Setting up a cozy, comfortable campsite is easy when you use a camping tent mat. These mats are multi-functional and you can use them inside your tent as a floor liner, outside your tent as a landing space for shoes and gear, or out as a ground mat for your campsite.
Depending on the kind of camper you are, gear can range from minimalist (ala Bear Grylls) to glamping (bringing your bed and mattress for comfort) to anywhere in between. But, wherever your heart lies on the camping spectrum, there is one essential piece of equipment that we suggest you CANNOT live without (Okay, fine – after food, water, and shelter – THEN this is the item you can’t live without- never say I tried to mislead you).
What is this amazing, can’t-camp-without, change-your-life item?
I’m glad you asked.
The ultimate piece of camping equipment is: A Mountain Mat. The waterproof outdoor mat perfect for campsites and RV sites alike.
Yes – a mat. But wait! Don’t judge this mat just because its simple! This mat is a plastic mat made from 100% woven polypropylene. This mat is reversible, durable, and waterproof!
This campsite mat is about to become your “must pack” camping item.
Now in our family, I’m the Camp-equipment-list-creator, while my husband, Chad, is the car-packer-tent-setter-upper-manual labor. (Brains vs. Brawn)
I make a list and assemble all of the camping equipment that I can think of that our family will need for the trip. For the sake of full disclosure, I am obliged to admit that I nearly always forget one or two minor items from the list – maybe a hair brush, or the spoons, or the stake-hammer-thing. But frankly, that I feel that I’m just helping our family be more adventurous, more creative, more can-do-it sorts of people. I mean, do you really need spoons? I’ll bet Bear Grylls can eat his morning cereal with a fork, and so can you.
When we arrive at the camp site, the first thing we do is lay out a Mountain Mat by the vehicle so we can stack the camping gear on it while we prepare the campsite. The way I see it, we’re going to get dirty enough not taking showers for 3 days – there is no reason to expedite that process by starting out with our gear in the dirt.
After we’ve set up the tent, we put one of our Mountain Mats inside to act as a ‘carpet’. The 550 gram weight weave is thick and it feels great on bare feet. Its also porous, so any sand, dirt, or dust tracked in can filter down and out of the way. I cannot stress enough how much more comfortable your tent will be with this mat inside — clean, pretty, and soft — it changes everything.
In addition, the Mountain Mat acts as a protective barrier between our cot legs and the tent floor. We paid way too much for our tent to risk ripping a hole in the floor.
Also, the kids all sleep on the floor of the tent on pads and the Mountain Mat acts as an additional insulator between the ground and the sleeping bags.
In the picture below, we have two Mountain Mat Original size (5′ x 7′) laid out inside an 8-man tent. You only need one Mountain Mat for a 4-man tent.
Directly outside our tent we lie out the second Mountain Mat. This one is used to store gear that we aren’t bringing inside the tent (like shoes, flip flops, and coolers). Its (probably) scientifically proven that 99% of the dirt that gets inside your tent is trekked in on shoes and boots. Having a spot right outside the tent to remove and store dirty footwear is a life-saver if you are like me and want to keep the ‘nature’ outside of your sleeping area!
After camp is set up and we’re ready to relax, we like to have another Mountain Mat out as a play-area for the kids. My motto is: You can’t have too many Mountain Mats. (Also I have other mottos such as: “stop whining” and “be nice to your sister”.)
This clean space is great for crafts, playing board games, playing cards, or just lying around. The mat is thick enough to make sitting/lying on the ground comfortable, and being waterproof means that any moisture or mud doesn’t get on you or your stuff.
Also, if you don’t have a picnic table – its SO MUCH easier for kids to sit on the Mountain Mat and eat picnic-style. No worries if someone spills a drink! Mountain Mat is easy to clean — just wipe up the spill with a wet cloth.
Camping with a Mountain Mat has changed everything for the better on our camping trips. Sure, I still occasionally forget to pack the kitchen sponges or the coffee creamer – but I never, every have forgotten our Mountain Mats – and so far we’ve had 100% success on our camping trips! Bear Grylls would be proud.
Jennifer Hillberg is the Founder and Creator of Mountain Mat, LLC, the USA’s first 100% recycled plastic, reversible, outdoor recreation mat. As an avid outdoor recreationalist, Jennifer has hiked and camped in some of the world’s most remote places alongside her husband and three children. Learn more about The Mountain Mat Story.