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Jacks ‘R’ Better 8’x8′ Square Silnylon Tarp

Jack’s ‘R’ Better (frequently abbreviated JRB) is a boutique manufacturer of quilts and other accessories for Hennessy Hammocks, such as The Nest, a down underquilt for insulating the bottom of a hammock in colder weather to extend its temperature range. They also manufacture an 8 x 8 foot tarp for use with Hennessy Hammocks that weighs just an ounce more than the standard 8.2 oz. Hennessy tarp included in the Backpacker Expedition Assym Hammock system.

Jacks 'R' Better 8'x8' Square SilNylon Tarp

But if all of the hammocks manufactured by Hennessy come with their own tarps, why would you ever want to use a different one? That’s a good question.

One of the problems with Hennessy tarps is that they attach to the hammock ridgeline, a heavy cord that runs between two trees and that the hammock ends hang from. This can make it difficult to adjust a tarp taughtly because there are many other attachments that are also sharing the hooks and prussic knots on the ridgeline like the underpad or undercover. Having a tarp that is independent of the ridgeline lets you ensure that it remains taught in windy conditions and stays that way all night long. In addition, there are also situations where you just want to hang a tarp and not the entire hammock, such as when you want to cook in the rain.

If you already own a Hennessy tarp you know that it has an asymmetric shape and that it only has four tie-outs making it difficult to use for any other purpose than as a hammock cover. In contrast, the JRB 8×8 tarp is square and has ten tie-outs, making it a much more versatile shelter component in non-hammock situations. It also has a seam running from corner to corner that you should seal, unlike the Hennessy tarp which is seamless.

When you hang the JRB tarp, you need to add guylines to four of the tie-outs; two attach to the trees and two that you stake into the ground. Position the two tree guylines under the Hennessy tree huggers to limit the amount of ventilation between the Hammock and the tarp which will be exaggerated because the two components are now independent of one another. Having too much of a gap will result in a greater amount of ventilation which can be quite chilling in colder weather.

The cost of the JRB 8×8 foot square tarp is $89.95.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.


  1. Still reviewing the tarp option and appreciate the info you have here. Debating on either the JRB 8×10 nyon tarp or the Tera Rosa Tyvek tarp, mainly because of costa t this time. Which one so you feel will hold up better in NH weather for 3 season backpacking?

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