Jack ‘R’ Better Universal Tarp Review

I spent the better part of the last year researching and talking about hammock camping and everything that goes along with it, including the right tarp setup. A couple of months ago, I gave in and ordered a tarp that I had my eye on for a while but wasn’t ready to spend for. That is the the 12x10 Universal tarp by Jack ‘R’ Better, along with the built-in poles. I also ordered Dutchware Stingerz with 12’ of reflective line for the ridge-line, Fleaz with Zing-It loops for each tie out point, and Reflect-It for the guy line.

The next day I received a call from Don at Jack ‘R’ Better to answer any questions I had and just to make me feel good about the purchase overall. We ended up talking about various methods of tying it out and modes to be used… and it turns out he rides an adventure bike as well, which always makes the conversation more exciting.

When the tarp and poles arrived in the mail a couple of days later, the box was so incredibly light that I couldn’t believe it was all there. Opening the box and removing the tarp, I found the tarp to be as lightweight as expected, but still felt incredibly sturdy and solid. I set it up in my backyard right away and it was large enough for my Lawson Tent/Hammock with spreader bars and more room to spare for my bike or whatever else I may need. It was impressive in my backyard and couldn’t wait to test it out in the wild.


JRB Universal Tarp 1

I last used the tarp on a 5 day trip on the MABDR with 7 other riders, starting in Tennessee and headed north through George Washington and Jefferson National Forest then farther north, MD and PA. The poles held the tarp open for porch mode with such ease by just letting out some slack on the line tensioners. Closing up on the colder nights was just as easy while the poles kept the tarp wide enough around the spreader bars to get in and out without putting pressure on the tarp at all. There’s enough tie out points to do just about anything you can imagine, including every different mode and tons of configurations. Packing up was made even easier with the included speed sack and it could be shoved into any corner or crevice of my saddle bags. 

JRB Universal Tarp 2

In comparing the my JRB Universal Tarp against the others on my trip, I had the most coverage, the easiest setup, packs down comparatively small, and was of the lightest of all of the tarps. Then add the poles and it was as easy and comfortable as it gets!

JRB Universal Tarp 3

Lightweight, packs down incredibly small, easy to setup and takedown, amazing coverage, and the added poles made it that much better. I highly recommend this tarp without any hesitation!