Guide to Tent Footprints
A tent footprint, which is also known as a ground cloth or a groundsheet, is a waterproof sheet that is placed between the floor of your tent and the ground of the surrounding forest. They are intended to avoid wear and tear on the tent’s floor – a tent footprint will prevent (or at least mitigate) any scratching or punctures produced by sand, sticks, or stones when the tent is pitched on rough, gritty terrain. These items can also assist you with a variety of additional tasks like as preventing water from leaking into your tent, cushioning the ground, insulating the floor, and keeping your tent clean.
Let’s get started.
Why do I need a Tent Footprint?
Tents should be protected for the rest of their lives. It goes without saying that the most important and most common function of a footprint is to protect the floor of your tent. It is likely that the floor of your tent will be subjected to a great deal of damage – imagine your body weight tossing and turning in your sleep as you grind the floor of your tent into rocky ground. You can easily wear out and damage the cloth as a result of this operation. If the tent floor is not properly covered, it will decay much more quickly than the rest of the tent.
- Tents are costly, and I want to make the most of mine by extending its lifespan as much as possible.
- The addition of a second layer of a footprint will prevent rain from seeping into your tent and soaking your sleeping bag, clothing, and other personal belongings in the process.
- Your groundcloth will absorb a significant amount of the dirt and moisture, avoiding the growth of mold and mildew in your tent.
- Cushioning and insulation are included.
- Your body, on the other hand, will absorb and feel whatever temperature the earth is at the time.
- A tent footprint, on the other hand, may give a smidgeon of additional insulation from the ground as well as a smidgeon of additional cushion, which is very useful if you are trying to make it lightweight and reduce every ounce.
- It might be challenging to locate a suitable tent location.
- Because of the small size of a footprint, it is quite simple to lay it out on the ground and determine the size of your property.
Occasionally, before setting up, I will lay down on top of the footprint to ensure that the ground is flat and level. Painter’s Tarp (on the left) and Tyvek (on the right) (right)
What are the best Footprints?
Most of the nicest tent footprints, particularly for lightweight trekking or hiking, are made by the camper himself. Those manufacturer alternatives that were expressly developed for your tent, in my (modest) view, are subpar. Because they come with clips and buckles to attach to your tent, they tend to be on the pricier side (some are more than $50), and because they are excessively hefty because of this. We’re back to the do-it-yourself possibilities. The majority of ultralight backpackers rely on one of these.
- Sheets of Painter’s Tarp (or polycro). My personal fave. I use a 2 mm thick sheet, which is a terrific option because it just weights a few grams and is small enough to put in my pocket while still being effective. “Tyvek” is available for $2 at your local hardware shop. A brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that are frequently used to protect structures while they are being built. Among the other alternatives are “shrink” polymers, which are used to seal windows and doors during the winter months.
Don’t be concerned about attachments; the weight of your body will keep it firmly in place beneath the surface. You can place your gear (or a hefty rock) on top of your tent if you are in strong winds and are concerned that it will be blown away if you are not inside the tent.
How to Make Your Own DIY Footprint
Obtaining the Materials: Tent footprint material, a sharpie marker, and scissors Step 1: Go to a hardware shop or look online for the materials you want to use. Just make sure it’s larger than the size of the floor of your tent before starting. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and 3 feet broad. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to protect your belongings. The third step is to use a sharpie to trace the floor of your tent.
- Caution should be exercised to avoid getting sharpie on the tent!
- The goal here is to have your tent footprint be somewhat smaller than the floor of your actual tent on all sides.
- Stoveless BackpackingMeals
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It: Yes, and how to make your own for free
If you’ve already read our in-depth guide to buying a tent and discovered your ideal backcountry structure, you might be wondering if you’ll need to purchase a tent footprint to go with your new construction. Alternatively, if your tent comes with a sleeping bag, should you really take it on your next trip? When it comes to backpacking and camping, tent footprints, sometimes known as groundsheets, may be a source of friction for both groups. Is a tent footprint, on the other hand, worthwhile?
The straightforward answer is yes.
Find out everything you need to know about footprints and groundsheets by continuing reading this article.
Here’s what we are going to cover:
- What is a tent footprint, and how do you make one? What is the purpose of a tent footprint
- What is the purpose of using a tent footprint? What is the composition of tent footprints
- Is it really worth it to leave a footprint? Tent Footprints Made at Home
What Is A Tent Footprint?
As the name implies, a footprint (sometimes called a groundsheet) is an extremely lightweight sheet that is roughly the shape of your tent floor’s outline and that is placed beneath your tent to act as a barrier or additional layer between the ground and your tent floor. These are frequently supplemental or optional pieces of equipment. Groundsheets, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly common among tent manufacturers, who are included them in the price of their tents.
Footprints are frequently made of the same material as your tent, but with a thicker thread—a thicker thread is referred to as a higher ‘denier.’ More on this in a moment.
What Is A Tent Footprint Used For?
Despite the fact that it is constructed of exceptionally durable nylon or polyester, the floor of your tent is subjected to a great deal of wear and tear. Some terrain can cause your tent floor to wear out considerably more quickly than others. Exposed granite and sandstone can act as sandpaper on the bottom of your tent, potentially causing thin areas or holes to appear quite rapidly on the ground surface of your tent. Minor, sharp pebbles and twigs can also create small punctures in your floor, especially if they are close together.
Even yet, if holes begin to form in your tent, the effectiveness of the tent to keep you dry and warm gets more weakened over time.
