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  1. #1

    Default Making a Groundcloth

    I have two questions that you might be able to help me with. (1) is a 3-mil contractor-grade trash bag an appropriate material to use? (2) what shape should the groundcloth be relative to the tent? In my mind, it should match the footprint of the tent MINUS about an inch all around, so that if it's raining the rain won't hit the groundcloth and pool up under the tent. Is this correct? Third question: (3) Does anyone know how to make line-breaks in a forum post here? All of my text is running into itself.

  2. #2

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    Question 1: It should work. I use a 2mil painters drop cloth cut to fit my tent. Lighter than tyvek, and only a few bucks at your local hardware store.

    Question 2: You are correct.... Cut it just a tad smaller than your tent's foot print.

    Question 3: The return key usually works well to create line breaks, whether on my phone or on my computer. There may be a setting you changed under your preferences to make it post on hitting the return key. I saw that once on another forum. I'm not sure this one has that option, and I doubt it's the default setting even if WB does.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

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  3. #3

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    1) No, plastic trash bags (even the heavy duty contractor bags) will puncture or rip too easily. It will work for a few days, but will start to shred before long. Tyvek might be a tad heavy, but it will last a very long time.

    2) The edges of the the ground cloth should not extend beyond the edge of the tent or fly.

    3) This site does not like the Windows 7 "explorer" browser, you will not get the paragraph breaks. You might try Foxfire or Chrome for a browser instead.
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  4. #4
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Tyvek is long-lasting, but it's heavy. We use polycryo, which is that window sheeting that you attach to your windows with a blow dryer (available at most hardware stores plus at goassamer gear and other places online). It looks like saran wrap but is surprisingly durable. One sheet should last for an entire thru-hike and will weigh about an ounce for a 1-person tent.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    1) No, plastic trash bags (even the heavy duty contractor bags) will puncture or rip too easily. It will work for a few days, but will start to shred before long. Tyvek might be a tad heavy, but it will last a very long time.
    Where do you get Tyvek? I've gone to all three local hardware stores and no one has even heard of it. There is a Home Depot in the next town I can drive to, and I guess they'll have it?

    I wonder if it will be possible to buy just enough of it, and not a huge amount.

    Have you ever used Tyvek tape? It sounds like gear repair tape on steroids and I wonder if you've used it. I might try the polycro suggestion of burger's if I can't find Tyvek.

  6. #6

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    Tyvek tape is just overpriced packing/shipping tape. Just a plastic film with adhesive. You are looking for tyvek house wrap. Unless you want to buy a huge roll for $55 , drive by some construction sites after quitting time and look for scraps, or plenty of people selling precut on ebay for about $10.

    Better yet, forget about it. The tent dont need it. Bring a 3x7piece for shelters.

  7. #7

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    I'm making a Polycro ground cloth for my 6 Moon Lunar Solo and will make it slightly smaller than the tent floor except for allowing some to extend out into the vestibule area. How much into the vestibule area, I'm not sure yet.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Where do you get Tyvek? I've gone to all three local hardware stores and no one has even heard of it. There is a Home Depot in the next town I can drive to, and I guess they'll have it?

    I wonder if it will be possible to buy just enough of it, and not a huge amount.

    Have you ever used Tyvek tape? It sounds like gear repair tape on steroids and I wonder if you've used it. I might try the polycro suggestion of burger's if I can't find Tyvek.
    Yes, Home Depot has it. However, they may not sell you sized sheets of it. You may have to buy the whole roll, which is around $50. You can actually go onto ebay and find people who sell them sized to the size you need for much cheaper. That's how I got mine.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Tyvek tape is just overpriced packing/shipping tape. Just a plastic film with adhesive. You are looking for tyvek house wrap. Unless you want to buy a huge roll for $55 , drive by some construction sites after quitting time and look for scraps, or plenty of people selling precut on ebay for about $10. Better yet, forget about it. The tent dont need it. Bring a 3x7piece for shelters.
    I was referring to Tyvek tape as a gear repair tape, but I do get that the tape and the house wrap are different and it's the house wrap that could be used for a groundcloth. You say to forget a groundcloth but to bring a 3x7 piece for shelters. Are you saying that if you have like a tarp shelter, some Tyvek is useful as a ground but with a tent, it's not necessary? Is that true that a tent won't need a groundcloth? I thought that since you're often pitching on rocky ground, it might rip and it might leak on wet grass?

