Tent Footprints Necessary?

Posted by: SJS

Tent Footprints Necessary? - 06/27/20 05:04 PM

This is another in a series of gear questions because I am getting back into this wonderful activity after many years away. I tried coming back a year or two ago and got sidelined by medical issues. I'm 71 so it takes me a bit of time to recover but I am slowly building up my miles with day hikes while carrying close to the load I will carry on my first backpacking trip.

A young friend who backpacks recently told me nobody uses tent footprints anymore. He didn't say why.

I just bought a Nemo Dragonfly 1 and was going to order the footprint for about $40 but in view of his comment I wanted to ask here what folks think about the need for one. The floor of my new tent does not appear to me to be especially rugged but perhaps they make them stronger these days.

Any thoughts would be welcomed.
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: Tent Footprints Necessary? - 06/27/20 05:39 PM

Some thoughts:

Where will you pitch the tent? If the tent site is abrasive, sharp or soggy, having a second layer between the floor and bare ground can be worthwhile.

How heavy is the floor fabric? Thin floors, e.g., 20D or thinner, are susceptible to tearing and wearing through. IDK your model's specs.

"Fast pitch option" Some tents can combine the footprint, fly and poles only for a simple and light shelter. Maybe that's of interest.

Less expensive options are a hunk of plastic sheeting, Tyvek spun fabric, etc. I have a hunk of Tyvek "kite" fabric I cut to shape (more than one tent in my collection).

My $0.02
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Tent Footprints Necessary? - 06/27/20 06:10 PM

I usually carry the footprint for my Nemo Hornet 1 tent, but it mostly gets used as a groundcloth to have a clean, dry place to sit at lunch or in camp. When in the forests of Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana I rarely need it under my tent, but if it’s muddy, or I’m camped on an abrasive surface, or otherwise concerned about punctures, I can always use it if I decide to.

The thinner fabrics do seem reasonably durable - but if you tend toward lighter gear (and at age 70, I do, too) a shorter useful life is one of the trade-offs.
Posted by: SJS

Re: Tent Footprints Necessary? - 06/28/20 07:41 AM

Thank you guys, I appreciate the help.