Our tent arrived during one of those great Alabama summer storms, complete with thunder and lightning! So, we will put it up and share pictures tomorrow after the groundsheet arrives. Since the tent arrived and the groundsheet did not, it’s camping alone in Georgia, I’m going to use this as a teaching moment.
The groundsheet is important because it protects the bottom of your tent from rocks and staubs (really tough plants that love to rip the bottom of a tent) and keeps it dry if you have to set it up on wet ground. We have pitched tents on ground that was so muddy that it was like stepping on a water bed. In that instance, without a groundsheet, water could have come into the tent.
You may be wondering what a groundsheet is. It is basically a heavy tarp that should match the footprint of your tent. Don’t get one that is too small or your tent won’t be properly protected. Don’t get one too big either because it will direct water under your tent. Neither one is a good option. You can buy one that is oversized and fold what you don’t need under the tent towards the ground so that you don’t create a pocket.
A lot of tent manufacturers also make a footprint for their tent. If you choose to buy your tent from Moosejaw.com, look for the matching footprint. Your tent will last a lot longer and you will be a lot more comfortable.
Vango offers footprints, but we couldn’t afford one so we went with the XtremepowerUS 14 Mil Silver Multi-Purpose Waterproof Poly Tarp. Just remember, the higher the mil the better the tarp. Get the highest mil you can afford. If it does get a hole you can easily patch it with Gorilla tape.
Also, just because your tent has a sturdy bathtub floor does not mean you can skip the footprint. Yes, it will probably hold up without one, but eventually it will wear out. It just may not be as quickly as a $20 tent without a footprint. So, invest in the footprint, you won’t be sorry! Also, choose tent stakes that don’t protrude through the groundsheet, like our Vango footprint stakes. You don’t want to poke a hole in your tent with your stakes.
While we’re basically talking about tarps anyway, they have other uses. For instance, you can get some extra poles and make an awning for your tent to have a cool, shady place to sit outside. It will also keep you dry as you go inside your tent, which is nice!
You can even set it up away from your tent and create an outdoor kitchen or gear storage. I wouldn’t store bags or clothing under it, but some people do and it’s been fine. Technically, you’re never tentless without a tarp. lol We carry three spares just in case. In case of what? You never know! It can also be used as a windbreak.
Bring extra paracord or poly rope, too, in case you need an extra guyline or one breaks. You can also use it to guyout a tarp to create the shelter I mentioned above. Or make a sturdy clothesline for wet clothing and towels.
We will discuss proper securing of tarps to prevent ripping at a later date, so watch for it! Thank you for visiting!