Do I Need to Put a Tarp Under My Tent?
Occasionally, you will carry camping equipment to the campground with you simply because your parents or friends have always done it that way. Why you should pack a tarp on your camping vacation is exactly how I felt about it. For the sake of convenience, I’ve compiled a few reasons why you should consider carrying one–some of which I’ve learned through personal experience, and others which I’ve discovered from research–in one location so that you can see everything in one place. Is it necessary to put a tarp below my tent?
It is important to have a tarp underneath your tent to protect the underside from wear and tear, to provide minimal insulation, and to prevent water from entering the tent by functioning as an effective moisture barrier.
Here are some reasons why you should consider bringing a tarp along with your tent, as well as some tips on how to keep water from accumulating in your tent.
Reasons to Put a Tarp Under Your Tent
It is possible that your campsite will feature tent sites with wonderful areas of green grass on a moderate slope, with bugs that aren’t bothered by anything. When I say “occasionally,” I’m exaggerating a little bit. On the other hand, you’ll be sleeping on gravel, roots, mud, or even plain rock (in certain Texas parks, you’ll be sleeping on limestone!) every other time. It’s fairly uncommon for automobile campsites to only let you to set up your tent on a pad or in a certain area–which means you don’t always get to select the best position for your tent to be set up.
In this way, any flaws might have unintended repercussions, such as uninvited 6- to 8-legged housemates who don’t show up on time.
That friction has the potential to pull your tent apart.
Keep Out Moisture
It’s raining water everywhere, but please do not let it get into my tent. When the air loses the energy that holds water molecules apart, water condenses from the air and becomes a liquid. As a result, water droplets will develop as heated air cools down. On a hot day, a glass of cold water is a perfect demonstration of this.
It is throughout the night that the earth maintains heat from the sun, and it is at this time that dew will develop because the warm earth is cooling off and loses the energy necessary to hold water molecules together (just before morning). In this sense, your tarp is beneficial in a number of ways.
- Your tarp stops your tent from coming into direct contact with the dew-covered ground. This is great
- The tent may function as a vapor barrier between your tent and the ground, which can aid in the prevention of condensation within the tent. The use of a tarp can protect you from rushing water while it’s raining (it’s recommended to avoid erecting your tent in areas where the land dips and water gathers), as well as saturated ground.
Keep your tent clean
When your campground doesn’t have many alternatives and the ground is muddy, it might be difficult to enjoy yourself. After your camping vacation, there isn’t a contest to see who has the cleanest tent. But keeping the outside of your tent clean is vital since it makes the tent simpler to manage–especially if you are going to be moving from one location to another. Mud and sticky pine needles may be a hassle to clean up, and getting your tarp muddy is better since it is easier to wash once it has been soiled.
Reasons Not to Bring a Tarp
Because it is only really useful in some conditions, such as when it is raining, a tarp or a ground cloth is probably considered an unessential item. However, in other instances, it is considered merely a good to have. Some reasons why you might be able to do without one if you want to conserve room in your vehicle camping equipment are listed below.
- If you know your campground is a soft bed and isn’t likely to have any immovable, pokey things, you won’t need a ground cover
- Otherwise, you will be OK without one. If condensation is not an issue in your environment, or in other words, you are camping someplace it doesn’t get too chilly and it’s not humid, then you may not need any moisture control
- One more thing to remember to pack is another thing to fold and hide away
- Camping in the sand is a unique experience. Sand will wick away any moisture and is soft enough that it will not create any difficulties to the underside of your tent’s floor or walls. After all, sand is sand, and you will need to clean out your tent after your vacation, no matter how carefully you plan your itinerary (unless you are a post-campout-tent-shaking master). As a result of this, if you have any unpatched holes in the bottom-side of your tent, it is possible that placing a tarp over it can prevent the dreaded sand from spreading all over the interior of your tent more quickly than it would surely do. Even sand is still sand, after all
Why you Might Want to Bring One Anyway
As long as you are aware that your campground has a soft bed and is not likely to have any immovable or pokey items, you will not need to bring a ground cloth. Depending on your environment, you may not require any moisture management at all; in other words, if you are camping somewhere where it does not get too cold or too humid, you may not want any moisture control at all. One more thing to remember to pack is one more thing to fold and store away. Camping in the sand is a unique experience.
After all, sand is sand, and you will need to clean out your tent after your vacation, no matter how carefully you plan your trip (unless you are a post-campout-tent-shaking master).
The fact is that sand is still sand.
- If you plan on sleeping in a hammock, a tarp may be your best bet for remaining dry if the weather is very bad. To shelter yourself from the rain, you may make an A shape out of your tarp and a piece of rope. I had a fantastic camping experience one night after erecting a tarp over my hammock, despite the fact that it poured numerous times throughout the night. I think I did a reasonable job considering that I was working alone and that I wasn’t particularly skilled at knotting at the time. Only one edge of my hammock was soaked
- The rest remained dry.
