What Is A Footprint On A Tent

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 when bivying or when you simply don’t want to bother with setting 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 other items of clothing and equipment, such as tents and backpacks.

What are tent footprints made of?

It is possible that your tent will arrive with a footprint, however most tents can be purchased with a fitted footprint. Footprints will be made of either nylon or polyester, similar to how tents are manufactured. In a recent post, we discussed the differences in the characteristics of nylon and polyester. Generally speaking, nylon is a stronger textile that is also more elastic and less water resistant than polyester. Polyester is less elastic than nylon, but it is significantly more water resistant and resistant to UV damage than nylon.

When you consider that the objective of your footprints is to protect you and your tent from moisture and abrasion, most people would agree that a polyester groundsheet is the superior choice (disregarding weight).


The ‘denier’ of the fabric will be listed in the product specs for footprints, much as it is with tent material (for double-walled tents, the denier is not as critical because the inner tent is protected by the rain fly). Denier is a unit of measure for the thickness of a thread. As an example, consider denier to be a “burliness” element in the instance of tent footprints. The greater the denier, the more hefty the product will be in terms of weight. In order to serve as a barrier, your imprints should be made of a higher denier fabric wherever possible (assuming all other factors are equivalent).

Denier By The Numbers

For example, the universal footprint for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX costs $45 when purchased from Backcountry.com. It is made of 68-denier polyester and weighs 7.0 ounces. The Nemo Hornet has a footprint that weighs 6.9 ounces and is made of 75-denier nylon. It costs $49. As a point of reference, the floor material of the Hubba Hubba is 30-denier nylon, while the top micromesh is 15-denier nylon. Nylon is much lighter than polyester. Because it is made of a higher denier material, the Nemofootprint weighs less than the Hubba Hubba footprint in terms of total weight.

Is A Tent Footprint Worth It?

All of this is in order to answer the question, “Is leaving a footprint worth it?” A tent footprint is absolutely worth the investment, especially considering how lightweight, inexpensive, and versatile they are. Let’s imagine you’ve come to a conclusion and are now looking for the ideal footprint for your tent on the internet. There is one more thing to think about, and it 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).


Polymers like Polycro, which is available from companies such as Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs, are the lightest of the ultra-light plastics available today. In clear, it appears just like a plastic painter’s tarp, only it’s much, much 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 stain-resistant. It takes 1.6 ounces of polycro to make a typical sheet of polycro that measures 96″ x 48″.


  • Every circumstance involving hiking or camping in which weight is not a consideration


  1. 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.

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

You’ll have a clear picture of where your tent will be placed, where it will fit, and where to begin pegging from the start because most footprints are custom-made and customized to the form of your tent. When it comes to actually pitching your tent, this will save you valuable time and will result in less difficulties.

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.

See also:  Why Is My Tent Wet Inside

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 You Need a Tent Footprint for Backpacking?

Please have a look at our whole assortment of tents, which includes: Tents by Size|Family Tents|Polycotton Tents|Tents by Brand|Tents by Color Check out more posts from the Winfields Blog to get you ready for 2020. Don’t forget to check out our camping blog for more articles like this. This year’s top ten family camping tents include an inflatable tent. Purchasing an Air Tent

What is a Tent Footprint?

Take a look at our whole array of tents and accessories, which includes: Tents by Size|Family Tents|Polycotton Tents|Tents by Brand. More from the Winfields Blog to get you ready for 2020. Don’t forget to check out our camping blog for more stuff like this. 10 Best Family Camping Tents for 2020|Inflatable Tents for Sale Buying a Tent for the Summer

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.

  1. 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.
  2. It may be used to evaluate the waterproofness of different tent flooring against one another.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Campsite Selection

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.

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.

  1. With a footprint in place, it is forced to bear the brunt of the assault.
  2. Footprint No.
  3. We used to pitch tents without leaving footprints all the time, and I don’t recall anything negative happening as a result of that.
  4. 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.
  5. It is OK to use a handmade version.
  6. 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. The 2006Outside Buyer’s Guide, which is currently out on newsstands, has 396 torture-tested items, including the 2006 Gear of the Year award winners and an entirely new women’s-specific review section.

What Is A Tent Footprint & Do You Need One?

