One of the most prominent questions people have when setting up their tents when camping is, “Do I need a tarp under my tent? I’m not certain whether it is suitable or if the natural ground is good enough.”
It is strongly recommended that you utilize a ground tarp under your tent when camping. The tarp is a surface suitable for sleeping, as you can apply your sleeping bags or outdoor mattress over the tarp without it touching the dirty ground. The design provides a better approach to camping while giving everyone peace of mind when sleeping. But you should also note how large your tarp will be and how you’re going to secure it under your tent.
What Makes Having a Tarp Useful?
A ground tarp can help keep the ground under your tent comfortable, plus it protects your tent’s surface. There are many positives surrounding having a tarp under your tent:
- A tarp keeps the bottom of the tent dry. It goes over the mud and other damp surfaces, keeping everyone comfortable and clean.
- The tarp also adds a layer of insulation. Your body heat can be lost as it enters the ground when there’s no tarp. The tarp prevents your body heat from escaping into the surface, keeping things warm at night.
- Your tarp can also be a footprint for your tent before pitching. You can clean off the space where your tarp will go, and then you can add it to the area.
- Your tarp also won’t add lots of weight to your camping cargo. An average tarp weighs a few ounces.
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What Situations Make a Tarp Useful?
The next part of the “do I need a tarp under my tent” debate entails the situations where a tarp is necessary. You’ll need a tarp in instances like these:
- The ground in your area might be too cold. A tarp adds an insulating barrier to keep your warmth inside.
- The ground may also feel damp or muddy. Your tarp produces a dry space for sleeping.
- Some places might have insects or other small things that could make you uncomfortable while sleeping. Your tarp produces a shield against those items.
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A Few Points of Note
You will need to do a few things when getting your tarp ready under your tent:
- Always brush off the area your tarp will go before planting it on the ground. Remove all stones, sticks, and other bits of debris to keep them from puncturing the tent.
- Make sure the tarp is built to where it won’t sink inward after you lay it down. Anything that sinks inward could develop pools of water if it rains, which could be a threat if there’s a leak or other opening in your roof while it rains.
- Your tarp needs a footprint slightly larger than your tent size. A tarp should be about one to two feet longer on each side than the size of your tent.
- Always tuck in any excess tarp surfaces under your tent’s edges to keep them from sticking around. Tucking them in prevents pooling.
When it comes down to it, keeping a tarp underneath of your tent is important for keeping not only the heat in your tent, but also to keep moisture out.