Oct 15, 2020 at 9:59 pm #3679918
As a new owner of a TT Notch Li so far I’ve not used any “footprint” to protect the floor and hope I don’t have to.
What are your experiences with Dyneema floors?
Should I consider the expense of making a Dyneema footprint?Oct 15, 2020 at 10:10 pm #3679920Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
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Take some 3M DCF tape and call it good.
The idea that you’ll “ruin” a DCF floor by not using a footprint seems to only be propagated by those who don’t actually use DCF floors in abrasive environments.
Yes, you’ll get holes after a bit.
Just patch ’em.
Maybe I’m missing something, like sleeping in areas where water puddles. Oh, wait – that’s a campsite selection issue, another topic…!Oct 15, 2020 at 11:33 pm #3679925
Agree with the NO answer, but not with the reasons.
NO, because there are light and much cheaper materials for making ground cloths, and they work better because they are elastic and therefore much less likely to abrade. There is a wealth of info about these materials just on BPL, so won’t try to repeat it here.
However, acknowledging that dyneema floors get holes after a bit, but saying just patch them, does not take into account that abrasion is a slow but steady process, like a flow of a glacier, and you won’t have the time to watch it every minute. We discover most leakage when it happens and we get wet, which could be when we are (or were) sleeping. and a storm is howling; really a bad time to hunt around for patching tape etc, etc.
So YES, make a ground cloth, but not of more dyneema at considerable expense. And next time get a tent with a silnylon 6.6 floor, around 1.3 oz/sq/yd, and twice as water resistant as most silnylons used by tent companies. More important, its elasticity makes it more resistant to abrasion; so there are far less surprises. All my tents have had quality silnylon floors installed, and none has ever abraded or leaked despite the lack of a ground cloth. (Disclaimer – my hikes seldom run more than the length of vacations, 2-4 weeks, so if you hike for months at a time, YMMV.)
I think you will find that the above weight of the top quality silnylon, what they make hot air balloons from, will not be significantly higher than a dyneema floor PLUS plus a protective ground cloth of polycro or the like, and you won’t have to muss around with a ground cloth.
Please note that the 6.6 silnylon sold by RBR, for example, is not as slippery as some cheap silnylons are. Nemo sleeping pads come with the silicone strips already applied to their bottoms, and with them, I’ve never had an issue with the pad slipping around. And I’m a side-to-side, not a mummy sleeper, so there is a lot of movement going on during the night.
Being a stealth camper, finding a good level tent site, as Ryan suggests, is a necessity. I’ll not forget sleeping on a mountain slope with a brand new silnylon TarpTent and sliding downhill all night. Lastly, the tent floor corners must be staked, or held taut with pole ends on a freestander, so that it doesn’t bunch up underneath you.Oct 16, 2020 at 6:57 am #3679934CHRIS LBPL Member
I’ve used an HMG floored insert for my Ultamid around 75 nights with no footprint. I’m somewhat careful about site selection but not that much more than a silnylon floor. HMG may use a slightly beefier version of DCF (1.3oz/yd2) on their floors then some companies but I’ve had very good luck with it. I’ve patched one small hole and have noticed one pinhole I haven’t bothered to patch. It dries so much faster and it’s nice to have a floor that’s truly waterproof under pressure. If your floor is from a lighter weight DCF, you may have to be more careful.Oct 16, 2020 at 8:04 am #3679941Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
A Polycro footprint is a lightweight way to protect your tent floor. It’s what I use with my Duplex.Oct 16, 2020 at 9:47 am #3679952Jimmy LegsBPL Member
I only have about 10 nights of experience using a DCF floor and haven’t had any issue although I’m very careful about removing objects beneath the floor that may cause damage and I don’t spend much time but to sleep inside the tent.
