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Tarptent and Groundsheets
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Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 15:31:46 MDT Print View

Hello. I purchased a Tarptent SS2 a couple of months ago. I purchased a Tyvek groundsheet at the same time, though Henry recommended against using a groundsheet.

I searched and found several posts here on BPL also suggesting that the groundsheet was unnecessary with Tarptents. I would love to hear the latest thinking on this topic. My rationale for using a groundsheet is to keep the tent floor in great condition and to keep the bottom of the tent cleaner (I live in a small apartment without ready access to proper equipment to wash and dry the tent adequately).

Thank you.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 15:35:57 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

I have an Ss1 and never bother with a groundsheet but its up to yourself.

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 15:59:10 MDT Print View

I have a TT Rainbow and a Tyvek groundsheet. The tent floor is plenty tough to go right on the ground, so I almost never use the groundsheet. I used to use it if I expected sloppy conditions, but have quit doing even that--the slop shakes/brushes right off once it dries. And since you have to lay the tent out and dry it after a sloppy trip anyway, the sheet seems more bother than benefit (it has to be dried/shaken, too). Henry's right.

Fred Eoff
(fredeoff) - F

Locale: Northwest
Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 17:03:13 MDT Print View

I have owned the Contrail, Moment (original) and the Notch which have been used almost exclusively in the Washington Cascades and Olympics. I have never felt the need for a groundsheet with any of them.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 19:10:36 MDT Print View

I use a groundsheet with my Six Moons Skyskape X. The bottom of the tent is more fragile and more expensive than a silnylon tent, so I feel it is worth it. One of the side benefits of using a groundsheet is that it makes setting up the tent much easier. I can lay out the ground sheet and see where things line up in terms of slope, wind, etc. My groundsheet is clear, so I can then pick out the pine cones, little rocks and other debris. But even with a Tyvek groundsheet, the ability to lay out your tent spot with a simple sheet (instead of a tent) is a really nice.

I also agree with the other benefit. When it comes time to move to the next spot, it is much easier to clean a groundsheet than it is a tent. Wiping it down is much easier and cleaning it at home is easier.

In general, depending on your situation, it is a luxury item, but one worth the weight (in my opinion).

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/28/2013 22:09:29 MDT Print View

I have had my Double Rainbow for 5 years, have never used a groundsheet, and have absolutely no damage to the floor in all that time, using reasonable care. Don't see a need for a groundsheet. I have washed it once or twice--in the bathtub.

Corbin Camp

Locale: Southeast
Polycro works great on 04/29/2013 10:55:39 MDT Print View

I have a double rainbow. While it's not necessary to use a ground sheet, I put a GG polycro sheet under mine. Not so much for the puncture resistance, but it keeps it cleaner. Having the sheet on the ground gives you a clean, dry place to roll my tent up without picking up a bunch of dirt and moisture.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Polycro works great on 04/29/2013 11:26:16 MDT Print View

I most always use some sort of gc for my tent and especially for my floorless Squall, just trying to prevent damage to the bottom, as you can't always find a object free spot to pitch. My old SD Half Moon is mostly relegated to car camping now, where I use the Tyvek gc, as weight is no concern for that style of camping. Also now with the expensive sleeping pads these days, a few oz. of extra protection is nice, althought the polycryo is a pain to dry if condensation collects on it.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Polycro works great on 04/29/2013 11:57:59 MDT Print View

Sean, I've never used a groundsheet with my Rainbow. Honestly, it is up to you if you want it or not.

The bottom gets a little dirty, but it hasn't bothered me any.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Thanks on 04/30/2013 10:08:39 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful feedback.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Tarptent and Groundsheets on 04/30/2013 16:24:54 MDT Print View

Yes it does keep your tent bottom cleaner. I’ve camped in places that stains your tent. And it’s easier to roll the tent up in the morning on the ground cloth. That way you can dry your ground cloth (from ground moisture) instead of drying a cumbersome tent. And it’s easier getting pine gum off the groundsheet than off the bottom of the tent. When you keep it looking nice, it sells better also.

But I don’t understand how people don’t use ground cloths with their TT. Several times I’ve had to camp on boggy ground and the water would soak through the silnylon floor at the exact spot where my polycro curled up (no protection). Thus the only way around this--- is camp on non-boggy ground and make sure it won’t rain for 8 hours in the night. For ref this has happened to me in my Rainshadow, Double Rainbow, GG Squall Classic, and Virga.


Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
boggy soil in Idaho? on 05/01/2013 15:36:23 MDT Print View

Barry, where did you find boggy soil in Idaho? And rain for 8 hours? I'm thinking not in Idaho. I don't use the tyvec ground cloth for my Sqaull 2, and I think I'll wear out the mesh or zippers before I get a hole in the floor. The places I go its pretty easy to avoid wet ground.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: boggy soil in Idaho? on 05/01/2013 15:56:49 MDT Print View

“Barry, where did you find boggy soil in Idaho?”

Right now- April & May, the East Idaho mountain soil is soaked. Even in August 2010 in the Sawtooths, it rained all night. Several tents leaked through the floor. That was a wet and cold month.

All over the Midwest, I’ve camped on soaked soil. Southern IL river to river trail is a bog.

My worst thunderstorms were in South Dakota. I was doing the Centennial Trail over 3 days. Each night it rained for 8 hours and dumped 4 inches each night. And thundered continuously… That was a wet year (I think it was Jul 2008). It was hard to keep stakes in the ground.

I use a hexamid now with polycro (for the last 2 years), but my tents are still being used by my family and cousins--- and they appreciate the ground cloth.

-The mountains and bogs were made for Tevas

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: boggy soil in Idaho? on 05/01/2013 16:03:05 MDT Print View

At the last time that I went through Stanley, Idaho, it was raining like there was no end. Even the wolverines were trying to pick up a hammer and nails to start building an ark. I couldn't find any dry ground, so I slept in the vehicle.