Well, are tent carpets worth it, after all they can be quite expensive?

A one word answer: yes.

Let me explain….

Family Camping without a Tent Carpet

We camped for years without a tent carpet.  This was the norm, and is perfectly acceptable.

However, back then we mainly camped for a day or two at a time, and when the weather was good in summer.

That really limited our camping, and as we wanted to go off and explore other places and take longer holidays under canvas, we started researching on what gear we needed.

A carpet for the tent! You’ve got to be kidding

One thing that was recommended to us by a few people was getting a tent carpet.  “A carpet for the tent! You’ve got to be kidding” we thought.  But as we researched it and bought one, our view changed completely…

Life with a Tent Carpet

Putting a carpet in your tent immediately changes the tent from being just a shelter to sleep and store gear in, to a home from home (btw, if backpacking, then no, we wouldn’t use a tent carpet).

provides additional insulation

The carpet actually forms an important function as it provides additional insulation from the ground.  Unbeknown to most, you can loose a lot of heat through the ground, and is why it is particularly important to insulate the floor in your sleeping area in the cooler months.

It is also softer and quieter underfoot than the usual plastic groundsheet.  This really changes the feel of the place.

Don’t the kids just get it muddy?

We usually set up a porch or storm shelter by the main door and insist all shoes remain outside, and also have a few cheap rubber mats in the door way to make getting shoes on and off easier and less muddy.

all shoes remain outside

We also have a cheap dust pan and brush in our camping kit.  You might think that these ‘rules’ sound too much like home, but people are used to them and it’s not much hassle.  The result though is a very nice inner sanctum.

Alternatives to buying a carpet

The plastic backed picnic rugs are smaller versions of the tent carpets, however these are only really a temporary solution.  Quality tent carpets are thicker and last longer.

also use rugs and throws in cooler months
We also use rugs and throws in the cooler months, but remember that tent carpets have a waterproof backing, so if you are putting a rug down you want to ensure that your ground sheet doesn’t let in water.


If you’re just camping the odd night in summer then a tent carpet is probably not worth it.  However, if you want to extend your season, camp longer, or just make your tent better, then we recommend investing in one.

Gav Grayston
Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) ....but unfortunately spends too much time behind a computer keyboard than he would like! Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.
Gav Grayston


Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, and days out. http://t.co/hMlFHal6nr
Get ready for spring with this download of kids activities from the Nature Detectives http://t.co/gCiybBOdO8 - 20 mins ago
Gav Grayston