- Tarps may make great wind shelters
- However, they must be used properly. Parachutist. no, I’m not serious. Don’t even think about it
Summary from Personal Experience
All of the campgrounds I’ve gone to have had a variety of terrain, and I’ve always managed to keep dry (at least as far as I can recall) with my inexpensive blue tarp and the rain fly that came with my tent. I’ve been using the same tent for the past five years (it cost less than $60), and I believe that my good ol’ tarp has contributed to some of my accomplishments. The fact that I now have another piece of equipment to clean, maintain, and fold is a bother at times, but it has proven to be well worth it so far.
Don’t spend too much time pondering the ideal ground cloth treatment because, as you might imagine, many individuals have found success with a variety of approaches.
To make things as simple as possible, you may get a ground fabric that is slightly larger than the footprint of the tent. Note! Because your tarp is larger than the size of your tent, and if you do not fold it properly, you will have produced a small pond on your campsite! Make certain that the tarp is correctly folded to ensure that the water drains.
Keep the tarp tucked inwards, with the edges folded below the tent so that the tarp fits the size of your tent (we’re attempting to direct water away from your tent rather than into it). Ensure that the tarp is properly tucked downwards. The tarp has been wrongly tucked upwards.
Does it Matter Which Type of Tarp/Ground Cloth I Use?
“Ground cloths” are available in a variety of designs. After doing some study on this subject, I discovered that there are hundreds of different materials that may be used! At the end of the day, your environment is what determines how well a given ground cloth performs. As a newbie, I recommend starting with a simple, inexpensive tarp so you can get started camping right away. For example, the following are some popular choices for ground cloths: Footprints of a Tent Tent makers will frequently create a “footprint” that is particularly intended to match the measurements of a given tent.
- It’s possible that their quality varies in tandem with that of the tent.
- Tyvek Tyvek is a material that is used to keep moisture out of dwellings.
- Some campers utilize this as a barrier between their tents and the rest of the campsite.
- Purchasing a plastic painter’s drop cloth is a good idea since it is used to catch paint, dust, and drywall debris throughout the painting process.
- Taffeta (also known as tarpaulin) (Tarp) The good ol’ tarp, how I love thee.
- An all-purpose tarp in the medium thickness range will suffice for the occasional vehicle camping excursion.
Should I Put a Tarp Down Under My Tent?
When it comes to setting up a tent, have you ever wondered why so many people use tarps? This is not an entirely new phenomena. For many years, campers have used ground cloths and tarps to protect the ground beneath their tents. Is it really necessary to use ground cloths and tarps? Is it necessary to place a tarp down under my tent? A tarp or ground cloth should be placed beneath your tent, even if it isn’t absolutely essential. When applied properly, they protect your tent from punctures and help to limit mud and water seepage into the tent inside.
Should I Put a Tarp Under My Tent?
The type of tent you have will determine whether or not you need to put down a ground cloth or tarp. Its primary function is to protect the floor of your tent against punctures, with moisture reduction serving as a secondary benefit. If the weather is fine and you aren’t concerned about ruining the tent, there isn’t much use in putting out the effort. When it comes to protecting a $20 Walmart tent, it doesn’t make sense to use a $10 tarp. In most cases, inexpensive tents are not intended to be used for more than a few brief camping excursions.
Once your tent exceeds the $100 mark, tarps and ground cloths become a practical investment.
The trouble of putting up a tarp or tent footprint to preserve your investment is well worth it at that time. Sharp sticks will ultimately find their way inside your tent, no matter how good you are at clearing rubbish.
How Big of A Tarp Do I Need
|Tent Size||Fold Tarp Down to Size and Use aGrommet Kitto Secure||Alps Mountaineering Tent Footprint Size|
|2-Person||6×8 Tarp||7’2″ x4’8″ Footprint|
|3-Person||8×10 Tarp||7’2″ x 6’2″ Footprint|
|4-Person||8×10 Tarp||8’2″ x 7’2″ Footprint|
|5-Person||9×12 Tarp||9’8″ x 7’8″ Footprint|
|6-Person||12×16 Tarp||9’8″ x 9’8″ Footprint|
It would be lovely if I could tell you what size tarp to buy that will work with every tent, but that is not how the system works at this time. It is necessary to get a tarp that is slightly smaller in size than the measurements of the exterior of your tent’s walls. Just keep in mind that the floor size of each tent varies. The tent sizes depicted in the chart above are based on the average size of tents for a certain number of people. It should serve as an excellent starting point, although your actual tent may be somewhat larger or smaller than this.
Customize Your Tarp So It Fits Your Tent
Unless you choose for a tailored tarp, you will most likely have to fold the sides of your tarp down and tuck them under the edge of your tent. All you have to do is fold it over and fasten the corners and edges with a cheapCoghlans Grommet Kit. The video below should guide you through the process of creating a tent footprint. Your tarp will be stronger as a result of the additional grommets, which will be useful when erecting the tent. In addition, the grommet kit is quite useful for designing clothing and other items.
