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  #1  
Old 6 Aug 2010
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Question Keeping you tent dry inside

I recently exprienced something that I had miraculously never had to deal with: a night of heavy rain followed by packing up in the rain.

Unfortunately, water did leak in during the night .

Partly, I think there was splash-back from the ground, up past the flysheet, onto the poruous material of the tent. However, I recently tested the groundsheet of my tent and it also appears to be letting in some moisture.

So two questions:

Should the footprint extend past the edge of the ground sheet to keep the tent away from the wet ground, or should it stay just within the boundary to avoid splash back and pooling or water over the course of the night?

What might I treat a groundshhet with to re-proof it totally?
Unfortunately, the manufacturer is not gracing with me with a response to this same question...

Thanks for the pointers!
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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I usually make a footprint out of plastic sheet beacause I am too tight to buy a proper manufactured one.Usually I cut it just undersize so hopefully rain will run away and soak away into the ground rather than collect on the footprint.
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by trophydave View Post
I usually make a footprint out of plastic sheet beacause I am too tight to buy a proper manufactured one.Usually I cut it just undersize so hopefully rain will run away and soak away into the ground rather than collect on the footprint.
: I use opened rubble bags, ironed together, then cut to size.

Sounds like mine could probably do with being cut so it is that bit smaller and not poking out from under the tent.
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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the footprint should be as small as possible, just bigger than the groundsheet but not bigger than the fly. if it is rain will run down the fly onto the footprint, and the tent will be sat in a puddle. it will soon soak through.
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  #5  
Old 6 Aug 2010
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Never used a footprint but put closed cell foam carrymat under groundsheet, it's always smaller. Seen some foul weather and managed to stay dry (in the tent)
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
I recently experienced something that I had miraculously never had to deal with: a night of heavy rain followed by packing up in the rain.
Partly, I think there was splash-back from the ground, up past the flysheet, onto the porous material of the tent. However, I recently tested the groundsheet of my tent and it also appears to be letting in some moisture.

So two questions:

Should the footprint extend past the edge of the ground sheet to keep the tent away from the wet ground, or should it stay just within the boundary to avoid splash back and pooling or water over the course of the night?

What might I treat a groundsheet with to re-proof it totally?

Packing up in the rain is one of camping's little pleasures isn't it. I've had to do it many many times but fortunately my mind's blanked out most of the memories. Wait till you get to the next stage where you head off all day in the rain and have to use everything - still soaking wet- for another night of heavy rain. Especially when you find your sleeping bag has somehow got soaked during the day.

Fixing a leaking groundsheet depends on what material it's made of and why it's leaking. Some leaks come from punctures - sharp stones etc can do it easily and you can usually find some material to patch it with. I have an old Vango Force 10 tent (about 40 yrs old now) that I still use regularly with a groundsheet made out of something like pvc. That's been punctured loads of times and has just been patched with some bits of material I got from Vango. It's still watertight.

I had another tent where the groundsheet was made of proofed nylon - a sort of heavier weight version of the flysheet. That was fine until you used it in really heavy rain where the ground was saturated and then the whole of the groundsheet seemed porous - no single leak point, water just seemed to soak through it. I never found anything that worked to fix it and just used a cut down pvc tarp (a few quid from boot fairs or Machine Mart) as an under layer.

The "footprint" approach is a good idea anyway if you're putting the tent up on anything other than a putting green as it's sacrificial protection for an expensive tent. I've usually cut mine to be about an inch or so smaller all round than the tent groundsheet - lay it on the ground, put the tent up on top and go round with a stanley knife. Ideally it would be a bit bigger so you could lift up the edges to form a kind of tub but in practice I've found that some bit usually drops down and forms a kind of funnel to channel water in.
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post

I had another tent where the groundsheet was made of proofed nylon - a sort of heavier weight version of the flysheet. That was fine until you used it in really heavy rain where the ground was saturated and then the whole of the groundsheet seemed porous - no single leak point, water just seemed to soak through it. I never found anything that worked to fix it and just used a cut down pvc tarp (a few quid from boot fairs or Machine Mart) as an under layer.

