One of the most common questions we have found people asking is what is a tent footprint and if it is really necessary to invest in one for your tent.
Since tent footprints are not generally sold with the tent, many people neglect to find out what it is and after numerous encounters with pro campers, we have found that people are not commonly aware of why they should buy one.
What Is A Tent Footprint?
To start discussing what a tent footprint is, we would need to look at how life is without one. Many times when you are out camping or backpacking, you might find that your tent does become soaking wet or muddy at the bottom and this can be avoided with a tent footprint to keep the bottom protected.
A tent footprint is simply a piece of cloth that could vary in materials and thickness and this is generally placed underneath the tent to help keep the moisture out and to give you some added protection from the rugged terrain.
The tent footprint is not explicitly designed to keep you drier when it starts raining and you might still need to invest in a good waterproof or reinforced tent to ensure that the rain does not peer through, but it will definitely keep the rain from coming underneath and wetting the thin floor of your tent.
These footprints are also a little thicker than the floor of your tent and this will provide you with extra insulation if you are a backpacker and plan to sleep on the floor in cold temperatures.
Now, a tent footprint is not really a necessity and many of the hardcore bloggers on forums have been known to trash this idea, but it is something that could provide you with another layer of comfort to keep you cushioned and insulated at night. Let’s look at a few of the key benefits that you will have when you decide to invest in a tent footprint.
Do I Need A Tent Footprint?
The tent footprint is not generally that expensive and you should be able to pick one up for around $34-$40, but this can also be seen as another expenditure that could be used toward buying a better tent. Tent footprints do; however, have a few benefits that you will not have when you decide to invest in one:
1. Added durability
The floor of the tent does get worn out over time and this is due to common abrasions from walking on the floor to sleeping and tossing and turning at night. The tent floor will slowly thin out as it rubs against the floor and this could substantially weaken the floor.
With a footprint, the floor will not be subjected to so much punishment and your tent's floor could last substantially longer.
2. Improved cushioning
While camping might not be for minimalists, backpacking certainly is and since you would need to save some weight, you will not be carrying a cot or bed that will elevate you off the ground.
Since the wilderness is mostly rugged with stones and other tough terrain elements, the footprint will keep you a little cushioned above the ground and also keep you more insulated since we do lose up to 70% of heat through the ground.
3. Keeps the floor dry
Rain is unpredictable on outdoor journeys and sometimes it could last for days at an end, leading to a wet tent floor. The tent footprint will keep the floor dry and ensure that mud and moisture do not get caught up on the floor and make the tent even colder than it already is.
Since mud will also be avoided, you will be spending less time cleaning a tent with a hosepipe to get off all the dried mud and cleaning the footprint is much easier and less of a hassle.
4. Save you money in the long term
Tents are pretty fragile and they will easily get worn down with too much exposure to the elements. The lighter the tent, the more durability is sacrificed and this is where the tent footprint could save you money in the long term. By investing in one now, you will be saving yourself from having to buy a new tent in the future.
We could go on and on about the benefits, but these are the four general and most important benefits that you will have when you invest in a tent footprint. Now, there are many footprints available on the market and we have chosen one that we do recommend.
Tent Footprint Recommendation
1. Best footprint
Since all tents differ in size and structure, selecting a top footprint was not easy. We have decided to choose the OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp for Picnics, Tent Footprint, and Sunshade as our number one choice. This footprint offers good sizing and it is durable, while also not commanding a massive price to buy.
Since you might have different tents for different purposes, this lightweight footprint will be the ideal match for all of your tents and when it is not needed as a footprint, it also offers multifunctional use as a tarp.
2. Alternative options
Alternatively, you could simply use a large cloth you have at home to save you a few bucks and we would just recommend that you ensure that it is durable enough and also waterproof to keep you dry.
Many people have also chosen old table cloths that can be stitched together for more thickness or to get the right size required.
Ultimately the choice is up to you!
Thank you for reading this short and detailed article and we certainly do hope that you have an answer for the question what is a tent footprint and what it is used for.
We would also like to encourage all you extreme outdoor fanatic to share your thoughts on tent footprints and let us know what alternatives you use.