Home Beginners Camping Guide What is a Tent Footprint: Do You Need One?

What is a Tent Footprint: Do You Need One?

by Rayhan
What is a Tent Footprint

Tent footprints also referred to as groundsheets or ground cloth, are essentially not a mandatory piece of camping gear. But, for backpackers, it tends to be an incredible camping tool to use. Footprints are made of thicker threads and fragile material. Such tent footprints can ensure better comfort inside a tent. However, there is contention among travel enthusiasts regarding what is a tent footprint and do you need one. 

A tent footprint works as an extra layer of protection to your tent floor. As tents are supposed to go through rough facets causing severe damage to their construction, a footprint saves its day of horror. It protects the tent from abrasion to not require frequent replacements of an entire tent.

If you have already read our other article on tent tarps, you might wonder whether you can use them in place of these footprints. We will be going over the topic soon; before that, let’s learn more about the tent footprint material. 

What is a Tent Footprint?

Tent footprints are composed of slightly thicker materials than traditional tent body fabrics. It’s a lightweight sheet of material covering an entire tent floor from underneath. For a visual illustration, you can picture a tent tarp.

A tent footprint functions as a barrier between the ground and the floor of your tent. It’s necessary to keep your tent’s floor from deteriorating. Also, it offers extra protection to your tent from the damp or sharp ground beneath.

The denier count on these footprints is slightly higher. Denier count is an essential indicator of fiber durability. It denotes higher abrasion resistance and durability of the fabric threads. If you’re camping in an area with lots of sticks and rocks, choose a tent footprint with a high denier count; otherwise, the lower denier material will fall insufficient in urgency.

Most tent manufacturers include an adjusted footprint along with their tent model. So, buyers don’t have to face any extra hassle of purchasing a separate piece of material.

What are the Uses of Footprint for Tent?

What are the Uses of Footprint for Tent

Your tent isn’t made of highly durable material to resist heavy wear and tears all the time. Especially when you buy a lightweight tent and use it roughly as a camping tent, the tent materials become weaker to abrasions.

Although Nylon or Polyester tent fabric usually resists tears from sharp objects. But it’s vital to have an added thick material to protect expensive tents from quicker draining. After all, your tent is a costly purchase that you wouldn’t want to have to repurchase too soon.

If you decide to camp out on exposed rock or sandstone, you can choose a solid nylon/polyester footprint for your tent to prevent severe damage. That being said, you can also use these footprints for other purposes, including:

  • Groundsheets are helpful for when you don’t want to pitch backpacking tents.
  • They’re great for sorting tarps.
  • It serves as rope tarps ideal for use at the crag.
  • Best for picnic tent groundsheet.
  • Provides added rain protection.
  • Windshield / additional heat insulation barrier.
  • You can use your footprint to maintain other items such as tents and packs.
  • You can use your footprint as a safe sleeping surface if you like to sleep under the starlit sky.
  • It offers the young campers a perfect spot for play.

How to Use a Footprint for Camping?

Utilizing a footprint the proper way isn’t too hard for a backpacker. However, for some new campers, it might seem hazardous to organize. Therefore, we are here to break down the basic guidelines of how easily one can pitch a tent over their footprint.

Quality tents come equipped with an adjoint footprint for the consumers. Nevertheless, you can still purchase an additional one that matches your tent body the best. While choosing the best tent footprint, ensure that you know your tent floor size. Also, be concerned about the footprint weight; otherwise, you will have to carry an extra-weight backpack on the trip. 

To elaborate on the know-how tactics of footprint usage, we have divided the procedure into three easy steps that follow, 

Check on the campground you are about to dwell on. Clean the area free from rocks, debris, and mold, and keep your tent’s inside clean. Check for any harsh, damaging twigs or components before laying out the footprint on the ground.

Spread out the tent footprint and put it on the ground. If you feel confused about which footprint side should be at the top, we recommend checking on the product details that come with the packaging. 

Once you are prepared with the footprint, it’s time to pitch the tent on top of it. Carefully pitch your tent’s corners on the ground over the tent footprint. Connect the tent grommets with the footprint’s corner threads. Then tuck in any excessive fabrics sticking out from the imprint between the ground and the print. 

Tent Tarp VS Tent Footprint

Tent Tarp VS Tent Footprint

Many of us have heard of the term “tent tarps.” They could be used as a rainfly or a footprint substitute. But then why do manufacturers produce separate rain flys and footprints?

Tent tarps are usually made of thinner materials, unlike a tent footprint. They come in heavyweight, cheap pricing, and soft waterproof materials, ensuring less safety in inclement weather camping. On the contrary, a tent footprint is constructed to be highly water-resistant. They’re built of lightweight fabrics like nylon or polyester, so there’s no need to worry about bulky packaging.  

It is more comforting to use a tent footprint instead of a tent tarp. As tarps tend to be thinner in structure, they cannot provide maximum comfort to the consumers. For instance, a ground tarp can make your internal tent atmosphere colder than a tent footprint. 

Tent footprints are thick; They have a higher denier count, unlike the tarps. Therefore, any campers experience a better camping experience with a groundsheet underneath their tent. 

Is a Tent Footprint Worth It?

Your requirements and financial constraints ultimately determine this. We do, however, advocate investing in a tent footprint. It’s a practical technique to prolong the life of your tent.

The easiest way to safeguard your tent against damage is by investing in a footprint. A tent footprint is a specially designed tarp covering your tent’s bottom like a blanket. It protects the floor from wear and tear and keeps your tent dry when it rains. I recommend buying a top-quality footprint — you can even get it custom-made.

To save money on the initial price, you can consider making a DIY footprint. It will ensure low costs and keep your investment protected. You can easily create a DIY affordable tent footprint with a tarp or polyethylene sheeting. By mixing and matching different sewing methods, you can develop good enough products and get quality protection.

However, if you’re not a tarp kind of person, you can also opt to buy a pre-cut tarp. While these are a bit more expensive, the ease of use and the high quality of protection is worth it. Cut the tarp to the size of your tent, and you’re set! No stress, no fuss.

Last Words

A guide to tent footprints can lead to a better camping experience for you, even during an inclement weather trip. Affordable and quality, tent footprints offer the best of these features as you get to choose any size variant for your tent. All you need is to have a mental note of your tent floor size and select the tent that best fits it.  The footprint on your tent is an essential part that keeps you dry and comfortable while camping. Footprint can also be used separately as a rain tarp, gear sorting station, or wind protection when hiking. So, how do you feel about investing in a suitable footprint? Let us know what you think in the comments box below. We’d love to hear what you have to say about it!

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