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poncho/ground cover
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Richard Stein
(buckaroobanzai) - F
poncho/ground cover on 01/24/2007 23:03:31 MST Print View

I'm considering moving from a single wall tent to a tarp shelter and considering a multi-use ground cover. Are there UL ponchos that will stand up to use as a ground cover or will I just turn an expensive item into a shredded painters tarp? I don't want to rely on my shelter to act as a poncho.

(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: poncho/ground cover on 01/25/2007 01:10:00 MST Print View

Richard, try a Golite Poncho Tarp, $45 and is very heavy duty silnylon for under 11 oz. Don't use any spinnaker or cuben fiber, they are both too thin and neither are very abrassion resistant (you can also poke holes in them very easily).

If you don't mind me asking, what is you setup going to be?
Poncho tarp as ground cover, Tarp for overhead protection, and....?

Richard Stein
(buckaroobanzai) - F
Re: Re: poncho/ground cover on 01/26/2007 17:27:24 MST Print View


Thanks for the warnings on spinnaker and cuben. I was worried these super-ultralight fabrics would not hold up to my intended use.

I'm considering the new Six Moons Design Wild Oasis. It is a tarp shelter with full bug protection at 16oz. I won't be on the trail until summer, so I am waiting for reviews before buying.

I want to be able to use a poncho without taking down my entire shelter. I have materials for a MYOG cheerstix-based sleeping pad similar to Bill Fornshell's but longer and using some (already on hand) 1.8oz/yd ripstop nylon. A 5ft version should be 10oz for when I don't need the insulation value of my BigAgnes mummy pad at 20oz. If I were counting grams, I might try to attach fabric to hold the cheerstixs in place on the inside of the Golite Poncho Tarp you suggested, though I'm not sure how I would attach the material.

(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: Re: Re: poncho/ground cover on 01/27/2007 03:55:34 MST Print View

Richard, not sure how much of a ounce/gram counter you are but here's another option...

Spinnaker or cuben poncho tarp and poly ground cloth. A poncho tarp made with these light weight materials will weigh less than 5 oz. and a polycro ground cloth from Gossamer Gear (32"x96") will weigh just over 1 oz. That's almost half the weight of a Golite. Also the polycro ground cloth can be replaced as needed. It's also cheap ($6.00 for two).

I'm a big believer in poncho tarps even if you don't use them as shelters. They provide excellent protection for you and your pack while your hiking, and if something happens to your primary shelter you have a back-up.

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
why not a separate poncho and ground sheet? on 01/27/2007 14:02:02 MST Print View

My large-sized poncho, 100" by 60" ( of 1.4oz silnylon weighs about 7.7 oz and a 36" x 84" ground sheet would weigh about 3.3 oz, for a total of 11 oz for both items. Why would you want to try combining these two items? Even a heavy silnylon groundsheet is eventually going to get pinprick holes. Do you really want to have to hassle with a leaky poncho just to save a few ounces? If the poncho is a separate item, you can sew up the sides (leaving holes for the arms), thus eliminating the problem of wind-blown rain blowing in the sides. Whereas, if the poncho is also your groundsheet, then you have to use some sort of attachment on the sides. Snap and zipper closures add weight while velcro picks up crud outdoors.

Richard Stein
(buckaroobanzai) - F
Re: why not a separate poncho and ground sheet? on 01/28/2007 22:48:48 MST Print View

After my original post, I saw the incredibly light and cheap Gossamer Gear groundsheet for the first time. I would have to agree now that combining a poncho and ground sheet does not make sense with these kinds of materials. I'm pretty sure I'm putting in an order for some GG groundsheets and settle on a poncho later.

Are cuben ponchos commercially available, or is it a MYOG thing?

Thanks all for the advice.

Edited by buckaroobanzai on 01/28/2007 22:50:13 MST.

(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: Re: why not a separate poncho and ground sheet? on 01/29/2007 01:26:36 MST Print View

The rumor that I hear is that Ron Bell (of Mountain Laurel Designs) is going to be offering one. Currently he is not open for business but will re-open in February. His web site is under consruction to unveil his new products. If the rumors are true, I will be hitting him up for one. IMO he has the best design for a hood on a poncho tarp (I can hardly wait).

Michael Mangold
(mkmangold) - F
Poncho/Groundsheet/firestarter on 03/20/2007 18:59:57 MDT Print View

Here's something I read about and would appreciate some feedback. In a "country living" magazine, a guy wrote that he makes his own groundsheet/tarp by dipping a cotton sheet into a mixture of melted beeswax and paraffin (50/50). Not only does this provide inexpensive waterproofing, but he also tears off small pieces as needed for firestarter! Almost like the category of edible clothing.
So, my questions are: is it worth it? Does it weigh too much? Has anyone out there tried this yet?
Lastly, I ran across a picnic table cloth that appeared to be wax-coated cotton. There was no tag so I don't know if this could be a labor-saving answer to the above. Any help? Thanks.

William Wright
Re: Poncho/Groundsheet/firestarter on 03/21/2007 10:45:11 MDT Print View


I have no desire to sleep under or on a man-sized fire starter, especially with an open fire around. I'm guessing that a wax-impregnated cotton sheet will weigh quite a bit more than an equivalently sized sheet of silnylon. And, it's hard to go wrong by keeping the following in mind: Cotton is rotten.


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
coated nylon on 03/30/2007 19:59:06 MDT Print View

Just use a piece of coated nylon cut to be just slightly larger than your sleeping bag. No need to fill up the entire space under the tarp with a ground cover. The ground cover is nice to have to keep your bag dry if the ground is already wet. Also, if rain water does get in under the fly and lands on a full size ground cover, puddles will form or the water might run toward your bag. Bare ground, howevr, will tend to soak up the water before it gets too far in. The small piece of nylon goes into the bottom of my pack, adding a layer of waterproofing, and padding.

Bernie Bower
(Bernie) - F

Locale: Southern Indiana
space blanket ground cloth on 03/31/2007 20:31:44 MDT Print View

For next to no weight i carry a space blacket sleeping bag cut open except for the last 2 feet. this gives me something like a bivy if it starts to rain and water is slashing in the bottom of my tarp. i also see as a back up sytem to keep me warm if every thing else is wet. it has lasted seval 4 day trips and i dont plan to replace it soon. but with camping 8 nites a year and planning the other 357 big deal if i need to spend some time taping up holes or making a new one.