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  1. #1
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    Groundsheets and guy lines - Help!

    I'm preparing to tour Ireland and the UK, wild camping whereever possible. I'm totally green when it comes to camping, however! I've purchased a Terra Nova Saturn and need to know two things that I've yet been unable to find answers to: a) would you recommend a groundsheet under the bivi and b) how on earth does one tie up a guy line, I can't seem to find this information anywhere. (Woe is me, why I didn't join Scouts is beyond me...)

    Help of any kind appreciated.

    Cheers!

    framism

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    Grounsheets are useful to protect the underside of your tent, shiny ones also help keep you warmer. Tyvek is the std material.
    Guylines usually have a plastic thingummy with two holes and a granny knot will do to keep the end from slipping out.
    There is an official "guyline hitch"

  3. #3
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Any recs on a groundsheet? I just hunted all over Lowe's and all I could find was a plastic painters drop cloth that I could cut to size. It was cheap, but it seemed pretty flimsly.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by framism
    I'm preparing to tour Ireland and the UK, wild camping whereever possible. I'm totally green when it comes to camping, however! I've purchased a Terra Nova Saturn and need to know two things that I've yet been unable to find answers to: a) would you recommend a groundsheet under the bivi and b) how on earth does one tie up a guy line, I can't seem to find this information anywhere. (Woe is me, why I didn't join Scouts is beyond me...)

    Help of any kind appreciated.

    Cheers!

    framism
    A ground sheet (as mentioned below) protects your tent from getting holes in it. Since the tent is what keeps you warm and dry, putting a hole in the bottom is usually not a good thing.

    For tying guy lines, the two most useful knots to know are the bowline (useful for making a loop to tie on to a stake) and a trucker's knot (for tightening the line). There are other very useful knots but these two have served me very well. Look at http://www.netknots.com/html/outdoor_knots.html for a good illustration of each. The only other one that I use regularly is a sheet bend.

    To make the guy line, attach the line to the tent. It looks like the tent has loops so use the bowline here. Now run the line out to a tent stake (Hopefully it has a loop or something similar on it.) and come back around towards the tent. Make a trucker's knot about half way up, feed the loose end into the loop and haul the line back towards the stake. Be careful with this knot however. It is a winlass and puts a lot of tension on the line. It would be easy to damage your tent. You want it tight but not too tight. You should be ready for anything.

    By the way, the bowline (which you can make any size loop you want) and the trucker's knot, can be used to make a dandy clothes line! Using a 1/4" line, I cracked a 6" aspen tree once using this method - the trucker's knot is like a block and tackle.
    Stuart Black
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  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    Any recs on a groundsheet? I just hunted all over Lowe's and all I could find was a plastic painters drop cloth that I could cut to size. It was cheap, but it seemed pretty flimsly.
    Campmor has some. Look at this one. Tyvek is very light, very tough stuff. Campmor suggests going 2" to 3" smaller than the tent to keep water from pooling under the tent. The added bonus of ordering from Campmor is that you'll get their catalog forever, even if you never order from them again! I've ordered from them twice in the last 20+ years and have moved three times since then and I still get their catalog!
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  6. #6
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Campmor has some. Look at this one. Tyvek is very light, very tough stuff. Campmor suggests going 2" to 3" smaller than the tent to keep water from pooling under the tent. The added bonus of ordering from Campmor is that you'll get their catalog forever, even if you never order from them again! I've ordered from them twice in the last 20+ years and have moved three times since then and I still get their catalog!
    Kool. Thanks!!
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  7. #7
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    If you can get your hand on this book, I highly recommend it. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...4802890&itm=29

    The author generally writes about canoeing so the material is oriented toward that, but the knots and a stormproof tent is universal information.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    Any recs on a groundsheet? I just hunted all over Lowe's and all I could find was a plastic painters drop cloth that I could cut to size. It was cheap, but it seemed pretty flimsly.

    I use a sheet of 2 mil polyethylene. Its available at home improvement/hardware stores. Usually you can find plastic sheeting near the window screens or paint sections. Painter's plastic is too thin to use as a ground cloth. I cut mine about 2 inches shorter than the tent to keep water from running underneath. One sheet usually lasts a season, but I'll throw the sheet out if it rained all weekend and I don't want to deal with a wet ground cloth when I break camp.

    Only downside of using plastic sheeting is that the floor of the tent tends to slip under it. I don't know if this will be an issue with small tents, but with my 6 person dome tent it can be a problem.

    I bought a new backpacking tent this winter and purchased the ground cloth designed to fit it. I'll see if I like using it better than plastic sheeting.

    Michael

  9. #9
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    Most gracious thanks, exactly what I was looking for. Cheers!

    framism

  10. #10
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    I suppose it depends where you are actually camping, you know, exposed basalt surfaces vs. nice green fields that pepper the UK and Ireland, at least when there isn't a drought. I have never used a groundsheet with a floored tent myself and put them in the anal retentive category. If you look at posts on this board you will find everything from the tarp folks who use something not unlike a groundsheet for their sole shelter, right through to people carrying 10 pound tents.

    Groundsheets are what people used to use when the average tent didn't have a floor. Someone finally decided a better arrangement was to sew the darn thing in. Then they generally added to the complexity until the tents started to run into hundreds even thousands of dollars. So people are loath to put these trophy tents directly on the ground. At some point one expects some bright person will decide it might just be more sensible to sew the second ground sheet in, and the whole cycle will complete itself again.

    There are a few things interupting the cycle, notably the fact tents are mostly made overseas, and have never been cheaper; and the fact people are throwing up their hands at the complexity and making their own tarps and minimal A-frames.

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