This Genius Toy Hack Is An Affordable Way To Add Comfort To Your Tent

Going camping is a wonderful and fun experience that can create bonds that last a lifetime. The only problem with camping is that sleeping on the hard ground in a tent can be a real pain in the neck (literally). Although many outdoor stores sell foam mats that are specifically made for camping, these mats can be expensive which can add up when you have to buy one for each person. So, what if you want something cheap that will work for the entire family? Surprisingly the answer is quite simple — interlocking foam puzzle mats. Yes, those same colorful squares you played on as a child.


The reason this hack works so well is that foam puzzle squares are easy to find and sold in most big box stores at an affordable price. Plus, the interlocking nature of the squares means that you can arrange them to fit inside any size tent and then easily pick them up to pack them away in your car when you are done camping. Furthermore, if you don't want to buy the colorful toy foam puzzle pieces, you can pay a little extra to purchase the more-adult foam puzzle pieces which are also available at most big box retailers and are typically advertised as flooring for home gyms.

Should you put the foam under or inside your tent?

While adding foam puzzle pieces to a tent to make for an ultra-comfortable camping experience seems like it would be pretty simple, there are actually two methods of doing it. The first, as seen in a Reddit post on the camping gear forum of the website, involves laying the foam pieces directly on the ground and then setting up your tent on top of them. With this method, the foam puzzle pieces act as a tarp and protect your tent from any rocks or sticks while also adding an extra layer of comfort. However, as pointed out by one commenter on the same post, this may not be the best method if rain is in the forecast because the foam mats will likely get wet and may even cause water to seep into your tent.


The other option is to lay the foam puzzle pieces inside your tent as a base layer that will go below all of your sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows. This method has the advantage of making sure the foam tiles aren't ruined by weather and don't cause any leaks. Furthermore, if the tiles are inside, you can easily adjust them during the night if you need to (or put them back together if they start separating) without the need to go outside and move your entire tent.

When you should not use foam puzzle pieces

It's important to know that while foam puzzle pieces can be a great camping tool in many situations, they may not work for every camper or camping trip. For example, if you are going on a camping trip that requires trekking to the campsite, or thru-hiking on a solo backpacking trip, traditional foam mats will have the advantage because they roll up and can be easily attached to a backpack. Nowadays, many backpackers forgo foam mats altogether and instead go for air pads because they can be deflated after each use allowing them to take up less space in your pack.


Another situation where you will want to invest in a special camping sleeping bag pad over using toy foam squares is if you plan on camping in cold weather or on ice and snow. This is because many sleeping bag pads are designed with special insulating materials that are put together in a specific way to help you retain heat while sleeping in extreme temperatures. When camping in temperatures that may pose a threat to your safety, it's always better to go with tested and reliable gear over anything else.