What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use?
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Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 14:43:33 MDT Print View

I was looking for a lighter and/or stronger footprint to use beside the Seedhouse sl2 footprint?

Suggestions welcomed. Thank you.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
footprint on 04/24/2011 14:49:20 MDT Print View

Tyvek or Polycryo (window shrink)...you pick

Common household construction Tyvek- more durable, greater puncture resistance, loud crinkly noise (at first, but goes away with use), heavier, less water resistance- you can buy anywhere (zpacks, tarptent etc etc)

Polycro- Cheaper, Thinner, lighter, quieter, harder to handle, less durable, less puncture resistance, will shrink if exposed to sun for extended periods, more water proof. Can buy on amazon for cheap, but also sold by gossamergear, and maybe MLD.

http://www.amazon.com/Duck-Brand-1299529-5-Window--210-Inch/dp/B000NHY1P0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303677994&sr=8-1

I've never used the soft structured tyvek before (14XX series)- its a bit more expensive, but lighter than common house hold tyvek. Same issues with weaker water resistance though

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/24/2011 14:57:23 MDT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
I make footprints on 04/24/2011 14:50:52 MDT Print View

Polycro works great....very light weight. Use them with other tents. These come in different sizes.
http://gossamergear.com/shelters/shelter-accessories/polycryo-ground-cloth-medium.html

If you want it to fit "perfectly", just place tent on top of ground sheet, draw pattern on ground sheet, and cut to fit.

FYI - Polycro is very sticky at first - has the tendency to stick to itself very similar to clingwrap. Doesn't take more than a couple of days of use to fix this - it just goes away. Sheets last a pretty long time, are cheap, and provide decent protection. However, it's not as thick (and less protective) than other solutions. So you still need to pick a spot without a ton of sharp rocks or move those rocks aside.

Finally, I alway put a piece of tape with UP written on it so I always point the same side to the ground.

Dirk

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 15:07:38 MDT Print View

IMHO, the whole tent footprint thing is a ripoff perpetuated by store clerks trying to sell you unnecessary stuff.

I haven't used a ground cloth under my tent in the past 10 years, have never missed it, have never had a hole and have never had moisture problems (just make sure your tent site won't become a puddle or worse when it rains). You always want to remove sticks, stones, pine cones and other sharp items from your tent site anyway. The one time I did have a hole in the floor (about 40 years ago) was when I set up the tent in too much of a hurry and didn't notice a mouse hole under the floor!

The one time you do need a ground cloth is for a tarp or floorless tent. As mentioned in the other posts, polycro plastic is the lightest and most durable. It's the same plastic used in shrink-to-fit plastic storm window kits. Or you use a piece of thin painter's drop cloth, but expect to replace it for each trip. Trim it to the same shape as your tent floor but about 2" shorter each side, so it won't funnel the drips from your tent under the floor.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/24/2011 15:09:27 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 15:34:53 MDT Print View

> the whole tent footprint thing is a ripoff perpetuated by store clerks trying to sell you
> unnecessary stuff.

Well, it IS how they make their living, after all.

Cheers

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
Thanks. on 04/24/2011 16:13:59 MDT Print View

Thanks guys for all the help. I have been lurking and reading for a while so this is my first thread/post because I wanted to do something different and not have to spend so much money for something that appeared to be pointless in that manner.

Somebody told me painters tarps work too.

Using this suggestions as footprints..., all you really do than is just lay down the material and put tent on it? No staking or weighing it down or attaching it to tent?

Thanks!

Dale South
(dsouth) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 16:24:13 MDT Print View

"IMHO, the whole tent footprint thing is a ripoff perpetuated by store clerks trying to sell you unnecessary stuff.

Agreed. From the Henry Shires we site:

It depends on the conditions you expect to encounter and your style of camping. The sewn-in flooring is remarkably tough and does not usually require a separate groundsheet. We just never see floors come back for repair. Tyvek groundsheets are very tough and great for sleeping out or taking a break but generally heavier than you need just for floor protection. For use on very rocky ground and desert conditions where puncture wounds are possible, a light--2 mil plastic is fine--floor protector will do the job.

Edited by dsouth on 04/24/2011 16:25:33 MDT.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re: footprint substitutes on 04/24/2011 21:22:17 MDT Print View

Right, Justin, the weight of your tent/sleeping mat, etc, will keep down the ground cloth. The plastic painter's "drop cloths" work fine; I used to get a 2mil 20'x10' for a few bucks and cut several to fit. Now I'm using the polycryo, as also mentioned above. Both work well. Site selection is always important, of course.

When you measure and cut your own ground cloths, be sure the edges don't extend beyond the shelter's protection - or at least fold/roll the edges under when it rains, of course.

