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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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Old 08-16-2014, 07:02 AM
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Balzaccom Balzaccom is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 188
WE are a bit different in this regard. Agree about the width of a groundsheet. I like the tent to hang over the edges a few inches on every side.

But we always cut our groundsheets about two feet longer than the tent. (Our tent door is at one end of the tent, rather than on the side.) This gives us what my wife calls our porch. It's a very convenient place to put a few things during the night, and it makes getting in and out of the tent a lot easier and cleaner.

Of course, under threat of rain this section gets folded under the tent....
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:53 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 471
For years I've never used a ground cloth under my tents.
I always chose a site I know will drain and has ground cover.
I cull the tent spot of sticks, rocks, pine cones and other pokey items.
Then I set up.

I only use a ground cloth with a tarp and in AT shelters (which are dirty).
I use a 4 mil contractors bag squared at the opening and slit up each side to the bottom seam.
The GC is roughly 2 X 7 and weighed 4.65 oz.
I used one last year on my 11 week AT section hike.
I only used the tarp & GC 5X and the GC in the shelters the rest of the time.
The trash bag GC never got one rip or hole on that 625 mile trip.

This year I did a two week section on the AT.
To lighten the load I decided to use a different GC material.
I picked up a 10' X 12', 2 mil, biodegradable plastic drop cloth.
It cost about $6 which is pricey compared to the trash bag.
At home it appeared to be a flimsy green thing that caused some doubt.
But, I cut off a 3' X 7' piece that weighed in at 3.15 oz.

I only used the GC twice under the tarp and the rest of the times in the shelters.
The drop cloth GC never got one rip or hole on that 86 mile trip.

I could save some fractional weight by trimming the width.
But, I found that 3 X 7 gave me some extra room for gear too.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:01 PM
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wgiles wgiles is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 3
I made my bivy bag and ended up putting a zipper down the middle of it because it was just too hot without one. I tried it out last night with my climashield quilt as the low hit 49 F. It worked fine and I was quite comfortable. I slept under a tarp with an end closure and had a piece of tyvek next to me to cover the grass. The dew was noticeable and evident on the inside of my tarp as well as the grass. I can't sit up under my tarp without brushing my head on the tarp and bringing down some of the condensation. Being old, I can't put my pants on without standing up. If I try to put them on without standing up, I get leg cramps. If step out from under the tarp, I'm standing on wet grass, which I don't want to do. If I put a piece of coated fabric outside the tarp to stand on, it would be wet with dew just like the grass. I think that I will cut a piece of coated nylon about 3 Ft. square that I can stand on and set it outside as I get out. I might try a piece of Tyvek, since it doesn't appear to attract dew as much as coated nylon. I don't need this at night, since i don't put my pants on when I get out from the tarp. I could pitch my tarp higher, but I have been pitching it with the tail end tight to the ground as if in a storm. I got up around 5:30 AM this morning, with sunrise at about 6:30 AM. When I struck camp at about 8:30 AM, the the tarp was still covered with dew as was the bottom of my bivy bag, so I'll have to resign myself to packing it wet. This means that the tarp and bivy will need to be packed in waterproof bags and stored away from my dry gear. I don't see a major problem since I believe that the wet gear will dry out quickly when pitched, but I don't want it to get my other gear wet.
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