Tent carpets are an individual preference and can sometimes depend on your budget too. If you are lucky you can get one as part of a tent bundle and that will save you some money. Tent carpets and bell tent carpets have become really popular with campers and for many good reasons. You can now buy carpets for most family tents and all sizes of bell tents. Some people choose to use carpets throughout their tent while others use carpets only in the living area or only in the bedroom areas.
But let’s have a look at some of the reasons people are now using carpets in their tents and some other alternatives you can use instead.
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Personally, now that we use carpets in our tent I love them. They help keep you warmer, especially when getting in and out of bed, no cold tarp against your feet. This is one of the main reasons many people are opting to use tent carpets now, the fact that they provide some warmth in your tent. Do you like to stay warm when camping? Even in the warmer months, it can often get cold during the night, while we are inside our tents sleeping so by using a carpet you are going to prevent the cold ground drawing heat down through the tent as easily.
By using a carpet in your tent you are putting a further barrier between you and the cold ground. The carpets can help retain some heat inside the tent on colder days and even just having something a bit more cosy to stand on when getting in and out of bed can feel that little more luxurious when camping, especially for long periods of time.
For most tents, the tent carpets are made by layering a soft-touch material onto a waterproof backing. Most family tent manufacturers now make their own tent carpets, using their logo or their own design in the carpet fabric. As well as having their own design on the carpets they also make carpets specific to certain tents. This ensures a snug fit, especially when the living area is not square. The carpet is designed to fit the actual shape inside the tent. This ensures that the full floor area is covered and there is no excess material may cause a hazard.
Bell tent carpets are mostly made of Coir, polypropylene and woven rugs.
Coir is a very durable, hard-wearing natural fibre material extracted from the outer husk of a coconut. They take this natural material and make it into threads that can then be used to weave the mats. Bell tent coir carpets may come in one large mat rolled up or in 2 separate, half-moon shaped mats. This is for easy storage and laying as most bell tents have a centre pole that needs to be taken into consideration.
Polypropylene carpets are used due to them being lightweight, heat and chemical resistant and are highly stain resistant too. This man-made fibre is woven much like the coir mats mentioned above and again will provide a good hardwearing material between you and the ground.
Safety & Tent Maintenance
Another thing to consider when using carpets is safety. A well-fitting tent carpet or bell tent carpet should not be a trip hazard and that is why many people choose a tent carpet specifically made for their tent.
Tarp – Slippery When Wet!
Wet feet and tarp don’t go particularly well. I had once run back to the tent from a toilet trip due to heavy rain appearing. As I got one foot in the tent I slid hurting my back. Now I had almost come to a complete walk as I entered the tent so wasn’t technically still running but slid all the same. This caused much discomfort for the rest of my weekend. After this we started thinking about how easy this could happen if we had the kids with us, they are always bounding about as still only young.
Since then we decided to invest in a carpet for the living area and WOW what a difference. No slips, much cosier in mornings and evenings. It just made such a difference. We now have carpets in bedroom pods too. Well, not actual tent carpets at this time, as the carpets we looked at were all too big. We use large picnic blankets in bedrooms to provide extra comfort and they work a treat.
Protecting Your Groundsheet
Another good reason for using a carpet is that it protects your groundsheet. The same as a footprint will protect your groundsheet from underneath your carpet will provide protection from above.
If you have camped, even for a little while you will know just how much traffic and spillages your groundsheet will see in a trip. The little ones don’t always take shoes off when coming in and out of the tent. Drinks and food can often be spilt, needing to constantly clean and wipe your groundsheet can be harmful to it, especially if using cleaner or chemicals.
Another cause of groundsheets becoming damaged is actually what we put into our tents. Camping furniture, storage boxes, the feet off beds and chairs can all damage the groundsheet of the tent. This is especially true if you have your tent layout the same each time you are away on a camping trip. This can create weak points on the fabric and if a foot or protective covering comes off part of your furniture or storage items this can easily result in the groundsheet being ripped or torn.
Many family tents are a family investment that you want to be able to use for years to come so matching the tent with a good fitting carpet, is in my mind, a worthy investment.
Easy to Clean
Another thing about using tent carpets is that they are easy to clean. You can spot clean any spillage while at the campsite and when you are home simply pop them into the machine and line dry before folding and putting away for your next trip. Our carpet has been in the machine after almost every trip we have used it and still washes up great. Never tumble dry due to the fabric and backing. You can sweep and hoover these carpets if they get dirty with things brought in on your feet. Normally a good shake outside tent will take most dirt off.
We normally give it a good shake and then put it back down every day or two when away on longer camping trips. This just helps keep it looking fresh.
