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.
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.
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
Due to the fact that 90% 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 as 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 – so it’s worth it in the long run to invest in a tent that provides the most safety possible from the beginning.
3. Add extra waterproofing
Due to the fact that 90 percent of tents are now constructed with a sewn-in groundsheet, purchasing a footprint has become even more critical. Protect your brand new tent 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 it in the long run to build your tent with as much safety as possible from the beginning.
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 additional 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
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. Or if your tent comes with one, should you really take it with you 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? In other words, do you really require a tent footprint for your tent?
Furthermore, the other straightforward response is no.
Allow us to assist you in determining whether or not a tent footprint is worthwhile for you.
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?
Your tent’s bottom endures a great deal of wear and tear despite being composed of exceptionally robust nylon or polyester. Terrain that is more rugged than others will wear down your tent floor much more quickly than others. Exposed granite and sandstone can act as sandpaper on the bottom of your tent, perhaps causing thin areas or holes to appear quite rapidly on the ground surface of your shelter. Minor punctures in your floor are frequently caused by small-sharp pebbles and twigs. An excellent groundsheet is not required for most high-quality tents.
An encumbrance can be justified in this case. 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.
Footprints Are Useful For Other Things Too
Tent footprints are also helpful for a variety of other applications, which is an added plus. As we explained in previous post, tent footprints, as well as old rain-flies, may be utilized in a variety of practical ways, including the following ones:
- The use of groundsheets for bivying or when you just don’t want to bother with putting up the tent
- They make wonderful tarps for sorting equipment. Tarps made of perfectrope for the crag
- Picnic blankets that are a good size
- Rain protection that is above and beyond
- Additional heat insulating layer/windshield is recommended. Can be used to repair various items of clothing and equipment, such as tents and backpacks.
What are tent footprints made of?
It is possible that your tent will arrive with a footprint, however most tents can be purchased with a fitted footprint. Footprints will be made of either nylon or polyester, similar to how tents are manufactured. In a recent post, we discussed the differences in the characteristics of nylon and polyester. Generally speaking, nylon is a stronger textile that is also more elastic and less water resistant than polyester. Polyester is less elastic than nylon, but it is significantly more water resistant and resistant to UV damage than nylon.
When you consider that the objective of your footprints is to protect you and your tent from moisture and abrasion, most people would agree that a polyester groundsheet is the superior choice (disregarding weight).
The ‘denier’ of the fabric will be listed in the product specs for footprints, much as it is with tent material (for double-walled tents, the denier is not as critical because the inner tent is protected by the rain fly). Denier is a unit of measure for the thickness of a thread. As an example, consider denier to be a “burliness” element in the instance of tent footprints. The greater the denier, the more hefty the product will be in terms of weight. In order to serve as a barrier, your imprints should be made of a higher denier fabric wherever possible (assuming all other factors are equivalent).
Denier By The Numbers
For example, the universal footprint for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX costs $45 when purchased from Backcountry.com. 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:
- A basic transparent plastic painters tarp, which is the heaviest of the options listed, can be obtained at any hardware shop for a few dollars. The quantity of material you receive will allow you to cut it to your specifications. Pros:
- A basic transparent plastic painters tarp, which is the heaviest of the options listed, can be obtained at any hardware shop. You will receive a substantial amount of cloth, which you may cut to any size you like. Pros:
Polycro, which is available from Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs, is the lightest of the ultra-light polymers. Polycro is transparent, and it appears just like a plastic painter’s tarp, only it’s wayyy thinner. Its high strength to weight ratio means that, despite being a thin layer, Polycro is exceptionally durable, puncture and abrasion resistant, in addition to being water and abrasion resistant. A normal sheet of polycro, measuring 96″ by 48″, weighs just 1.6 ounces, which is nearly indistinguishable (45 grams).
You know that white paper-like material that is used to cover houses while they are being built? Because it’s practically unbreakable, it’s inexpensive, it’s waterproof, and it’s also somewhat lightweight. Tyvek has a high burliness factor, which means it is difficult to tear. It is far more puncture resistant when compared to the other choices. Tyvek is also impervious to water. However, because it is light and compact, you can simply roll up and cinch it in the top of your pack or one of the exterior straps when not in use.
