Outdoor Camping Rug Guide: Find The Perfect RV Rug
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
RVing and camping both provide lots of fun.
If you are more into GLAMPING, well, good luck camping, lol!
One of the biggest issues with camping and RVing is keeping all of the DIRT out of your tent or RV.
It doesn't matter how clean you are or how you camp, dirt and dust seem to find their way into every little crevice in your RV.
It miiiight even get into crevices on your own body. (Heh)
Seriously though, there are a few good ways to keep a good portion of the dirt out of your camper.
A quality camping rug is your first line of defense.
They also make a more comfortable outdoor area for hanging out.
Below you will learn:
- What different types of camping rugs are available
- Whether or not you need an RV mat
- How to clean your mat
- Environmental considerations to think about of having a mat
- And more
Ready to buy that perfect camping rug and expand your outdoor living space? Click the button below to read our RV rug reviews.
Guide to Camping Rugs
Taking off your shoes helps keep your space clean, yes.
But what if you have dogs? What about your kids?
If the kids miraculously aren't inside on their phone the whole time, well, they are going to be outside playing.
Getting dirty. Having guests over also equal more feet.
More feet = more dirt.
The conundrum here is that the more you have, the merrier... but also the dirtier your little house on wheels OR tent is going to get.
An RV patio mat will not just keep a lot of dirt out, it will also make your camping spot feel less like a box on wheels and more like an 'outdoor space'.
An outdoor RV rug is also a good place to set things outside without them getting all dirty.
Different Mat Varieties
Mats come in many sizes, shapes, and categories.
For instance, you can get a mat that 'breathes' so the grass underneath doesn't die (though long-term use of any mat on top of grass will eventually kill it).
Or, get an RV patio mat that lets sand fall through it.
You can also get mats large enough to create a sizable and welcoming area for guests to come and sit.
Mats can also make a gravel campsite easier to walk on and sit in RV outdoor chairs, as it will somewhat smooth the surface.
Whatever kind of RV outdoor rug you choose, any rug makes an area look 'put together' and inviting.
It's almost like having an outdoor living room.
Especially if you have your awning out and ESPECIALLY if you have a screen hanging from your awning to block the view or wind.
Your outdoor area can be as fun and funky or as simple as you want it to be.
Things To Consider When Purchasing RV Rugs
The size outdoor mat you choose will have a lot to do with your camping habits.
You may like to camp for prolonged periods of time.
You might have a huge Class A motorcoach.
Or a tiny Casita camper trailer.
You may have a tent.
These details matter when it comes to selecting an outdoor RV rug for your needs while camping.
Before you make your choice, here are some things to consider for the size of your rig.
Smaller Rig Considerations
You don't want to get a big mat because moving the mat, rolling it up and storing it might be too much of a hassle.
Bigger, heavier rugs are better suited for those with more storage space and who are going to be doing an extended stay at their site.
You should choose a lightweight, smaller RV outdoor rug that will take care of your needs just the same.
The smaller your setup is, the less likely you will have much company coming over to hang at your place.
You may only need a mat for one or two chairs.
Otherwise, you could choose two lightweight mats and place them side by side to create a bigger 'landing pad' for your guests when they do grace you with their company.
Larger Rig Considerations
If you have a long bumper pull RV, a large 5th wheel camper or a long motorhome, then you have more real estate to play with under your awning.
You likely also have more storage space for your mat(s).
You will also have more room to entertain friends under your awning, so one long mat or two mats might serve you better.
With a larger setup, you also have room to make an even cozier outdoor space such as an outdoor grill, a propane fire pit, more camping chairs, and maybe even an outdoor potluck table.
Environmental Considerations For Your RV Patio Rug
If you consistently camp in the same area, say, the Pacific Northwest, think about what your needs will be for that area.
If you are always staying in campgrounds with hard-packed, damp earth, then you likely won't need the sand mat.
You should probably choose something that will dry out easily.
Same as if you always go to a beach area and there is a lot of sand.
Then, most likely, sand will be your biggest nemesis and you should get a sand mat.
If you always stay at campgrounds where you are on concrete pads, your choice won't matter as much.
You likely aren't fighting anything but maybe ants.
You could go for a camping rug that isn't too hard to load and unload, and one that matches the colors of your rig.
If you are in a windy area, be sure you can stake your RV mat down securely.
If needed, put large rocks on the outer corners so you aren't buying a new outdoor RV mat every week because your old one blew away.
Some winds are even too much for stakes.
Weight And Storage
If you LIVE in your RV and you stay in places for extended periods, you don't have to put as much emphasis on the weight of the RV rug or how easy it is to store.
If you stay for long periods, you will want something heavy-duty and large to cover one big area.
Moving your RV outdoor rug twice a year should not be a big deal.
You could go with whatever you wanted- just pick something that you like.
Still, best to pay attention to your environmental considerations such as mud, dust, rain, and wind and buy accordingly.
Kids And Dogs
If you have children or dogs, then having an outdoor mat is almost a must-have if you plan on any kind of cleanliness whatsoever.
An outdoor RV mat will provide the kids with a dirt-free area to play on.
