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Camping Equipment - how to make made to measure footprints and tent carpet cut to size

Updated on March 16, 2017

How to make a footprint for your tent

Make your tent warm and cosy with a good footprint and carpet for a good nights sleep
Make your tent warm and cosy with a good footprint and carpet for a good nights sleep | Source

Footprints and carpets

I love camping for many reasons; one is the fact that I can leave all my troubles and housework behind. I hate hoovering and cleaning and as fast as I do it, muddy kids and dogs undo all my hard work. It's like shovelling snow while it's still snowing. I can spend all morning cleaning and tidying and feeling stressed by the rest of the household getting in my way. When I'm in my tent in a field next to the beach, I can wake up, listen to the birds and wait for the kettle to boil, and the eggs to fry, then take my plastic bowl of dirty dishes to the washing up area and have a chat with whoever comes along, still in their pyjamas too.

So why worry about footprints and carpets on a camping trip?

A footprint is actually another name given to the tarpaulins that you put on the ground before pitching your tent. They should be the same size as your tent groundsheet because if they stick out beyond your tent, any rainfall will trickle down and collect under your tent. If they're too small, they won't protect the edges of your groundsheet. Footprints provide an extra layer of insulation below your tent to keep out the cold and wet. They also stop the sewn in groundsheet from getting too wet and muddy, so when you put your tent away the bottom of it is kept clean (it will go mouldy and rot if it's not clean and dry when it's stored). Footprints also help protect the groundsheet from stones and twigs to stop it ripping. Using a footprint will make your tent last longer.

Many tent manufacturers supply footprints as part of a bundle when you buy your tent. It will match your exact tent dimensions and colour scheme. Buying a whole start-up kit that includes the tent, footprint and carpet, all the exact size that you need may cost a little more, but will provide you with exactly what you need to keep your tent clean and dry and hep protect it from rips, tears and rotting.

If you're on a budget, why not make your own footprint? These can actually be more hardwearing than the manufacturers' official ones, which the sun can damage a bit. Measure the floor of your tent (or be lazy and google it, you'll usually find the the tent specs if anyone is selling your make of tent online - make sure you get the right model). Buy some cheap tarpaulin from a discount shop or online (I got mine from ebay for a very cheap price) and cut to size. To stop it fraying, simply add some duck tape around the edge. It may not look as elegant as the manufacturer's footprint, but it does the job.

The tent carpet is usually made from a soft fleecy fabric with a waterproof backing. As with the footprint, if you buy it as part of the start up kit, everything will be wonderfully colour co-ordinated (but it comes at a price). If you're on a budget you can get some big picnic rugs but you might need to buy 2 or 3 (measure the tent floor, but with the carpet, it's not quite as necessary that it comes right to the edges. You may find one tent carpet is cheaper than several picnic rugs. The advantage of picnic rugs is that you can easily pick it up and use it as a picnic rug during the day.

The carpets are great for improving the warmth and sound of the tent, stopping the rustling and they providing a layer of insulation. To help keep your carpet clean, leave your shoes at the door of the tent (in a box with a lid if your tent hasn't got a porch). The feeling of the carpet on your bare feet is really cosy.

If you're just starting out in camping, there are many items of camping equipment that are essential (camping beds and sleeping bags, tent, pegs and a mallet. The footprint and carpet are not quite as essential, but if you plan to camp often, they are a good investment.


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