How Big Should a Tent Footprint Be?
Next time you’re visiting a public campsite, take a look at some of the tents that have been set up. Check the bottom of the tent to check if there are any tarps or ground cloths hanging out. If you can see the footprint of the tent, it is far too large. What is the optimal size of a tent footprint? Purchase a tent footprint that is 2′′-3′′ smaller in circumference than the floor of your tent. Having a footprint that is larger than your tent can cause flooding issues if it rains heavily. When the water starts to pool on top of the tarp and run below the tent, it will cause more harm than good.
However, they have never used it in the rain because it protects their floor from tearing and helps to keep it clean.
For a time, you might be able to get away with using a large ground cloth, but it will ultimately catch up with you and bite you in the bum.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and your sleeping bag is drenched to take action!
Choosing The Right Size Tent Footprint
Before you can pick a ground cloth or tarp, you must first determine the size of your tent. Hopefully, you’ve been able to determine the product name and year of manufacture of your tent. Alternatively, if you do not have the packing, you can wish to consider where you purchased the tent. I was fortunate enough to have purchased my prior tent through Amazon, which made tracking down my previous orders a breeze. Just have a look at the specifications and then go to the section below. Don’t be concerned!
Simply put up your tent in the backyard, grab a tape measure, and start to work measuring things up.
Go 2-3 Inches Smaller Than The Tent Floor
Before purchasing a tent, it is critical that you determine the size of the tent you require. Never squander time with a tent footprint that is significantly larger than it has to be. Purchase a tent footprint that is 2-3 inches smaller in circumference than the outside measurements of the tent. Consider the area of the top of your tent’s roof, for example. A basic three-person tent will have a floor area of around 81 square feet. Water will be diverted onto the top of your tent footprint since the full surface area of your tent will divert water.
All of that water must be able to percolate down into the soil.
|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|
The table above illustrates some of the most often encountered tent sizes. Remember to check the overall dimensions of your tent and select a tarp or footprint that is appropriate for your needs.
You will need to trim down and adjust the tarps mentioned above in order to make them fit properly. You might wish to have a look at the Alps Mountaineering website for more sizes. They are available in around 20 different sizes. As a result, you should be able to locate one that is effective.
Ask The Manufacturer For Product Specific Tent Footprints
Call the tent manufacturer and see whether they provide a tent footprint that is specifically made for your tent. Investing in a tent footprint that is properly created for your tent is by far the most advantageous choice available. You will almost certainly have to pay a premium for this service, but it is well worth it. The majority of manufacturers adopt standard size so that their whole product range may be covered with the same ground cloth. Although there is no industry standard tent size, the table below should help you get a good idea of what to expect.
It’s important to remember that you’ll almost certainly need to trim down some tarp and put grommets in it (my grommet kit).
Check Out The Tarps At Harbor Freight
After visiting a total of ten stores and failing to locate anything of interest, I came upon a goldmine at Harbor Freight. It’s insane how many different tarps they offer in different sizes and styles. The whole back wall of my neighborhood business had been entirely covered with advertisements. If you can’t locate a tarp that will work for you at harbor freight, you’re not going to be able to get one anyplace else either. Before traveling to the store, you might want to look at their online collection.
Custom Tarps are Way Too Expensive
Don’t even bother attempting to locate a heavy-duty custom-made tarp of sufficient strength. Truckers, landscapers, construction workers, and other professionals virtually exclusively employ custom tarps. A tailored tarp for my 3-person tent would have cost me anything from $30 to $70, depending on the thickness of the material used. That is more expensive than simply getting the one that is specifically made for my tent.
How Thick Should a Tent Footprint Be?
Good luck with your attempt to determine the thickness of your tent’s footprint. I tried phoning a few other manufacturers, but I couldn’t get a straight response from any of the representatives. It appears that the majority of lightweight models are. The standard version is 5mm thick, while the heavy-duty variant is 1.5mm thick. As a result, your footprint should fall somewhere between that range of values. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter how large your footprint is. Any tarp or ground cloth that is less than a year old should suffice.
Make no mistake: don’t use that nasty old tarp that you found in the garage.
Making Your Own Tent Footprint Out of a Tarp
It is really simple to create a tent footprint. Please follow the procedures outlined above and refer to the video for further information.
- Determine the dimensions of your tent. If you are unable to determine the size of your tent, you will need to stand it up and measure the bottom. Simply turn the tent on its side and lay it out on the floor to use. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to put up the tent in order to collect a measurement. Obtain a tarp that is approximately 2-3 inches shorter in length and breadth than the length and width of your tent. Instead of being excessively enormous, it is preferable to be somewhat smaller. It is possible that you will have to buy a large tarp and trim it down to size if you cannot locate a close match
- Take scissors and cut your tarp down to size. Don’t be concerned about cutting out grommets
- They may be reinserted at a later time. A substantial section of the footprint should be saved for a subsequent phase. Adding grommets is optional, but it will help to strengthen the tent and provide a location to attach the tent poles. Spending a lot of money on a grommet kit is unnecessary. a low-cost Coghlan’s Grommet Kit is all you truly need
- It includes everything. This is an optional step, but I believe it is well worth the time and effort it entails. To make corner grommet straps, take the remaining piece of tarp from before and cut four 8-12 inch strips to fit around the corners. Take a look at the image below for inspiration. Fold the straps in half and tie them to the corners of the tarp with bungee cords. Simply connect the strap to your tarp with the grommet kit that came with it. This should provide a strong enough connection, but you may want to add a few stitches to ensure a secure connection. Make a mockup of your tent over the tarp and mark the spot where your poles will intersect with the straps. Install another grommet where the tent poles will be aligned, and then insert the tent poles into the grommet. If you do so, your tarp footprint should be prevented from slipping below the tent floor.