With that said…my latest experience with DCF made me realize the fragility of this material with regard to puncture resistance. I have a DCF dry bag/pillow made from 1.0 oz/yd^2 material, which is what is commonly used for tent floors. While packing up, I placed my puffy inside of the dry bag and accidentally dropped it 36″. The whole bag with puffy inside only weighed about 8oz and wasn’t compressed so the bag surface impacting the ground was very resilient/malleable. A random spruce needle laying on the ground poked right through the DCF. Small hole, easily patched with tape, but still annoying at the lack of puncture resistance. It made me consider using Tyvek as a ground sheet for my tent. While polycro is lighter and helps with abrasion, it is annoying to use (for me) and doesn’t really help with puncture resistance IMO.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:01 am #3679954Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I have a ZPacks Solplex that has seen approximately 40 nights in the Colorado ROCKY mountains. I have never used it without either a Tyvek or polycro footprint underneath, simply because I want to protect the substantial investment in that tent regardless of how durable Cuben/Dyneema is supposed to be.
One day several years ago there was a substantial afternoon downpour where my tent was pitched in RMNP. Unfortunately, the best tent site was in a slightly bathtub-shaped area where water ponded. I returned from a hike to find the tent floor floating in a couple inches of water. Fortunately, the interior remained bone dry because there were no small holes of any kind in the floor. It’s worth the small weight penalty of the footprint to preserve the integrity of my gear.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:04 am #3679956Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Jenny’s scenario seems like the best use-case in favor of adding a footprint (to protect the floor from holes in case you have to pitch in a site where water can pool up). I suppose my own experiences don’t dovetail here well, I cannot remember camping anywhere in years where pooling water under my shelter would be an issue.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:37 am #3679961Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
Maybe I’m missing something, like sleeping in areas where water puddles. Oh, wait – that’s a campsite selection issue, another topic…!
Now that all depends where you are camping. In many areas in the UK or Scandinavia you are going to be camping in a bog no matter how smart your site selection. Floors that don’t leak are a high priority here!Oct 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm #3679981Brad WBPL Member
Polycro. Cheap, light, works. Did I mention it’s cheap?Oct 16, 2020 at 1:31 pm #3679986Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
It seems that very light DCF floors are quite fragile and the heavy weight floors are no lighter then silnylon and can still be fragile. There are some advantages over Sil such as reduced slippery-ness, but overall I don’t think DCF is the best material for the job, especially considering the expense. DCF for fly’s is great (except for packed size) but Sil is the way to go for floors. It’s too bad most manufactures don’t let you mix and match.Oct 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm #3679994Erik HagenBPL Member
@ewh100Locale: SF Bay Area
My rule of thumb is Tyvek 1443 groundsheet for DCF floors with exception for HMG which, as mentioned, has a much more robust floor. For that I will use the thinner polycro. Additional benefit is having a barrier to ground condensation which keeps the tent floor nice & clean when packing up. I’m a little picky that way.Oct 16, 2020 at 4:15 pm #3680003James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yes, you really need a ground cloth. That said, I only have about 13 nights experience with the BA Scout Carbon with a .51oz floor. Most of my hiking is in the Adirondacks or in “Adirondack” like environments (Long Trail, Baxter Park, Springer Mountain, etc.) Most of the time, roots, rocks and water conspire to give you few good campsites. But, many are simply between roots, almost bathtub-like. The advantage is rather soft loam/pine needles/leaf litter. The bad part is the needles and sticks, and, the dip between roots.
In a major rain storm, the roots keep water from running down, into the dip. But, the dip collects a bit of water as it’s share, too. Soo, the ground is usually soggy, almost like Geoff’s bogs after a couple days of hard rain. There is anywhere between 1-5 feet of biomass as ground, usually soaked with water/ice. The glaciers moved all the soils down to New Jersey from New York! In some areas, it is nearly impossible to find a rock/stone. In others, that is all you can find… Anuyway…
I use a polycro ground sheet about 2″ smaller than the tent. It IS needed.Oct 16, 2020 at 9:46 pm #3680041Karen KennedyBPL Member
@karenkLocale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
I own both a Solplex and a Duplex. Both have always been used with polycryo groundsheets – I much prefer packing up a tent with clean dry floor in the morning!
Both tents have seen maybe 30 nights use. Both tents have had significant leaks through the floors when there was water between the polycryo and the tent floor (windblown rain on one occasion, a spilt water bottle on the other). Neither tent has visible damage to the DCF floor.
Obviously there is damage to both tent floors despite the use of polycryo.
