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.
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.
The soil in pre-existing tent sites and established campsites is frequently sandy and abrasive, making it difficult to create a healthy garden.
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.
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. Thank you for your assistance, and please know that we appreciate it!
Which Side of A Tent Footprint Goes Up?
Because it is such a straightforward piece of equipment, there are no written instructions. When it comes to setting up your tent footprint, is there a correct way and a wrong way? Which side of a Tent Footprint is the upward facing side? Which side of a tent’s footprint should be raised? The waterproof side of your tent footprint should be facing upwards, towards the sky, according to technical specifications. This is normally the side that is bright and sparkly, and it is usually the side that carries the brand logo on it.
Does it really make a difference?
Most likely not!
Which Side Of a Tent Footprint Goes Up?
Tent Footprints are meant to keep your tent protected from the elements while you’re camping. When the ground isn’t perfectly flat, a tent footprint or ground fabric will help to keep your tent floor from ripping and tearing. So, what is the best way to make use of a tent footprint?
The Shiny Decorative Side Goes Up
It actually doesn’t matter which side of the Tent Footprint is used to construct the structure. The majority of manufacturers recommend that you place the glossy side with the logo facing up. According to the manufacturer, the glossy side has a waterproofing coating, but I don’t believe this (it’s probably simply so people can see the logo). When you consider the appropriate method to use a tent footprint, it doesn’t make any sense. After you’ve set up the tent, you shouldn’t be able to see the footprint any longer.
Its sole purpose is to keep muck and unintentional punctures at bay.
Setting Up Your Tent Footprint
All of the other steps in the setup process are quite straightforward as well.
- First and foremost, you must prepare the area where you will be camping by placing your footprint or groundsheet. In most cases, unless your tent is quite costly, you will not require a particular footprint. (I’ve been using this inexpensive footprint.) Any inexpensive blue tarp will suffice
- Determine which side of the tarp/footprint is waterproof by looking at it closely. The shiny side of the ground fabric is normally facing up towards the sky
- Begin erecting your tent on top of the ground cloth. Incorporate your tent poles into the grommets, then secure them with the straps for further stability. It will just take a few minutes to put up your tent and call it a day if you have a tarp.
Advantages to Buying a Real Tent Footprint
The great majority of my life, I have avoided leaving a physical footprint in favor of utilizing a tarp instead of paper. That was all I actually required on those brief camping trips over the weekend that I took. It wasn’t until I started working with lightweight equipment that I realized the importance of specialized footprints for me. It is possible to eliminate the need for the tent body and simply utilize the rainfly and footprint when you have a footprint created particularly for your tent.
You may certainly use a tarp as a tent footprint, but it will not be the most effective solution.
Does that seem like something you’d want to tuck away in your bag somewhere?
Is a Footprint Really Necessary?
Unless you’re spending a lot of money on camping equipment, leaving a footprint isn’t really essential. Tents that cost $20-$30 are supposed to be thrown away, so leaving an imprint isn’t going to help problems.
When dealing with pricey equipment, it’s likely that you’ll want to leave a trace. The only time you’ll absolutely want a footprint is on sandy or gravelly terrain. Sand and gravel will soon erode the surface of your tent’s groundsheet.
Does a Tent Footprint Go Inside or Outside
Although most tents are equipped with a water-resistant floor, employing a ground cloth should be a standard component of any experienced camper’s tent-pitching procedure. It may be as easy as a worn-out blanket stuffed into the top of your tent bag, which will keep moisture out, reduce wear and tear on your tent floor, and maintain your tent in excellent condition. The benefits of putting a footprint beneath your tent are self-evident in terms of water retention and providing a protective barrier against punctures and abrasion.
Despite the fact that the majority of campers place footprints outside their tents, some experienced campers believe that tents with tent fly should have have footprints inside them as well.
In order for it to operate, the fabric must be slightly smaller than the outside perimeter of your tent’s outside walls.
After flowing down the fly and onto the tent wall before reaching the ground, it is possible that water will contact the ground fabric and end up beneath the tent.