Edited by AaronMB on 04/24/2011 21:26:24 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 21:46:41 MDT Print View

The first time I was putting up my Lunar Solo, I was smoothing out my tyvek ground sheet, and got a big handful of thorns that poked thru it. So I'd have to say that where I live, you'll have a ton of holes in your tent floor without a groundsheet.

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Re: What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/24/2011 23:39:46 MDT Print View

Some tents can be set up with just the fly and footprint. The advantage being that you can get it up fast when it's raining and your inner tent can then be put up dry. We have a Mutha Hubba (yeah, it's big, but it's our luxury), and it never seems to fail to rain when we are out. This way we can erect and take down the tent while under the safety of our fly, keeping our gear, the tent, and us dry.

You can't do this with a tyvek or polycro footprint. We've considered going to tyvek but it's just not worth it for the way we hike and the conditions we hike in. YMMV.

Tyvek is bulky and fairly heavy. We used it for "sitting sheets" on our last trip and they're kind of a pain in the neck.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
My substitute is nothing on 04/25/2011 05:59:44 MDT Print View

One of the principles of lightweight backpacking is leaving home items you don't really need. I never use a footprint. I have hiked thousands of miles with neither a floor nor a footprint, just a pad between me and the ground.

I don't care if I get abrasion or dirt or tiny holes in the floor of a floored shelter I'm using. I never rely on the floor to keep standing water out of my shelter, for that I rely on site selection.

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
curious. on 04/26/2011 01:16:42 MDT Print View

great points guys. thanks.

what are your thoughts about cuben material or tyvek material. This is by zpacks i believe.

thanks.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
ground sheets on 04/26/2011 17:01:15 MDT Print View

A ground sheet is also a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from the ground from entering your tent. Not just liquid water, the absorbed moisture in the warm soil will vaporize and diffuse thru the tent bottom fabric, then condense inside the tent at night.

The drier the area you camp, the less problem it is.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: What is a sufficient footprint substitute you use? on 04/26/2011 18:04:03 MDT Print View

"The first time I was putting up my Lunar Solo, I was smoothing out my tyvek ground sheet, and got a big handful of thorns that poked thru it. So I'd have to say that where I live, you'll have a ton of holes in your tent floor without a groundsheet."

Hmmm..that seems to be more a statement about site selection than the requirement for a ground sheet.

Edited by randalmartin on 04/26/2011 18:05:02 MDT.

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
poly/ty? on 04/27/2011 01:28:15 MDT Print View

I think I am going to try the polycro now I guess since it is cheap and light weight.

I was looking into the cuben from zpacks but the dimensions I need is about 65 bucks.

For now that strength seems to be decent with poly and so much lighter I am going to give it a shot.

However,

Is the polycro better in strength & durability than the painters plastic?

Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
another option on 04/27/2011 11:06:43 MDT Print View

another option for you would be a disposable table cloth that parents put on tables when you have a party at a park they are u.l. and work great.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
re: footprint substitutes on 04/27/2011 11:51:03 MDT Print View

""Is the polycro better in strength & durability than the painters plastic?""

My limited experience with each--the polycryo window treatment and painter's plastic--is that the plycryo 'seems' (rubbing between my fingers) almost like 2mil plastic, but a little tougher. I haven't had my polycryo on rough terrain yet but I'll be taking it the over the 2mil painter's plastic. Long-term durability will show if the poly's cost is worth it (for me $8 for two good cut-to-fit ground cloths, versus $3 for 20'x10' of 2mil painter's plastic from which I can cut several pieces); forum posts suggest that the polycryo will hold up better than the plastic. Of course, a little care needs to be taken either way.

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
polyethylene? on 05/12/2011 23:41:59 MDT Print View

Has anybody used Polyethylene? Maybe compared to polycro?

thanks. I found it sold by poly america as plastic sheet for painting and other stuff. 2 mil thick.

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
Heavier. on 05/13/2011 00:07:22 MDT Print View

I believe polyethylene is heavier than poly cro.

Polyethylent seems to be 4.32 grams per sq ft and polycro seems to be 1.60 grams per sq foot.

sound right?

The cool things is that a seedhouse foot print is 50 bucks and weighs 8oz.

Husky plastic drop cloth is 3 bucks and weighs 7.40 oz. 2mil thick.

this is based on 48 sq ft too. 6x8

Edited by 5150Bronco on 05/13/2011 00:30:48 MDT.

James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
ground cloth size... on 05/13/2011 00:24:34 MDT Print View

I save weight on the ground cloth by limiting the size to the approximate area of my prone body. In other words parts of the floor that are subjected to the most pressure from kneeling, sitting, lying down. This is about 20 inches by 72 inches for me. Total of 10 sq feet or 1.11 yds. For the peace of mind 1 extra ounce of durability and dirt protection is worth it to me. Look at 2.4 oz urethane nylon material.