from the weather. You also need it to make sure it covers your boat from anything that can damage it. With a Kotap TRA0810 All-Purpose Tarp, you can be sure to find the right size for any of your needs.
This durable tarp comes in various sizes where the smallest is 6’ x 8’, and the largest is 100’ x 100’. Most boat tarps are of a specific size where it can usually cover a boat that’s 25’ in length. Not with the Kotap TRA0810! You can choose just the right fit for your boat without having to worry that you’re leaving out any part of.
Thanks to its highly durable yet lightweight properties, boat tarps made from this material are stronger and last a long time. The durable thermoplastic of this tarp is made to withstand harsh conditions and resistant to fade and rot. No matter what you use this tarp for, you can be certain that it will last.
Another important thing other than size is how secure your tarp is. The Kotap TRA0810 comes with aluminum grommets along its edges, placed at every 36 inches so you can secure it around your boat without worry. These grommets are weather-resistant, so no matter what weather conditions you use it for, these grommets will hold.
Not only that, the hem of this tarp is also heat-sealed to keep everything in place. Strong polyethylene rope is reinforced along the inside of the hem so it will not shrink over time.
2. DryTop Heavy-Duty Poly Tarp
If a good and trusted brand is what you’re looking for, then DRY TOP is the brand for you! It has been a trusted brand for more than 30 years. This brand is known for the quality and the durability of their product.
We’re a fan of the Heavy-Duty DRY TOP Poly Tarp. This model comes in 12 different sizes where the smallest is 8’ x 10’ and the largest is 40’ x 60. What we love about this tarp is the size you choose is exactly the size you get. DRY TOP cuts their tarps ±3% so you won’t lose on the size of the tarp.
Not only that, but their tarp is also made from the toughest material there is i.e. polypropylene. It’s tightly woven so it won’t stretch or tear. Even though this tarp is made for heavy-duty purposes, its material is lighter than canvas. How many times have you broken a sweat trying to put on a tarp on your boat? Now, you don’t have to worry about working extra hard because this tarp is surprisingly light!
Other than many sizes and its high-quality material, this tarp is also laminated on both sides to resist water. Its lightweight material is light enough to allow air ventilation, so you won’t get mildew or mold. It’s also treated with special properties to resist harmful and harsh UV radiation.
3. EasyGO Hercules Shelter Cover
If you’re looking for a tarp for boat that is both durable and strong, the EasyGO Tarp2 Hercules is for you. The name says it all. With a name like Hercules, you can be sure that it will last. Boat tarps take a lot of beating from the weather and environment, so you need one that is strong, tough, and durable. This way, you know it can withstand anything.
Even though this tarp is strong, it’s surprisingly lightweight. You don’t need too much energy lugging and putting this tarp on your boat. Made with extra strength of 8×10 weave, this tarp can be used for many purposes, and not just covering your boat. So, you’re not investing for just one purpose, but many! Since its material is tough and durable, you can use it for other things such as tent cover, roof leaks, or covering large items.
The EasyGo Hercules tarp is laminated on both sides to ensure maximum protection and durability. Each side is of different colors too so you can switch it according to your mood. The tarp is blue on one side and silver-coated on the other.
Either way, both sides are enforced to reduce the risk of tearing. You need a tarp that is strong enough to withstand anything because once a tarp frays, it’s no longer useful and can cause a further tear in the whole sheet. Luckily, to prevent fraying of the edges, the edges of the EasyGo Hercules tarp are heat-sealed, so they stay on.
Made to be waterproof, this tarp can resist harsh sunlight and tough against fading. The grommets around the edge of the tarp are aluminum so they can resist rust or rot.
4. Mytee Products Tan Canvas Tarp
This is one good-looking tarp. Its tan color gives your boat a sleek and sophisticated look. We love the Mytee Products Canvas tarp because even though it’s made from canvas. It is not usually a preferred boat tarp material, yet highly durable and surprisingly tough. Made from 12oz of polyester material, the Mytee Products tarp is a good choice for those who don’t like the plasticky material of polypropylene tarps.
For your information, the smallest size is 6’ x 8’ and the biggest is 20’ x 40’. Yet, this is not th emost impressive size range for a model. What we also love about this tarp is its strong seams. Stitched with extra-strength thread, this tarp is suitable for intense situations.
