A tarp is a heavy-duty strong flexible sheet that has grommets at four sides. It is mostly used to cover your tent from the sun, rain and even snow, on the other side footprint is a very lightweight friction-resistant sheet you put under your tent.
What benefits you can get from a tent tarp/footprint?
Increased lifetime of your tent and sleeping pad– If you use your tent often, the floor will start to getting damaged and will wear out over time, if you don’t do something about it, holes will appear on the floor. But with a tent footprint, it is not the tent that gets damaged it will be the footprint itself. even if you don’t use a sleeping pad, tent footprints can protect your sleeping bag
Waterproofing– Most tents are waterproof when brand new, but over time tossing and turning during the night and walking on it grinds the fabric to the ground and wear the waterproof layer of the tent as a result water might start leaking in. but if there I another smooth waterproof layer between the tent and the ground there won’t we any friction which mean your tents waterproof layer will last longer.
Insulation– Tent footprints are very thin which means they don’t give that much insulation, but depending on the material it is made of it can have some insulating effects. Especially if your campground is dumpy or wet, the ground can suck the heat from your tent, but if you have a footprint it will act as a barrier at least a little bit.
Added comfort– This is the basic use of your footprint, it is not comfortable to sit on the ground directly but if you have some kind of sheet on the ground it will add some comfort but footprints are not thick so don’t expect a lot.
so is it worth getting a tarp for your tent
So is a tent footprint worth it? I mean when you have invested big cash to get a premium tent the last thing you want is for it to get damaged! so taking care of your tent is a crucial thing to prolong its life.
I am not saying it is a must that you get a tent footprint I mean it is not worth getting a $30 footprint for an $80 tent not that you cant but it is not worth the money.
And not all tents need a tent footprint, some tents are stronger than others.
Most family tents are made from thick ripstop polyester which means they have more resistance than backpacking/1person/2person tents which are made from a very thin material that can get damaged easily.
Not many people use tent footprint though, not that tent footprints don’t have benefits but people tend to overlook them and think it is something you get if you have extra money to spend or if you have an extra room to put it in but I would say tent footprint is a priority especially for someone who owns an expensive tent.