Which Groundsheet is the Best for your Campsite?
Groundsheets come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but they aren’t created equally.
The simple tarp is the cheapest option but also the most versatile meaning you get excellent value for money. You can pick up one of these tarps from almost anywhere such as Bunnings, Supercheap Auto, Kmart and the like. Most tarps come with reinforced eye holes that allow you to peg them down if needed.
- Waterproof (better quality ones)
- Can be used as an awning wall
- Good rain cover
- Handy for working under your vehicle
- An overhang can cause water to flow under your tent or swag
- Don’t breathe causing condensation and damaged grass
- Not impervious to water coming up through if pressure put on it
- Kill grass
Shade cloth is a great option as you can cut it to size, bang pegs through it, use it as a wall on your awning and it’s easily replaceable. Dirt and water will fall through the mesh, so it helps in keeping your living area clean as well as your swag or tent. You can also buy mesh groundsheets with stitched edging and re-enforced holes for pegging them down. You can pick this type of mesh groundsheet up from places like Snowys, Tentworld and Anaconda.
- Easy to clean
- Sand and dirt can fall through
- UV stabilised
- Mid-level pricing
- Water flows through
- Can be used as a shade cloth or windbreak
- Not waterproof
- Not impervious to sand and dirt
C-Gear groundsheets allow dirt and sand to fall through the mat yet not allow it to come back up. This is due to C-Gear’s patented multi-weave technology. These mats come in a variety of sizes and a storage bag to match.
- Easy to clean
- Allows sand and dirt to fall through but not come back up through the mat
- Non-absorbent and won’t rot or mould
- Can be used as a privacy screen
- Not waterproof
- Slippery when wet
Canvas groundsheets are old school, used by drovers then overlanders before non-natural products were even thought of. They are great to use under your swag or a stretcher bed and the canvas prevents cats’ eyes and other nasty bindees from stabbing your feet when hopping into bed for the night. Most canvas groundsheets are between 14-18oz and come with eyelets and reinforced corners.
- They are thick so offer great protection
- Can be used as a rain cover
- Can be used to provide shade
- Good weather break
- Mildew resistant
- Last a lifetime if looked after
- Hard to clean
- Stain easily
There is a reason that modern swags and some tents have PVC bases and that’s because it’s 100% waterproof and it is hard-wearing. However, PVC groundsheets are more like the rain ponchos you take to an outdoor rock concert, very lightweight. PVC groundsheets get mighty hot in the sun, and water pools on them when it rains.
- 100% waterproof
- Can be used as a shade sail or windbreak
- Doesn’t breathe
- Water can pool on it
- Gets hot
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