A footprint serves as a protective covering against these abrasions and as a barrier between you and the ground, which can be chilly or damp at times.
Why Use A Tent Footprint?
Tent footprints have the potential to significantly increase the useful life of your tent. When you consider that a hiking tent might cost $300 or more, a footprint that costs $40-50 or less could well be worth it. In the event that you let your tent floor to become worn, you may as well be employing an arp shelter or a bivy bag. Unlike your tent, when the footprint wears out, it can be simply changed at a far cheaper cost than the tent itself.
Footprints Are Useful For Other Things Too
Tent footprints are also helpful for a variety of other applications, which is an added plus. As we explained in previous post, tent footprints, as well as old rain-flies, may be utilized in a variety of practical ways, including the following ones:
- The use of groundsheets for bivying or when you just don’t want to bother with putting up the tent
- They make wonderful tarps for sorting equipment. Tarps made of perfectrope for the crag
- Picnic blankets that are a good size
- Rain protection that is above and beyond
- Additional heat insulating layer/windshield is recommended. Can be used to repair various items of clothing and equipment, such as tents and backpacks.
What are tent footprints made of?
It is possible that your tent will arrive with a footprint, however most tents can be purchased with a fitted footprint. Footprints will be made of either nylon or polyester, similar to how tents are manufactured. In a recent post, we discussed the differences in the characteristics of nylon and polyester. Generally speaking, nylon is a stronger textile that is also more elastic and less water resistant than polyester. Polyester is less elastic than nylon, but it is significantly more water resistant and resistant to UV damage than nylon.
When you consider that the objective of your footprints is to protect you and your tent from moisture and abrasion, most people would agree that a polyester groundsheet is the superior choice (disregarding weight).
The ‘denier’ of the fabric will be listed in the product specs for footprints, much as it is with tent material (for double-walled tents, the denier is not as critical because the inner tent is protected by the rain fly). Denier is a unit of measure for the thickness of a thread. As an example, consider denier to be a “burliness” element in the instance of tent footprints.
The greater the denier, the more hefty the product will be in terms of weight. In order to serve as a barrier, your imprints should be made of a higher denier fabric wherever possible (assuming all other factors are equivalent).
Denier By The Numbers
For example, the universal footprint for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX costs $45 when purchased from Backcountry.com. It is made of 68-denier polyester and weighs 7.0 ounces. The Nemo Hornet has a footprint that weighs 6.9 ounces and is made of 75-denier nylon. It costs $49. As a point of reference, the floor material of the Hubba Hubba is 30-denier nylon, while the top micromesh is 15-denier nylon. Nylon is much lighter than polyester. Because it is made of a higher denier material, the Nemofootprint weighs less than the Hubba Hubba footprint in terms of total weight.
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It?
All of this is in order to answer the question, “Is leaving a footprint worth it?” A tent footprint is absolutely worth the investment, especially considering how lightweight, inexpensive, and versatile they are. Let’s imagine you’ve come to a conclusion and are now looking for the ideal footprint for your tent on the internet. There is one more thing to think about, and it could end up saving you a significant amount of money.
DIY Tent Footprints
Tent footprints are quite basic objects, despite the fact that they are extremely vital. What exactly are they in the first place? You should put a sheet under your tent. Is it really necessary to spend $40-50 bucks on anything like that? The answer to this question is a resounding no. The manufacturer-issued footprints may be replaced with a few other options that will perform better, are more adaptable, and will save you money as well. Before we get into the DIY possibilities, it’s crucial to understand how to measure the footprint of your DIY tent.
How Big Should A Tent Footprint Be?
It is recommended that the footprints be cut to be around 1-2 inches smaller than the actual outline of your tent on all sides. The rationale behind this is a bit puzzling, to be honest. It is possible that a footprint that extends beyond the tent’s edge will operate as a moisture trap. In the event of a downpour, this will allow water to pool and flow between the footprint and the bottom of your tent’s floor. It is possible that more water will enter the main tent as a result of this than if the footprint had not been present in the first place.
3 Materials For A Solid DIY Footprint
A basic transparent plastic painters tarp, which is the heaviest choice here, can be obtained at any hardware shop for a few dollars. The amount of material you receive will be plenty for your needs, and you may cut it to your specifications. Pros:
- It is inexpensive
- You may choose the size. Completely impervious to water
- Big tents
- When weight is not a consideration
- Car camping or walk-in campsites
Polycro, which is available from Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs, is the lightest of the ultra-light polymers. Polycro is transparent, and it appears just like a plastic painter’s tarp, only it’s wayyy thinner. Its high strength to weight ratio means that, despite being a thin layer, Polycro is exceptionally durable, puncture and abrasion resistant, in addition to being water and abrasion resistant.
A normal sheet of polycro, measuring 96″ by 48″, weighs just 1.6 ounces, which is nearly indistinguishable (45 grams). Pros:
You know that white paper-like material that is used to cover houses while they are being built? Because it’s practically unbreakable, it’s inexpensive, it’s waterproof, and it’s also somewhat lightweight. Tyvek has a high burliness factor, which means it is difficult to tear. It is far more puncture resistant when compared to the other choices. Tyvek is also impervious to water. However, because it is light and compact, you can simply roll up and cinch it in the top of your pack or one of the exterior straps when not in use.
Others will cut the piece to your preferred length if you ask them nicely.