6 Reasons You Need To Buy A Tent Footprint
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a tent for £150 or £1500; a tent footprint may save you time and work while, more crucially, protecting a key section of your tent from damage.
The inexpensive cost of this attachment, which ranges from £10 and upwards, making it an absolute must-have to purchase with your tent or to use with an existing tent you already possess. First and foremost, it could be worthwhile for us to go over the fundamentals.
What is a tent footprint?
Do you have a clear understanding of what a tent footprint is? Most of the time, you can tell what a tent footprint is by looking at it, but in case you’re unclear, it’s a groundsheet-like piece of cloth that rests between your tent and the ground. Depending on the size of your tent, it is available in a variety of sizes. It is pinned down in the corners and is the first item you should take care of while assembling your tent. Here are six compelling reasons why you should invest in a tent footprint:
1. Prolong the life of your tent
Due to the fact that 90 percent of tents are now constructed with a sewn-in groundsheet, purchasing a footprint has become even more important. Take precautions to keep your brand new tent secure from abrasion or cuts caused by loose stones and twigs – think of it like purchasing a screen protector or cover for your brand new phone – it’s better to be safe than sorry! Accidents may happen while camping even with the finest intentions and utmost care in the world – therefore it’s worth you in the long run to build your tent with as much safety as possible from the start.
2. Add extra warmth
Incorporating a footprint beneath your tent will add another layer, somewhat elevating you off the ground and reducing the amount of heat that escapes to the ground. When people go camping, they grossly underestimate how much body heat may be lost in this manner, which is a severe mistake. This, in conjunction with a goodsleeping matorair bed, will give an excellent foundation for a restful night’s sleep. When you’re camping, the majority of your heat is lost to the ground, thus leaving a footprint can assist keep you warm and comfortable.
3. Add extra waterproofing
Layers of protection are twice as effective as one layer. A second layer of waterproofing can not only provide you with peace of mind, but it can also help to safeguard your investment by preventing water damage. Your brand new tent is an investment, and you’ll want to make sure that it remains in the best possible condition for as long as possible after you’ve purchased it.
4. Easier, simplified pitching
You’ll have a clear picture of where your tent is going to be placed, where it will fit, and where to begin pegging from the start because most footprints are custom-made and particular to the contour of your tent’s outline. When it comes to actually pitching your tent, you will save valuable time and have less problems as a result of this.
5. Packing away is less hassle
It’s certain that the camping grounds will be wet during your stay (as is often the case in the United Kingdom), and when it comes time to pack up your tent, you will find that the sewn-in groundsheet of your tent will get quite wet and muddy – hardly the most pleasant of farewell presents. The footprint is something that will prevent the most of this from happening and will keep your tent reasonably dry and clean, which means there will be a lot less work to do once you get home.
6. Tailor-made to suit your tent
In most circumstances, footprints will be particular to a tent type (or in some cases, footprints will fit more than one model) and will be slightly smaller than the floorplan in order to avoid any water from collecting between the sewn-ingroundsheet and the footprint.
This’made-to-measure’ approach makes finding the correct footprint for your tent a cinch thanks to its flexibility.
Do I need a tent footprint?
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with six compelling arguments for why you should invest in a tent footprint. Our recommendation is that you use a footprint or groundsheet, just like you would with your man ropes, but ultimately it comes down to personal opinion. Although a footprint may seem unnecessary to a seasoned camper who has never used one, it can be extremely useful if you’ve ever suffered a tear in the bottom of your tent, struggle with water seeping in from beneath your tent, or simply despise packing away a muddy tent; in these cases, a footprint can be extremely beneficial.
- Interested in learning more about tent footprints?
- The following are some more questions that you may have: What should the footprint of a tent be in terms of size?
- This is done in order to prevent water from collecting between the footprint and your tent, which would completely contradict the purpose of the footprint!
- What is the composition of a tent footprint?
- However, you’ll discover that the majority of them are constructed of polyethylene, which is both sturdy and easy to clean.
- How to clean the footprint of a tent Use a clean (preferably brand new) cloth to wipe away any filth, followed by a simple rinse with water.
Check out ourgreat range of tent footprintsto make your camping trip that little bit smoother.
You should have taken away six compelling arguments for why you should use a tent footprint from this article. Our recommendation is that you use a footprint or groundsheet, just like you would with your man ropes, but the final decision is up to you. Although a footprint may seem unnecessary to a seasoned camper who has never used one, it can be extremely useful if you’ve ever suffered a tear in the bottom of your tent, struggle with water seeping in from beneath your tent, or simply despise packing away a muddy tent; in these situations, a footprint can be extremely beneficial.
- Interested in learning more about tent footprints?
- The following are some other questions that you could have: What should the footprint of a tent be in relation to its height and width?
- This is done in order to prevent water from collecting between the footprint and your tent, which would completely contradict the purpose of the footprint.
- What exactly is the composition of a tent footprint?
- While some are constructed of durable and easy-to-clean polyethylene, the majority are made of a different material.
