What Kind Of Construction Cloth Do You Use For A Tent Footprint

What Kind Of Construction Cloth Do You Use For A Tent Footprint

Visiting the hardware shop will suffice to create a low-cost (DIY) ground cloth for your project. Simply cut a piece of Tyvek that is slightly larger than the floor of your tent and you’re ready to go. Return home and pitch your tent in the backyard. Afterwards, you put out the tyvek material on top of it and set up the tent within.

What is a tent footprint ground cloth?

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.

How thick should a tarp be under a 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.

Can I use a tarp instead of a footprint?

A tarp can be used as a tent footprint, but it must be cut to the exact dimensions of the tent. You’ll have to trim the tarp down to a size that is somewhat smaller than the size of your tent because most of them are offered in generic sizes. It is entirely up to you whether or not the inconvenience is worth the minor savings over a tent footprint in your situation.

Should you put tarp under pool?

Plastic sheeting is the very worst material to use as a substructure for an above-ground pool during the installation process. It has no effect on weed development and has no effect on the management of pests and creatures. However, the most important reason to avoid using plastic sheeting is that it causes a swimming pool to rust out far faster than it should.

Do you really need a footprint for your tent?

Tent footprints are obviously not required, but they can assist to extend the life of your tent if you use them properly. If you have an ultralight tent with a low denier floor, it can be worth it to spend a few more dollars on a footprint or to create your own from scratch to protect your investment.

Is it worth getting a tent footprint?

If you want to camp on rugged, rocky terrain with a high likelihood of sharp points and rough edges, leaving a footprint is often a good idea. Except for the expense of acquiring a footprint, if you’re vehicle camping and don’t mind a little more weight and bulk with your tent, adding a footprint offers little drawbacks other than the cost of obtaining one.

What is a footprint groundsheet?

Quite simply, a footprint groundsheet is a piece of waterproof tarpaulin that has been cut to precisely match the dimensions of the bottom of your tent. It is considerably easier to pack up your tent when it has a footprint groundsheet to keep the bottom of it clean and dry.

How do you keep water from pooling under a tent?

Establish a little slant for your tent to be set up (but not so severe that you slip downhill in your tent), so that water flows by instead of accumulating below you. Create a small slope for your campfire, if at all feasible, to prevent water from pooling beneath the coal bed.

Do I need a ground cloth?

1) It provides protection for the pricey Cuben.

2) Prevents moisture and debris from getting into the tent. Cleaning or shaking such things off of a groundsheet is considerably easier than cleaning or shaking it off of a tent. 3) It simplifies the process of selecting a tent location.

Is a ground cloth the same as a tarp?

A pool ground cover is constructed of high-quality fabrics that will last for years. They are intended to be installed beneath your pool to provide additional protection. Tarps, on the other hand, are constructed of tarpaulin material, which can be composed of canvas, polyester, or polyethylene. They are long-lasting, as they are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, water, and fire.

Can you use Tyvek as a tent footprint?

According to the results of the experiment, Tyvek is an excellent material for generating footprints since it is lightweight, sturdy, waterproof, and reasonably priced. Some of the advantages of adopting this template include the fact that it triple strengthens the corners, utilizes grommets to thread the tent poles through, and tapes the seams together.

What is the point of a tent footprint?

A tent footprint or ground cover is simply anything that serves to protect the tent’s floor from abrasion. For the reason that after a tent is set up, the weight of the person sleeping within it, as well as the tossing and turning they do during the night, wears away the waterproof coating and may eventually cause the fabric to fray.

Should I use a ground cloth?

The ground cloth will serve to protect and keep dirt out of your sleeping bag and pad, as well as aid to organize your belongings and shield you from any dew or ground moisture that may occur while backpacking. Some shelters, such as the Megamid, do not have a floor because it would be too heavy to carry.

How heavy is Tyvek?

When measured in ounces per square foot (68 g per square meter), Tyvek weighs around 0.22 oz per square foot, while DCF8 Dyneema® Composite Fabric weighs just 0.057 oz per square foot (17.29 g per square meter).

How thick should a tent footprint be?

