Camping equipment comes in various sizes, designs, and prices. Depending on your preference, needs, and budget, you can particular camping equipment over others. While cheap camping equipment might help you save your coins, they are not durable. As such, in the long run, you will end up spending more by constantly purchasing new camping equipment.
Pricey camping on the other hand will require you to part with a few more dollars than their cheap counterparts. However, they guarantee quality, well-thought-out designs, and longevity. Expensive camping equipment such as tents will serve you through different seasons and weather conditions. As such, they give you value for your money.
Despite having high quality, expensive camping equipment requires you to take extra care when handling them. This might require you to have other camping accessories that will help maintain the quality of your camping equipment. One type of such a camping accessory is a ground tarp.
If you’re a new camping enthusiast you might be wondering what a ground tarp is? What can you use it for, and what are the best ground tarps for camping? Not to worry. We’re here to help you understand all things ground tarps and the best ground tarps for camping.
What is a Ground Tarp?
A ground tarp, also known as a groundsheet, a footprint, a floor saver, or a tarpaulin. This is a durable, flexible, water-resistant cover made of polyester material and coated with plastic-like polyethylene.
Placing a ground tarp under a tent protects it and increases its durability. The ground tarp acts as the sacrificial lamb and takes the damage from harsh outdoor conditions instead of the tent.
Because of the role they play, ground tarps can be a bit costly, and you might think of foregoing them altogether. It is, therefore, important you understand the benefits of using a ground tarp, before dismissing them.
Benefits of Using a Ground Tarp
Most camping enthusiasts recommend using a ground tarp if you have an expensive tent and you’re looking to protect it and maintain its quality. Even so, it’s not a bad idea to get one even if your tent isn’t as pricey. Here’s why:
- Ground tarps protect your tent from damage and punctures.
The ground in the outdoors is not smooth or as clean as we hope for it to be. It often has stones, sticks, and other sharp objects. Placing a tarp on the ground before laying your tent will help protect it from puncture by any sharp object on the ground.
This as a result helps maintain the quality of your tent and increases its durability.
You should, however, note that even though you are using a ground tarp, you still need to sweep or clean off the ground before setting up the tarp and tent.
- They help keep your tent dry.
There’s no guarantee of the weather when camping. Precipitation can come from rain or even morning dew and sip into your tent. To avoid this, you should use a tarp as they are water-resistant and even waterproof.
This way, you can sleep through the night in your tent without worrying about waking up in a pool of water or covered in mud.
- They help insulate your tent.
One struggle most campers face is losing heat to the ground when sleeping. The ground is fast at absorbing the heat you generate from your body and this can leave you freezing through the night. Due to the material tarps are made of, they can act as an insulation layer and help sustain the heat you generate within your tent.
- They keep the floor of your tent clean.
As mentioned before, the ground isn’t always clean when you’re out camping. As such, the bottom of your tent can get dirty with dust or mad if placed directly on the ground. Therefore, tarps act as a protective layer and help keep the bottom of your tent clean.
Now that you know the benefits of using a tarp when camping, we’re sure you’re thinking of getting one. But before you do, we think it’s important you know some regulations around the use of ground tarps.
Private caravan parks are the ones most likely to enforce these regulations, but we think they’re worth your consideration.
To begin with, when using a tarp, you should ensure that it’s made of open shade weave cloth. This material is more environmentally friendly and will allow the grass to breathe and minimize damage caused by placing the ground tarp over them.
You should also make sure you move the ground tarp as frequently as possible. This will give the grass on the ground time to breathe, recover from being covered, and maintain their health.
Factors to Consider
When choosing a ground tarp, there are several factors you need to consider. These include:
Color: The choice of color for your ground tarp is mostly for aesthetics and This will not alter its efficiency in any way.
Budget: Ground tarps are can be pricey because of how resourceful they are. It is, therefore, important to have a budget when purchasing a ground tarp. Budgeting will also help you to save up so you don’t have to compromise on quality due to high prices.
Accompanying accessories: When purchasing a ground tarp, you have the option of choosing just a ground tarp and skip the accessories. However, purchasing a ground tarp with the accessories that come with it offers you more options of how to set it up.
Accessories such as stakes, guy line ropes, and storage bags give you the option of suspending the ground tarp rather than placing it directly on the ground, and storing it better.
Material: The material of ground tarp will determine how effective it is and its durability. Most ground tarps are made of materials such as polyester and nylon and these work well as waterproof ground covers.
Even so, you can also look for tarps that have a silicone coat, which will offer an additional waterproof layer
Size: The size of your ground tarp is one of the most important factors to consider before purchasing one. Tarps have a wide range of sizes. Make sure you choose a tarp that corresponds to your tent in size and one that is big enough to fit your needs.
