Chances are when you purchased your new tent it didn’t come with a ground cloth. The material used for the flooring of most tents is a little heavier and more rugged than the fabric used for the tent walls. But you’ll get many more years of use from your tent if you use a ground cloth as well, protecting your tent from sticks and stones.
Not only does a ground cover help extend the life of your tent, it also helps keep you dry, especially during all day soakers or very heavy downpours. You will need to make sure that the edges of the cloth are folded under your tent to prevent rain from being funneled under it. Even better yet, cut the ground cloth a few inches smaller than the tent floor to elimnate the need to fold.
Your ground cloth will surely get damp as it will be between you and the ground. Just like your tent, you will need to make sure you dry your ground cloth thoroughly. If possible, dry it before you pack up and leave camp, and at the very least, make sure you dry it as soon as you get home.
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