Backpackers Should Use a Tent Footprint Instead of a Tarp
If you intend to backpack, you should pick a tent footprint that is specifically designed for backpacking. They are slightly more costly than tarps, but they are far easier to use. Smaller tent footprints will be significantly less expensive than larger ones. The Tent Floor Saver from myAlps Mountaineering is one of my favorites. It is somewhat more costly than a tarp, but it is far lighter and simpler to handle. It may be folded down to be roughly the same size as an envelope if necessary. That is far smaller than a tarp.
Continue reading for assistance in determining the tent footprint size.
Benefits of Putting a Tarp Under Your Tent
There aren’t any negative consequences to putting a tarp under your tent. They are a little hefty and weigh a couple of ounces, but everything else about them is great. Tarps are useful for four different reasons.
1) Tarps Protect Your Tent From Punctures
The use of a tarp as a tent footprint helps to extend the life of your tent by reducing wear and strain. It adds an extra layer of protection from sharp surfaces, if you need it. It’s as simple as putting down a tarp and you’re done. You won’t have to be concerned about stray rocks and stones poking holes in the ground beneath your tent floor. It significantly reduces the number of those seemingly random holes that always seem to allow in moisture. Just keep in mind that a tarp won’t fix all of your difficulties on its own.
It’s only a thin layer of protection, but it can help prevent tiny punctures from occurring.
2)Tarps Fight Moisture
Tarps are useful for keeping the ground of your tent dry. It’s just one more layer of protection between your sleeping system and the muddy, damp earth beneath your feet.
Simply make certain that you get the proper tarp size by reading the section below. It should be 2-3 inches smaller in circumference than the outer measurements of your tent. If your tarp is too large, the water will draw it around the exterior of your tent.
3) Adds Insulation to Your Tent
Tarps are useful for keeping the floor of your tent dry in the event of a thunderstorm. The additional layer of protection between your sleeping system and the muddy, damp ground is all that is needed. Please read the section below to ensure that you purchase the appropriate tarp size. The inside measurements of your tent should be around 2-3 inches smaller. If your tarp is too large, water will gather around the exterior of your tent.
4) Tarps Help Keep The Bottom of Your Tent Clean
Have you ever been stuck in a muddy field? It makes no difference what you do. You constantly wind up with muck on your clothes. That’s exactly what will happen to your tent if it rains on a weekend like this one. Is it really necessary for all of that muck to become caked on the bottom of your tent’s floor? When you consider the cost of a low-cost tarp, it just isn’t worth the trouble. Simply purchase a tarp or a tent footprint and call it a night. In the long run, it will save you a significant amount of time and money.
Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarwash is highly recommended by me.
Watch Out For Pooling
When was the last time you found yourself stuck in a swampy swamp? Whatever you do will be in vain. You constantly wind up with mud all over your clothes and clotheslines. That’s exactly what will happen to your tent if it rains on a weekend like this one! What if the mud becomes caked on the bottom of your tent? Is that something you want to happen? It simply isn’t worth the bother for the purchase of a low-cost tarp. Simply purchase a tarp or a tent footprint and call it a day. In the long run, it will save you a great deal of time and money.
Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarwash is a product that I would definitely suggest!
Where Can I Buy Custom Sized Tarps?
As a result of some internet comparison shopping and playing about with the specs, I discovered that bespoke tarps were out of my financial reach. They typically range in price from $20 to $70, depending on the size you want. Take a look at coversandall.com to see what we mean for yourself. You could be pleasantly surprised with a decent bargain right now, but it’s probably best to explore what you can find locally first. I was pleasantly impressed by the number of tarps available at my local Harbor Freight store.
For around the same price, you can sometimes purchase a tent footprint that is particularly made for your tent. You might want to have a look at thetent footprints available on Amazon. Perhaps you’ll be able to locate one that is particularly designed for your tent.
How to Setup Your Tarp as A Tent Footprint
90% of the fight is won when you get the proper size tarp for your tent. Remember to go to the part above where I discuss size and customization of your tarp before we get started.
- Ensure that the tarp you choose is the right size for your tent. The outer measurements of your tent should be 2-3 inches less than the outside dimensions of your tarp. This will aid in the prevention of pooling. Prepare the area where you will be erecting the tent by clearing it of debris. You want to get rid of all of the branches and jagged rocks in the area. Anything that appears to have the potential to puncture the tent must be removed
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up your tent on top of the tarp. Make certain that all of the corners are aligned and that any excess tarp is tucked under the tent’s edge. Fabric straps with grommets protruding from the corners of prefabricated tent footprints are commonly found on these structures. All you have to do is thread the tent poles through the grommets and proceed to set up your tent as usual. Because tarps do not have grommets, you will need to devise a different method of attaching them to the corners of your tent. I generally have a couple of those bungee balls in my bag, although they aren’t absolutely required
Do I need a tarp under or over my tent? benefits and alternatives
When camping, you must constantly make certain that you and your belongings are kept dry. In addition to this, you must make certain that your equipment is adequately safeguarded from harm. Your equipment might wear out considerably more quickly than it should if you do not take basic care. So, do you require a tarp to be placed over or under your tent? The use of a tarp beneath your tent is not required but is strongly recommended. In addition to keeping holes and tears from emerging on the bottom of your tent, a tarp may keep moisture from leaking into your tent.
