One of the most important roles of a tent is keeping you dry in the great outdoors. Unfortunately the great outdoors rarely offers flat, clear campsites for you to set up in. A quality tent footprint provides a layer of protection between your tent bottom and the rocks, twigs, and rough ground below. Today we’ll be covering the best tent footprints to help you pick out the one that fits your needs most effectively.
- 1 What is a Tent Footprint and what are the Benefits
- 2 Best Tent Footprints
- 2.1 ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 Person Tent Floor Saver
- 2.2 Slumberjack Daybreak Tent Footprint
- 2.3 Kelty Outfitter Pro 2 Footprint
- 2.4 Mountainsmith Genesee 4P Tent Footprint
- 2.5 Terra Hiker Camping Tarp Tent Footprint
- 2.6 Red Camp Waterproof Camping Footprint
- 2.7 GeerTop Ultralight Waterproof Tent Tarp Footprint
- 2.8 MSR Universal 2-Person Tent Footprint
- 3 Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Tent Footprint
- 4 Final Thoughts
What is a Tent Footprint and what are the Benefits
A tent footprint, also commonly known as a groundcover or ground tarp, is a fitted piece of fabric designed to be placed on the ground before a tent. It helps keep the floor of your tent from tearing or abrading on the ground.
This is especially beneficial if you’re using a more expensive tent such as an ultralight hiking tent. Tent footprints are far less expensive than high-quality tents and a lot easier to replace when they wear out.
Some tent footprints also double as general use camping tarps. They can be used as picnic blankets, beach groundcover, or to keep the sun off you.
Best Tent Footprints
The best tent footprints provide a solid layer of protection between your tent and the ground. They’re made from durable and water resistant materials, and pack down to a very portable size.
We picked out some of the best tent footprints across a range of styles, sizes, and price points to help you find the best one for your specific needs.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 Person Tent Floor Saver
The ALPS Mountaineering Tent Floor Saver is their line of tent footprints designed to work with their various tents. They have multiple sizes, with one just about guaranteed to fit every tent they sell.
It’s made from abrasion resistant polyester to protect the floor of your tent from twigs, rocks, and rough ground underneath. Each Floor Saver is cut and fitted to be slightly smaller than the tent it’s designed for.
This helps prevent water from slipping underneath your tent floor and seeping up through the night. It also makes it much easier to stake down with your tent. They use webbing straps with reinforced metal grommets that work alongside the stake grommets for your tent.
They offer Floor Savers from ultralight 5 oz models designed for their Hydrus 1 bivy style tent all the way up to 50+ oz ones for their multi room family tents.
We really like how durable and affordable they are. Unless you’re just buying a bargain tarp and tossing it down it’s hard to beat the ALPS Mountaineering Floor Savers for their tents.
Slumberjack Daybreak Tent Footprint
The Slumberjack Daybreak Tent Footprint is designed to accommodate a variety of tent sizes based on your needs. It’s available in everything from a 2 person model all the way up to a 6 person one.
It’s made from 66D polyester and has four grommets mounted on web straps. This makes the Daybreak both highly resistant to tears or abrasions and lightweight and foldable. The grommets allow you to securely stake it down and provide a more level surface for placing your tent.
The Daybreak comes with its own carry sack and is easy to fold up. Its polyester construction makes cleaning it fast and easy. Just hose it off and lay it out to dry once you get home.
Overall the Slumberjack Daybreak line of tent groundcovers are well designed and very affordable. They come in a variety of sizes and provide excellent footprints for various tents.
Kelty Outfitter Pro 2 Footprint
The Kelty Outfitter Pro 2 is designed to provide the perfect groundcover for the Kelty Outfitter Pro 2 tent. It’s made from PU coated 210D nylon oxford, a highly durable yet supple and easy to fold performance fabric.
It’s sized slightly smaller than the Outfitter Pro 2 tent to help prevent rainwater from getting underneath you while you sleep. It weighs just 15 oz and folds down to a square just a few inches on a side.
This makes it really easy to pack in and out. Because it’s fitted for the Outfitter Pro 2 tent the straps fit with those on the tent. It gives you a perfect fit every time.
Mountainsmith Genesee 4P Tent Footprint
The Mountainsmith Genesee 4P Tent Footprint is perfectly sized to fit your Mountainsmith tent. It’s made from 75D polyester with a PU coating, making it lightweight, durable, and highly water resistant.
It weighs 14 oz and also sports a fire retardant coating to keep you safe at night. It attaches to the ground alongside your Genesee 4P tent through webbed straps with reinforced metal grommets.
One of the things we really love about this footprint is the color coding on the straps. It makes it basically impossible to mismatch it with the tent body.
Terra Hiker Camping Tarp Tent Footprint
The Terra Hiker Camping Tarp is a multi purpose product that works well as a tent footprint. It’s 210D oxford nylon and is available in three different sizes.
