What Are Tent Footprints?

Have you ever heard of tent footprints? If you are new to camping, you may want to know what this is all about. Let’s now find out what tent footprints are.


Tent Footprint: What Is It?

Tent Footprint

A tent footprint is an important accessory that you want to consider bringing when you go camping.

They are waterproof sheets that are meant to be placed beneath your tent while you’re camping.

Of course, every tent has its floor, but the tent footprint is placed between the tent floor and the ground to enhance protection and isolation.

There are quite a few reasons why you may want to have a tent footprint underneath your tent:

1. Offers Comfort

One of the main reasons why campers usually place a tent footprint under their tent is because of comfort.

When you go camping, it’s hard to find a smooth and comfortable floor to mount your tent on.

On the contrary, most of the time, you’d be lying on the ground and dirt, and there can be small stones, prickly leaves, and others. 

With an additional layer beneath your feet, you can have a softer and more secure floor for your tent.

Read: How To Heat A Tent Without Electricity?

Also Read: How Do We Review A Tent?

2. Protects the Tent from tearing

The stones and prickly elements of the ground could damage your feet and back… but also your back.

One reasons why you want to use a tent footprint is to protect your tent floor from puncture and scratches.

3. Thermal Insulation

When the tent floor is thin, the temperature of the ground (especially when it is very cold) affects the temperature of your tent a lot.

With this additional layer, you can isolate your tent in a better way to enhance the comfort inside the tent itself.

4. Helps in Waterproofing

If you have spent good money on your new tent, then adding a tent footprint can save it from water.

You also do not want to ruin your trip by sleeping on wet ground; hence adding a tent footprint will give you double protection and peace of mind.

5. Less Hassel While Packing Up

If you ever camp during rain or simply camp over wet ground, you will find that mud, twigs, water, etc., have stuck to your tent and made it bulky and messy.

Packing up your tent that way is not going to be easy. Hence using a tent footprint reduces that problem.

6. Ensures Simplified Pitching

You can find tent footprints that are tailor-made for your tent; this helps you get a clear idea as to where your tent is going, where you should pitch it, etc.

You can simply follow the outline of the tent footprint to pitch your tent.


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Bringing A Tent Footprint: Is It Worth It?

Bringing A Tent Footprint

As you may know, when you go camping, you need to carefully think of anything you’ll be bringing with you: everything needs to be essential; otherwise, you’d be bringing useless weight on your backpack and shoulders for no reason.

Well, a tent footprint brings all the advantages and benefits we’ve discussed above: is it worth it to bring one with you?

We can consider two factors here: weight and price. Well, a tent footprint is a very lightweight item: it’s basically a thin towel of some waterproof material.

It can be folded and placed into any small pocket of your backpack without adding weight and without stealing too much space.

What about its price? Tent footprints are extremely cheap because they are simple items.

Furthermore, you could make your own tent footprint by cutting a towel of the right size from any waterproof material.


Hear it out from Reddit users:

How important are tent footprints/ground cover? Do you typically pack one?
by u/catalinashenanigans in Ultralight

Also Read: How To Attach A Tent To Your Backpack?

How to Use a Tent Footprint?

Tent Footprints are very easy to use. Here are a few simple steps that would help you do this effectively:

  1. The first step is to unpack the tent footprint.
  2. Now, check your campsite and get rid of all the stones, twigs, stems, etc., to avoid damage to the tent or footprint.
  3. Now lay the footprint and start pitching your tent on it.
  4. If your tent footprint has any buckles, clips, etc., then connect it to the tent.
  5. Lastly, remember to clean your tent footprint before and after using it.

DIY Tent Footprint

How to Clean a Tent Footprint?

Cleaning a tent footprint is the easiest task. You can simply take a clean cloth, dip it in water, and wipe the tent footprint clean.

If the footprint has heavy mud on it, then you can use a scourer gently. And if your tent footprint is smelling bad, then you can soak it in water with mild liquid soap in it.

Tent Footprint Vs. Trap


We discussed what a tent footprint is, and we found out that tent footprints are simple but important items that any camper should have in their backpack.

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How to select a tent footprint based on the terrain?

If you look at the specification of the footprint, you will find something called “Denier.” Denier denotes the weight of the thread used to make the footprint.

So consider buying a tent footprint of more denier, or stating simply, a footprint of thick quality. This will ensure that your tent stays protected from twigs, stones, etc.

What size of tent footprint should I buy?

Ideally, your tent footprint should be two inches less than the outline of your tent. This is suggested so that if it rains, your tent does not form water pools inside.

When is carrying a tent footprint not worth it?

Although tent footprints are not that heavy, it may not be worth it if you prefer light backpacking and do not want to add unnecessary weight.

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  1. https://www.switchbacktravel.com/does-your-backpacking-tent-need-footprint#:~:text=A%20footprint%20is%20a%20lightweight,tent%20floor%20and%20the%20ground.[]
  2. https://www.cruxrange.com/blog/is-a-tent-footprint-worth-it/[]

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