For the uninitiated, a tent footprintor (tent ground cover) is a big piece of impermeable fabric that may be placed beneath your tent to keep it from getting wet. One of the primary functions of the tent floor is to act as a barrier between the tent floors and the forest floor, providing additional protection against abrasion caused by rough or rocky terrain. Most footprints have the appearance of basic tarps, and they are typically composed of the same synthetic, waterproof materials as these tarps.

Should I Buy The Tent Footprint Sold By The Manufacturer Of My Tent?

In a nutshell, the answer is probably no. Branded tent tarp sheets are typically pricey and don’t provide much—if anything—in the way of additional functionality above a standard tarp that can be purchased from a hardware or outdoor store for as low as a fourth of the cost. In addition, creating your own tent footprint is a rather simple process. All you have to do is measure the dimensions of your tent floor and then walk down to the store to have the tarp material cut to the exact measurements you specified.

You won’t have to be concerned about rain runoff pooling on the footprint and rolling beneath the tent floor.

All of these materials can be obtained at a significantly lower cost than branded footprints and, in most cases, will not fall significantly short in terms of performance as branded footprints.

Tent Footprint vs Tarp – Do I Need A Tent Footprint?

These days, the great majority of tents on the market have bathtub-style floors made of reinforced, very waterproof fabrics (often silnylon), which provide excellent protection against abrasion and leakage. Having said that, there are a variety of reasons why using a footprint to protect your tent’s flooring is a smart idea in some situations. First and foremost, utilizing a footprint will help you extend the life of your tent by minimizing the amount of wear and strain on your tent floor as well as giving additional protection against potentially corrosive materials like as sand, grit, animal feces, and tree sap that might accumulate.

Finally, a footprint might serve as an additional layer of security against leakage.

The disadvantage of utilizing a footprint is that it requires you to carry extra weight.

What is the solution?

How To Use A Tent Footprint

In order to use a tent footprint or groundsheet, all you have to do is lay the footprint out on your selected camping site, pitch your tent on top of it, then tuck any extra material beneath the tent floor to prevent any rainfall or condensation from accumulating on the “fringe” of the footprint.

Guide to Tent Footprints

A tent footprint, which is also known as a ground cloth or a groundsheet, is a waterproof sheet that is placed between the floor of your tent and the ground of the surrounding forest. They are intended to avoid wear and tear on the tent’s floor – a tent footprint will prevent (or at least mitigate) any scratching or punctures produced by sand, sticks, or stones when the tent is pitched on rough, gritty terrain. These items can also assist you with a variety of additional tasks like as preventing water from leaking into your tent, cushioning the ground, insulating the floor, and keeping your tent clean.

Let’s get started.

Why do I need a Tent Footprint?

Tents should be protected for the rest of their lives. It goes without saying that the most important and most common function of a footprint is to protect the floor of your tent. It is likely that the floor of your tent will be subjected to a great deal of damage – imagine your body weight tossing and turning in your sleep as you grind the floor of your tent into rocky ground. You can easily wear out and damage the cloth as a result of this operation. If the tent floor is not properly covered, it will decay much more quickly than the rest of the tent.

  1. Tents are costly, and I want to make the most of mine by extending its lifespan as much as possible.
  2. Waterproofing.
  3. The addition of a second layer of a footprint will prevent rain from seeping into your tent and soaking your sleeping bag, clothing, and other personal belongings in the process.
  4. Your groundcloth will absorb a significant amount of the dirt and moisture, avoiding the growth of mold and mildew in your tent.
  5. Cushioning and insulation are included.
  6. Your body, on the other hand, will absorb and feel whatever temperature the earth is at the time.
  7. A tent footprint, on the other hand, may give a smidgeon of additional insulation from the ground as well as a smidgeon of additional cushion, which is very useful if you are trying to make it lightweight and reduce every ounce.
  8. It might be challenging to locate a suitable tent location.
  9. Because of the small size of a footprint, it is quite simple to lay it out on the ground and determine the size of your property.

Occasionally, before setting up, I will lay down on top of the footprint to ensure that the ground is flat and level. Painter’s Tarp (on the left) and Tyvek (on the right) (right)

What are the best Footprints?

Most of the nicest tent footprints, particularly for lightweight trekking or hiking, are made by the camper himself. Those manufacturer alternatives that were expressly developed for your tent, in my (modest) view, are subpar. Because they come with clips and buckles to attach to your tent, they tend to be on the pricier side (some are more than $50), and because they are excessively hefty because of this. We’re back to the do-it-yourself possibilities. The majority of ultralight backpackers rely on one of these.