What size should the tent’s ground footprint be? It is preferable to get one that is approximately 2 inches smaller in circumference than the bottom of the tent. If it rains while you’re camping, you won’t have to be concerned about water seeping underneath the shelter and dampening the entire ground under you.

What are tent footprints made from?

What is the composition of a tent footprint? The fabric of a footprint might be different from one person to the next. However, you’ll discover that the majority of them are constructed of polyethylene, which is both sturdy and easy to clean. You may also purchase groundsheets that are lighter in weight and made of oxford or a lower denier polyester cloth.

Do I need to put a tarp under my tent?

Placing some form of ground cover or tarp beneath your tent is vital for ensuring the longevity of your tent as well as keeping it warm and dry throughout the winter. Even dew will run down the tent walls and pool beneath your tent if the tarp is stretched too far out from the tent. A tarp should not be placed underneath the tent when camping at the beach, but rather inside the tent.

Why does my tent get wet inside?

What is the source of condensation in tents? Because of the presence of people, heaters, and a lack of ventilation, the air temperature in the tent might become warm and humid. When the heated air within the tent comes into contact with the relatively chilly fabric of the tent, the moisture condenses and becomes liquid.

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.

The first thing you should do before erecting your tent is to lay down a groundsheet. Let’s get started. myoutdoorslife.com

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.

  1. Tents are costly, and I want to make the most of mine by extending its lifespan as much as possible.
  2. Waterproofing.
  3. 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.
  4. Your groundcloth will absorb a significant amount of the dirt and moisture, avoiding the growth of mold and mildew in your tent.
  5. Cushioning and insulation are included.
  6. Your body, on the other hand, will absorb and feel whatever temperature the earth is at the time.
  7. 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.
  8. It might be challenging to locate a suitable tent location.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. All of them are quite inexpensive and lightweight.

  1. 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.
  • Done!
  • Stoveless BackpackingMeals

Everything to know about a Tent Footprint – Benefits and alternatives

When a tent is pitched, the footprint, also known as the groundsheet, is a piece of cloth that is placed below the floor of the tent to protect it from wear and damage. The tent bottom also serves as a layer of moisture protection, preventing water from soaking through. Despite the fact that certain tents do not require a footprint, the vast majority of them do. Let’s go through some of the things you should look for to evaluate whether or not you require one for your tent. In addition, we will explore how to utilize one as well as a few options that are more cost-effective.

Do you need a tent footprint?

Use of a footprint, while not always essential, is recommended in order to extend the life of your tent’s floor. The use of a footprint is optional for certain tents, although many backpacking tents require it because to the thinner and lighter materials used, which increases the danger of damage to the tents. You can also learn about the products that the company suggests. Alternatively, you might go online to see whether a footprint for your tent is available. As a rule of thumb, if a product has been designed expressly for your tent, it is advised.

If you’re not sure what the difference is between a backpacking tent and a camping tent, check out my post on the subject.

  1. What kind of material is the floor of your tent? What is the thickness of it
  2. In what condition is the ground in question
1. What material is your tent floor?

The type of material used to construct your tent floor is arguably the most important aspect in determining whether or not you require a footprint. The majority of tent floors are constructed of nylon, although others, such as those from Zpacks and Hyperlight, are built of DCF (Durable Composite Fiber) (dyneema composite fabric). DCF (previously known as cuben fiber) is a particularly strong and lightweight material. It is up to 15 times stronger than steel when measured in terms of weight!

A tent constructed with DCF should not require the use of a footprint. Despite the fact that DCF is extremely durable, enough friction will ultimately wear a hole in the fabric. Given the high cost of all things DCF, a tent footprint can be used to extend the life of the DCF.

2. How thick is your tent floor?

Denier is a unit of measurement for cloth thickness. Essentially, the greater the denier number, the thicker the fibers or threads that were employed in the product’s production. Tents made of lightweight nylon, such as those usually used for hiking, have a lower denier, typically ranging from 10D to 30D, making them more suitable for camping. The denier of standard camping tents is greater, ranging from 210D and above. A footprint is required for any nylon tent floor that is less than 30D in thickness.

See also:  How Many Tables Fit In A 10X10 Tent

It’s not going to hurt to keep the floor of my tent clean and free of moisture.