We will go through the following topics so that you will understand the advantages of utilizing tarps on your tent.
Benefits of a Tarp Over Your Tent
There are several advantages to placing a tarp over or on top of your tent. Despite the fact that many tents are already waterproof when purchased, it is nevertheless advisable to use a tarp to protect the tent from the elements. If you have a tarp over your tent, you will be protected from the elements if it rains while you are camping. While many of us do not anticipate rain in the forecast, the weather may change very fast in the blink of an eye. Always remember to bring a tarp along with you, no matter what the weather prediction predicts.
- It is possible to get chills and discomfort if you have a tent that is not water resistant since the morning dew can seep through the tent walls, especially during the colder months.
- Tents are composed of very thin material that does not provide adequate insulation.
- In addition, rain-flies on your hammock will protect the wind from entering inside your tent.
- A tarp over your tent will help to extend the life of your tent as well as the equipment inside of it, which is something that many people are not aware of.
- If the rain doesn’t stop and your tent becomes soaked, it might pose problems when it’s time to pack up your belongings.
- When it is possible that it could become little moist while packing it up in the rain, this will be far preferable to allowing it to become drenched by not using a tarp.
Benefits of a Tarp Under Your Tent
Having a tarp under your tent serves a number of important functions.
While it’s primary function is to keep you dry, you’d be surprised at how many other things it can accomplish.
Camping equipment is, as we all know, a significant financial commitment. Because it performs the same function as placing a cover on your smartphone, you should also place a tarp under your tent. Placing a tarp under your tent can help to keep the floor of the tent from becoming damaged. As much as we all wish for a beautiful soft dirt site to pitch our tents, this is not always the case when it comes to tenting. In many settings, particularly rural and basic campgrounds, sticks, roots, pebbles, and gravel can be seen strewn about the ground.
- This strategy will also keep the tent from becoming dirty or muddy on the bottom, which will help to extend the life of the tent as a result.
- If the tarp is left hanging too long, water will be able to run below your tent and form puddles.
- It is recommended that you place a tarp under your tent to prevent any pre-existing dampness on the ground from getting inside.
- Some regions may see more rain than others, and you may find yourself setting up in a muddier location than you would desire.
- Camping tarps may be set up in a variety of ways, each with its own advantages.
- Always remember to bring enough of paracord with you when going on a camping vacation.
- Also, always make sure that you get a tarp that is large enough to cover the tent yet small enough to be hung between two trees when you are camping.
Straps that will not stretch, that have a built-in tightening mechanism, and non-slip loops for wrapping around trees are also popular choices.
Instead of pouring down the straps, water will catch on the knot in the string and run down the string and onto the ground rather than onto the tarp as is now the case.
Grommets allow you to attach one end of the paracord to the tarp and the other end to a tree or other immovable object, which is quite useful when camping.
If it rains, the water will be able to drain off of the tarp, which will keep the tarp from becoming too heavy and toppling over.
An incorrectly installed rainflash might cause you to become soaked or possibly cause damage to the rainfly.
Many tents are equipped with rainflies that are designed specifically for that tent.
It is possible to acquire a hammock rainfly to use in lieu of a rainfly if the tent you are using does not have one or if there isn’t one created expressly for it.
Tapping down tarps to cover your hammock or tent may be done with anything from plastic sheeting to rain flies and even certain ponchos.
Always make sure that the one you pick is at the very least very simple to set up.
In addition to convenience of usage, be certain that you purchase a tarp that is long-lasting.
The most durable tarp will be a grass tarp with metal grommets or a rainfly that is intended for use with a hammock or tent, both of which are recommended.
There are many various types of tarps available on the market, and some of them may be extremely heavy and difficult to handle.
Always make sure that you get a backpack that you are comfortable carrying, especially if you are going hiking. As long as you’re camping close to your vehicle, you won’t have to worry about weighing your belongings as much.
Camping in the rain is a unique experience (How to stay Dry and Warm) How to clean a moldy tent, as well as how to avoid tent mold and mildew. Can you use heaters in tents if the weather is cold? What is the purpose of having a footprint for your tent? Is it possible for lightning to hit your tent?
Do I Need a Tarp Under My Tent?
In the bush, where sudden rain or other precipitation may seep through the tent floor and transform the entire campground into a depressed morass of mud, many campers have learnt to bring a tarp or ground cloth with them on their treks. While a properly staked-out tent footprint can keep the bottom of your tent dry and your sleeping bag and other camping gear dry, some campers who hike extensively on their camping trips and who want to pack ultralight or simply enjoy primitive camping may begin to question whether the tarp or ground cloth is as essential a piece of camping equipment as they had originally believed when they went camping with their new tent in tow.
- Groundsheets and tent footprints are two items that require careful thought.
