Although it isn’t entirely necessary, you should put a tarp or ground cloth under your tent. When used properly they protect your tent from punctures and reduce mud and water seepage. Unfortunately, most people use a tarp that’s too big which causes even more problems. Should I Put a Tarp Under My Tent?
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a ground cloth for my tent?
Whatever option you choose, always use a ground cover under your tent. This will help keep moisture from seeping through your tent, getting your gear wet, and will protect the life of your tent. Abrasive ground will wear out the floor of any tent no matter how durable it is, so ground cover or tarp protects the tent.
Can I use a tarp as a tent footprint?
You CAN utilize a tarp as a tent footprint. Due to the tarps' durability, we often use them to protect the tent's exterior from the elements. Therefore, a tarp can be used under the tent to protect the bottom from the elements and ground debris as well.
Do I need a pad under my tent?
Tent footprints are certainly not necessary, but they can help extend the life of your tent. If you have an ultralight tent with a low denier floor, it might be worth it to shell out the extra dollars for a footprint or to make your own.
Can you use any footprint for tent?
A homemade one is fine. Your cheap tablecloth fits the bill nicely; I usually use polyethylene sheeting purchased from a hardware store. The trick is to make sure the footprint is cut so it's a little smaller than the tent floor. In other words, you don't want any of the footprint stuck out from under the tent.
Do you put down ground cloth or tarp under your tent?
Whether or not you need to put down a ground cloth or tarp depends on your tent. It’s mostly there to protect the bottom of your tent from punctures, moisture reduction is secondary. If the weather is nice and you’re not worried about damaging the tent there’s no point in bothering.
Do you need a ground cloth for camping?
If you camp on the beach be sure to camp in a spot that isn’t at risk for flooding, as a ground cloth could send your tent sailing. If you are camping in the forest, a ground cloth would have benefits and cons. You would need a cloth that fits a little smaller than the bottom of your tent.
Can a drop cloth be used under a tent?
Some don’t breath at all which could cause condensation under the tent. Those options are basic drop cloths used for painting; the plastic kind or even window shrink wrap insulation. I imagine those options would be a little difficult to get set up.
How big should the outline of a tent be?
The logic behind cutting 2 inches within the outline is that the ideal tent footprint is a little bit smaller than the bottom of your tent. If the tent footprint is the same size or larger than the tent bottom it is protecting, then rainwater would collect on the exposed area of the tent footprint.