In comparison to Polycro, a piece of Tyvek measuring 84″ × 84″ weights 6.5 ounces (184 grams).
- Every circumstance involving hiking or camping in which weight is not a consideration
- What Is the Footprint of a Tent? A footprint is a ground sheet that is molded to the contour of your tent and serves as a barrier between the floor of your tent and the ground. What Is the Purpose of a Footprint? A footprint is a piece of rubber that protects the bottom of your tent from damage. When placed between your tent and the ground, it works as a barrier, keeping moisture and cold from getting into your tent. Is It Really Necessary To Bring A Tent When Backpacking? When hiking, you do not need to leave a trace. A footprint, on the other hand, will extend the life of your tent by preventing moisture and cold from entering the tent and is very light in comparison. Footprints may be used for a variety of additional functions while hiking or camping, such as a rain tarp, a gear sorting station, wind protection, a picnic blanket, and other things. In Your Opinion, What Is The Best DIY Tent Footprint? Tyvek and Polycro are two inexpensive and lightweight materials that may be used to create your own imprints. Compared to Tyvek, Polycro is considerably lighter and less durable, but it is also more costly and more delicate. Tyvek is more durable and less expensive. Both variants are water-resistant.
Is it really worth it to have a tent footprint? We believe this to be true.
Make a Tent Footprint
I had recently purchased a new ultralight tent, and after seeing how pricey footprints were, I set out to create my own set of feet. A footprint is an essential piece of ground protection for extending the life of your tent for as long as possible, especially for ultralight tents, which are notoriously delicate due to their thin weight. Tyvek was chosen because it is lightweight, waterproof, and long-lasting. What’s amazing about producing your own footprint is that it costs half as much as buying one, is quite simple, and can be customized whatever you like.
Are you ready to create your own?
Step 1: What You Need
Tyvek sheet – I was fortunate in that my employer provided a roll, although those are pricey. This website offers reasonably priced sheets, and I’m confident that there are additional fantastic discounts to be found on the internet. Large eyelets/grommets, as well as a tool for setting them The fabric is a little piece of canvas. a pair of scissors and a hammer
Step 2: Prototyping
First, I experimented with several grommet configurations to determine which would be the most durable. The Tyvek ripped immediately after I applied it, so I attempted strengthening the seam with felt instead. Fortunately, this worked better, but the item was still too delicate without the line of stitching. Last but not least, I tried a piece of lighter fabric with a sewing thread wrapped around it, which seemed to hold up well enough and was less bulky than the felt.
Step 3: Lay It Out
Prepare your tyvek by rolling it out and marking the locations of the poles.
Important! Because merely laying out the tent and assuming where the corners will be is not accurate enough, you should actually set up your poles.
Step 4: Add Grommets
Prepare the grommet by cutting off small pieces of fabric reinforcement and a hole through both layers of fabric that will accommodate it. Insert it into the frame, insert the backing on the opposite side, then hammer it into place using the provided tool. Please keep in mind that I did a bad job on this. I didn’t have the proper backing or tool for these, and while I was successful in fastening the grommets, the results weren’t really attractive. Take a look here for a more detailed instruction on how to add them with far better results.
Step 5: Add Vestibule Wings
Following that, I built wings to either side of the footprint to protect bags and gear stored beneath each vestibule, because my tent is so small that two bags would not fit inside and the most of my goods will be stored outside the tent. I made educated guesses about the form, knowing that it would be simple to trim afterwards, and then stitched both sides to the middle piece together. When not in use, they may be tucked away beneath the tent.
Step 6: Done!
That’s all there is to it! Get out there and take pleasure in your newfound fame!
Be the First to Share
Being someone who is constantly on the lookout for their next experience might be a little daunting. Not many individuals are comfortable with this type of do-it-yourself mentality, yet it is required. But here’s the secret to being successful at DIY projects: it’s lot easier than it appears, and as long as you use common sense, you can be a DIY genius as well. There is no greater example of this than constructing your own DIY tent footprint out of scrap wood. Campering on a regular basis demands some level of DIY ability as well as a sense of frugality on your part.
What’s a Tent Footprint?
Essentially, a tent footprint is a layer of fabric that is used to protect the foundation of your tent from any wear and strain that it may sustain. For more information, see also:Tent Footprint vs Tarp: Which Groundsheet is Best for Protecting Your Tent? It’s a good idea to utilize your tent footprint every time you go camping, but it’s especially beneficial for campers who choose to stay in rocky and sandy terrain or in areas prone to severe weather conditions. A tent footprint is generally made of the same material as the tent’s foundation, which helps to keep the weight of the tent down.
What’s the Cost of a Tent Footprint?
If you’re purchasing a high-end, pricey tent, it may already have a tent footprint to preserve your significant investment. Nevertheless, you’ll almost always have to purchase your own tent footprint, which may be rather pricey depending on where you live. When it comes to purchasing a tent footprint, there are basically two alternatives. In the first case, you may purchase a tent footprint that is precisely tailored to your tent; in the second case, you can purchase a generic tent footprint.
- However, if you already know the dimensions of your tent and are prepared to take a chance on it, a generic tent footprint can be a better purchase for you than a custom tent footprint.
- That much money for a protective sheet seems a touch excessive, and you’d be correct in thinking so.
- It is not absolutely necessary in the sense that you will not live if you do not have it, but it is necessary for individuals who want to maintain their tents in excellent shape for many years to come.