Others will cut the piece to your preferred length if you ask them nicely.
In comparison to Polycro, a piece of Tyvek measuring 84″ × 84″ weights 6.5 ounces (184 grams).
- Every circumstance involving hiking or camping in which weight is not a consideration
- 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.
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. Despite the fact that there are occasions when a footprint is beneficial, there are a variety of lesser cost and lighter weight footprint alternatives that you may employ in lieu of a traditional footprint.
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.
Denier count and waterproofing metric are frequently included in the specifications of backpacking tents. When it comes to the tent’s floor fabric, the denier count is used to describe the thickness of the threads that make it up. It is a good basic approximation of the tent’s durability. An ultralight tent such as theREI Half Dome 2 Plus, which has a 15 denier floor, will be harder and more durable than a tent with a “70D” or “70 denier floor,” such as theREI Half Dome 2 Plus. It also varies how waterproof the flooring are on different tents.
- The “mm” measurement, also known as “hydrostatic head,” is used to determine the amount of pressure necessary to cause a cloth to leak.
- Furthermore, NEMO sells a Hornet 2 footprint with a 75 denier density.
- You’ll discover that tents with lower deniers and waterproof ratings are more likely than those with higher deniers and waterproof ratings to necessitate the purchase of a footprint.
- In many cases, the soil in pre-existing tent sites and established campsites is sandy and abrasive, making it difficult to grow a successful garden.
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
Buying a lightweight tent and then realizing you have to carry a large footprint is discouraging, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and money into finding a lightweight tent that works well. It seems a rip-off to me to spend an additional $50 for a basic piece of low-cost cloth. This is in addition to the additional weight that must be carried, as well as the additional time and work necessary to clean and dry it in between uses. In order to demonstrate what I mean, below is a survey of various popular tent models, as well as a comparison of the weights of the footprints sold by their respective manufacturers:
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.
What Is A Tent Footprint & Do You Need One?
Trail Skills, Lightweight Foundations, and Top Gear Picks are all covered in the CleverHiker Gear Guide.
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.
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 protect the bottom of your tent from being damaged by abrasion. Whenever you move around inside your tent, the bottom will be creating a lot of friction between you and whatever you’re camping on, be it dirt, snow, rock, wood, or whatever 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?
The first piece of advise we would provide is to not overthink things. As previously said, there are a plethora of groundsheet alternatives available, and all of them are functional. Take into consideration your requirements and preferences. If you are on a tight budget, you may make your own out of a $2 plastic tablecloth or plastic sheet instead. A tarp from your neighborhood store will work perfectly; however, keep in mind that tarps are huge and heavy, making them unsuitable for camping. If you want to save time, you can get a $10-15 option from Amazon.com.
If you just must have the greatest equipment and top brands, by all means, go ahead and get anything you like!
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.
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.
- Tents are costly, and I want to make the most of mine by extending its lifespan as much as possible.
- 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.
- Your groundcloth will absorb a significant amount of the dirt and moisture, avoiding the growth of mold and mildew in your tent.
- Cushioning and insulation are included.
- Your body, on the other hand, will absorb and feel whatever temperature the earth is at the time.
- 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.
- It might be challenging to locate a suitable tent location.
- 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.
- Sheets of Painter’s Tarp (or polycro). My personal fave. I use a 2 mm thick sheet, which is a terrific option because it just weights a few grams and is small enough to put in my pocket while still being effective. “Tyvek” is available for $2 at your local hardware shop. A brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that are frequently used to protect structures while they are being built. Among the other alternatives are “shrink” polymers, which are used to seal windows and doors during the winter months.
Don’t be concerned about attachments; the weight of your body will keep it firmly in place beneath the surface. You can place your gear (or a hefty rock) on top of your tent if you are in strong winds and are concerned that it will be blown away if you are not inside the tent.
How to Make Your Own DIY Footprint
Obtaining the Materials: Tent footprint material, a sharpie marker, and scissors Step 1: Go to a hardware shop or look online for the materials you want to use. Just make sure it’s larger than the size of the floor of your tent before starting. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and 3 feet broad. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to protect your belongings. The third step is to use a sharpie to trace the floor of your tent.
- Caution should be exercised to avoid getting sharpie on the tent!
