BWCA Ground cloth material, options? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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HowardSprague
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08/13/2022 08:37AM  
I recently threw away a damaged popup shelter (left it up and had windy storm at night) and thought I'd salvage the canopy part, cut to use as a ground cloth. Would have worked effectively, but it was just too massive and I threw it away. Bought some 4mm plastic sheeting and cut that to size. Looking back on this week's trip, that too is just too cumbersome. A 7' x 7' (approx) is just too bulky for my liking.
Better options?

I know about Tyvek, but I'm not going to find a 7'x7-1/2' piece. I guess there's always the option of buying a designated ground cloth from ALPS (I have the Koda3). I imagine 2mm plastic sheeting might be too flimsy/susceptible to tearing.
 
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08/13/2022 09:04AM  
If you Google "tyvek by the foot" you'll find lots of options, typically cut from a 7' width which is fine for most tents.

TZ
 
08/13/2022 10:56AM  
I'm a fan of Tyvek footprint/ground cloth/innie/outie. Cheap easy to work with, only need scissors and tape. 8 pack DuPont Tyvek Anchor Tent & Tarp Tie-Off Loops Tape gromets also on Ebay.
Know anyone in construction of home building? Free cutoffs are easy to find, even kits are inexpensive.
Don't like the crinkly sound? Wash in cold water a few times no soap.


butthead
 
HowardSprague
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08/13/2022 06:59PM  
TrailZen: "If you Google "tyvek by the foot" you'll find lots of options, typically cut from a 7' width which is fine for most tents.


TZ"


Perfect, found it -- thanks!
 
rick00001967
member (28)member
 
08/14/2022 12:00PM  
i have never heard about using tyvek for a ground sheet. i know it is "breathable" but
i assume it still holds water if / when it rains. for those of you that use it, are you not concerned at all that if the ground sheet holds water, that your tent floor is now sitting in standing water?
it may sound odd but i use an old shower curtain we were throwing out. not a plastic one. more like a thin cloth curtain. not the lightest thing to use but it is strong so it won't likely puncture, and it allows any standing water to drain through it.
it was no extra cost and it seems to work great. not for an ultralite packer though.
 
08/14/2022 06:01PM  
Never a problem if trimmed to fit. Most all maker supplied ground cloth/footprints are waterproof to a large extent.

butthead
 
schweady
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08/15/2022 09:36AM  
Ground cloths under the tent floor (or "outies") are mainly for protection of the floor material from abrasion. I can see Tyvek as a nice, lightweight choice. An oversized plastic sheet (4 mil, maybe) placed inside the tent (an "innie") is ideal for protection against water that will inevitably seep inside.
 
HowardSprague
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08/15/2022 12:07PM  
I found the 4mil to just be too bulky in the pack.
And water seeping inside with a properly placed "outtie" is in no way inevitable.
 
SouthernKevlar
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08/15/2022 10:56PM  
HowardSprague: "I found the 4mil to just be too bulky in the pack.
And water seeping inside with a properly placed "outtie" is in no way inevitable."


I got a new ultralight (3.2 lb.) Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 tent for my June Adirondack trip. I did not spring for the high dollar ground cloth, but bought a roll of 2 mil drop cloth at the hardware store for around $6. I think it was 9x12 and there was enough for 2 ground cloths and a bit left over. I used it for several rainy nights without issue. 2 mil works for me and it is light.
 
Breezybass
member (9)member
 
08/29/2022 09:42PM  
i recently was in a a rain storm water did get in between the footprint and the tent creating a wet spot inside the tent . am I better off with a innie or is there a good way to prevent the water from getting in between
 
rick00001967
member (28)member
 
08/30/2022 06:58AM  
Breezybass: " i recently was in a a rain storm water did get in between the footprint and the tent creating a wet spot inside the tent . am I better off with a innie or is there a good way to prevent the water from getting in between "

this was a concern for me as well eventhough my tent has never leaked (yet). that is why i chose to use an old cloth shower curtain. it was just the right size, is strong enough to add damage protection for the tent floor, but will not hold any water as it is not a plastic material. the water will seep through it. it is not the lightest option but so far seem to work well. and it was F.r.e.e. lol
 
Banksiana
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08/30/2022 10:10AM  
Breezybass: " i recently was in a a rain storm water did get in between the footprint and the tent creating a wet spot inside the tent . am I better off with a innie or is there a good way to prevent the water from getting in between "

Depends a bit on the design of the tent, but in general make certain that the ground cloth does not extend beyond the tent bottom (rain landing on the ground cloth can then pool under the tent). In general high quality tents will offer near complete rain fly coverage over the body of the tent. Some tents offer only partial rain fly coverage and then use water proof fabric on the tent body in the uncovered areas, rain hitting these uncovered areas will drip down the tent wall and pool in your cloth beneath the tent floor. In these tents best to either add an innie or use a porous outie or both.

One option for materials is a Cheap footprint from Amazon. Not as light or perfect fitting as a manufacturers cloth, but very strong and durable.
 
Blackdogyak
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08/30/2022 02:33PM  
I have been using the SAME 6 mil poly sheeting once the 1980s! It's still fine!
Also...REI has a bunch of different footprints on sale at super low prices in the Labor Day sale now.
 
08/31/2022 08:09PM  
rick00001967: "i have never heard about using tyvek for a ground sheet. i know it is "breathable" but
i assume it still holds water if / when it rains. for those of you that use it, are you not concerned at all that if the ground sheet holds water, that your tent floor is now sitting in standing water?
it may sound odd but i use an old shower curtain we were throwing out. not a plastic one. more like a thin cloth curtain. not the lightest thing to use but it is strong so it won't likely puncture, and it allows any standing water to drain through it.
it was no extra cost and it seems to work great. not for an ultralite packer though."
Tyvek is a very common ground cloth . You don't allow your ground cloth to extend past your tent floor to avoid water pooling between your ground cover and tent floor.
 
08/31/2022 10:13PM  
Also critical to not getting water through the bottom of your tent is to make sure you're not pitched in a depression. Even if rain isn't falling on your footprint, flow over the ground surface and puddling can quickly get your tent wet. The well defined tent pads at many BWCA camp sites often have this problem.

As for other footprint materials, if you want to go ultralight you can get the plastic window film (often called polycro). Just enough durability to give you a little piece of mind about your tent bottom.
 
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