You can use it not only as a boat cover, but also on construction sites or for emergency purposes such as to cover broken windows. Its material is strong enough to withstand any kind of weather and won’t easily tear or stretch. If you’re keeping your boat in an area that’s prone to harsh wind or heavy downpour, we believe this hardy tarp is the right one for you.
5. Trademark Supplies Tarp Cover
Sometimes, tarp choices are limited. You either have options for many different sizes but limited colors or limited sizes but many colors. Sometimes, the tarp make is limited to one purpose. The Trademark Supplies Waterproof Tarp Cover solves all these for you!
Available in 19 different sizes, this tarp also comes in several different colors. You can choose from silver, blue, green, or brown. Not only that, for each color, there are also different choices of function. You can choose a heavy-duty tarp, a medium-protection one, or a lightweight tarp. The variety of choices makes this tarp a favorite among many boaters who are looking for an excellent economical choice with freedom of options.
As a boater, having multiple-sized tarps can be a good thing because you never know what you need them for. Other than covering your boat when it’s not in use, you also need tarps for other boating purposes.
For example, if you like to fish, you may need one to cover the sole of your boat when you bring the fish on board. Even if you’re out in the open waters with your friends and family, you may want to cover the deck after everyone comes back from swimming.
The variety of choices is not the only thing the Trademark Supplies Tarp cover is good for. The tarp is made from high-quality material that’s rot- and shrink-resistant. The material is treated to resist water and repel any contaminants such as mold and mildew.
With many different sizes, you can choose the right one for your needs. You can use it as a boat cover or as a groundsheet of your tent. You can also use it to protect your boat during winter because this tarp is strong and tough enough to withstand adverse weather conditions.
6. B-Air Grizzly Tarp
This is one of the favorites among many boaters. The B-Air Grizzly Tarp is as tough as its name. Made from polyethylene, its fibers are woven tightly with true weave. This means a stronger sheet, tougher material, and shrink-resistant. This 14 x 14 polyethylene is treated with special properties to provide superior UV resistance and repel mildew.
No matter where you store your boat with this tarp, you can be confident that the material won’t stretch or shrink. Constant expansion and contraction to your tarp can weaken its material, causing it to tear. With the B-Air Grizzly Tarp, this won’t be an issue!
You can use this tarp for so many things such as a canopy for shelter, boat or car covers, and also any other outdoor purposes. As an outdoor person, you can never be sure when there’s a need for a tarp. This B-Air Grizzly is a good piece of hardware you need to have handy.
To use this tarp, all you need is a strong draw rope so you can thread it through its aluminum grommets. The grommets are made from rust-resistant materials so you don’t have to worry about them coming off. All you need to secure this tarp is a piece of polypropylene rope. Polypropylene ropes are tough and made for the outdoors. Its material is resistant to rot or shrink so it will help to both secure your tarp and protect it.
A lot of boaters use a tarp as a protection against harsh marine conditions or as a cover while they’re trailering their boat. The B-Air Grizzly Tarp is one tough tarp because it knows how harsh the weather can get. With a 10-mil thickness, it can provide secure cover for your boat and protect it from the sun or rain, or even wind while you’re trailering your boat.
7. TANG Sunshade Depot Tarp
If you’re looking for the best tarp for boat cover that’s heavy-duty yet highly affordable, you don’t have to look any further than the TANG Sunshade Depot Heavy-Duty Tarp. We love this tarp because it’s well-made with neat seams and reinforced panels.
Since it’s from polyethylene, this tarp is highly resistant to any kind of weather conditions, especially marine environment. If you worry the strong wind or heavy rain will ruin your tarp, you don’t have to worry about that with the TAN Sunshade Depot Heavy-Duty Tarp.
Many tarps are 10-mil in thickness, but this one goes one step further by making sure all its edges have rope reinforcement. Along the inside of its hem, which is heat-sealed, the polyethylene rope serves as added security for better hold. This rope also ensured the edges don’t tear easily from rigorous and frequent use.
The edges are well sealed and we love how neat it looks, giving your tarp a sleek finish. We’re sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing worse than a tarp that’s poorly made and looks unfinished.
8. XPose Safety Brown Tarp
We have to say, this is the best option for a boat tarp cover in the market if you’re looking for maximum durability, affordability, and long-term use. Even though this tarp doesn’t cost as much as its competitors’, it’s still highly well-made and of good quality.
Available in 24 different sizes, this tarp is one of our top favorites. The smallest size for the XPose Safety Super Heavy-Duty is 4’ x 20’ while the largest is 40’ x 60’. This tarp is suitable if you’re looking for a pontoon boat tarp because it can cover and protect your pontoon well.
