Last Updated on 30/01/2024
In this guide to the best tent carpet for camping and RV awnings, you will learn the different types of tent floor mats you can use and which works best. I share the lightest, warmest, comfiest, and most durable tent carpets for camping.
There are a couple of different options available; my two favorites are the plastic straw mats for tents and the polypropylene tent carpets. Both are incredibly durable, lightweight, easy to clean and improve the living area of any tent.
The benefits of using tent carpets and outdoor rugs inside your tent are that you stay warmer, dryer, cleaner, and more comfortable inside your tent. You can also use your tent floor mats outside your tent to have a picnic or sit around a campfire. They do add some weight and are fairly bulky, but if that isn’t an issue, I would highly recommend any of the following carpets for tents.
7 Best Tent Carpets
CGEAR Original Durable Sand-Free Camping Mat
- MATERIAL: Woven Ploypropylene
- BEST FOR: Best All Round Tent Carpet and Outdoor Rug
The CGEAR Original Durable Sand-Free Camping Mat is designed to sit on top of any surface and keep the top clean and dry. It does this by allowing sand to fall through the weave of the fabric but not sit on top. It also treats water the same way so that you can lay this tent carpet down on the wet ground, and the moisture will not soak through.
The patented design was originally used by the military inside tents during combat. It is incredibly durable and even has heavy-duty D-rings on the corners to stake it out tightly.
VERDICT: The Original Sand-Free Camping Carpet from CGEAR is the floor mat I use on the floor of my RV awning and in any of my canvas tents that don’t have integrated floors. And so naturally, it is the tent carpet I recommend to you for the best all-rounder.VIEW ON REI
Drymate Tent Carpet Mat
- MATERIAL: Polyester with waterproof backing
- BEST FOR: Most Comfortable Tent Carpet
The Drymate Tent Carpet Mat is one of the best tent carpets for camping and RV awnings because it feels so nice underfoot without shoes on. It has a waterproof backer and feels like a regular carpet on top. It is exceptionally durable and handles any kind of rough terrain well from the underside as well as blocking 100% of moisture from the ground, so much so that you could sleep directly on it (not that you would want to.
The size I recommend is the 7’4″ x 8’4″ size which is big enough to be trimmed down to suit the shape of your tent. The whole thing rolls up in a reasonable-sized roll which can be carried with the straps (included). The only thing it doesn’t do as well as the CGEAR Original Mat above allows sand to fall through the material. Because it has a durable backer, any sand and debris needs to be shaken or beaten off.
VERDICT: The Tent Carpet Mat from Drymate feels like carpet and looks like a carpet but does weigh as much as a carpet. It is ideal for most medium to large tent floors and is both waterproof and incredibly durable on the underside. It doesn’t deal with sand as well as some others, and if it gets wet from the top, it doesn’t dry as quickly, but it feels super comfy and is one I would recommend for that alone.
ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Mat ½” EVA Interlocking Foam Floor Tiles
- MATERIAL: EVA Foam
- BEST FOR: Best Tent Floor Insulation
The ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Mat ½” EVA Tent Floor Foam Mat is not the most convenient to carry or set up, but once all the tiles are connected, you have an incredibly warm and comfortable tent floor mat. The other benefits of this type of floor for camping tents are that it dries very fast, wipes down to clean, is lightweight, has a good grip, and is durable.
VERDICT: The ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Foam Tiles are big and bulky to carry but very lightweight and easy to trim to the shape of your tent footprint. If you want a bit more padding on the floor than a tent carpet, then this kind of exercise mat is ideal for camping. You can even double a couple of them up to make a comfortable sleeping pad.
SAND MINE Reversible Mat Plastic Straw Rug
- MATERIAL: Polypropylene Plastic Straw
- BEST FOR: Most Lightweight Tent Carpet
The SAND MINE Reversible Mat Plastic Straw Rug is one of the hundreds of carpets with similar designs that are all probably made in the same factory somewhere. The reason I chose to test the SAND MINE carpet was that it had so many positive reviews online, but I can’t say this will be any different from all the others just like it. I can say that is amazing as an outdoor rug for inside your tent or out in the sun during the day.
The material is tightly woven so that it doesn’t attract sand or dirt and is easy to clean with the quick wipe of a cloth. It doesn’t absorb water and so makes it waterproof when laid on wet ground. And if nothing else, the patterns are really cool looking.
VERDICT: The Reversible Plastic Straw Mat from SAND MINE comes in a range of different sizes to suit your tent floor or RV awning. The patterns make the inside of your tent feel more homely, but most importantly, it keeps you dry and comfortable once you kick off your boots. Plastic straw mats like this are perfect for camping and can withstand being treated very roughly without showing signs of wear. Check out the cool patterns.
GL Artificial Grass Turf Indoor/Outdoor Mat
- MATERIAL: Polypropylene Strands
- BEST FOR: Best Artificial Grass for Tent Floor
The GL Artificial Grass Turf is something a little different, but it works surprisingly well as a tent carpet for the porch area of a tent. The artificial grass works just like a shaggy rug but for the outdoors. You can lay it on wet and muddy ground and keep everything on top of the grass carpet clean and dry.
