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-   -   Foot Print (http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/547361-foot-print.html)

bikerbob1 06-01-09 08:51 AM

Foot Print
 
I need to purchase a floot print for my tent. A short time ago I was reading a thread here from riders who had made their own.
I've searched however I can not find the discussion
Can some one please direct me to thread
Thanks

kayakdiver 06-01-09 08:53 AM

I don't use one but tyvek will do the trick for cheap. Home depot is a good place to look.

tjwarren 06-01-09 09:29 AM

If you use Tyvek, I've heard that running it through your washing machine a few times will soften it up and allow it to be packed tighter.

John Nelson 06-01-09 10:03 AM

You can use regular sheet plastic. 6 mil is pretty tough, but also pretty heavy. If you won't be camping on a lot of rocky ground, 4 mil can save you some weight. 2 mil is too flimsy to work with. Cut the sheet about an inch smaller all the way around than your tent floor. Some people like to then put a duct-tape flap in each corner and punch a hole in it at the right place for the tent poles to stick through--this helps hold the footprint in position.

I'm not sure I like footprints all that well. You spend an extra $100 to buy a tent that is 8 ounces lighter, which is largely achieved by having a flimsy floor material, which requires a footprint for protection, and the footprint weighs 8 ounces. So why not just save the $100, get a heavier tent with a sturdier floor, and don't take a footprint. Sure it may wear out a bit faster, but you can use the $100 you saved to buy a new one.

Of course if you're buying a footprint because you often camp on mud and want to keep the bottom of your tent clean, then you might still want a footprint. But I usually try to avoid camping on mud.

staehpj1 06-01-09 10:46 AM

I too am in the "don't usually use one" camp these days. When I did use one it was just a plastic ground sheet made from sheet plastic bought at the hardware store or home depot. I agree with John that 4-6 mil is about right if you will be using one. Either cut it a bit smaller than the tent floor or cut it larger and fold the excess under when pitching the tent. There really is no need to dress the edges, install grommets, or anything fancy.

valygrl 06-01-09 11:18 AM

blue tarp from x-mart, tuck edges under, done.

John Nelson 06-01-09 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valygrl (Post 9020399)
blue tarp from x-mart, tuck edges under, done.

Aren't those blue tarps pretty heavy? Wouldn't a lot of lighter things work just as well?

Losligato 06-01-09 05:45 PM

Antigravitygear sells tyvek by the foot from a 9' wide roll for $2 a foot.... can't beat it. When you cut it make sure to make the cuts just smaller than your rain fly but larger than the bottom of the tent. If you cut it larger the rain will drip off the fly, onto the footprint and puddle between it and the bottom of your tent.

prathmann 06-01-09 06:07 PM

I've never had one for my tents and so far the only parts I've had any trouble with are the zippers and flys. The floors are still fine - even on the tent that I bought 33 years ago and still use. If I ever do have a problem with the tent floor I figure I'll get a lightweight liner and cut it slightly bigger than the floor and put it *inside* the tent so the excess material wraps up the sides a little.

I agree with John - why spend extra for a lightweight tent and then end up carrying the extra weight for a groundcloth.

rodar y rodar 06-01-09 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Nelson (Post 9019862)
I'm not sure I like footprints all that well. You spend an extra $100 to buy a tent that is 8 ounces lighter, which is largely achieved by having a flimsy floor material, which requires a footprint for protection, and the footprint weighs 8 ounces. So why not just save the $100, get a heavier tent with a sturdier floor, and don't take a footprint. Sure it may wear out a bit faster, but you can use the $100 you saved to buy a new one.

Hahaha! I should have read this post last year, before I spent the exra hundred on a lighter tent. Not long after I wrote the check I started thinking along those lines too.

About the blue tarp- I was wondering about them too. I`m using a piece of plastic from an industrial strength bin liner (probably similar to the 6 mil plastic sheeting). It`s almost a half pound, believe it or not. I think the blue tarp might actually be lighter, but bulkier. I might try one, but I haven`t seen one that would fit quite right and I`m not sure if they can be trimmed. Do they start to fray instantly if you don`t hem them up?

Cyclebum 06-01-09 10:21 PM

An 8x10 blue tarp, trimmed slightly smaller than the rain fly, works great as a ground cloth, doesn't fray, is light, and folds nicely.

valygrl 06-01-09 10:37 PM

One nice thing about the blue tarp, if you *don't* trim it, is it can be a ceiling instead of a floor.

truman 06-02-09 09:09 AM

I got my tyvek for free from a trash pile at a building site. Enough for several tents.

paxtonm 06-02-09 11:48 AM

Never used one. I do clear the tent site pretty carefully, and now our 20-year-old tent is finally wearing a few TINY holes in the floor. Easily patched with adhesive ripstop. If I was going to use one, say in conjunction with a roof composed of a silnylon tarp for a sub-2-pound shelter, then I'd go with Tyvek. That stuff is tough.

gw360 06-02-09 12:40 PM

+1 on Tyvek. You can cut the material to the perfect size (2 - 3" smaller than your tent all around) and the edges won't fray. And Tyvek is more puncture resistant, easier to fold and pack, and lighter than plastic sheeting.

