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Do You Need A Tarp Under Your Tent?

Tarp Under Your Tent

There are a few camping cultures that we are following because our forefathers have been doing them for a long time. Using a tarp as a tent footprint is such a thing. Of course, no one wants their gears to be wet and sleep on a damp surface.

That’s why many people use a tarp or ground cloth to prevent the tent from getting wet or a dejected quagmire of mud during camping. Moreover, a tarp works as a protective barrier and holds the groundwater from soaking through the tent floor, while keeping you and your camping gear dry. 

This article will give you an elaborate idea about why you need a tarp under your tent and what benefits you’ll get from this. Meanwhile, we’ll also discuss why you shouldn’t use a tarp. So without further ado, let’s get started. 

Benefits Of Putting A Tarp Under The Tent

A tarp is a versatile piece of equipment that you can use in many ways while camping. Using a tent as your tent’s groundsheet will benefit you in a number of ways. They literally weigh nothing more than a few Oz, so carrying them around won’t be a big deal. However, there are other benefits of using a tarp under your tent and they are:

Tarp Under Your Tent

Protect Your Tent

Along with keeping you dry, using a tarp as a tent footprint will protect the tent from tearing and damage. It acts as a protection layer between the tent and the rough surfaces. Before setting up the tent, you just need to lay the tarp on the ground so that no stick, stone, or any other sharp object on the ground can poke you while sleeping. Moreover, before you lay the tarp or set up the tent don’t forget to clean the camping site thoroughly.

Prevent Moisture & Adds Insulation

A sudden downpour or hailstorm can make your tent a wet mess and turn your comfortable camping nights into miserable ones. While camping, a tarp helps you to have a good night’s sleep by keeping the tent bottom dry and saving you from wet, muddy ground. 

The tarp also keeps our bodies warm while camping on cold nights. As you know, the ground absorbs most of our body heat. Therefore, it is never possible for us to generate extra heat to fight against cold ground. So many campers use an insulating layer so that their body can retain heat. A tarp is not very effective as an insulator, but every little bit of warmth helps, doesn’t it? However, the tarp may not be as good as a camping insulator, but it provides adequate protection from cold grass and moisture.

Keep The Tent Clean

Ever had the experience of camping on muddy ground? Of course, no one purposely sets up camping tents in the mud, but it’s harder to save the tent from the mud while camping on a rainy day. Besides, cleaning a muddy tent is a daunting task, and you certainly won’t be happy about it. That’s why you can use a tarp under the tent to get rid of this pain. Although the tarp or tent footprint isn’t too expensive, it protects your expensive tent and gears from getting dirty and muddy. 

If your tarp is big enough, you can make an A-Shape tent with it as well as fold the tarp and use it to protect the kitchen area while camping in a windy situation. Using a tarp as a footprint while you are at the campsite is pretty easy and convenient. It can save your camping equipment from sudden rain or inclement weather.

Tarp Under Your Tent

When You Shouldn’t Bring A Tarp

You don’t always need to use the tarp under the camping tent. A lot of the time, it doesn’t even make sense.

If you plan to go on a backpacking trip, try to pack as light as you can. Why bother to take extra things for long-distance hiking? Again, if you are camping in open ground with no sand, grass, rock particles, etc., it is unnecessary to lay a tarp beneath your camping tent. No matter how lightweight a tarp is, you should also consider how much space it occupies in your backpack.

However, if you are using a car as transportation to your campsite, you can leave the tarp on the car if it’s not needed at all. 

What Type Of Tarp Should You Use?

Tarp Under Your Tent

What size of tarp you need to use depends on how big your tent is. Usually, the tarp size should be slightly smaller than the tent size. Using a large tarp can collect rainwater and impede the primary purpose of using a tarp. On the other hand, if the tarp is too short in size, it will not offer appropriate protection for your camping tent. 

So, before getting a tarp for your next camping trip, take ground measurements of your tent and buy a slightly smaller tarp from the tent’s dimensions. Each tent is different in size, so there is no way to mention a specific tarp size. If you have a uniquely shaped tent, it would be better to get a purpose-built tarp. 

Final Thoughts

The Tarp is a super-handy piece of camping gear that doesn’t make much difference in backpack weight but plays an effective role in giving a good camping experience. Furthermore, this simple piece acts as a protection layer between you and the ground plus it’s effortless to set up. Above all, a tarp is suitable for those campers who want every small degree of comfort in camping.

So the question is – do you need a tarp under your tent? Yes, you should put a tarp under your tent while camping. There is no way to deny how useful it is. For example, although you can sleep under the open sky while camping, you use a tent because it ensures your safety and provides comfort.

In the same way, a tarp also keeps you and your camping gear away from the wet ground. It’s an affordable and handy addition to your camping kit which also increases the tent’s durability. Thus, putting a tarp underneath your tent would be a much smarter and safer thing to do while camping. 

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