The base isn’t 100% waterproof if you are walking around with socks on, but it certainly doesn’t absorb any water or feel soggy. The reason I like artificial turf as one of the best tent carpets for camping is that it blends in with the ground, feels comfortable to sit or lay on, and is more durable than 99% of tent floor carpets.
VERDICT: The GL Artificial Grass Turf is not designed for camping, but I know that it works and can safely recommend it as one of the best tent floor mats for camping. It isn’t as easy to clean as others and is fairly bulky to pack for a camping trip, but it feels comfortable, can be trodden on with muddy boots, and is one of the toughest in this guide.
EEZ RV Products GW Heavy Duty Outdoor Patio/RVing Mat
- MATERIAL: Woven Polypropylene
- BEST FOR: Best RV Awning Carpet for Tents
The EEZ RV Products GW Heavy Duty Outdoor Patio/RVing Mat is perfect for tunnel tents, canvas wall tents, or RV awnings due to its rectangular shape and size variations. Made from tightly woven Polypropylene, the carpet is completely waterproof, sand proof, and easy to clean down with a hose pipe and air dry.
The mat is nice and lightweight as well as easy to pack and carry, which means you can also use it for picnics in the park or when the campsite is a good distance from the car. There is a crease down the middle to help with packing away, but the edges all stay close to the ground and relatively flat (even on uneven ground).
VERDICT: The EEZ RV Products GW Heavy Duty Outdoor Patio/RVing Mat is the best tent carpet for RV awnings and large tents. You can lay it on wet and muddy ground and get amazing protection, although it doesn’t have a waterproof backer. It’s the perfect tent carpet for communal camp areas too.
NuLOOM Wynn Braided Indoor/Outdoor Round Area Rug
- MATERIAL: Woven Polypropylene
- BEST FOR: Best Bell Tent Carpet
The NuLOOM Wynn Braided Indoor/Outdoor Round Area Rug is the best bell tent carpet for your canvas bell tents and tipi-style shelters. You can get this circular tent carpet in 5 different sizes as well as other square, rectangle, and oval options too. Made from Polypropylene using a braided weave that is incredibly durable for outdoor use and can also be hosed down to clean.
Circular mats like this create a clean area in the middle of your tent with plenty of space around the edges to store your boots and backpacks. Unlike a rectangular tent carpet, you won’t have to fold in any corners to make it fit inside your tent’s footprint area. Packability-wise, it rolls up very easily but is not as easy to fold as a rectangular tent carpet.
VERDICT: The Wynn Braided Indoor/Outdoor Round Area Rug from NuLOOM is ideal for bell tents and circular areas inside a tent. It also works well as a tent footprint for smaller domed tents, although cannot be trimmed down, so make sure you order a size smaller than your outer tent shell. Super durable, very lightweight, and does the job of covering bare ground inside your tent very well.
Types of Tent Carpets and Floor Mats for Camping
When it comes to camping, comfort is key, and the type of flooring you choose for your tent can make a significant difference. From the durability of polypropylene carpets to the soft feel of polyester rugs, here are a few options for enhancing your camping experience.
Plastic Straw Rug
Plastic straw rugs are another practical option for tent flooring. They are lightweight, easy to roll up for transport, and quick to dry if they get wet. Much thinner than Polypropylene carpets. While they might not provide as much comfort as some other options, their affordability and convenience make them a viable option for short camping trips.
Polypropylene carpets are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. These carpets are tightly woven, making them suitable for high-traffic areas inside the tent. They are also water and UV-resistant, ensuring they won’t get damp or degrade quickly under sunlight. Their ease of cleaning and robust nature makes polypropylene carpets a popular choice for camping tent carpets and outdoor rugs for RV’s.
EVA Foam Tiles
EVA foam floor mats are known for their excellent cushioning. These interlocking foam tiles provide a soft surface that’s ideal for sleeping or sitting. They’re also easy to assemble and disassemble for storage. Additionally, EVA foam is water-resistant and provides excellent insulation, making it a popular choice for tent floors when camping in colder weather.
Coir mats for tents are made from the hairy part of coconut husks which are woven together using multiple strands to offer a sturdy and reliable carpet that has been used around the world for hundreds of years. While not as lightweight as synthetic options, they provide a unique, rustic aesthetic that you can’t get with synthetic mats. Their natural composition also lends to a different feel underfoot compared to the more uniform and predictable textures of synthetic mats.
Polyester rugs offer a good balance of comfort, durability, and water resistance. They are often softer than polypropylene carpets or plastic straw rugs, making them a comfortable choice for inside your tent. If you are struggling to picture what polyester looks like, then just imagine a supersized picnic blanket. The only issue is that they can absorb water and so need a waterproof backer to protect you from wet ground.
Artificial grass can provide a unique and natural feel to your tent flooring. It’s soft and comfortable and adds a touch of luxury to your camping experience. It’s also durable and easy to clean. However, it might be heavier and bulkier to transport compared to other options. Therefore, artificial grass is often best suited for longer stays at one site or for car camping scenarios.
Which Is the Best Material for Camping Tent Carpets?
