If you’re looking for the lightest possible shelter that doesn’t compromise on space, the ZPacks 7×9 Flat Tarp is just about as light as they come. This minimal rectangular tarp packs down small, provides a ton of room for a single hiker, and is a bit more affordable than other tarps in its weight class.
WEIGHT: 5.1 oz. (no guylines)
CAPACITY: 1 or tight 2
ULTRALIGHT – Weighing in at just 5.1 oz., this tarp is ridiculously lightweight. That’s less than half the weight of our favorite ultralight single person tents, like the ZPacks Plex Solo (13.9 oz.). You could also sleep two people under this tarp if you don’t mind a tighter fit, and you’ll save a massive 13 oz. over the popular ZPacks Duplex which provides about the same amount of floor space.
VERSATILE– Flat tarps are amazingly versatile, as their shape allows you to set them up in a huge variety of configurations – from A-frame to half pyramid to lean-to – you’re really only limited by your imagination. Master a couple of different pitches, and you’ll be equipped to stay dry and warm under your tarp in almost any conditions.
SPACIOUS FOR ONE – The 7×9 Tarp covers a ton of area for a single hiker – even for taller folks. Our favorite pitch with this tarp is a half pyramid which gives you a high peak at the entrance for eating, sorting gear, and other camp chores. And then you have a very sheltered alcove in the back for sleeping that keeps you and your gear safe from splashback during rain. If you need more space for two hikers, ZPacks also offers their Flat Tarp in an 8.5×10 model.
LINELOCS INCLUDED – Some tarps are shipped out without any hardware or accessories, so it’s up to you to purchase and attach everything you need for setup. The ZPacks Flat Tarp comes with linelocs attached at every corner and one on each side, so all you have to do is cut some guyline to your desired length and thread them through. We went with two foot lengths of reflective 2.3 mm guyline for the six side lines and six foot lines for the two center tie outs.
GREAT VALUE FOR A TARP – When compared to other tarps in its weight and size class, like the Mountain Laurel Designs DCF Grace Tarp and the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp, the ZPacks Flat Tarp is a far better value. It’s much more versatile than the catenary cut Grace Tarp, and it’s almost $100 less than the slightly larger HMG 8×10 Flat Tarp.
A BIT EXPENSIVE– While the price of this tarp is awesome compared to similar shelters, it’s still a bit on the expensive side seeing as it’s not fully enclosed. For just a bit more of a splurge, you could get one of our favorite backpacking tents or ultralight tents for more bug/weather protection.
NOT AS DURABLE AS SOME – The material of the ZPacks Flat Tarp is .55 oz. Dyneema, which is thinner and less durable than the .8 oz. Dyneema used for HMG’s Flat Tarp and the .75 oz. Dyneema used for MLD’s Grace Tarp. Still, if you’re careful with your gear and diligent about picking campsites that are free of pokey branches, pinecones, and rocks, your ZPacks Flat Tarp should last you for many many miles of adventuring.
GUYLINES AREN’T PREATTACHED – This is by no means a dealbreaker, but it should be noted that you’ll need to know (or learn) a few basic knots to get this tarp trail-ready. The preattached linelocs make it easy to install your guylines, but it’s up to you to decide which lines to use and how long you want them to be. Then you have to tie loops for your stakes and configure tensioning knots for your desired setup. This takes a little more effort, but is part of the fun for tarp users who like to have full control and tinker with their gear
If you’ve been shooting for that elusive single digit base weight, the ZPacks 7×9 Flat Tarp will get you well on your way. It’s an excellent value when compared to other similar tarps, and the flat design makes it incredibly versatile. Those in the market for the best balance of low weight and spaciousness in a single person tarp will have a hard time finding anything better than Zpacks Flat Tarp.
We hope this review helps you determine if the ZPacks 7×9 Flat Tarp is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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