Do I need a floor in my tent?


Do I need a floor in my tent?

Do I need a floor in my tent?  There's no floor in that tent!  The bugs are going to get you!

We get some variation of this question a couple times a week.  The answer is it depends, yes there's an optional floor, and no the bugs won't get you.

If we're using an inner tent, the floor is built in.  But typically here in central VA, we leave the inner tents at home between the first hard freeze and the last unless we want a four season inner to block the drafts.

Here are the situations where we use a separate bathtub or flat floor.

1) Wet, muddy or snowy conditions

If the tent site is already expected to be soggy, we'll often use a floor.  Especially if we'll be set up for a couple days.  We'll leave boots and other muddy gear off the floor on the ground and keep everything else on the floor itself. 

However some people prefer to not hassle with another piece of wet gear and just bring a sheet of polycro or Tyvek for their sleeping gear in wet conditions.  We do that too - especially on backpacking trips.

2) If we're setup for a few days in the same place and just want something else to sit or walk on.

This also helps keep track of small items that might get lost on the ground.

And that's about it.  

During the winter time, we simply use an inexpensive sheet of polycro or Tyvek under our sleeping mat.  That protects the mat, is significantly lighter than a dedicated floor and keeps everything clean and off the ground.  Muddy boots, firewood, etc. just sits on the ground inside the tent.

Keep in mind, having firewood inside your tent brings a lot of debris inside.  Often it's easier to deal with if you do not have a floor.  Running a stove on top of a floor requires care to keep embers and heat from the stove from melting your floor.  We suggest a heat resistant blanket under your stove.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you're comfortable with.  If you want a floor - we have a floor for you.  But especially during cold weather conditions, a floor may not be necessary.

By James Dick