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Silnylon Tent Floor
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Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Silnylon Tent Floor on 08/25/2010 22:46:19 MDT Print View

I needed a large tent for me and two Shelties, with plenty of overhang for cooking outside the floor in the rain.
The Wilderness Experience Bug Dome met these needs, but was quite heavy, even with the silnylon fly. After replacing the zippers with no. 3's, and substituting carbon poles, the weight was still 6 oz. over three lbs.

I considered a silnylon floor, but was deterred by Ian Maley's comment in a WE catalog, "[We could use a fabric like Sn240 {silnylon}for a tent floor and achieve an impressive minimum weight but performance is very disappointing where water is involved."

However, another BPL fan tested some of Thru-Hiker's silnylon for me with good results, so I gave it a try. The result looked like this:
The inner tent looked like this:

The original WE fly remained. An MSR Bug Hut was substituted for the inner because it was lighter, and the Silnylon bibs were added front and back to keep out wind driven rain.
The no. 5 zips were replaced with no. 3's, with zips added to the rear bib to allow access under the rear overhang for storing gear. The floor sidewalls were raised from 3" to 5" for better coverage. And clips were substited for the lower pole sleeves to make set up easier.

I was very pleased with the performance of the Thru-Hiker silnylon floor. It rained heavily for much of two weeks trekking in northern Colorado this summer, and the floor held up on several different surfaces, including rocky and gravelly. No damage to the floor was discernable, and no leakage. Also, it was much easier to roll up the floor cleanly, as it shrugged off all the stuff that sticks to PU coated nylon. Even pine pitch just wiped off.
While I had to dry off the fly almost every day, the floor remained quite dry, the material seeming quite hydrophobic.

The use of the silnylon floor reduced the total tent weight (including stakes, bags, lines etc.) to 2 lbs., 14 oz., or a drop of 1/2 lb. Still on the heavy side, but I wanted the space and the overhangs, around 50"W x 87"L x 42"H.

The silnylon fly did sag when wet:
In a well-ventilated dome shape with a netting inner, this was not a problem.

With the only partial coverage by the fly and the use of the carbon poles, this tent must be pitched in sheltered areas and is not intended for use in heavy winds. Since I prefer to camp below timberline, this also is not a problem.

I am sold on the use of Thru-Hiker's black silnylon for floors and will incorporate it into my next tent, lighter and more windworthy I hope.

Edited by scfhome on 08/25/2010 23:02:26 MDT.