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Dry rough ground camping question

Old 08-15-13, 03:25 PM
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Dry rough ground camping question

I was in Washington state earlier this month and camped outside. This was in eastern Washington and the ground was dry and hard. Put the tent up and did cap chores. Anyway, the third night my air mattress got a hole in e bottom which sucked but I dealt with it.

My question.... When it is rough ground like that, should I put something down in between the bottom of the air mattress and the bottom of the tent? I did use a footprint too.
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Old 08-15-13, 03:58 PM
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Normally it wouldn't be necessary, especially with a foot print but it never hurts to have an additional layer. What kind of mattress was it?
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Old 08-15-13, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
I was in Washington state earlier this month and camped outside. This was in eastern Washington and the ground was dry and hard. Put the tent up and did cap chores. Anyway, the third night my air mattress got a hole in e bottom which sucked but I dealt with it.

My question.... When it is rough ground like that, should I put something down in between the bottom of the air mattress and the bottom of the tent? I did use a footprint too.
Best thing I learned, is to do a test lay down and roll around on the foot print before adding the tent.

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Old 08-15-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Best thing I learned, is to do a test lay down and roll around on the foot print before adding the tent.

Great suggestion.
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Old 08-15-13, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Great suggestion.
I learned the Hard Way...My tent on the left...On top of some cactus burrs. Stuck me in the rear.

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Old 08-15-13, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
I was in Washington state earlier this month and camped outside. This was in eastern Washington and the ground was dry and hard. Put the tent up and did cap chores. Anyway, the third night my air mattress got a hole in e bottom which sucked but I dealt with it.

My question.... When it is rough ground like that, should I put something down in between the bottom of the air mattress and the bottom of the tent? I did use a footprint too.
Punctures probably didn't come from the ground since you were using a footprint but came from something you dragged into the tent. Try to keep the inside of the tent as clean as possible. My shoes stay outside the tent and I brush off any dirt I may have collected around camp before I enter the tent. Also pick the tent up and shake any debris out before you pack it.
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Old 08-15-13, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Punctures probably didn't come from the ground but came from something you dragged into the tent.
Good Point
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Old 08-15-13, 07:24 PM
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You could always use a thin closed cell foam pad for extra protection. A Gossamer Gear Thinlight weighs about 3 ounces, and would provide some (slight) insulation in the event of an air mattress failure.
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Old 08-15-13, 09:44 PM
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Yea , maybe even a Yoga mat will help .seems the ones I saw were only an eighth of an inch thick.

bodhisattva..

50's boy scouts we groomed our campsite.. now the Back Country hiking ethos is to leave it undisturbed..


Leave no trace... unlike Hobo camps . that are often looking like dumps.

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Old 08-15-13, 10:21 PM
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I wouldn't carry any extra layers. All you have to do is be smart with your camp selection and clear out any rocks or sharp sticks that might worry you.

If you're smart with site selection there shouldn't be much work needed so your impact will be minimal. If possible stick with already established tent sites.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:22 PM
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Some footprints aren't very thick. Usually the ones made by tent manufacturers that I've seen have been made of a similar material as the floor.

Tyvek is a little thicker layer, but probably a little heavier. Tarptent sells them cut to size with the tent for much cheaper than a name brand footprint.

Gotta say though, I'm way more concerned with holes in my tent than I am holes in my sleeping pad. I'd rather be dry, cold and uncomfy than wet. One time this summer we hit some dry grass with all these little tiny burrs that could easily puncture a tent floor or mat. Thousands of them. The tyvek gave me some peace of mind there. You're really thankful the next time you hit a hard rain and you reach down and the tent floor is still dry as a bone on the inside. : )

Curious as to what mat it was too. The lighter the weight, the less robust (in general) I like the idea of that foam pad under it, but I wouldn't have a clue where to fit something like that with my setup.
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Old 08-15-13, 10:35 PM
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Gotta agree with "cyccommute" I've tented in all sorts of rocky thorn-ridden sites, both when cycling and backpacking, and the several mattress 'flats' I've had were from something brought in unnoticed from outside. All it takes is a very small sharp-sided pebble. I always use an old 'cut to size' tent floor as a ground sheet between my small tent and the ground.
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Old 08-16-13, 02:10 AM
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When we arrive at a campsite, we "sweep" the area where we're planning to put the tent, and remove branches, rocks, broken glass, bottle caps, etc.

