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Ben.Moxie
04-07-2017, 08:48
I currently have a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1, and am a week into the AT (in Blairsville for the day, waiting for a friend's foot to recover). I'm wondering if I actually need the footprint for it or if I can just send it home tomorrow? I was always under the impression that they helped keep water out during storms, but someone recently told me they are just to prevent scraping against the tent. It weighs next to nothing but if I don't actually need it then I wouldn't mind losing the extra step in setting up camp. Thoughts?

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soumodeler
04-07-2017, 09:14
Not necessary unless you want the ability to do a fly only pitch. If you really wanted extra protection under the tent, get a piece of Tyvek. Lighter and better than the factory overpriced one.

soumodeler
04-07-2017, 09:14
BTW: Have fun on your hike!

scope
04-07-2017, 09:32
I look at it two ways... if you want to keep that tent throughout the trip, then its probably worth keeping the footprint to ensure the lightweight material used in that tent doesn't wear out on bottom.

On the other hand, many thrus end up changing out their gear at some point, whether its opting for an even lighter tent (cuben) or perhaps even a hammock setup.

Seems to me that the footprint might also make packing up a bit easier, no? To me, that alone would be worth the minimal weight.

Slo-go'en
04-07-2017, 09:38
Have you had to set up the tent in the mud or on wet ground yet? A footprint helps keep the bottom of the tent clean, and in turn the rest of the tent when stuffed. It also extends the life of the floor of the tent and helps to keep water from wicking up through the floor by adding an extra layer. One just has to be careful the footprint doesn't extend past the edges of the tent, otherwise water can come off the tent, onto the footprint and run between the floor of the tent and footprint.

I use a Tyvek ground cloth which is multi purpose. It's big enough I can hide under it during a thunderstorm, use it as a picnic blanket, put stuff on it when unpacking on wet ground, use it in a shelter to help keep my bag clean and not to breath the dust and dirt on the floor.

Uncle Joe
04-07-2017, 09:38
I look at it two ways... if you want to keep that tent throughout the trip, then its probably worth keeping the footprint to ensure the lightweight material used in that tent doesn't wear out on bottom.

On the other hand, many thrus end up changing out their gear at some point, whether its opting for an even lighter tent (cuben) or perhaps even a hammock setup.

Seems to me that the footprint might also make packing up a bit easier, no? To me, that alone would be worth the minimal weight.

Exactly! I'd want the extra protection. How much weight are you really saving?

scope
04-07-2017, 09:50
Have you had to set up the tent in the mud or on wet ground yet? ...

Ughh, this is one of the many reasons I'm a hanger.

swisscross
04-07-2017, 10:05
I use a footprint. Not really for waterproofing or to keep the tent clean.
I carry one to use in shelters (not often) under my pad. Shelters are pretty nasty.
It is in my pack thus I use it under my tent.

Going someplace with not shelters, I leave it at home.

scope
04-07-2017, 10:27
...Shelters are pretty nasty...

I love shelters. Usually have a picnic table to cook on and eat at, typically with others around for some conversation. Nice to have the privy to use as needed before hitting the trail. But you're right, they're mostly nasty to sleep in. Harder than the ground, colder than the ground, and usually have plenty of mice around.

For the life of me, I do not understand folks who sleep in a nasty shelter when they've spent good money on a tent or hammock. As a former tenter, I get the idea of not wanting to pack up a dirty, wet tent. But its what you do in the outdoors... well, except if you're a hanger.

Why would you want to sleep on the ground, or the hard floor of a nasty shelter, when you can hang. Just sayin'.

Sorry to hijack your thread, Ben.Moxie, but this is another reason why you might consider my "on the other hand" option from my earlier post.

swjohnsey
04-07-2017, 11:34
Send it home.

Uncle Joe
04-07-2017, 11:49
I hang 99% of the time. But having no place to put my stuff that's convenient sucks about hanging. I'm thinking of a ground cloth for just this reason although when it's rainy that doesn't work either.

nsherry61
04-07-2017, 12:17
Pack your fears.

If you are afraid of getting small holes in the floor of your tent or having to pack your tent carefully when the floor is muddy, carry a footprint.

If you realized that small holes in the floor of your tent are easy to fix if you ever need to, and you can always fold your tent up in a way the the muddy floor doesn't get the rest of your tent dirty when packing it, then save the six oz. or so, along with the added clutter and do away with the footprint.

