Flooring and extra shelter

Flooring and ground mats

Tent floor saverWe can't always have a beautiful green luscious lawn covering our campsite. In fact, if there is any grass on popular sites, it's mostly around the edges and not where the constant stream of tents have been pitched.

Flooring and ground mats are therefore important to have as part of your camping gear to help keep you and your tent and annex area clean and free of dirt and sand - especially in your sleeping and living areas.

Your mats should be porous to allow water, sand and dirt to fall through to the ground below, and also to allow the ground to breathe. Some can be quite bulky when folded up and can also be heavy as well. The lighter and more compact products are made of a mesh shade cloth material. Heavier products are made with a dual layered mesh or a type of rubber. Examples of these can be found in our shopping guide.

Waterproof products, such as tarpaulins, are not suitable because they don’t allow the dirt and sand to fall through to the ground below, they can be slippery when wet and they don’t allow the ground beneath to breathe.

Ground mats come in various sizes and dimensions to suit the different tent configurations and layouts. The main thing to remember is to keep the size of the mat you buy only to what you need, as excessively large ones can be difficult to pack and transport.

Some of the touring tents we suggest supply flooring accessories, so check out their websites before you buy. 

Tent floor savers

Ground mat, tent flooring matTent floor savers are useful for protecting the flooring material from sharp and jagged objects that can pierce the material and subsquently create an inlet for water, dust and dirt. They will also minimise the build-up of dirt on the underside of your tent floor.

Mesh shade material is ideal for tent floor savers as it is hardy and lightweight, and being porous will allow rain water to pass through to the ground below and drain away rather than collect under your tent floor. As it is porous, some particularly sharp objects may still pierce your tent floor if you don't clear the ground and take precautions. It is also an effective lightweight option as a flooring or ground mat (see above).

You can purchase specific tent flooring products from camping stores or purchase cheaper offcuts at your hardware store. They can be purchased just to fit under your tent, or to also act as flooring for your annex as well if that works for your setup.

Some of the touring tents we suggest supply floor saver accessories, so check out their websites before you buy. Buying one that matches your tent will minimise the number of peg holes in potentially expensive floor savers that are larger than the tent footprint.

Additional shelter

Tents that come with additional annex rooms and awning accessories provide a great deal of flexibility for our camping setup and will generally provide good shelter from the sun and rain for your main activities.  You may also consider extra shelter during long stay camping for additional comfort.

tent with tarpaulin shelterSeparate larger tarpaulins can be erected alongside your tent to provide additional shelter. They are light weight and fold flat for transporting, and the poles can easily be transported on the car roof with your other tent poles in a separate pole bag. You should opt for the much lighter in weight aluminium tent poles that have a twist locking mechanism over steel ones.

If space and weight for transportation is limited, and a tarpaulin is your only option for extra shelter, once you have found the optimal configuration for your setup, the more practice you get, the easier and quicker it can be done. 

MarqueeScreen rooms and market style marquees are quick to pitch, and work really well with our setup to provide even more additional shelter and space for those particularly long stays. As with tents, these have traditionally been pole framed but inflatable shelters are now also becoming popular.

Marquees and screen rooms come with accessories such as solid, mesh or window side walls to enable you to fully enclose the shelter if you wish. They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to pitch, and the pole framed products tend to have a long thin shape when packed up suitable for transporting on the roof racks.

The main considerations when deciding on any additional shelter, or any other item for that matter, will be how they will be transported, whether there is sufficient room on the roof racks if that is your only transport option and whether the weight of the items can be accommodated within your permitted roof and overall payload limit.