Do You Need Ground Cover Under Your Tent?

camping in norwegian mountains

By Tony Warelius [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

When you are ready to pack up the car for a camping tent, consider adding a tarp to your packing list. You can use a tarp as ground cover under your tent, which is a great, cheap way to do so.

If you do not have a tarp, then there is no need to worry as you technically do not have to use ground cover when camping at all. In fact, some people suggest that you do not need something under your tent when camping. I tend to disagree with that though, and I’ll clue you in as to why that is the case.

Let me paint a scenario for you now – you check the weather forecast for your camp trip and it is all clear. Midway through the trip though, there is a strong rain storm and water gets inside your tent because there is nothing under it.

Or, how about this scenario – the place where you want to set up camp is level ground but a bit rough. If you pitch your tent here, the bottom of it could get damaged from the terrain. But if you have ground cover, you don’t have to worry about any damage.

See, taking a tent along with you to put under your tent is a pretty good idea for most campers. Plus, it won’t add much weight to your gear as tarps are lightweight.

How To Use A Tarp For Ground Cover

When it comes to using a tarp for ground cover, there are few different ways to do this. And the proper ways depends on the ground where you’ll be setting up camp.

For beach camping, put the tarp inside the tent on the floor for the best results.

For woodland and field camping, you’ll want it neatly under the tent without it extending beyond the tent’s perimeters. Get it too far from the tent and you’ll have a pool of the morning dew under your tent instead! You definitely do not want that to happen cause the dew will come through the bottom areas of the tent that are not waterproof.

For rain protection, try placing the tarp over the top of the tent to block any sideways blowing rain. You really only want to do this when you know that it is likely to rain and you know that the bottom of the tent is in do danger of water seepage.

Assuming that you have chosen a camp spot that is up on high ground, then by following these tips you can ensure that you wake up dry when camping instead of rain or dew-soaked.