Tent Footprint vs Tarp : Which Is The Best?

​Your tent is a big investment for keeping you sheltered and safe when you're camping in the wilderness. It's a good idea to make your tent as safe as possible. Both a tent footprint and a tarp are ways that you can protect your tent from wear, damage and rain. If you haven't used a tent footprint or a tarp under your tent, then you're in the right place. This guide explains what a tent footprint is, the differences between a tarp and a tent footprint and what they do to protect your tent.

​A tent footprint is a sheet of material or ground cover that is spread on the ground before you set up your tent. It is placed beneath the tent and the ground. It helps to protect the floor of your tent from the constant friction that occurs when you walk in and out of the tent. A tent footprint is different than a camping tarp. Tent footprints are made of a thick cloth-like fabric. The materials are usually tough and water resistant.

Tent Footprint vs Tarp

​Why Use A Tent Footprint?

​There is a very good reason why you should use a tent footprint. This ground cover creates a barrier between your tent and the ground. The bottom of a tent usually gets the most wear and tear. Campers go in and out of the tent. This creates friction between the tent material and objects on the ground. It can lead to fraying or punctures in the bottom of the tent. The tent footprint acts as a cushion between the ground and the tent floor and it can help to extend the life of your investment in a camping tent.

​Benefits of using Tent Footprints

​A tent footprint is made to fit the dimensions of the floor of your tent. It is used to help extend the life of your tent by cutting down on the wear and tear. This is just one of many benefits it has to offer. A tent footprint is also waterproof. It is made to help prevent water from seeping into your tent from the bottom. This, in turn, helps to keep you warm and dry inside your tent, even when it's raining or misty outside. Another benefit of a tent footprint is that it keeps the bottom of your tent from getting dirty. This cuts down on the amount of work that is needed to clean your tent before you put it away until the next trip.

​What are the Different Types of Tent Footprints?

​There are many different tent footprints with a variety of brands, sizes, styles and materials. There are two basic types which include a solid tent footprint ad a mesh style. To help you know more about the choices that you have, here is an explanation of each type.

  • Solid Tent Footprint:  ​This option is usually more affordable than the mesh type. It provides you with extra waterproofing. This is a plus when you camp in rainy or misty weather conditions. It keeps the moisture on the outside so it doesn't come through the tent floor. 
  • ​Mesh Tent Footprint:This type of footprint is good for preventing water buildup. It's made of screen that lets the water pass right through without building up on the solid surface. The drawback to the mesh tent footprint is that it's more expensive than the solid type and it's easier to be damaged by sharp objects on the ground.

​What is a Tent Tarp?

A tent tarp is a sheet that is made of tough and durable materials. You can buy tent tarps that are specially treated with waterproofing to help keep your tent floor dry. They protect the bottom of your tent from damage by forming a barrier between the ground and the tent.

​Benefits of Having a Tent Tarp

​There are many benefits to using a tent tarp.

The benefits of having a tent tarp include preserving the life of your tent and keeping you more comfortable inside. They prevent fraying, tearing and puncturing of the tent floor fabric. In addition to this, a tent tarp helps to keep any water from rain or condensation moisture on the outside of the tent floor. They prevent water from seeping from the ground into the tent floor so you stay warm and dry inside. You can also use the to cover the top of the tent when it's raining outside.

​When to Use Them? Tent Footprint or Tarp?

​You can use a tent footprint or a tarp whenever you set up your tent. It's always a good idea to put a protective ground covering down on the ground before you set up your tent. Sand, rocks and other sharp objects can rub against the tent floor and cause damage over time. A ground cover can help to prevent this. It doesn't need to be rainy or wet outside to benefit from a tent footprint or a tent tarp.

​​Final verdict

It's not absolutely necessary to use a tent footprint or a tent tarp, but it's wise. Tents are expensive to replace and using the extra protection can make your tent last for years longer. A common question asked is which is the best choice when it comes to a tent footprint vs a tent tarp.

​The tent tarp is usually lighter, so if you're a hiker or backpacker, you might appreciate the light weight of the tarp over the tent footprint. If you're driving in, we recommend the footprint because it's tougher and more water resistant. A tent tarp can be used as a ground cover or as a cover over your entire tent. It's a little more versatile than a tent footprint. Which is best? The best choice is the one that meets your needs and suits your preferences the most.

Daniel Sturm

I started this blog to provide the guideline, you towards a better and more comfortable hiking experience. I deliver more than hiking, camping and backpacking guideline.

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