- However, most campers are faced with a major dilemma: The foundation of your tent should not be torn, but you also do not want to spend a lot of money on a tent footprint to prevent this from happening.
- When purchasing a tent footprint, it is possible to save anywhere from $20 to $100 or more by making your own groundsheet from scratch.
Check out our previous article on how to construct your own DIY tent footprint for step-by-step directions on how to do so. The selection of the appropriate groundsheet material is the most critical of all the components you’ll need to complete your project.
Most Popular Groundsheet Fabrics
There aren’t many other weapons in an outdoorsman’s arsenal that are as adaptable and helpful as a tarp, which is why it’s important to have one on hand. Using a tarp as a DIY groundsheet is one of the most popular options because it’s reasonably light, waterproof, and robust enough to resist practically everything the wild outdoors can throw at it. A tarp is also a very inexpensive option, especially if you’re using it as a groundsheet for a smaller tent. You should expect to pay between $10 and $20 for your tarp, depending on the size of your tent.
The window insulator is constructed of polyolefin, and it is the lightest groundsheet choice available, which is useful for campers who trek to their campsites in the morning. For those who need a groundsheet that can survive terrain just while they are sleeping, this may be the ideal option for them, as it is designed specifically for this purpose. In contrast, window insulators are not the greatest choice for individuals who intend to spend significant time in their tent during the daytime hours.
Using your window insulator groundsheet on a hot summer weekend might not be the best idea, so think again before doing so.
Painter’s Drop Cloth
Even while painter’s drop cloths are extremely durable, the cost of that durability is significant. Drop cloths are available in a variety of thicknesses, but we recommend that you get one that is no thicker than 3 millimeters in thickness. Anything stronger than that will be more durable, but it will also be significantly heavier and more difficult to fold than the previous model. Drop cloths are quite inexpensive, however they are often supplied in bigger amounts than are necessary. This could really be a bonus since, like a tarp, a drop cloth can be used for a variety of purposes and might be a useful tool for some of your other camping needs.
A house wrap is a material that is used to wrap a home during construction in order to prevent it from being harmed by weather and other environmental conditions. It’s also become a very popular material for making a DIY groundsheet, which can be found on several websites. Tyvek is the most prevalent form of house wrap that is used for outdoor activities such as camping. The popularity of using a house wrap as a tent groundsheet can be attributed to the fact that it strikes the perfect balance between being somewhat durable, lightweight, and inexpensive to purchase.
House wraps and tarps are the two most effective options for a groundsheet, however we have a tendency to favor tarps over house wraps simply because they are more widely accessible.
If you’re able to get your hands on some house wrap, it could be a good idea to do so rather than using newspaper.
Don’t Buy a Used Groundsheet
Some camping equipment may be purchased second-hand, however we highly advise against purchasing a used groundsheet. Even though the groundsheet appears to be in good condition with no tears, the groundsheet has been used, and you have no way of knowing what happened to it. For all you know, you may be purchasing a used groundsheet that appears to be in excellent condition until you arrive at your campground and discover that there is a little tear that is going to become a major hole. It’s also possible that the fabric of your second-hand groundsheet is fraying, and that after a couple of more travels, the groundsheet will be in bad condition.
Build Your Tent Footprint
After you’ve decided on the groundsheet fabric you’ll be using, it’s finally time to go to work on creating your own tent footprint. Nervous? Don’t be like that! As we’ve previously stated, the process is far less complicated than it appears.
Step 1: Buy Your Tools/Materials
You’ve already purchased your selected groundsheet fabric, but that isn’t the only item you’ll want for the project. In addition, you’ll need to purchase a grommet kit. Generally speaking, a grommet kit is a box that contains circular metal or rubber bits that are used to assist strengthen the holes that will be made in your cloth throughout the sewing process.
Step 2: Measure it All Out
Even if you believe you know how broad and long your tent is, it is still a good idea to measure it out just to be on the safer side. Take care to ensure that your measurements are accurate, and don’t be afraid to measure your tent numerous times. Once you’ve determined the length and width of your tent, cut out a piece of cloth that is three inches wider and three inches longer than your tent. For example, if you measure your tent and find that it is 13X13, you will want to cut your cloth such that it is 16X16 as a rule of thumb.
Step 3: Cut the Holes In Your Groundsheet
Following the cutting of your fabric to the suitable size, it’s time to cut the holes in your material to fit your pattern. After you’re working with a groundsheet, you’ll need to drill holes into it so that you can stake in your footprint when you’re done. In the event that you do not stake in your groundsheet, you face the chance of it shifting about during the night, which means it will not be able to cover the base of your tent as effectively. The holes you cut into your fabric must be the same size as the grommet, so make sure you trace the size of the grommet’s hole before you begin cutting.
Step 4: Put in your Grommets
Grommets should be inserted after you have cut holes in each of the four corners of the groundsheet.
It is important to note that some grommets have different installation instructions than others, so make sure to follow the directions that came with your package properly. And with that, you’ve created your very own DIY shelter footprint. Congratulations!
How Long Will my DIY Footprint Last?
If you take care of it properly, it might last for decades. It all depends on the type of cloth you choose to use to create your DIY groundsheet, of course. However, a window insulator groundsheet may only last you a season, but a painter’s drop cloth, tarp, or house wrap tent footprint may last you for years to come. However, it’s possible that you’ll only need your groundsheet for one or two camping trips this summer. If this is the case, then creating a window insulator groundsheet is the most cost-effective and finest choice available to you.
