View Full Version : Footprint Or Not...

11-04-2008, 13:22
Do i need a footprint for a thru hike? If so, what's the lightest homemade version I can use that will work?

If it matters to the answer of my question...We're looking at using an MSR Missing Link or a Double Rainbow...still in the trying both out phase.

I've never used a footprint with the DR, on several overnight trips only though.

Lone Wolf
11-04-2008, 13:33
Do i need a footprint for a thru hike?

no. i never used one

11-04-2008, 13:33
My vote would be a solid NO on the footprint.

That said, if the tent has a choice in flooring, I select the heavier material (couple ounces only).

11-04-2008, 13:38
no. i never used one

Good. I didn't want to carry one. And Thanks for the quick answer.

Bare Bear
11-04-2008, 15:35
Compromise. Use a heavy duty contractor type garbage bag. Very light. It costs about fifty cents per bag. Cut right it makes a 6 foot by 3.5 foot ground cloth. Use it for the early snow/rainy months. If it gets dirty, get another. Quieter than Tyvek. Not as strong. I have used mine as a tarp over cover too in heavy rain and was the envy of the hikers tenting by me.

11-04-2008, 15:48
I liked my Tyvek cloth. Esp if you are ever shelter bound d/t weather, etc as shelter floors can be nasty.

max patch
11-04-2008, 15:53
Difference between a "ground cloth" and a "footprint" is about 20 bucks.

Feral Bill
11-04-2008, 15:56
A groundcloth is nice to have at gravely car camping sites. I never use one backpacking

11-04-2008, 16:01
I've had some gravely camp sites near rivers (remember one in Maine). And muddy or snowy, slushy ones. Glad I had Tyvek myself, and to have a little poking out the bottom under the vestibule to rest dirty camp shoes and boots so as not to track mud into the tent. And as additional protection for my insulated air core pad from a rough object I may not have detected.

11-04-2008, 16:53
I use a cut-to-fit piece of tyvek, but I also live somewhere with really rock soil, cactus, and mesquite thorns.

Serial 07
11-04-2008, 18:15
if you're gonna thru hike, wait til you get to neels gap and buy some tyvek from mountain crossings if you want a ground cloth...oh, i remember snackies hiked with a very light shower curtain...so, i guess that's an option as well...if you have a tent that can be used with rainfly/footprint option, well, now i think that's the best...


11-04-2008, 18:23
I never use a footprint. Too expensive. I throw some tyvek inside my tent, or nothing at all. If the floor gets torn up, I hit it with some tent tape or duct tape.

11-04-2008, 18:27
A big NO. Unneccessary since the bottom of most tents will outlast the tent itself.

max patch
11-04-2008, 18:32

Those coated floors are tough.

11-04-2008, 18:33
Always used one. I like my tents to look brand new when I sell them on Ebay 5 years from now. Last thing I need is half a dozen smooshed slugs and other stains all over the floor.
Walmart - you can get a roll of 3mil contractor plastic 50'x10' for $4.99. Enough to last the rest of your life.

11-04-2008, 19:13
Well, I use a footprint. My theory is that it saves the wear and tear on the tent floor, thus keeping it watertight longer.

I also use the footprint when staying in a shelter. it keeps my sleeping bag cleaner from the grunge on the shelter floor.

11-04-2008, 19:26
No footprint for me. I have 3500 miles on my Tarptent Contrail, out west and on the AT, nothing on the ground below it, and it still looks like new. Save the 6 oz weight is my vote.

11-05-2008, 10:29
Most of this summer I didn't have a floor OR a groundcloth or footprint. Don't care if my tent floor gets dirty, and I never rely on my floor if I do have one to keep water out, I rely on site selection. Going light means getting rid of things that you think you might need but really don't.

Pedaling Fool
11-05-2008, 11:55
I used one for about 200 miles, then ditched it. The reasoning for using a groundcloth sounds good on paper, but in practice they're useless.

11-15-2008, 11:32
Tyvek or the Walmart special equiv.! Do it.