Depending on the design, there are different options for ground tarps. Made to fit tarps, mesh style, solid style, and DIY tarps. Other than the DIY options, you can purchase each tarp option and is only a matter of preference.
Made to fit tarps will often come with a tent and are designed to cater to the size of your tent. You will often buy such tarps when purchasing the tent. Unlike made-to-fit tarps, mesh tarps do not necessarily fit the size of your tent.
They come in various sizes and you have the option of setting it up as you wish. Mesh-style tarps are more environmentally friendly as they allow the grass to breathe. They also do not hold water when it rains.
Just like the mesh-style tarps, solid-style tarps also came in various sizes. However, solid style tarps are do not allow grass to breathe, unlike the mesh style tarp. Even so, solid-style tarps are more effective in protecting your tent from punctures and damage.
Best Ground Tarp for Camping
Choosing the best ground tarp for your tent will depend on your preference, its advantages over other tarps, and its characteristics. Here are several tarp brands you can consider;
- OUTAD Waterproof Tarp
This is ground tarp is the most colorful of all these options and you can choose between three different colors. Other than its appealing color, you should also consider this tarp as you can use it on a wide range of camping terrain. It is comfortable and waterproof and can double up as a ground tarp and a beach mat.
Additionally, this tarp comes with a storage bag.
- B-Air Grizzly Tarp
This is the best heavy-duty tarp of all these options. Its polyethylene fibers are carefully woven so that it is lightweight without compromising on being waterproof. This ground tarp also offers you a variety of uses. You can use it as a ground cover, an emergency roof patch, a pickup truck cover, or a boat cover.
This ground tarp also has in-built aluminum grommets spaced around its edges to assist with securing it.
- Amazon Basics Waterproof Camping Tarp
This is the best overall ground tarp for camping. It is a popular option among campers for several reasons. For starters, it is made of quality, durable, rip-stop fabric that is waterproof. It can also be used to cover people, things, and places.
Additionally, the Amazon Basic waterproof camping tarp has grommets reinforced with metal for a more secure and firm hold. This ground tarp also comes in various sizes and has a one-year warranty.
- OUTRY Multi-Purpose Tarp
This groundsheet offers the most outdoor uses out of all these tarp options. You can use it for fishing, hiking, and camping among other outdoor activities. It comes in two different colors and ranges between three sizes.
It also has six metal stakes for keeping it in place, is specially designed for windy conditions, and has a fair price range.
- REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp
This is the most compact pick. The Redcamp brand specializes in all things camping and as such, they are well versed when it comes to creating camping equipment and accessories. This camping tarp is made of 210D ripstop material that makes it more durable and waterproof.
You can also use it for several outdoor settings such as the beach, as a picnic basket, or as a sunshade. Additionally, you can also fold this tarp and fit it into its drawstring storage bag which comes as an accessory.
Here are other ground tarps you can consider.
How to Set Up a Ground Tarp
Once you choose a ground tarp that fits your needs and preferences, your next step should be to learn how to set it up. Do the following;
- Make sure that the outer dimensions of the ground tarp are 2 to 3 inches smaller than that of the tent. This prevents pooling when it rains.
- Clean up the ground where you intend to set up the ground tarp and tent. Make sure you remove any sharp objects that can puncture the tarp and tent.
- Once the tarp is well spread out, set up the tent according to its directions and line it up on top of the tarp. Line up all the corners of the tent with that of the tarp and tuck any excess groundsheet under the tent.
- Fasten the tarp using the grommets and ropes to secure it.
How to Choose a Good site for Camping without a Ground Tarp
We realize that you won’t always have a ground tarp or you might forget to carry yours. Whichever the situation, we like to recommend a few tips on how to choose a good site for camping without a ground tarp.
- Choose a campsite that is elevated. This will ensure that rainwater will flow away from your campsite and not gather and soak up your tent.
- Clean up your campsite to make sure there are no objects that can puncture and damage your tent.
- Carry a sleeping pad to line under your sleeping bag. This pad acts as an insulator and prevents heat loss.
- Consider using the five W’s of selecting the optimal campsite. These five W’s are; weather, waste, water, wildlife, and widowmakers.
Different factors contribute to a ground tarp being the best fit for you. It doesn’t have to necessarily be from the most expensive brand. To purchase the best ground tarp for camping, however, you need to consider several of the factors we highlight in this article.
So, create a checklist based on these factors before purchasing the tarp and check off the characteristics when you’re shopping for one. This ensures you select the best ground tarp for camping.