Tent footprints are camping gear that is attached to the tent to prevent damage. The fabric of tent footprints can vary, but you'll find most of them are made of easy-to-clean and durable polyethylene. You can get some lighter floor sheets made of low-denier polyester or oxford. So, do you need a tent footprint? Let’s find out!
Tent footprints are placed under the camping tent to increase the tent's resistance to ground friction. For example, if you are camping on sand or desert sand, the bottom of your tent will scratch the ground and may experience some wear and tear. Without a tent footprint, your tent will be damaged in a short period of time.
When is a tent footprint worth it?
Using a footprint for a tent is usually a good idea if you wish to camp on rough, rocky terrain that may have sharp tips and rough edges. Areas with lots of fallen wood and the potential for sharp branches are also a problem.
If you camp and/or backpack a lot (think dozens of nights a year) and want your tent to remain strong for years to come, the tent footprint is certainly worth considering.
If you're car camping and don't care about the tent's excess weight and bulk, there are a few downsides to adding a footprint other than the purchase cost.
Types of Tent Footprints
So once you have found the answer to “do I need tent footprints'', the next step is to know what kind of tent footprint you would require. Footprints for tents are made of different fabrics and also come in different types, including:
Solid Tent Footprint: A solid tent footprint is a cost-effective option that also provides an extra level of water resistance during travel. This type of tent footprint is easier to clean and provides warmth during winter camping trips.
If you buy a solid tent footprint that is much larger than your tent, it may collect rainwater and also promote condensation.
Mesh Tent Footprint: This footprint is ideal as it prevents water from building up near the bottom of the tent. Its screen allows rainwater to pass through instead of getting stuck on top of the sheets. However, this tent footprint is a more expensive option. It is also resistant to stabs from small sharp objects.
DIY Tent Footprints: For hikers on a budget, there is an alternative to solid and mesh tent footprints. You can make your own tent footprint. There are many ways to do this. If you have the resources, here are some ideas to consider:
Old tarpaulins can be used as tent footprints. However, you should make sure it is cut according to the size of the tent. When the tarp is cut larger than the tent, it may be sufficient. But when it's smaller, it won't protect the tent floor in stormy weather.
A window wrap might also come in handy. You can use the one traditionally used to cover windows to provide extra insulation in winter.
A duvet or an old blanket can also be used. However, it should not be used during a storm or when there is water on the ground.
Advantages of A Tent Footprint
Not only do extra floor mats give you extra water resistance, but there are also some more important reasons to invest in footprints for tent:
- Your own piece of dry land
Bring some dry ground to pitch your tent and make tent pitching a breeze. Tent footprint mats keep the bottom of your tent clean and dry, making packing easier. For tents with sewn floor mats, having floor mats means less hassle and also means your tent is less likely to need ventilation and drying when you get home.
- Perfect pitch, every time
Eliminate pitching problems by knowing exactly where to put the corners of your tent. With many larger or modular-style tents, trying to figure out where to put the brad pegs before setting up the frame can be very difficult and just as frustrating when you have to move them again. The tent footprint surface shows exactly where you should nail the corners and avoid wasting time.
- A little more warmth
When camping, most of the heat is lost on the ground, and the footprint for tent mats add another layer of insulation to capture warm air and prevent heat loss. Learn more about how to keep your tent warm.
- Protect your investment
If you've just spent hundreds of pounds or more on a brand new tent, you probably want to keep it in top shape, for the longest possible time. Just like Scotch-Guarding the new sofa, the footprint mats help prevent invisible sticks and stones at your chosen camp from damaging, tearing and tearing the bottom of your new tent. Repairing or replacing damaged footprint mats is much easier than the tent's overall mat.
- Double the waterproof
Most tent mats have a 10,000mm hydrostatic cord, which means you're less likely to get wet, but water can pass through even this high-spec barrier over time. The second layer provided by the footprint mats further increases your protection, which means peace of mind even on long journeys. Some expedition and trekking tents only have 5,000mm hydrostatic head pads, so for longer trips where weight is not an issue, trail pads are recommended.
So there you have it, five compelling reasons that answer do you need a tent footprint or not and another reason to go out and buy a footprint mat for your tent - an investment that may end up saving you money in the long run, and will certainly save you every time you pack Time and trouble tents!
Cost of Tent Footprints
The cost of tent footprints depends on where and what you buy. However, as mentioned above, it is possible to build your own tent footprint without paying a lot of money for a tent footprint.
Tent footprints are usually more expensive, especially if you buy them directly from the manufacturer. A popular material for making tent footprints is Tyvek. The material is cheap, durable and lightweight. Most importantly, it is a waterproof material.