My question is – how to find the hole(s) in order to patch them if they’re not visible to the naked eye?Oct 16, 2020 at 10:24 pm #3680046
OK guys and Jenny and Karen, that does it, a polycro footprint for me. I’ll put mitten clips on elastic cords Tenacious Taped to the sheet at each side to hold it in place where my hiking poles are.
Tank you veddy nice! Once again my membership pays off.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:58 pm #3680050
Does Super Glue adhere to Polycro? If so, would it work to just glue Velcro hook patches to the corners of the groundsheet, stick it underneath the floor, and keep it there most of the time.
But that would mean gluing the felt half of the Velcro to the DCF floor bottom corners. Maybe the DCF is too dear for even small modifications.Oct 17, 2020 at 3:51 am #3680058john hansfordBPL Member
“Obviously there is damage to both tent floors despite the use of polycryo.
My question is – how to find the hole(s) in order to patch them if they’re not visible to the naked eye?“
I have two 1oz DCF inner tent floors that are full of holes. The oldest (less than 100 nights) has so many holes than it is impossible to tape them without covering almost the whole floor with tape.
The newest has “only” a dozen, which I have taped. These shelters are from different companies in different years, so it’s not just a case of a “bad roll” of dcf.
These are not puncture holes, but microscopic seeps caused by abrasion of the Mylar. You can not see them by holding the material up to the light.
I have always babied these floors, avoided rock and gravel where possible, and always used polycro or Tyvek underneath.
The only way to check your floor for microscopic leaks is by holding the fabric under water in a bowl, and you will see the water seeping through.
I frequently see reports where people say their DCF had lasted two or three through hikes. I presume they are talking about the big hikes, ie 2500 miles or so. When you look in detail at PCT reports you see that some hikers cowboy camp whenever possible, and only set up their tents maybe 10 times the whole hike. If your shelter stays in your backpack every night, then doubtless it will last a long time, but I wonder whether they have ever properly checked their shelter floors for leaks.
Also, using a ground cloth might actually stop water from reaching the shelter floor, again hiding the fact that you have leaky floor.
“<i>Maybe I’m missing something, like sleeping in areas where water puddles. Oh, wait – that’s a campsite selection issue, another topic…!”</i>
I don’t think that is fair. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, eg arriving at a restricted site with few places available, and with hard depressed ground which will cause water to pool. Sometimes there is nowhere else suitable to camp for miles. Maybe the ground is just boggy, wet sphagnum moss springs to mind. Maybe water starts to flow under the floor in a sudden downpour. I’ve been in 2 hour deluge in Switzerland which brought mud and boulders down the mountainside and washed away a road bridge: the whole field I was standing in filled with water to a depth of 1”. Sometimes water is unavoidable, and surely being able to cope with water is the whole point of a tent floor.
I think the use case for DCF in shelter floors is overstated. The material is obviously very susceptible to abrasion which, it seems cannot be avoided. I can forgive it its low puncture resistance, all light weight floors are susceptible to puncture if the ground underneath is not carefully cleared of pointy things.
The preponderance of dcf is obviously for its light weight, but the weight savings of dcf are being eroded by the lighter silnylons and silpolys, yet the expense of dcf will always be high. I like the fact that with a silnylon floor you can at least re-coat with silicon, and keeps it going for many years. If I have to replace a dcf floor in the future, it will not be with dcf.Oct 17, 2020 at 6:42 am #3680061
How does RBTR’s 20d silpoly 4000 compare to 1.0 oz DCF in puncture resistance?
Certainly it’s abrasion resistance is superior and only a little heavier. 4000 mm is adequate. I can’t stand using groundcloths.Oct 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm #3680300
Stumpghes, I agree, I dislike the bother of groundcloth. Wish I’d ordered mine with a silnylon floor.Oct 19, 2020 at 6:28 pm #3680329
Eric, I would just take Ryan’s advice until your floor is ok beat up to ur any more. At that point you could, I think, cut alll but a perimeter of the floor and use DCF tape to graft in a piece of sil/pu fabric.
I think DCF tape will stick to PU. Anyone sure?Oct 20, 2020 at 9:54 pm #3680464
“How does RBTR’s 20d silpoly 4000 compare to 1.0 oz DCF in puncture resistance?”
