Camping Footprint vs Tarp: Difference and Comparison

Camping denotes living alfresco and relishing yourself with your family and friends. Camping under the sky full of stars with a calm wind passing by.

People love to go camping wherever they want to go and make more memories. Camping with your family and friends for one or two days is a stress palliator and boosts each person’s mood on the journey.

This needs a setup that should consist of a tent footprint or tarp. The shelter is the main part of every camping. The shelter should be durable, comfortable, and efficient. It is always the heaviest, bulkiest, and most expensive.

The Right Choice of tent requires many considerations for protecting you, your family and friends, and all the stuff you brought on the trip. It must ensure security. The question lies here: “ Which to choose?”

Key Takeaways

  1. A camping footprint protects the tent floor, while a tarp provides shelter and cover from the elements.
  2. Footprints are made from waterproof materials, while tarps can be made from various materials, such as canvas or plastic.
  3. Tarps have multiple uses, such as creating a makeshift shelter, while footprints have a single, specific purpose in protecting the tent floor.

Camping Footprint vs Tarp

Camping footprint is a groundsheet that is also called a tent footprint, and it is made with protective fabric for keeping campers away from outdoor problems. Tarp is a sheet of waterproof material consisting of plastics and it has versatile functions including protective capabilities when it is used to cover things.

Camping Footprint vs Tarp

Camping footprint is also known as tent footprint. It is a groundsheet that is made of protective fabric. The tent’s design is so robust that it protects you from severe outdoor problems.

Camping footprints and tarps are made available in various sizes. The Tent footprint protects the tent’s floor as a protective layer between the tent’s bottom and the ground.

The Tarp is a versatile sheet of waterproof material. It is made up of plastics like polyethene which has protective capabilities and extends its lifetime.

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It is found in different sizes as per your requirement. Tarp requires more skill to build the roof. The experienced campers buy a few poles to put a tarp tent, saving them the cost of a pre-made tent.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCamping FootprintTarp
DefinitionWaterproof groundsheetA large sheet made of plastics such as polyethene.
WeightLightweightRelatively lightweight
BackpackingIt takes less spaceIt takes more space
DurabilityLess durableMore durable

What is Camping Footprint?

The Camping footprint is more immensely colossal than the tent itself. It is waterproof and resistant. Most camping footprint comprises Tyvek, a cumulation of nylon and silicone or reinforced aluminium foil.

It acts as a shield between the tent’s bottom and the ground, protecting its floor. It is made from a lightweight waterproof material.

There are many types of camping footprints available. The most important feature is its ability to protect the tent from water entering inside the tent.

A tent footprint can be composed of any material if its waterproof facility is secured. The fixtures and weight of the tent keep the footprint fine-tuned to the ground. The main reason to make footprints is to keep the tent safe from wear by elongating its life. This setup takes up an abundance of space in the backpack.

 One of the primary reasons why a tent’s bottom deteriorates so expeditiously is because it is laid out on the rough and rocky ground.

As people toss and turn while they sleep, it leads to friction and abrasion, which leads to ripping and tears in the fabric.

camping footprint

What is Tarp?

Tarp is a woven blend of polyethene which is extremely waterproof and lightweight. It acts as a flooring protector and moisture barrier to the tent.

Tarps are additionally great to provide some degree of shelter against the rain, snow, heat and wind.

It is an astronomically immense cloth that can accommodate many protective purposes in a campsite, and its usefulness goes much beyond that of a tent footprint.

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A tarp cloth, if immensely colossal enough, can be utilized as a roofing, groundsheet, and for wind auspice.


Mostly, tarps are not available pre-fabricated to use as a floor barrier for the tent. The Tarp is large, so you can craft two from a single piece of material.

Campers prefer it a lot as it is large. A tarp can cover the whole area where you will pitch the tent. Tarps are also susceptible to rainwater.

tarp

Main Differences Between Camping Footprint and Tarp

  1. The tarp is more resistant as compared to a tent footprint.
  2. The tarp can sustain more than the tent footprint.
  3. The tarp is too bulky for backpacking, whereas the camping footprint is not bulky.
  4. The tent footprint is less sturdy than the camping footprint.
  5. A camping footprint is much more comfortable than a tarp.
  6. A tarp is more useful to cover the whole area where you will pitch the tent.
  7. A tarp will always do when your recreation funds are a little short.
Difference Between Camping Footprint and Tarp
References
  1. http://motoidaho.org/sites/default/files/4-2010.pdf

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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25 thoughts on “Camping Footprint vs Tarp: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I found this to be a very informative article. It’s interesting to see the comparisons and uses of camping footprints and tarps.

    Reply
  2. Camping footprints and tarps both have their uses, it’s good to have an understanding of what they are best for.

    Reply

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