When you’re in the woods, you might be surprised to know that you’re likely surrounded by bathtubs! Not the porcelain kind, but bathroom floors in tents.
What is a bathtub floor in a tent, you may ask?
Bathtub tent floors are water-resistant floors that rise up a few inches from the ground around the perimeter of the tent, much like the sides of a bathtub.
Bathtub floors are generally made of heavy-duty, water-resistant fabric (typically Polyethylene (PE), that is similar to a tarp.
Since the tent’s heavy-duty flooring ends a few inches above the ground, it creates a barrier against any incoming water.
This fabric is distinctly different from the rest of the tent and keeps any water running underneath the tent out of the interior.
Most double-walled tents on the market have at least one of these features, so it’s more than likely that you’ve seen a tent with a bathtub floor before.
Benefits Of A Bathtub Floor
Enhanced Water ResistanceManufacturers make bathtub floors with heavy-duty, water-resistant material. This is one of the most important features of a bathtub floor.
Another important part of bathtub tent design is that the bottom of the doors of the tent end a few inches off of the ground.
So, even if water is flowing by or around you, it’s unlikely that water will rise high enough to get past the door frame.
Better Pest Protection
Tents with a bathtub floor have a high door seam, meaning that the bottom of the door is a few inches off of the ground.
This makes it much more difficult for pests to enter your tent.
Instead of a flat entrance where bugs and other pests can crawl directly into your sleeping area, the high door seam creates a barrier to keep them out.
Manufacturers use a heavy-duty fabric different from the rest of the tent that is much more durable.
In fact, one of the main reasons manufacturers created bathtub floor tent designs was because the bathtub floor can act as a ground tarp.
With a bathtub floor, you can place your tent directly on the ground without worrying about damaging the bottom of your tent.
Though, some campers choose to still use a ground tarp with the heavier flooring for extra protection.
Improved Camp Hygiene
Although not one of the original reasons for design, the higher door seam of bathtub floor tents does a great job in keeping dirt, sand, and debris out.
Plus, it’s less likely folks will walk right into your tent with their dirty shoes on due to that extra barrier. So, it helps keep the inside of your tent just a little bit cleaner.
For these reasons, tents with a bathtub floor design do a great job in improving your overall camping hygiene.
When To Use A Bathtub Floor
Tents with bathtub floors are especially great for soggy or rainy areas.
Areas that are prone to flash flooding or damp ground make for great places to use a tent with a bathtub floor.
They can also be great for terrains that are really rough. They make bathtub floors with thicker, heavier materials than the rest of the tent.
So, this means they are better suited for rocky terrains that might otherwise risk tearing a regular tent floor.
Types Of Tents With Bathtub Floors
Most double-walled tents have at least one of the two main bathtub floor features (the heavy-duty floor material or the raised door seam).
You will likely not see bathtub floors in ultralight tents because the heavy-duty fabric adds extra weight.
Why Is It Called A “Bathtub” Floor?
The sides of these water-resistant floors rise up a few inches from the ground around the perimeter of the tent, much like the sides of a bathtub.
Can I Add A Bathtub Floor To My Existing Tent?
No, unfortunately you can’t add a bathtub floor to an existing tent, especially for freestanding tents. This is because the bathtub bottom feature is integral to the overall design and structure of the tent itself.
If you want a bathtub floor on your tent, you’ll likely have to buy a tent that includes it as a feature.
However, there are bathtub floor camping footprints you can buy to use in addition to non-freestanding tents or any tent without a floor. These provide the same level of water protection as tents with built-in bathtub floors.
How Do I Repair A Tear Or Hole In A Bathtub Floor?
If you find a tear in your bathtub floor, the best approach is to use a repair tape to seal up the hole and protect the interior of the tent.
Tenacious Tape is a great option for bathtub floors, since it is made of the same water-resistant materials.
Is A Bathtub Floor Essential For Winter Camping?
Not necessarily. This type of tent design can help keep out extra moisture from the bottom of your tent during winter campouts. But you can use a ground tarp to achieve similar results.
Can A Bathtub Floor Cause More Condensation Inside The Tent?
Sometimes, yes. Condensation is in tents with bathtub floors due to their waterproof fabric. It is less breathable than regular tent fabrics.
But this fabric is only on the floor of the tent, while the rest of the tent is breathable fabric with mesh vents.
As long as you keep some of your vents open to provide ample ventilation, the inside of your tent should be free of condensation!
Now that you know what a bathtub floor is, you’ll see them everywhere on your next campout!
Using a tent with a bathtub floor can be a great way to increase your protection from the elements on the trail.
And, with increased water resistance, durability, and advantageous door design, it’s hard not to love a tent with a bathtub floor.
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