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Setting up tarp under a tent? #4809200
07/09/18 12:54 PM
07/09/18 12:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,304
Great Lakes
Quattro Pete Offline OP
Quattro Pete  Offline OP
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,304
Great Lakes
Going camping for a few days later this month. Please bear with my silly question.

I've heard it's advisable to put tarp under the tent to keep moisture out and protect tent floor. What's the correct way to do this? I understand the tarp can't stick out past the tent floor so that rain water doesn't fall on it. I have a tent in the shape of an octagon, about 13 feet in diameter. I also have a 15x15 ft tarp. Obviously the tarp is going to be sticking out. Do I just fold the edges of the tarp inwards and shape it like an octagon/circle, so nothing sticks out from under the tent? Do I need to secure the tarp somehow before putting tent on it?

Last time I was out camping must have been close to 20 years ago. I did not use any tarp back then.


'02 530i (Edge 0W-40)
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Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809204
07/09/18 12:59 PM
07/09/18 12:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 796
Virginia
glock19 Offline
glock19  Offline
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 796
Virginia
You don't need to secure the tarp, but you will want to make sure none of it is sticking out from under the tent. If the tarp is larger than the tent and you leave it stick out, it will collect rain and funnel it under your tent.


2017 GMC Sierra SLT Z71 Crew Cab - His
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Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809207
07/09/18 01:02 PM
07/09/18 01:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,399
Storrs, Connecticut
jeepman3071 Offline
jeepman3071  Offline
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,399
Storrs, Connecticut
Do you have an air mattress? Makes a huge difference for tent camping. The last time I tent camped without one I woke up the next morning with a stiff back and couldn't move, haha.


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Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809209
07/09/18 01:03 PM
07/09/18 01:03 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,003
Texas
4WD Offline
4WD  Offline
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,003
Texas
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Going camping for a few days later this month. Please bear with my silly question.

I've heard it's advisable to put tarp under the tent to keep moisture out and protect tent floor. What's the correct way to do this? I understand the tarp can't stick out past the tent floor so that rain water doesn't fall on it. I have a tent in the shape of an octagon, about 13 feet in diameter. I also have a 15x15 ft tarp. Obviously the tarp is going to be sticking out. Do I just fold the edges of the tarp inwards and shape it like an octagon/circle, so nothing sticks out from under the tent? Do I need to secure the tarp somehow before putting tent on it?

Last time I was out camping must have been close to 20 years ago. I did not use any tarp back then.



You could fold it a foot inbound except by the front door you want extra protection from foot traffic Ö
Those closed cell foam pads are good under sleeping bags or bedding Ö
The worst night I had in a tent was when the wind pulled stakes in the rain Ö after that I always tied a guy line to a tree or truck and put a couple plastic streamers on that line Ö

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809221
07/09/18 01:16 PM
07/09/18 01:16 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
EdwardC Offline
EdwardC  Offline
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
If you wanted to buy one for your tent, they're typically called ground cloths. They're not strictly necessary, as long as your tent floor is in good condition. I've read that they typically just extend the life of the tent floor.

Like others have said, you'll want to fold it in so that it's about 6"-12" from the perimeter of the tent. No need to stake anything as the tent will be staked down. If there's any threat of rain/wind, make sure to tie out any extra guylines and re-tighted as needed.

Also, if the tent is older, might be a great opportunity to spray down the fabric with a waterproofer to renew the coating. I like to do that at the campground to my tents and tarps on a good warm/dry day every few seasons.

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809229
07/09/18 01:22 PM
07/09/18 01:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 23
Virginia
Speedbird001 Offline
Speedbird001  Offline
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 23
Virginia
My experience from many years of "Camping" with the Army:
- Yes, if you have a tarp of any kind, put it under your tent. A cheap one from farm and tractor or the like is fine, be aware some are more rigid and plastic than others and can be harder to pack and very crinkely sounding if that makes sense. Ive been using one that is more like a tarp on one side with plastic coating on the other. But more often than not, just my army poncho, it does not cover 100% but close enough and I feel it makes a difference.
- I don't worry about making sure all the sides are tucked in.
- Be aware of the fact that all tents, tarps etc. are easy to pack-up nice and tight at home, but in the field, the next morning when they are damp with dew, they are messy and take up more space. And you have to make sure they get dried out sooner or later. If time permits: pull out the poncho or whatever, flip it on its side and leave it set up an hour or two after sun up. It will make a big difference.
- Don't forget about your gear, I like to use a poncho to cover all my gear, boots etc. kept outside the tent at night. Even with no drain the dew will soak all that stuff and make life less comfortable.
- If I am "Glamping" so to speak, and the weather is decent, I'll actually tie the rain fly to the trees above me or make a lean-to between the truck and the ground. a few feet above my little tent or bivy sack. That keep all the moisture off me and my gear and still allows a lot of ventilation
+ 1 on a blow-up mattress or something. I have a GI self inflating pad, it compacts pretty good and is just ok, but at 40+ sleeping on bare ground is miserable. Most times, I sacrifice my wooby to sleep on as additional padding versus using as a blanket. Again, when I can "Glamp" I go: Tarp or poncho on the ground, tent or bivy sack on top of that. Wool blanket or wooby, self inflating sleeping pad, then me. With the rain fly or another poncho tied off a foot or two above my head at sitting down height, with enough of the rain fly covering my gear. Then I pull my wet-weather top out (That in 17 years I have NEVER actually work as a top) and lay that on top of my boots and ruck sack.
- Final tip, always sleep in bare feet, never with boots on and preferably not with socks on.