Example: You may connect a piece of material to the front of your tent footprint that will allow you to store items such as clothing or shoes just outside of your tent.
How to Keep Your DIY Footprint in Great Shape
Outside of carefully storing your tent footprint, there are a few other things you should do to maintain its condition. If you intended to create your own groundsheet in order to save money, you’ll want to make sure that you take good care of it as well as you possibly can. Without proper care, your DIY groundsheet will not survive long, and you will most likely conclude that DIY projects are not for you, leading to the foolish expenditure of money on an expensive tent footprint. Spending a little more time and effort may pay off in the long run, especially when it comes to saving money.
Dry out Your Groundsheet
It’s more than probable that your DIY shelter footprint will become soaked when you go camping, whether as a result of moisture or a downpour. While your sheet is still damp, don’t just fold it up and put it away. By hanging your groundsheet and allowing it to dry, you may avoid the possibility of mildew developing. Make careful to dry it indoors so that your sheet isn’t exposed to harsh weather conditions outside.
Clean off the Debris
Although it’s unlikely that your DIY footprint will be harmed if you leave some dirt on it in between camping excursions, cleaning it after each trip is still a good idea. All it takes is a single twig, stick, or sharp rock to cause a small rip in your sheet’s fabric. As soon as that occurs, it is just a matter of time before the rip transforms into an unsalvageable hole. Make sure to brush away any debris that may have accumulated on your groundsheet while you were camping in order to avoid any potential danger.
How to Properly Store Your Groundsheet
If you opt to construct a groundsheet out of house wrap or window insulator, you will most likely be able to get away with rolling your groundsheet inside your tent as you do with your tent. While a more sturdy material such as a tarp or painter’s drop cloth may be more durable, it may have hickness concerns, which means it will not be as compact as the other alternatives available.
However, this does not imply that certain groundsheets are difficult to fold; rather, it just indicates that it all depends on how you fold them.
How to Properly Fold a Thick Groundsheet
Maintain the flatness of the sheet and wipe away any dirt, debris, or water that may have accumulated on it.
Step 2: Fold the Edges Inward
Observe your sheet. Do you see the two sides that are shorter than the other two sides? Fold in those short edges until they touch the middle of your sheet by grabbing them by the short edges. Your sheet should appear to be half its original size.
Step 3: Fold Those Same Edges Again
Essentially, step 2 should be repeated. This time, your sheet should appear to be a fourth the size of its original dimensions.
Step 4: Fold Half of Your Sheet Over the Other Half
Take use of this opportunity to check that your sheet is properly folded. If at this stage it appears like the corners of the sheet are protruding, repeat steps 1-4 until the sheet is lovely and clean and no corners protrude.
Step 5: Fold Your Sheet Vertically
Grab the two short sides of the sheet and fold them in half vertically to form a triangle.
Step 6: Fold Your Sheet Vertically Again
Step 5 should be repeated.
Step 7: Fold One Half of the Sheet Over The Other
Once you’ve completed this process, your sheet should be tiny, compact, and ready to pack! There may still be a tiny bulk to the sheet, and the weight of the sheet hasn’t increased or decreased significantly. Nonetheless, your sheet has been compressed, making it easier to carry in your bag or store in your garage in the future.
Final Verdict: Is a Tent Footprint Right For You?
As long as the cost of a tailored, manufactured tent footprint remains high, the most cost-effective option is to construct your own tent footprint. In the case of novice campers, a self-made tent footprint is the most appropriate option. As a newbie camper, the last thing you’d want to do is spend a lot of money on equipment that you might not use after a few months. A DIY footprint allows you to keep your costs down while also ensuring that you have all of the equipment you need to have a pleasant and comfortable camping vacation.
- The more frequently you camp, the more expensive the gear and equipment that a seasoned outdoorsman appears to purchase.
- However, whether you want to purchase a tent footprint or create your own is entirely up to you.
- Please don’t allow your tent be damaged by failing to put in the necessary effort and care.
- Source of the featured image:
How to Make Your Own Tyvek Tent Footprint
What an amazing experience it would be to trek from Georgia to Maine with just handmade or handcrafted gear. Alternatively, how luxurious would it be to travel north with the best equipment available, which does everything but hiking for you? The difference between the two is that one is easier on the pocketbook while the other is wreaking havoc on it. I’m getting close to having a complete set of gear, though I’m constantly on the lookout for gear on Facebook pages that are selling it, at REI garage sales, or anywhere else that might have that one piece of gear that will make all the difference on my next grand adventure without costing an arm and a leg.
I finally decided on the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 as my final choice.
The footprint is located beneath the tent’s floor, limiting direct contact with the surrounding ground surface.
The only catch is that it must be purchased separately from the tent, which already has a heavy price tag attached to it. As a result, I came up with the idea of creating my own ground tarp/footprint. And here’s how we accomplished it (with the assistance of my father, who was quite helpful!).
The material Tyvek is exceptionally resilient and lightweight, making it a good choice for construction projects. I am fortunate to have a close buddy that works in the construction industry, and he was kind enough to provide me with an 810 sheet of plywood. Thank you, Mr. Ket and Mr. Ket, for your assistance. –A hammer and scissors are included with the gromet package.