- If you’re planning on using a 12-person tent or even a bigger one, the tarp you’d need to waterproof the floor of your tent may not be easily transportable without the use of an automobile.
- It may seem like a minor matter, but a tarp or groundsheet may provide additional protection for the floor of your tent and, in the appropriate circumstances, can make or break a whole camping trip if used properly.
- Choosing a location What happens the first time you arrive at your campground is really significant, regardless of how watertight your tent is and how sturdy the construction of yourtarpaulinroundsheet or rain cover is.
- In the same way that so many other aspects of camping are determined, the requirement of a tent footprint is determined by the sort of camping trip being undertaken and the objectives of the campers themselves.
- When camping on difficult or rocky terrain, a tarp or ground cloth can help protect the bottom of your tent from abrasions.
How does a tarp help waterproof the tent floor?
A tarpaulin, or tarp, is simply a big sheet of flexible, durable, waterproof, or water-resistant material such as canvas or polyester coated with polyurethane, or else a plastic substance such as polyethylene, that is flexible, robust, and waterproof or water-resistant. The tarp that most campers and outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with is the huge blue plastic kind with grommets around the perimeter that allow a rope or other attaching mechanism to pass through and hold the tarp in place while keeping whatever it is tied to is protected by the tarp.
- Tarpaulins are available in a variety of patterns.
- A perforated tarp won’t hold up against heavy rain, but if the campground is still moist from earlier rains and there aren’t any further storms in the forecast, a perforated tarp could be sufficient to keep out the elements.
- Canvas tarps are water-resistant but not waterproof, thus they should not be used in the rain.
- However, sitting rainfall or continuous exposure to rainwater, such as that experienced after a strong downpour, would ultimately cause dripping through a canvas tarp.
- Essentially, a tarpaulin tent footprint is useful for two main objectives at the campsite: it is lightweight and easy to transport.
- The added protection and longevity of your tent will ensure that it remains completely intact and free of punctures and holes for as long as possible.
- When you come home from your camping excursion, you will have less time to spend on pointless tasks because the floor of your tent will be cleaner.
Site selection and the use of a waterproof tent with a rainfly can help to lessen the need for a tarp or groundsheet, but it’s always a good idea to have a little additional protection.
Tarps and ground cloths can protect the bottom of your tent
When you go camping for the first time with a new tent, you’re likely to get obsessed with maintaining the tent in the same perfect state it was in when you first pitched it at your campground. This is understandable. However, since many campers continue to use their tents and other camping equipment such as sleeping bags on tent camping excursions after tent camping excursion, they might lose their sense of protection for their tents and other camping gear. Get into the habit of putting a groundsheet or tent footprint below your tent site if you want to ensure good maintenance and a long life for your tent.
For many campers who choose not to use an additional tent footprint, doing so is a burden since they have never experienced the worst-case situation, in which heavy rain or snow seeps through the tent bottom and causes havoc with camping gear as well as the possibility of campers being ill.
A tent footprint should be laid out before you set up your tent.
Most significantly, especially in dry settings, a groundsheet will give an additional layer of protection between the bottom of your tent and sharp objects such as pebbles, twigs, and other sharp objects that may be found on the forest floor, desert sand, or jagged rocky surface of a mountain.
It is a good choice if you are looking for a lightweight material that can be used as a tent footprint or as a convenient porch at the entrance to your tent.
Tyvek is a material that looks and feels very much like paper, but is far more durable.
This will allow the inside of your tent to remain dry because you will be able to take off your boots on the Tyvek before heading inside to protect yourself from the elements.
DIY tarps and tent footprints
The most convenient thing about ultralight tarps and tent footprints is that those campers who consider themselves to be handy can create a DIY version of a groundsheet out of tarpaulin, Tyvek, or any other waterproof or water-resistant material that they have lying around the house or in their garage. The following are the steps to take in order to construct your own DIY tent footprint: 1. Locate the material that you intend to use to make the footprint of your tent. A hardware store or an outdoor merchant are frequently good places to look for it.
- Secondly, spread the tarp on the ground and position your tent on top of it.
- You should try to make the tent’s bottom as flat with the ground as possible in order to achieve the best border trace possible.
- However, you should avoid cutting right on the sharpie line.
- The reasoning behind removing 2 inches from the tent’s shape is because the optimal tent footprint is a fraction of an inch smaller than the base of the tent.
- Rainwater collected in this manner would flood your tent, which is the exact reverse of the purpose of a tarp or groundsheet in the first place.
Tucked beneath your tent, a piece of Tyvek may be used to create a “porch” for tying on boots and keeping mud out of the tent.
Good site selection for camping without a tarp for ground cover
Okay, just to make sure we’re covering all sides of the discussion, let’s have a look at what happens to campers who go on a camping trip without any tarpaulin, Tyvek, or canvas to serve as ground cover. Fortunately, without this piece of camping equipment, there is only one thing to concentrate on, and that is picking a suitable camping location. The surrounding area at your campground should be as high as possible in order for you to be able to pitch your tent in a location where rainfall will naturally flow down and away from your tent without soaking through the bottom of your tent.