It works great under a properly sized tent, but can also function as a groundcover or camping blanket for picnicking, relaxing, or setting up a dry spot on the beach. It’s treated with a waterproof coating to prevent any groundwater from seeping up into your tent or onto your clothes.
The Terra Hiker has sealed seam edges to protect from fraying or tearing and has reinforced metal grommets at each corner. This allows you to stake it down for use as a groundcover or suspend it with some cord for a sun cover.
We love how versatile, durable, and inexpensive the Terra Hiker camping tarp is. It’s not going to be a perfect fit for every tent but it does a good job for most.
Red Camp Waterproof Camping Footprint
The Red Camp Waterproof Camping Footprint is a general use camping tarp and groundcover. It’s made from 210D ripstop oxford nylon with a PU coating to protect against rain and water.
It can be used as a tent footprint, camping blanket, sun cover, and for many other purposes. It folds down to about the size of a book and fits easily into an included drawstring pouch.
To secure it to the ground there are four webbed straps, one on each corner, with a metal grommet at the end. This allows you to stake it down or suspend it in the air as both a rain fly and a sun cover.
You can choose from several different colors and sizes. This allows you to find the perfect fit for your tent.
GeerTop Ultralight Waterproof Tent Tarp Footprint
The GeerTop Tent Tarp is an ultralight and waterproof tent footprint. It’s made from 20D ripstop nylon with a double waterproofing layer.
It has a primary siliconized coating and an inner silicone oil treatment. This provides excellent waterproofing compared to many other tent footprints. It also makes it very easy to clean when you’re done camping.
The GeerTop isn’t just a tent footprint. It can be used as a basic groundcover for things like picnics and beach outings or suspended on a cord as a rainfly or sunshade.
It has four metal grommets, one on each corner. The GeerTop folds down into a very small square and slips into an included drawstring pouch.
MSR Universal 2-Person Tent Footprint
The MSR Universal 2-Person Tent Footprint is a groundcover that works on a number of different tents. It’s also available in multiple other sizes.
It’s made from durable polyester with a waterproof coating. It has four braided straps that can be staked down or attached to your tent or cover. The whole thing folds down and fits into an included stuff sack.
The 2-person size fits a variety of different 2-person tents from several different manufacturers. If you have a tent without a groundcover this is a good and affordable option.
Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Tent Footprint
Picking out the best tent footprint basically comes down to what type of tent you have and how you intend to use it. Larger tents will obviously need larger groundcovers and hikers will definitely want lighter ones.
Tent footprints aren’t usually very expensive. You can get a quality general purpose footprint for around $20 to $40, with ultralight versions a bit more expensive.
The exception to this is if you purchase the custom fitted option from your tent’s manufacturer. Depending on the brand you may end up spending as much as $100 just on the footprint.
Durability – Denier
Tent footprints are most commonly made of woven synthetic fibers. Denier is the standard measurement used to show the density and durability of fabrics. A higher denier count gives you a tougher and more resilient footprint.
It does come at a cost though. As denier count goes up so does weight. Choosing the best tent footprint is a balancing act between toughness and portability.
Weight and Portability
Tent footprints need to be light and packable enough to match your style of camping. If you’re strictly a car camper you can use something as thick as a heavy-duty tarp. If you’re planning to pack your tent footprint in on a hiking trip though it needs to be a whole lot lighter.
Most hiking tent footprints will be well under a pound, with those designed for single person tents as light as a few ounces. There is a tradeoff though. The lighter your tent footprint is the more durability you sacrifice.
The size of your tent footprint is entirely dependent upon the size of your tent. If you buy one specific to your model of tent it will conform exactly to the size and shape of your tent, with many models ending a quarter to half an inch from the edge of the tent.
This keeps them underneath your tent’s rain cover and helps prevent water from pooling on the groundcover and infiltrating under your tent.
Generic tent footprints are usually square or rectangular and come in a variety of sizes to match different tents. One or two person tent footprints will be a whole lot smaller than the tarp sized ones used for larger family tents.
Storing a tent footprint is a lot like storing a tarp or camping blanket. Some are stuffable, but most are too rigid and tough to properly stuff down.
These need to be folded down and then put into a storage sack or bag.
As you get into more technical tent footprints there are a lot of really neat extra features you can choose from. One of the most common is an insulated and padded footprint.
These footprints are designed for use in serious winter weather where you have to set up your tent on snow, ice, or frozen ground. They give you extra insulation from the cold and make for an overall more comfortable night.
Picking out a quality tent footprint is a lot easier than it at first seems. So long as you know the general size and weight you need it really comes down to price and manufacturer.
The best tent footprint is the one that works for your needs and hits your price point.