I use footprints in the front country to extend to life of my tent, when I don't have to carry them and when I may likely be camping on a hard gravel tent pad at a campground. I have never worried about footprint use in the backcountry. But then, I rarely use a tent in the backcountry either.

Ben.Moxie
04-07-2017, 12:46
First off, this is my first time posting a question so I just want to say thanks for the quick responses everyone. Good to know that I can use this forum as a reliable resource for questions on the trail. General consensus is hold onto the footprint. It really doesn't add much in terms of packweight, and the benefits do outweigh any possible negatives. I got stuck in storms 3 out of 4 nights I've camped so far, and no room in shelters so far ( I tend to be hiking past the empty shelters I see because I'm getting to them around 1 and just can't stand setting up camp that early).

I appreciate all the info! Especially regarding footprint use in shelters.

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scope
04-07-2017, 13:01
I hang 99% of the time. But having no place to put my stuff that's convenient sucks about hanging...

I have no idea what you're talking about...

https://www.hammockforums.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=25849&catid=member&imageuser=33

I've got more dry space under the tarp than in that 2-man tent in the same pic. See that hex shadow on the ground? If it were to rain, there would be a light colored hex the same as that shadow on the ground when I left. Bigger than a 2-man footprint.

nadine3dogs
04-10-2017, 09:57
Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!

4eyedbuzzard
04-10-2017, 10:12
Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!The problem is that anything less than 2 mil isn't very durable - 1 mil is kitchen trash bag stuff, 3 mil is typical lawn/contractor trash bag stuff. Try the stuff known as polycryo or polycro. It's marketed as window shrink wrap. It offers good protection for the weight and is tougher than tarp plastic. It will shrink slightly in very hot weather. And it's cheap - buy a single or three pack for a "fits windows" measurement that you can cut to fit your tent. Cut it about an inch smaller than the floor footprint of your tent. Make up two or three. Or use a space blanket - also pretty tough for the weight - but it tears very easily unless you get the better non tearing stuff like Heatsheets brand.

Cheyou
04-10-2017, 10:22
Send it home ! Unless it really does weigh nothing. :0)

colorado_rob
04-10-2017, 10:48
Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!Polycryo works great, I finally broke down and started carrying a small sheet for use in shelters (as described) and when tenting, I go ahead and put it under the tent since I have it anyway. I think it's 1.5 ounces for my BA Copper spur.

Ethesis
04-10-2017, 17:42
Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!


The polycro footprints sold by some ultralight tent makers are the same stuff you find in the windo kits at Lowes or Home Depot.

perdidochas
04-10-2017, 18:35
I hang 99% of the time. But having no place to put my stuff that's convenient sucks about hanging. I'm thinking of a ground cloth for just this reason although when it's rainy that doesn't work either.

A ground cloth usually helps with that when hanging in the rain, unless you choose a spot over a puddle or a low spot where the water flows. I've never really had any problems.

PennyPincher
04-10-2017, 18:35
Pack your fears.

If you are afraid of getting small holes in the floor of your tent or having to pack your tent carefully when the floor is muddy, carry a footprint.

If you realized that small holes in the floor of your tent are easy to fix if you ever need to, and you can always fold your tent up in a way the the muddy floor doesn't get the rest of your tent dirty when packing it, then save the six oz. or so, along with the added clutter and do away with the footprint.

I use footprints in the front country to extend to life of my tent, when I don't have to carry them and when I may likely be camping on a hard gravel tent pad at a campground. I have never worried about footprint use in the backcountry. But then, I rarely use a tent in the backcountry either.

Hmmmm I don't think his foot print weighs 6oz. Just saying. I have that same tent and I would be surprised if the footprint weighed that much though I never weighed it by itself.


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Venchka
04-10-2017, 18:43
Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!

Yes. 1.0 mil or 1.5 mil. Take your pick. I bought from Tru-Value Hardware. About $5 buys a piece big enough to make at least 4 4'x7' pieces for my Hubba Hubba NX. The same piece folded in half lengthwise works for my StratoSpire 1. Holds up well.
Wayne


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BuckeyeBill
04-11-2017, 01:56
I switched to a hammock a few years back and used a piece of tyvek as a footprint. After the switch I got a smaller piece to stand on in my bare feet while getting out of my day clothes and getting comfortable for a good night's rest. I got them for free from a contractor friend.

garlic08
04-11-2017, 08:07
Hmmmm I don't think his foot print weighs 6oz. Just saying. I have that same tent and I would be surprised if the footprint weighed that much though I never weighed it by itself.