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809239
07/09/18 01:33 PM
07/09/18 01:33 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,304
Great Lakes
Quattro Pete Offline OP
Quattro Pete  Offline OP
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,304
Great Lakes
Appreciate all the advice.

Regarding sleeping mats, I have been experimenting with a few these past several nights. The self inflating ones, while convenient and take up little space, are still too firm for my old bones. We actually have enough space in the car and inside the tent to just sleep on full height air mattresses, but it takes longer to blow them up. I think I have found middle ground in this Trekology Inflatable Sleeping Pad It feels like an air mattress, but is significantly smaller - very light and takes up very little space when folded. It comes with an air pump dry sack bag that works OK if you don't feel like blowing your lungs out. Comfort is quite good, even if you're a side sleeper.

If anyone cares, these are the two other ones that I tried and found too firm/thin:
iForrest: http://a.co/ezGwVzO
FreeLand: http://a.co/goiEJm6


'02 530i (Edge 0W-40)
'15 Q5 3.0T (Edge 5W-40)
'18 Charger SRT (FF)
Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809250
07/09/18 01:46 PM
07/09/18 01:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,671
'murica
Ethan1 Offline
Ethan1  Offline
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,671
'murica
Ground cloth is very important but it will do you no good whatsoever if the tent isnít staked out properly. Make sure the bottom of the tent is staked out TIGHT, tighter than you would think. Thatís the most important thing that will keep you dry.

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809263
07/09/18 01:56 PM
07/09/18 01:56 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
There are a couple of ways to approach this. Exactly what you do is mostly site and terrain specific.

You could fold the tarp and place it just inside the perimeter of the tent as suggested.

But another method is to lay the tarp out flat, extending outside the tent, and roll it up to the edge of the tent. You can secure it with gaffer tape or rope, or even clips like those sold to secure the tip of potato chip bags. Essentially you end up with a bathtub shape that prevents running water from entering the tent / tarp floor. But it will collect some rain on the rolled edge that can cause a wet floor in a heavy rain.

Getting the roll as close to the edge of the tent helps. You may even consider allowing it to touch the tent wall, as being low on the wall means the wall won't get very wet (having something touch the tent wall makes that part of the tent susceptible to water).

A third option is to fold the extra tarp flat against the tent sides, secured as above. If there is any gap, perhaps due to the loose nature of the tent sides, it might encourage rain collection though. For a tent with straight sides, it can work well though.

As suggested, leave a section of tarp outside the tent, flat, at the entry. Position the tent so the entry / tarp "carpet" is positioned on the downmost slope of your site. There is almost always a slope at a site, and although it may be very subtle, water will roll away from the tent if you place it correctly, and toward the tent if not.

The big question is how much rain you expect. Light rain is no problem with any of the above suggestions. If a heavy rain is expected, you might consider using two tarps, or using your single tarp, as a fly. If trees are available at the site this is pretty simple to do, although getting the tarp high enough can be a problem if the trees are not high enough or you can't get the ropes high enough. A simple rope as the centre (tree through middle of tarp to another tree) works fine. Bring some extra pegs to secure it, and don't let it touch the tent walls. A few inches clearance at least. It doesn't need to extent right to the ground, but of course if it can, fine.

Not necessarily going to survive high winds, though, and be sure that you don't lay it out flat (like a roof) with rope to four trees as this will just collect rainwater until it dumps it somewhere, possibly right on your tent, or at the entrance. Don't make the low point opposite the door, or it will just direct water at the tent floor. Wind will move this type of setup as well, making the place that it dumps water unpredictable.

A good tent will have a reasonably good floor, so a ground sheet (tarp) may be unnecessary in the first place. Bring the tarp, it's no good at home, but you may not end up using it as a ground sheet. It will probably still come in handy, if only to keep your firewood dry. The main reason people use ground sheets is to protect the tent floor from dirt (mud), abrasion and tears, rather than rain protection. But since it will channel rain if laid out improperly, you have to consider that first when you decide to use one.

If you get stuck in a rain-soaked trip, probably the only thing that is going to make you comfortable and dry is one of the folding camp beds that allow you to lay your sleeping bag a foot or so off the ground. The trouble with heavy rains is it's mostly too late to fix things once your water problem becomes evident, because ... well ... you're in a heavy rainfall. Getting a fire going (if allowed) is probably your bigger priority. Once burning, a decent fire won't go out even in the heaviest rain, but you have to keep it going as wood will have to dry in the fire before it will burn.

