View Full Version : what gear is necessary?

01-01-2015, 08:20
Hey guys I have a few gear questions. I have a low temperature bag, something in the teens I believe, and I am wondering if a silk bag liner is really necessary? Is a foot print also necessary for the tent?

Lone Wolf
01-01-2015, 08:24
Hey guys I have a few gear questions. I have a low temperature bag, something in the teens I believe, and I am wondering if a silk bag liner is really necessary? Is a foot print also necessary for the tent?

i hiked the whole trail 5 times with a 20deg. synthetic bag. never used a liner. i always tent. never used a footprint. that's just me. others are gonna tell you different

01-01-2015, 08:30
Many of us have invested a lot of bucks in our tents. A tent footprint helps to protect that investment.
I have a silk bag liner. I've used it maybe twice, but I find it to be more nuisance than help. It gets twisted up when I turn, and there's no zipper, so I can only reach out through the top, nor can I benefit from a partial unzip to vent excess heat.
Beyond that, you'll have to be more specific with your questions and give more info about your plans. I assumed you're planning a typical thru-hike, northbound, starting at Springer in March/April. But if you're just doing a section hike somewhere in June, the answers about your sleep system may change.

01-01-2015, 09:35
My tent maker (Tarptent) does not recommend a footprint. They say they virtually never get tents returned for floor repairs. The tent I recently retired after seven seasons, with over 7000 trail miles including lots of rocky desert and tundra, and over 5000 miles of bike touring, had a pristine floor. The guy line attachments were starting to fail and the zipper broke. Never used a ground cloth.

I tried a liner once and got all twisted up in it. If you toss and turn, it may not work for you. Others swear by them, and they will keep the bag cleaner.

01-01-2015, 09:39
No and no. I used neither

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01-01-2015, 10:36
+1 I get twisted up in a "liner".

I keep my sleeping system clean, by wearing "silkweights". I also have a balaclava.

I use a tarp, so I like a "footprint".

I also use a bug bivy.

01-01-2015, 11:52
I like my silk liner. In the spring and fall it helps extend the comfort of my 30* down bag and in the summer the liner all I need for most of the night. It can also be helpful in hostels.

I use a "foot print" (ground cloth) for my tent. It keeps the bottom of the tent clean, which keeps the rest of the tent clean when you stuff it all back into the sack. It can also be used as a small tarp, a sitting pad or even as a picnic blanket if you want to stretch out for a bit during the day.

01-01-2015, 12:48
I've never found a need for a liner bag because I either have a warm enough bag for the conditions, or I use my warm layer cloths inside the bag for any "extra" warmth needed. But then I also use large sleeping bags even though I might be able to fit in the regular.

There have been debates on ground cloths before. These debates usually come down to the following major points:

1. A ground cloth will help protect the bottom of your tent.
The question is whether or not your tent and the way you use it needs the extra protection. Some tents are thick and tough enough to not need a ground cloth. Some are so thin to save weight the manufacture even recommends a ground cloth (which they will happily sell you). If you are more careful in site selection and removal of debris you are less likely to need a ground cloth for protection than someone that doesn't want to bother with the hassle.

2. A ground cloth keeps the bottom of your tent clean.
The question is whether or not you plan to set up your tent where the bottom is going to get dirty. If you're always able to setup your tent on a pile of leaves, you only have to brush off the leaves. If you stay in well used camp sites, you're more likely to encounter 'dirt' for tent pads where the bottom of your tent will be muddy to one degree or another. When you use a ground cloth, you can pack a clean tent away and then fold the dirty parts of the ground cloth in on itself to keep a clean pack.

Odd Man Out
01-01-2015, 12:55
Given that many people successfully thru hike with neither a liner nor a footprint, then the answer to the question "Do I NEED these things?" is clearly NO.

I suspect you will continue to a variety of answers to the question "Do I WANT these things?".

Don H
01-01-2015, 16:45
Liner: I use a liner more to keep the bag clean. Also comes in handy by its self during hot nights.
Footprint: I use a 3 oz. piece Tyvek, helps protect the floor. Also handy as a sit pad or to lay.

01-01-2015, 18:36
I like Gossamer Gear polycryo ground sheet. I keep my gear clean.

01-08-2015, 11:57
Used a tent ground pad- it was nice to keep the bottom of the tent itself clean, as I could fold the wet dirt/wood chip covered bottom of the ground pad up and not get the rest of the tent dirty when breaking it down.

The sleeping bag liner is tough to move around in, but my thought was always that my grimy body had direct contact with the liner instead of the inside of my bag, and I could easily wash the liner every time I did a load of laundry in a town. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't, but in my head it was doing a great job.

01-08-2015, 15:56
I carry a poly ground sheet. Although my fly is cuben, my floor is 30d sil and because of this I carry the ground sheet. I would only use it if I were expecting a downpour of epic proportions, but those biblical downpours seem to occur now and then on trail and Sil-Nylon will wet out sooner or later if exposed to enough ground water. The polycro weighs about an oz and can be used for other purposes such as keeping my pad clean on shelter floors and organizing gear on a wet ground. Worth the weight in the end.

I do prefer just plopping down on a nicer tent site if expecting rain so I can avoid using the ground sheet, but that's just not always possible.