Getting a Tent Footprint Clean Cleaning dirt off with a clean cloth (preferably a brand new one) is the easiest approach to do it. With heavy mud that has become adhered to the footprint, a scourer should be used, but only with caution to avoid being overly harsh.
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It: Yes, and how to make your own for free
If you’ve already read our in-depth guide to buying a tent and discovered your ideal backcountry structure, you might be wondering if you’ll need to purchase a tent footprint to go with your new construction. Alternatively, if your tent comes with a sleeping bag, should you really take it on your next trip? When it comes to backpacking and camping, tent footprints, sometimes known as groundsheets, may be a source of friction for both groups. Is a tent footprint, on the other hand, worthwhile?
The straightforward answer is yes.
Find out everything you need to know about footprints and groundsheets by continuing reading this article.
Here’s what we are going to cover:
- What is a tent footprint, and how do you make one? What is the purpose of a tent footprint
- What is the purpose of using a tent footprint? What is the composition of tent footprints
- Is it really worth it to leave a footprint? Tent Footprints Made at Home
What Is A Tent Footprint?
As the name implies, a footprint (sometimes called a groundsheet) is an extremely lightweight sheet that is roughly the shape of your tent floor’s outline and that is placed beneath your tent to act as a barrier or additional layer between the ground and your tent floor. These are frequently supplemental or optional pieces of equipment. Groundsheets, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly common among tent manufacturers, who are included them in the price of their tents. Footprints are frequently constructed of the same material as your tent, but with a thicker thread—a thicker thread is referred to as a higher ‘denier.’ More on this in a moment.
What Is A Tent Footprint Used For?
Despite the fact that it is constructed of exceptionally durable nylon or polyester, the floor of your tent is subjected to a great deal of wear and tear. Some terrain can cause your tent floor to wear out considerably more quickly than others. Exposed granite and sandstone can act as sandpaper on the bottom of your tent, potentially causing thin areas or holes to appear quite rapidly on the ground surface of your tent. Minor, sharp pebbles and twigs can also create small punctures in your floor, especially if they are close together.
Even yet, if holes begin to form in your tent, the effectiveness of the tent to keep you dry and warm gets more weakened over time.
A footprint serves as a protective covering against these abrasions and as a barrier between you and the ground, which can be chilly or damp at times.
Why Use A Tent Footprint?
Tent footprints have the potential to significantly increase the useful life of your tent. When you consider that a hiking tent might cost $300 or more, a footprint that costs $40-50 or less could well be worth it. In the event that you let your tent floor to become worn, you may as well be employing an arp shelter or a bivy bag. Unlike your tent, when the footprint wears out, it can be simply changed at a far cheaper cost than the tent itself.
Footprints Are Useful For Other Things Too
Tent footprints are also helpful for a variety of other applications, which is an added plus.
As we explained in previous post, tent footprints, as well as old rain-flies, may be utilized in a variety of practical ways, including the following ones:
- The use of groundsheets for bivying or when you just don’t want to bother with putting up the tent
- They make wonderful tarps for sorting equipment. Tarps made of perfectrope for the crag
- Picnic blankets that are a good size
- Rain protection that is above and beyond
- Additional heat insulating layer/windshield is recommended. Can be used to repair various items of clothing and equipment, such as tents and backpacks.
What are tent footprints made of?
It is possible that your tent will arrive with a footprint, however most tents can be purchased with a fitted footprint. Footprints will be made of either nylon or polyester, similar to how tents are manufactured. In a recent post, we discussed the differences in the characteristics of nylon and polyester. Generally speaking, nylon is a stronger textile that is also more elastic and less water resistant than polyester. Polyester is less elastic than nylon, but it is significantly more water resistant and resistant to UV damage than nylon.
When you consider that the objective of your footprints is to protect you and your tent from moisture and abrasion, most people would agree that a polyester groundsheet is the superior choice (disregarding weight).
The ‘denier’ of the fabric will be listed in the product specs for footprints, much as it is with tent material (for double-walled tents, the denier is not as critical because the inner tent is protected by the rain fly). Denier is a unit of measure for the thickness of a thread. As an example, consider denier to be a “burliness” element in the instance of tent footprints. The greater the denier, the more hefty the product will be in terms of weight. In order to serve as a barrier, your imprints should be made of a higher denier fabric wherever possible (assuming all other factors are equivalent).
Denier By The Numbers
For example, the universal footprint for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX costs $45 when purchased from Backcountry.com. In comparison, the Hubba Hubba’s floor material is 30-denier nylon and the top micromesh is 15-denier.Nylon is lighter than polyester.The Nemo Hornet’s footprint weighs 6.9 ounces and is 75-denier nylon.The Nemo Hornet is available for $49. However, while the Nemofootprint has a higher denier than the Hubba Hubba footprint, the overall weight is still smaller than the Hubba Hubba footprint.
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It?
All of this is in order to answer the question, “Is leaving a footprint worth it?” A tent footprint is absolutely worth the investment, especially considering how lightweight, inexpensive, and versatile they are. Let’s imagine you’ve come to a conclusion and are now looking for the ideal footprint for your tent on the internet. There is one more thing to think about, and it might end up saving you a significant amount of money.
DIY Tent Footprints
Tent footprints are quite basic objects, despite the fact that they are extremely vital. What exactly are they in the first place? You should put a sheet under your tent. Is it really necessary to spend $40-50 bucks on anything like that? The answer to this question is a resounding no.
