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Weighty issues?

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Weighty issues?

Postby balzaccom » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:59 am

If you've read this blog much, you know that we spend a fair amount of time trying to pack light. Lighter packs mean happier hikers in our book, and we definitely enjoy the benefits of leaving heavy items at home. On a recent 8 day trip, our packs weighed a total of about 58 pounds---that's for TWO people. P carried about 35, and M another 23. And the good news is that each day they got even lighter!

But we have a bit of an ethical dilemma. We use a very light (3ml) ground cloth under our tent as a vaopr barrier. It keeps the tent drier, and also keeps it a lot cleaner. And usually it lasts for a season or so before the holes get large enough that we trade it in on a new one.

But that means we throw out the old one---and that isn't exactly sustainable hiking. Leave no trace? Every year we leave a sheet of 3ml plastic in our garbage can at home. And we're not happy about it. SO this year we are looking at a slightly heavier ground cover--one that would last for more than one season. Maybe forever? That would be perfect. But it will weigh a bit more. hmmm.

Anyone else fighting these battles out there?
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/



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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby oldranger » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:33 am

Paul,

Try Tyvek or similar product. It is fairly stiff but folds okay. Some people wash it to make it softer. I started using it when I went to the exped downmatt air mattress that has no insulating property if it deflates. I've been using the same piece since 2007 for my contrail tent.

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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby rlown » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:29 pm

balzaccom wrote:...But that means we throw out the old one---and that isn't exactly sustainable hiking. Leave no trace? Every year we leave a sheet of 3ml plastic in our garbage can at home. And we're not happy about it. SO this year we are looking at a slightly heavier ground cover--one that would last for more than one season. Maybe forever? That would be perfect. But it will weigh a bit more. hmmm.

Anyone else fighting these battles out there?


a sheet of 3mil plastic sounds small compared to what else one might throw away at home. Tyvek isn't any better, cuz it's still hitting a landfill at some point. LNT at home is hard, depending on habits. Think of all the gear you have including even your tent. What do you think is going to inevitably happen to all that stuff when you're finally done with it?
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby oldranger » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:54 pm

But Russ!

the tyvek is still working, don't know the lifespan yet, and it was left over from a job a friend was doing. So I diverted it from the landfill and if it lasts 5 or more years that probably is considerably less for the landfill than a similar size sheet of plastic contributed for 5 consecutive years.

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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby maverick » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:57 pm

I to have used a Tyvek sheet as a ground sheet for several years now, and it still going
strong.
Like OR mentioned, it sure beats throwing one away every year.
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby rlown » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:01 pm

i'd go along with that concept if one could recycle it..

this is the best pointer i found on wikipedia for Tyvek:

Recycling
Though Tyvek superficially resembles paper (for example, it can be written and printed on), it is plastic, and it cannot be recycled with paper. Despite the fact that some Tyvek products are marked with the #2 resin-code for HDPE, it is not usually collected with plastic bottles as part of municipal curbside recycling programs. Instead, DuPont runs a program in the United States where disposable clothing, coveralls, lab coats, and other Tyvek disposable garments can be recycled, as well as providing a mail-in recycling program for envelopes.[11]

Still.. I use no groundcloth for my tent. she's a bathtub and heavy.. 25 years under her belt and no leaks. When i cowboy camp, it's a full on 12x10 tarp.. another 20 years..

Pick your poison..
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby evan » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:28 am

@ Balzaccom- Most tents have an optional "foot print" ground sheet available. My dad still has his in great shape for his Sierra Designs tent; im thinking he's had that tent for 10 years, give or take a year or two.

@OldRanger- How do you truthfully like your Contrail? What are the pro's & con's of the tarp tent? Im seriously debating getting a Tarptent (Moment or Sublite model)!
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby oldranger » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:05 am

Evan,

I like it except that it cannot be used as a midday escape from mosquitos on a sunny day. Just not enough ventilation. Also it is an art to set it up because I pitch it as an A shaped tent not flat at the foot as displayed on Henry's site. But it weighs only 1 1/2 lbs and is bug proof! It has held up to 2 inches of wet snow and kept me dry in big downpours. Of course condensation is sometimes an issue. But that is the case with double wall tents. I think I wrote more extensively about it a couple of years ago on a post.

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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby cmon4day » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:11 pm

Paul,

I use my rain poncho as a ground cloth and have been using it for over 20 years and there is still many years left in it. I haven't had to throw away anything. The nice thing about a poncho is it is dual purpose. If it rains, you can use it as a poncho. I've even used it as a canopy to keep me dry over the campfire when it was raining really hard.
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby fishmonger » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:19 am

I used to put an old poncho under the tent, but that thing was from the early 80s and lost it's water proof coating a long time ago. I recently washed it and the rest came off. Now it's just a sheet of nylon and won't keep any moisture away from the tent. Since we don't use ponchos for rain wear any longer, we packed pretty heavy tarp this summer. It worked fine but was overkill, so next time around it'll be a lightweight piece of Tyvek from Home Depot I guess.
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby Hetchy » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:27 am

One option for a ground sheet is poly-cro sold by Gossamer Gear. It looks like Saran Wrap but don't be fooled. It is tough enough to withstand 2,665 miles sleeping on it every single night or 120 nights. Yes, you have to throw it away eventually and it costs money So....
I used Tyvek for my last LD hike. 2,800 miles on a piece of tyvek i took from a dumpster on a jobsite. The piece is still in good enough shape to be used again. Tyvek is not entirely water proof but it is a good enough vapor barrier to be slept on night after night for 120 nights.
Tyvek has the advantage of being able to be written on with a felt pen. While I used it to make a sign to aid my resupplies other hikers drew big colored dots on theirs so they could play trail "twister".
Tyvek will also deflect a lot of the sun's heat, provide shade, and is relatively rain resistant even after it's beat to hell.
My favorite trick was to wrap my legs in my tyvek ground sheet during breaks in windy cold weather. It actually saved me from needing to carry pants on the hike. Since I was always in my sleeping bag when not hiking and hiking 14 hours a day the Tyvek filled the need for leg comfort in between times.
A Poly Cro ground sheet is 1.5 ounces and cost money.
My Tyvek Ground sheet was 5 ounces.. and free from the trash.
As a new construction plumber I have met a lot of carpenters. Despite their appearance and demeanor they are, for the most part, a friendly bunch. Many of them are outdoors types themselves.. fishermen, hunters, etc. If you ask nicely they will no doubt let you have Tyvek Scraps or even cut you a piece off the roll. So don't be afraid to approach them on a jobsite where you see the white tyvek home wrap going on. :D
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
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Re: Weighty issues?

Postby gary c. » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:45 pm

Just the thought of "Trail Twister" makes my nose burn and my eyes water. :paranoid:
I guess it might not be so bad on bath day. ;)
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