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Thread: Tent Footprint

  1. #1
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    Default Tent Footprint

    Can someone please give some advice about the merit/necessity of using a tent footprint? And if they're so essential, why are they not included with the tent? (And while we're on that subject, could packs not just come with a rain cover.... really?)

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    Not needed, but I use one. Just regular old painter's drop cloth, maybe the 2 or 3 mil thickness.

  3. #3

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    Money is probably one reason neither come with footprint or cover. As far as merits go, I have a footprint for my tent that I don't always use just depends on where and when I'm going. The main reason I got it was that it allows me to do the fly and footprint only set-up eliminating the tent body thus saving weight. Spring and fall mainly. In the winter it has kept my tent floor from freezing to the ground. You asked a good question and you'll get a lot of pros and cons that may help you decide if either are for you.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

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    Registered User Damn Yankee's Avatar
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    Not a necessity but, if your buying a high priced tent I would use one as I also do. I don't know why they aren't included other than another option to make more money. Same with the paw prints and rain covers for packs. I do have two packs that actually came with covers and wasn't an expensive pack either from High Sierra.

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    Necessary No. Essential No. It acts as an extra protective barrier between the round and your tent floor. Helps keep your tent floor clean on the bottom so you are not packing dirt in your pack. Most people carry the footprint in an outer pack pocket and use it to sit on at breaks. They aren't included, as many people don't use them and it saves the manufacturer money. They also can pick up an extra $10.00-$20.00 when you buy one.
    Blackheart

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    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    As a tent manufacturer, of silnylon lightweight tents, I do recommend them for my tents. I've seen tents come back after a thru hike when a footprint wasn't used. There are a LOT of micro abrasions and wear spots that are very thin on the floor of the tent.

    I sell tyvek footprints, but tyvek can be heavy, and bulky. Polycro or plastic sheeting works well too. it packs up smaller and weighs less than tyvek. The 'big' manufactures usually have an even heavier footprint that is a pu coated nylon.

    As to why they don't come with the tent - not every one wants one, just like stakes - they can be a very personal choice,

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRISTINE2015 View Post
    Can I please get some advice on the merits/necessity of using a tent footprint, and if they're so essential, why aren't they included with the dang tent?!
    i never use one. not necessary. and i've spent hundreds of nights in a tent if that means anything

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    Necessary No. Essential No. It acts as an extra protective barrier between the round and your tent floor. Helps keep your tent floor clean on the bottom so you are not packing dirt in your pack. Most people carry the footprint in an outer pack pocket and use it to sit on at breaks. They aren't included, as many people don't use them and it saves the manufacturer money. They also can pick up an extra $10.00-$20.00 when you buy one.
    Some of the foot prints are in the 30-40 dollar range...crazy!

  9. #9

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    The answer to your question is: The large retail tent sellers have to compete on price, and therefore market their products with price points. A footprint is an add-on option (with a high margin) that a retailer can entice you to purchase after you have made up your mind on a particular tent. Just don’t let a salesman sell you insoles for your footprint.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    As a tent manufacturer, of silnylon lightweight tents, I do recommend them for my tents. I've seen tents come back after a thru hike when a footprint wasn't used. There are a LOT of micro abrasions and wear spots that are very thin on the floor of the tent.

    I sell tyvek footprints, but tyvek can be heavy, and bulky. Polycro or plastic sheeting works well too. it packs up smaller and weighs less than tyvek. The 'big' manufactures usually have an even heavier footprint that is a pu coated nylon.

    As to why they don't come with the tent - not every one wants one, just like stakes - they can be a very personal choice,
    So, in your observations which is more susceptible to damage, not just cosmetics, an unprotected silnylon floor or unprotected cuben fiber floor?


    Once upon a time, you recommended 3 mil plastic sheeting – available from the paint department at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. -- cut to fit under the LightHeart Solo.

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    Realize you've reopened a debate we had here on WB a few months ago.

    But in the end, some people love them for the various positive reasons already listed above, and some people just consider them extra weight.
    About the only positive I don't see listed above is that many footprints are designed to let you use just the footprint, rainfly, and poles. That option makes for a lighter pack should you plan to do a bunch of shelter camping, but want something of a backup to get out of the rain. (You save the weight of the tent body)

    In the end, you have to decide if the kind of camping YOU normally do would make a footprint worth the weight.

    For example, if you camp infrequently and usually camp in grassy fields, a ground cloth is more likely to be a waste.
    If you camp frequently that sometimes includes hard surfaces (gravel, rocks, bare spots), a ground cloth will prolong the life of the tent floor.

    You can always start by making your own ground cloth from the 3mil plastic Ace pointed out, or any number of other relatively cheap fabrics (sheets of tyvek, cheap tarp from walmart, etc). After a few camping trips, you can decide if your cheap custom ground cloth is worth it, if you want to forgo a ground cloth, or you want to spend the money to upgrade. No need to start with a manufacturer's ground cloth until you know YOU want to use one.

    BTW, one of the nice things about a custom ground cloth is that you can include a spot under the rain fly outside the door to keep yourself out of the mud/dirt/etc just outside your tent (but protected from rain by rain fly).

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakey_snake View Post
    edited: poor analogy in poor in taste...

    shakey snake huh ...oooookay
    Last edited by Sly; 07-20-2014 at 11:16.

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    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ace View Post
    So, in your observations which is more susceptible to damage, not just cosmetics, an unprotected silnylon floor or unprotected cuben fiber floor?


    Once upon a time, you recommended 3 mil plastic sheeting – available from the paint department at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. -- cut to fit under the LightHeart Solo.
    I still recommend the 3ml plastic as an alternative to tyvek. I'ts cheaper, lighter and packs up smaller, but it's not as durable. As for the difference between cuben and sil - it can depend on the weight of the cuben, and useage

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    Ricky and his Husky Jack
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    packs don't come with rain covers?

    all 4 of my packs came with them.
    Me: Ricky
    Husky: Jack
    Skeeter-Beeter Pro Hammock.
    From Dalton, Georgia (65 mi above Altanta, 15mi south of Chattanooga)

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    I don't use a footprint with my tent in order to save weight. I am careful as to where I set it up.

    As for the pack cover, you are asking the wrong question. What you should be asking is, "Why isn't my pack waterproof?"

    Mine is, so I don't carry a cover for it.

  16. #16

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    Do you wear a raincoat when you use an umbrella?
    Some do but it's a bit overkill aye?
    Same with footprints.
    Jeez: I don't even have a floor in my tent.

    As for packcovers coming with tents when they are bought: Not a bad idea but 90% of packs sold are not going to be used in the rain.
    They are for the weekender who checks the weather report before deciding to go.
    Of course, many overseas backpackers use them to prevent theft.
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    Five months on the trail...no footprint...no problems

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty bumper View Post
    Five months on the trail...no footprint...no problems
    Brand and model of tent please?
    Thanks.

    Wayne


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    Tarptent Moment. Spent well over 100 nights in it on my hike.

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    I use a footprint for my Copper Spur UL3 when my wife and I backpack and it will go with us on our thru hike. I personally think it is a small weight penalty to provide the additional protection for a very expensive tent. But HYOH, everyone has their own ideas of what they need and don't need. I also use a tyvek footprint for my Tarptent Rainshadow. As for pack covers coming with a pack. I certainly am not an expert but no pack I have ever purchased (2 Granite Gear and 2 ULAs) came with a pack cover. The cover had to be purchased separately. Just my experience. HYOH!

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