I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t being one with nature the point of a camping trip?
But, with all the dirt, pests, and shifting weather conditions headed your way, it’s never too late—or strange—to prepare ahead of time. If anything, just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to forego comfort!
To get started, here are some great ways to keep your tent off the ground.
Why keep your tent off the ground?
Expect that outdoor elements—such as heat, dirt, and water—will inevitably affect
your camping set-up, tents included.
That being said, these are just some of the reasons why you should keep your equipment off the ground:
To prevent heat loss
This is the most common reason why campers elevate their tents.
Most often, the contact between your body and the tent floor results in heat loss (via conduction). Granted, the effects get more detrimental in colder regions or during chillier climates!
However, with a ground tarp or sleeping bag kept in check, you can withstand these temperatures and boost insulation despite the weather.
To keep moisture out
Contrary to popular belief, most tents are water-resistant, not waterproof—so you must patch up those walls to keep moisture out.
Precipitation increases moisture outdoors and is typically anticipated during autumn and winter. Should you fail to waterproof your tent, you can end up feeling uncomfortable, wetting your things, or even getting sick, depending on how extreme the weather conditions are!
For those reasons, it’s thus important to have a proper camping set-up, in order to keep your tent dry and cozy during rainy weather. Using a seam-sealer, for one, can help secure newer tents from rainy weather and dirty exteriors.
On top of that, several parts of the tent—such as the tent walls, fly, and floor—should also be covered to keep dry; This is where equipment like groundsheets, footprints, carpets, tent platforms, and other DIY solutions come in handy! (You’ll learn more about this in a bit.)
To protect yourself from rough terrain
Staying in the wilderness will inevitably expose you to rocks, soil, and sticks, which will deteriorate your tent in the long run. That aside, it’s also quite uncomfortable to sleep on uneven ground.
But, by placing a protective cover underneath, you can minimize the number of unwanted scratches and dents around your equipment. In turn, you’ll get yourself that good night’s rest—and with longer-lasting warmth!
Wind and rain are elements to always look out for, especially during an outdoor expedition. Should you want to skip that icky, muddy feeling, keeping your tent off the ground will do you plenty.
To stay away from animals and insects
Of course, camping comes with sharing a home with other bugs and animals—the kind you wouldn’t want to attract, let alone get nasty bites from!
Once more, I implore you: To keep safe, it’s best to lift your tent. That way, you’ll isolate your gear from any wandering pests.
Easy ways to elevate your tent
Now that you’ve been briefed on the benefits of elevating your tent, it’s about time
you prepare your equipment.
For a comfortable stay outdoors, check out these simple steps to keep your tent off the ground.
1. Stay on the high ground
This should be the first thing on your mind upon entering a campsite.
When choosing a spot to set up camp, it’s best to reserve a place that’s elevated from the ground and situated beneath enough trees, as this will protect you from both the rain and sun.
On top of that, to steer clear from flash floods, stay away from neighboring bodies of water, like rivers or lakes. By having a properly elevated setup, you’ll save yourself the trouble of constant wear and tear.
2. Use a ground cover or tarp
Be it “ground cover”, “ground cloth”, “ground fly”, or “groundsheet”—this equipment comes in many names, but they all have one purpose: Protecting your tent floor.
In essence, these tarps act as a “barrier” between your tent and the ground to prevent excess moisture and dirt from entering. As a result, these materials are redirected to spaces beneath or around your setup. Pretty cool, right?
With these, you’ll have a significantly stronger line of defense against rainwater, wind, and unstable terrain. (In fact, for added weatherproofing, you can also place a tarp over your tent!)
That being said, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- That the right groundsheets are about as thick as 2mm or above. By this measure, you’ll get the right amount of protection from the abrasive ground.
- To properly set up your ground cover, make sure that it covers the exact space that your tent is occupying. If this extends further, it could lead to a build-up of moist dew underneath—which is a big, counteractive no-no, by your standards!
3. Use a footprint
To cover yourself completely from the natural elements, footprints are the best equipment to do so.
Simply put, a tent footprint is a groundsheet built to keep you warm. On average, this weighs about 5-10 pounds and is meant to match the size of your tent.
Paired with a proper tent cover, you can efficiently bundle up your equipment, absorb moisture, and protect yourself from both cold weather and rocky surfaces!
You can get these in any size. Just ensure that they’re aligned with your tent’s corners before you fasten them down. Luckily, most models have corner grommets to help attach these sheets to your tent.
For your convenience, newer models actually come with designated footprints to match your tent model—so you must get these quickly before they run out of stock!
4. Alternatively, use a carpet
On the other hand, carpets can be used for the same purpose of insulation and elevation. You can choose between specialized tent carpets to go camping in style, or spare home carpets, if you’re running on the go.
Unlike groundsheets, these are softer and more comfortable to rest on and are quieter to step on—thus, adding an extra dose of elegance to your campsite. Furthermore, these are easier to fix (or replace), should you find any issues with your current one.
There’s no fault in being resourceful! If you seem to lack the “official” equipment, these also work perfectly in keeping-out bugs, dirt, and moisture.
5. Cover the ground with DIY solutions—builder’s plastic, emergency blankets, or a shade cloth
Maybe you’ve made the wrong measurements, or you’re low on supply—sometimes, placing a ground cloth won’t work out for you. But hey, that’s alright!
For a quick, DIY fix on your tent’s bottom, try using any of the following materials:
- Heavy-duty builder’s plastic
- An emergency blanket
- Shade cloth
Despite their appearance, each one’s film is thick enough to prevent moisture from seeping into your campsite, keeping you insulated throughout. Simply align this properly with your tent’s area size, and you’re all set!
6. Create a tent platform
Should you prefer a studier sense of elevation, then perhaps, a tent platform
is better suited for you! At your leisure, portable tent platforms can be constructed from plywood, and in the comfort of your own backyard.
The best part about this alternative is that you’ll have a flat, adaptable surface—giving you a nice, comfortable base, no matter how unstable the ground! Of course, the downside is that it’s pretty bulky and heavy to transport.
In any case, just store your gear in a waterproof back, and also keep a rain jacket at bay; That way, you’re free to set up camp, thorough rain, shine, or any weather in-between!
Overall, these are just a few, simple ways you can keep clean, safe, and comfortable while still enjoying the great outdoors!
As we’ve discussed, elevation sure goes a long way. So, should you wish to camp peacefully, just get the right equipment and keep your tent off the ground.