How To Keep Your Tent Off The Ground In 6 Easy Steps

How To Keep Your Tent Off The Ground

Are you tired of waking up with a sore back and damp bedding after a night spent camping? If so, you’re not alone. Many outdoor enthusiasts struggle with finding the best way to keep their tent off the ground and create a more comfortable camping experience.

Whether you’re dealing with wet conditions or uneven terrain, this guide will provide you with practical tips and solutions on how to camp off the ground.

We’ll explore various methods, innovative gear options, and expert advice to ensure an elevated camping adventure that keeps you dry and well-rested. Say goodbye to restless nights under the stars; it’s time to elevate your camping game!

If you’re eager to learn more about camping hacks, check out some of our other articles:

How to Remove Tent Pole End Caps

How to Replace Tent Zipper With Velcro

How to Stay Safe in Extreme Weather While Camping

Why Keeping Your Tent Off the Ground Matters?

Elevating your tent is crucial for a comfortable and safe camping experience. Here’s why it matters:

  1. Protection from Moisture: Ground contact can lead to moisture seeping through the fabric, causing mold and mildew. Elevating your tent keeps it dry and prevents condensation buildup.
  2. Enhanced Insulation: Elevating your tent provides extra insulation against cold weather, protecting you from discomfort and hypothermia.
  3. Protection from Hazards: Avoid punctures and tears by using a barrier between your tent and rocky terrain. A footprint or plastic sheet adds durability.
  4. Minimized Insect Intrusion: Keep unwanted critters out by elevating your tent. Insects find it harder to reach elevated structures.
  5. Better Drainage: Elevating your tent prevents water pooling and flooding, even in heavy rain.

By understanding the importance of keeping your tent off the ground, follow our guide for a pleasant camping experience free from moisture issues and inconveniences.

Preparations and Materials

To keep your tent off the ground effectively, you will need the following materials:

  • Tent footprint or tarp
  • Groundsheet or plastic sheet
  • Stakes or pegs
  • Hammer or mallet (for driving in stakes)
  • Ropes or cords (optional)

It is essential to gather these materials before heading out on your camping trip. By preparing in advance, you can ensure that you have everything needed to elevate your tent and protect it from various environmental factors.

If specific materials mentioned above are not readily available, here are some alternatives:

  • Instead of a dedicated tent footprint, use a tarp cut to size.
  • If no groundsheet is accessible, place a plastic sheet under your tent.
  • Rather than using traditional stakes or pegs, improvise with rocks or tree branches if permitted.

How To Keep Your Tent Off The Ground? Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to elevate your tent:

1. Choose a suitable campsite

Start by finding a flat terrain with minimal slopes and debris. Avoid areas that are prone to flooding or have standing water accumulation. 

Setting up your tent on uneven ground can make it difficult to keep it off the ground effectively.

2. Clear the area

Before laying down any protective layers, carefully remove rocks, sticks, sharp objects, leaves, or vegetation from the area where you plan to pitch your tent. 

This step will help prevent damage to your tent floor and make for a more comfortable camping experience. Check out our article about the Essential Campsite Safety Tips.

3. Lay down a protective layer

Once you’ve cleared the area, it’s time to place a protective layer on the ground before setting up your tent. You have two options for this layer:

  • Purpose-made footprint/tarp: If your tent comes with its own footprint or tarp specifically designed for that model, use it as directed in the instructions. These footprints are made of durable materials that provide an extra barrier against moisture and potential damage.   
  • Plastic sheet: If you don’t have access to a purpose-made footprint or tarp, you can use a plastic sheet or tarp cut to size instead. Make sure the plastic sheet extends slightly beyond the dimensions of your tent floor to provide adequate protection against moisture seepage.

4. Pitching your tents’ main structure

With the protective layer in place, start assembling and setting up your tent according to its instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

Ensure that all components are properly aligned and secure before proceeding.

5. Secure with stakes 

Most tents come with loops or grommets around their base where stakes can be driven into the ground for stability and security purposes. 

Take sturdy stakes (typically included with your tent) and drive them through these loops or grommets into the ground. 

Make sure they are driven deep enough to hold firm, but be careful not to damage the tent fabric. Check out our article to learn How to Secure a Tent in High Winds.

6. Additional securing

In cases where your campsite experiences strong winds or you want extra stability, it’s recommended to attach ropes or cords from your tent to nearby trees, rocks, or fixed anchors. This provides additional support and prevents your tent from getting blown away.

  • Locate suitable anchor points near your tent.
  • Tie one end of the rope/cord securely to the anchor point.  
  • Attach the other end of the rope/cord to an appropriate spot on your tent (usually near a corner).
  • Adjust tension as needed and ensure that all connections are secure.

Note: While additional securing is not always necessary, it can provide peace of mind in windy conditions and ensure that your tent remains stable throughout your camping trip.

Best Practices to Elevate your Tent Off Ground

  • Always store your tent clean and dry after each trip to prevent mold growth or damage.
  • Consider investing in a quality tent designed for elevated setups.
  • During wet weather conditions, ensure that no part of your protective layer extends beyond the tent’s footprint to avoid water pooling underneath.
  • Test pitching your tent at home before going on an actual camping trip to familiarize yourself with its setup process.

Note: Don’t forget the safety precautions when using hammers/mallets and driving in stakes. Protect yourself by wearing appropriate gloves if necessary.


What do people put on the floor of a tent?

People often use a groundsheet or tent footprint to protect the floor of their tent from moisture, sharp objects, and dirt. This helps extend the life of their tent and keeps them comfortable during camping trips.

Do I need a ground sheet under my tent?

 Yes, it is recommended to use a ground sheet or tarp underneath your tent. This provides an additional layer of protection against moisture seeping through the tent floor, plus it helps prevent tears and punctures caused by rocks or debris. 

Why put a tarp under a tent?

Placing a tarp under your tent serves as an extra barrier between the ground and your sleeping area. It helps keep you dry by preventing water from seeping into your tent while also protecting the bottom of your tent from potential damage. 

Do you need a tent pad?

While not necessary for all camping situations, using a specialized foam or inflatable mat specifically designed for tents can provide added comfort by creating insulation against cold surfaces and cushioning uneven terrain. Tent pads can be beneficial for longer camping trips or when dealing with rougher conditions. 

How to keep Your Tent Off Ground – Final Thought

To conclude, here are the key steps to keep your tent off the ground:

  • Choose a suitable campsite with flat terrain.
  • Lay down a protective layer such as a footprint or plastic sheet underneath your tent.
  • Secure the tent using stakes and ropes if needed.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure a comfortable and protected camping experience by keeping your tent off the ground. Happy camping!

Share it:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *