The tent you bought has a waterproof floor. What else do you need to buy? Do you need a tent footprint or a groundsheet? You should consider the waterproofness of the tent floor and the surface conditions where you plan to use it.
Considering the thickness and waterproof rating of your tent floor can help you decide how durable it will be. The choice of a campsite is also of utmost importance. You can also use lower cost and lighter weight footprint options instead of footprints when a footprint is desirable.
What is a Tent Footprint?
A tent footprint protects your floor from abrasions and punctures and provides a moisture barrier under your tent. A tent’s floor is abraded every time you pitch it due to the grit, tiny rocks, sand, and twigs that accumulate on the site.
As a result, you are likely to have a hole or puncture in your tent’s waterproof barrier due to the weakening of the fabric. Tent footprints protect your tent floor by absorbing damage and protecting it from damage.
Most tent footprints match the dimensions of the tent’s floor. Rain will collect and accumulate along the edges of the when used over the floor of the tent.
Your tent floor’s fabric can soak up the puddle or leak in if you have a hole in it or the seam tape is deteriorating. Whenever your tent’s footprint is too large, you should tuck the edges of the footprint under the tent’s edges to allow rainwater to soak into the ground.
Tent Floor Durability and Waterproofing:
Denier count and waterproofing metrics are often listed in backpacking tent specifications. This is a rough measure of the durability of the tent’s floor fabric based on the denier count of its threads. An ultralight tent like the REI Hornet 2 has a 15-denier floor, but a tent with a “70D” or “70-denier” floor will be stronger and more durable.
It is also important to note that tent floors differ in terms of how waterproof they are. The Hilleberg Niak, for example, has a waterproof rating of 5000 mm, much more than the NEMO Hornet 2, which has a waterproof rating of 1200 mm.
“MM” measurement, also known as “hydrostatic head”, measures the amount of pressure required to make a fabric leak. It allows you to compare the waterproofness of tent floors.
A 75 denier footprint for the Hornet 2 is available from NEMO. Despite not having a waterproof rating, it’s certainly much more durable than the tent’s 15 denier floor.
Read More: How to go backpacking stay clean
Do you really need a footprint?
If you want to extend the life of your tent, you need a footprint tent. Usually, footprints don’t cost much, so replacing them once they wear out is easy. Many tents do not require footprints, but backpacking tents do, since they are made from thinner materials and pose a greater risk of damage.
Additionally, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, or look online to see if they offer a specifically for your tent. Getting it would be a good idea if they did.
How important is a tent footprint?
Sometimes, we have to pitch our tents on surfaces filled with roots, rocks, or twigs to avoid puncturing the tent floor. The purpose of footprints is to protect your tent from damage by providing an additional layer between the tent floor and the ground. It is much cheaper to repair or replace your footprint than to replace your tent if it is torn or punctured.
How To Use A Tent Footprint?
It is very simple to set up your tent on top of a footprint or groundsheet. Simply lay the footprint out on your chosen camping spot, pitch your tent over it, and tuck. The excess material under the tent floor so that rainwater or condensation will not collect on the perimeter.
It depends on where you camp and whether you need to use a tent footprint. There are many pre-existing campsites, for instance, that have been “dished out” and leave an indentation in the soil. When you camp on these dished-out areas frequently, gravel, grit, sand, and water will accumulate and wear down your tent floor.
You will have a less severe impact on your tent floor if you camp only occasionally. You may want to consider a footprint if you are camping in a campground or established campsite with a thin, less waterproof floor.
How to properly use a tent footprint:
The tent footprint is easy to use: just follow a few steps, and you have a double-layered shelter.
- Your tent footprint should be unpacked.
- Remove large rocks, sticks, or other items that may hinder your footprint from laying flat if you are camping on rocky terrain.
- Prepare the ground by laying your tent footprint.
- On top of the footprint, pitch your tent.
- Connect your groundsheet to the tent with buckles, clips, or loops if it has them.
Footprints aren’t absolutely necessary, but they can help your tent last longer. The extra dollars for a footprint or making your own might be worth it if your ultralight tent has a low denier floor.
Although tent footprints and tarps are quite similar, they differ in several ways. There are two differences between the two: A tent footprint is placed at the bottom of the tent, whereas a tarp is usually placed over the tent. The cost of tarps is lower than that of tent footprints.
The tent footprint is a bit like a groundsheet that sits between your tent and the ground; you’ve probably grasped that by now, but just in case you’re not sure, it’s a piece of material that sits between the tent and the ground.
Having tent footprints can extend the life of your tent by making it more durable. If you have a low denier floor for your ultralight tent, you may want to consider a tent footprint. Our campsites are always cleared of twigs, rocks, and pinecones before we pitch our tents.