The manufacturer-issued footprints may be replaced with a few other options that will perform better, are more adaptable, and will save you money as well. Before we get into the DIY possibilities, it’s crucial to understand how to measure the footprint of your DIY tent.
How Big Should A Tent Footprint Be?
It is recommended that the footprints be cut to be around 1-2 inches smaller than the actual outline of your tent on all sides. The rationale behind this is a bit puzzling, to be honest. It is possible that a footprint that extends beyond the tent’s edge will operate as a moisture trap. In the event of a downpour, this will allow water to pool and flow between the footprint and the bottom of your tent’s floor. It is possible that more water will enter the main tent as a result of this than if the footprint had not been present in the first place.
3 Materials For A Solid DIY Footprint
A basic transparent plastic painters tarp, which is the heaviest choice here, can be obtained at any hardware shop for a few dollars. The amount of material you receive will be plenty for your needs, and you may cut it to your specifications. Pros:
- It is inexpensive
- You may choose the size. Completely impervious to water
- Big tents
- When weight is not a consideration
- Car camping or walk-in campsites
Polycro, which is available from Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs, is the lightest of the ultra-light polymers. Polycro is transparent, and it appears just like a plastic painter’s tarp, only it’s wayyy thinner. Its high strength to weight ratio means that, despite being a thin layer, Polycro is exceptionally durable, puncture and abrasion resistant, in addition to being water and abrasion resistant. A normal sheet of polycro, measuring 96″ by 48″, weighs just 1.6 ounces, which is nearly indistinguishable (45 grams).
You know that white paper-like material that is used to cover houses while they are being built? Because it’s practically unbreakable, it’s inexpensive, it’s waterproof, and it’s also somewhat lightweight. Tyvek has a high burliness factor, which means it is difficult to tear. It is far more puncture resistant when compared to the other choices. Tyvek is also impervious to water. However, because it is light and compact, you can simply roll up and cinch it in the top of your pack or one of the exterior straps when not in use.
Others will cut the piece to your preferred length if you ask them nicely.
In comparison to Polycro, a piece of Tyvek measuring 84″ × 84″ weights 6.5 ounces (184 grams).
- Those white paper-like sheets that are used to cover houses while they are being built? I love that thing since it’s practically unbreakable, low-cost, water-resistant, and lightweight. In terms of burliness factor, Tyvek is a strong performer. It is far more puncture resistant than the other alternatives. Tyvek is also waterproof, which is a nice feature for outdoor activities. However, because it is light and compact, you can simply roll up and tighten it in the top of your pack or one of the exterior straps to keep it safe from being crushed. If you don’t have any pieces laying around, you can buy a 3’x165′ roll of carpet at a hardware shop for $66 (about $2.50 per foot). Others will trim the piece to your chosen length if you request it in advance. A groundsheet-sized piece is sufficient if you only want a little amount. Tyvek groundsheets are available for purchase at Six Moon Designs. A piece of Tyvek that is 84 inches by 84 inches weights just 6.5 pounds, as opposed to the heavier Polycro piece (184 grams). The weight is still really low, but it is not the lightest. Pros:
- What Is the Footprint of a Tent? A footprint is a ground sheet that is molded to the contour of your tent and serves as a barrier between the floor of your tent and the ground. What Is the Purpose of a Footprint? A footprint is a piece of rubber that protects the bottom of your tent from damage. When placed between your tent and the ground, it works as a barrier, keeping moisture and cold from getting into your tent. Is It Really Necessary To Bring A Tent When Backpacking? When hiking, you do not need to leave a trace. A footprint, on the other hand, will extend the life of your tent by preventing moisture and cold from entering the tent and is very light in comparison. Footprints may be used for a variety of additional functions while hiking or camping, such as a rain tarp, a gear sorting station, wind protection, a picnic blanket, and other things. In Your Opinion, What Is The Best DIY Tent Footprint? Tyvek and Polycro are two inexpensive and lightweight materials that may be used to create your own imprints. Compared to Tyvek, Polycro is considerably lighter and less durable, but it is also more costly and more delicate. Tyvek is more durable and less expensive. Both variants are water-resistant.
Is it really worth it to have a tent footprint? We believe this to be true.
r/CampingGear – What size of tent footprint should I buy?
You have a few of choices. The first option is to get a factory footprint that has been customized for your particular tent. These tend to be more expensive, but some enable you to have more freedom by letting you to use the fly and footprint separately from the tent; this is useful if you’re traveling in an area where there aren’t many bugs. Another alternative is to purchase low-cost, lightweight materials and trim them to fit your needs. Tyvek is usually recommended, and you can find individuals selling them in hiking groups and on eBay.
Another alternative is simple painter’s plastic, which can be purchased at Home Depot in a variety of thicknesses; the thinner the plastic, the less durable it is.
These are extremely low in weight, and several ultralight hikers swear by them.
Cheap plastics may be less long-lasting, but they are also more easily changed.
You may either trim them down to size or just fold them (under) so that they don’t gather any more moisture. If you have a few large automobile camping tents, you may simply fold them together to accommodate all of the tents. Wishing you the best of luck!
How Big Should A Tent Footprint Be?
With the proper equipment, camping may be a more enjoyable experience. Whether you are planning your first camping vacation or have been camping for the majority of your life, a footprint for your tent is an important product to consider. In order to achieve the best possible result with your tent, you may be thinking “How large should a tent footprint be?” The exact dimensions are determined on the size of your tent. A tent’s footprint may be measured with relative ease. If you are not planning to use grommets, it should be around 2 inches smaller than the tent’s floor; if you are planning to use grommets, it should be roughly 3 inches bigger than the tent.
