What Is A Tent Footprint? & They Are Worth It Or Not

A tent footprint is actually a piece of material that sits between your tent and the ground, and it is known as a groundsheet. It comes in multiple sizes, and how big your tent depends on this factor.

Reasons You Need To Buy A Tent Footprint

Do I need a tent footprint? The six reasons why you should purchase a tent footprint are as follows:

1. Prolong the life of your tent:

Almost all tents consist of a sewn-in groundsheet in recent times. Therefore, it becomes vital to buy a footprint. Ensure that you have protected the new tent from abrasion or cuts from loose stones and twigs.

Accidents can happen anytime while out camping, even if you have protected it in the best way. Therefore, it is essential to keep your new tent protected.

2. Add extra warmth:

When you add a footprint to the tent’s underside, it helps to reduce the heat by adding another layer and raising you off the floor. Most people underestimate that they lose much body heat in this way while camping.

3. Add extra waterproofing:

When you use double layers, you will get double protection also. Using a second layer of waterproofing offers great peace of mind and protects the tent.

4. Easy pitching:

These come in tailor-made designs and are specific to the outline of your tent. You can have a clear idea of where you should use it, where it is, and where to begin pegging from the outset.

5. Packing away is less hassle:

If you find campsite grounds fairly wet throughout your stay, the sewn-in groundsheet becomes very wet and muddy. It is when you should use footprint.

6. Tailor-made to suit your tent:

In most cases, these are specific to a tent model. Use footprints coming in small designs than the floorplan. Thus, it helps to stop any water collection between the sewn-in groundsheet and the footprint.

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What is a tent footprint?

Benefits of Tent Footprints

  • It helps to keep your tent floor protected from damage.
  • Clean the under part of the tent floor and keep it dry.
  • Simple to clean

What is a tent footprints made of?

It consists of a fabric. But different models use different fabrics. However, you can find these consisting of polyethylene which is more durable and simple to clean. If you are willing, use lighter weight groundsheets consisting of an oxford or lower denier polyester material.

How big should a tent footprint be?

How big should a tent footprint be? It should come in a slightly smaller size than the tent’s base. It helps to prevent water from collecting between the footprint and your tent. Ensure that you know the weather if you need to use a small model.

How to use a tent footprint?

Do you know how to use a tent footprint? You can use a tent footprint very easily. Just follow these steps to use a footprint.

  1. Your first task is to lay out your tent footprint in a flat spot. Ensure that the spot should be cleaned. Sometimes, footprints can be staked. Therefore, if you want, do it now.
  2. You should start pitching the tent on top as soon as you locate it. In this case, you need to practice keeping your tent in the center position.
  3. When you set up your tent, you must grab any side of your footprint. After that, you need to adjust it as necessary. Whether you contain a freestanding tent, it is possible to lift it and center it over the footprint.
  4. If you satisfy with the positioning, ensure if any exposed footprint is tucked at the bottom of the tenth floor. Thus, you can prevent water from building up on the footprint.

Otherwise, it may flow underneath your tent floor, and as a result, it becomes wet. Whether you want to use a footprint designed for your tent mainly, it can be smaller than the floor.

Is A Tent Footprint Worth It?

Using a tent footprint helps to protect the below part of the tent from abrasion and moisture. It makes the tent long-lasting and keeps it drier on the inside. These can fit your tent, helping to reduce the fabric required for full coverage.

It has corner grommets used to protect it from the tent frame. Thus, it makes you sure that the footprint is located underneath correctly. Footprints of two-person backpacking tents cost from $30 to $60 and weigh roughly 5 to 10 ounces. However, it relies on the material and size.

When is a tent footprint worth it?

If you are willing to camp on rough, rocky terrain with significant potential for sharp points and rough edges, you should use a footprint. In this case, you need to choose areas having many downed wood and the potential for sharp branches.

Whether you camp and backpack a lot, you must have a footprint or want to last it for many years. If you prefer to do car camping but don’t want to carry the extra weight and bulk with your tent, except for its cost, a footprint may have a little drawback.

When is it not worth it?

If you are not willing to carry the excess weight and bulk, you do not need to purchase it. Thus, it is possible to reduce some tangible weight in your pack.

However, if you see any small tear or puncture, you can repair it easily with the help of Tenacious Tape.

When should you buy one?

If you think you should have one, go for it, even if only on an irregular trip-by-trip basis. You can buy a footprint while purchasing your tent.

Multiple tents are there, which don’t last, and manufacturers also change the dimensions of recurring models. Nowadays, you do not find a footprint that will match an older tent so easily.


1. Is it worth getting a tent footprint?

These are certainly not essential, but they can extend the tent’s life span. Whether you contain an ultralight tent with a low denier floor, you can invest extra money for a footprint or make your own.

2. What does it mean when a tent has a footprint?

When a tent has its footprint, it means that the underside of the tent remains protected from abrasion and moisture. It helps to increase the model’s life span and is very dry on the inside.

3. Can you use a tarp for the tent footprint?

If necessary, use a tarp as a tent footprint. These are very durable, and people use tarps to protect the tent’s exterior from the elements. As a result, you can use a tarp under the tent to keep the bottom part protected from the elements and ground debris.

4. What can I use instead of a footprint for a tent?

You can use Window wrap plastic insulation instead of a tent footprint. 1.3 ounces is only the weight of it.

5. How to clean tent footprint?

You can clean a tent footprint using a clean cloth. Try to use a new cloth in such cases. Just use water if you’re willing to wash away any dirt. You can use a scourer for substantial mud attached to the footprint if necessary. Ensure that you are using it carefully.

To summarise

What does a tent footprint do? Are you a seasoned camper who has never used one? Then, it is better to use a footprint.

However, if you have already suffered a tear in the bottom of your tent, faced water seeping in from underneath, or experienced a muddy tent, then using a footprint becomes invaluable. These are a little bit on the costlier side also.

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