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  1. #1
    Baron
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    Default So...who uses ground cloths?

    I've been wondering whether or not it's actually needed to bring along ground cloths for tents. This may be the very last bit of Scouting in me(where we always carried ground clothes and gi-normous Coleman stoves) but for the life of me I'm having a hard time picturing tenting without a ground cloth.

    Wouldn't that more easily damage the tent floor if I left it at home? Or, as Jason Klass suggests, do hikers cycle through tents quick enough that the benefits of ground cloths never outweigh, well, the weight?
    ‎"You know your camping trip really isn't going well when you find yourself hoping to stave off sepsis with a six-pack of Icehouse. "

    "Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin."

  2. #2
    Registered User thelowend's Avatar
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    With my tarptent moment I haven't used a groundcloth yet and it has held up great in heavy, heavy rain.. pools of water starting to form around the tent..all that mess.. The seam sealed silnylon floor did great and got a little damp on the inside but a groundcloth right next to it probably wouldn't have helped much..

  3. #3
    A Special Breed of Crazy FFTorched's Avatar
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    Tents? Who uses tents, it's all about the bivy sac. Though watchout for killer morning headache in the morning if you don't get enough air in your sleep system.
    " It's a fool's life, a rogue's life, and a good life if you keep laughing all the way to the grave." -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4

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    Ground cloths are a waste of time/money.

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I carry a ground sheet, but not for under my tent. It's a Gossamer Gear polycro groundsheet, cut in half, and weighs less than an ounce.

    It's useful when I want to pack up gear on wet ground, or take a break, or put it under my head area in a shelter, etc.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I carry a piece of tyvek - about 4' x 5' and use it for all kinds of stuff. Very handy to have around.

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    What about the ever-popular tent "footprints"? Seems like added insurance when you're forced to pitch on a rocky patch.

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    When I got my Tarptent Contrail a few years ago, I decided to try an experiment and leave the Tyvek ground cloth behind. Five thousand trail miles later (lots of those in desert) the tent floor is fine. I have not missed the ground cloth at all.

    I checked with Henry Shires (Tarptent maker) and he verified that he almost never gets a tent back for floor repair. He wasn't surprised when I told him my story. It's not a matter of cycling through gear. The gear is tougher than we think.
    "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

  9. #9
    Registered User cowboy nichols's Avatar
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    I've used an emergecy blanket for years .when I don't tent just use it under my sleeping bag to keep the bag clean cheap and strong.

  10. #10

    Default

    One of my sons will be using a GG Polycryo Ground Cloth with my GG Squall Classic this week. It's a little extra protection from twigs poking through the bottom of the tent. My other son and I will be in hammocks this week. The holes in the bottom of a couple of our other tents came from setting up in the dark, tenting in thick woods and not using a ground cloth. If you can avoid either of the first two, you may not need a ground cloth.

  11. #11
    Wild at Heart J5man's Avatar
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    Good points. When I tent, I use a small piece of painter's plastic drop cloth so it isn't overly heavy and dirt cheap. Good feedback on this subject.

  12. #12
    Registered User Yukon's Avatar
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    I sometimes ask myself why anyone ever asks a question on this forum, because the wide range of answers you get can be astounding. You know what they say about opinions...

    Do what you feel would work best for you...

  13. #13
    Registered User tlap's Avatar
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    I use the footprint that's made for my tent (Fly Creek UL1).
    • I have no intention of replacing my tent any time soon, and want to avoid damage to its floor.
    • In a drenching rain, I can pitch the fly and footprint, then hang the tent inside that, which keeps the inside of the tent dry. Works in reverse for taking it down in the rain.
    I travel light, but not ultralight. This is a 4oz. compromise that makes sense to me.

    I, for one, enjoy these open ended discussions. Of course, there is no universal answer, but the reasons behind the opinions are interesting.
    Sometimes I feel like I am walking in my own shadow.

  14. #14
    Registered User
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    While on my July 4th trip, Camping at Dolly Copp Campground, I had to set up in the designated area which is gravel, I noticed the Nemo Meta 2P black tent floor had white marks where sharp stones were pressing against it, Not sure how close they were to puncturing the floor, And I swept the gravel/dirt ground prior to pitching, So I ordered the Nemo Footprint, I figure it's cheaper than spending 350 for a new tent, I am not sure that I really want to add another 10 ounces to my pack so I will test it and determine if it is worth carrying. Either way it's good to have it for the gravel campgrounds.

  15. #15
    Registered User Yukon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlap View Post
    I use the footprint that's made for my tent (Fly Creek UL1).
    • I have no intention of replacing my tent any time soon, and want to avoid damage to its floor.
    • In a drenching rain, I can pitch the fly and footprint, then hang the tent inside that, which keeps the inside of the tent dry. Works in reverse for taking it down in the rain.
    I travel light, but not ultralight. This is a 4oz. compromise that makes sense to me.

    I, for one, enjoy these open ended discussions. Of course, there is no universal answer, but the reasons behind the opinions are interesting.
    I have the same theory with our tent, we use the footprint made for our Big Agnes Coppur Spur UL3.

    I also like the open ended discussions, this one just struck me as funny this time. I have read so many threads where the amount of differing opinions was enough to make your head spin, when I read this one it just made me chuckle

  16. #16
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon View Post
    ...I have read so many threads where the amount of differing opinions was enough to make your head spin, when I read this one it just made me chuckle
    I know what you mean, I do that a lot too when reading this forum.

    But it is good to get the range of opinions and methods out there for folks who may not know there even is a range. Like the OP, I was "stuck" in my scouting days for decades, believing that a ground cloth (and lots of other gear) was a necessity. I made the decision to leave mine behind without the input of an internet forum--I hadn't even heard of WB. If I had, I may have been prompted to make the decision earlier. Now I see quite a few others don't carry one either, and I didn't know that. Same with stoveless hiking--if I'd have known others were doing it, I might have made the change a little earlier.

    There's another thread going now about what you like about WB, and this is one of them for me.
    "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

  17. #17

    Default

    I always bring a ground sheet of some sort. Never know where you have to pitch sometimes and the protection can come in handy. The few ounces is worth it. I actually just picked up an emergency blanket to try under tent. Could be the best $4- that I spent.
    I got a fitted foot print for my MSR Skinny Too real cheap, but other than that, I never spend the ridiculously price that they cost. Unless you plan on using the fly only pitch.
    When night falls she cloaks the world in impenetrable darkness, A chill rises from the soil and contaminates the air, suddenly....life has new meaning.

  18. #18

    Default

    A nice piece of tyvek can be used for several things other than a ground cloth. Water collection, extra wrap if you're too cold, flag, dish pan (line ditch in ground), and folded a nice seat on a rock at lunch, I'm sure there are more uses......
    ad astra per aspera

  19. #19
    Registered User buzzamania's Avatar
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    Totally useless if you hang in a hennessy hammock. although I do keep a 2x2 sheet of tyvek on hand to put my gear on and to set my camp shoes on under my fly.
    alifelongpursuit.blogspot.com

  20. #20
    A♣ K♣ Q♣ J♣ 10♣ Luddite's Avatar
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    How much do you think a 6 x 2 piece of Tyvek would weigh?

    And where can you buy in in small quantities?
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
    -Edward Abbey

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