And then there's a lot of observation ... much like golfers when they're trying to sink a putt. We look at the angle of the terrain, where any dips and hollows might be, and where rocky outcroppings might exist. We also observe the location of trees. Some trees around here readily drop branches in high winds, so you don't want to park the tent under those trees, but the sun can get very hot early in the morning, so you do want to put the tent in a place that a tree will block the sun. Sometimes it takes a while to select the optimum spot.
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Old 08-16-13, 03:08 AM
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I carry a 6 x 4 trailer super heavy duty poly tarp and lay on the ground after I have cleared the site then place my tents footprint on top of that. I also place a 8mm rubber fitness mat or what ever there made from under my mattress and that seems to cure the nasties. The tarp then has multiple uses when not under the tent so it's doesn't go wasted like wise for the fitness thingy it gets used for other things.
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Old 08-19-13, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Punctures probably didn't come from the ground since you were using a footprint but came from something you dragged into the tent. Try to keep the inside of the tent as clean as possible. My shoes stay outside the tent and I brush off any dirt I may have collected around camp before I enter the tent. Also pick the tent up and shake any debris out before you pack it.
Great suggestion. Thank you
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Old 08-19-13, 07:22 AM
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I've been sleeping on the same therm-a-rest for 20 years, including in Eastern Washington. You'd have to work pretty hard to puncture that thing. That said, I pitch my tent like Machka both for comfort and longevity of my equipment. That and I've never woken up in puddle in a tent I pitched.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TheReal Houdini
I've been sleeping on the same therm-a-rest for 20 years, including in Eastern Washington. You'd have to work pretty hard to puncture that thing. That said, I pitch my tent like Machka both for comfort and longevity of my equipment. That and I've never woken up in puddle in a tent I pitched.
Eastern Washington is a big place. A lot of desert area and less lush green in many places.
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Old 08-19-13, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Punctures probably didn't come from the ground since you were using a footprint but came from something you dragged into the tent. Try to keep the inside of the tent as clean as possible. My shoes stay outside the tent and I brush off any dirt I may have collected around camp before I enter the tent. Also pick the tent up and shake any debris out before you pack it.
+1

I use a sil-nylon footprint, and it is more than adequate.



The foot print is tucked under the tent floor, except in the front where it acts a porch under the vestibule, after the rainfly is put on.


A hiker/biker site in Glacier National Park. The surface was pretty much small rocks.

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Old 08-19-13, 11:12 AM
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Don't mean to sound crazy but...yeah I know I am. Most of my most recent trip I slept on cement. No worries about anything poking up at me. The only night I was sleeping on grass I ended up having something poking up into me. I'll stick to baseball dugouts and stick to cement/pavement any day of the year. It's way far more comfortable and way more predictable, especially if you aren't setting up camp until after dark...err stealth camping. I have grown to really looking at any baseball dugouts I pass by anymore. I saw one I passed by here recently that looked sweet but there were a few too many houses on the opposite side of the street so I took it off my list of potential stealth campsites for the future.

On other big benefit to camping on pavement/cement. You keep the bottom of your tent nice and clean. On the first leg of the trip my tent got darned awful dirty...from camping on grass. On the way home, after washing it off at my mom's, the tent stayed nice and clean. No additional work after the trip to clean the tent...SWEET.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
... the sun can get very hot early in the morning, so you do want to put the tent in a place that a tree will block the sun...
Obviously depending on just how hot and early the morning sun is, but I usually do the opposite and find a spot where the morning sun will wake and warm me early, and dry the dew
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Old 08-20-13, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Obviously depending on just how hot and early the morning sun is, but I usually do the opposite and find a spot where the morning sun will wake and warm me early, and dry the dew
What is this mythical "dew" of which you speak? Those of us who live beyond the 96th meridian know not of what you speak. We hear of a wondrous water that seems to appear from the air and coats the world but we also hear wondrous stories of dragons and witches. No such water appears from out air. Our air only sucks water from all bodies and leaves us shriveled and desiccated.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Best thing I learned, is to do a test lay down and roll around on the foot print before adding the tent.
Oh, come on. You're camping on a lawn that looks better than the lawn in my yard. That's a 5 star, luxury campground. In most of the campsites I've stayed at in the west, a great campsite is one where the rocks are smaller than 4" in diameter and there aren't any cactus.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
What is this mythical "dew" of which you speak? Those of us who live beyond the 96th meridian know not of what you speak. We hear of a wondrous water that seems to appear from the air and coats the world but we also hear wondrous stories of dragons and witches. No such water appears from out air. Our air only sucks water from all bodies and leaves us shriveled and desiccated.
Yeah ... unless you're camping in the middle of winter down here in Australia, you're not going to get much in the way of dew. If you're not careful about your tent placement in the summer, the temperature inside the tent can be well over 30C by about 7:00 am. Everything, including me (dehydrated from sweating from 6 am onward), is parched.
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Old 08-20-13, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Best thing I learned, is to do a test lay down and roll around on the foot print before adding the tent.
Your comment reminded me of listening to a Marine Gunnery Sargent telling me that I was not doing my situps fast enough on the thorny ground.

I have used seam grip to patch slow leaks in Thermarest pads. But I have only done that at home, never while camping.
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Old 08-20-13, 08:34 AM
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Up north, including in the semi arid areas, the dew can be as wet as a normal rainfall. It actually seems to cling to everything more than rain drops. The only difference is that you don't hear it hitting your tent etc. over night.
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