- Once you’ve completed all of this, you’ll be able to start setting up your tent.
- If your sleeping bag is durable and well-insulated, and it prevents heat from leaking through the bottom of your tent, you should have no trouble sleeping through the entire night.
- Remember the five W’s when choosing a campground: water, waste, weather, widowmakers, and wildlife.
- We’ve previously spoken about how vital precipitation and drainage are, but it’s also crucial to remember that drinking water is as important.
- Rubbish is self-explanatory: campers will want a handy method of disposing of waste when they leave the campsite when they arrive.
- Using natural cover, such as trees and overhangs, can provide further protection against water seeping into the tent bottom.
- If you want to use trees to provide additional weather protection, make sure that none of them are dead or in danger of falling on you.
- There are several measures to take in order to avoid being attacked by larger creatures such as bears or foxes, but be certain that you are not pitching your tent on top of an ant colony or a wasp’s nest.
In general, tarps and tent footprints have a number of beneficial characteristics and few disadvantages. The selection of a site is an important step in the construction of a campground. Keep in mind the 5 W’s the next time you’re out camping!
Except for the most stubborn or lightweight backpacking enthusiasts, a tarp or groundsheet is a very useful piece of camping equipment that does not add much to the weight of the pack and takes just a few minutes to set up at the campsite. An inexpensive and simple way to protect the bottom of your tent and extend the life of your tent, a tent footprint is a must-have accessory that requires no special features or intricate installation. The only thing it is is a small layer of extra protection between you and the earth.
Rain may put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable camping trip, as any camper can attest to through experience.
In order to avoid disease and the destruction of camping equipment that contains sensitive electronics, as well as to maintain your own capacity to wake up with the energy to go hiking and engage with the great outdoors as you should on any meaningful camping vacation.
When there are so many different ways to make a durable DIY tarp out of Tyvek, canvas, or any other material, there aren’t many reasons not to add a few extra ounces to your pack in order to bring along a piece of camping gear that could mean the difference between a cold, soggy camping trip and a successful camping trip into the backcountry where, despite heavy rain or snow, all campers involved managed to make the most of it and see the great outdoors in the rain, Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of tarps and tent bottoms, you’ll be much more prepared the next time you go camping to protect the bottom of your tent and extend the life of your tent.
As an added bonus, check out this instructional video that walks you through the process of constructing a simple DIY Tyvek tent footprint and tarp for close to nothing!
Do I Need a Tarp Under My Tent?
If you are an outdoorsy person who likes camping, you may already be aware of the reasons why you should put a tarp beneath your tent to protect it from the elements. Camping isn’t much fun if your gear gets wet and you have to sleep in dripping wet clothing the entire time. As a result, you must make every effort to keep yourself and your equipment as dry as possible at all times. You’ll need a tarp to put below your tent. It is the most effective method of protecting your tent since it prevents holes and tears from forming in the bottom.
It is the purpose of this essay to go into depth about the reasons why you should use a tarp under your tent. In addition, you will discover the difference between a tarp and a tent footprint, how to properly lay one below your tent, and where to acquire a tent footprint.
What Is the Purpose of a Tarp Under a Tent?
While having a tarp below your tent is not absolutely necessary, it does have its advantages, which we will discuss further below.
Helps Keep You Dry
Because while you’re camping, a sudden downpour or hailstorm may transform your campground into a soggy mess in no time at all. This moisture may soak through the bottom of your tent, resulting in an unpleasant night’s sleep. A tarp or groundsheet, on the other hand, provides additional protection for your tent’s bottom by preventing moisture from soaking through. You could, of course, stake out your tent sufficiently to protect the ground, but why take the chance of having your sleeping bag and other vital stuff wet?
Because of a previous rainstorm, it not only keeps you safe from the damp, muddy ground, but it also stops pelting rain from penetrating the tent bottom.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that utilizing a tarp does not ensure that the floor of your tent will remain completely dry.
As a result, when choosing a camping location, always consider the following:
- Seek out an elevated location where rainwater will flow away from your tent rather than seeping into the tent’s bottom. Before pitching your tent, make sure there are no sharp sticks, stones, or debris in the way, as this will prevent them from puncturing the bottom of your tent.
Protects Your Tent Bottom
A tarp protects the floor of your tent from abrasions and other damage. In the event that you are camping on a hard surface, such as sand or gravel, you may want to consider protecting your tent from any tears or punctures. Furthermore, the tarp provides additional protection from sharp things such as sticks, stones, and other such objects. As a result, the easiest approach to keep your tent in good condition over time is to constantly put a tarp underneath it. This will assist you in ensuring that your tent serves you for a long period of time.
Helps Keep Your Tent Clean
If you use a tarp to cover the floor of your tent, the bottom will be considerably cleaner overall. This is due to the fact that the tarp will prevent mud or dirt from coming into touch with your tent throughout your stay. You will also save time since you will not have to spend as much time cleaning the tent. Other advantages of putting a tarp under your tent are as follows:
- Using one of these helps your tent keep its heat longer and offers another layer of insulation between you and the cold ground. If you use it often, it can help you prevent getting a cold or damaging sensitive electrical equipment. When you are sleeping on the floor of the tent, it provides some measure of comfort. If you do it well, it might be the difference between a chilly, damp camping experience and a terrific one.
