Groundcloth Options

4:54 p.m. on April 9, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. GL, Greased Lightning, Irv

Does anyone have any suggestions on a groundcloth for a CD Flashlight. I don't want to go with the 11oz readymade footprint - just much weight. I'm thinking about placing a space blanket (about 1 oz or less) under the tent. Any comments, suggestions would be welcome - Thanks in advance - Greased Lightning

10:35 p.m. on April 9, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

I use the lightest weight, water proof fabric I can find - that will hold together for the week or so I will be out. I cut it about 1" less than the footprint and tape it to the bottom of my tent.

Plastic paint cloths have worked in the past. If it looks like it is going to be rough, I use a cheap plastic (red/white checker) table cloth from KMart type of places.
If they fall apart after first trip, I replace it.

6:23 a.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
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Tyvek or visqueen. n/m

nm

7:55 a.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Both of those options are good! But the ready made ground cloth is a "FastPack" ground cloth that lets you use just the fly & poles for a quick,light alpine assault shelter. It works so well that I don't bring the tent body with me most of the time unless the bugs are bad.

10:07 a.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Quote:

Does anyone have any suggestions on a groundcloth for a CD Flashlight. I don't want to go with the 11oz readymade footprint - just much weight. I'm thinking about placing a space blanket (about 1 oz or less) under the tent. Any comments, suggestions would be welcome - Thanks in advance - Greased Lightning


The foot print is heavy 'cause it's got all the do-dads for turning the tent into a lite-weight shelter. Try some heavy duty plastic painters use for drop cloths. Cut to any shape you want. The space blanket is a good idea for snow camping, but those things aren't too durable on rocks and such. -Crash-

12:14 p.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
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a.k.a. G.L., Greased Lightning, Irv

Quote:

Both of those options are good! But the ready made ground cloth is a "FastPack" ground cloth that lets you use just the fly & poles for a quick,light alpine assault shelter. It works so well that I don't bring the tent body with me most of the time unless the bugs are bad.

12:18 p.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. G.L., GL, Irv

Quote:

Quote:

Both of those options are good! But the ready made ground cloth is a "FastPack" ground cloth that lets you use just the fly & poles for a quick,light alpine assault shelter. It works so well that I don't bring the tent body with me most of the time unless the bugs are bad.

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately the AT is one of the buggiest places on the planet - or, at least when I'm passing through. I'll seriously think about the "fast pack" and the fly next time I do some hiking in the Daks in the autumn. Right now - I'll give lite-weight painter's cloth or plastic tablecloth a shot. Once again - Thanks for the valuable input - G.L.

12:27 p.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
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Your space blanket is a bit more than 1 ounce (weigh it on a good scale).

The cheapest way to go and almost as light as the thin space blanket, both short term and over the long term is, as mentioned by a couple of the others, 3 or 4 mil plastic sheeting. This is sold as painter's drop cloths in hardware and paint stores (OSH, Home Depot, among the large chains), or in long rolls. If you are buying for a scout troop, the long rolls are the cheapest. If it's just for you (or you and a buddy or two), then something like a 9x12 drop cloth is cheapest. For the Flashlight, cut the 9x12 in half to get two 9x6 sheets. Then if you want, trim the shape to fit your tent more closely. Or do it the lazy way, just tuck the excess under the tent when you set it up (don't leave any out to catch and funnel the rain under your tent). Both 3 and 4 mil are durable enough for a year or two of frequent camping (x 2 when you count that you got 2 sheets out of it). So you spend about $1/year for the ground cloth. The purpose-made footprints sell for a whole bunch more. Yeah, you get 4 or 5 years of hard use, but you would need to get 40 or 50 years out of it to match the plastic (and by then you will have gone through several tents).

Another thing about the drop cloth approach - it's easier to clean (just spray it off in the back yard). And when it gets too bad, you just toss it and get the other half (or a new one). With the more expensive ones, you will be more reluctant to replace them, and with the "reinforced" ones, the weave makes them harder to clean.

5:52 p.m. on April 10, 2001 (EDT)
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Re: Tyvek or visqueen - couple problems

Visqueen is good, but is more expensive than the clear plastic used for painter's dropcloths. It is somewhat more durable, but not enough to make up the price difference. Now, it is possible if you know a builder to get visqueen for free. In which case, take it!

Tyvek has been claimed to work as a groundcloth and tent footprint for several years. There are several problems with it. First is that it is _not_ waterproof. Second is that it loses a lot of strength when thoroughly wet. I have a Tyvek jacket from the Veteran's World Cup (orienteering event), and we used to use Tyvek score cards for hot days for people who sweat a lot and for rainy days. The Tyvek stands up better than plain paper or cardboard scorecards, but frequently by the end of a run, the Tyvek is starting to come apart. I tested my jacket recently when someone very vigorously insisted that Tyvek was waterproof by doing the standard shower test (you know, the usual one to test rain gear by holding it under a cold shower for 5 or 10 minutes). Within 30 sec, the inside of the jacket was damp. I have also done the same check with several sheets of it (we have a lot of "scrape the lot and build the largest permitted house" going on around here, so it's easy to come by).

Apparently, the later versions of Tyvek have small holes to allow it to breathe somewhat (it is used as a vapor barrier in construction), while earlier versions were non-porous. Whatever the reason, the observation is the test - Tyvek leaks in a shower, and it does lose strength when wet. It is not suitable as a groundcloth. Add to that, it is extremely expensive compared to the plastic painter's dropcloth (again, unless you have a friend in construction who will give it to you for free, and even then I wouldn't use it).

6:58 a.m. on April 11, 2001 (EDT)
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Good info!

I have never used Tyvek. Last camping trip I was with a fellow who was doing some remodeling on his house and cut some out for his tent. Seemed to work great. Of course we only had one night of hard rain - not a true measure of performance, I suppose.

I do use the visqueen. Come to think of it, the stuff is so durable, I have been using the SAME sheet under my tent for the past 6 years! I also use a 2' x 3' of the visqueen as a combination table cloth/vestibule runner.

3:38 p.m. on April 11, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

One other option that I heard works very well is TYVEC house wrap. You know the stuff they put under siding to windproof waterproof and help insulate. Sometimes you can find scraps of this stuff around constuction sites.

12:45 p.m. on April 12, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Alex14, AlexP, GuyWithAnIdea, packboy, Alex Polemeropoulos

I used and old shower curtain in cold weather and it worked fine at keeping the moisture out but it got really stiff and was a pain in butt to pack up. It almost sounded like it was cracking when I folded it!

3:38 p.m. on May 10, 2001 (EDT)
(Guest)

Visqueen cost

If 2 or 3 or more chip in, a roll of 6mil x 10' x 25' would only cost a few dollars each (a roll is about $10.50 at Lowe's) and would provide several ground cloths, obviously depending on sizes involved. Scouting involvement lets us buy 100' rolls (for about $35) that last quite a while, particularly now that we're in replace-only mode. I use 10 mil for larger (family) tents, and 4 or 6 mil for smaller. One sheet is now at least 8 & maybe 10 years old, not bad for the money ...

5:19 a.m. on June 26, 2002 (EDT)
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how can I contact Visqueen by e-mail???

Please help me to e-mail at Visqueen - they have a suprisingly weak presence on the web. Their address is outdated, a list of european and international distributors seems inexistent and search engines are useless. Am i missing something?

6:09 p.m. on August 15, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

It is spelled with a "K" "TYVEK"

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