What Is Tent Footprint? Do You Really Need One?

Are you sure that you know everything about tent footprint? Have you ever found yourself confused about whether you should buy a tent footprint or not? I was once so. I wrote this article to help you get your mind around what tent footprint is and find your own answer to your related concerns.

Let’s first check if your conception of tent footprint is right and broad enough.

What Is Tent Footprint?

what is tent footprint

Tent footprint is simply a ground cover placed between the tent and the ground and plays the main role of protecting your tent from abrasion.

Playing that tough task, tent footprint is typically made out of the materials that are durable, waterproof, and easy to clean like polyethylene. If you look for lighter tent footprints, those made out of Oxford fabric, polymicro, tyvek, or spinnaker are good suggestions.

Apart from that, tent footprint is often designed with corner grommets that help well fix it with tents.

Tent footprint comes in various sizes, depending on the size of the tent it fits. Despite this, the footprint should always be a little bit smaller than the tent floor to ensure that water won’t gather between the groundsheet and the footprint.

Types of Tent Footprint

There are two types of tent footprint: built-in and handmade tent footprints.

Built-in tent footprints are those made on purpose to serve particular types of tents. In other words, they well fit tent size and are designed to serve the tent best. In fact, manufacturers earn a lot from selling built-in tent footprints as part of a set of tent because many people believe their tent will last longer with the support of a footprint.

what is tent footprint

A more saving solution is making your own homemade tent footprints from lightweight and durable tarp materials like polyethylene, tyvek, polycryo plastic that you can get from any hardware stores.

Another cool thing about making a DIY tent footprint is that such tent footprints can fit tents of different sizes and be replaced easily once torn or damaged. Watch the following clip for the detailed tutorial for making tent footprint in a simple way.

Why Is Tent Footprint Necessary?

"Is it necessary to have a tent footprint?" Many of you must be questioning this after having the very first ideas of what tent footprint is. Now I’ll show you why you need one.

1. Extent The Lifespan Of Your Tent

what is tent footprint

This may be the very first reason that comes to your mind because it’s always better safe than sorry. Equipping a footprint for your tent is just like buying your new smartphone a screen protector. Its miracle will reveal when you pitch your tent in rugged areas with twigs or jagged stones that may tear your tent groundsheet.

2. Give Extra Warmth

You know, it’s never good to lie close to the ground for the ground will absorb your heat and drain your energy. So, the more distant from the ground your body is, the better it is.

Tent footprint creates an additional insulation layer between your back and the ground, hence being of great help in reducing the heat loss of your body, especially in winter. It, coupled with a good sleeping mat or airbed, ensures your good sleep during camping time.

3. Increase Waterproofness

You’ll feel thankful for having a tent footprint if the camping location has wet ground or you face sudden heavy rain in midnight.

what is tent footprint

Double layers of groundsheets simply mean double protection. Specifically, the footprint serves as an additional barrier to mice, moisture and water, preventing them from annoying and worrying you.

It's particularly useful if your tent has linked-in groundsheet that isn't sewn onto the walls and is highly likely to be infiltrated by water.

4. Make Tent Pitching Easier

As the footprints are purpose-built for your tent, you will always feel certain about where to put the pegs and where it will fit. This will thus help save you a lot of precious time in any camping trip.

5. Keep Tent Dry and Clean

If you don't bring footprint along, the groundsheet of your tent may get wet and muddy after a trip, especially if you camp a sewn-in groundsheet tent in wet sites. If so, cleaning the tent after the trip will become a really headaching problem.

Footprint ensures that the bottom of your tent will be kept dry and clean throughout the trip. Therefore, this makes it easier and less inconvenient to pitch and take your tent down.

Do You Need A Tent Footprint?

Well, that’s an open question. The answer depends on your tent, your camping location, and your desire.

When Is Tent Footprint Needed?

  • Your camping location is highly abrasive, rough, or exposes the risk of sharp points or rough edges.
  • In case you camp a lot, especially in wet places or rainy seasons
  • When you go on a camper and are free from concern over pack weight

When Is Tent Footprint Needless?

what is tent footprint
  • In case the camping ground doesn’t pose your tent to the risk of abrasion and moisture
  • If you are a light backpacker, tent footprint may be among the first things you remove from your pack to save weight. If there isn't footprint, campers become more careful in inspecting the camping site. Just spend several minutes to remove sharp or ragged objects from it, you can feel pretty reassured about pitching your tent.

As a camper who prefers both light pack and comfort, I always bring along a DIY footprint made out of polymicro that doesn’t weight much but is very functional. The footprint has indeed saved my tent from many sudden heavy rain on the way.

​How To Clean A Tent Footprint?

​As you go to this part of the article, I know for sure that you are interested in tent footprint. If you choose a tent footprint, either built-in or handmade one, as your companion, don’t forget to take good care of it to increase its durability.

For detailed instructions on how to clean a tent in general and a tent footprint in particular, read the following article

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve got some insight into tent footprint as well as the reasons why you should or should not have one. Obviously, those who were once stuck in a torn, water-filled tent feel the necessity of tent footprint than any others.

Regardless of your choice, wish you fun-filled and worry-free camping trips.Please share the article with your buddies if you find it useful.

We're glad to receive your comments to help campers enjoy their trips more!

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Callie Moore

I’m Callie Moore, truly and deeply addicted to travel, worldwide cultures, and outdoor activities. I’m on the way of pursuing an adventurous life that enables me to earn the experiences of a lifetime. My blog is the place for those who are looking for inspiration to live a life filled with adventures as well as sincere and useful sharing about travel tips, gear, etc. for fun-packed trips. Just go on board, and we’ll together explore the world in our crazily cool and amazing way!

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