Buying a Tent Carpet
If you do wish to buy a tent carpet I would suggest looking to where you bought your tent from first to see if they stock carpets made specifically for your tent. If you didn’t buy your tent new good places to look would be Winfields, Go Outdoors and Amazon first. If you are unable to find a match try getting in touch with the manufacturer of the tent. You will find a list of tent manufacturers here.
Another option is to buy a universal tent carpet. These are normally rectangular in shape so if the front of your tent is not square you may need to fold the carpet at the corners. If you do need to do this ensure you tuck the carpet under rather than back on itself. This ensures minimal trip hazards. These can also be bought from Winfield, Go Outdoors and Amazon.
If you don’t want to or simply can’t afford to splash the cash on a tent carpet you can also get creative on what you use. Large throws can work well especially in the bedrooms. If you opt to use fleece ones they may slide against the groundsheet but you can buy some anti-slip matting and cut and use it in corners. It’s relatively cheap, can be cut to size and lightweight.
Another great alternative as I mentioned before is extra-large picnic blankets. Picnic blankets are a great option to the fact they are lightweight, roll up neatly for storage and you are able to put them through the washing machine when dirty. Again I would line dry these. Where possible if buying these try to get the ones with the waterproof backing, these are much better for protecting against spillage and also make spillage easier to clean up too.
Rubber Matting is another option I have seen many people use. The interlocking mats provide a great extra layer and also a soft cushioned surface. Again these are more suited to tents that are square unless you want to trim a little off a few of the mats to make them fit snuggly. Mats are ideal for those with younger kids or babies as it provides that extra bit of cushioning.
It is also worth remembering that rubber matting doesn’t need to be boring black either. It now comes in many colours and some are even designed to look like wooden flooring. So you can have a posh looking tent interior while providing added heat and additional comfort. What more does the luxury camping need?
I wouldn’t put one of these in the living area of the tent but for the bedroom areas I think these are great. The foil will reflect heat back into the sleeping areas which is especially useful if you sleep on a SIM, inflated or rolled mat or an air bed. They are lightweight and many come with a little storage bag so you can store them away safely when not in use.
There are many different sizes available so you should be able to find one that fits into your bedroom areas. You may wish to buy one large mat that will fit under the bedroom pods (if you don’t want the foil showing) or a few smaller ones for each individual area.
Optional Bell Tent Floor Coverings
As bell tents are round buying a carpet for your bell tent is probably the easier option, although with a little thought and careful planning you can find or uses other floor coverings much like the tents do. All the above options can also be used in bell tents although you do need to be careful of edges becoming trip hazards when folded. You could use the rubber matting and either concentrate in using it the centre of the tent that sees the most traffic or again, this could be cut to shape to fit tent with some spare time and some careful planning and DIY.
Another good option for bell tents is scattered rugs or throws. This is quite commonly seen in bell tents but again scatter rugs can be a pricey option when you are buying a few at a time.
Due to the shape of bell tents and if you regularly camp I would probably just make the investment in a bell tent carpet. Most are over £100 but they are of great quality, hardwearing and durable and will fit your tent properly meaning to trip hazards with turned corner and no cold spots as all the floor will be covered. The other good thing about bell tent carpets is the ease of use. This is especially true if you use a wood-burning stove in your tent. If your bell tent groundsheet unzips to allow you to place your wood-burning stove directly on the ground then having a carpet that will roll away, along with the groundsheet when the fire is in use is an easier and safer option. You just need to remember to align the carpet and zipper of groundsheet and purchase a two-piece bell tent carpet.
I’ve also seen people taking scatter rugs or even knitting themselves a carpet. Whichever covering you choose we are sure you too will feel the benefit of having a floor covering down for both comfort and safety.
So Do We Think Carpets and Floor Coverings Are a Good Investment?
Yes, very much so. Whether you choose to buy a tent carpet designed for your tent, a universal carpet or use one of the budget floor covering options we have listed here it’s up to you. But, once you have made that purchase and camped with floor coverings down you will never want to go back camping just using your groundsheet as the main floor covering.
Not only do you feel the difference in warmth and comfort, the fact that it prolongs the life of your groundsheet is a huge bonus. Spills are easily cleaned, the carpets, blankets, tiles are all easy to care for without the worry of having to use cleaning products on your groundsheet and weakening the fabric.
Even if away in our small 3 man dome tent we now take a floor covering. We may go light if wild camping, sleeping on mats and taking no furniture but we will always find a way to pack a floor covering whether it’s a picnic blanket or throw and it’s a great comfort after a long day on your feet. That little bit of luxury.
Do you have any advice on this matter that you could share with others or have experience in why you would or wouldn’t use carpets in your tent? If so why not drop us a comment below.
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