The XPose Safety Super Heavy-Duty tarp has metal grommets that are at every 18” of the tarp to make sure it will cover your boat well. This way, the rope you thread through the grommets will give better hold of the tarp and therefore secure it better onto your boat.
Another great thing about this tarp is how it’s 16-mil in thickness. Most tarps are about 10-mil thick, but this one offers a thicker sheet for ultimate outdoor protection from the sun, rain, or snow. Many tarps have reinforced edges, but the XPose Safety Super Heavy-Duty edges are stronger and proven to stand the test of time. This way, you won’t end up with annoying frayed edges. With 16 x 16 polyethylene weave, this tarp is a winner in our eyes.
We think this is the best option for boat tarps because of its many great features. These features are usually found in more expensive tarps, but this tarp costs almost half the usual price. Plus, the XPose Safety Super Heavy-Duty tarp can also be returned within 30 days of purchase if you find any manufacturing issues.
9. Watershed Innovations Tarp
If you like industrial-strength products, then this is the best tarp to cover boat with. The Watershed Innovation Super Heavy-Duty Tarp comes in 8 sizes where the smallest is 12’ x 16’ and the largest is 24’ x 36’. Many boaters who own a Jon boat prefer this tarp because it’s suitable for a Jon boat tarp. Its variety of sizes makes it a good cover for a Jon boat because Jon boats are typically between 8’ to 24’.
The weight material for this tarp is 8 oz per sq. yard and it’s a lot thicker than many tarps on the market. Compared to other tarps available on the market, the Watershed Innovations Super Heavy-Duty Tarp is much heavier, but we love it as a boat cover because of its weight. If you’re going to use this tarp as a boat cover, we strongly suggest you use a boat cover support system.
Due to its weight, it can easily sag or fold over when placed over your boat. Sagging and folding over can cause water to collect and put even more weight on your tarp. By placing a boat cover support system, such as a support pole or a bow frame, it can distribute the weight of the tarp more evenly.
When your tarp is secure over the boat cover support system, it can channel water away with ease. Standing water or collecting snow can cause serious damage both to your tarp and your boat.
10. ChaoJin Camping Tarps
These are the simplest and easiest to use tarps on our list. While it’s usually for camping purposes, many boaters like the ChaoJin Camping Tarp. Even though there are only 5 sizes available, boaters like it because each size is suitable for different types of boats.
The smallest size is 8’ x 10’, which is usually used by many boaters as a bimini top cover, while the largest is 30’ x 50’, which is suitable for any boat’s up to 25’. Even if you’ve found the right size for your boat, we love how the different sizes allow us to choose it for any other boating needs.
The ChaoJin Camping tarp makes an excellent waterproof boat cover because the material is from high-quality polyethylene, which is a sturdy material to repel water. The material is treated with properties to resist fading due to harsh sunlight.
It’s a nice feeling to bring your boat out when it’s sunny and clear. Your boat is made to withstand weather in that condition, but if left out unprotected for too long, it can damage your boat’s finishing and interior.
The ChaoJin Camping Tarp can resist these elements and last a long time. Whether you’re storing your boat away for the season or covering it for trailering purposes, you can count on ChaoJin Camping Tarp to keep your boat safe.
Polyethylene is a good boat tarp material because it’s highly durable and tough. It’s not a highly expensive material, but its color can last a long time, giving maximum use for the consumers. Many boaters prefer tarps that are made from this material because it’s lightweight enough to manipulate.
This means it can cover any structure of your boat such as the bimini, the center console, or your boat’s seats, but durable enough to withstand any weather conditions.
What to Look for When Buying a Boat Tarp
Choosing a boat tarp is not as hard as you think. However, there are several things you need to understand and know to ensure you get the right and best buy. There are many heavy-duty boat tarps available in the market and they all claim to do the job. Whichever you choose to get, here are the top five critical things to know when buying a boat tarp.
This is the core aspect to consider when buying a boat tarp. Most boat tarps are from either polypropylene, polyethylene, or nylon. While these types of plastic are durable and commonly used, they’re not equal.
Polypropylene and polyethylene are highly resistant to harsh sunlight and UV radiation. This is a vital feature because the tarp also needs to protect the finishing of your boat other than just covering it. Many boaters prefer boat tarp material made from polypropylene.