What is a Footprint Groundsheet?
Generally speaking, a footprint groundsheet is a piece of waterproof tarpaulin that is cut to fit the bottom of your tent perfectly and is waterproof as well. While most tents already come with a ‘built-in’ groundsheet – either a zipped-in or sewn-in groundsheet, or even supplementary bathtub-style groundsheets — casual campers may find themselves in need of additional liner when setting up their tent.
The Pros of Having a Footprint Groundsheet
As a rule of thumb, a footprint groundsheet is a piece of waterproof tarpaulin that is cut to precisely fit the bottom of your tent’s footprint. In spite of the fact that most tents already come with a “built-in” groundsheet, which can be in the form of a zippered or sewn-in groundsheet, or even supplementary bathtub-style groundsheets, casual campers may find themselves in need of additional liner.
- Perfect pitch provides a sense of security. Knowing exactly where to place the corners of your tent will help you avoid a lot of complications when erecting your tent. For those of you who have one of the bigger or modular-style tents, you are well aware of how difficult it can be to figure out where to put the corner pegs before putting the frame together — less alone having to relocate them again. It is possible to save a significant amount of time by using a footprint groundsheet that shows exactly where you should peg your corners. Dry ground is a gift in many ways. Having a bit of dry ground nearby may make setting up your tent a much more pleasant experience. It helps to keep the floor of your tent dry and tidy, and it makes putting away your tent less stressful. While a footprint groundsheet may be used in conjunction with a sewn-in groundsheet to make the procedure less tedious, it can also save you the time and effort of airing and drying the tent when you return home from camping during periods of high humidity and severe weather. Even while most tent groundsheets are waterproof to a maximum 10,000mm hydrostatic pressure, which means there is a little risk you may get wet, this barrier may not be sufficient in some situations. A footprint groundsheet adds a second layer of waterproofing to your trip, keeping you safe even on prolonged journeys. This is especially critical if you are using expedition and hiking tents with groundsheets with a hydrostatic head of 5,000mm or above. Extra warmth– Campers are well aware that the majority of their heat is lost to the ground. In your mind’s eye, you should see a footprint groundsheet as an additional layer of insulation that can help minimize heat loss and keep warm air trapped within the tent. Investing in the future with confidence– A new tent has cost you several hundred dollars (or perhaps more) and you want to make the most of your investment by using it as often as possible. Due to the fact that you cannot possible anticipate every stick and stone that may come your way on your campsite, a footprint groundsheet protects your investment from damage, rips and tears. A decent, old-fashioned blue tarp will suffice
Even if your footprint groundsheet becomes damaged, it will be significantly easier and less expensive to replace or repair than the integrated groundsheet of your tent, in the long run.
Footprints Inside or Outside? Or Both?
Many individuals go camping without using footprint groundsheets or any other additional layer of protection, and they have no difficulties at all! Or, at the very least, that’s how things used to be. Because of the market competition that has forced manufacturers to develop novel materials, more spangly, and more costly tents, many have begun to consider how to safeguard their investment. It may appear that an old blanket or tablecloth may be used to protect your fine, old, low-budget tent. This may be true, but you should first examine where you are going to pitch your tent before considering purchasing a new tent or adding an additional layer of protection.
On the other hand, if you are camping on abrasive, sandy terrains, you will require some kind of shielding to protect your tent from damage.While it is obvious why you need an underneath groundsheet, it should also be explained why you should consider having one inside your tent as well.If you are camping on grass, which provides natural protection, you may not require one.
The fact that you have an internal groundsheet also means that you won’t have to wash the entire tent.
But the ground beneath your tent is vulnerable to sticks, seashells, rocks, brambles, and other objects that produce micro-tears and perforations in the ground beneath your tent.
