What Is A Tent Footprint, And Is It Worth It?


You know the importance of finding the right tent for your camping trip. You also learn how to set it up correctly, so it keeps you safe, dry, and warm. However, there are other aspects of your tent that you must know because these aspects can also make your camping life so much easier. Those are your tent footprints, also known as groundsheets. You likely know about tent footprints, but you may also not know whether or not they are worth it. So let’s go and cover that now. First, however, let’s also talk about what a tent footprint is, just in case you do not know.

What Is A Tent Footprint?

The tent footprint is a lightweight sheet that looks like your tent’s floor outline. The sheet lied underneath the tent, creating a barrier between the ground and the floor of the tent. Therefore, the purpose is to ensure that the moisture from the ground does not get into the tent. Unfortunately, moisture is inevitable through condensation, and it is best to keep it at a minimum. If there is too much moisture in the tent, that can cause mold and mildew growth.

Manufacturers of tents make tent footprints with the same material as tents, and many of them include them with the tent. Footprints consist of polyester or nylon, just like the tent. Even though these materials are sturdy, they endure plenty of wear and tear, which is why having an extra barrier will help maintain it.

Some soil types will cause the tent’s floor to erode quicker than others, such as sandstone or granite. You may also bring in tiny twigs and rocks, which can create little holes on the floor. Once there are punctures and erosions on the floor, then the tent will not be able to keep you warm and dry. However, you will not have to worry about that at all with the tent footprint.

So, Is The Tent Footprint Worth It?

You know that the tent floor will erode at some point, which will not keep you warm and dry. You do need to have a barrier between the tent’s base and the ground, which is why the tent footprint is worth it! Firstly, it will keep you dry and comfortable even when the tent’s floor wears down. Secondly, the footprint will help to increase the lifespan of the tent. It would be best to begin using it even when the tent is brand new. Please don’t wait to use it when you start seeing some wear and tear on the tent’s flooring. The good news is, when the tent footprint wears out, you can replace it for a much lower price than replacing your tent. Is the tent footprint worth it? Yes, it is! If you are buying a new tent, you will want to get one that comes with a footprint. It is worth the investment. Now that you know why the recommendation to invest in one is strong let’s talk about how large the footprint should be.

How Large Should The Tent Footprint Be?

Because of puddling, you should cut a footprint about one to two inches smaller than your tent’s outline. If the tent footprint is too large and extends past the edge of the tent, it will begin to trap moisture and cause pooling. When it rains, it will cause the water to run between the bottom of your tent and the footprint, and that will create a pool. That will only allow more water to enter the footprint, making the situation a lot more miserable. If you buy a tent with a footprint, the manufacturer will shape it the correct way. Can you use tent footprints for other things? Let’s talk about that right now.

In What Other Ways Can You Use A Footprint?

The bottom of your tent is where a footprint belongs, where it will keep away the moisture and cold air that will come in from the eroding tent floor. However, you can use it for other things. First, you can use a footprint for a bivvy because you may not feel like setting up a tent. And sometimes, who can blame you? Secondly, footprints can be great rope tarps for the crag and great gear sorting tarps.

You can also use them for additional rain protection and heat insulation. That is, if you are camping during the colder months. Again, it does not matter what season you are camping because you will need rain protection and insulation as summer evenings can also get cold. That is if you are camping at higher elevations. Additionally, you can have heavy rainstorms at any time of the year, so having a different footprint will come in handy.

You can also bring a tent footprint on a picnic outing as you can use it as a picnic blanket. They are comfortable to sit on and to enjoy a picnic. That is why you will want to get some extra tent footprints, perhaps even as you can use them for so many other things other than a barrier between the tent’s floor and the ground.


The worst thing that can happen when you are camping‘ is seeing that the tent begins to wear out. Unfortunately, wear and tear are typical, and you have to expect that to happen when you use the tent repeatedly. Even the best quality tents will wear down because of the different soil, rocks, and twigs interfering with the floor. What happens is when the flooring of the tent wears out, you will end up becoming uncomfortable when camping. Moisture and cold air will seep in. Therefore, the tent footprint will help keep that from happening. Even when the tent’s floor begins to erode, you will have protection from the footprint to prevent the discomfort of exposure from opening air. Therefore, the tent footprint acts as a barrier between the tent’s floor and the ground, and it is well worth it!