When measuring for a ground tarp, precision is essential because if the tarp extends past the tent, water will accumulate on top of the tarp and cause it to leak. If this happens, you will essentially be sleeping in a puddle of sewage. The only thing that will stand between you and the pool of water will be the flimsy tent floor. Following that, we put up the tent by laying out the Tyvek. After that, we marked the four corners before putting the grommets in place. Before trimming the Tyvek, we needed to make sure that the grommets were in the proper location before trimming the fabric.
We may fold the Tyvek over the component in this manner, resulting in a double layer where the grommet is to be placed.
The grommets were then installed as the next step. This is a rather straightforward procedure. Using the cutting tool and a hammer, first punch a hole in the Tyvek with the intention of sewing it shut. You must ensure that you have something strong below the Tyvek before proceeding. Placing the cutting tool over the marking and pounding it with a hammer is all it takes. Placing the grommet (with the post facing up) on the base piece and inserting it through the hole you made in the Tyvek is the final step.
Repeat this process for each grommet and each Tyvek piece.
That’s all there is to it.
Set It Up
It’s time to put up the tent and cross our fingers that the measurements were accurate. If this is the case, the tent poles will easily slide into the grommets. Our dimensions were exactly correct.
Trace and Trim
It’s time to draw a line across the tent and cut it down.
There you have it. I may do a little more cutting down the road, but for the time being, I am pleased with how it looks. In all, the grommet set was $7.50, which is a reasonable price. Although I was given the Tyvek (again, thank you, Sauce), it is still a rather affordable material. Also, thank you to Pops for his assistance and Ma for the beautiful photographs. The official footprint is available for purchase for around $70, depending on where you acquire it. Additionally, the icing on the cake.
And it’s just as easy to transport.
It’s all really straightforward.
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Ultralight Backpacking Tent Footprint Substitutions
The weight of your tent’s footprint is measured in kilograms. The weight of this one is 7.4 ounces. More than half of all backpackers utilize a manufacturer’s tent footprint inside their tent when going on overnight hiking journeys in the wilderness. These precautions are taken in order to protect the bottom of their tents from sharp pebbles and sand that can shred or puncture their tent floors, to increase the water resistance of their tent floors, or to keep their tent clean and mud free, which makes it simpler to pack.
When camping in abrasive sand, mountain campsites with sharp rocks, ancient tents with holes in their flooring, or even modern tents with impossibly thin 7 denier polyester or nylon floors, an additional layer of protection under the tent floor may be quite advantageous.
Tent Footprints Are Heavy
Manufacturer tent footprints, on the other hand, are heavy and costly. What if you could provide the same degree of protection while utilizing a groundsheet that is far less in weight and costs significantly less? The two most common ultralight groundsheets are manufactured from an industrial plastic called Polycryo (which is marketed by Gossamer Gear) and Tyvek, both of which are created from recycled materials. The use of window wrap plastic insulation as a tent footprint alternative is quite effective.
Window Wrap is the plastic covering that you place over your windows and blow dry to insulate them during the cold winter months. It is possible that a single piece will survive a season or longer, depending on how frequently it is used. One of the most popular products is Duck Brand Window/Door Shrink Film ($4.88), while another is Frost King Stretch Window Kit ($7.70). A number of small-scale producers also offer it under the brand name Polycryo, although at a hefty premium. It’s the same stuff as before.
Tyvek HomeWrap is heavier than Window Wrap, but it is also more durable.
Building with Tyvek HomeWrap is a great way to keep drafts out of your home by creating a vapor barrier between your internal walls and the exterior siding of your house. It is lightweight, waterproof, and puncture resistant, which is why it is commonly used as an ultralight groundsheet due to its characteristics. The fact that it is so durable means that it will survive for several seasons. On eBay, you can get Tyvek HomeWrap by the foot, which is cut from a 9′ roll. Tarptent.com also sells Tyvek groundsheets that are specifically scaled for the tents they sell, which range in price from $12 to $15.
The weight of a Tyvek groundsheet for a one-person tent ranges from 2 ounces to 5 ounces, and for a two-person tent, the weight ranges from 5 to 8 ounces.
While utilizing a Tyvek groundsheet rather than a manufacturer’s footprint is likely to result in some weight savings, the primary advantage of adopting a Tyvek groundsheet over a manufacturer’s footprint is the cheaper cost.
If the weather circumstances necessitate the use of a tent footprint, but you want to save money by not purchasing one, or you want to minimize the weight of your stuff in your backpack, try constructing an ultralight groundsheet out of window wrap insulation or Tyvek instead. It’s worth noting that some of the lightest and least priced camping equipment isn’t actually backpacking equipment. NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: If you’re considering about purchasing gear that we’ve reviewed or recommended on SectionHiker, you may contribute to our fundraising efforts.
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DIY Tyvek Tent Footprint
As you may be aware, we have a Big Agnes, Fly Creek UL2 tent that we use for nearly every hiking trip we go on. It’s a fantastic tent, and we adore it, however I am concerned about the long-term longevity of the tent due to the lightweight materials utilized in its construction. As an aside, it has been pitched in a variety of less-than-ideal locations, including among jagged branches and rocks, and has shown to be completely reliable and durable. However, for such an expensive piece of equipment, I would like the extra reassurance of a footprint.
- Unluckily, theBig Agnes footprintis pretty expensive for such a basic piece of material, and I had heard that there were decent Do it Yourself (DIY) solutions, so I began investigating them.
- Cuben Fiber is another excellent choice that is more stronger and lighter than carbon fiber, but it is significantly more costly.
- For around $20 and an hour or two of your time, I believed I had nothing to lose.
