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  1. #1
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    Default Regarding footprints

    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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  2. #2

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    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.

  3. #3

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    BTW: Have fun on your hike!

  4. #4
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    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.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  5. #5

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    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.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scope View Post
    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?

  7. #7
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    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.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  8. #8

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    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.

  9. #9
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    ...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.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  10. #10
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Send it home.

  11. #11
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    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.

  12. #12
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    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.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  13. #13
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    Default

    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.

    Sent from my VS987 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
    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/galler...r&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.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  15. #15
    Registered User nadine3dogs's Avatar
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    Has anyone used plastic sheeting from the hardware store for a footprint? If so, what mil would be thick enough? Thanks in advance!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nadine3dogs View Post
    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.

  17. #17
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    Send it home ! Unless it really does weigh nothing. :0)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nadine3dogs View Post
    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.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by nadine3dogs View Post
    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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
    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.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

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