Tent Footprint vs. Tarp – What’s the Difference?
Both the tent footprint and the tarp provide protection for your tent against the weather. In order to protect the tent floor from friction, a tent footprint is a polyethylene sheet that is placed under the tent. Over time, ground friction can create wear and tear on your tent, which might finally lead to its destruction. The tent footprint should be laid down before the tent is pitched as a result. The size of tent footprints varies based on the size of your tent. Ideally, you should choose one that is slightly smaller than your tent or one that is the same size as your tent.
A tarp, which is short for tarpaulin, is a huge sheet of robust and flexible waterproof material, usually made of canvas or plastic, that may be used to cover a vast area.
When purchasing a tarp, choose one that is somewhat smaller in size than your tent.
You can also drape the tarp over the top of your tent to provide additional protection against the elements – including the sun – while camping.
A tarp is slightly heavier and thicker than a footprint, although it is not significantly so. Once again, while a tarp may be used as a footprint, a footprint cannot be used as a tarp and vice versa. This is due to the fact that:
- Because it lacks grommets, you will be unable to put up a footprint in the same manner as a tarp. A footprint is meant to be the exact same size as the tent
- As a result, it is ill-suited for covering the tent’s top.
If you are unsure which of the two alternatives to choose, the tarp is the better choice because it may serve several purposes. A footprint, on the other hand, is expensive since it is designed for a certain tent.
How Do You Put a Tarp Under a Tent?
Setting up a tarp is a simple process. As previously stated, the tarp is equipped with reinforced grommets that may be used to thread a rope through them. Nothing more complicated than sticking the tent poles into the grommets and pulling the string to attach it where it is needed, such as in the corners, to assist secure the corners. As an alternative, tent pegs may be used to anchor the four corners of your tarp to the ground. After that, follow the directions that came with your tent and set it up over the tarp.
It’s also a good idea to tuck the tarp under so that it doesn’t extend past the tent’s perimeter.
If this does not occur, Water may also accumulate in and around your tent.
- Choose a tarp that is 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) smaller in circumference than the outer measurements of your tent to avoid pooling. Prepare the area by sweeping it clear of sharp items before erecting the tent
How Thick Should a Tarp Be Under a Tent?
If your camping equipment is new, expensive, or delicate, you will want to invest in the hardest, most water-resistant tarp you can find for your needs. The perfect tarp, on the other hand, would be one that is breathable, lightweight, and constructed of tarpaulin that is somewhat thin. Folding your tarp in half is the most effective method to lay it out. Doubling up your tarp provides additional protection (against stones and sticks) for both your tarp and the floor of your tent.
Where to Buy Your Tent Tarp
Tent tarps are available from a variety of sources, including online merchants such as Amazon (check out this top seller: REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp) and specialty outdoor retailers such as Backcountry and Moosejaw, among others. You may also purchase items from shopping complexes such as Walmart. Lastly, some last thoughts A tarp is a really useful piece of camping equipment that you don’t want to forget to bring with you on your camping excursion. It not only covers the tent bottom, but it also helps to extend the life of your tent.
Furthermore, the benefits of employing a ground cover greatly exceed the risks of not doing so, especially when the weather chooses to turn bad at the last minute.
That’s what’s next in camping gear.
How to Prepare a Three-Season Tent for the Winter Extra-large family camping tents are the best option for large families.
Do I Need a Tarp Under My Tent? Pros and Cons
Is it necessary to put a tarp under my tent? In preparation for a camping vacation, a common question that many campers ask themselves is “what should I bring?” Despite the fact that it appears to be a straightforward solution, there are some advantages and disadvantages to this choice.
It is our goal in this post to cover both the advantages of using a tarp and the risks associated with not using one (or using it incorrectly) during a storm. Let’s get started!
Do You Really Need a Tarp Under Your Tent?
There are several advantages to using an atent footprint (a tarp placed below your tent) on your camping expedition. However, it is not always necessary to employ one. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of putting a tarp under your tent before packing one for your next camping trip. This will help you choose whether or not having a tarp under your tent makes sense for you and your camping needs.
Pros of Having a Tarp Under Your Tent
- It is recommended that you drape a tarpaulin below your tent to protect it from abrasive items such as twigs, stones, and other abrasive objects on the ground that might potentially rip your tent
- By preventing tree sap, grime, and mud stains from adhering to the bottom of your tent, tent footprints may help you get the most out of your tent investment. When camping in the rain, water-repellent tarps can help keep your tent dry by preventing water from pooling under the tent and seeping in through the floor, soaking your sleeping bag and other camping gear. An under-tent waterproof tarp can help keep ground moisture from gathering and seeping through the bottom of the camping tent, even if it doesn’t rain. With a groundsheet, you may provide an extra layer of insulation between you and the chilly ground, which will help you keep warmer and more comfortable.
