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groundsheet/pack liner/poncho
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Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/12/2010 12:52:44 MDT Print View

I've always done summer hiking in the Sierra without bringing rain gear, but others here have asserted that I'm asking for trouble by assuming that whatever was OK in past, typical conditions will be OK in the future. Considering that any rain gear I bring will be 99% likely to sit in the pack without being used, I'd like to minimize weight and bulk. I have a bunch of 18-gallon, 2.5-mil trash compacter bags, and I've found that I can make a poncho that fits my torso out of one of these. As an added bonus, I look stylish as hell in it.

But now I have the following things in my kit that seem at least somewhat redundant:
-ground sheet, 3.4 oz
-bag for use as pack liner, 2.5 oz
-bag for use as emergency poncho, 2.5 oz

Can anyone think of any way of reducing this to two items instead of 3? If I'm caught in the mother of all summer storms, I don't want to cannibalize my pack liner for use as a poncho, because then my down bag will get wet. If I cut a head-hole in the ground-sheet, I'd have some kind of poncho, but it would probably flap like crazy in the wind, and my groundsheet would then have a big hole in it, although I guess I could save the cutout circle and patch it back on with duct tape.


/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/12/2010 13:05:46 MDT Print View

Ditch the ground sheet (-3.4 oz.)
Add Lightweight waterproof stuff sack (+.5 oz.) or Cuben pack cover (+1 oz.)

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/12/2010 15:04:06 MDT Print View

Hi, Aaron,

Thanks for the ideas!

I don't really see the point of a pack cover, at least for summer hiking in the Sierra. It won't keep my clothes and sleeping bag dry if I fall in a creek. If I have to have the sleeping bag and clothes completely sealed in something waterproof, then I don't see what good the pack cover does me. Might be a different deal if I was hiking in a rainy climate, where it could just be kind of unpleasant to do a lot of hiking with a pack that was wet on the outside.

Without the ground sheet, how do you avoid getting a down bag wet if you have to sleep on wet ground? I guess one possibility would be to bring a lightweight garbage bag (0.8 oz) for use as an emergency ground sheet, in the unlikely event of heavy summer rain. This would save me a couple of ounces.

The waterproof stuff sack would save me a couple of ounces, but I use a frameless pack, so when it's not totally full I may want to let the bag fill up some volume. I can't do that if the only way to keep the bag dry is by putting it in a stuff sack.


Stephen B
(8bodi7) - F

Locale: Michigan
groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/14/2010 20:11:56 MDT Print View

I can think of two possibilities using two of the three items.

1) Garbage bag liner + groundsheet:
Cut a hole in ground sheet as you suggested and use it as a poncho. Then when sleeping on the ground sheet cover the hole with the pack liner. The inside should still be dry in the morning for your clothes and bag, as well as the top of the groundsheet for use as inside of poncho. Total weight: 5.9 oz

2) Garbage bag liner + additional bag to fashion poncho:
Just lay out the two garbage bags in camp and sleep on these as a groundsheet. This somewhat limits your space to sleep on, but weighs less than the other option. Both insides should still be dry for morning use as well. Total weight 5 oz.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/15/2010 11:29:30 MDT Print View

You may be overestimating how puncture-free the ground sheet needs to be to be functional. If you select a campsite that isn't a puddle or isn't going to become one, then small holes in a ground sheet are inconsequential.

The way to make a poncho hole small and inconsequential is to either lay another bag over it to cover the hole, or create a slit for your head that overlaps when laid flat.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/15/2010 11:50:21 MDT Print View

Sometimes I use a ground sheet that weighs only an ounce or two. It is the lightest plastic painter's drop cloth, and then I cut it down to a size only slightly larger than my sleeping bag and pad. It is not terribly durable, but if it gets too ratty after 20 nights, I can toss it and use the rest of the roll like I bought it.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: groundsheet/pack liner/poncho on 06/15/2010 12:26:53 MDT Print View

I have been rained on and snowed on in both July and August in the Sierras. Not typical, but it happens. Rain is usually just an afternoon shower, but it can and has been worse.

I use all kinds of combinations, but the most frequent is a bag liner (1.2 oz), and a polycro sheet (1.7 oz).

My rain options are:
- Poncho Tarp with Bivy
- Large cuben tarp with Marmmot Essence as rain/wind protection (bivy not needed).

I am toying with the idea of buying a Plastazote pad 1/8" X 25" X 74" and using it as an insulation pad and ground sheet (2.2 oz). Steve claims they are completly waterproof. I will probably use a GG NiteLight Torso pad with it (4.5 oz), or a trimmed down 3/8" GG pad (2.6 oz).

So on my next long hike with a chance of percipitation, My possible gear would be:

Plastazote ground pad = 2.2 oz
GG NightLight Torso = 4.5 oz.
BPL Nano Tarp with/accessories = 7.0 oz
Marmmot Essence Jacket = 6.7 oz
Pack Liner = 1.2 oz

Total = 21.6 oz.

Lastly, I may purchase a large cuben sack to replace the pack liner, I figure a weight of around .5 oz, saving .7 oz.

I know this may be really dialing weights down to the 10ths of ounces, but they do add up.