Nylon tarps, on the other hand, are least favored by boaters. This is because the material is far more brittle and can easily break down when exposed to sunlight for too long.
- Glued or sewn in
We don’t have to tell you how glued hems can break down after prolonged sun exposure. You need to make sure the underside of the tarp is as strong as the rest of it. You should choose sewn in hems for maximum hold. Not only can it withstand sun exposure, but it’s also durable enough to withstand the tugging and pulling of the rope as you secure the tarp onto your boat.
- Stretch cord or draw rope
Even though stretch cord or the elastic band around the edges is typical for many canvas boat tarps, this band can lose its elasticity after frequent use. Repeated usage of putting it on and taking it off can make the stretch cord lose its elasticity. The better option is to have a draw rope around the edge. This rope, which you put through the grommets, can be pulled tight to give a snug fit to your boat.
Accurate paneling on your boat cover is also a crucial factor to consider when buying a boat tarp. This paneling will help in channeling water away from your tarp. If your tarp is poorly paneled, water can pool in the tarp, causing it to stretch from the weight of the water. Prolonged stretching of the tarp will weaken the material, and this can cause it to tear.
- Mildew and mold prevention
Imagine staying covered under a thick tarp with the sun blaring from above. Your boat may not sweat, but the hot air under the tarp sure can cause mildew and mold. Even though you need a strong, thick tarp so water or snow can’t get through, it still needs to be light enough to allow air circulation.
This way, the interior of your boat won’t sprout mysterious vegetation or start to grow mold by the time you remove the cover.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a boat tarp?
Your boat should be covered whenever you’re not using it. Whether you’re storing it away for winter or keeping it in storage, you need a proper cover to protect it from any damages. Rainwater, seawater, snow, bird droppings, or stray animals can get into your boat if you don’t cover it.
You don’t want your boat exposed to other things that can damage it because your boat already takes a lot of beating from being out in the water. You’ve already spent a lot of money on your boat, but you need to do more to ensure it lasts a long time.
A boat tarp is essentially like a tent for your boat so you can protect it from any weather conditions or external elements. A large piece of tarp, usually made from canvas or polypropylene, is placed on top of your boat.
You pull the edges into a snug fit with the use of a draw rope or a sewn-in elastic band. Most of the time, you install a boat cover support system on the sole of the boat before putting on your tarp to ensure your tarp will not cave in and collect water.
A boat tarp is an essential piece of boating equipment because it covers your boat just the way a roof covers your house. Without it, you risk exposing your boat to many things, most of which are damaging and harmful to your vessel. So, getting the best tarp to cover boat with is one of the most important things you need to do after getting a boat.
How does it work?
A boat tarp functions like a roof for your house. You start by placing a boat cover support system onto the sole of your boat. There are several types of boat cover system. You can opt for a support pole, a strap suspension system, or a bow frame.
After you’ve installed the support system, all you have to do is place the boat tarp over the support system. A boat cover system is essential because it supports the weight of your tarp, so it doesn’t cave in. A sagging or caved in tarp can cause water to collect. Standing water on your tarp can cause your boat cover to stretch and tear. Even the smallest tear can cause water to leak into your boat.
With a boat tarp, you can protect your boat from any kind of debris, dust, or water. Not only that, because the tarp is fitted snugly around the chine, but you can also prevent any stray animals from entering your boat.
Stray animals can sneak on board a berthed boat to nest. While a baby seagull may be cute, you don’t want a brood of them nesting in your boat. Properly fitting a boat cover can prevent unwanted things or animals from entering your boat and destroying its interior.
What are the different types of boat tarps?
When it comes to boat tarps, not all are made equal. Not so much because of their material, but because of their functions. Just like buying a jacket, buy different boat tarps for different purposes. Knowing what you need can help you decide on the right boat tarp to get. Whether you’re looking for a sailboat tarp or a jon boat tarp, here are two main factors you need to consider before knowing which type of boat tarp to get.
Boat tarps come in two standard forms i.e. universal covers or custom covers. As the words suggest, a universal cover is suitable for any boat model in general. A custom cover is made specifically for your boat model, which will give your boat a sleek fits-like-a-glove look. However, many boaters prefer to get the styled-to-fit boat tarps. While this cover is not for any specific boat, it can accommodate all popular make and hull styles.
- Trailering or storage
Other than their fit, boat tarps also differ based on their purpose. If you’re looking to cover your boat at the dock or in indoor storage, a storage cover is a right type to get. It will cover your boat enough without cinching it too tightly.