  1. Sheets of Painter’s Tarp (or polycro). My personal fave. I use a 2 mm thick sheet, which is a terrific option because it just weights a few grams and is small enough to put in my pocket while still being effective. “Tyvek” is available for $2 at your local hardware shop. A brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that are frequently used to protect structures while they are being built. Among the other alternatives are “shrink” polymers, which are used to seal windows and doors during the winter months.
See also:  What Is A Face Tent

Don’t be concerned about attachments; the weight of your body will keep it firmly in place beneath the surface. You can place your gear (or a hefty rock) on top of your tent if you are in strong winds and are concerned that it will be blown away if you are not inside the tent.

How to Make Your Own DIY Footprint

Obtaining the Materials: Tent footprint material, a sharpie marker, and scissors Step 1: Go to a hardware shop or look online for the materials you want to use. Just make sure it’s larger than the size of the floor of your tent before starting. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and 3 feet broad. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to protect your belongings. The third step is to use a sharpie to trace the floor of your tent.

  1. Caution should be exercised to avoid getting sharpie on the tent!
  2. The goal here is to have your tent footprint be somewhat smaller than the floor of your actual tent on all sides.
  3. Done!
  4. Stoveless BackpackingMeals

What is a tent footprint? (And why you need one!)

What is the definition of a tent footprint? (Image courtesy of Getty) What is the definition of a tent footprint? Without wasting any time, let’s get right to it: of all the accessories you might potentially add to your camping and backpacking gear, few, if any, will provide a return on your investment as amazing as the modest tent footprint. A tent footprint is a low-cost, lightweight piece of equipment that may significantly improve your camping experience in a variety of ways. However, it is rarely given the recognition it deserves because our tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, among other items, take up most of the attention.

  1. In essence, a tent footprint is just a layer of fabric that is placed beneath your tent to give additional weather protection and thermal insulation.
  2. In the case of certain tents, a footprint is included in the purchase price; but, in the majority of situations, you will need to make an additional purchase to obtain one.
  3. Jack Wolfskin is a writer and editor who lives in New York City.
  4. We’ve found that few campgrounds are nearly as smooth and lawn-like as we’d like.
  5. For the most part, tent footprints “take one (or many, rather) for the team” by adding an additional layer of protection between your tent and the ground – something that even the best tents require while camping in rough terrain.
  6. They increase the amount of waterproofing they use.
  7. This is due to the fact that the weight of the tent’s occupants and their gear increases the amount of water pressure imposed on the fabric when it is wet.

), this isn’t enough to prevent water from seeping through the groundsheet and into the tent.

When camping in the rain, a footprint comes in very helpful (Image credit: Getty) They help to increase insulation.

Read more.

This problem can be greatly mitigated by including a footprint in your tent setup.

It may even eliminate the need for a sleeping pad altogether, saving you money.

When traveling in inclement weather, decamping at the conclusion of a journey is never a particularly pleasant experience.

A tent footprint, on the other hand, may spare you from all of that trouble by serving as a “first line of defense” that keeps the rest of your tent clean as well.

Do you want to camp in colder weather?

Even while many tent manufacturers create their own, tailored tent footprints to match the majority of the tent types in their range, the cost of doing so might be prohibitively expensive.

It’s simple to make a DIY footprint.

Kieran Cunningham is the Editor in Chief of Advnture.

Mountaineering in the Himalayas, the Alps, and the United States have been highlights of his life.

In his spare time, he climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, and generally has a good time.

Kieran is the author of ‘Climbing the Walls,’ a book that explores the mental health advantages of climbing, mountaineering, and being in the great outdoors, among other things. [email protected]

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.

  1. A footprint provides an additional layer of protection from abrasive items, which can help to extend the life of your tent’s floor.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

DIY Footprints

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.

Final Thoughts

The footprint should be approximately one inch shorter than the tent floor on all four sides if you are planning to cut it yourself to form. In the event that you have fabric protruding out from under your tent or that it is too close to the edge of your tent floor, water can collect and pool below your tent.

More Information

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.

What is a Footprint for a Tent?

Are you a fan of tents and outdoor adventures? Learn more about the significance of a footprint in a tent by watching this video. A tent footprint is sometimes referred to as a ground cloth or a groundsheet in some circles. A tent footprint is a lightweight piece of cloth made from impermeable fabric that has the same form as the floor of your tent. It is designed to fit in with the floor of your tent. Keep the footprint intact and continue reading within the page to discover the significance of a footprint for a tent.

