Your tent keeps you safe and protected from different weather elements while giving you that sense of security when you are out camping. Thus, it is just fair that you also care for your tent and make sure that it will of service for a long time and give you the best value for your hard-earned money. A tent footprint is specially designed to give this kind of protection.
Can you use a tarp as a tent footprint, though? A tarp can be used as a tent footprint sometimes but you have to ensure that it is nicely tucked at the ends of the tent and under the borders.
What is a Tent Tarp?
A tent tarp pretty much has the same function as tent footprints. The main key difference here is that a tent tarp is not only meant to serve as a floor or ground for your tent as you can also use it for many other things.
This can serve as a pole, as a roof, or as a heat reflector for keeping your tent cooler and cozier.
Using Tarps as Tent Footprints or Groundsheets
Packing and storing your tent away if it is wet is the last thing you want to do. But if you want to do it, it is important that you dry out the tent once you arrive home.
This is easier said than done though, especially if you don’t have adequate drying space or your household is too busy that there is simply no time to dry out a tent.
However, you can save yourself from this problem if you allow your tent to air dry before you take it down but this is impossible for the bottom part of the tent that air cannot dry out.
This is the best time to use a tarp as a tent footprint as it will save you from lots of headaches because the tarp is the only thing that you need to dry once you get home.
There are different types of tarps that you can use as a footprint for different tent models. These let you keep the underside of the tent protected.
You can also get the right location because you can place the tarp where you like before you pitch your tent. Tarps are especially useful for irregular shaped-tents.
If you have a simple rectangle, you can always look for a relatively affordable tarp that can last for many years that can serve as additional groundsheet that can fit your tent’s dimensions with just a few folds here and there.
If you are pitching your tent while it is raining and you have an extra tarp laid down, see to it that you avoid letting lots of rainwater to pool on the tarp before the tent is pitched.
The last thing you want is to pitch right on the pool of water. Try to wait until the pool eases or place a big tarp overhead then pitch your tent under that.
It is also important to make sure that there are no spare bits of tarp that stick out from under the tent because these can collect water that can run under the tent. Just like when pitching your tent, check for thorns, depressions, lumps, or stones when you lay the tarp as a tent footprint.
Benefits of Using a Tent Tarp
1. Multipurpose and portable
What makes a tent tarps great and among the main reasons why most people use them instead of tent footprints is because they are more portable.
Tarps are more lightweight, unlike most footprints, not to mention that they are also multipurpose. This means that you get to bring more things with you instead of a single footprint, making tarps practical and useful to have.
There are lots of benefits you can expect to enjoy when using a tent tarp yet topping the list is the fact that it can protect the bottom part of your tent.
You can use a tarp as an additional layer of flooring for the tent that can then protect it from stones and rough sticks present on the spot where you choose to pitch your tent.
3. Makeshift shelter
Tent tarps are also cool in the sense that you can use them in many ways. Tarps can serve as your tent’s extension by turning them into makeshift roofing.
It comes in handy especially if you have lots of stuff with you. The cooler and kitchen items can be put outside because they can still stay protected thanks to the tarp. You will also be able to save space in your tent if you can place other items outside.
4. Cover from rain or heat
Tent tarps can be used as a cover for some of your sensitive items like equipment and gadgets.
When you are out camping, chances are most of your stuff is placed outside the tent where they are exposed to different elements. If the weather gets too hot or there is a sudden downpour, your things could get damaged.
Tent tarps ensure that it won’t happen because their thickness is enough to block out the dangerous UV rays of the sun.
Tarps are waterproof as well which means that they can easily repel water. You can even use tarps as an added layer of protection for the tent by using them as a makeshift roof.
Other Practical Uses of Tarps When Camping
Tarps have a lot of practical uses when you go camping and these include the following:
- If the ground on your campsite is muddy and wet, you can have your tent pitched right on top of the tarp as an additional groundsheet. You only need to ensure that the tarp is properly tucked below the tent. Once you take down the tent, its bottom part should be dry.
- A tarp is also a great place to cook, eat, and take shelter from when it rains. After all, you should cook outside and not inside your tent. Tarps can let you eat even if wet.
- Tarps can also serve as impromptu shelters when it is raining while you are pitching to allow you to get your gear inside the tent and stay dry.
- You can use a tarp as a play tent for the kids.
- A tarp will let you enjoy having a comforting campfire even if it is wet. Windbreaks and tarps can be used for trapping the heat more.