According to the REI site (https://www.rei.com/product/796088/big-agnes-fly-creek-ul-2-footprint), the footprint weighs 5 oz. And costs around $50. Not exactly nothing.

To those who think a footprint keeps a tent floor clean, what do you do with a dirty footprint? Same issue, I've found.

I don't understand the thought that a footprint will make striking camp easier. It's another thing to roll up and pack.

Has anyone ever worn out a footprint? I think it's a myth that it will extend the life of a tent floor. Unless people do kinetic things in a tent (I just sleep), what's the source of abrasion?

Why not use the tent itself as a ground cloth when warranted? No need for an extra piece of gear just for that.

To the OP, I'd say stick in a Priority Mail envelope and try bouncing it ahead a few weeks. Then if you find you don't miss it, forward it home for no additional cost.

PatmanTN
04-11-2017, 10:05
I've owned the Fly Creek II since 2010 and that floor is tissue thin. Even small pinholes will compromise it in standing water. If you want it to keep out water, use a footprint of some kind.

PatmanTN
04-11-2017, 10:18
One alternative use I've found is as a sun shade. Used on Choeah Bald here:

https://photos.smugmug.com/2014/Nov-20th-Nov-26th-Smokies-AT/i-h8Rk6KP/0/L/Smokies_AT%20081-L.jpg

PatmanTN
04-11-2017, 10:19
ah this is a better pic with mountains

https://photos.smugmug.com/2014/Nov-20th-Nov-26th-Smokies-AT/i-FpJJmft/0/L/Smokies_AT%20077-L.jpg

AllDownhillFromHere
04-11-2017, 10:45
According to the REI site (https://www.rei.com/product/796088/big-agnes-fly-creek-ul-2-footprint), the footprint weighs 5 oz. And costs around $50. Not exactly nothing.

To those who think a footprint keeps a tent floor clean, what do you do with a dirty footprint? Same issue, I've found.

I don't understand the thought that a footprint will make striking camp easier. It's another thing to roll up and pack.

Has anyone ever worn out a footprint? I think it's a myth that it will extend the life of a tent floor. Unless people do kinetic things in a tent (I just sleep), what's the source of abrasion?

Why not use the tent itself as a ground cloth when warranted? No need for an extra piece of gear just for that.

To the OP, I'd say stick in a Priority Mail envelope and try bouncing it ahead a few weeks. Then if you find you don't miss it, forward it home for no additional cost.

I don't think its abrasion, it's puncturing. Lay your tent down on something hard, and any pointy thing will poke through.

lonehiker
04-11-2017, 11:55
LW posted years ago that he didn't use a footprint. I tried it (or didn't actually), liked it, and haven't used one for quite some time. One less thing to pack, unpack, carry wet/dirty etc. 100% weight savings by leaving it at home.

Bansko
04-11-2017, 15:43
I formerly used them religiously, but don't use them anymore. I finally decided that it was just something else to keep track of that provided little to no benefit. I have about 100 tent nights in my Copper Spur UL1 with no footprint, and the floor is fine. I pick up debris before pitching, but I don't over do it.

saltysack
04-12-2017, 07:05
Polycryo works great, I finally broke down and started carrying a small sheet for use in shelters (as described) and when tenting, I go ahead and put it under the tent since I have it anyway. I think it's 1.5 ounces for my BA Copper spur.

Did you ever try out the 1443 tyvek yet?


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TrappedInsideACube
05-07-2017, 14:23
I can't see paying ~$70 for a big agnes ground sheet when you can buy polycro or tyvek for ~$10.

Ethesis
05-07-2017, 20:04
I can't see paying ~$70 for a big agnes ground sheet when you can buy polycro or tyvek for ~$10.


My thought.

The polycro goes into an outside pouch. The tent goes into my pack.