More Protection for Your Tent
Having a footprint implies that your tent floor will be protected at a lower cost and may be replaced if necessary. As a result, you will want anoutsidefootprint groundsheet to protect your tent floor, which should already be (or be capable of becoming) waterproof. An extra inside footprint (if it is structurally sound) will be required to protect your tent floor from internal damage, give additional waterproofing, and help keep the heat in during the winter months. While many campers have never put a footprint (i.e., a tarp) inside a tent, many others have also never experienced tent flooding, particularly if they know how to tarp outside and tuck under.
The outside liner will protect your tent from twigs, pebbles, and other sharp things that might harm the floor, while the interior liner will prevent your tent floor from becoming soiled.
What Do You Need to Be Double-Protected When Camping?
When going on a short camping trip, a tarp under the tent is generally sufficient protection. However, there may be times when adding an extra liner to the inside of your sleeping bag to keep it dry is a perfect short-term solution to the problem. However, although it appears that you are on dry ground, precipitation or condensation might accumulate under the tent throughout the night, causing the terrain to get muddied. If you have an outside footprint groundsheet, the purpose of having one is to protect the tent floor from abrasion.
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Footprint
- Terrain– If your campground is on grassland or soft sand, you generally won’t need to leave a trace of your presence. For those who enjoy deep forests and hilly terrain, however, it is possible that they may come across sticks, stones, rocks and roots that will cause micro-tears and perforations in their tents and other gear during their camping trip. Having said that, you’ll almost certainly want an additional layer of protection (or, at the very least, Tenacious tape)
- Fabric Denier– Fabric denier refers to the weight of the thread used to weave a fabric weave
- The higher the denier, the thicker the fabric and the more durable the floor
- The lower the denier, the thinner the fabric and the less durable the floor. If you have a tent with a low denier fabric, you’ll need a footprint to help extend the life of the floor of your tent. When it comes to tents with a fabric floor of 30 denier or more, most experienced campers will forego utilizing the footprint. It is entirely up to you to make a decision. Weight– Because footprints are made of a higher denier fabric than the tent floor, they can add a significant amount of weight to your camping setup. For some who favor lightweight camping, the idea of lugging around a manufacturer’s footprint may not be something they are enthusiastic about. You may, on the other hand, consider constructing your own lightweight groundsheet. A robust lightweight tent without footprints might cost hundreds of dollars, even if it is only used once. For the most part, solid footprints cost between $40 and $80, which means they will drastically raise the expense of your camping trip. In this case, while a DIY version may be less expensive (and maybe lighter), it will not survive as long as a product produced by a firm.
If the cost and weight of a manufacturer’s footprint are beyond expensive for your budget, you may consider constructing your own instead! Among the options is Tyvek (the house wrap), which may be trimmed to size and used as a groundsheet. It is inexpensive, waterproof, and long-lasting. There is also Polycryo, which is another widely accessible and cost-saving DIY groundsheet alternative that is light and sturdy (though not nearly as durable as Tyvek), as well as PU Coated Nylon (which is similar to Tyvek but not nearly as durable) (commonly used for manufacturer footprints).
In that instance, you can experiment with a straightforward remedy, such as cheapblue polypropylene.
If you choose, you may put it inside your tent to act as a protective barrier between you and the tent floor.
It is recommended that the groundsheet be somewhat larger than the tent floor in order to be effective inside the tent.
Each of these extra inches around the borders forms a type of rim that extends up along each wall, similar to how most tents have bathtub floors. Even if the floor begins to leak, the layer underneath you will remain dry.
Groundsheets with a footprint are not required, but they can assist to extend the life of your tent, which is especially important if you have an ultralight tent. When determining whether to utilize it on the outside or the inside, it’s important to remember that both alternatives offer advantages. It is your own safety and comfort that is at stake here, so if you are caught in light, occasional rain, the exterior liner will probably be sufficient. On the other hand, the prospect of being caught in heavy rainstorms and extended showers makes you appreciate the addition of the interior footprint, which will keep everything dry.
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It: Yes, and how to make your own for free
Groundsheets with a footprint are not required, but they can assist to extend the life of your tent, which is especially important if you have an ultralight one with a small footprint. Whether you use it outside or inside, you should be aware that all methods have their advantages and disadvantages. It is your own safety and comfort that is at stake here. If you are caught in light, occasional rain, the exterior liner will likely be sufficient. On the other hand, the prospect of being caught in heavy rainstorms and extended showers makes you appreciate the addition of the interior footprint, which will keep everything dry.
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?
I’m not sure what a tent footprint is, but What exactly is the purpose of a tent footprint? Is it really necessary to have a tent footprint? Exactly what is the composition of tent footprints? Is it really worth it to leave a mark? Tent Footprints made from scratch;
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?
The use of groundsheets during bivying or when you just don’t want to bother with putting up the tent; Those tarps are fantastic for sorting out your things. Tarps for the crag made of perfectrope. Picnic blankets that are a good size. Rain protection that is above and above the call of duty. Additional heat insulation/windshield protection; Tents and bags, for example, may be patched using discarded materials.
The ‘denier’ of the fabric will be listed in the product specs for footprints, much as it is with tent material (for double-walled tents, the denier is not as critical because the inner tent is protected by the rain fly). Denier is a unit of measure for the thickness of a thread. As an example, consider denier to be a “burliness” element in the instance of tent footprints. The greater the denier, the more hefty the product will be in terms of weight. In order to serve as a barrier, your imprints should be made of a higher denier fabric wherever possible (assuming all other factors are equivalent).
Denier By The Numbers
For example, the universal footprint for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX costs $45 when purchased from Backcountry.com. It is made of 68-denier polyester and weighs 7.0 ounces. The Nemo Hornet has a footprint that weighs 6.9 ounces and is made of 75-denier nylon. It costs $49. As a point of reference, the floor material of the Hubba Hubba is 30-denier nylon, while the top micromesh is 15-denier nylon. Nylon is much lighter than polyester. Because it is made of a higher denier material, the Nemofootprint weighs less than the Hubba Hubba footprint in terms of total weight.
Is A Tent Footprint Worth It?
All of this is in order to answer the question, “Is leaving a footprint worth it?” A tent footprint is absolutely worth the investment, especially considering how lightweight, inexpensive, and versatile they are. Let’s imagine you’ve come to a conclusion and are now looking for the ideal footprint for your tent on the internet. There is one more thing to think about, and it 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. Keep in mind that you should cut your footprint somewhat smaller than the real tent outline.
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
- Customize the size at a low cost. Waterproof to the extreme.
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 extremely 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).
- Every circumstance involving hiking or camping in which weight is not a consideration
- Every circumstance involving hiking or camping where weight is not a primary consideration
Is it really worth it to have a tent footprint? We believe this to be true.
Is a Tent Footprint Worth It? – Appalachian Mountain Club
Yes and no, but the majority of the time no. It is important to use a tent footprint to protect the underside of the tent from damage and moisture. This will assist to extend the life of the tent and make it drier on the inside. Footprints are precisely tailored to the shape of the tent, reducing the quantity of fabric necessary for complete coverage. They are also equipped with corner grommets to hold it to the tent frame, ensuring that the footprint is appropriately positioned below the tent.
When is it worthwhile to have 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. There is also worry about areas where there is a lot of felled timber and the possibility of sharp branches. If you camp and/or backpack frequently (think dozens of nights per year), and you want your tent to be as durable as possible years down the road, a footprint is definitely something to consider. As long as you’re not concerned about a little more weight and bulk with your tent when vehicle camping, adding an additional footprint to your tent has little drawbacks other than the expense of acquiring it.
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 wise decision. There is also worry in areas where there is a lot of felled timber and the possibility of sharp branches; The use of footprints is definitely worth considering if you camp and/or backpack frequently (think dozens of nights a year) and want your tent to remain in good condition years after you purchase it. As long as you’re not concerned about a little more weight and bulk with your tent when vehicle camping, adding an additional footprint to your setup has little drawbacks other than the expense of obtaining one.
