Bugs would ruin a perfect and happy camping trip, but luckily, wilderness guides Dave Freeman and Amy Freeman based in Minnesota recommended the Bugout Tarp from Nemo Equipments that would make your camping trip more pleasant.
According to the Freemans, the Bugout Tarp weighs a couple pounds more than a standard nylon tarp, but the comfort and versatility that the no-see-um mesh walls add are worth their weight in gold.
The Gear: NEMO Bugout Tarp ($199 – $249); available now.
First Use: It ended up raining every day on that trip and we lived under the Bugout Tarp. When we are on the water the bugs weren’t bad, but when we hit camp, setting up the Bugout became a priority. We played lots of Uno, cooked, ate, laughed, and told stories surrounded by rain and bugs.
Now, when the bugs are out, the tarp is always on the top of my pack when I am guiding. It makes camping with groups—and especially kids—much more enjoyable.
Made in: Vietnam.
Where To Use It: The Bugout Tarp is perfect for anywhere the bugs are likely to drive you into your tent. From car camping to backpacking, it can make all the difference when the blood suckers are out and looking for dinner.
Down And Dirty: The tarp is made of 75D PU Polyester Ripstop (1500mm) and the walls are made of 15D no-see-um mesh. All four corners of the tarp have a grommet, which will accept a trekking pole, or a collapsible tent pole, which NEMO sells as an accessory. You can also set up the shelter by tying off to trees, which saves weight and works well in wooded areas like the BWCA.
Loops along the bottom of the no-see-um mesh allow you to secure the netting to the ground for added protection. When a breeze blows the bugs away you can easily transform the Bugout into a conventional tarp by tying the netting out of the way using the convenient tie-outs spaced along the edge of the tarp.
Flaw: Inevitably a bug or two gets in when you enter or exit the shelter. This often happens when you enter a tent as well, but it can be harder to swat them under the tarp because it is a much larger space. The Bugout is also considerably more expensive than a standard tarp.
Who Should Buy It: This is the perfect bug shelter for groups of 3 to 10 people looking for relatively light weight and portable protection from rain and insects. The 9 x 9 version weighs less than 5 pounds, which is well worth the comfort it affords when traveling in a group. It is especially nice when you bring the kids along because it provides a relatively large bug-free area to play games, relax, cook, and hangout. If you often travel with 5 or more people, or if you do a lot of base camping, the 12 x 12 size offers a lot more room and only weighs 3 pounds
Bugout – 9ft x 9ft Version
Price: $199 USD available at REI
Minimum Weight: 4 lbs, 1 oz
Trail Weight: 4 lbs, 12 oz
Floor Dimensions: 108 x 108 in
Floor Area: 81 sq ft
Interior Height: 72 in
Packed Size: 16 x 8 in
Bugout – 12ft x 12ft Version
Price: $249 USD available at REI
Minimum Weight: 6 lbs, 3 oz
Trail Weight: 7 lbs
Floor Dimensions: 144 x 144 in
Floor Area: 144 sq ft
Interior Height: 84 in
Packed Size: 23 x 8.5 in
Learn more about Nemo Equipments and the Bugout Tarp here.