- When utilizing this template, the advantages include triple-reinforcement of the corners, the use of grommets to thread the tent poles through if necessary, and the use of seam tape.
- Step 1: Make a game plan.
- I based my footprint on the dimensions of our tent, which are 86 in x 52 in – 42 in, with a taper toward the bottom of the footprint.
- Using my calculations, I determined that I would require at least two pieces measuring 92 x 58 inches, or that I would need to glue two sections together.
- An additional layer of cable would be looped around the grommets and attached to the tent stakes, where the main body of the tent would be attached to finish the job.
It was also decided that the seams would be folded in 1 inch all the way around the perimeter to guarantee that the footprint was somewhat smaller than the tent and that the edges would be more sturdy. Step 2: Obtain the necessary materials The materials I utilized were as follows:
- Siding scraps may be obtained for free if you know someone who works on residential siding, or huge rolls of siding can be purchased at Home Depot.
- Nylon Cord (I had some lying around)
- Dap Contact Cement ($2 from Ace Hardware)
- 1x grommet kit (Amazon: $10)
I used the following tools: Step 3: Take measurements and draw diagrams Once you have your plan and supplies in hand, it is time to begin measuring the areas where you will be cutting. Place the Tyvek sheet in a location where you will have enough space to work around it and draw the contour of the footprint on the sheet. To make this easier, it is helpful to have an extra set of hands: someone to hold the ruler/tape measure and someone another to draw lines and ensure that the points are all square.
- Take note of the 3in of additional material that has been added around the corners to provide reinforcement.
- The lines with dashes through them were for measurement purposes only, and they were not utilized to cut around obstacles or corners.
- Step 4: Remove the Footprint from the Surface To do this, just cut around the shape you produced, and assuming you measured correctly, your tent’s footprint should be the perfect size.
- I used the Dap Contact Cement to tape the seams of the footprint in order to make the edges of the footprint stronger.
- Apply the cement to the edges once they have been folded over.
- When you’re finished, you’ll have glue all around the footprint’s perimeter, with the edges prepared to be folded and cemented into place.
- If you glue all of the edges and corners together in this fashion, you will have a very robust footprint.
Apply the grommets now that the edges have been taped.
I put grommets in the four corners of the tent and in the center of the tent at the back for the tent pole.
Everything has been completed!
It may appear that the tent is somewhat larger than the tent in the photographs, however when the tent is staked out, the tent is approximately one inch wider.
It fits like a glove and appears to be of high quality, so it should endure for a long time.
We want to carry this imprint with us wherever we go with the tent in order to help protect it and maybe extend its life as much as possible.
The footprint was little more than 3 ounces, which helped to keep the overall weight of the tent under 3 pounds!
I would guess that it spent around 20-30 days out on the path, where it was severely abused with no attempts made to coddle or care for it.
It has withstood wood, rock, sand, and mud, and has done it with grace and dignity.
The tent footprint has also been used for other purposes such as sitting on, cooking on, and being stomped on in addition to its primary function as a tent footprint. Overall, we are quite pleased with this project and expect to continue to utilize Tyvek for similar applications in the future.
DIY Tent Footprint: Step-by-Step Guide How to Make Your Own
Tents may be rather costly nowadays, with a camping tent costing many hundreds of dollars on the high end of the spectrum. Furthermore, because you are often out in the environment while camping, it is possible that your new tent will come into contact with some pebbles, branches, or other materials that will not be compatible with your new tent. It is possible to get an insurance coverage for your tent, known as a footprint insurance policy. All the main camping businesses are happy to offer you one that is the same size, shape, and color as your tent if you let them know what you want.
Fortunately, there are very inexpensive ways to create your own DIY tent footprint, saving you a lot of money.
Most likely, you will be able to save some money on supplies, but keep in mind that you will also be investing a significant amount of time in the construction.
It’s certain that some of you will be lured to creating your own simply for the sake of creating one.
Why use a footprint?
The primary purpose for this is to keep the tent’s floor from becoming wet. A sharp rock growing under your tent in the middle of the night, as it always seems to do, would have to pass through your footprint before it could be used as a weapon. Due to the fact that this is a distinct piece of cloth, it is far quicker to change out the footprint than it is to replace out the floor of the tent, or even the entire tent. Aside from that, the footprint adds another layer of protection to your tent’s floor, which can help prevent moisture from the ground from seeping into the structure.
What materials to use?
When you have determined that you will be creating your own solution, the first item to consider is the type of material you will be working with. Considering that this is a layer of defense, you’ll want something that is both robust and long-lasting. It would be beneficial if the material could also prevent a little quantity of water from seeping through the bottom of your tent. Be mindful that you will also need to transport the steel plate along with your tent if you are rushing off to acquire one.
- While the material should be lightweight and portable, a stronger one that doesn’t fold down as quickly would be a good choice for automobile camping because of its durability.
- There are a plethora of materials available nowadays that can provide the desired characteristics.
- A heavy-duty tarp is an inexpensive and readily available choice.
- If you happen to be in your local hardware shop, a painter’s drop cloth would be a good alternative.
- A canvas bag will obviously add weight to your load, but it should last you for a very long time.
- This may work, however it may be difficult to find a piece that is wide enough to accommodate your tent.
- Tyvek is a material that many do-it-yourselfers choose since it is lightweight while being quite durable.
The most significant disadvantage of taking this path is that it can be rather pricey. Using your creativity, there are several more possibilities; the floor of an old tent, for example, may be used.