It is more waterproof, but has a PU as well as sil coating that will reduce the elasticity of the fabric and make it less puncture resistant. And the WP of the sil only polyester is still very good, about 2700mm HH (with no screen) after simulated aging according to Stephen Seeber who tested some for me. That’s 1200mm HH over the 1500mm WP stamdard, and well over the 1200mm you would get from some manufacturers, like Big Agnes specs on some of its tents.
And the PU 4000 is quite a bit heavier, as I recall.
One thing I’ve not been able to clarify with RBR is whether they are coating PU on one side and sil on the other, or mixing the PU and Sil somehow. and using the same mix on both sides of the fabric. The wording on their site in ambiguous, although it suggests the mix, and I’m not even sure that is doable.Oct 21, 2020 at 6:27 pm #3680561
Sam, I heard recently that Pu coating does reduce tear strength but improves puncture resistance. Pu also isn’t slippery. Definitely heavier by 0.2 oz/yd.Oct 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm #3680564John HillyerBPL Member
Zpacks user here; never had a failure of the bathtub floor with no groundsheet used, the top of your tent will leak first.Oct 22, 2020 at 12:36 am #3680585
“Zpacks user here; never had a failure of the bathtub floor with no groundsheet used, the top of your tent will leak first.”
“I have two 1oz DCF inner tent floors that are full of holes. *** If I have to replace a dcf floor in the future, it will not be with dcf.”
Finding a take away from conflicting statements like these is the bane of BPL. Some of it comes from internet media generally; with its spoofing, some of it well-intentioned, but a lot of it not. The second of the above posters recounts lengthy experience backpacking with DCF floors. The first, not so much. So both posts could be accurate, and I’ll assume they are. It’s important to me, because I do MYOG, and each project takes many years, sometimes even decades. If you screw up with selecting materials, a lot more is lost than the high price of a DCF tent.
When Cuben first came out, ordered a yard of the one ounce stuff, shaded green for potential use as a floor. (Note that Zpacks says that the 1 osy DCF “…is standard material on all of our tent floors.” It was so stiff, using it for a part of a tent as large as a floor could only be a major PITA for someone who likes to hike light; but not great distances each day. Which means a lot of camping and a lot of packing and unpacking the tent. Which I enjoy, but not with PITA’s.
To make it worse, I’ve always folded and rolled tents and tarps, initially because trained to do that, and ongoing because experience showed the shelters would last longer that way, instead of just trying to jam and stuff them in a sack.
I’ve been a BPL member since before Cuben came out, so have followed the posts for years. Initially, most posts said it was gospel that the material was absolutely waterproof. Then Richard Nisley put up his ‘dirty little secret’ thread about his HH tests wherein the Cuben fabric leaked. Then Roger Caffin, the moderator who had worked in the fabric business, posted about initial testing by himself and others revealing that Cuben had so little elasticity (much less than silpoly for example) that it did not work for tunnel tents.
Since then, Zpacks, Tarptent and others have come out with DCF tents and tarps. The general tenor of this site suggests that they are tough, light and very waterproof. But that tenor is interspersed with posts by Roger, John H above, and others about leakage, or wear and tear that could be expected to allow leakage.
What works best for me is, ‘when in doubt, go with the pros,’ so long as they are not promoting a product (which granted they are entitled to do). Applying this test, DCF loses hands down as a floor material, and is not so good for making a taut tent that does not require a multitude of staked guylines, aka tie-outs, to be literally unflappable.
We now have other tent floor materials that exceed one oz DCF by only 0.3 osy in weight that have better track records. They fold up easily, and are tough, and waterproof. One was mentioned in my earlier posts on this thread. So as we approach election day, I’m especially tired of the BS, and will just say no to DCF, at least for floors where expansion of nylon when damp is not an issue. I don’t need a cramped one pound tent when I can cook if needed, and be comfortable, safe and bone dry in a less than 2 lb tent that is rock solid.Oct 22, 2020 at 1:23 am #3680587Erica RBPL Member
Well…. campsite selection is paramount, but until a couple inches of rain has fallen it is hard to find the crests where water will run away from the tent. So… I have a seldom used (California and Utah) poncho that I use under the tent, saving the DCF floor for when I really need it (and the poncho – same night). No weight penalty.
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