- Starting with a huge tarp made of a material that is simple to write on, you may go on to the next step.
- Make a mark on the floor of the tent with a marking pen.
- Cut the material to the proper length and width.
- Depending on whether it is the same size or greater, rain may gather on the outside of the building.
- It is possible that the tent may be destroyed, and you will not have a good camping experience.
Why Do You Need A Tent Footprint?
There are so many advantages to tent footprints that you should not be without one at any point in your life. First and foremost, it will increase the longevity of your tent. Not only will it shield your tent from excessive dampness, but it will also shield it from any trash on the ground beneath it. While a decent footprint may survive for years with appropriate maintenance, it is far less expensive to replace it than it is to purchase a completely new tent. Second, it protects both you and your tent from the elements by providing waterproofing.
- A waterproof footing will also make it easier to clean the tent once it has been used.
- If you initially set the footprint on the ground, you will be able to determine whether or not the size you selected is accurate.
- Camping will be a more pleasant experience if you have a tent footprint.
- Even the tiniest quantity of material in the footprint will have a significant contribution to global warming.
- When you’re camping, a good night’s sleep is essential for having a nice time.
- Due to the fact that you will be elevated above the earth, your body will lose less heat.
- It will also be less difficult to pack up your tent when it comes time to return home after your camping trip.
There will be no need to clean up any wetness, trash, or muck.
A tent footprint will improve your camping experience, as well as the experience of your family or friends who will be joining you.
Perhaps you already have a tent, or have seen tents in stores or on the internet, and have noticed that the tent you prefer has a floor.
You want a footprint that is practical, light enough to be carried comfortably, and thick enough to be helpful in order to achieve the greatest outcomes.
You may be able to locate one that is created by the same company that manufactured your tent.
If you have already invested in a high-quality tent, you may want to create your own attachment rather than purchasing one.
You may purchase the material that best meets your requirements, preferences, and financial constraints.
A thin sheet is lightweight, practical, and convenient to carry around with you.
Tyvek is the brand name for a polyethylene fiber-based polymer that is used in a variety of applications.
The fire-resistant material, which has a Class 1 flammability certification, provides an extra layer of protection for your tent.
Basic plastic is the most cost-effective alternative available.
Alternatively, you may purchase a piece of plastic that is somewhat larger than the size of your tent and cut it down to the appropriate size afterward.
How Does A Tent Footprint Make Camping A Better Experience?
Camping is something that many people like doing on their vacations or when they have a weekend away from work or school. Camping is more enjoyable when you can put up your tent fast, sleep comfortably, and easily take down your tent when you are ready to go without exerting too much work on your part. It will be more enjoyable as well if your tent is kept clean and in good working order. When you have material below the tent, you will be able to enjoy all of these advantages. It serves to preserve the tent while also allowing you to remain comfortable during the night.
When it comes to camping, the equipment and accessories you use make a big impact in your experience.
Whether you purchase a ready-made product or create one from yourself, the size is important.
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.
- What kind of material is the floor of your tent? What is the thickness of it
- 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.
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
Setting up your tent in an area free of twigs and pebbles is critical, not only for the sake of safeguarding your tent floor, but also for your own comfort when sleeping in it. While it is possible to find an uncluttered tent site, it is quite unusual. Because you will not know the ground conditions until you are ready to set up camp, it is not a good idea to pitch your tent in an unfamiliar location unless you are familiar with the area. By adding an extra layer of protection, a tent footprint might help to alleviate some of the anxiety.
- 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
- 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. Check out some further suggestions to assist you in selecting a hiking backpack.
How to use a tent footprint
It is not difficult to set up a tent on a tent footprint. Follow these three straightforward steps:
- Prepare the ground for your tent’s footprint
- Set up a tent on the roof
- 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.
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:
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.
Do You Need a Tent Footprint for Backpacking?
You’ve invested in a tent with a water-resistant floor. Is it necessary to purchase a tent footprint or a groundsheet in addition to the tent? How sturdy and waterproof your tent floor is, as well as what the surface conditions are like where you want to use it, are all factors that must be considered. If you want to make a decision, you’ll need to understand how the thickness of your tent floor and the waterproof rating of your tent will affect its overall longevity. The choice of a camping spot is also an essential consideration.
What is a Tent Footprint?
It is important to understand that a tent footprint is a piece of protective fabric or material that you place under your tent to act as a moisture barrier while also protecting your tent floor from abrasion and punctures. Abrasion occurs on the bottom of your tent every time you pitch it due to the grit, small rocks, sand, and twigs that build on previously used tent sites. This weakens the fabric, which might result in a hole or puncture that allows water to seep past the waterproof layer of your tent floor and into the inside.
The majority of tent footprints are designed to correspond to the floor measurements of a certain tent.
In the event that your tent floor has a hole or has deteriorated seam tape, the puddle may soak through the fabric or seep inside the tent.
To ensure that precipitation flowing off your tent’s rainfly is absorbed into the surrounding soil, if you’re using an excessively big tent footprint, it’s recommended to tuck the footprint edges beneath the borders of your tent.
