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#199055 - 09/10/17 02:24 AM Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet?
Weston1000 Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 15
1. Can plasticizer from the footprint under a tent harm the waterproof coating of it's groundsheet?

2. I want to make a cheap footprint for a small double walled light-weight tent. This tent is expensive and modern, and is made of synthetic fibre.

3. The ground-sheet of this tent is very thin, like the fabric of an umbrella. This ground-sheet has a waterproof coating, and forms a bathtub floor, that is sewn to the walls of the inner tent.

4. I have read stories, that one should not use a piece of ordinary plastic sheet as a footprint, since that plastic might harm the watertight coating of the tent ground-sheet. Plasticizer from the plastic footprint would harm the coating of the ground-sheet in that proces.

5. Is this a real danger, or is it a myth, that is made up by manufacturers, who want to sell expensive footprints?

6. If this would be a real danger, how fast will this harm be done, and in what weather temperature range?

7. Could I then repair that type of damage, by applying a new layer of coating to the underside of the groundsheet, by spraying or brushing?

8. Which footprint materials could harm the coating of a tent groundsheet? Like PVC, or PE, etc.?

9. Which footprint materials are safe in this respect?

10. Where could I find information or discussion on the internet, concerning these questions?

11. Wikipedia on plasticizer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasticizer

Thanks for your replies.


Edited by Weston1000 (09/10/17 06:09 PM)

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#199077 - 09/11/17 02:21 PM Re: Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet? [Re: Weston1000]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 839
Loc: Torrance, CA
I've never heard of the issue. I have experienced breaking down of the waterproof coating due to moisture. I suppose if you leave a tent on the plastic sheet for a long time it could start to break down the coatings if it traps moisture. In my experience the breaking down of the coating takes years not days.

I no longer use a footprint backpacking and haven't had any issues. People who do use them recommend tyvek or polycryo.

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#199079 - 09/11/17 03:45 PM Re: Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet? [Re: BZH]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6391
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I think you'll find that most of us here don't bother with footprints. I do check the ground before putting up my tent and remove sticks, rocks, etc.

Even when I had a tent with a super-lightweight silnylon floor, I didn't bother with a footprint. The floor took no harm either from the ground or from my dog's claws.

Generally, the floor is the least vulnerable part of the tent. However, I do recommend (from experience) that you not pitch the tent over a mouse hole!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#199084 - 09/11/17 09:11 PM Re: Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet? [Re: OregonMouse]
Weston1000 Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Even when I had a tent with a super-lightweight silnylon floor, I didn't bother with a footprint. The floor took no harm either from the ground or from my dog's claws.

Generally, the floor is the least vulnerable part of the tent. However, I do recommend (from experience) that you not pitch the tent over a mouse hole!


The mice would be not amused either. smile

If you have dogs in the tent, you could cut and file their claws, and put a fleece blanket on the ground sheet.


Edited by Weston1000 (09/11/17 09:12 PM)

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#199085 - 09/11/17 09:17 PM Re: Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet? [Re: BZH]
Weston1000 Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By BZH
I've never heard of the issue. I have experienced breaking down of the waterproof coating due to moisture. I suppose if you leave a tent on the plastic sheet for a long time it could start to break down the coatings if it traps moisture. In my experience the breaking down of the coating takes years not days.

I no longer use a footprint backpacking and haven't had any issues. People who do use them recommend tyvek or polycryo.


Thanks for your suggestions. I guess mould could harm a coated ground-sheet.

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#199167 - 09/24/17 02:44 PM Re: Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet? [Re: Weston1000]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
Just be sure you size the ground cloth to be slightly smaller than the tent floor, so that water dripping does not pool on the up-side of the ground cloth.

I use tyvak. I actually scrounge it from construction sites for free. I even wash it in the washing machine after a trip if it gets really dirty. As Tyvak gets older, it is not actually waterproof, but still does the job of protecting the tent floor from pokes from sticks.

I find that those sharp pods from pine trees more damaging than rocks. And I hate to get pitch (sap) on my tent floor.

And speaking of pitch, do not set up a tent under a tree that is leaking sap!

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