In other words, a tarp will aid in the protection of your tent and the enhancement of your camping experience in a variety of conditions. Consequently, why wouldn’t you want to install a tent tarp beneath your tent?
Cons of Having a Tarp Under Your Tent
- For those considering a camping trip, it may be more advantageous to skip the tent footprint and bring only the bare essentials with them instead. It is important to carry as little weight as possible when traveling long distances. If you frequently camp on flat, dry ground that is devoid of rocks, branches, and other abrasive objects (e.g., on sand, grass, or other similar materials), it may be a waste of money and time to purchase a tarp. Another piece of equipment to put up, take down, and transport around with you is all that it is. It’s up to you to determine whether or not it’s worth the extra effort.
A tarp under your tent isn’t always essential, as you can see in the example above. Moreover, in other circumstances, it does not even make logical sense. So, do you think you’ll need a tarp to put beneath your tent? In most cases, unless you camp in the same location, in the same weather, and engage in the same camping activities on every trip, this is a question that should be posed before each trip. You’re going to be camping in severe weather or on a mountainous terrain. Are you planning on transporting your camping equipment across great distances?
Every camping excursion, on the other hand, may be a bit different.
Leaving it in the car is always an option if you don’t require it.
What Size Tarp Do I Need for My Tent?
The size of the tarp that you’ll need to put below your tent will be determined by the size of the tent. You will need a tarp that is somewhat smaller in diameter than the base of your tent, to be precise. Why? It is not recommended to have your tarp stretch past the bottom of your tent since the rain will pool on top of the footprint and find its way between the two (tarp and tent), undermining the primary function of the tarp. Measure the size of your tent and get a tarp that is somewhat smaller than the dimensions of your tent.
If you are unable to locate a footprint that is the proper size for your tent, you may always create a DIY tent tarp to the precise measurements you want.
How Thick Should a Tarp Be Under a Tent?
A tarp or ground cloth that is too thin may not provide the necessary protection for your tent, while a tarp or ground cloth that is too thick may be difficult to store or transport while on a camping or hiking trip. According to my observations, the tarp beneath a tent should be at least 6 millimeters thick in order to provide any form of protection. The sweet spot is between 11 and 12 mils, which provides great durability without being too thick to fold and transport. You can make it thicker, but doing so will result in increased weight and lower foldability/portability.
If you plan on transporting the tarp over long distances, you may want to start with a thinner cloth and see how it works out for you before increasing the thickness.
If you plan on driving directly up to your camping area, you may experiment with a thicker material because transportation will be less of an issue. In any scenario, you have the option of going thicker or thinner, depending on your requirements.
How Do You Put a Tarp Under a Tent?
You must be exceedingly careful when putting the tarp beneath your tent, or otherwise you run the danger of causing more harm than good. Here’s an excellent illustration of how NOT to place a tarp underneath a tent. If the tarp, or any other sort of ground cover, protrudes beyond the base of your tent, that is not what you want. It will accumulate on top of the footprint and eventually make its way between the tent and the footprint, undermining the purpose of employing a footprint in this situation.
- The Tent Footprint should be placed on the ground. First, clean the campground of any debris (big sticks, rocks, and so on) and choose a location for your tent to be set up if necessary. After that, you may lay the footprint on the ground in the location you like. Whether you are unsure which side of the tent footprint should be raised, simply check the product label to see if it states which side should be raised. Set up the tent over the footprint to protect it from the elements. Prepare to set up your camping tent on top of the footprint you just created. In order to connect the footprint to the tent, put the pole tips into the grommets (or straps) on the footprint and then into the tent. Make certain that the footprint is completely covered before continuing. Check to make sure that the groundsheet does not protrude from the tent’s perimeter. As previously stated, this will just enable rainfall to collect between the tent and the footprint, perhaps producing more serious problems
More information and critical advice may be found in our tutorial on how to utilize a tent footprint the proper manner.
Should You Put a Tarp Over Your Tent?
Having explored whether or not to place a tarp under your tent, what about placing a tarp over your tent? Is this something you should consider? While it may seem time-consuming, especially if you have a waterproof tent, laying a tarp over your tent has several advantages, including the following:
- A tarp allows you to keep your tent windows open, which helps to reduce the amount of moisture that may build up in a tent on humid evenings. Tent tarpaulins, especially when used in conjunction with a solid anchor, will help to keep your tent from being blown away or damaged during severe winds. Tarps are also useful for shielding your tent from the elements (UV rays, snow, hail, and so on)
- You may also use a tarp to construct a tent vestibule, which is a space outside the tent where you can keep your wet or dirty belongings
- However, this is not recommended.
Take a look at our step-by-step tutorial on how to lay a tarp over a tent for detailed instructions. Tent Hacker is made possible by donations from readers. It is possible that purchasing through links on our site will result in us receiving an affiliate commission. Because I am an Amazon Associate, I receive money when people make eligible purchases.