Should you put a tarp under your tent?

Should you put a tarp under your tent

As someone who has done much of the outdoor camping experience, I’ve found that having a tarp under your tent is a smart thing to do. The tarp is nothing more than a sheet or cover that you place under your tent before you pitch it. But it can provide many benefits to make your trip that much more enjoyable.

While having a tarp under your tent has its advantages, there are also some drawbacks. In today’s guide, I will tell you all these pros and cons and also help you choose the best type of tarp for your tent. By the time you reach the end of this guide, you will know whether or not investing in a tarp is the right decision for you.

So let’s get into the guide and see what the candle is all about and whether you need it or not!

Do you need a tarp under a tent?

Whether you need a tarp under your tent depends on a number of things. The first thing to consider is your specific type of store. Most quality tents command premium prices because they are made from durable, waterproof materials that protect you from the cold on the ground.

Sleeping in a low-quality tent directly on the ground can be a nightmare. You are likely to develop back pain or even be unable to fall asleep, especially if there are rocks or spiky grass below you. The only thing that can improve the experience for you at this point is adding a tarp!

The tarp is a security blanket between you and the ground (if you use the tarp correctly). If you have a tarp that is a bit thicker and made of a stiff material, it will compensate for unevenness in the ground and grass. You won’t feel a thing as soon as you place it under your tent.

Another thing to know is that the tarp can be useful if you have to sleep on damp ground or if you are worried about condensation getting into the tent. There are many reasons why sailing can enhance your camping trip, and these are just a few. If you want to learn more about why you should put a tarp under your tent, be sure to read the next section!

For more information on which is better between a tent footprint vs tarp have a look at this guide

Reasons why you should put a tarpaulin under your tent

There are many times when a tarp under your tent can be a lifesaver. If you want to know why you should have a canvas under your tent, be sure to read the following list:

Reason 1: better insulation

Lying on the cold hard floor can make you feel even colder. when winter camping . Some quality tents have excellent insulation on their own, but most tents can use the extra insulation. You must have a tarp if your tent falls into the second category.

If you are camping in cold weather, you can use a regular tarp. If you’re going to be camping in the winter, consider purchasing one of the tarps with better insulating properties so you can stay warm at all times.

Even if you suspect the weather may get worse during your trip, it’s still wise to take the tarp with you in case you need it.

Reason 2: better protection

The sail also serves as a protective layer between sharp rocks or uneven ground and you. By placing the tarp under your tent, you ensure that soil and grass on the ground do not cause any problems.

Also, having a tarp under the tent will make it harder for bugs to get in, since they won’t be able to get through the tarp. Because the tarp is larger than the actual tent, you have enough space to clean your shoes before entering the tent. This way your store stays clean and protected at the same time!

Reason 3 – Drought

If you camp in rainy weather, it will be more difficult to find a place to pitch your tent. If you put it on wet ground, all that water can get into the tent. Also, having water directly inside the tent would cause condensation.

You should place the tarpaulin under your tent to prevent such things. In this way the water does not enter the tent and there is no condensation. You also have a dry place to sleep at night, which is always nice!

Reason 4: Extended Shelf Life

A tarp under the tent extends the life of the tent because it doesn’t wear out due to the added protection. You can use your tent for much longer without worrying about quality loss.

Of course, taking good care of your tent and tarp is also necessary if you want to keep them in tip-top shape. This means cleaning the tent and canvas after each trip, while also carrying out a detailed inspection to ensure that its life is longer than expected.

Reasons why you should not put a tarpaulin under your tent

While there are many important benefits to using a tarp under your tent, it also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of. Let’s take a look at them so you better understand when you don’t need the tarp under your tent:

Reason 1: added weight

When you’re backpacking, you can only take so many things with you. Carrying a heavy load to a remote storage location can make things much more difficult for you. So you have to leave behind all the unnecessary things.

Consider leaving the tarp down if you are going to camp where you don’t need it. That way it doesn’t add weight to you. You can also use the extra space for something else that is more necessary for that trip. So make the most of your space and think about the weight you can carry comfortably.

Reason 2: no insulation needed

When camping in a tent in good weather, no additional insulation is needed because you don’t want to get heat through the entire tent. Therefore, it may not be necessary to add the tarp for insulation. Still, you can use it as a base for your tent.

Reason 3: no moisture protection needed

If you’re not going to be camping in rainy weather, you may not need the tarp to keep out moisture. There is no water in the tent, so the tarp is not necessary.

Again, you may want to consider using it just as a base for your tent and other types of protection. I said earlier that uneven ground and grass can cause problems if you don’t have a sail. So consider using it for safety instead of humidity control.

Reason 4 – Noise Reduction

Finally, you should know that the tarp can reduce the sound of footsteps around you. Some consider this to be an advantage, especially if you are camping with other people around you. But you don’t need noise reduction when camping alone or in a remote area.

Wild animals are likely to approach your tent if you are camping alone in the mountains. Listening to their footsteps can help you protect yourself before facing them. So keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to use the tarp.

How thick should a tarp be under a tent?

When it comes to tarps, having a thick one isn’t always the best option, especially if you’re backpacking. Heavy tarps are bulky and heavy, making them difficult to transport on foot. The same problem will not arise when camping by car, but when traveling with a backpack.

So you need to put thickness aside and consider other features you want to get out of your banner. For example, you need it to be waterproof but breathable. It is also necessary that it be made of a resistant material so that it does not get damaged. Finally, you must have it light and slim to take with you on backpacking trips.

You don’t need the extra thickness when you get a quality sail with great breathability, waterproofness and durability. Even a thin but high-quality tarp will do.

What type of canvas to place under the tent?

If you’re looking for a new tarp to use under your tent, there are a few things to keep in mind. You must consider the size, weight, material and use of the banner. Let’s start with the size.


When buying a tarp, make sure it fits under your tent and is slightly larger than the base of the tent. So measure the size of the tent and compare it to the size of the desired sail. Only grab that tarp if it’s a little higher than the base of the tent, preferably just a few inches higher on all sides.


In terms of weight, I said that the backpack goes hand in hand with light camping gear. If you tend to carry a lot in your backpack, consider buying a tarp that doesn’t weigh a lot. If you usually go camping by car, you do not have to worry about the weight, since the car carries the heaviest canvas for you without any problem.


Banners come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and materials. I prefer canvas tarps because they are the most durable. But they can come at a high price, so keep that in mind when making your decision. There are other inexpensive options, such as nylon, but they are not as durable.

As for color, always go with something dark. That way, the tarp won’t look bad even if it’s not clean. You can wash and store the tarp as soon as you get home so it’s ready for the next trip.


Finally, I would like to mention that investing in a classic multifunctional tarpaulin is smart. You can use such a tarp under tents, umbrellas, or even a makeshift canopy. Instead of having separate tarps for each need, buy one that you can use for everything! This saves you space and money.

Packing up

If you like to camp, investing in the right tarp that you can use when needed is a great idea. Based on the pros and cons I mentioned above, I hope you can decide when you need the tarp, when you can put it down, and if you need a tarp for your next camping trip.