What is PAD length camping?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: What is PAD length camping? We will explain what a tent pad is for camping and what are its advantages and disadvantages. We will also discuss the possibility of buying one for personal use and what are the main criteria in choosing one. 

What is PAD length camping?

Usually, the tent pad length at a camping site is 10 feet x 12 feet, which is more than enough area for a large family-sized tent or two small tents. Tent pads can be made of sand, cement, gravel or mulch and their biggest advantage is that they are level areas that make pitching your tent so much easier. 

The main benefits of a tent pad are:

  • Adding a layer against the hard ground
  • Convenience
  • Additional heat
  • Helps maintain body temperature
  • Keeps you dry.

In the table below are other pros and cons of tent camp padding:

The pros and cons of tent pad camping

The underside of the tent stays cleanIf the tarp is not positioned correctly, water may remain trapped between the tent and the pad
The tent is better protected against sharp objects in the grassRisk of damage/wear to your tent’s groundsheet
It is warmer inside the tent, as there is no direct contact with the groundLimited camping space/few tent pads at the RV campsites

Should I use a tent pad when camping?

As seen there are many advantages and disadvantages of using a tent pad when camping. Here are the main arguments why you should use one whenever it is available:

  1. It extends the life of your tent by limiting wear and tear on the ground and improves waterproofing. Abrasive ground (pebbles, lichen, prickly plants) prematurely damage the tent floor. The tent pad fits between the two. In the case of muddy terrain, the tent pad protects the tent floor and it will always be easier to clean the tent pad than your tent.
  1. It protects you and your equipment against moisture from the ground. For some tents, it is possible to use them in addition to the flysheet without the bedroom. This is an ultralight mounting option to keep the weight of the enclosure as low as possible. This set-up, also called “Fast and Light”, consists of no longer using the inner chamber and transforming the tent into a minimalist shelter (tarp mode).
  1. The tent pad is designed specifically for your tent. It is cut to the dimensions of the tent, or slightly less so that water does not run through the tent: to avoid water stagnation between the groundsheet and the tent floor. 

It easily attaches “to the 4 corners” of the tent, using plastic connectors or eyelets. The tent pad is made of a resistant and waterproof fabric: nylon or polyester, it is treated against humidity. It can have the same composition as the tent floor or be more robust.

How to set up a tent on a tent pad step by step?

First things first: never leave home without pitching your tent at least once. This way you will know if any essential accessory is missing. It is also essential that you have assembled the structure to discover if the product has any defects. If you assemble the product shortly after receiving it, you can request a change in case of inconvenience. Start practising at home!

Is it time to go camping? Before leaving home, check the packed items. In the transport bag, there must be all the parts of the tent: the structure, the flysheet, the winds, the pegs or nails, and the poles, which depend on the type of tent. We will talk about it below.

Check that all the accessories are in the bag. If you’ve used the store before, make sure the different pieces are sanitized and in good condition. Read on to learn more!

  • It is always best to get to camp before dark. Pitching a tent in the dark, with the help of a flashlight, is not an easy task for anyone. It can also be dangerous.
  • Clear the area where you are going to pitch the tent. Remove all the stones and possible wooden sticks that are on the tent pad. There is nothing worse than sleeping on top of a rock that has crept under the tent …
  • Tents almost always come with specific instructions. In any case, it is best to start by spreading the fabric on the ground and organizing pegs, ropes, posts, etc. Once it’s organized, take the pegs and insert them into the hoops or ribbons that are at the ends of the tent. To perform this task, the ideal is for each person to stand on the opposite side of the partner.
  • Raise the tent and secure it by placing the pegs on the ground. Spread out the floor of the tent so there are no wrinkles, working from opposite sides of the tent. This last task is especially important if the terrain is very uneven.

What if there is no tent pad at the campsite?

We admit it is rare, but it can happen and there mightn’t be a tent pad available at the campsite. Of course, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as you can follow the above instructions to set up your tent (almost) anywhere you wish. 

Still, we would recommend investing in your own tent pad! This way you can choose one that is easy to transport but at the same time it has good quality and you can enjoy its benefits whenever and wherever!

What are the criteria for choosing a good tent pad?

It is not always easy to find a good quality tent pad available at the best value for money without making an ingenious comparison. But first, you need to set criteria for yourself to form an opinion on the type of tent pad you are going to acquire.

This choice is often difficult given that there is a multitude of products available on the market. To help you see more clearly, below are the main selection criteria to remember:

  • Material composition: The material composition of a tent pad should be chosen according to your usage needs. Tent pads are, for the most part, made from synthetic material; which makes them fully resistant. They are ideally used as beach tent pads and also provide good resistance to ultraviolet rays.

The high-density polyethene tent pad for its part remains ideal for walks in the high mountains due to its high thermal capacity. Unlike a beach tent pad, this type of camper tent pad protects you from the cold and is also perfectly waterproof.

A synthetic tent pad is also breathable, so you don’t damage the grass you are going to lay it on. Easier to wash, it clumps almost no dirt residue.

  • Tent pad dimensions: There are several variations in size for the tent pads. The most compact is usually about 36 sq ft. Medium-sized tent pads are often 140 sq ft. Larger tent pads can have a size of 163 sq ft. You are free to choose the size that suits you the most.
  • Purpose: The choice of a tent pad depends on your needs. If you are used to camping, opt for a less breathable and more resistant tent pad! Conversely, if you are going to sunbathe on the beach, it is best to choose a breathable pad.
  • Breathability: Choosing a breathable tent pad is imperative if you are going to spend more time on the page than in the middle of the forest. The same is true if you only plan to use your tent pad to spend a picnic afternoon in a park.

Final thoughts

Buying the best tent pad depends on what you want to use it for. In all cases, it is important that you have a suitable camping pad when travelling. The huge advantage of a tent pad is that it can also be used for a variety of uses. For example, you can use it as a groundsheet under a tent, but the same mat is also practical for covering a children’s play area without damaging your lawn!

Please feel free to get in contact should you have any questions or comments on the content. 


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