  10. #10
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    I just finished making a Tyvek ground cloth. I decided to go custom, so that I could make a little entryway that I can sit on for entry/exit, but will fold in once I am in my tent, to keep rain from puddling. (It looks like a rectangular piece sticking out from the tent profile.)

    I bought the material on Amazon. (Search Tyvek 1443.) I didn't use tape. I bought some glue (Weldbond, which happens to be vegan and cruelty free). I overlapped where I had to create a seam, and I glued the Tyvek to itself.

    20150327_192615.jpg

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    I was referring to Tyvek tape as a gear repair tape, but I do get that the tape and the house wrap are different and it's the house wrap that could be used for a groundcloth. You say to forget a groundcloth but to bring a 3x7 piece for shelters. Are you saying that if you have like a tarp shelter, some Tyvek is useful as a ground but with a tent, it's not necessary? Is that true that a tent won't need a groundcloth? I thought that since you're often pitching on rocky ground, it might rip and it might leak on wet grass?
    Generally dont need a groundcloth for tents. Standard tent will hold up ok. Its not useless, it can cut condensation by reducing moisture from the ground, but not worth the weight in most opinions for long distance backpacking. Most keep a piece for sleeping in shelters.

    Im pointion out that tyvek tape isnt made of tyvek. Its for taping the tyvek sheeting down, its like packaging tape.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Im pointion out that tyvek tape isnt made of tyvek. Its for taping the tyvek sheeting down, its like packaging tape.
    Ah! got it. Thank you!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singto View Post
    I'm making a Polycro ground cloth for my 6 Moon Lunar Solo and will make it slightly smaller than the tent floor except for allowing some to extend out into the vestibule area. How much into the vestibule area, I'm not sure yet.
    Where did you get teh Polycro and how was it packaged? I just came back from a couple of hardware stores and they hadn't heard of it. (Of course, these are the same people who had never heard the word Tyvek.) What they did have was the stuff that goes over your window but it was really really thin and it's made to shrink under heat. Also they had rolls of 3mil plastic, but that's the same as a contractor bag so no real gain there over my original thought.

  14. #14
    Registered User Benjaminja77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Where do you get Tyvek? I've gone to all three local hardware stores and no one has even heard of it. There is a Home Depot in the next town I can drive to, and I guess they'll have it?

    I wonder if it will be possible to buy just enough of it, and not a huge amount.

    Have you ever used Tyvek tape? It sounds like gear repair tape on steroids and I wonder if you've used it. I might try the polycro suggestion of burger's if I can't find Tyvek.
    I just got some Tyvek from ZPacks.com under their 'materials' tab. They have two pre-cut options or you can get a custom order. My sheet is 5'x9' and I will cut it down a bit and make a bathtub groundsheet. It cost $12.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan Packer View Post

    Are those vegan valves?
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    Walk it off.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    I have two questions that you might be able to help me with. (1) is a 3-mil contractor-grade trash bag an appropriate material to use? (2) what shape should the groundcloth be relative to the tent? In my mind, it should match the footprint of the tent MINUS about an inch all around, so that if it's raining the rain won't hit the groundcloth and pool up under the tent. Is this correct? Third question: (3) Does anyone know how to make line-breaks in a forum post here? All of my text is running into itself.
    TO NUMBER 1: The whole point of a ground cloth is to keep pinholes and thorn holes out of your inflatable sleeping pad. So, it needs to be thick enough to repel such holes. Do this home test:

    Take your ground cloth at home and find a rose thorn or bramble thorn and try to push the thorn thru the ground cloth. If it punctures it easily the ground cloth is useless and so go with something beefier and thicker. Also remember you'll have a tent floor too which adds an extra layer of protection. (But most lightweight tent floors are 20 or 30 denier, way too thin to protect against pinholes, hence the need for a ground cloth.

