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Best Material for Groundsheet?
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Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
Best Material for Groundsheet? on 01/25/2007 08:42:42 MST Print View

I finished making a new silnylon tarp and am now wondering what to use as a groundsheet. I've heard of people using tyvek, silnylon, plastic, and even nothing at all.

I do want a groundsheet and am mainly concerned about keeping my sleeping bag from getting wet and dirty. What material would work best in terms of waterproofness and light weight? The issue of long-term durability is a concern but is third in the hierarchy of importance.

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
Groundsheet on 01/25/2007 09:40:56 MST Print View

I would say that your best bet for lightness as a #1 trait above longevity (I have heard of people using the same one for a PCT jaunt) is the Gossamer Gear Polycro groundsheet. The weigh next to nothing and seem to fold up to a large pack of batteries in size (make that AAA).


PS Get the medium size for the "extra" width.

Edited by rbrissey on 01/25/2007 09:41:48 MST.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Groundsheet on 01/25/2007 13:46:56 MST Print View

>Gossamer Gear Polycro groundsheet

Highly recommended.

Edited by Otter on 01/25/2007 13:48:36 MST.

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Groundsheet on 01/25/2007 14:48:47 MST Print View

Visqueen! The plastic sheeting of backpackers of the '70's ah!

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Groundsheet on 01/25/2007 16:10:13 MST Print View


That stuff's heavy, although it is quite sturdy. A Hefty contractor bag (about the same thickness and strength as Visqueen) with the sides slit open is the same size as a small Gossamer Gear Polycryo groundsheet. The weight is 5.1 oz (versus 1.3 oz). Tyvek weighs about the same as a contractor bag and is sturdier, although I'm not sure exactly how waterproof it is under duress.

Edited by Otter on 01/25/2007 16:10:57 MST.

Steve Smith
(bardsandwarriors) - F

Locale: Wales
Polythene on 01/25/2007 17:55:11 MST Print View

I use a polythene dust sheet, available from Wickes DIY at a few £'s for 14 square metres. It is transparent, fairly quiet, 20gsm; but quite slippery. I might try painting lines of seam sealer onto it to improve the grip. It won't last, but I have lots left over!

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Re: Groundsheet on 01/25/2007 18:56:11 MST Print View

Yes Douglas, it's a bit heavy due to it's thickness, if you can even still find it today. it was useful in the backpacking I did in the '70's.

Those new Hefty bags with the white plastic/reniforced seem like another good bag to try.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Best Material for Groundsheet? on 01/25/2007 20:31:54 MST Print View

Another vote for the Polycro groundsheet. I cut a piece that is big enough for my outline and put that under my Lunar Solo. I don't put any under the rest of the shelter since I am careful with where I pitch it and don't put weight on the rest of the tent floor. It works really well for me, and I can get a lot of use out of each piece that I cut down.

Stephen Eggleston
(happycamper) - F

Locale: South Bayish
Re: Best Material for Groundsheet? on 01/25/2007 21:45:53 MST Print View

I like the plastic painters covers available from the hardware store. I believe the material is polyethelene. I have been using the 1mm thickness but 2mm would be more durable. What I buy comes in a folded sheet of about 9 ft x 12 ft and costs a few bucks. I then just measure and cut the sheet to fit my needs. The current sheet I am using for my Tarptent Squall weighs about 2.5oz/73g. The 1mm thickness is easily punctured but it isn't really a problem for me although it might cause problems for someone on the trail for weeks.

Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
Groundsheet on 01/26/2007 05:56:43 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I'm leaning towards the polycro ones that Gossamer Gear sells. Since this will not be used under neath a tent floor but directly beneath me and my pad, I think I will prefer the durability of this one over simple painter's plastic.

Stephen Eggleston
(happycamper) - F

Locale: South Bayish
RE: Best Material for Groundsheet? on 01/26/2007 08:16:31 MST Print View

In case you misunderstood, I have floorless Tarptent and sleep directly ontop of the groundsheet (with a sleep pad of course.)

Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
Re: RE: Best Material for Groundsheet? on 01/27/2007 15:48:58 MST Print View

Ahh, I see...

Clay Moore
(cwm_nm) - F

Locale: On the Rio Grande
Re: Best Material for Groundsheet? on 03/17/2007 18:23:19 MDT Print View

I second the 1 mil painter's plastic. I've been using these, both under my Stephensons tent, who first recommended it for over 20 years, also when I hike solo under my pad. In my town a 9x12 sheet cost $1, and makes 4 solo sheets or two tent size, but I cut these to the exact shape of the tent (a 2RS) footprint. they are more durable than you think because of their flexible nature, and an excellent vapor and dirt barrier. I need to weigh a 3x9 piece. I know its lighter than everything I've checked, but have not ever seen a Gossamer poly sheet in person. Cant get much cheaper than 25 cents for a very good ground cloth, for the super econo minded, any puncture, could be repaired with a tiny piece of scotch tape. I have never had a puncture, with a small amount of ground prep. I just 'walk' the area I plan to sleep or put the tent on my hands and knee's removing any thing that feels sharp. they make one that has an embossed texture pattern on it, so its not even slippery., at least nothing like sil nylon, and a better vapor barrier too. If wet or dirty in the morning, they dry very fast in a few minutes of sun/wind.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Ground Cloth on 03/17/2007 22:44:49 MDT Print View

I like Tyvek. It's a bit heavier than 1 mil plastic, but it's incredibly durable and has many other uses.

Thomas Roberts
(tr) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ground Cloth on 03/18/2007 08:04:24 MDT Print View

I too use the 1 mil plastic under my tents. I have been using it for a long time with no failure that could not be fixed by a small peice of duct tape. But I am always keeping an open mind for new ways and ideas for lightweight backpacking.

Richard Stein
(buckaroobanzai) - F
Re: Ground Cloth on 03/19/2007 14:36:33 MDT Print View

What are the alternate uses for a Tyvek groundsheet?

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Alternate Tyvek uses on 03/19/2007 19:19:55 MDT Print View

If you shake it vigorously you can scare off most any wild animal.

gay culbertson
(gculbertson) - F
re: alternate uses of Tyvek on 05/04/2007 14:37:01 MDT Print View

Use it as a poncho or a tarp. When not hiking, use it to lay on when changing oil in your vehicle.

Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
Re: re: alternate uses of Tyvek on 05/07/2007 23:37:29 MDT Print View

I have to agree on the 1mil plastic. I had a large roll left from a previous project and thought to give it a try. I have been amazed by it's strength. As others have reported it is tough, and I am pretty lazy with site prep, just getting the big stuff out of the way!

Ben Strickland
(ben_strickland) - F

Locale: Georgia
2 person space blanket on 05/08/2007 21:35:11 MDT Print View

I really like the 2 person space blankets you can buy from this site made by Adventure Medical I believe. Big enough for 2 people, roomy for one. Quite durable and light, waterproof. And it conveniently doubles as a space blanket ( reflective vapor barrier)! I've used one under a tarp or under the stars for probably 30 or so nights on the trail, and it's still going strong.

Edited by ben_strickland on 05/08/2007 21:36:21 MDT.