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Use of groundsheet in torrential rain!
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Laurence Elliott
(ponderingloz) - F
Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/14/2007 03:49:41 MDT Print View

Im going to be going on a backpacking trip to the pyrenees in future and will be taking my hilleberg akto (if the storms are anywhere near as bad as what i've heard then i'd appreciate the full protection!)

I was considering simply not using the inner and using a groundsheet instead. Bugs are not an issue, and if they were can be sorted with my a16 bug bivy. Condensation I can deal with. The only issue I can think of is running water during torrential rain going over the groundsheet and immersing me and my down sleeping bag!

What do you guys do in this situ? Or are groundsheets for less rainy conditions? Would a bivy give a more bathtub effect?

Much thanks

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/14/2007 10:44:44 MDT Print View

To me, site selection seems to be more important than the groundsheet.

You can avoid much of the runoff / standing water in a heavy rain by being in a locally high spot with a slight crowning (creating the crowning is easy by moving a little dirt around).

The ground sheet also provides a physical, durable barrier to rocks, sticks or other bumps that might otherwise compromise the integrity of the floor.

Have fun,

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/14/2007 12:23:16 MDT Print View

Use your shoes as props to lift the edge of the groundsheet up on the high side so that the water will flow underneath the groundcloth.

Paul Gilbert
( - F
Beware - you may not get to choose the perfect site! on 04/14/2007 13:47:23 MDT Print View

No transatlantic slur intended ;-), but I we often hear advice along the lines of 'if you select your site right and scrape a trench, you will not have a problem', which might be OK in many areas of North America, but is not always practical in the very mixed conditions that we get in Europe.

In many areas, our backpacking is through high mountain country with little shelter and rocky ground interspersed (certainly in the UK!) with sodden moss - your chances of arrnging an artificial crown are zero.

I have often recalled Ray Jardine's advice to find a bed of dry 'duff' with a wry smile, as the water sluices under the bathtub groundsheet!

I have not been to the Pyrenees myself, but I have read plenty of accounts and seen lots of photos. Given the outcropping terrain and the possibility of flash flooding, I would advise that you take some system (tent inner, bivy or improvised bathtub groundsheet) that will withstand a certain amount of water running right under your carefully pitched shelter!



Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Beware - you may not get to choose the perfect site! on 04/14/2007 14:15:30 MDT Print View

Not a problem, it is still likely you have choices, even in crowded areas.... Even high crowned rocks would be better than low-in-the-bottom-of-the-valley rocks <(;->)


(Someone who digressed from the teaching that camping was staying at the Holiday Inn instead of the Marriott;)

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Beware - you may not get to choose the perfect site! on 04/14/2007 14:20:49 MDT Print View

Also, please don't dig trenches or build up minature berms; they will take months to heal. You should be able to cope without modifying Mother Nature, otherwise others will have to deal with the nonpristine condition you left the campsite in.

s k
(skots) - F
Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/14/2007 20:25:25 MDT Print View


I'm not sure how the Akto inner attaches to its fly sheet, but could the lower tier of those tie points be used to lift part of, or the full perimeter of a groundsheet?

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
how to make your own bathtub floor on 04/14/2007 21:57:49 MDT Print View

The Gossamer Gear website contains instructions for how to make your own bathtub floor. The instructions were devised by someone in the UK. Here are the links.

Picture of floor

Closeup of corner of floor

Instructions for making the floor (pdf)

Edited by chris_jackson on 04/14/2007 21:59:33 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/15/2007 02:04:36 MDT Print View

My wife and I spent 6 weeks traversing most of the French side of the Pyrenees on the GR10 in 2002, and 8 weeks in 2004 doing the Spanish side on the GR11, plus the bit of the GR10 we hadn't completed. (More to come this year.)

Can't say we ever had any serious rain in all that time. Little showers and some fog on the French side, sure, but the Spanish side was ... hot and dry. This is normal. Bugs - few, very few.

Modifying the tent site is a NO-NO. A simple bathtub floor will be quite adequate. But watch out for condensation if you close the tent up! It WILL happen. The Atko will certainly cope.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/15/2007 06:12:39 MDT Print View

It's in French, but these guys spend a lot of time in the Pyrenees and have quite a few photos of ultralight setups that they use. I hope you can navigate the site. Some really great UL stuff.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/15/2007 07:18:00 MDT Print View

Roman Dial explains his method when the ground is wet in a post somewhere here or over at the arctic1000 site.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Use of groundsheet in torrential rain! on 04/17/2007 13:17:03 MDT Print View

I've had two two week hikes and a week of cycle-touring in the Pyrenees. Storms seen: two -ish. The first featured lots of rain and not much wind. The second was so windy that I had to walk off the mountain in the dark, because my TNF Tadpole was not happy after the wind did a 180, but little rain fell. An Akto in a well-chosen pitch is going to cope, without too much trouble. Unless you've worn out the original, inner groundsheet. Water between a footprint and a healthy groundsheet is not going to be a problem in the Akto. Been there and done that.

I totally agree with the negative comments about drainage ditches. They last a very long time. However, hypocrite that I am, given the state of my Tadpole's groundsheet, I exploited drainage ditches dug by previous campers during the stair-rods storm mentioned above. And they did a great job.

You probably ought to try out one of the big huts in the Pyrenees, just for the experience, and a stormy night could be a good excuse.

Laurence Elliott
(ponderingloz) - F
Conclusion on 04/20/2007 09:13:21 MDT Print View

Thanks. I think its wise to be cautious and take the inner tent. The thought of a totally soaked down bag is too horrible to bear!

Another interesting thread