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#95140 - 04/25/08 09:30 PM making vs buying a tent footprint
judach Offline
member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 63
Loc: California, USA
What is the advantage of buying a tent-specific footprint as opposed to making your own footprint out of an ordinary tarp? I figure I could make a decent footprint by taking an ordinary tarp, setting up my tent on top of it, outlining the tent onto the tarp using a marker, and cutting the tarp on the marker lines. Would this be sufficient? Should I just buy the footprint that's made for my tent?

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#95141 - 04/25/08 10:19 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
What is the advantage of buying a tent-specific footprint as opposed to making your own footprint out of an ordinary tarp? I figure I could make a decent footprint by taking an ordinary tarp, setting up my tent on top of it, outlining the tent onto the tarp using a marker, and cutting the tarp on the marker lines. Would this be sufficient? Should I just buy the footprint that's made for my tent?


The storemade one is lighter - since you have less cash in your wallet to weigh you down after you buy it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Just cut out the right sized piece of poly painters tarp, or tyvek.
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#95142 - 04/26/08 01:25 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: phat]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
True dat"! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#95143 - 04/26/08 08:29 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: bigfoot2]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I'll make it three in a row. Manufactured tent footprints are just plain silly as long as the abundant alternatives continue to exist. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#95144 - 04/27/08 07:00 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Seriously, most tents made today have very strong floors and unless you are camping in canyon country, on lava flows or are very hard on gear, i would just skip it. I did have a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3 that had a floor so lite i did not feel comfortable using it without the foot print, though. That brought up the weight considerable...so i sold it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

BF


Edited by bigfoot2 (04/27/08 07:09 AM)
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#95145 - 04/27/08 08:01 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Lowes or Home depot has 4mil. poly cheap. Cut your own. Make is so it fits just under the edge of your tent. It will help with moist/wet ground etc. Save $$ make your own gear when you can. If not, buy the best you can afford.

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#95146 - 04/27/08 02:56 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: phat]
judach Offline
member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 63
Loc: California, USA
Hahaha, I'm going to have to remember that one...

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#95147 - 04/27/08 02:58 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
judach Offline
member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 63
Loc: California, USA
Thanks for the responces. I have decided I'm just going to make my own and save some money. Thanks!

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#95148 - 04/27/08 03:24 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3939
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Tiny
I must say that in 40 years of backpacking in California I never felt the need for a "footprint".
YMMV
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#95149 - 04/28/08 08:25 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
ďÖoutlining the tent onto the tarp using a marker, and cutting the tarp on the marker lines. Would this be sufficient?Ē

You would want your ground cloth smaller than the tent footprint. Otherwise, a large cloth will catch the rain and funnel it under your tent; and your body pressure would eventually make it leak through.

As people noted, you might not need a footprint. But a footprint has saved my tent from:
1. Staining. There are several places whose dirt will stain your tent.
2. Holes. At night, when I place my tent down, I sometimes donít see that small root jutting up. The ground cloth gets punctured, but the tent floor gets saved.

Some material options:
1. To save weight, try 0.7mm painterís cloth. Iíve used this a few times.
2. Tyvek dries fastest in the morning. My other plastic tarps catch a lot of ground dew and take a while to dry (in humid areas of course).
3. For super ultralight use window insulation like http://www.amazon.com/3M-Company-2141-Indoor-Insulation/dp/B00002NCJI . This appears to be the same material as the GG cloth http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/polycryo_ground_cloth.html at only 1.5oz for a 2-man tent. This takes a little while to dry in the morning with the ground dew capturing all sorts of goodies on the ground cloth. But I use this option the most since itís the lightest and surprisingly strong.

I also think of the ground cloth as dual use since I can lay it down for a lunch stop and lay on it. This prevents my pants from soaking up the areaís moisture.

-Barry

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#95150 - 04/28/08 09:57 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2806
Loc: California
In the past I have seen some tent footprints that have grommets for the poles so that you can set up the tent fly with the footprint only (to save weight when you do not need the tent, but want to use the fly as a "tarp". This is the only reason I can see to buy a pre-made footprint. By the way, putting in your own grommets is not hard to do either.

It seems to me that really essential gear is seldom on sale. There are always buckets of tent footprints on sale. Makes you wonder.

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#95151 - 04/28/08 10:15 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Footprints are nice to keep your tent clean when the ground is wet/muddy. But the offerings from the tent companies are overweight/overpriced IMO. Take the advice above and just cut your own. They're very simple. It's not like you're trying to make your own canister stove.

Better yet, recycle something else to make your footprint. I once used an old plastic tablecloth that was tossed in the trash after a work party. I got quite a few miles out of it.

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#95152 - 04/29/08 10:22 AM making vs buying a tent footprint(MAKING!) [Re: judach]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
I've made two footprints for my tents - one B/C it didn't have one, the other B/C the original was made from material that was way too heavy.

In both cases I added elastic loops at the corners to loop over the tent stake-out tabs. This keeps high winds from blowing the footprint away under the tent. (Happens!) Of course you have to hem the edges so no raw material edge is showing. A very narrow hem is fine, just be sure you're sweing through 3 thicknesses of fabric, not two.

**When cutting the footprint shape raw cut make it about 1 1/2 inches SMALLER than the tent floor size. Then it will be about 2 inches smaller when hemmed. This keeps water from rolling off the tent & on top of the footprint.

** FABRIC: This is up to you. Urethane coated ripstop nylon is tough. HEAVILY silicon coated silnylon, like TarpTent uses for its floors, is good too, just a bit more money for the lighter weight.

Don't forget the corner loops.

Eric
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"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#95153 - 05/01/08 09:36 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: chaz]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I use 2 mil plastic from Lowes or Home Depot (sold in 10 x 12 rolls for less than $3). I recently tried 1 mil, and that works just as well although it is obviously not as durable. I only use a footprint to keep dirt off my tent (the ground can be pretty nasty in spots here in the "dirty souf"). A 2 mil footprint for a Tarptent Double Rainbow weighs about 5 oz just as a reference point.

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#95154 - 05/01/08 09:37 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: Trailrunner]
judach Offline
member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 63
Loc: California, USA
That is a great idea. I don't know why I didn't think about that. Thanks!

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#95155 - 05/07/08 03:55 PM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: oldranger]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee


I agree with old ranger. Why go pay 20-3- dollars for some thing that you can do yourself for a couple of bucks. Makes no sense to me either...Hope that helps...Happy Trekking....sabre11004....

The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there !!!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
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The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#95156 - 05/16/08 07:43 AM Re: making vs buying a tent footprint [Re: judach]
skimanjohn Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/16/08
Posts: 3
I have made several of my own footprints with much success,besides what did we all do before the advent of footprints?I feel they charge way to much for such a simple item.Used to use a space blanket for my tents but now i just buy coated nylon and cut and sew my own.It really is pretty easy and if you dont know how to use a sewing machine it is not hard to learn.

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