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It used to be, you just threw out a tarp on the ground, and pitched your tent over it to protect the floor from rocks and jagged objects. Now, tents have "footprints." Just what are they?
Footprints fit the exact "footprint" of your tent's floor, and most manufacturers are selling them for all the tent models they produce. They serve the same purpose as a ground cloth, but they are cut just a bit smaller than the tent, so water won't gather underneath tents during rain.