- The goal here is to have your tent footprint be somewhat smaller than the floor of your actual tent on all sides.
- Stoveless BackpackingMeals
Tent Footprints: The Reasons You Really Need One
Obtaining the necessary materials: tent footprint material, a sharpie marker, and scissors Step 1: Go to a hardware shop or look online for the materials you’ve chosen. To begin, make sure it is larger than the measurements of your tent’s floor. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and three feet broad. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to protect your gear. Measure the floor of your tent with a sharpie and trace it. To achieve a more exact border, if your tent has a spherical floor, strive to keep it as flush with the ground as you possibly can.
Using a sharp knife, cut along the drawn line, about 2 inches from the edge.
Any rain runoff would be trapped and collected beneath the surface.
When and why are tent footprints necessary?
Obtaining the Materials: Tent footprint material, sharpie pen, and scissors Step 1: Purchase your preferred material from a local hardware shop or order it online. To begin, make sure it is larger than the floor of your tent. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and just 3 feet wide. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to keep the rain out. The next step is to trace the floor of your tent with a sharpie pen. To achieve a more exact border, if your tent has a circular floor, attempt to make it as flat with the ground as possible while setting up the tent.
Step 4: Make a cut along the traced line about 2 inches within the border. The goal here is to make your tent footprint somewhat smaller than the floor of your actual tent. Otherwise, it would trap any rain runoff and allow it to pool beneath the surface. Done! Enjoy. Stoveless BackpackingMeals
- Deterioration of the waterproof covering (for example, when it comes into contact with sand)
- And When the tent is not securely anchored and the floor is sliding over steep terrain, rips are quite likely to develop. Mold development occurs when a tent is left on moist ground for an extended period of time.
Even while the primary function of the footprint is to guard against abrasion, it may also be utilized to further waterproof the tent floor if it is put appropriately. However dense the footprint material is, it should never be employed for the purpose of providing additional insulation because it has almost no insulating properties. Learn more about tent insulation for use during the colder months. It appears that with the introduction of more costly tents and the resulting desire to safeguard their investment, people have begun to use them when camping for the first time.
When deciding whether or not you truly need a tent footprint, it’s important to understand the other criteria to consider (which are covered in greater depth later down in the article): the durability rating of the tent fabric and the waterproofing rating.
What are tent footprints and how do they work?
Essentially, a tent footprint (also known as a groundsheet) is a sheet of extremely resistant fabric, most typically made of polyester or nylon, that is placed below a camping tent’s floor to protect it from rips, wear, and tears when camping on unlevel or uneven terrain. When you step inside your tent, the floor will move/slide ever so little, and if the soil beneath the tent is hard enough, this might cause damage to the waterproofing layer or, even worse, a puncture in the tent’s waterproofing.
This is due to the fact that it is composed of a very resilient fabric that is capable of withstanding any form of abuse.
Because all of the sharp edges on the equipment will rub against the floor, the inside of the vehicle will often wear down faster than the outside.
Learn more about what more you can do to keep your tent in good condition.
How big should the tent footprint be?
It is preferable to get one that is approximately 2 inches smaller in circumference than the bottom of the tent. If it rains while you’re camping, you won’t have to be concerned about water seeping underneath the shelter and dampening the entire ground under you. Consider contacting the tent’s maker to see if they offer footprints for that specific model in order to make your life a little less complicated. The likelihood is that the majority of them will sell them, but you must be prepared to pay a premium for their services.
But, at the very least, you won’t have to be concerned about the sizes since you will be certain that they will fit flawlessly.
Important: If you purchase a universal footprint that is larger than the tent’s floor, do not cut the borders to make them match the size of the tent’s ground cloth. Those edges have been heavily stitched to provide additional reinforcement. Simply tucking them below will help to make it smaller.
Tent floor durability and waterproofing ratings
In today’s market, almost all of the tents that you may purchase should have a denier count listed somewhere on their specs page. It is the overall thickness of the threads that make up the cloth that is represented by the denier count (in our case, the floor of the tent which is usually thicker than the body). We may use this measurement to make an educated guess about the material’s long-term durability. In general, the greater the denier of a material, the more durable the material is going to be.
- If your tent floor material has a denier between 70 and 150, it is considered to be a very durable material, and in this case, using a tent footprint under normal camping conditions is not necessary.
