Footprints for protection against sharp edges and cuts
Anyone who purchases a high quality tent with a lightweight frame and extremely dense fabric will know what they are in for. To ensure the tent doesn't get damaged over night - whether it be on a branch you didn't see or a sharp-edged piece of rock - a lot of manufacturers offer tent floors or so-called footprints. You will find offers from Hilleberg, MSR, Exped and other manufacturers in our shop for the perfect fitting footprint for your tent.
How useful a footprint can be
The floor can quickly absorb a lot of water in heavy rain, so the moisture may catch in certain parts. This means the tent tarp not only has to keep the rain out, but the tent base also needs to keep moisture out from the bottom - for hours on end. This really puts the water column and coating of your tent to the test, but it can be effectively supported through the use of an extra footprint. This footprint should cover the layout of the tent. Some manufacturers make it approximately 10 cm smaller on each side, so that pools of water do not form on the footprint from water running down the tent and slowly seep in underneath your tent.
Footprints are even useful in dry conditions: Pressure points can be created by your body weight or movement in your sleep, which puts unwanted pressure on the material underneath. This is where a footprint underneath can help, so the tent base does not lay directly on the sharp rocks or abrasive forest floor. Aside from the aforementioned strain that can be put on a tent, footprints also protect your tent against dirt and sticky stains (e.g. tree sap).
Further uses for footprints
Footprints are dark, waterproof tarpaulins which more creative minds can put to good use: Many tent bases are fitted with robust eyelets which the footprints can be fixed to using tent stakes, or can even to stretch them out like a tarp. This can be used as sun protection or a provisional roof.
Those who wish to save on weight when touring in milder weather can also just set their outer tent up over the footprint and leave the inner tent at home. This option does not however keep you well protected against wind and drafts, so that should be considered before choosing it.