- Whenever you’d prefer not to have the extra weight and girth on your back. By eliminating the tent footprint, you may save a significant amount of weight in your pack. Personally, I rarely carry a tent footprint and have spent many, many nights in several of my tents that did not have a footprint on them. There has been little to no serious damage to the tent undersides (and any tiny tears or punctures have been easily repaired using Tenacious Tape), and the lack of further moisture protection has been a minor nuisance at most.
When is the best time to purchase one?
- It is essential to purchase a footprint at the same time you purchase your tent, or at the very least during the same season. Why? Because even if you only use your footprint on an irregular trip-by-trip basis, you should acquire one at the same time you purchase your tent. Many tent models come and go in a short period of time. Manufacturers are also continually changing and tweaking the proportions of recurrent models (as well as the footprints that accompany them) from year to year. As time passes, the likelihood of discovering a precise footprint to match an earlier tent diminishes fast.
Matt HeidWorking as a Freelancer AMC’s gear expert is blogger Matt Heid, who is well-equipped: He adores his gear, and he enjoys putting it to use in the field. His research on many guidebooks, including AMC’s Best Backpacking in New England, has taken him across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness areas, logging thousands of kilometers on foot. He also enjoys cycling, climbing, and surfing.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
To receive great deals, conservation warnings, excursions near you, and tales from throughout the region, subscribe to our newsletter.
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.
The best method for cleaning considerable amounts of mud that has become adhered to the footprint would be to scrub it away with a scourer, taking care not to be too harsh.
Check out ourgreat range of tent footprintsto make your camping trip that little bit smoother.
Take a look at our whole assortment of tent accessories or our entire tents collection, which includes: Tents by Size|Family Tents|Polycotton Tents|Tents by Brand Check out more articles from the Winfields Blog to get you ready for 2020. Remember to check out our camping blog for more articles like this. This year’s top ten best family camping tents include an inflatable tent. Buying an Air Tent: A Buyer’s Guide
Do I need a tent footprint?
When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. Lots of uncertainty exists around the proper usage of a tent footprint (does it keep out water?). Is it for the purpose of insulation?). However, here at the Gear Brain Trust, we have the ability to clear things up. A tent footprint or ground cover is simply anything that serves to protect the tent’s floor from abrasion.
- With a footprint in place, it is forced to bear the brunt of the assault.
- Footprint No.
- We used to pitch tents without leaving footprints all the time, and I don’t recall anything negative happening as a result of that.
- Although it is ineffective on uneven, rocky ground, pitching the tent in the shade and staking it out securely to prevent it from thrashing around is an effective technique to safeguard your investment.
- It is OK to use a handmade version.
- The key is to ensure that the footprint is cut such that it is slightly smaller in size than the tent floor.
- Then any rain that does fall will become caught on the footprint and will roll beneath the tent.
Tent Footprints Explained [What, How, Why & Should You Buy One]
Tent footprints, sometimes known as ground cloths or groundsheets, are nothing more than a barrier between the bottom of your tent and the surrounding ground.
They are available in a number of different sizes, materials, and weights. If you don’t want to make your own tent footprint, you can use an existing object that has been modified to serve as a footprint, or you can purchase an item that is particularly created to serve as a tent footprint.
What is the purpose of a footprint?
One of the functions of your tent footprint is to keep the bottom of your tent from being damaged by abrasion. Whenever you move about within your tent, the bottom will be causing a lot of friction between you and whatever you’re camping on, be it mud, snow, rock, wood, or anything else you’re on. This friction can cause damage to waterproof layers, as well as holes in your tent, as well as premature wear and tear on your tent.
Why do you need a tent footprint?