- However, these sorts of tents are far more expensive, and for an additional $30 dollars, you can likely get a universal footprint that will provide further protection (better safe than sorry).
- A hydrostatic head measurement is what this is referred to as.
- The use of a tent footprint is required if the hydrostatic rating of your tent floor is only about 1200-2000mm, even if the soil appears to be dry.
Campsite selection determines the need for a footprint
The choice of a camping location might also influence whether or not you require a tent footprint. In the case of forest floor camping, you will very certainly find yourself pitching your tent on ground that is riddled with brambles, twigs, pebbles, roots poking out, and other such hazards. It may be vital to use a footprint in this situation if you want to be certain that you are not damage your tent. Also, even if you’re using a groundsheet, it’s a good idea to spend a few of minutes attempting to clear the ground before you start working.
The grass should be sufficient to serve as a footprint and protect the floor of your camper.
This is due to the fact that the ground where people used to sleep has changed into a “dish” over time.
Even the tiniest submerged space can have all of these characteristics, despite the fact that they are not apparent to the naked eye. You may use the table below to determine whether or not you’ll need a tent footprint based on the type of soil you’ll be camping on.
|Grassland||Not required||Not required|
The requirement of tent footprints is determined by the kind of terrain encountered.
Is it necessary to use a tent footprint when camping in the winter? The answer is dependent on the two sorts of circumstances that you are most likely to come across:
- Camping on snow – if this is the case, a tent footprint is not required as long as the amount of snow covering the ground is sufficiently deep
- Camping on frozen ground– In this situation, it is preferable to use a tent footprint rather than a groundsheet since moisture can accumulate below the tent and cause it to freeze fast. Frost may harm the waterproofing layer on a tent and, in extreme cases, it can freeze so hard that it causes the floor to tear as you’re raising the tent from the ground.
Is it necessary to leave a footprint when camping on the beach? A tent footprint is almost always required while camping on the beach, regardless of the season. This is due to the fact that sandy soil is the most abrasive of all the soil types (think sandblasting). Sand may cause damage to the tent floor in a variety of ways, but the most typical issue is that the tent floor will shift ever so slightly on top of it, which is comparable to rubbing it against sandpaper. The waterproofing layer will be completely gone in a short period of time.
Best universal tent footprints that you can buy
A universal groundsheet is the most cost-effective and simple option if your tent does not come with a footprint (which, in most cases, is sold as a pricey optional item by the manufacturer). You’ll discover the most cost-effective option farther down this page.
3. Marmot Ultralight
Despite the fact that the most of us are accustomed to hefty groundsheets, if you’re looking for something lighter, this would be the best option. People normally avoid using footprints since they add extra weight to their backpacks, which is something no one wants, especially if they’re camping. However, this device is lightweight and compact enough to be carried in any backpack. Really, if you want to do something, your weight isn’t an issue. The fabric is made of featherweight nylon. Sizes:This option is only available for 4 and 6 person tents.
It may be used just as a footprint for a specified size and no other purpose.
Waterproofing: It is waterproofed on both sides of the product.
2. ALPS Mountaineering
Excellent value for such a high-quality cloth. It’s also available in a variety of tent sizes, and it takes less than 5 minutes to put together. It is quite sturdy, thanks to the reinforced edge and strong sewing, and it should last you for many camping seasons to come. Polyester fabric is used in the construction of this item. Tents are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 2 to 6 people. Multipurpose:No. It may be used just as a footprint for a specified size and no other purpose. It does not come with any reinforcements, which is a disappointment.
The manufacturer does not specify if the product is coated on both sides.
Terra hiker universal footprint
A true versatile design that may be utilized for a variety of purposes other than camping. People frequently utilize these groundsheets for a variety of additional purposes, such as serving as a tarp for their vehicles. This is a multi-purpose product that will serve you well for many years to come! 210D Oxford fabric is used for this project. Sizes: 59′′ x 86′′ (150 x 220 cm), 70′′ x 86′′ (180 x 220 cm), 94′′ x 86′′ (200 x 220 cm) (240 x 220 cm).
