Do You Need A Tarp Under A Tent?

Camping can be a fun adventure when you’ve got all the right equipment for a successful trip.

If you’re new to camping, you might be curious to know: Do you need a tarp under a tent?

In this article, I will cover some key information about using a tarp when camping, including whether you need a tarp underneath your tent.

Let’s get into it.

When you’re camping, your tent is your home for the duration of your trip and needs to be able to withstand a range of weather conditions, including heavy rainfall.

Do You Need A Tarp Under A Tent?

Nowadays, the majority of tents come with built in groundsheets that are waterproof, which is why many people consider placing a tarp under their tent unnecessary.

However, a tarp is essentially a heavier and more resistant version of a groundsheet with a variety of different uses that can aid you in making your camping experience better.

Many people underestimate how useful having a tarp at your disposal is. Sleeping on the floor of a tent means that there isn’t much between you and the cold, hard ground.

Placing a tarp under your tent provides another layer of protection and assurance that you’ll have a warm and dry space to sleep during your trip.

Bearing this in mind, although you don’t necessarily need a tarp, it is very useful to use one, as it can keep you from becoming cold or wet, regardless of the weather conditions.

That being said, if you end up without a tarp for your camping trip, you need a waterproof ground sheet at the very least to ensure that your tent is protected from the elements.

The Benefits Of Using A Tarp

Helps To Keep You And Your Family Warm And Dry

Do You Need A Tarp Under A Tent?

When you’re camping in adverse weather conditions, morale can deteriorate pretty quickly.

When you’re hiking and doing outdoor activities in the pouring rain, returning to a warm, dry tent can very quickly become the highlight of your day.

The inside of your tent becoming soaking wet can make the difference between a good trip and a hellish experience, so the importance of waterproofing your tent cannot be stressed enough.

Using a tarp helps to keep you and your family dry on even the wettest of camping trips, providing you with a space to escape the horrible conditions.

Prepares You For The Worst Weather Conditions

When it comes to camping, you should always prepare for the worst, and bringing a tarp along is one of the easiest ways to do this.

When you are dealing with unpredictable weather conditions, you never want to leave it up to chance that you’re going to be warm enough.

You can never go camping too prepared, so making sure that you invest in a high quality tarp to bring along with you is a good way of ensuring that you’re prepared for heavy rainfall.

Add Another Layer Of Comfort

There’s no denying that camping isn’t always the most comfortable night’s sleep, especially when you’re lying on uneven ground covered in various rocks and twigs.

Using a tarp underneath your tent adds another layer of protection between you and the ground.

Not only does this help keep you warm throughout the night, but it also provides another thin layer of protection to make you slightly more comfortable.

After all, when it comes to sleeping on rocks on a thin roll mat, a ground sheet plus a thick tarp is better than one layer on its own.

Tarps Are Highly Versatile

It’s also important to mention that tarps are incredibly versatile. While they can be placed under and inside your tent, they are also great for placing on top of your tent during very rainy weather.

Very windy and rainy conditions can result in even the highest quality tents becoming overwhelmed, especially when it comes to rain that is blowing sideways.

Securing a tarp over your tent during these spells of extremely bad weather is a great way of ensuring that you remain dry.

Tarps can also be used as a windbreak, or shelter from the sun on particularly hot days.

This is especially useful when it is too hot to sit inside your tent but you can’t seem to escape getting sunburned, as you can make a makeshift tent out of a tarpaulin that is cooler than your tent that is fixed to the ground with pegs.

When it comes to setting up your tent with a tarp underneath it, there are a few considerations to bear in mind.

Considerations When Using A Tarp On A Camping Trip

The Terrain Matters

When it comes to setting your tent up to camp in fields and woodlands, you will need to place the tarp under the tent but ensure that you have tucked all of the edges in so that the tarp isn’t left uncovered.

If you fail to carry out this essential step and the tarp extends too far, even a light dew will be able to run down the tent walls and collect under your tent.

Camping on the sand is a different ball game entirely. If you’re setting up camp on sand at the beach, you should place your tarp inside the tent, as opposed to under the tent.

This comes down to the fact that if it heavily rains and your tarp is under the tent, then you could risk causing water to seep into your tent.

This is why it’s essential to place it inside the tent in these circumstances.

Bring Extra Cords In Case Of An Emergency

You can’t throw up an emergency temporary tarp tent without extra cords, so make sure that you bring plenty of cords to ensure you can get the most out of your tarp.

In Summary

You don’t necessarily need a tarp. That being said, if you want reassurance that your tent will remain dry and warm throughout your camping trip, then using a tarp in conjunction with your waterproof groundsheet is a good step to take.

Although the majority of tents come with built in ground sheets, using a tarp under your tent can help protect you in the event of a storm or adverse weather conditions.

Taking this step will ensure that you are protected from the elements, and that you can enjoy your daily activities knowing that you have a warm, dry tent to return to.

George Alexander
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