BuckeyeBill
05-08-2017, 10:59
I got a 3' x 9' piece of tyvek from Anti Gravity Gear for $6.75. Nine foot wide pieces cut to length you want. I gave it to my grand kids and told them to wrinkle, crush, smash and twist it. I then washed it a couple of times and gave it back to the grand kids again. After a few rounds it still has some noise left in it, but no where near what it was when new.

capehiker
05-08-2017, 13:25
I started out this year without a footprint but by the NOC, I picked one up after having 9 straight days of rain at least once a day. Sooner or later the floor of the tent will wet out after prolonged rains. I also found I love spreading the footprint out on the grass at lunch and I have rigged it up as a tarp. It's multipurpose.

DownEaster
05-09-2017, 02:44
I can't see paying ~$70 for a big agnes ground sheet when you can buy polycro or tyvek for ~$10.
They're charging a big premium for those 4 tie-outs at the corners.

Venchka
05-09-2017, 19:59
They're charging a big premium for those 4 tie-outs at the corners.

Catch 22. Apparently many of their tents can only be set up in fly only mode with the factory footprint.
One of several reasons why I own MSR and TarpTent shelters.
Wayne


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theinfamousj
05-10-2017, 13:15
I bet someone could rig something up using webbing and grommets to approximate the location of the grommets in the footprint for fly-only.

Based on the tents I have seen with a fast fly option, it would be easy for someone with a thread injector and a grommet kit to do.

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Venchka
05-10-2017, 13:25
I bet someone could rig something up using webbing and grommets to approximate the location of the grommets in the footprint for fly-only.

Based on the tents I have seen with a fast fly option, it would be easy for someone with a thread injector and a grommet kit to do.

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Why bother? There are tents on the market that don't require the extra trouble.
Wayne


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Ashepabst
05-11-2017, 11:13
I hardly ever use a footprint, but I always bring a plastic sheet on trips just so I have a dry place to sit or sprawl-out at the end of the day. when I'm hanging, it goes under my tarp where I wrap my gear in it for rain protection.

but, I'm not a thru-hiker so take it for what it's worth. I get to (have to) go home and hose off after a few days.

Ethesis
05-11-2017, 14:23
I bet someone could rig something up using webbing and grommets to approximate the location of the grommets in the footprint for fly-only.

Based on the tents I have seen with a fast fly option, it would be easy for someone with a thread injector and a grommet kit to do.

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Actually, you can use clear gorilla tape and plastic washers.

I use those hose on my polycro groundsheet.

Bansko
05-30-2017, 08:48
Footprints are a waste of space and weight. That's what I've found, although others may disagree for very legitimate reasons.

Tipi Walter
05-30-2017, 11:25
Pack your fears.

If you are afraid of getting small holes in the floor of your tent or having to pack your tent carefully when the floor is muddy, carry a footprint.

If you realized that small holes in the floor of your tent are easy to fix if you ever need to, and you can always fold your tent up in a way the the muddy floor doesn't get the rest of your tent dirty when packing it, then save the six oz. or so, along with the added clutter and do away with the footprint.


I definitely fear getting a punctured Thermarest inflatable sleeping pad---this is the main reason I carry a tent footprint. A flat pad can ruin a long backpacking trip, so all efforts must be used to keep the pad happy and inflated.

What's under my sleeping pad? My tent floor. Is my tent floor thick enough to prevent pinholes and thorn-holes? No. So I use an extra layer tarp (ground cloth) to keep the pinholes away. 10 mil is what I use.

Do this experiment---Find a rose bush and get a thorn off it---Now see if this thorn will poke thru your ground cloth. 10 mil turns back most thorns, especially when used in tandem with a tent floor. Ergo---A happy sleeping pad.

I also only use my ground cloth INSIDE the tent, for various reasons---

39493

Bansko
05-31-2017, 07:58
I definitely fear getting a punctured Thermarest inflatable sleeping pad---this is the main reason I carry a tent footprint. A flat pad can ruin a long backpacking trip, so all efforts must be used to keep the pad happy and inflated.

What's under my sleeping pad? My tent floor. Is my tent floor thick enough to prevent pinholes and thorn-holes? No. So I use an extra layer tarp (ground cloth) to keep the pinholes away. 10 mil is what I use.

Do this experiment---Find a rose bush and get a thorn off it---Now see if this thorn will poke thru your ground cloth. 10 mil turns back most thorns, especially when used in tandem with a tent floor. Ergo---A happy sleeping pad.

