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Camping, Equipment

Do You Need a Tarp under Your Tent, or Just the One on Top?

You need a tarp under your tent to keep from getting wet underneath. A tarp will also keep you warm and protect the tent.

Benefits of Placing It under the Tent

Protect Your Tent

Nature’s environments are often hostile to tents. When you camp on the ground, it can be full of objects such as sticks, roots, rocks, gravel, etc. It is also likely to flood if you are camping in a low-lying area. All of these factors affect both your camping comfort and the integrity and durability of your tent. By placing a tarp under your tent, these risks can be easily avoided and your tent will not be scratched or torn.

Keeps You Dry

As we said previously, the possibility of your tent getting wet on the bottom is relative to the area where you camp. This could be uncomfortable as you could go to sleep during the night and wake up all wet after rain.

Try to make sure that the tarp covering your tent is the same size so that it doesn’t run underwater and form puddles as it would if the tarp was hung up.

This avoids any improvisation during the trip, you will not always be able to find a perfect and risk-free place to camp, and this brings you the solution.

It also prevents stagnant water from draining into your tent, as its edges redirect the water to the sides.



Benefits of Putting It Up

Don’t Let the Rainfall on Your Tent

By putting a tarp on top of your tent, you are protecting it from the risk of rain. It is always good to have a tarp to protect your tent, no matter if the weather forecast is favorable, you never know what might happen.

Keeps You Warm

Apart from diverting rainwater that may fall on your tent, it will also keep it warm. Tents are made of a very thin material that does not help when fighting low temperatures. The tarps help the wind not to cross too much in the tent, keeping the temperature a bit higher and not letting the cold of the night in.

It Will Keep Your Tent Protected

By putting a tarp on your tent, it will help to maintain its life span. If it gets wet and does not dry out properly, it can lead to very serious mold problems, making it difficult to use later.



How to Set Up the Tarp under And on Top of the Tent?

There are several techniques to mount a tarp, there are some tarps that come as a package with the tents and bring directly a manual of how to assemble them, but there are others that do not.

These last ones need some creativity from the camper, so here we bring you some tips to set it up:

The most important thing that is required is the paracord because with this you can easily suspend the tarp over the tent. Also remember that in case you want to suspend the tarp, you must buy one of sufficient size to cover the tent, but also enough to be suspended between two trees.

In the case of placing it underneath, it has to be fixed either with stakes or by stringing it on the same rods of the tent. You can also stretch them out and tie them to a tree with a paracord, but make sure they are firm and warm.

Whatever the case, whether it is above or below, the tarps should remain stretched and have a good grip, because if they are not properly tied they can pull the tent out of place when it is untied.


As an alternative to the tarps, there are the rain-flies, which are used on the tent poles to serve as water insulators without having to suspend them.

If there are no rain-flies fitted to your tent, you can buy a hammock rainfly that serves almost the same purpose, only this one has to be suspended.

You can also use lawn tarps, plastic sheets, or some ponchos to replace the conventional tarps.

After this article, it can be deduced that the tarps are a very good option to isolate your tent from any weather damage or from the place where you are camping.

It is also true that there are alternatives, but that is up to each person.

That is why we recommend the use of the tarps under and over your tent, but the final decision is yours.

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