However, if you need to cover your boat for trailering, you need to get a trailer cover. This type of cover fits onto your boat much more snugly. It’s also reinforced at its high-wear spots to make sure it can withstand the movement of traveling at high speed on the highway.
Why do you need a tarp to cover your boat?
A boat cover is so important because your boat is exposed to all kinds of abuse. Your boat endures changes in temperature and faces different humidity levels. It stays out under the dry, hot sun during the day and then experiences the cold, damp nights. These changes cause expansion and contraction, which in the long run, can take a toll on your boat’s coating and woodwork.
With a tarp to cover your boat, you can shield it from the harsh sun and protect it from the moisture in the damp night air. It’s not just weather conditions, but you also need to protect your boat from dust and debris. Fine dust can damage the boat engine or its controls. These damages can cost you hundreds of dollars of repair. Your boat is your prized possession, so you need to do everything to protect it from things that can ruin your boat and also extend its life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted boat tarp brands?
There are many reliable boating hardware and equipment brands. Each has its own merits and advantages. However, if you’re serious about boating, it’s worth investing in brands that are trusted and reliable.
However, to give you an idea of what the most trusted tarp brands are, here are our favorites. Many of these brands sell their products online; you can also get them at popular retail chains such as Walmart.
- DRY TOP
- Classic Accessories
What is the best material for a boat tarp?
Manufacturers use many types of material to make a boat tarp. The common ones are canvas, nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Each of these materials has its pros and cons, but many boaters prefer tarps that are made from polypropylene because it’s strong and durable.
Other materials are also usable, but they can wear out after prolonged sun exposure. When a material becomes brittle because it spends too much time in the sun, it can fray and tear. Not only that, but the changes in temperature also affect the condition of the material.
If you’re going to leave your boat outdoors, it’s best to buy a tarp made from polypropylene. This material is often treated with a specific chemical to resist fading and rot. It’s a much better investment for your boat if you were to get tarps made from this material. Furthermore, this material is often enforced with extra strength weave, making it the most versatile and durable material for a boat tarp.
Can I cover my boat with a tarp?
Yes, you can! A tarp is often an economical choice when it comes to boat covers. They’re usually affordable and versatile for many types of different boats. However, even though tarps are versatile, you may need extra equipment before you can use it as a boat cover.
Most tarps have grommets placed along its edges to make rope threading easier. If you have this kind of tarp, you will need a strong draw rope so you can securely cinch it to your boat. Some tarps that are also boat covers have an elastic band around the edges. You will not need a draw rope for these. This type of tarp is more convenient, but the elastic band can lose its elasticity in the long run.
If you want to cover your boat with a tarp, make sure you get a durable one and have reinforced metal at its wear points, so it will not fray or tear easily. Your draw rope also needs to be tough. A polypropylene rope is a wise choice because its material will not shrink or rot.
How to cover a boat with a tarp?
Even though your boat is small, it’s still a good idea to get a proper boat cover support system when covering your boat with a tarp. Tarps can be quite heavy and if you place it on your boat without a support system, it can sag and cause water to pool.
A boat cover support system will help keep your tarp up and also help to distribute the weight of the tarp more evenly. Your tarp shouldn’t sag or fold in because this can collect water. There’s nothing worse than standing water on your tarp because the weight of the water can stretch your tarp.
If you’re storing your boat away for winter, it’s crucial to know how to tarp a boat for winter because the air during winter is much colder. Snow can get heavy once they collect on your tarp, so you need to make sure you do it right.
How to care and store a boat tarp?
Some tarps come with a storage bag. After removing your tarp, you fold it according to the storage bag size and that’s all! If your tarp happens to be dirty, you can simply hose it down with water and air dry it. You can wash most tarps with mild soap, but make sure you remove all soap residue before air-drying. Some soap has corrosive chemicals that can damage your tarp.
Getting the best boat tarp is one of the most important things you can do as a boater. They’re easy to use and often made for heavy-duty purposes. However, you need to make sure you buy a tarp that is of durable material such as polypropylene.
Strong material is vital because your tarp sits out in the sun and rain day after day. The durable material will ensure your tarp lasts a long time and also continue protecting your boat. Your boat is your prized possession, so it would be such a waste if you have to spend extra money on things you can avoid. Taking good care of your boat will allow you to use your boat for many more years to come!
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.