I also only use my ground cloth INSIDE the tent, for various reasons---

39493

I definitely agree with you that if you carry an inflatable you always run the risk of puncture with nothing but a tent floor under your pad. I deal with that by always putting a Gossamer Gear 1/8 inch foam pad under my inflatable. It's far better than any footprint for preventing punctures and it doubles as a fine sit pad while weighing less than 3 ounces. My Exped never had a puncture in 2200 miles using that system.

Tipi Walter
05-31-2017, 08:14
I definitely agree with you that if you carry an inflatable you always run the risk of puncture with nothing but a tent floor under your pad. I deal with that by always putting a Gossamer Gear 1/8 inch foam pad under my inflatable. It's far better than any footprint for preventing punctures and it doubles as a fine sit pad while weighing less than 3 ounces. My Exped never had a puncture in 2200 miles using that system.

That's a good system--to use a ccf pad under an inflatable. (Let's not talk about Exped quality control and the tendency for their downmats to blow baffle seams---see below).

The only problem with placing all your weight atop a ccf pad (under the inflatable) is that most backpackers in the Southeast mountains (think briars) place their ccf pads exposed on the outside of their packs. These pads work like pin cushions and get embedded briar thorns, sawbriars and hawthorn spikes which lodge inside the pad. THEN when you plop down in the evening your weight presses down on the ccf pad and pokes a hole in the inflatable with the unseen thorn.

39503
Blown exped baffle on Day 1 of a 19 day winter trip. Oops. And not self-healing.

lonehiker
05-31-2017, 08:17
That's a good system--to use a ccf pad under an inflatable. (Let's not talk about Exped quality control and the tendency for their downmats to blow baffle seams---see below).

The only problem with placing all your weight atop a ccf pad (under the inflatable) is that most backpackers in the Southeast mountains (think briars) place their ccf pads exposed on the outside of their packs. These pads work like pin cushions and get embedded briar thorns, sawbriars and hawthorn spikes which lodge inside the pad. THEN when you plop down in the evening your weight presses down on the ccf pad and pokes a hole in the inflatable with the unseen thorn.

39503
Blown exped baffle on Day 1 of a 19 day winter trip. Oops. And not self-healing.

Had this issue with a Thermarest in 2015. Was like sleeping on a basketball.

Bansko
05-31-2017, 08:27
I carried a Synmat, but I have seen a few photos of blown out Synmat baffles as well. Fortunately, I never experienced that.

Tipi Walter
05-31-2017, 08:46
Had this issue with a Thermarest in 2015. Was like sleeping on a basketball.

I've had many Thermarest delaminations over the years---this being my last blowout on a trip to Slickrock Creek in 2015---

39504
And don't think it makes a great pillow---It don't!!! And it keeps growing day by day. Luckily I had my Solar ccf pad in reserve.

Runner2017
04-22-2018, 11:43
According to BA, all their tents floors are just water-resistant only. You do need footprint to make it water-proof. Is the AT very dry trail? If so, you donít need to worry about that.

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Tipi Walter
04-22-2018, 12:00
According to BA, all their tents floors are just water-resistant only. You do need footprint to make it water-proof. Is the AT very dry trail? If so, you donít need to worry about that.

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If this is true, that all BA tent floors are not waterproof, then that's the stupidest thing a tent company can say. The whole point of a tent floor is to be waterproof with a high hydrostatic head. Why? Because on occasion if you're out long enough a tentsite will fill with water and form a small lake for short duration. A good tent floor keeps this water out!

42548
Oops, midnight gully washer---two inch deluge in 30 minutes---time for an excellent tent floor.

Bansko
05-06-2018, 12:08
I have no use for footprints. I much prefer to treat every external seam with sealant (using Tarptent's formula). I consider those precious ounces much better utilized that way. Not conjecture, experience.

BowGal
05-06-2018, 12:32
While a piece of tyvek would have been cheaper than my footprint, having a footprint with grommets allows me to insert the poles so the frame is up, then throw the fly on top. I can duck out of the rain and get into my backpack and pull out the main part of the tent and clip onto the poles.

Ive been timing myself for next years AT attempt...I can put up my tent in the rain in less than 5 minutes...and the only thing that is wet is the fly which I keep along with the poles and footprint on the outside of my pack.