What is a Bathtub Floor in a Tent?

Updated Sep 22, 2023
what is a bathtub floor tent

Camping is an adventurous outdoor activity that we adore, and we love sleeping in a tent under the stars. There are several different parts of a tent that make a big difference in your comfort and safety, and one of those is the bathtub style floor. It’s become commonplace on most camping tents and makes a huge difference in weather resistance and keeping the bugs out.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what is a bathtub floor, its benefits, and why it’s a smart design that should come standard on any tent you purchase. We’ll also discuss how to clean and maintain it so you can keep your tent ready to go for years to come.

What Is A Bathtub Floor?

A bathtub floor in a tent is a fundamental feature found in almost all contemporary camping tents. It gets its name from the design, which resembles a bathtub: the same material as the floor material extends a few inches up the sides of the tent before connecting with the tent walls.

This bathtub tent floor creates a protective barrier against the elements, preventing water from seeping into the tent during rain or when camping on damp ground. The raised edges also deter crawling insects from invading your sleeping space.

Despite its simplicity, the bathtub floor is a key contributor to the comfort and functionality of camping tents, making your outdoor adventures drier, more comfortable, and less prone to unwelcome guests.

How Does A Bathtub Floor Work?

A tent bathtub floor works wonders when it comes to dealing with ground moisture or heavy rain. When camping on damp ground or during a downpour, water can pool around the base of your tent. The raised edges of a bathtub floor act as a barrier, keeping you and your gear dry inside the tent. Plus, this design keeps insects, dirt, and other debris at bay, ensuring a clean and comfortable living space.

Benefits Of A Bathtub Floor

In our camping and backpacking experiences, tent bathtub floors have many perks. Here are some the top benefits:

Improved Weather Protection

Perhaps the most significant advantage is the enhanced protection against ground moisture and rain water. The elevated edges prevent water from seeping into the tent, keeping your sleeping area and gear dry during heavy rainfall or when camping on damp surfaces.

Enhanced Durability

Bathtub tent floors are typically constructed from more robust, puncture-resistant materials. This means that a tent with a bathtub floor can withstand potential damage from sharp rocks, sticks, or other hazards that you might encounter at your campsite.

Plus, high quality family camping tents will usually have a higher waterhead rating on the floor, which helps keep moisture from seeping through the fabric. While a rainfly fabric will have a minimum waterhead rating of 1200mm, many quality tents will have the floor rated upwards of 1500-2000mm or higher. Such a tent may be more expensive, but it the thicker materials and more waterproof fabric will help it last longer.

Insect And Debris Prevention

The raised edges of a bathtub floor design can act as a barrier against insects, dirt, and other debris, which helps keep your tent’s interior cleaner and more comfortable. In contrast, the flat floor of previous tent models would have a zipper closer to the ground, which is a point of weakness for bugs to enter the tent.

Better Insulation

A tent with a bathtub floor can provide better insulation because the floor material extends up the tent side walls, creating a more sealed environment. This can help prevent drafts from entering the tent at ground level which keeps the interior warmer, particularly in windy conditions.

This feature is particularly beneficial when you camp during the colder months, as it helps to keep you warm.

Do You Need A Bathtub Floor?

A bathtub floor is not strictly necessary for a tent to function, but it is a standard feature in most modern tents due to the numerous advantages it provides. Here are some reasons you need a bathtub floor:

Camping Locations And Conditions

If you frequently camp in areas where wet conditions are common, a tent with a bathtub floor is a must-have. It will keep water seepage to a minimum, keeping you and your gear dry.

Insect And Debris Considerations

The design of a bathtub floor can provide an additional layer of protection, keeping your tent’s interior clean and bug-free. This is particularly handy if you’re in a location with a high insect population or lots of debris.

Weight And Packability

While there are tents available without bathtub floors, they are less common and may require additional measures for waterproofing and bug prevention, such as tarps or ground cloths. For the majority of campers, the benefits of a tent with a bathtub floor far outweigh the minimal weight and space savings offered by tents without this feature.

Maintaining And Repairing A Bathtub Floor

To ensure the longevity and performance of your tent bathtub floor, proper maintenance is crucial. From our own camping experiences, here’s what I suggest:

Clean Your Tent Regularly

After each adventure, it’s important to clean your tent. Sweep out any dirt, leaves, or debris, and wash the floor and walls gently with a damp cloth to remove excess dirt. Let the tent dry completely before storing it. This simple routine helps to preserve the waterproof coating of the tent material and keeps your gear ready for the next outing.

Inspect For Damage

Before and after each trip, give your tent’s bathtub floor a thorough check for any signs of wear or damage. This could be punctures, tears, or worn areas. Promptly addressing these issues helps maintain the integrity of your tent and prevent further damage.

Repair Punctures And Tears

If you discover a puncture or tear in your tent’s bathtub floor, take care of it right away. You can use a tent repair kit or adhesive tape designed for tent fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll have a secure and long-lasting fix in no time.

Related Post: How to Waterproof a Tent

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the bathtub floor, a seemingly simple feature found in almost all modern tents, plays a crucial role in enhancing your camping experience. It provides an invaluable line of defense against ground moisture and pesky insects, ensuring that your sleeping space remains dry, comfortable, and bug-free. Its durability and ease of cleaning also add to the practicality of this design.

Although it’s not strictly necessary, the bathtub floor has become a standard in the industry, reflecting its utility and popularity among campers. So, whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a camping novice, understanding and appreciating the importance of the bathtub floor in your tent can help ensure a more enjoyable, comfortable, and trouble-free outdoor experience.


Do tents have floors?

Most tents do have floors, but not all do. For your average camper purchasing a tent, it will most likely come with a floor attached. Some specialty tents (like winter tents or tarps) may not come with a floor.

What is the best material for a bathtub tent floor?

For an average camping tent, you want the floor material to be thicker and more waterproof than the material on the tent walls. If you have the option for something heavier duty, a floor made of PVC will be more durable, more waterproof, and will last longer.

What are tent floors made of?

Tents floors are generally made of the same material as the tent walls, which is usually polyester or nylon. In a high quality tent, you want the floor to be a slightly thicker and more waterproof fabric than the walls. If it’s not, then you definitely want to supplement with a tarp or groundsheet in order to increase the tent floor’s longevity.

Is a tent floor waterproof?

You want a tent floor to be waterproof, but not all of them are. High quality tents from well-known brands will typically have waterproof floor, while other low-quality brands will not have a completely waterproof floor material.

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About the Author

Hey there!

We are Derek and Ashley of Know Nothing Nomads. Whether it is hiking, camping, climbing, or just generally being outside, we love it. We are so happy that you have found our little blog and hope that you stick around a while.

Safe Travels,

Derek and Ashley


Know Nothing Nomads