Tent Floor Durability and Waterproofing
A denier count and a waterproofing meter are frequently included in the specifications of backpacking tents. The denier count of a tent’s floor fabric refers to the thickness of the threads that make up the fabric, and it is a good indicator of the tent’s overall durability. Consider the following example: The floor of a tent that has a “70D,” or “70 denier,” construction, such as theREI Half Dome 2 Plus, will be harder and more durable than the 15 denier floor of the ultralightNEMO Hornet 2.
- For example, a tent floor with a waterproof rating of 5000 mm, such as the Hilleberg Niak, is far more waterproof than a tent floor with a waterproof rating of 1200 mm, such as theNEMO Hornet 2, which is substantially less waterproof.
- It may be used to evaluate the waterproofness of different tent flooring against one another.
- While they do not specify whether or not it is waterproof, it is unquestionably more durable than the 15 denier floor that came with the tent in question.
- It is also important to evaluate the nature and character of the campgrounds where you intend to set up your tent, as well as whether the usage of a footprint is appropriate in that particular setting.
Your camping location will determine whether you require a tent footprint or not. A good example is how many pre-existing campsites have been “dished out” and have formed an indentation in the ground where many people have previously stayed. Gravel, grit, sand, and water gather in these dished-out regions, and if you camp on them on a regular basis, they will wear down the bottom of your tent. If you only camp once or twice a year, the damage on your tent floor will be less significant. However, if you have to camp in campgrounds or established campsites and your floor is thinner and less waterproof, using a footprint may be a better option.
A footprint is not required if you are camping on an earthy mossy forest floor that is well-drained and non-abrasive, as long as you remove any sticks and pine cones from the area before you set up camp.
However, if you’re camping on sand or exposed rock that’s more abrasive, leaving a footprint may be a good idea. I am aware that my degree of care would rise if I were to use a tent with a floor made of less than 20 denier and a waterproof rating of less than 1500 mm.
Cost and Weight of Tent Footprints
In addition to being expensive and heavy, tent footprints may be difficult to transport, which can be discouraging when you’ve invested a lot of effort and money in purchasing a lightweight tent. Spending an additional $50 for a basic piece of low-cost cloth seems like a rip-off to me, especially considering the additional weight and work necessary to transport it, as well as the additional time and effort required to clean and dry it between uses. In order to demonstrate what I mean, below is a review of various popular tent styles, followed by a comparison of the weights of the footprints sold by their respective makers.
|Make / Model||Tent Weight||Test Cost||Footprint Weight||Footprint Cost|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1||2 lbs 2 oz||$380||4 oz||$60|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2||3 lbs 8 oz||$450||7 oz||$35|
|NEMO Hornet 1||1 lb 10 oz||$330||5.3 oz||$40|
|REI Quarter Dome SL 2||2 lbs 8 oz||$349||6.4 oz||$55|
|REI Flash Air 2||1 lb 15 oz||$299||5.4 oz||$55|
|REI Flash Air 1||1 lb 4 oz||$249||3.5 oz||$45|
Alternative and Lower Cost Tent Footprints
When I travel with a footprint, I pack a piece of extremely lightweight plastic sheeting that weighs between 1 and 2 ounces, depending on the size of the tent I’m using as a footprint. For this reason, Gossamer Gear provides something calledPolycryo Groundcloths, which I’ve been using for several years. Despite this, whether used on sandy soil or gravel, the material is strong and will not shred or wear out. You may utilize it over and over again, and it requires no more maintenance. a cut-to-size Gossamer Gear Polycryo Plastic Sheet — the tent rainfly conceals the plastic sheet that is visible, preventing water from pooling on top of it.
- Depending on how frequently you use it, a single piece will last for one season or perhaps longer.
- Both are inexpensive and may be split into several groundsheets for a single price of less than $10.
- Despite the fact that it is lightweight, waterproof, and puncture-resistant, it is significantly heavier than Polycryo or Window Wrap.
- Its most significant benefit is that it is indestructible.
- We may (but not always) get a small portion of any sales made using the links provided above.
- Although the cost of the product remains the same for you, your purchase allows us to continue to test and create unsponsored and independent gear evaluations, beginning FAQs, and free hiking guides for you.
Best Tent Footprints: Choosing the Best Tent Footprint
In terms of camping equipment, tent footprints are a fantastic element that every camper should have in their arsenal of supplies. You might be asking, however, with so many various tent footprints available on the market today, what you should look for when selecting a tent footprint, what constitutes a decent tent footprint, and which tent footprints are the best. For the purpose of assisting you in selecting the most appropriate tent footprint for your specific requirements, we prepared this useful tent footprint guide to inform you on not only what to look for but also how to select a tent footprint.
But I also want to inform you about which tent footprints are the greatest tent footprints now available on the market.
Best Tent Footprints
However, while it may appear that all tent footprints are essentially the same, they really come in a variety of sizes and have a variety of characteristics that distinguish them from one another. As a result, we selected a variety of tent footprints to ensure that no matter what your requirements are, you will be able to discover the right tent footprint for you.
GEERTOP 1-4 Person Waterproof Tent Footprint
- Why It’s Outstanding: Waterproofing of the highest quality
- Size: Available in a variety of sizes
- 20D Nylon Cloth
- Weight: 5.7 ounces
- Material: Nylon Cloth
When it comes to waterproofing, most tent foot prints or groundcovers are adequate; however, this tent footprint byGEERTOP takes it to a whole new level by coating the fabric with silicone, resulting in one of the highest waterproof certifications available, PU8000MM. The fabric used for this tent footprint is 20D Nylon, which is well-known in the camping world for being a high-quality and durable material that can withstand the rigors of camping. It also has built-in grommets and straps at each of the four corners, which allow you to anchor the footprint down or use it as a shelter with trekking poles if desired (not included).
OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp
- Why It’s Great: It’s the cheapest. Size: Available in a variety of sizes
- Weight ranges from 11 to 17 ounces (depending on the size) and is made of 210D Oxford fabric.
Using this small and sturdy camping tarp or tent footprint when camping is an excellent alternative if you’re searching for a budget-friendly or inexpensive tent footprint to utilize when camping. Our research revealed that this tent footprint is one of the most reasonably priced tent footprints available on the market while yet maintaining a high degree of quality and durability. Never let the low price of this tent footprint fool you, because despite being one of the most affordable options available, it is still extremely well-made and includes some useful features such as 210D oxford fabric, waterproof capabilities, the ability to be purchased in a variety of colors, and a storage bag for easy transport and storage.
To find out how much this ultra-affordable and budget-friendly tent footprint costs on Amazon, please visit this page.
REDCAMP Ultralight Tent Footprint
- Why It’s Outstanding: Storage that is the smallest possible
- Size: Available in a variety of sizes
- Product Details: Material:210T Ripstop Polyester Fabric
- Weight:14 Ounces
For those searching for a lightweight and ultra-compact tent footprint to go with their ultra-lightweight tent for trekking or hiking, the REDCAMP Ultra-Lightweight Tent Footprint is a fantastic option to consider. When it comes to packing, this tent footprint is so compact that you could fit it in your pocket if you really wanted to. Despite the fact that it is lightweight and compact, the 210D ripstop polyester fabric provides ample protection from the ground, allowing you to set up your tent on a sturdy and dry barrier when camping or trekking in the great outdoors.
With that being said, the lightweight and compact design of this tent footprint makes it an excellent alternative for any backpacker or camper who prefers to keep his or her belongings as light and compact as possible while yet having a sturdy tent footprint when camping.
However, please be advised that the majority of these sizes are most suitable for a small or single-person tent. To find out how much this ultra-lightweight and ultra-compact tent footprint for backpackers and hikers costs on Amazon, visit this page.
Winis Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp Footprint
- Why It’s Outstanding: The most long-lasting
- Large, oversized throw blanket measuring 85 inches by 85 inches made of 420D Oxford fabric and weighing 16 ounces.
When it comes to cotton tent footprints, most are made of the 210D rating (also known as 210 Denier for short). This tent footprint, on the other hand, is made of the more durable 420D oxford fabric, which is extremely resistant to rips and punctures. denier (for a more in-depth description of Denier, please consult the buyer’s guide linked below) However, despite the fact that this tent groundsheet is made of extremely heavy-duty cotton, it weighs just 16 ounces, which is a decent weight. Also included are grommets at each of the four corners of the footprint, which allow you to stake down the footprint and use it as a shelter when the weather is very bad.
To see the current Amazon pricing of this Winis durable tent footprint, please visit this page.
TRIWONDER Waterproof Hammock Rain Fly Tent Tarp Footprint
- Why It’s Great: It’s the most versatile
- It’s the most affordable. Size: Available in a variety of sizes
- 16 Ounces
- 420D Oxford Fabric
- Material:420D Oxford Fabric
This tent footprint by TRIWONDER is one of the most flexible footprints on this list since it can also be used as a rain tarp or shelter owing to the numerous grommets that are strategically placed around the perimeter of the tarp. However, while it is common for tent footprints to have four grommets at each corner to allow for the tent to be staked out, the medium and large sizes of this tent footprint actually have six grommets, allowing you to raise the middle of the tarp with the use of poles (which are not included) in order to provide a shelter from the elements.
Another excellent aspect of this tent footprint is that it is made of 420D Oxford fabric, much like the one mentioned before, which provides a tremendous amount of durability and toughness, assuring that this footprint will remain in good condition no matter what you throw at it while camping.
For backpackers and hikers who want to camp light while also minimizing the weight of their tent footprint, this ultra-lightweight tent footprint from GEERTOP is definitely one you should consider purchasing.
Despite the fact that this tent groundsheet is so lightweight, it is yet sturdy and durable enough to withstand just about anything you can throw at it.
Because of the silicon waterproof coating put to the nylon fabric by the manufacturer, this footprint has a waterproof rating of PU5000MM, which means that it has the ability to hold water if you were to fill the tarp with water and leave it out overnight.
Also included are loops at each of the footprint’s four corners, which allow you to stake the footprint down or suspend it in the air as a rainfly if you so want. To find out how much this ultra-lightweight tent footprint from GEERTOP costs on Amazon, please visit this page.
How to Choose the Best Tent Footprint
In order to ensure that you select the best tent footprint or groundsheet for your needs, there are several factors that must be considered, including the footprint’s size and weight, the material used to construct the footprint, the level of waterproofing provided by the footprint, the footprint’s features, and the groundsheet’s overall versatility. For the purpose of assisting you in selecting the most appropriate tent footprint for your requirements, we will go over each of these characteristics in detail, as well as a few other often asked questions, to ensure that you are well informed about tent footprints.
Tent Footprints Size and Weight
One of the most crucial things to consider when selecting a tent footprint is the size of the footprint itself, since selecting the proper footprint size may make all the difference in how well your tent performs. In this case, you will not receive the full and adequate protection you require, and if you choose a tent footprint that is too large for your tent, you will end up adding unnecessary bulk and weight to your camping gear, as well as the possibility of water collecting around and underneath the tent if it rains.