The straightforward answer is no. You are not need to use a tent footprint. However, having a layer between your tent and the ground might give you with a number of advantages, including the following:
- In order to protect and extend the life of your tent, you should consider replacing your footprint rather than your tent. Waterproofing – This is a term that may be used both positively and negatively. When utilized poorly, a tent footprint can actually encourage water to pool, resulting in you becoming even more soaked. The use of a footprint between your tent and the ground in moist conditions, such as soft grass or mud, can offer an additional layer between your tent and the ground, preventing some upward water flow into your tent. The majority of tents now do an outstanding job of keeping themselves dry on their own, regardless of the weather. Tent Cleanliness – Because there is a barrier between your tent and the ground, your footprint is generally the one that takes the brunt of the dirt and moisture from your tent. This makes it simpler to dry out your tent, reduces the likelihood of it accumulating mold, and keeps a little dirt off of the surface
- A tiny detail, but a significant one: the cushion and insulation. Because they are so thin, the additional cushioning and insulation they provide is little. However, it is still present! Do not use your tent footprint as a substitute for a sleeping pad — in the winter or cold weather, using a higher-value pad will keep you warmer. When looking for a camping location, if you have a footprint that is the proper size, it is an excellent method to inspect a prospective camping spot to make sure your tent will fit in there before setting up camp. All you have to do is drape your footprint over your location and you’ll have a lot more precise estimate
How much are tent footprints? Is it worth it?
If you’re looking to purchase an authentic footprint, you can get them for as low as $10 and as much as $50 online. If you are making your own, the cost might be as little as a few of dollars. We do not suggest that you spend a lot of money on a footprint. Even the most dedicated ultralight campers don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the correct equipment. Consider purchasing one from your tent maker only if the price is appropriate for your particular tent. A tent footprint that costs less than $20 is well worth the investment in order to safeguard your pricey tent.
Can I make my own tent footprint?
Yes, without a doubt! It is quite simple. Take any type of material of your choosing and cut it to the exact dimensions required for your tent. This should extend at least a few inches past the ends of your tent on either side. After that, you’re finished! The following are examples of common do-it-yourself materials:
- Anything made out of thin, durable plastic material, such as polyethylene sheeting, painter’s plastic, polycro, or any other type of plastic sheet a tablecloth — the inexpensive plastic ones are excellent
- In fact, a tent footprint made of tarp is entirely fine in most situations. Any water-resistant fabric — nylon, polyester, or any of the hundreds of additional options
Tent footprint alternatives
In the paragraphs above, we discussed several different approaches to creating your own. The most typical approach is to simply use a tarp instead of a footprint, or to not use one at all. The most essential thing to remember is to set up your tent in a location that has adequate outflow and will not collect water. If you’re working on abrasive surfaces such as rock, mud, sand, or snow, you’ll want to use some sort of barrier.
Do I need the same footprint manufacturer as my tent?
In no way, shape, or form. To the contrary, several manufacturers provide backpacks with snaps and buckles that essentially serve just to increase the weight and bulk of your pack. There isn’t much of a requirement to secure your footprint to your tent — it just goes below it.
How to choose a tent footprint?
In no way, shape, or form! To the contrary, several manufacturers provide backpacks with clips and buckles which essentially serve just to increase the weight and bulk of your pack. There isn’t much of a need to secure your footprint because it will be under your tent.
What are the best footprint materials?
Textiles made of coated polyester and nylon textiles are the most frequent materials used by manufacturers because they are lightweight, robust, and waterproof.
How To Set Up Your Footprint
We won’t go into great detail on how to do this, but here is a step by step guide. Step 1: Take your tent footprint out of the bag and unpack it. Step 2 – Place your tent footprint on the ground, making sure it is oriented correctly. Step 3: Place your tent on top of the footprint and secure it with stakes. The fourth step is to tie your footprint to your tent or to anchor it into the ground if your footprint contains buckles, clips, or loops. Is there something we’ve overlooked? Please let us know!
HikingFishing was founded by Max DesMarais in 2007.
He has a strong desire to be in the great outdoors and to share his experiences with others. Max is a published author who has written for a number of outdoor websites as well as digital marketing websites. More information about him may be found at: hikingandfishing/about.
Do You Really Need a Footprint for Your Tent? — CleverHiker
Let’s face it: tents are a costly investment. You want your tent to survive as long as possible, but spending an additional $40 or more on something that you just spent hundreds of dollars on is not the best option. When considering whether or not to purchase (or construct) a footprint, it’s necessary to consider factors such as the fabric of your tent, where you spend the most of your camping time, and how important it is to you to save a few ounces of weight.
