cropped Outdoor Zone Imran vai V2 Website ready

How To Use A Tarp As A Tent Footprint?

Tent Footprint

Tent camping is a popular pursuit for millions of people all over the world, and no wonder why every year, these many people make their way to a remote outdoor location to spend a few nights with nature.

However, when you’re out camping, make sure you, as well as your tent, are prepared for any weather forecast. Thereby, you need to have the proper tent set up to ensure that your tent gives the adequate protection you need.

And a perfect tent setup is not complete without a solid tent flooring system. Besides, accessories like a tarp or footprint will not only extend the life of your tent, but they will also increase its performance, allowing it to serve you for a long time.

While camping in rough terrain, a footprint or tarp will go a long way to protect the tent floor from any rips and tears. Not only that, these kinds of floor protection will prevent any moisture from coming into the tent as well. Not to mention with a tarp or footprint underneath your tent, you can achieve a smooth or even surface to sleep. But the question remains, which one should you use to protect your tent floor? Tent footprint or tarp? Which benefits you more?

Tent Footprint

When there’s no barrier between the tent’s bottom and the ground, the tent becomes more vulnerable to ripping or getting muddy and moldy. You never know whether your tent is pitched on a rocky trail or muddy and wet ground. Thereby, the tent footprint is so important to protect the total tent setup.

The tent footprints act as a buffer between the tent’s bottom and the ground, protecting the tent’s floor from various elements. The footprint of a tent is often built with a light, waterproof piece of fabric that’s cut to match the dimensions of your tent floor. Tent footprints come in various shapes and sizes, but the most crucial aspect is their capacity to keep water out of the tent.


On the other hand, a tarp is an essential and versatile piece of camping gear that you can use for various purposes, including protecting the flooring and functioning as a moisture barrier for your tent. However, tarps are made of highly waterproof materials like polyethylene or vinyl, and they are considerably thinner than conventional tent footprints.

So, the tarps may not provide the same amount of comfort as the tent footprint. Along with blocking moisture effectively, they have tons of other applications. For instance, you can place the tarp over your tent, which will give you shade during hot days and protect your tent from rainstorms.

Tent Footprint

Which One Should You Use For Your Tent Floor?

Now that we’ve established how essential adding an extra layer between your tent and the ground is let’s see which one you should go for, a tent footprint or a tarp. Here are some key factors to consider before you decide. 

Ground Coverage

The continual abrasion against the ground is one of the main reasons why tent flooring wears out so fast. Acquiring the maximum ground cover would be a fantastic place to start in resolving this problem. In comparison to tarps, tent footprints appear to provide a more practical and effective ground coverage. Additionally, a tent footprint has the benefit of being constructed to suit your tent size perfectly, whereas if you want to use a tarp, you may need to resize it according to your tent


While camping, you would want to pack as light as possible, so your camping accessories should be lightweight and portable as well. The portability mostly depends on the material used in the tarp or tent footprint. However, as compared to tent footprints, the tarps are considered to be quite lightweight.


If comfort is your primary concern, you should consider purchasing a thick or rubber tent footprint, which will protect your tent from rips and tears while also acting as a moisture barrier between you and the damp ground below. 

Tent Spot

If your tent is pitched on a relatively rocky trail, you would need a sturdily-built, high-quality tent flooring system. A tarp may not be able to handle the roughness of the ground as much as a tent footprint. Unlike a tarp, a tent footprint is specifically designed to protect your tent from scratches and damage.

When your only concern is to protect your tent floor from the rough terrain and moisture of the ground, then you should go with a tent footprint. A tarp, on the other hand, provides more versatility, such as you can use the tarp as shade, shelter, or even an extra layer of protection over your tent as well as the groundsheet. However, if moisture protection is your only prime concern, then both the tarp and footprint will be enough to keep you dry, warm, and toasty.

Whether you choose a tarp or a tent footprint, both are worthwhile additions to consider if you want to save your camping trip from being ruined by rain. Lastly, It all boils down to your preferences and camping conditions to decide which one to choose.

How To Use A Tarp As A Tent Footprint?

Tent Footprint

Tarps will cover three main objectives when utilized as a tent footprint. They protect your tent floor, keep the bottom of your tarp clean, and keep moisture at bay. The additional insulation from the freezing ground is a nice benefit as well. Let’s check out how you’ll use a tarp as your tent footprint.

  • Take out your tent and lay it out on the ground. Unlike a tent footprint, a tarp is not particularly fitted according to your tent size, it has more rectangular-shaped standard dimensions. Hence, to get your tarp to fit under your tent, you have to fold or resize it. 
  • Tarps have little loops called eyelets in every corner. The poles of the tents go right through these eyelets to secure and fasten them together. 
  • There’s another simple way to use a tarp as your tent footprint. Simply put your tent over the tarp you just laid out and make sure no parts of the tarp are peeking through. Then, just tuck them inside your tent. 

Since both a tarp and a tent footprint are a great addition to your camping accessories, choose any one of them but make sure it serves your needs properly. A tent footprint comes in a perfect size for a tent, and it’s light, easy to carry, and packed with features for quick installations.

At the same time, a tarp is a versatile piece of cloth that can be used both as a footprint or a tent cover. As long as you keep these crucial factors in mind, both tarp and tent footprints will suffice in giving you the protection you want when camping.

Leave a Comment