So, in order to assist you in selecting the proper size tent footprint based on the size of your tent, we developed this useful table.
As a result, when picking a tent footprint, be sure to measure your unique tent dimensions to verify that you are selecting the optimal tent footprint for your specific tent dimensions.
|Size of Tent||Recommend Tent Footprint Dimensions|
|1 Person Tents||35 inches by 85 inches|
|2 and 3 Person Tents||65 inches by 85 inches|
|4 Person Tents||100 inches by 85 inches|
Tent Footprint Weight
The weight of the tent footprint is heavily influenced by the size and thickness of the tent footprint that you choose to use. Because larger and thicker tent footprints would weigh more than smaller and thinner ones, it is evident that larger and thicker tent footprints will weigh more. In order to reduce the weight and pack size of the tent footprint, it’s important to keep in mind the level of protection you require and choose a tent footprint that provides just the right amount of protection without being overkill in order to reduce the weight and pack size of the tent footprint.
Tent Footprint Materials
The materials used to make tent footprints are several, but the most typical are nylon, polyester, and Oxford cloth (a form of canvas). Despite the fact that each of these materials has its own unique characteristics, the common thread running through them all is that they are all synthetic. When opposed to natural materials, synthetic materials are often utilized for tent footprints because they are lighter, more durable, and more waterproof.
To be completely honest with you, there isn’t much of a difference in performance or weight between nylon, polyester, and Oxford fabric because they are all quite durable and lightweight fabrics.
Using Denier to Determine Durability
As an alternative, you could pay greater attention to the Denier number of the footprint material, which is commonly abbreviated as “D.” For example, the tent footprint material might be listed as “210D Oxford fabric or 20D nylon cloth” in the product description for a tent footprint. Denier is simply the measure of the weight and thickness of the individual threads that make up a piece of cloth. Consequently, the higher the Denier number, the heavier and thicker the threads in the material are, and the more durable and reliable the material will be as a result of this increase in density.
You may, however, compare the Denier number across various footprints that are made of the same material by comparing the material’s density.
When evaluating tent footprint materials, keep an eye out for the phrase “ripstop,” since a material that has been treated with ripstop technology will be particularly resistant to tears or rips in the field.
Waterproofing and Tent Footprints
While the majority of tent footprint materials are inherently waterproof, they are generally treated with a chemical or silicone to make them even more water-resistant and durable. When it comes to waterproofing tent footprints, there are two primary varieties to choose from: silicone (SIL) and polyurethane (PU) (PU). Both offer great waterproofing, but the methods by which they are applied and the benefits and downsides of each are distinct. See the definitions of each of the numerous types of waterproofing coatings for tent footprints, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, to have a better understanding of the subject.
- However, while the majority of tent footprint materials are inherently waterproof, they are often treated with a chemical or silicone to make them even more water resistant. When it comes to waterproofing tent footprints, there are two primary varieties to choose from: silicone (SIL) and polyurethane (PU). While they both provide great waterproofing, there are some variances in the way they are applied, as well as distinctions in the advantages and disadvantages of each. Please refer to the terminologies provided below for a better understanding of the various types of waterproofing coatings for tent footprints, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
A tent footprint with a waterproof rating of PU8000MM is twice as waterproof as a tent footprint with a waterproof rating of PU4000MM. This is because when comparing the waterproof qualities of one tent footprint to another, the higher the number in relation to waterproofing the better.
Tent Footprint Features and Versatility
While it may appear that all tent footprints have essentially the same qualities, this is not the case. There can be significant differences between tent footprints in terms of features and adaptability, and this is especially true for outdoor tents. Example: Grommets or loops or a mix of both at each corner of certain tent footprints allow you to not only stake the footprint down but also use it as a rainfly or shelter from the wind and sun by connecting ropes or poles to the grommets. In certain cases, tent footprints are designed with pockets stitched into each corner, allowing you to weigh down each corner with a rock or other heavy object when it is not possible to stake down the footprint or when you wish to use it as a beach or picnic blanket.
When attempting to pick which tent footprint to purchase, keep an eye out for any additional characteristics that might help distinguish it from other identical tent footprints.
Is It Worth Getting a Tent Footprint?
One of the most often asked concerns from campers about tent footprints or ground coverings is whether or not they are absolutely necessary. Even though there is considerable discussion in the camping community as to whether or not a tent footprint is actually essential. The majority of campers, like myself, think that a tent footprint is an essential and necessary piece of camping equipment that every camper should have. Tent footprints are recommended by most campers because of the numerous benefits they provide, such as protecting the delicate fabric on the bottom of your tent from abrasions and punctures, adding an additional layer of waterproofing to help keep you and your tent dry, and acting as a second thermal barrier between your body and the freezing ground.
How Big Should the Tent Footprint Be?
When it comes to tent footprints, some campers prefer them to be slightly larger than the tent itself because it provides them with an additional area to store wet or muddy items outside the tent that they do not want to bring inside. However, there is one major disadvantage to this, and that is rain. This is due to the fact that if the tent footprint is larger than the tent itself and it begins to rain, the tent footprint will begin to collect water, potentially allowing water to run underneath the tent, thereby eliminating one of the most significant advantages of additional waterproofing that a tent footprint provides.