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Gear Workshop The Gear Workshop forum is for the discussion of homemade backpacking gear, gear modifications, and repairs.


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  #1  
Old 01-10-2013, 11:57 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Groundsheet Size

For those who cut their own groundsheets from lightweight material, what size do you make them?

For use under a solo tent, I cut them about 22-24" wide and about 78-84" long. For use under a tarp, depending on the type of trip, I may cut and bring a double-wide (44-48") groundsheet at the aforementioned length.

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  #2  
Old 01-13-2013, 02:33 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
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I usually make my own groundsheets. I match the shape of the groundsheet to the shape of the shelter floor, minus about 2" all the way around so it's slightly smaller that the floor. The idea is to keep rain from running off the sides of the shelter onto the groundsheet and inside the shelter.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:13 AM
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Balzaccom Balzaccom is offline
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Gervin has the right idea. If the sheet extends out beyond the side of your tent, it will collect water in a rainstorm, and direct it back under the floor of your tent.

Of course, the other option is to make it larger, and folder under the edges to accomplish the same goal.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:42 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
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Location: California
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I'll add that in a real dowpour, even with the 2" short groundcloth, it may be necessary to dig a trench just under where the rain runs off the shelter onto the ground - which is pretty much the exact size and shape of the shelter. If done properly, it will channel the water downhill and away from the inside of the shelter. This is a good trick with a tent, but far more important with a tarp or shaped tarp. Just be sure your tent "moat" has a downhill outlet that channels the water away from you and your shelter. It's more of a challenge to maintain "leave no trace" ethics when you dig a tent moat (you can fill it back in but it won't be quick or easy), but in a real downpour, you won't be left wondering if you did the right thing. You and your 2" short groundcloth will be dry.

Last edited by GGervin : 01-14-2013 at 01:48 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2013, 02:08 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I've witnessed far too many groundsheets that have extended beyond the canopy/fly. This, of course, results in the unwanted pooling of water (precip).

Some may feel that I go too far in the opposite direction, because I make the groundsheet significantly smaller than the shelter itself.

For tents: I'm only concerned about the groundsheet being large enough to cover the area that my body weight will impact. So, I generally make the groundsheet a little bigger than my mat. It's unlikely that I'll ever put my weight anywhere else, and any gear that I put off to a side is not heavy enough to cause any problems. [By the way, I've had more than one instance in which even a full footprint/groundsheet did not keep the outside bottom of a tent clean.]

For tarps: I'll opt for a larger (though significantly smaller than tarp coverage) groundsheet - enough for myself/mat and some gear. This size increase is primarily due to the fact that there is no floor.

Reality
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2013, 02:31 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
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I never considered a groundsheet under a tent that covered only the sleeping area, not the whole tent floor. Seems like that's a pretty good idea. I've always liked visqueen as a groundsheet, but it tends to be pretty heavy if used to cover the entire floor area. A visqueen sleep pad sized groundsheet might be pretty clever. I'll have to try it. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:56 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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I use 2' x 7' groundsheets directly under the sleep area.
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2013, 09:10 PM
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Like many (and you, GGervin, I'm sure), I preen my shelter site prior to placing my groundsheet and pitching my shelter. This makes using a smaller groundsheet even more successful. [I've known of a few others that cut their groundsheets smaller, and I suspect many more do this by now.]

I don't strip weight from my gear for weights sake. But I do like reducing weight when it's something as unnecessary (for me) as groundsheet material that doesn't really offer much protection (because I do not put weight on those parameter areas).

Some may like a little more groundsheet in their shelter threshold and/or vestibule area. I don't do this, because I'm able to enter directly on to my mat/pad. I've also used my sit pad (sometimes just a tyvek envelope) to put my pack or shoes on in the vestibule.

Reality
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  #9  
Old 08-14-2014, 05:42 PM
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wgiles wgiles is offline
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I've made ground sheets for tents that have floors, with the idea that they would protect the floor of the tent from sharp objects. I would use Tyvek or cheap blue poly tarp material for these and cut them just smaller than the tent floor. I've made ground sheets for tents without floors and cut them a little bit smaller than the ones for tents with floors. My intended purpose for these groundsheets was to keep me off the ground and to provide a moisture barrier between me and the ground. I'm now thinking about ground sheets for tarps. In the past, I've used all sorts of things, mostly smaller tarps. For tarp camping, I think that the ground sheet should be large enough for me and my gear, but significantly smaller than the tarp that I'm camping under. I'm wondering whether I should rethink my approach to the tarp groundsheet. A lightweight bivy might be a better way to keep me and my sleeping gear dry and small pads of waterproof material might be a better way to keep my gear dry. When I get out of my bed, I want something dry that I can stand on and put my shoes on. I have a three foot square piece of vinyl fabric that I tried the last time I was out with my tarp. I set it just outside the tarp and could stand on it when I got up. I'm wearing socks and I don't want them to get wet. It worked OK. The vinyl is a bit heavier than I would like to pack around, but it's stiff and doesn't sink under my feet. My tarp pitches too low for me to stand while I'm under it and, being an old guy, it's hard for me to get on my feet without having something to grab and pull myself up. I think that part of that is that my balance isn't what it used to be. If I make a bivy, I'll probably use a silnylon bathtub bottom and a breathable ripstop cover. I don't want to use zippers or other complicated fasteners. I might use tie straps or elastic, I haven't thought that far ahead. What I think that I want from the bivy is protection from moisture below and the tarp should protect me from moisture above. At this point, I'm just looking for ideas.
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  #10  
Old 08-14-2014, 08:30 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Even if I use a smaller section of a groundsheet material for my gear, I still want a groundsheet for under my bivy.

So, I use a groundsheet that is large enough for me (bivy or not) and my gear (with a little extra room, but obviously well withing the tarp's perimeter.

Reality
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