As daylight fades into dusk and the wilderness whispers its secrets, our shelter – the tent – becomes our haven. But amidst this narrative of outdoor exploration, a less-discussed companion emerges – the tent footprint.
The pivotal question arises: should they be an essential addition or an optional extra?
Tent footprints are like shields for your tent’s floor. They’re made from materials, such as thick nylon or polyester, and they sit between the ground and your tent.
Their job? To keep your tent safe from all things that might try to harm it.
Imagine the ground is a bit rough with rocks, sticks, or even damp earth. If your tent’s floor directly touches these, it can get scratched, torn, or damp. That’s where the tent footprint steps in. It takes the hits, so your tent doesn’t have to.
Now, let’s uncover why tent footprints are more than just fabric. They offer real advantages for your camping experience:
For those of us who enjoy exploring the wilderness with a lightweight backpack, every ounce becomes significant. This leads us to a dilemma: Should you concern yourself with a tent footprint?
So, what should you do in this case?
Think about your hiking and camping environment. If you frequently camp on soft sand or grassy meadows, footprints may not be essential. However, in rocky or rugged areas, they can be a tent-saver. A single sharp rock could cause serious damage to your tent’s floor.
Ask yourself these questions; if you answer “NO” to any of them, bring a footprint:
When it comes to ultralight backpacking, people face a tough choice between carrying less weight and keeping their gear safe.
Some backpackers decide to skip using footprints to make their backpacks lighter, while others think it’s important to protect their equipment.
In the end, the choice you make depends on how you like to camp and the kinds of places you go to. Happy backpacking!
Interested in an ultralight tent that might already have a footprint? Check out our TOP 5 guides that cover the lightest tents on the planet.
If you want to make your own DIY footprint, check this nifty guide here.
Apart from a traditional tent footprint, you can consider using materials like Polycryo or Tyvek, as well as a tarp as alternatives. These options offer protection for your tent’s floor while being lightweight and convenient for carrying.
It’s generally recommended that a tent footprint should be slightly smaller than the tent’s dimensions. This prevents water from collecting between the footprint and the tent’s floor, helping to maintain a dry and comfortable interior.