What Does A Footprint Do?
However, in contrast to common perception, footprints do not provide any additional waterproofing for the bottom of your tent; the flooring of practically all modern tents are already composed of waterproof fabrics such as silnylon or dyneema. Among the most important functions of a footprint are to protect the ground beneath your tent from abrasive things (such as twigs, roots, and pebbles), to keep your tent free of mud and tree sap, and to assist you in determining the best location to pitch your tent.
- A footprint provides an additional layer of protection from abrasive items, which can help to extend the life of your tent’s floor.
- Messy Stuff – When we go camping, we anticipate our gear to get a bit dirty, but having sticky tree sap all over the bottom of your tent can be a real pain.
- Many of us have been in this situation: you locate the perfect site to pitch your tent, as if it were virtually made specifically for your tent.
- This is frustrating.
Things To Consider Before You Buy
A fabric’s denier specifies the weight of the thread used to weave the cloth; the greater the denier, the thicker and more durable the fabric. Fabric Denier – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 has an 18-denier nylon floor, however the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 has a 30-denier nylon floor, indicating that the Hubba Hubba will have a thicker (and hence more durable) floor than the Copper Spur HV UL 2. The use of a footprint, especially if your tent is constructed of a low-denier fabric, is something you should definitely consider acquiring or manufacturing in order to increase the longevity of your tent floor.
- Terrain – If you spend the most of your camping and hiking time on soft sand or in lush grassy regions, you probably won’t need to leave a footprint.
- One carefully placed stone or twig might be all that is needed to create a hole in your floor’s surface.
- T-tape is extremely durable, and it has been used to repair some of our damaged equipment for many years.
- Consider the following example: theNEMO Hornet 2Phas a packed weight of 2 lbs 6 oz., and thefootprint adds an extra 6.9 oz.
- In this particular instance, adopting the manufacturer’s footprint results in an increase in weight of around 18 percent for your tent.
- You may create your own lightweight groundsheet out of TyvekorPolycryo rather easily; further information on how to do so is provided below.
- Footprints often cost between $40 to $80, and they might be difficult to justify on top of the tent’s purchase price.
You can create your own groundsheet for much less money (see below for additional information), but it will not typically last as long as the manufacturer’s footprint. DIY project made possible by the use of low-cost Tyvek material.
So, you’d really like to utilize a footprint, but the cost and/or weight are too expensive and/or heavy. Make one of your own! Making your own footprint is substantially less expensive and nearly always results in a lighter footprint. For groundsheets, many campers choose to use Tyvek (yep, the house wrap) cut to size and shaped to fit their needs. It is waterproof, inexpensive, and nearly unbreakable. Polycryo (also known as poly/polycro) is another popular alternative for DIY groundsheets on a tighter budget.
The following is a comparison of the approximate weights of the fabrics:
- Manufacturer footprints are commonly made of PU coated nylon (1.9 oz./ sq. yd.)
- Tyvek is 1.85 oz./ sq. yd
- Polycryo is.55 ounces/ square yard
- And other materials.
The footprint should be approximately one inch shorter than the tent floor on all four sides if you are planning to cut your own footprint to size yourself. In the event that you have fabric sticking out from under your tent or too close to the edge of your tent floor, it might collect water and cause it to pool beneath 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. Irrespective of whether we have left a footprint, we always make a point of thoroughly cleaning our campsites before pitching a tent in order to avoid any disasters.
Maintaining the condition of your equipment is critical, and we hope that this advice has assisted you in determining whether or not you require a tent footprint. If you know of a wonderful footprint substitution or application that we overlooked, please share it with us in the comments section below! You may find more CleverHiker backpacking advice by visiting the following websites:
- Trail Skills, Lightweight Foundations, and Top Gear Picks are all covered in detail in the CleverHiker Gear Guide.