A tent construction

If you have any exposure to camping or you are going on a camping trip, you may have heard of a tent footprint. Many people have never heard of these products, but they can be quite integral to your tent camping trip.

If you've heard of these items but don’t have any experience with them, you might be asking yourself:

“What is a tent footprint and how can it help me?” or “Do I need a tent footprint?”

We’re here to answer all of your questions and explain to you exactly what a tent footprint is and how it can help you if you are planning a tent camping trip. 

What Is A Tent Footprint?

A tent footprint is named as such because it is essentially a tarp under tents that are used while camping. The general purpose of a tent footprint is to prevent your tent from becoming damaged. The material of a tent footprint varies and which material you need will change based on your camping conditions and tent material.

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about tent footprints as well as some elaboration on some of the uses for tent footprints.

Do I Need A Tent Footprint?

The answer will depend on how much you’ve spent on your tent and how much you care about preserving its durability. If you have heavily invested in a tent and you are planning on camping in harsher conditions, you will want to get a tent footprint to protect your investment and prolong the life of your tent footprint. It also improves camping safety.

If you are hesitant about spending money on a tent footprint, you should know that you can save a lot of money in the long run by not having to purchase a new tent as frequently. Additionally, you can select the material and quality of your tent footprint so that you don’t have to spend as much on it. These tents are good examples of tents that might need a good tent footprint.

If you are using a dome tent, you most definitely want to use a tent footprint.

What Is A Tent Footprint Used For?

A tent footprint is an optional piece of equipment that is commonly used by campers and hikers as a surface upon which to put their tent. It is otherwise known as a tent pad or ground cloth for tents.

Tent footprints are used to protect the tent from wear and tear that can come from rubbing against the ground. Many times, tent footprints are recommended for terrains such as sand, forest, and rocky areas that can cause more wear and tear than normal on your tent. This is a great example of a tent footprint’s purpose.

Prolong The Life Of Your Tent

When you are able to prevent wear and tear from affecting your tent as heavily, you stand a good chance of prolonging the life of your tent. This can save you time, money, and frustration while you are on your camping trip.

If you are looking to protect the investment that you’ve made in your tent, a footprint for tents is a perfect choice.

Add Extra Warmth

A tent

Aside from protecting your tent, tent footprints help protect you as well! One of the ways that they do this is by adding extra warmth to your tent.

As we all know, the ground can be very cold. By adding an extra layer between you and the ground, you can keep yourself warmer for longer.

The impact of a tent footprint is generally seen as being one-dimensional and only useful for protecting your tent, but it does add a layer of comfort as well and that impact should be factored into your decision-making process.

Add Extra Waterproofing

If your chosen tent does not have a waterproof floor or the waterproofing isn’t adequate on your tent, you may want to consider getting a tent footprint. Tent footprints can help waterproof your tent and protect you from the elements.

This is especially handy if you are camping in a wet spot or in an area that rain is frequent.

Easier, Simplified Pitching

Pitching a tent can be very frustrating and take a lot of time. One way that you can make it easier for yourself is by giving yourself a clean, flat surface to pitch your tent on. A tent footprint can provide that surface.

By putting down your tent footprint first, you can clear brush, sticks, and other debris that could make it hard for you to put down your tent without frustration. This is just one of many ways that a tent footprint helps with optimizing the tent-pitching experience.

Packing Away Is Less Hassle

A tent footprint doesn’t just help you prevent unnecessary wear and tear. It also provides a clean surface upon which to pitch your tent to prevent excessive dirt and grime from getting on your tent.

It doesn’t much matter how dirty your tent is while you are sleeping in it and using it, but it does become a large inconvenience when you are trying to pack it away. You can make the process easier by keeping the tent clean and using a tent footprint. The footprint will guard your tent from mud and dirt and make sure that you don’t have to put away a dirty tent.

Tailor-Made To Suit Your Tent

If you are worried about compatibility, you should know that it’s quite easy to find a tent footprint that is specifically made to serve your tent and your needs. Most tent manufacturers also create tent footprints to go along with their tents. You will usually have to purchase these separately, but if you are looking for something that goes perfectly with your tent you can certainly find one.

Should I Buy The Tent Footprint Recommended By The Manufacturer?

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like spending the money on a name brand tent footprint, you can buy a generic one and just filter them by size. This way you still ensure that your tent footprint fits your model tent while also saving some money in the process by not getting the brand name.

Usually, getting a generic tent footprint isn’t going to alter its effectiveness. You should be able to find something quality that fits multiple tents and still fits your tent’s size well.

After How Long Will My Tent Break Down Due To Ground Friction?

The answer is impossible to pinpoint since each tent and camper are different. We can tell you, however, that it’s something you should be thinking about. Not using a tent footprint and using your tent a lot can lead to a very short life for your tent and much more money spent on your part.

Will A Footprint Or Ground Cloth Keep Me, Drier, If It Rains?

A green tarp

A tent footprint can help you stay drier during rainy or wet weather, but only if you take the correct precautions. If you set up camp in a low area, you are going to have a very hard time staying dry regardless of what you do or what tent footprint that you use.

You should make sure to set up camp on a high piece of ground that has good drainage. If you do this, your tent footprint can help to keep you dry from the wet ground. However, if you set up a tent footprint in a low area with no drainage, a tent footprint can actually be detrimental and collect water under your tent.