Box 1748 Conway, NH 03818
Phone: (603) 447-2344 Fax: (603) 447-8377

Oilskin Tarps


Pathfinder Scount Tarp in Africa

Oilskin Tarp set up in Africa

People have come to us for the past few years requesting we build OILSKIN TARPS for “Trekking”. Constructed of the same fabric as our WATCHCOATS, the oil / wax finished long staple cotton makes a wonderful tarp for a great early feel. The dark tan/brown fabric is 6.25 oz. per square yard.  All tarps are finished with loops on all 4 sides and on the seam.  Tarps in the sizes of 7×7, 8×8, 9×9, & 10’x9’8″ have one seam and are finished with a CENTER LOOP.  The 2 larger tarps have 2 seams and no center loop.  You can add the Heavy Duty Center Loop if you like for extra support if setting your tarp up like a diamond shelter.

We sell Oilskin by the yard for those that want to try their hand with projects.  The fabric comes 60″ wide for $25.00 a yard.  We can cut any amounts you need.

Heavy Duty Center Loop ~~ ADD:  $20.00

Oilskin tarp center loop

Oilskin tarp center loop. Costs an additional $20.

          7′ x 7′ ~~~      $145    3.2 lbs
          8′ x 8′ ~~~      $175    4.2 lbs        Loops every 23″
          9′ x 9′ ~~~      $205    5.2 lbs        Loops every 25″
          10′ x 10′ ~~~   $215  (actual size 10′ x 9′ 6″)   5.8 lbs      Loops every  29″
          12′ x 12′  ~~~  $330                        15′ x 15′ ~~~ $395

All Tarps are finished with oilskin loops, every 23″ to 29″ (depending on tarp size), on all 4 sides and on all the seams.


Diamond Shelters are constructed with two edges being “ground” edges with loops every three feet and two edges being “roof” edges, free of loops.  They are finished with a  strong top corner loop for lifting or guying out and interior /exterior center reinforcement for rope tension.

          7′ X 7′ ~~~       $170

          9′ X 9′ ~~~      $215

    12′ X 12′ ~~~       $350


Why an Oilskin Tarp vs. a Canvas Tarp?

Ok, so you’ve narrowed your decision down to a tarp; a simple, versatile, piece of shelter that will be no more and no less than you hope you’ll need. Now to make the choice of materials. Since both canvas and oilskin will work in a similar manner there are a few differences that may help to make the selection easier.

First, cost. Oilskin is the more expensive option here. Oilskin is considerably more expensive to produce due to its smaller threads, tighter weave and finishing process. Army Duck cotton canvas, while a tight weave, is not as tightly woven as the base fabric for oilskin. And the finish, whether Sunforger or Sunforger Flame Resist is a bit easier for a finishing house to apply. Cost may limit your choice before anything else applies.

Second, flame resistance. In short, if you’re looking for flame resistance you are limited to Army Duck with the Flame Resistant (CPAI-84) finish. Neither Army Duck with Sunforger nor Oilskin is flame resistant. In fact, both fabrics will readily burn if subjected to open flames. (Which is why we do not manufacture tents from Oilskin).

Next is the weight of the tarps. Comparing the two doesn’t really show a big difference between them. While Oilskin uses a lighter weight base fabric the addition of the oil/ wax finish adds weight making Oilskin tarps very similar in weight to the canvas tarps.

Which leads us to the two real reasons for choosing oilskin vs. canvas, compactness and color. The Oilskin tarps will fold up smaller than the canvas. Not a great deal smaller but smaller none the less. This allows the Oilskin tarp to take up just a bit less room in your kit.

Color is the real reason I’ve used an Oilskin tarp for the last 23 years. My original search was for a fabric that would be weather-resistant, fairly compact, not excessively heavy and HIDE ME FROM THE BRITISH! I spend a week every fall on Lake George skirmishing with British reenactors (24 hours a day). I need something more stealthy than a bright white (or tan) piece of cotton canvas. The dark brown oilskin fabric proved to meet all of my parameters and has done so ever since. I like its ability to be totally invisible at night and blend in to the environment during the day. Also, when I use the oilskin to cover the gear in my canoe it isn’t bright white reflecting in my eyes as I paddle. When our youngest son started to accompany me to “the lake” the first thing we did was gift him with an Oilskin Tarp.

*Important Note* I’m careful with my oilskin tarp. I understand and work within its assets and liabilities. I use it for a covering, a weather shelter and to hide my gear in the woods. I never set it up next to, or in front of, a fire. I leave the open front fire scenarios to the flame-resistant Baker tents. (Be it known that even a flame-resistant canvas WILL BURN.)

Happy decision making! Enjoy your tarp.

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