Method 1: Quick and Easy
If you find yourself on the verge of embarking on a camping vacation and realize that your footprint has been lost or damaged, do not be alarmed; there is hope. It is not necessary for you to place an order and cancel your vacation. To make a tent footprint, simply follow these three simple steps. It is possible that this is not the most beautiful or elegant solution, but it will suffice for the time being. Purchase a tarp that is medium to heavy duty. Visit a hardware shop or a garden supply store for inspiration.
- When erecting your tent, start by putting this down on the ground.
- Tuck the edges of your tent into the corners.
- If it occurs, you may have successfully constructed a lake on which to camp.
- It is compatible with any tent (so long as your tarp is big enough).
- As a drawback, it can be a heavier alternative, and it wouldn’t compress down much smaller than the size that you selected while you were in the store.
- Hopefully, you’ll be able to receive some assistance with packing.
How big should it be?
There are a few additional considerations to ask yourself if you want to make something a little more purpose-built than a sheet of cloth to put beneath your tent. What size do you think this object should be? There are at least two schools of thought on this issue, but if you spend enough time researching the subject, you will surely come across a few other points of view. One school of thought holds that a tent’s footprint should be exactly the same size as the tent itself. Using this method, you will be able to keep the whole floor of your tent covered and safe.
- They will advise you to construct your ground cloth a few inches smaller than the real tent size, according to the other group.
- Additionally, this prevents you from tripping over the ground material as you move around the tent inside.
- Extra material will wind up accumulating between the footprint and the tent, causing it to flood.
- This method is not the best for packing up a tent since you will be freezing.
- Several of the tents currently available on the market have the rainfly spread out over the entryway to create a vestibule space.
If you have a tent, this is an excellent place to take off your boots and even keep them while you are inside. The decision on whether or not to include a ground cover in your tent footprint is up to you if you are designing your own.
Method 2: More Crafting
This strategy will necessitate the expenditure of additional time and energy. In the long term, you’ll have a footprint that is more specifically tailored to your particular tent, and you’ll be able to customize it as you want. Be prepared by gathering a few items before you begin your journey. You’ll need the following supplies:
- Flooring material of your choice (Tyvek is highly suggested)
- A set of grommets
- Make contact with Cement.
A few tools will also come in handy at some point.
- A tape measure of some sort
- Something to use to flatten the edges, such as a rolling pin.
In order to begin, you’ll need to take some measurements. First, take accurate measurements of your tent and decide if you want your footprint to be the same size as your tent or a little bit smaller. It may be beneficial for you to sketch out these dimensions on paper so that you can have a better sense of what you are doing. Whatever measurements you choose, remember to add around 3 inches on all sides to account for the edges. After that, draw a line across your work area to indicate both how large your footprint will be and the line where you will trim your work.
- First, visit each of the four corners.
- Having cut all of your corners, it will be time to fold the edges over on themselves.
- Make use of your rolling pin to smooth down the edges of the dough so that there are no creases or air pockets remaining.
- This provides additional support to your edges, particularly your corners.
- Using your grommet kit and a hammer, place grommets in the locations where you choose.
- Grommets in strategic locations will ensure that the footprint remains firmly beneath the tent throughout the night.
- Some folks will add a length of cable that is large enough to fit through the staking loops on their tent.
- Check out our must-have multi-tools for you needs to make sure you have the proper tool the first time.
- If everything went according to plan and you used a lightweight material, you should be able to store your tent in the bag that it came in.
- When you use this method, you will not have to worry about folding things over to cover the excess material, nor will you have to think whether or not you got those additional folds flat enough so they are pleasant to lie on.
This does mean, though, that if you plan on using multiple different tents, you will need to create a distinct one for each tent.
Inside or Outside
There can’t be a conversation about footprints without someone bringing up the controversy over whether you should line the inside or outside of your tent with a liner. The justification for having it inside is primarily about the waterproofing and insulating properties of the material, rather than the fact that it will provide any additional level of protection to the tent floor. Furthermore, if your ground cloth is inside your tent, you will not have to worry about any water collecting between your tent and ground cloth unless you are really clumsy with your water bottle, in which case you will be OK.
When you’re planning your next camping trip, you’ll have to make the decision for yourself on what to bring.
On camping vacations where the weather prediction calls for cold or damp conditions, you may wish to utilize not just a footprint beneath your tent, but also a survival blanket or similar item inside your tent to give additional warmth for you and your family.
Final Thoughts on the Topic
As a result, you should be able to construct your own tent footprint without any difficulty at this point. Before you begin, you should think about your personal camping preferences and objectives. It will be crucial for you to identify the elements that are most important to you before developing any kind of strategy or strategy. It is possible that your best tent footprint will be quite different from someone who only camps in a campground with a parking spot at each site and leaves their tent up for several weeks at a time.
In addition to making an extremely simple piece of art, you can also put in some extra effort to create a piece that is completely unique to you.
In the event that you have ever wondered why none of the tent imprints in the market have a certain characteristic, you may experiment with building your own have that feature.
Crafting your own ground covering has the advantage of making you feel more comfortable using it for virtually anything while camping, which is one of the main benefits of doing so.
In the event that a storm sweeps through and you want to attempt to keep yourself and your belongings dry, it could come in handy as a temporary rain covering.
You’ll be able to quickly and simply make a replacement once you reach home.
Do you have any doubts about whether to use a tarp or a tent footprint?
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