When it comes to extending the life of your tent, using a footprint is a good option.

Is it really necessary to have a tent footprint?

Reduce the likelihood of such incidents occurring by include a footprint in your tent.

Table of Contents

  • Tent footprint
  • Tent Footprints in Common Use
  • Materials Used in Making Tent Footprints
  • Tent Footprint Examples
  • Pros and cons of using Polycro materials
  • Pros and cons of using Polycro materials
  • Increase the lifespan of the tent
  • Waterproofing, cushioning, and insulation are included. Positioning and pitching are simple
  • Packing and customizing are simple.

Before selecting a tent footprint, there are a few things to consider.

  • Extra weight
  • Additional bulk
  • Additional cost
  • Tents include a high-denier, long-lasting floor
  • Soft terrain campground

Instructions on how to build your own tent footprint How to patch a hole in the floor of a tent Tent Footprints Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best way to clean a tent’s footprint? What should the footprint of the tent be in terms of size
  • What is the composition of a tent footprint
  • Is it worthwhile to purchase the tent footprint?

A tent footprint is a water-resistant covering that is placed between the floor of your tent and the ground of the forest. When purchasing a tent, many retailers do not include a footprint in the price. As a result, the majority of individuals question whether the tent footprint is required. We aim to answer some of your questions concerning the tent footprint by providing answers in the section below. Mosttent footprints have the appearance of basic tarps and are made of synthetic, waterproof materials that are similar to those used in tarps.

  • Factory-designed footprints are intended to be attached to your tent using clips and buckles that are included with the footprint.
  • In order to accommodate the size of your tent, tent footprints are available in a number of different sizes.
  • Every time you pitch a tent, the floor is subjected to some abrasion from the tiny rocks, twigs, and grit that have accumulated on the ground from a previous campground.
  • Some of the most immediately obvious advantages associated with a tent footprint are as follows:
  • They are intended to reduce the amount of wear and strain on the tent’s foundation. The tent footprint helps to prevent scratching caused by sand and obstructions on the hard, gritty ground
  • It also helps to keep the tent dry. They keep water from seeping inside the tent
  • They are waterproof. They safeguard the financial investment you’ve made in your tent. They act as a cushion for the earth. They help to keep your tent’s floor warm while also keeping it clean.
See also:  How To Fold Up Pop Up Beach Tent

Aside from serving as a protective layer beneath tents to shield them from abrasion, groundsheets can be used for a variety of additional purposes, including;

  • In order to protect oneself from the rain or the sun, you should seek cover. Used as a play platform for campers with little children
  • When sleeping beneath the stars, it’s a good idea to use a protective surface. Provides an excellent ground tarp for open bivying
  • Used as a platform for storing and arranging equipment
  • Provide a fantastic rope tarp for climbing purposes
  • It may be scavenged and used to repair other gea.

As much as tent footprints are considered to be optional pieces of equipment, we can assist you in determining whether or not a footprint is worth acquiring. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about tent footprints. Tent footprints are made up of a variety of different materials. Weight, cost, durability, and protection of the textiles used in crafts are all different, as are the fabrics themselves. The following are the most often seen materials:

Polyester Fabric/PU Coated Nylon

When it comes to producing tent footprints, these are the materials that are most usually employed. The nylon cloth has a polyurethane coating applied to it. A decent degree of protection for your tent’s floor is provided by tent footprints made of these materials, which are lightweight, water-resistant, and long-lasting. Groundsheets composed of polyester weigh around 170-225 grams. They also have straps, stuff sacks, and grommets, all of which add to the overall weight of the bag. The footprints range in price from $30 to $50.

Tyvek Home Wrap

More information may be found by clicking on the image. Backpacking is a common activity that makes use of this groundsheet. It is intended for use as a protective covering for the home. Tyvek is a synthetic material comprised of polyethylene fibers that is used in a variety of applications. Tent footprints constructed of Tyvek textiles are lightweight, affordable, sturdy, and water-resistant, making them ideal for camping.

ATyvek-made footprintfor a one-person tent weighs between 55 and 140 grams depending on the size. The cost of a pre-made Tyvek footprint is between $14 and $17 dollars.

