When people ask my what my #1 tips for camping is, I tell them rugs. Once you’re past the basics of a good tent, a decent mattress/cot, and a chair rugs are the one item that can have the most positive impact on your comfort while camping. Rugs can add beauty, warmth, and improve cleanliness. But the key is to get the right rugs for the right places. Cotton rugs are great for inside your tent as they insulate you from the cold ground and trap dirt that would otherwise end up in your bed. A rubber backed mat is perfect for right outside your tent flap. They also trap dirt and can stand up to rain. But what about using rugs in your outside living areas?
The best rug for your outdoor areas, or under a canopy, is a polypropylene rug. These rugs are waterproof, are woven so they are soft on your feet, and fold up nice and compact. They’re also ridiculously easy to clean, just hose them off when you get home or dump water on them if you spill.
The one I own is from Sportsman’s Guide, it’s reversible, and it’s amazing. I used it last year, but it wasn’t until this camping trip that it got a serious test. We were camped in a rather low laying area of the campground. The ground was already saturated when we arrived so the storms later in the week meant flooding and mud. Lots and lots of mud. If we hadn’t had the rug we would have been in mud in our outdoor living area for the rest of the trip and they would have been miserable. With the rug we were able to enjoy sitting around our table and have friends join us. Since the rug is woven poly, essentially a large 9 by 12 ft mat, it was immediately dry. Best of all, when I got home it took me less than 5 minutes with a garden hose to have it back in crystal clean condition.
I love this rug so much I’m going to buy a second one for my kitchen area or to have a larger living area covered. They’re just under $60 and worth every penny.