You lay it out, peg it down and pitch your tent on top, right! – Whats to get wrong?
As you probably already know, a tent footprint is intended to protect the bottom of your tent from rocks, twigs and other small debris. It also helps prevent moisture coming up through the ground and provides a small amount of insulation.
What you may not know is a tents footprint is made to be slightly smaller than the base of the tent, and there’s a very good reason for this.
When positioned correctly (so that it is completely covered by the tent), water is able to run off the side of your tent and onto the grass where it will seep away without problem.
However, if part of the footprint is left sticking out beyond the tent perimeter, the rain water will instead get caught on the footprint and will run under the tent, where it becomes trapped between the footprint and groundsheet.
The first time you notice this may be when you feel the water sloshing about underfoot or you may see the tent floor (groundsheet) undulate when you walk on it. And yes, the kids will love this new splish-sploshing game in the tent.
Unfortunately, not only will the water keep the floor very cold (and also the tent), if left for a few days, it can often seep through the groundsheet and pool inside your tent.
A luxury tent with indoor swimming pool is not as good as it sounds!
The other downside, is it will generally remain trapped until it’s time to pack up, whereupon everything will be soaking wet and that’s never fun! This may also mean you’ll need to dry the tent out when you get home, which is a pain.
The Simple Solution.
The next time you’re pitching your tent, just have a quick walk around the perimeter before pegging the tent down. If you can see part of the tent footprint sticking out, either move the tent accordingly or tuck the piece underneath the tent. This is also true if you notice after you’ve put the tent up.
Similarly if you have have an alternative footprint, say from a different tent, or maybe a tarp that is larger than your tent, just make sure you fold the excess under the tent – Simple!
Do you have a quick tip to share or have any thoughts on tent footprints? Give us the benefit of your experience in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think.