I camp a lot, actually, I camp every year with my family in our trailer tent - not exactly wilderness camping, but still camping. And apart from that I do proper tent-camping every now and then have have done so most of my adult life.
Last year I bought a relatively cheap one-man-tent, which has its design flaws, but still is good enough for me as I only use it once or twice a year. If I used a small tent more, I'd get a better one (or if I needed it for a longer campout). There are a lot of really cool tents on the market, MSR, Nordisk, Mountin HardWear etc. And one tent I'm quite keen on is the Swag 1 from Kodiak Canvas, which I think looks great and should be great for shorter campouts, when I don't have to carry everything (in other words - camping not too far from the car).
But - that's not what I wanted to write about - instead, I want to write about a fast DIY-project I did this weekend. I've used a simple tarp under my tents for years, but since they're usually much larger than the tent they're difficult to handle when pitching the tent, especially if it's windy.
DIY Footprint for your tent:
A footprint (which is fancy outdoors talk for a tarp in the shape of the bottom of your tent) is a very nice addition to your tent. It keeps the tent bottom clean (longer tent life, easier packing). It also helps to keep water away since you're adding a second layer of "waterproofness".
Some manufacturers sell footprints for their tent models - they're usually very nice and do a more than adequate and perfect job, but they're also expensive. And here's the deal: You can make one yourself for less than 10 euros that's perfectly adequate, tailored to your tent and, if totally mucked up by mud and rain, it's disposable.
You'll need a pair of scissors, a marker pen, duct tape (camo is best of course) and a tarp. I simply bought the smallest tarp I could find in the local hard ware store, which cost me 4 euros and was large enough to make two footprints, so leftover is stored. The camo tape was on sale for 2 euros/roll.
I doubled the tarp, placed the bottom of the tent on top, and marked a line, removed the tent, cut out the tarp and taped the edges with duct tape. Taping prevents water with getting between the layers and keeps the thin tarp managable. You can see the result in the picture, where the tent is pitched on the footprint (without the fly, though).
Had I given the project a little more thought, I would have added an area in front of the entrance, that I could stand/sit/crawl onto when entering/exiting the tent. That'll be v. 2.0. It's a little larger than the bottom of the tent, but covered by the fly, which I think is important, so rain doesn't fall onto it, where it would end up between the tent and the footprint.
The footprint simply folds and rolls around the packed tent and weighs but a few hundred grams, and took less than 20 minutes to make.
I'll be trying it out for the first time this weekend on Møn - for Session 16.
Have a great weekend!