Dogs can also be kept on the mat to keep their paws cleaner when letting them hang out outside.
They also can take their shoes off and on while outside on the mat, effectively staying out of your way inside of your rig.
AND it helps keep the dirt out.
Another thing to consider with outdoor mats is that they can be multifunctional.
You could use them at your home as well as while camping.
Many people use them around their pool or deck area.
Screened-in porches can be made to feel homier with a mat that defines a seating area or eating area.
You don't have to just pack the rug away and only use it a few times per year if you don't want to.
Most of the mats are mold and mildew resistant, so they should be good for damp areas like pool decks.
Types Of RV Outdoor Camping Rugs
There are different types of RV outdoor rugs to serve different purposes.
Some are made to keep sand off of them, while others are made just to help not track in dirt.
Most RV outdoor rugs are breathable and rain passes through so you don't kill the grass with short-term use.
The type of camping rug you should get will simply depend on your size and your typical usage as we talked about above.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to use your mat at EVERY destination.
For instance, if you are boondocking in Sedona and it RAINS, well, there is nothing available on the market that can handle THAT kind of nasty mud.
You will want to pick up your mat before the rain hits. Get some disposable shoe covers.
Otherwise, when you step on the rug, the mud will pack onto the backside, eventually dry, and will become a huge mess to have to clean up before storing.
Most people only make the mistake of keeping an RV mat out in muddy conditions ONCE.
Most RVs don't have unlimited water to clean up the mess, so there's that.
Besides, nobody wants to have to clean up a nasty muddy mess, wet OR dry!
Your best bet for mud is to get disposable plastic covers for your shoes for messy weather and ditch the rug until things dry out.
With all of that said, here are a few mat types to consider for your needs.
The CGear Sand Mat
Some time ago, the military needed some type of portable landing mat for helicopters that would keep sand from flying around when helicopters landed in sandy areas.
They ended up creating the CGear Multimat.
It worked so well they started to market it as a beach blanket.
This went well and then the camping world got introduced to the concept.
The CGear Multimat is light, foldable, and compact.
Sand that gets on it will fall through.
So there's never sand on top of the mat.
It comes in three color choices.
It is reversible with a different color on each side of the mat (two of the color choices).
We also (personally) like that it comes in solid colors without goofy patterns or wording on it.
Grass-Friendly Or Breathable RV Mats
Some mats allow light, water and air to pass through them.
These mats are good for extended stays on grass when you don't want to kill it.
Most mats allow water to pass through, but letting the light through is another thing.
You may not be allowed to use an outdoor camping mat at certain campgrounds unless it allows the grass to survive an extended stay.
There are a few brands that use a more open-weave design that allows light to get through to the grass.
RV Outdoor Rugs Will Kill Grass (Eventually)
While many outdoor RV mat manufacturers state that their mats are breathable and won't damage grass, the simple truth is that if you leave something on top of grass too long, chances are it's going to do damage.
Grass needs sunlight to grow.
Covering grass keeps sunlight from getting to it.
No sun equals unhappy grass.
If you want the grass under the mat to stay green, consider moving the mat occasionally, or picking it up altogether.
The grass will thank you.
Cleaning Your Camping Rug
Seriously, this is easy.
If you got a true outdoor/water-safe mat, it's as easy as sweeping it off.
Otherwise, if your mat gets a little muddy or dusty, a simple rinse with a water hose will do.
If it's REALLY dirty, take it to a car wash (or home) and use the soap cycle with the brush to give it a good scrub.
All outdoor RV mats are OK to get wet as they are intended for, well, outdoor use.
They can be cleaned with a simple rinse and let hang to dry.
Do I Need An RV Outdoor Rug?
The quick and easy answer is 'nope'.
Camp Addict Marshall has been living in his RV since April of 2014, and did not have mat for the first 4+ years. He finally purchased CG Sand Mat. Still, he doesn't use it most of the time.
He only boondocks these days, and 99% of the time he's out on public land somewhere.
Dirt, gravel, grass, whatever, he almost never uses a mat.
Camp Addict Kelly, on the other hand, has had a couple of mats.
Her current mat is the CGear Sand Mat. She does NOT always use it.
It stays in her RV bay 90% of the time.
Pulling it out depends on how long she is going to stay parked and how messy the ground is where she is staying.
With dogs, things get a little messier than if it were just her, but still, much of the time she does not use the mat.
It's 'too much fuss' for Kelly. It's just easier not to get it out, set it up, and then have to keep it swept.
Then of course, it has to eventually be put away.
Simplicity is a beautiful thing, and most of the time, Kelly keeps it that way.
However, we are often testing mats for different companies. This forces us to use mats at times.
But when not testing, they both rarely pull one out.
It's up to you whether you should get an RV outdoor rug.
Some people wouldn't think of not putting theirs out.
Others have never had one and have zero complaints.
It's a matter of whether it benefits you enough to live with the 'hassle'.
If you are in the market, we have done the market research for you with the reasoning behind each decision - read our RV patio mat reviews to find the right outdoor camping rug for you.
Authors: Kelly Beasley & Marshall Wendler
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.
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