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Should I put a ground cover down under the tent?

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Question: Should I put a ground cover down under the tent?

Should I put a ground cover down under the tent? My ground cover is plastic and it extends out beyond the perimeter of the tent. When it rains I've been getting floaded in the tent. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:

Tarps and tents! Well, different terrains require different solutions. In woodlands and fields, put a tarp under your tent but be sure to fold it under so it doesn't extend beyond the edge of the tent. If the tarp extends too far, even dew will run down the tent walls and collect under your tent, ready to seep into any threads that are not waterproofed. When camping at the beach, don't put a tarp under, but rather inside the tent. Sand camping is very different and water will seep into, if not float, your tent in a heavy rain if you put a tarp under the tent. If you are not in a low spot at a sandy campground, a tarp under the tent is not necessary since water absorbs quickly into the sand. A third choice is to put a tarp over the tent, and possibly in conjunction with one inside and/or under. Keep wind in mind too, because wind adds a degree of difficulty to keeping a tarp over a tent and also blows rain sideways and possibly through the side seams of your tent. Tent walls were meant to breathe and are not waterproof, merely water resistant. The fly over the tent, as well as the floor should be coated with waterproof protection when bought new. Be sure to use seam sealer on all seams of new tents, and once again each year or so before that first camping trip of the season. Finally, locate your tent on high ground. Scan the campsite and pick the area that sits up from the rest. You don't want to wake up, even in a dry tent, and step out into a lake.

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