This is purely my opinion, but I like the polypropylene carpets the best because they are so durable and well-made. The plastic straw mats are better in other ways, like being lightweight, packable, and easy to clean. Foam tiles are probably the comfiest and warmest, while a traditional coir carpet inside a bell tent can tie the whole space together. If you are on a budget, go for plastic straw tent carpets.
Guide to The Best Tent Carpets for Camping and RVing
When choosing a tent carpet for camping or RVing, several factors come into play. Here’s what to consider:
Your tent carpet will have to endure foot traffic, camping equipment, and sometimes rocky ground, so durability is paramount. Look for materials like polypropylene or heavy-duty polyester that can resist wear and tear, and check for tightly woven or well-constructed mats that won’t easily fray or come apart.
A good tent carpet can provide an extra layer of insulation underneath your tent and lift you up off the cold hard ground. This is especially important in colder climates or seasons. Thicker carpets and mats, or those made from materials with good insulating properties like EVA foam or thick polyester, can be great choices. Plastic straw mats are often very thin and so only add slightly more insulation than a groundsheet under your tent.
For backpacking or camping, where you need to carry your gear, weight is a crucial factor. Lightweight options like plastic straw rugs or thin polyester mats might be more suitable than thicker woven carpets or those with heavy-duty rubber backers. For car camping or RVing, where weight is less of a concern, you might opt for heavier, plushier carpets like artificial grass.
The thickness of your tent carpet contributes to both its comfort and insulation. Thicker carpets can be more comfortable to walk or sit on, and they also provide better insulation. However, they are typically heavier and bulkier to pack into your car. EVA foam pads are an excellent example of a thick, comfortable, yet lightweight option for tent floor mats.
Tent carpets will often be laid directly onto wet ground, so water resistance is important. Polypropylene carpets, polyester rugs, and EVA foam pads are all good options as they won’t absorb water, but they won’t completely block moisture without a solid waterproof backer. The best way to have total waterproofing is to use a tent footprint or rain tarp under your tent and tent carpet.
Edging can help prevent fraying and make the tent carpet more durable. Some tent carpets and floor mats come with interlocking edges or attachment loops on the corners. This can be handy for connecting multiple tiles or mats together to cover a larger area and to make sure they are secured to the ground.
Ease of Cleaning
Depending on your camping situation, tent carpets can get dirty quickly. Therefore, choosing a material that’s easy to clean helps to keep everything else clean. Some materials just need a shake or a quick wipe down, while others might require a more thorough cleaning with a sponge and soap.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of the carpet should match your tent floor for optimal coverage. Some products come in different sizes or are modular, meaning you can fit together multiple pieces like a puzzle to create the desired shape and size. Others can be trimmed to size using a Stanley knife, or if you don’t want to cut the mat, you can fold the corners in.
Design and Aesthetics
While functionality is paramount, you might also consider the look of your tent carpet. Some people prefer a more natural look, such as an artificial grass or coco coir mat, while others might prefer a colorful or patterned rug to liven up the tent interior, like the SAND MINE range. I personally don’t think it matters, but dark colors won’t show marks as clearly.
Caring for Your Tent Carpet
Proper care extends the life of a tent carpet, ensuring it remains clean, comfortable, and functional. The following tips focus on preserving the quality of the tent carpet through effective cleaning, maintenance, and repair strategies.
Regular cleaning is essential to keep a tent carpet in top condition. You should shake off loose dirt and debris before and after use. For a deeper clean, you can use a brush or broom to sweep away any embedded dirt. Most tent carpets are designed for outdoor use, which means they can be hosed down with water. It’s important to allow the carpet to dry thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew – exposure to sunlight can facilitate this. For specific cleaning requirements, such as removing stains, mild soap and water can be employed, followed by rinsing with clean water.
Maintenance and Storage
After cleaning, tent carpets should be stored properly to prevent damage. You should fold or roll the carpet loosely to avoid permanent creases. Storage in a cool, dry place prevents moisture buildup that could otherwise result in mold. Before putting the carpet away, one must ensure it is completely dry. It’s also wise to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for any storage tips specific to the material of the tent carpet.
A tent carpet may occasionally suffer from rips or holes. To address this, you can use a repair kit suitable for the carpet material. Patching up minor damages promptly can prevent them from expanding. When repairing, one needs to clean the area around the tear, apply the adhesive, and then place the patch securely, respecting the repair kit’s instructions. Regular inspections for wear and tear can help catch issues early, which makes them easier to manage.
Does a Tent Carpet Make a Difference?
Tent carpets make a massive difference when you have a big family tent with a large open area in the porch. The two biggest ways a tent carpet makes a difference is by improving comfort and protection. They allow you to walk around in socks, keep you warmer, and protect you from ground moisture and rough terrain.
If you treat your tent carpet as you would a carpet in your home by taking your shoes off at the door and not walking on it with muddy boots, then you end up with a much more homely feel tent. It will keep you warm and lift you off the cold and often wet ground so that you can enjoy your time camping no matter what the weather is doing outside.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best tent carpets for camping and RV awnings. Let us know what you think in the comments.