It is a question many campers ask themselves before their first trip. Is it necessary for me to bring along an extra tarp?

Putting down a tarp can be the right solution for certain situations, but there are also some cons to consider. In this article we will discuss what you should know before making such an investment in your shelter and how best to maintain it over time so that it lasts as long or even longer than possible.

Is It A Necessity To Put A Tarp Under Tent?

When you place a tarp underneath your tent, it actually provides many benefits.

While the idea of a tarp under your tent may seem like an excellent one, there are some things you should consider before deciding whether or not this will work for what kind of camping trip that you’re going on.

Advantages of Having a Tarp Under Your Tent

  • If you’re looking for something lightweight and durable, consider tents. These are made of strong material that can withstand wear-and tear over time without becoming damaged or dirty. A tarpaulin is perfect for protecting your tent from dirt as well as branches that could rip it apart.
  • Tent footprints protect your investment in your tent by stopping dirt, tree sap, and dirt stains from sticking at the base of the tent.
  • Water-resistant tarps aid in keeping your tent dry when you are camping during the storm by stopping water from pooling beneath the tent and leaking through the floor, and soaking your sleeping bag as well as other camping equipment.
  • Even if it’s raining an awning that is waterproof underneath the tent will prevent the ground from getting wet and seeping into the tent’s floor.
  • The groundsheet acts as an extra layer of insulation as well as a cushioning between you and cold ground, allowing you to remain cozy and warm.

A tarp is a fantastic investment when you’re camping. Not only will it help protect your tent, but also make the experience more comfortable in many situations.

Disadvantages of Having a Tarp Under Your Tent

  • If you’re planning your next backpacking adventure It could be efficient to eliminate the footprint of the tent and pack more of the essentials. Every bit of weight is important when hiking long distances.
  • If you usually camp on dry, level ground , you will not find any branches, rocks, and other abrasive substances (i.e. on sand, grass, etc. ) It could be an unnecessary expense and time to purchase an tarp.
  • It’s a piece of equipment that you must put up, tear down and then carry on your back. It’s up to you decide whether it’s worth the effort.

The idea of tarping your tent seems pretty straightforward. But sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense, like when you need to put something under the entire structure or because there’s sand everywhere.

Ways You Can Place a Tarp Under Your Tent? This is an important question to ask before each trip, unless camping at only one spot and performing the same activities every time.

What’s the ideal Size Tarp Do You Need for Your Tent?

The amount of space you need to cover will vary depending on the size and type of tent. The smaller, lighter weight models can get away with a tight fit but larger ones may require more room and also make it easier to see what’s happening outside as well.

This is where your tent’s size comes into play. The more space that you have under it, the bigger tarp will likely need to be.

Why is it important to maintain your tent’s footprint? It can be a pain in the neck when water builds up on top of your tarp and finds its way between them. The rain will also soak through this area, making everything wetter than necessary.

When buying a tarp, measure the dimensions of your tent and buy one that is slightly smaller than what you need.

What Durability and Thickness Should a Tarp Be?

Although a tarp may seem like an easy way to protect your tent from the outside elements, it’s important that you use one with enough durability and thickness. The wrong type of cloth can make storing or carrying along on trips more difficult than necessary.

For the ultimate in portability, you can go with a thicker material. This will increase weight and decrease foldability. For instance; if you want to pack more clothes in your suitcase for a trip then just what’s necessary.

It’s important to find the right tarp for your camping needs. If you plan on carrying it long distances, try a thinner material and see how that goes first before going with something thicker if possible.


To make sure that everything is as smoothly tucked away when not in use than necessary consider trying different thicknesses/weights out yourself until you find what works best.

How You Can Place a Tarp Under Your Tent?

The first thing you should do when setting up your tent is make sure that the tarp goes underneath it correctly. Otherwise, all of those hard work will go down hill quickly and without much comfort from knowing they did everything right before hand.

Here’s a great example of how to put up tent tarp, which will keep water and sand from ruining your shelter.

It is not a good idea for your tarp or other kind of ground cover to extend past the bottom of your tent. Should it do, rainwater can collect over the footprint and find its route between the footprint and the tent and defeat the point of having the footprint.

Here’s how to correctly place an tarp underneath your tent:

  1. Place the Tent Footprint on the Ground. First, clean the campsite of all objects (large sticks and rocks, for example) and then decide the location you’d like to put up your tent. Place your footprint in the desired place. If you aren’t sure what side of the footprint is up, just take a look at the label to determine if the label is the top.
  2. Make sure the tent is set up on top of its footprint. Place it carefully so as not to damage anything or leave any prints behind. Attach it to the tent’s footprint by fitting your pole tips through the grommets (or straps) on the footprint, and then in the tent.
  3. Make Sure the Groundsheet Doesn’t Stick Out in Any directions. Make sure your tent’s footprint is completely covered and check that it doesn’t stick out anywhere, especially towards where you’ll sleep. This will let rainwater pool between the footprint and the tent and could cause bigger problems.

Do I Really Need To Put a Tarp Over My Tent?

We’ve already discussed the need to place a tarp beneath your tent. However, what’s the deal with the idea of putting a tarp in front of your tent?

Although it may seem cumbersome even if you’re in an outdoor tent that is waterproof, putting the tent with a tarp can have some benefits that include:

  • A tarp can help you keep your tent’s windows open to prevent condensation from could form inside a tent in hot nights.
  • Tarpaulins are particularly effective when they are used with a strong anchor, can keep your tent from blowing away or being damaged by strong winds.
  • Tarps can also be useful for safeguarding your tent against the elements that can harm it (UV radiation hail, snow and so on. ).
  • A tarp could also be used to construct an outdoor vestibule that is an outdoor space that you can put away your equipment that is dirty or wet.

By Anthony Paton

Anthony Paton, the outdoorsman who loves to report all sorts of interesting stories about camping in Great Britain. He's based out London and doesn't get much time for himself these days because work commitments keep him away on occasion but does what he can with what little free time there is.