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tyvek vs polycro as ground cloth for rocky Sierra camp site.
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Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
tyvek vs polycro as footprint/ground cloth for rocky Sierra camp site. on 07/31/2012 23:49:40 MDT Print View


I'm going to the Emigrant Wilderness this weekend, and I was thinking about switching out my tyvek homewrap footprint 5.1oz for a polycro footprint 1.3oz made out of duck brand window insulation. While I'm motivated by the substantial weight advantage of the polycro, I'd be very bummed out if the very rocky campsites we're likely to encounter would lead to a hole in the floor of my tent.

I've used the tyvek in the past, and there have been no problems. What do you guys think? Is it safe to switch to the polycro?



Edited by rhz10 on 07/31/2012 23:50:22 MDT.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tyvek vs polycro on 08/01/2012 00:09:25 MDT Print View

Hi Rafi, I exclusively use "polycro" now after lugging around a heavy piece of Tyvek for a long time and have spent many nights on it in Emigrant. While the Tyvek is definitely more durable and puncture resistant, I have had zero problems with anything being damaged over the polycro. I sleep with my NeoAir on it, have put tents over it, etc. and while I have torn the polycro from abusing it I have never had anything on top of it get damaged. However, I am careful to pick up most of the pine cones and sharp rocks on the campsite before I put down my groundcloth.

If you are worried about it I would recommend getting some of the 2mil thick stuff instead of the 0.7 mil that Gossamer Gear sells. You can get it at any hardware store (look for painter's drop cloths) and the 2mil is much stronger and more durable. I often use the 2mil stuff even though it is heavier since I feel bad throwing away a piece of 0.7 after every third or fourth trip.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/01/2012 00:10:06 MDT Print View

Im debating the the two also, in b4 replies...

Edit: Andrew what is the weight and packability diffrences between 2m and .7m polycro?

Edited by M.L on 08/01/2012 00:11:50 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: . on 08/01/2012 00:24:08 MDT Print View

Polycro can easily roll or stuff into your pocket. Other than saran wrap, I haven't found anything that stuffs as well. It's the main reason I prefer window film.

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
2mil vs .7 mil on 08/01/2012 00:28:13 MDT Print View

Hey Andrew,

Thanks for your response. I'm wondering if the 2mil would wind up weighing nearly as much as the tyvek. What do you think?

thanks again


Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: 2mil vs .7 mil on 08/01/2012 09:20:42 MDT Print View

Not sure who mentioned 2mil, but I question whether that's even the same material. Especially since I think they said they found it in the paint department. The plastic films sold as floor/furniture covering in the paint department are _not_ polycryo.

The stuff sold by Gossamer Gear is polycryo, same as window insulation film, and it's plenty strong, much stronger than any grade of plastic film you'd find in a Home Depot paint department.

Edited by hes on 08/01/2012 09:23:01 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
The lightest footprint of all on 08/01/2012 09:39:05 MDT Print View

I have the lightest footprint of all. Its called the Nada. The tyvek footprint for my Tarptent Squall 2 was close to 1 pound, so I started not taking any foot print at all, and it has worked fine the last several years. I don't wear out tents by wearing holes in the floor, I wear them out by the zippers failing, or the sylnylon getting old and cracking. My Squall 2 has a floor, so I don't think any sticks or rocks could poke through to puncture my sleeping pad, so I can't think of a reason to use a foot print.

Is there a reason to use a footprint?

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: The lightest footprint of all on 08/01/2012 10:01:06 MDT Print View

Bob, I think the discussion is more for people that use Tarps where there is no floor and therefore a ground cloth/sheet can be useful vs nothing. Agreed for Tents with a floor there is no need.

Steve C

Locale: sierra nevada
painters drop clothes on 08/01/2012 10:12:26 MDT Print View

I have never seen a painters drop cloth made of polycro, and I have done a lot of painting. I have used both materials (tyvek and polycro) as a ground cloth in the sierra. The tyvek is tougher and will hold up longer if you really are limited to only "rocky" sites. If you are careful both work well and are cheap enough to experiment with and see which is your personal preference.


Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: tyvek vs polycro as footprint/ground cloth for rocky Sierra camp site. on 08/01/2012 18:18:27 MDT Print View

What is the weight and packability diffrences between 2m and .7m polycro?

34 x 80" polycryo (1-1/4 oz) vs. 34" x 80" 2 mil plastic (3 oz):
polycryo vs 2 mil

Polycryo definately packs smaller. I put pink tape on one side so I know which side is up and which is the 'dirty' side.

I agree that you don't need a footprint for your tent if you prep your site carefully. However, if there is a chance that you'll cowboy camp you'll want something under you. Polycryo will be fine, particularly for a weekend trip.

Edited by Lancem on 08/01/2012 18:22:06 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/01/2012 19:12:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info, it looks like the polycro is half the weight about. And if its stronger than "plastic" then I think its good insurance to take as a ground cover. Keeps the bottom of your tent from wearing out and getting water - prone.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Polycro vs Tyvek on 08/03/2012 10:56:09 MDT Print View

I prefer Tyvek hands down.. While Polycro is lighter in weight, it doesn't last and is annoying to use. Just my 2 cents.

David Miles
(davidmiles) - F

Locale: Eastern Sierra
Polycro vs Tyvek on 08/07/2012 01:56:59 MDT Print View

I love how durable the Tyvek is. It would be annoying to have to cut a new ground cloth every few trips. My rescue pack stays packed and ready.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Polycro on 08/07/2012 13:16:59 MDT Print View

When I hiked the PCT, I used a single sheet of polycro from the Mexican border to the Washington Border; this includes the length of the Sierra Neveda. It had 3 small pieces of duct tape over small holes(mostly from SoCal's deserts) when I decided to swap it out in Washington, only for the reason of having just received a brand new sheet in a supply box and not because I felt the need to.

Edited by Miner on 08/07/2012 13:18:15 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
visqueen again on 08/07/2012 15:52:42 MDT Print View

Well, I keep and use gear for a long time and have no interest in a threadbare tent floor. After a series of visqueen and now a Tyvek footprint for my gen 1 Bibler, its floor is still watertight.

Unfortunately, I can neither see my way to paying for the heavy and overpriced footprints for my newer Copper Spurs, nor find Tyvek or Polycro locally w/o buying a very large roll. 2 mil painters plastic it is.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
Tyvek on 08/07/2012 22:07:38 MDT Print View

For a single trip, I doubt it matters. My 2 cents, I love my tyvek. Not only is it bombproof, it doesn't make crinkly candy wrapper sounds when the wind whips it around.

Ryan Dorn
Poly on 08/07/2012 23:14:59 MDT Print View

Poly all the way.

It's light, cheap, extremely packable and if used smartly can last quite a while. There are anoyances with it, but the weight savings pretty much make me overlook them since it does the same job as a Tyvek cloth.

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
results on 08/07/2012 23:34:43 MDT Print View

well, in the end, I went with polycro made out of a duck brand window insulation kit. That, combined with a little extra effort in clearing away sticks and stones, worked very well (at least for a three night trip) and enabled me to save around three ounces!