Please contact the manufacturer if you are unable to locate the denier of your tent floor and ask what they recommend.

3. What are the ground conditions?

Making certain that your tent is put up in an area free of sticks and pebbles is critical, not only for the purpose of safeguarding your tent floor, but also for your comfort. Having saying that, finding a tent location that is clear of any debris is an uncommon occurrence. Unfortunately, unless you are pitching your tent in a location that you are acquainted with, you will not know what the ground conditions are until you are ready to set up camp, which may be a frustrating experience. In addition to offering an added layer of protection, a tent footprint will assist to alleviate some of the uncertainties.

Benefits of tent footprints

If you’re still not convinced, consider the following advantages of adopting a tent footprint:

  1. This product protects your tent floor from harm while also keeping the underside of your tent floor clean. Keeps the underside of your tent’s floor from becoming wet
  2. It is less difficult to clean.

It goes without saying that using an additional layer beneath your tent floor will give additional protection, but using a footprint will help keep the bottom of your tent floor clean and dry as well. This stops you from having to stow a tent that is damp and dirty in your backpack. Additionally, a footprint will be simpler to shake off debris, and you may place it in the outer mesh pocket of your bag to allow it to dry faster. RidgeTrekker Quick Tip: I recommend a backpack that has a mesh pocket on the front.

How to use a tent footprint

It is not difficult to set up a tent on a tent footprint. Follow these three straightforward steps:

  1. Prepare the ground for your tent’s footprint
  2. Set up a tent on the roof
  3. Make certain that the tent’s footprint is tucked below it.

First and foremost, choose a moderately clean and level location for your tent footprint. Some footprints can be staked, so if you want to do so now, go ahead. Knowing where you’re going to put your footprint is advantageous, especially on windy days. Otherwise, you may use pebbles, sticks, or even some of your own gear to weigh it down when the situation calls for it. Once everything is in place, you can start erecting your tent on top of it. It may take a little practice to get your tent to sit properly.

It is possible to hoist and center a freestanding tent over the footprint if you have one.

In this way, water is prevented from collecting on the footprint and flowing below your tent floor, soaking it and perhaps seeping through to the interior. If you are using a tent footprint, it will already be somewhat smaller than the floor because it was created for that purpose.

Alternative Tent Footprint Options

It is usual practice to choose an alternate choice instead of purchasing footprints that are especially built for a certain tent. The following are the most often encountered alternate footprints:

Type Strength Weight Price
Tyvek Very High Heavy $
Polycro High Ultralight $
DCF Very High Ultralight $$$
Tarp Varies Varies Varies

If weight is your major concern, the table below breaks down the weight by ounce per square foot based on the type and thickness of the material used in the construction (when applicable). Based on goods from Six Moon Designs, Gossamer Gear, and Zpacks, the ounces per square foot are calculated.


Tyvek is inexpensive, and if you can find a leftover piece at a building site, you can get away with using it for nothing. Tough and waterproof Tyvek tent footprints are incredibly sturdy and long-lasting, although they may be rather hefty. Some firms, like as Zpacks, sell Tyvek footprints, and you may also get them on the online marketplace Etsy. Some include grommets in the corners for staking. You can make one yourself if you can get your hands on some scrap or don’t mind purchasing it on a roll.


When it comes to tent footprints, polycro is another popular choice. It is long-lasting, lightweight, and inexpensive! Although it is not as robust as Tyvek, for most trekkers, the weight reduction outweighs the disadvantages. When employing polycro, the following are the drawbacks:

  • It is unable to breathe, which results in condensation on the ground side. When temperatures are high enough, they can shrink. Laying out is more difficult (even a moderate wind will have you trying to keep it from blowing away)
DCF (Dyneema Composite Fabric)

Another material choice for a tent footprint is DCF (diamond-shaped fiber). Even while it is lighter, it is also quite pricey. Making your own can save you money, but the benefits aren’t all that significant. It may be more durable than polycro, but the added durability does not justify the significant price difference between the two materials.