Pros of Tyvek materials

More information may be found by clicking on the image. They are a typical utility cloth that would be used to cover automobiles that were parked in the driveway. The groundsheets are constructed of polyethylene strands that have been carefully braided together. Footprints constructed from polyethylene are affordable, water-resistant, and sturdy. They are a fantastic choice for vehicle campers who aren’t concerned with the bulkiness of their setup. They weigh an average of 283 grams for a 6 x 8 foot footprint.

Large tents, walk-in campsites, and automobile camping are the greatest uses for these structures.


Did you know that you can acquire some of thesefabric material rolls and use them to quickly and simply create a tent footprint for yourself? Continue reading to learn how to make one using the strategies we’ll cover.

Polycryo/Window wrap

Did you know that you can acquire some of thesefabric material rolls and use them to quickly and simply create a tent footprint for your event? Stay with us as we walk you through the process of making one!

Pros associated with Polycro materials

It is a polyethylene-based polymer that is both lightweight and extremely sturdy. Dyneema fibers are among of the most powerful synthetic materials now available on the market. According to legend, cuben thread is 15 times more strong than steel. Prints created from cuben fibers are exceedingly long-lasting, extremely costly, and extremely resistant to wear and tear. When it comes to a one-person tent, the Dyneema footprint weighs around 55-115 grams. The cost of a ready-made constructed tent footprint is between $100 and $200 dollars.

Lengthen the tent’s lifetime

The primary purpose of a tent footprint is to protect the floor of your tent. The tent floor is heavily influenced by the tossing of the body weight and the grinding of the tent’s bottom on the ground. The abrasion can cause the cloth to become worn out and damaged very fast. Make sure that your tent is protected from abrasion, cuts from stones and twigs, and that it is kept in the best shape possible. The tent floor deteriorates at a considerably faster rate than the rest of the tent’s structure.

Tents are expensive to purchase when they are brand new.


Heavy downpours within campgrounds have the potential to damage the tent floor. Because damp ground behaves like a sponge, when you pitch a tent on top of it, it will wet the tent you are pitching on. The installation of an extra layer of a footprint prevents rainwater from creeping upward into the tent and damaging the floor. With the addition of the footprint attachment, you can double the protection provided by your brand new tent.

The footprint of the tent absorbs all of the moisture and muck created by the morning dew. It is prevented that possible mold and mildew would accumulate on the tent’s surface. Additionally, cleaning and wiping off your print is less time-consuming than washing the entire tent body.

Cushion and Insulation

Your body absorbs and feels whatever temperature is there on the ground underneath you. The footprint of the tent gives a little amount of additional insulation from the ground as well as additional padding. Despite the fact that modern tents are equipped with thick sleeping pads, a groundsheet may be added to the mix to improve comfort when camping. An additional layer is created by your footprints beneath the tent, which raises you slightly off the ground. The sheet material helps to limit the amount of heat that escapes from the building.

Easy Positioning and Pitch

The fact that not all campgrounds are suitable for camping makes locating a suitable pitching place much more challenging. It is really simple to lay the tent on the ground and measure the pitching area because the tent footprint takes up very little space. Before you begin, check to see that the ground is level and level. Custom-made footprints provide a precise outline of the area where your tent will be put up and ensure that it will fit correctly. The pegging on the tent footprint provides an indication of where the camper will be most comfortable pitching the tent.

Easy to pack

Campsite grounds are typically very damp, which makes packing a challenge. A sewn-in groundsheet has the potential to make our fresh new tent muddy or damp. Footprints help to keep your tent clean and dry by preventing it from becoming soiled.

Easy to customize

The majority of footprints on the market are built for certain tent models. A suitable footprint for your tent may be found quickly and easily with the made-to-measure technique. Even better, you may tailor-make a bespoke groundsheet for your tent using DIY footprint materials that are readily available. More information may be found by clicking on the image.

Fabric denier

Denier is a term used to define the weight of the thread used in the weaving of a cloth. The denser the cloth is, the thicker the fabric will be. If your tent is made of low-denier fabric, you will almost certainly need a footprint to increase the longevity of your tent floor. Even while tents with 30 densifiers or higher may not absolutely require one, this does not exclude the use of one if necessary.

Camping site terrain

All throughout mountainous and deep forest camping grounds are abrasion items of many kinds, including tree roots and rocks, as well as sticks and branches. Things like these can result in the fabric of your tent being torn down completely. A well-placed rock is all that is needed to create a hole in the tent’s flooring. Groundsheets are not always required at campgrounds with soft sand, sandy beaches, or lush grass.


