If you are heading into the great outdoors then you have to accept that you aren’t ever going to be as comfortable as you would be in your bed at home. With that said, there is no reason that camping has to be an unpleasant experience and there are certainly ways that you can improve your comfort and get a better night’s sleep in your tent.
One of the first things that a lot of new campers notice is that rubble, sticks and other debris under the tent floor can serve as something akin to the princess and the pea. But by using your innovation and making use of things that you may already have, you can instantly take your tent floor from basic to luxury.
Tent Floor Padding – Isn’t That Just One More Thing To Pack?
It would be easy to assume that using tent floor padding serves to do nothing more than give you extra things to carry. And, yes, there is some truth in that; you will have additional equipment. But it isn’t going to be anything overly heavy or cumbersome and the benefits far outweigh packing something a little extra.
Installing floor padding in your tent has one main advantage; improved comfort. Of course, there are a lot of people that like the idea of roughing it and many find that it gives them a greater sense of adventure. But for many modern campers, taking a little of the luxury of home is a must. Laying down a padded floor will give you a smoother, plusher, and ultimately more comfortable surface to sleep on. This is ideal if you’re going to be doing lots of outdoor activities during the day and need somewhere more supportive to lay your head at night.
But what a lot of people don’t think about is that by using padded flooring in your tent, you are also promoting better insulation. This isn’t something that will only benefit you in cold weather, but in summer too since the temperature at night can often drop significantly.
You’ll notice that a lot of experienced campers use ground mats and these are designed not only for comfort but to keep the cold out too. Cool air from the ground rises and if there isn’t some sort of padding in the way, it makes its way directly to you, potentially leaving you shivering.
Finally, when you use padded tent flooring, you are providing your accommodation with an additional layer of protection against moisture. While you shouldn’t rely solely on the flooring to waterproof your tent, it will certainly give you a little more protection against ground moisture, leaving you even more comfortable.
Tent Floor Padding Ideas
One of the great things about using some sort of padding on your tent floor is that you don’t necessarily have to go out and spend even more money than you already have on your camping supplies. In short, you can use anything you own that is padded or thick and it will do the job. That said, there are some things that will work better than others, so let’s take a look at some of the best.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of using yoga mats as padding for your tent floor, let us specify one thing; you need to make sure you choose thicker yoga mats. They come in all shapes and sizes and some are designed to be incredibly compact and as a result, are much thinner. This type of yoga mat won’t provide the comfort you are looking for so always try to source mats that are at least 0.8mm in thickness.
Yoga mats are designed to be lightweight and even the thicker ones won’t weigh you down making them ideal for backpacking. However, you should keep in mind that these are much smaller than some of the other options we are going to look at and so would be more suitable for smaller tents. Of course, you can take several yoga mats but if you’re looking to limit your equipment, this is something to consider.
One of the biggest benefits of using a thick yoga mat for your tent flooring is that it will roll or fold away making it easier to carry. We werote a whole article asking Is A Yoga Mat Suitable For Camping
Interlocking Foam Squares
Look anywhere on the internet and you’ll quickly be able to source interlocking foam pads. These have a wide variety of applications and are often used as children’s play mats, in pet enclosures and even in wet rooms. They are incredibly easy to put together and can be taken apart again when you have finished. That said, they don’t fold and so may be more suited to those travelling to their campsite by car.
These tiles connect to one another like a jigsaw puzzle and come in a range of sizes and thicknesses. That said, if you are going to choose to go down this route, we would always recommend going for the thickest tiles you can find. The foam is pretty resilient and will stand up to sharp or prickly debris on the ground without damage. What’s more, these are incredibly effective at masking any bumps in the ground and so are perfect as a base for sleeping.
Heavy Foam Rubber
If you are looking for the ultimate durability then heavy foam rubber is definitely the way forward. This material is ideal for laying down on your tent floor and is perfectly suited to very rugged terrain with a lot of sharp or pointed objects like rocks. It will effectively mask all of these and will provide a waterproof base for a good night’s sleep.
However, campers should keep in mind that, while heavy foam rubber will stand up to various challenges, it is, as its name suggests, heavy. This means that it might not be suitable for backpacking. However, if you are headed out to a campsite by car, especially for longer periods of time, the soft nature of this material is one of the best for tent flooring.
You don’t need to have anything fancy to line the floor of your tent and using soft blankets can provide just as much comfort as things like foam or rubber. What’s more, it is likely that you already have a lot of these lying around and many campers keep them in their cars so you won’t even need to pack anything extra.
However, one of the biggest downsides to this type of flooring is that it won’t be waterproof. If you’re camping in wet weather, it might be wise to go for another option. But for camping in the height of summer, this is an affordable and simple solution which offers great comfort.
It is more than possible to head down to your local carpet shop and purchase a piece of carpet cut to the size of your tent. A lot of people do this when they are going on longer camping trips but for hiking and backpacking, you may find this to be too heavy an option.
Camping carpets offer a good amount of cover for uneven ground and make it much more comfortable to sleep in your tent owing to the thickness of the carpet. What’s more, if you are looking for excellent insulation, there aren’t many other options that compare to carpet.
If you don’t want to get a piece of carpet cut, it is also a great idea to buy a selection of cheap rugs which you can place down in the tent. If you are going to do this, we would suggest buying rugs that are of a similar thickness to avoid bumpy patches in the tent.
What Should You Look For In Tent Floor Padding?
Whenever you are shopping for camping equipment, it is vital to look for certain features to make sure that whatever you are buying will meet your expectations. Whether you are purchasing new padded flooring or are putting together a makeshift floor from things you already have, there are a few things you should consider when choosing the best materials.
It goes without saying that camping and being outdoors can take a toll on any equipment you take with you. For this reason, you need to make sure that any padded flooring you use has excellent durability. If you are camping on rough or rocky ground, this is even more important as you will want to avoid snagging or tearing the material.
Another of the most important things to think about when choosing your padded tent flooring is that you opt for a thick material. Anything thin won’t mask bumps and lumps in the ground and certainly won’t provide you with the level of insulation you are looking for.
It is one thing to have tent flooring that is insulating but you also need to make sure that it is breathable, otherwise things can become less than fresh. Things like interlocking foam squares, yoga mats and blankets all offer great breathability which is especially important if you are camping in hot weather.
You should think about how much of the tent floor you want to cover. Some people may be happy to have just enough coverage for their sleeping bag whereas other people might want a soft floor throughout the entire tent that is comfortable to walk on. In any case, you will need to take measurements to make sure that you get the coverage you need.
Installing a simple floor padding solution on the base of your tent is beneficial in more ways than one. Not only will it provide you with much greater comfort, allowing you to get a better night’s rest, it will also protect your tent from the elements, which is especially important in colder weather.
There are many things that you can use to line your tent floor and not all of them require a significant investment. For the most part, these solutions are made of things that you will already own. Who said camping needed to be uncomfortable?