Last but not least, a tarp, even the blue tarps from the hardware store, can be utilized to create a footprint. Tarps are available in a broad variety of materials and for a number of uses, and there is something for everyone. Tarps can be inexpensive or expensive, lightweight or heavy, and robust or weak, depending on the material used. Some may or may not be waterproof, depending on the material. Because of the diversity, you should use your best judgment when choosing whether or not a tarp will be suitable for your needs.

How to choose an alternative tent footprint

When selecting an alternate footprint, there are two characteristics to look for.


First, decide on the type of material you intend to utilize. This will decide the longevity of the footprint as well as its capacity to preserve the floor of your tent’s inside. It also has an impact on how large your carbon footprint is going to be.


Following that, you’ll need a footprint that’s large enough to accommodate your tent. Having anything that is overly big is acceptable if it can be reduced to the appropriate size. If the tarp is too small, it will only protect a piece of the tent’s floor. If you do decide to trim it to fit, be sure you cut it just little less than the size of your tent floor or close enough that you can easily tuck the extra underneath.

Is it worth it?

So, do the advantages of having a tent footprint offset the expense of a few ounces of extra weight?

It is entirely up to you to decide. It is, however, never a bad idea to have a footprint along with you on your camping excursions. When it comes to the lifetime of what is likely to be your most costly piece of hiking equipment, a few ounces is nothing.

Ground Cloths : A quick overview

Ground cloths are an item that is sometimes overlooked when trekking or camping, yet they are quite important. You purchase a tent and some form of plastic to put underneath it, and that’s the end of the story. Is a ground cloth, however, required? Does your local outfitter provide any more options beyond the pricey “tent footprints” or the common blue-tarp available at hardware stores? There are alternatives to these two standards that are lighter, less costly, and even more effective than these two standards.

Continue reading to find out.

Painter’s Drop Cloth.

Is a ground cloth needed for a tent?

There are a plethora of options for the plain ground cloth that you may pick. Is one, however, absolutely necessary? According to conventional knowledge, a ground covering is required to protect the floor from sharp pebbles, twigs, and stones, as well as the possibility of Mole Men digging from beneath the tent and capturing unwary campers and their belongings. Mole Men are a type of masked assassin. In the bush, there is nothing more hazardous than grizzlies! Adapted from Wikipedia. Consider, however, that hundreds of thru-hikers log thousands of miles of trail each year, contributing to the overall total.

  1. They are lightweight and probably not as durable as regular tents, which supposedly require the use of cumbersome and expensive “fitting tent footprints,” which are not included in the price of the shelter.
  2. Simple things like carefully scouting a suitable location and cleaning away rocks and vegetation may make a world of difference.
  3. Although it appears that even the most meticulously fitting ground cloth (a few inches smaller than the tent floor) will ultimately allow moisture to seep between the tent floor and the ground fabric, this has not been proven.
  4. This is not good!
  5. Using geographic information systems (GIS).
  6. However, there are certain exceptions.

So, when is a ground cloth needed?

There are several instances in which a ground cloth is a wise purchase, as follows: A traveler who mostly “cowboy camps” and uses a tarp for shelter. A basic ground cloth is a fantastic thing to keep on hand for the hiker who prefers to sleep under the stars and only uses a tarp when the weather is very bad. Place it on the ground, place your sleeping pad and sleeping bag on top, and take in the night sky above. The ground cloth will serve to protect and keep dirt out of your sleeping bag and pad, as well as aid to organize your belongings and shield you from any dew or ground moisture that may occur while backpacking.

  • Jen D’Enise created this painting.
  • Some shelters, like as theMegamidd, do not have a floor because it would be too heavy to carry.
  • For similar reasons, hammock campers appreciate the use of a ground cloth.
  • As others have pointed out to me, the hardwood flooring of the AT-style shelters may be dusty and difficult to walk on when using inflated mats on top of them.
  • If you are someone who often beats up on your equipment or camps in regions that are not ‘kind’ to tents (such as certain established vehicle campsites, particularly rocky soil, etc.), you may want to consider investing in a ground cover to protect your tent.
  • A ground cloth will not be of assistance.
  • Using geographic information systems (GIS).

a feeling of well-being If someone is absolutely certain that a ground cloth is required for their tent, they should most likely purchase one for their use. They are not costly, and they only add a few ounces to the final product. All of these ‘just in case’ gear items, on the other hand, cost up.

I really need or want a ground cloth. What ground cloth should I buy?

If you determine that you want or desire a ground cloth for your type of hiking or camping, there are a few common options to consider. Additionally, if you are using a ground fabric for a tent, make sure that it is approximately 2 inches shorter than the tent floor itself. If the ground fabric is overly large, it will catch any rain that falls below the tent. Trenching is not something I would recommend because it is considered unsafe in all but the most dire of circumstances. The same may be said for a more broad ground cloth and the creation of a lip.

  1. The Car Camping Minimum Requirement – The Tarpaulin in Blue Obtainable through Amazon The tarp in blue.
  2. And, after all, why not?
  3. They could be a little too much for the average traveller, though.
  4. You may use them for a variety of purposes when vehicle camping, including as a sunshade, a temporary rain shelter, and other objects about the campsite.
  5. A blue tarp may also be used as a dirt-bagger shelter for those who are on a tight financial budget.
  • Makes a great gift for:A hiker on a tight budget, or a multipurpose item for vehicle camping or base camping.

The Patagucci standard is as follows: the custom-made footprint. It does, however, come with a really lovely stuff sack! According to REI These customized tent footprints are available for purchase at retailers such as REI and EMS to protect your tent. They are often equipped with shock cords or similar to link directly into a certain tent, but they are both expensive and time-consuming to set up (adds as much as 16 oz to an already heavy shelter). There are superior alternatives to the blue tarp, just as there are to the blue tarp.

  • When to use it:For the traveller who enjoys splurging on unnecessary stuff.

From Amazon, you may get a classic: Painters Drop Cloth (Polyethylene). Another tried-and-true classic that is ideal for individuals on a tight budget who want something lightweight but still long-lasting. A t hicker 6mil is a bomber, but it’s also a heavyweight. A2mil ground cloth is incredibly light, but it is not particularly durable, which is a concern for many people. The 3mil thickness appears to be a reasonable compromise between durability and lightweight. For this grade, a 3’x7′ piece weighs around 3 oz.

If you are outfitting a large number of individuals, large rolls of fabric can be purchased (such as a Boy Scout troop). The fact that the drop cloths do not ventilate at all means that moisture can build up below them over the course of a night is a little negative.

  • A extremely sturdy, lightweight, and economical option that works particularly well for big groups of people. Use for:
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Tyvek is the new classic in the making. GIS was used to locate this location a long time ago. Tyvek may be described as “Goretex for homes” in a nutshell. Tyvek is a material that both keeps moisture out and allows moisture to escape. The same characteristics of Tyvek that make it an excellent building material also make it an excellent ground cloth. Sometimes available for free near building sites (ask for some scraps!) or purchased online, it is a versatile material. A portion of around 5′ by 7′ weighs approximately 7 oz (as always, cut down to make it lighter) Tyvek is a material that is both durable and light in weight.

  1. Tyvek is available for purchase from Flybox Gear for.99 per linear foot in 3′ widths.
  2. Cloth grade Tyvek, which is commonly used for kites, may also be purchased on the internet.
  3. It is also less loud right out of the package.
  4. Nonetheless, its qualities may be preferable to those of the building grade Tyvek mentioned above.
  • What to use it for: Backpacking and camping in general, if you want a happy balance between price, weight, and durability

Zpacks offers an ultralight variant of Tyvek in the form of DCF (Cuben Fibre) ground cloths and DCG ground cloths. The DCF ground cloths are lightweight for their size, adaptable, allow for good air circulation, and are rather durable, especially if the site is well selected. Tyvek weighs somewhat less than half as much as this. They are, however, quite expensive! It costs $85 for a basic version, and it costs up to $170 for a hyped-up version that weights 4 oz. Although the weight is appealing, if you are looking for a simple ground cloth rather than something that can be used in a variety of situations, there are alternative solutions that are just as light and price friendly, if not quite as durable.

In the end, it’s nothing more than a piece of fabric that can be repaired with mending tape.