Tent footprints made of high-denier materials can add considerably to the overall weight of the tent.

The footprint of the manufacturer adds around 18 percent to the weight of your tent, making it unsuitable for ultralight travelers. You may make your own lightweight groundsheet out of the sheet material of your choice by following these instructions.


Footprints are rarely included when purchasing a tent. The manufacturer’s footprint might cost as much as $80 per square foot. Consider if it is more cost effective to purchase prefabricated tent footprints or to make your own groundsheet for less money. Did you know that tent footprints may be used as a poncho in a pinch? Despite the fact that a tent footprint is an excellent item, it may not be required for every trip. Here are some compelling reasons to make your mark on the world. Despite the fact that they are made differently, footprints add a little amount of weight to your pack; therefore, choosing to leave the footprint behind saves a few ounces.

Polycyro weights somewhere between 28 and 56 grams.

The footprint of your tent takes up crucial packing space in your bag.


Footprints are not always included in tents manufactured by all tent manufacturers. You’ll have to purchase the item on its own. Tent-specific footprints are typically priced between $30 and $50.

Tents integrate a high denier durable floor

Tent flooring range in thickness from 20 to 30 denier. Deniers are units of measurement for the thickness of fibers. Fabric-blend tents with deniers of 30 or above can be constructed without the need of a footprint. Tents with a denier of 20 or less are required to have a footprint.

Soft terrain campsite

The terrains of different campgrounds are different. For example, beaches and soft grass fields don’t actually necessitate the use of a footprint. Due to the abundance of abrasive items in hilly and woodland camping areas, you should exercise caution when camping there. When camping in an area with rocks, twigs, and thorns, a tent footprint should be used. If you’re on a tight budget, you may create your own tent footprint from scratch. As opposed to purchasing a new tent, which may cost between $300 and $600, it makes perfect sense to spend less money on a tent footprint.

  • Among the steps you can take to leave your personal mark are: Set up your tent as follows: Pitch your tent on soft ground so that the tent floor will not be harmed during the pitching process.
  • Take the following measurements of the base: Before selecting the footprint material of your choice, it is critical to measure the area.
  • In order to get an exact border on the circular floor, try to keep it as flush with the ground as possible.
  • During a rainfall, a wider footprint may cause water to collect and pool together.
  • Lay the tent footprint material out flat, mark your dimensions with a marker, and then cut the material to the size that you require it to be.
  • Cut along the line that is approximately 2 inches within the border of the marks.
  • A hammer, scissors, and a rolling pin are some of the instruments that will be needed for this project.

Make a hole at the edge of the paper and insert the metal fastener. When pitching, thread loops of cord through the grommets to keep the groundsheet in place. Make a test setup with the tent on the footprint to confirm that it is properly aligned.

How to repair a hole in a tent floor

If you don’t utilize a tent footprint, this is something that will happen to you. Just one well-placed abrasion item is all it takes to puncture a hole in your tent. In the event that a hole develops in your tent floor, you might attempt to patch the hole using a piece of Tenacious Tape. In addition to being sturdy, it is also easy to use, affordable, and water-resistant. Gear Aid Tenacious Tape is intended for use on outdoor gear such as tents to mend rips and tears. Clean and dry the area surrounding the rip, then cut a piece of tape off the roll and press it against the tear with your fingernail or your thumb.

How do you clean a tent’s footprint?

Remove any filth by wiping it away with a clean cloth and clean water. Scourers are the most effective tool for removing substantial mud that has become adhered to the footprint. Do not utilize things with a lot of texture.

What size should the tent’s footprint be?

The footprint of a tent should be somewhat smaller than the size of the tent’s foundation. That particular dimension is primarily intended to prevent water from accumulating between the footprint and the tent. If you know you’ll have nice weather, having a huge footprint isn’t actually an inconvenience.

What is a tent footprint made of?

Fabrics used in different footprints are different as well. Footprints that are readily accessible are composed of polyethylene, which is sturdy and easy to clean.

Is the tent footprint worth purchasing?

It is dependent on your requirements and financial constraints. The groundsheet, on the other hand, is useful for the long-term extension of the life of your tent. That concludes our discussion of today’s topic, “footprint for a tent.” We trust that we have addressed the majority of your questions about tent footprints in this article. Keep checking back on our page since we are always updating it with the latest developments in the tent industry.

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