Buy a hank of parachute cord regardless (100 or more feet, small diameter). Use it for everything ... you will find many uses in camp.


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Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809273
07/09/18 02:06 PM
07/09/18 02:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
sleddriver Offline
sleddriver  Offline
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
Car-camping? If you intend to stake down the tent, you'll need to tuck it under to get out-of-the-way of the ground pegs. You can also use those construction-grade trash bags spread out. In either event, check that any fabric seams exposed to the ground are sealed.

The Midshipman's Hitch is a great adjustable sliding knot that will hold fast when needed (as long as the line isn't too slippery).


1998 Volvo V70 T5 228,880 mi. Original Owner.
M1 10W-30 HM
"It's never a mistake to buy tools, defined broadly. They're not a cost, they're an investment." - J.B. Peterson
Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809279
07/09/18 02:18 PM
07/09/18 02:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 61
Long Valley, NJ
Sluggo0018 Offline
Sluggo0018  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 61
Long Valley, NJ
I also have a octogonal shaped tent. I bought a rectangular tarp that was at least as wide as the tent and simply folded under the edges so the tarp did not stick out past the foot print of the tent. I also had some spare foam carpet padding that I placed under the tarp to cushion the entire floor of the tent. That way there are no sharp rocks in case you roll off your mattress. The tent floor was protected and my young (at the time) kids were happy to have a nice cushioned floor to play on.

Have fun.

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809311
07/09/18 02:59 PM
07/09/18 02:59 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
sleddriver Offline
sleddriver  Offline
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
I find a 1" piece of closed-cell dense foam convienent for all sorts of things while camping and on the road. The density comes in handy to cushion against a 'point-load' where high psi occurs, like when you put a knee on the ground, or have to sit on hard ground or cushion your hips when side-sleeping. I also use it to cushion 'me bum' while kayaking as the seat padding is far too compliant. CCF means it won't absorb any water. It will also never deflate. Depending on your weight, thicker or thinner will be appropriate.

Your knees will thank you many times over!

While traveling, you can also use it to wedge cargo to prevent rattles or to protect the interior from a sharp edge.


1998 Volvo V70 T5 228,880 mi. Original Owner.
M1 10W-30 HM
"It's never a mistake to buy tools, defined broadly. They're not a cost, they're an investment." - J.B. Peterson
Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809343
07/09/18 03:30 PM
07/09/18 03:30 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,712
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,712
Phoenix, AZ
What about buying a cheap tent trailer, then sell it when you get back for what you paid for it? grin2


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Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809366
07/09/18 03:53 PM
07/09/18 03:53 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
EdwardC Offline
EdwardC  Offline
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Appreciate all the advice.

Regarding sleeping mats, I have been experimenting with a few these past several nights. The self inflating ones, while convenient and take up little space, are still too firm for my old bones. We actually have enough space in the car and inside the tent to just sleep on full height air mattresses, but it takes longer to blow them up. I think I have found middle ground in this Trekology Inflatable Sleeping Pad It feels like an air mattress, but is significantly smaller - very light and takes up very little space when folded. It comes with an air pump dry sack bag that works OK if you don't feel like blowing your lungs out. Comfort is quite good, even if you're a side sleeper.

If anyone cares, these are the two other ones that I tried and found too firm/thin:
iForrest: http://a.co/ezGwVzO
FreeLand: http://a.co/goiEJm6


I'm a side sleeper and have had a tough time getting comfortable on most sleeping pads. My current one is about 2.5" inflated and it's passable, but it is still a struggle to get just the right pillow height. I have an inflatable pillow and supplement that with extra clothing layers to try get comfortable. I only sleep in a tent as a backup nowadays. I've been hammock camping as much as possible the last few years and I sleep so much better in them. It's also nice in rainy weather since none of your stuff sits on the ground, no significant mud to clean off the tent or tarp floor.

One thing worth noting about using a standard full size air mattress, in cooler temps, they can suck the heat from your body. The camping pads with even a small amount of insulation can help a lot. May not be an issue in July or August, but in spring time, the ground can still be very cold. In addition, the added height of them really eat up interior volume in a smaller tent.

There was a great point that someone else mentioned, keep your gear away from the walls of the tent. Even if it doesn't rain, the outside typically collects dew, and any pressure on the tent walls can allow the moisture to wick into the tent, and into your sleeping bag/clothes/gear.

Re: Setting up tarp under a tent? [Re: Quattro Pete] #4809542
07/09/18 07:15 PM
07/09/18 07:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 12,901
NE,Ohio
Rand Offline
Rand  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 12,901
NE,Ohio
I always rolled it or folded under you want the water if any to go under the tarp not between the tarp and tent floor.

If you have an odd shaped tent you will need a surprisingly large tarp.


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