  • Use for:A hiker who prefers lightweight mobility and is not concerned with spending a lot of money

For the ultra-light hiker, consider Polycryo / Window Shrink Wrap Insulation, which is available on Amazon. Polycryo and shrink-wrap Window Insulator are both constructed of polyolefin and are extremely similar in appearance. They are both lightweight (about a fourth the weight of Tyvek and even lighter than DCF) and affordable, making them excellent candidates for ground cloths. This option, while not quite as robust as DCF or Tyvek, is still sturdy enough for individuals who use camp primarily for sleeping and do not intend to spend a significant amount of time in camp.

The most significant difficulty is that polycryo can shrink by up to 2 inches in width and 5 inches in length when exposed to high temperatures. Hiking in extremely hot weather is NOT recommended. Most persons are unlikely to fall within this category.

  • Who this ground cloth is intended for: The all-day hiker who wants the lightest ground cloth possible while yet being relatively robust and who will not be hiking in really hot circumstances

*** Depending on your requirements, budget, and trip objectives, the following are some of the most common and well-known ground cloth varieties. It’s possible that the one you choose will perform better than the others. What is the overarching summary of these options?

  • Do you want something that is economical, long-lasting, and versatile? Blue tarp
  • Inexpensive, available in a variety of thicknesses and weights depending on your demands for durability against lightness, or if you’re buying for a large number of people. Drop cloth for painters
  • A decent combination of durability and lightweight that has been demonstrated to be useful for backpacking? Construction-grade Tyvek
  • If you want many of the characteristics of Tyvek, but with a somewhat lower durability but a lighter weight, and don’t mind spending the money, try Tyvek. DCF ground cloth
  • Are you looking for the lightest option that also happens to be the most affordable, and durability is not the most important consideration? Insulation made of polycryo/windowshrink

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

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.

Tyvek HomeWrap

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 Tent Footprint: Guide to Making Your Tent Footprint

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.

  1. 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.
  2. That much money for a protective sheet seems a touch excessive, and you’d be correct in thinking so.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Window Insulator

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.

House Wrap

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.

Our Recommendation

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.

See also:  Where Will Tent City Inmates Be Transferred

Build Your Tent Footprint

After you’ve decided on the groundsheet fabric you’ll be using, it’s finally time to get 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:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Cuben Fiber is another excellent choice that is more stronger and lighter than carbon fiber, but it is significantly more costly.
  3. For around $20 and an hour or two of your time, I believed I had nothing to lose.
  4. 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.
  5. Step 1: Make a game plan.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

1x grommet kit (about $10 on Amazon) Nylon Cord is a type of cord that is used for a variety of purposes (had it laying around) Dap Contact Cement (available at Ace Hardware for $2). 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.

It should look somewhat like this once you have drawn your shape onto the Tyvek.

It was in this manner that I measured and then folded the edges over to create the reinforced region.

As a result, the cut-out corner may be seen in the next photograph.

Step 5: Tape the Seams (optional).

I used a 1 oz bottle for all of the corners, but I think I could have gotten away with using more like 2-3 oz instead.

It was easier for me to pre-fold the edges and then apply the cement around the perimeter of the tent (without actually pressing the folded edge down).

When the glue has had enough time to set, proceed to walk around the perimeter of your footprint in the same manner you applied it, pressing the edge with your rolling pin to achieve a tight seal.

Grommets should be applied in the sixth step.

The grommet kit I purchased included all of the necessary equipment for cutting the hole in the footprint for the grommet and then applying the grommet.

Step 7: Attach the Nylon Cord This is a reasonably simple process; simply wrap loops of cord around the footprint to fasten it to the tent pegs when pitching the tent.

My final product looked like this.

The end result, as a whole, has exceeded my expectations.

All for less than $25 in supplies, plus I still have a significant amount of Tyvek left over, as well as a large number of unused grommets.

I was curious if it would fit into the same stuffsack that the tent normally goes into, and sure enough, it did, nicely coiled up with the tent in the same bag.

UPDATE (February 4, 2015): Several months after the backpacking season ended, we’re still using the same ground cloth, and it’s in excellent shape!

All of the grommets are still in place and show no evidence of being torn away.

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.

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