Picnic blanket, tarp, groundsheet, and rainfly are all multipurpose. It does not come with any reinforcements, which is a disappointment. Waterproofing: It is coated on both sides with a waterproofing agent. Price range: low to moderate Vendor: Check Amazon for current availability.
DIY tent footprints and lower-cost alternatives
People have spent a lot of effort making their own groundsheets, stitching grommets, and trimming sheets of Tyvek or polypropylene to fit their tents, as I’ve observed while walking around town. The results are pleasing, but I have a concern about this: what if you decide to replace your tent? Most likely, you’ll have to start from the beginning. As a result, why not spare yourself some trouble and simply get some low-cost blue polypropylene? Make no effort to trim it to the proper size; if it’s too large, simply fold it below your tent to make it smaller.
How to correctly set up a tent footprint
Time required: ten minutes. How to properly erect a tent’s ground footprint
- Choose a location for the tent and the groundsheet to be installed. First and foremost, you must position the groundsheet precisely where you want the tent to be. Find out which side of the goods is waterproof by looking at the label. Most of the time, the shiny side (coated) will be facing up (facing the tent), and the dull side (uncoated) should be facing down (facing the ground). Prepare the tent by putting it up on the ground. Begin erecting the tent on top of it by placing the tent poles into the grommets in the footprints. Some may have straps connected to them in order to attain a more secure fit
- Check to see if yours does. Check to see if the installation was done correctly. Ensure that the sheet does not protrude from the wall, and if it does not, you’re done.
In the event that you have one that you created yourself, you can simply place it below and everything will be great. Just make sure you set your tent on level ground or you may end yourself falling off.
Frequently asked questions
Is it possible to utilize a tent footprint as a tarp? It is possible to use a tarp with multifunctional footprints such as Redcamp or Terra Hiker without making any adjustments to the footprint. If the product is intended to be used exclusively as a groundsheet, you’ll most likely need to hunt for a more appropriate tarp to replace it. The bulk of footprints are narrow because they were intended to be somewhat smaller in size than the tent’s ground surface. These proportions may not be suitable for a tarp of similar size.
What should the thickness of a footprint be?
Lightweight variants have a thickness of only 0.5 millimeters, whereas heavy-duty ones have a thickness of 1.8 millimeters (see illustration).
All of the tent footprints have at least one side that is waterproofed, if not all of them.
In most cases, if you go with the one that the manufacturer recommends, you’ll end up with a footprint that has the same Hydrostatic Head rating as the tent.
Although their primary function is to guard against abrasion, using one will increase the waterproofing value by a factor of two, which is not a bad idea when you consider that the more pressure you apply to a tent’s floor, the more it loses its ability to withstand water.
You must wash the footprint with cold water and a sponge when it has dried.
Never wash your clothes in the washing machine since it might shred your footprint.
If you don’t have a specialized cleaning product on hand, soak the footprint in WARM water for an hour or two before beginning to remove the dirt from it.
Don’t leave it out in the direct sunshine.
Is there any insulation provided by groundsheets?
In this case, space blankets or insulated footprints might be utilized to keep the space cool.
A glossy side (which should be coated for waterproofing purposes) and a dull side (which should not have any coating at all) are common characteristics of footprints.
So that the waterproofing layer does not become destroyed, this is done.
Any dirt that is left behind will scrape the coating, since the tent will always slide a little bit over the groundsheet when it is being used.
Painter’s Tarp Sheets are also known as painter’s tarps, and while they are far lighter in weight than your typical footprint, I would not advocate utilizing them on a regular basis.
Is it necessary to tie the footprint to the tent?
However, as we all know, we are often forced to use a universal sheet, which will never be the precise size of the tent we are setting up.
With the exception of those who are camping on a steep slope where there is a possibility of the tent sliding down the valley, you should be alright without securing the pole to the tent’s bottom.
The primary functions of any footprints, whether purchased or made by hand, are to protect the more expensive tent from difficult terrain, to keep water away from the tent floor, and to assist in keeping the tent clean when it is muddy. As a result, even if the durability of your tent is sufficient to avoid the need for a footprint, it is recommended that you purchase one. Because the cost of a universal footprint is so minimal, it’s always a good idea to invest in one. In the event that your budget does not allow for it, even a simple DIY groundsheet may work miracles, and you can construct one for as little as $10.