    SECOND POINT: I never put my ground cloth under the tent on the outside bottom and instead place the ground cloth inside the tent as seen in the below pics. Why? Cuz in a deluge downpour ground water will run under the tent in sheets or pool forming a small temporary lake and this water will sandwich between the tent floor and the lower ground cloth forming non-draining puddles. Not good.

    Therefore put the ground cloth inside the tent. This will keep pinholes away plus allow ground water to drain away from the tent floor. Plus, in the winter when there is tent floor condensation, an inner ground cloth will keep the moisture between the cloth and the tent floor.


    Here's my example of a inner ground cloth.



    Another example of a different ground cloth.

    What's the best ground cloth? I have found the walmart style blue tarps work best, cut to size. Or their variations. Some are thin, some are thick. The thicker the better within reason. Do thorn test as above.

    IMPORTANT HOME TEST: To find the best ground cloth, do this at-home test:

    Use water hose in backyard and fill up a puddle in the grass. Place ground cloth completely over puddle. Sit on top for 5 minutes. If any water seeps thru the cloth is not going to work. In my tests I have therefore found the walmart style tarps work best and keep water out (along with turning away thorns).

    I did this water test with regular urethane and silnylon tent floors and they all failed (because many of them are woven fabric). Tyvek will leak like a sponge with weight pressure i.e. hydrostatic head.

  17. #17
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    Muddy Waters said it well, why some don't carry a ground cloth with a tent. And when I cowboy camp or sleep in a shelter, I just use the tent as a groundcloth and sleep on top of it.

    Tipi Walter has a good suggestion for a waterproof layer use inside the tent. I use that same concept even though I don't carry a ground cloth. My closed cell foam (CCF) pad is waterproof in itself but it's only half-length. So I use my trash compactor bag pack liner under my legs and feet to complete the protection. I can sleep in a minor lake like that, but I try to pay more attention to where I pitch my tent so that never happens (anymore).

    By the way, the maker of my tent, Tarptent, says in their website FAQs that they virtually never get a tent back for floor repair and they do not recommend carrying a ground cloth for floor protection. I personally have not used one for well over a decade and my last Tarptent lasted over 7000 trail miles without one, including lots of nights in spiny desert and rocky tundra. It finally started to fail at the guy line attachments, the canopy was showing some wear, and the netting zipper wasn't perfect, but the floor was comparatively pristine. (My CCF pad is puncture proof so no worries there.)
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  18. #18

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    We use a huge sheet to Tyvek, with at least a foot of extra on the sides of the tent where we get in and out. The extra is so that we have a fairly clean place to stand and put our shoes, cooking gear, etc under the fly. Water pooling has never been a problem with our tent; SMD rainshadow II). Another advantage of a large tyvek ground cloth is that we put it down in filthy shelters and then there's a fairly clean place for two of us to put down our bags and gear. Ours weighs about a pound, but we love it and make up for the weight somewhere else. We have hundreds of days on this sheet and have laundered it several times, still no holes.

  19. #19
    Registered User Gram Weenie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newToThrough View Post
    Where did you get teh Polycro and how was it packaged? I just came back from a couple of hardware stores and they hadn't heard of it. (Of course, these are the same people who had never heard the word Tyvek.) What they did have was the stuff that goes over your window but it was really really thin and it's made to shrink under heat. Also they had rolls of 3mil plastic, but that's the same as a contractor bag so no real gain there over my original thought.
    Six moon design sells polycro ground sheets on their website.cheap
    Ebay has Tyvek ground sheets ready to use,cheap

  20. #20
    Registered User Gram Weenie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gram Weenie View Post
    Six moon design sells polycro ground sheets on their website.cheap
    Ebay has Tyvek ground sheets ready to use,cheap
    Here you go...Six moon design has polycro and tyvek ground sheets for sale,cheap
    Click the link below.

    http://sixmoondesigns.com/shelter-accessories.html

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