There are several sellers on eBay who offer it by the foot, cut to order from a 9-foot roll. Cost is about $1.50 - $1.75 per lineal foot. If you buy a 150-foot roll, it costs about $1 per foot, so anything under $2 for short lengths is a fair price.

An alternative may be to trash pick a remnant from a dumpster near a construction site. A friend of mine was given a short roll by stopping by a construction site and asking for it - but she has certain "assets" which give her quite an advantage in situations like this.

Either way, run it through your washer on gentle/cold with a tiny amount of laundry soap to soften up the fibers and make it less noisy (cuts down on the crackling) when you use it under your tent.

bikerbob1 06-03-09 08:35 AM

Thanks for all the assistance. I'll look at the tyvek at Home Depot. I have the blue tarp however I use this cover the bike at night. And yes it is heavy. I may just go without a foot print as so many others do. This is my first ever supported tour(lazy eh) and it's only week howevever I do plan solo tours for this year. All good input. Thanks
I wish I had discovered this forum before my coast to coast in 2003. The trip was fantastic and I certainly learned a lot but it was the hard way. I still do not buy from the bad advice bike store even though he is located less than a block from my home.

staehpj1 06-03-09 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bikerbob1 (Post 9033326)
Thanks for all the assistance. I'll look at the tyvek at Home Depot. I have the blue tarp however I use this cover the bike at night. And yes it is heavy. I may just go without a foot print as so many others do. This is my first ever supported tour(lazy eh) and it's only week howevever I do plan solo tours for this year. All good input. Thanks
I wish I had discovered this forum before my coast to coast in 2003. The trip was fantastic and I certainly learned a lot but it was the hard way. I still do not buy from the bad advice bike store even though he is located less than a block from my home.

Just a thought, but...
I don't use a footprint, but I would do that long before I would carry a cover for the bike. The bike is in the weather all day when on tour, what is to be gained by covering it at night? It sounds like a good bit of unnecessary weight with little to no benefit.

fotooutdoors 06-03-09 11:29 AM

To go against the grain...I use a ground sheet (basically reg. sheet plastic), but inside my tent. Normally, it really isn't necessary, but if has been raining for days or you are forced to set up your tent in a bad spot, it will keep water from seeping through your floor due to your weight pushing down on the ground. No, it doesn't protect the floor from wear, but it keeps me dry no matter what the weather.

kayakdiver 06-03-09 12:26 PM

http://www.brass.cf.ac.uk/images/Footprint.jpg

JR97 06-03-09 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valygrl (Post 9024942)
One nice thing about the blue tarp, if you *don't* trim it, is it can be a ceiling instead of a floor.

+1. I did a bike/camping trip out to a hot no shade area last year. +100° temps. But instead of the blue tarp, I used the brown/silver one. I put the silver side out to reflect the sun and it helped quite a bit. I guess for colder weather, the brown side could be used to absorb sun and the reflective side on the inside could help reflect heat back to the tent. I used a trailer for that trip, so I wasn't too concerned with the bulk.

Cyclebum 06-03-09 03:08 PM

I actually used the heavier brown/silver version as a footprint on a recent western tour and velcro'd it to my tent floor. Certainly bulkier than the blue version, but much tougher. By attaching it to the tent floor, it made a second "bathtub" layer for keeping out groundwater. I never detached it, simply folded it up with the tent each morning. Worked well. As it never rained, I didn't get to test it's water proofing value. (I've had some problems in heavy rains with groundwater leaking thru the floor of my well used cheap tent.)

cccorlew 06-04-09 01:42 AM

What exactly is a footprint for? Protection for the tent bottom, or something to do with water?

John Nelson 06-04-09 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cccorlew (Post 9039112)
What exactly is a footprint for? Protection for the tent bottom, or something to do with water?

According to MEC:

Footprints are ground sheets that are custom-fit to your tent. Ground sheets protect tent floors from abrasion, increase waterproofness, and help insulate you from the cool ground. Most MEC tents have pre-made footprints, which are sold separately.

Some tents can be set up with footprint, poles, and fly, without the inner tent. This type of shelter is ultralight and compact to pack, but is less protective against bugs and foul weather, and more susceptible to interior water condensation than an entire tent.

To custom make your own footprint from plastic sheeting, tarp material, or TyvekŪ, set up your tent and draw its outline on the sheet. Cut the sheet slightly smaller than the outline. The footprint should be entirely covered by the tent to prevent rain from being channelled under the floor.

Cyclebum 06-04-09 07:43 AM

A footprint or groundcloth serves as abrasion/puncture protection for the floor of lightweight tents and to keep groundwater from seeping thru during wet weather. More useful when wild camping then when staying in public parks where there are tent pads or clean grass.

kayakdiver 06-04-09 08:23 AM

I find the only real use for a footprint for me is to pack fast and light. I have a Seedhouse SL footprint so I can leave the tent body and just combine it with my tent fly.

As for MEC's explanation... insulation? Give me a break. A good tent will not seep water from the ground. It will get destroyed by UV before that happens.

Now if your camping out in the wilds with crappy campsites and such... Then It makes some sense.

My 2 Cents.


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