The "footprint" approach is a good idea anyway if you're putting the tent up on anything other than a putting green as it's sacrificial protection for an expensive tent. I've usually cut mine to be about an inch or so smaller all round than the tent groundsheet - lay it on the ground, put the tent up on top and go round with a stanley knife. Ideally it would be a bit bigger so you could lift up the edges to form a kind of tub but in practice I've found that some bit usually drops down and forms a kind of funnel to channel water in.
That pretty much exactly describes my predicament both in terms of the material, symptom of water entering and the likely mistake I made with footprint dimensions, whose existance, it took this one night to highlight!

So, a new footprint is in order (mine is looking pretty tatty and has been ├╝pnctured here and there by twigs, stones and what-not). Shame to hear there is no cure for the porous ground sheet condition, but good to know this could be mitigated with a decent footprint shape.
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
That pretty much exactly describes my predicament both in terms of the material, symptom of water entering and the likely mistake I made with footprint dimensions, whose existance, it took this one night to highlight!

So, a new footprint is in order (mine is looking pretty tatty and has been ├╝pnctured here and there by twigs, stones and what-not). Shame to hear there is no cure for the porous ground sheet condition, but good to know this could be mitigated with a decent footprint shape.
One of the many reasons I use a folding camp bed is, should the tent leak, the sleeping bag is off the floor.
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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My super thick air mattress is wide enough and tall enough to keep my bag off the tent floor.
Self-inflating camping mats features and specs - Alpkit

Surrounding me with stuff, the wife etc keeps the mat away from any damp bits. I would think a new tent could get some condensation under the sleeping mat, are you sure the base is leaking?

Nikwax do tent reproofing stuff, I don't see why you couldn't cover the base in that. Having done that you could search for puncture holes as you would with an inner tube , even using puncture repairs to seal them?! Some tent manufacturers would replace the groundsheet if it was knackered for a fee?
The orange survival bags are quite good once cut and opened out for a reasonably durable, cheap and light sacrificial footprint.
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  #10  
Old 7 Aug 2010
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Get a SHAM-WOW.
YouTube - ‪ShamWow (Full Length)‬‎

Great piece of kit for tent camping. I use mine to wipe down my tent and fly if their wet.

You will be saying WOW every time you use it.

daryl
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  #11  
Old 7 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by grizzly7 View Post
My super thick air mattress is wide enough and tall enough to keep my bag off the tent floor.
Self-inflating camping mats features and specs - Alpkit

Surrounding me with stuff, the wife etc keeps the mat away from any damp bits. I would think a new tent could get some condensation under the sleeping mat, are you sure the base is leaking?

Nikwax do tent reproofing stuff, I don't see why you couldn't cover the base in that. Having done that you could search for puncture holes as you would with an inner tube , even using puncture repairs to seal them?! Some tent manufacturers would replace the groundsheet if it was knackered for a fee?
The orange survival bags are quite good once cut and opened out for a reasonably durable, cheap and light sacrificial footprint.
It was not condensation: there was a flim of water under my Thermarest and my sleeping bag was wet at one end...

To test it I later pitched the tent and tipped some water into it!! Left for 5 mins then tipped it out. I then checked underneath: droplets were coming through. Now OK that was a fair amount of water (2 gallons?) but still it is clear that the base is not impermiable. It was general moisture especially at a taped seam so not punctures.

The nikwax and a re-trimmed footprint would be a good combo.

As for the manufacturer: zero customer support, it would seem. Wrote an email asking for advise: ten days on, zip... So no idea what they recommend
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Old 8 Aug 2010
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So who's the manufacturer? I've used a Robert Saunders for years, not needed customer support, but it's becoming old and thin, well worn, time to look for something new and, hopefully, better, I don't want to give money to people who make sub-standard products with no customer support, tell us who they are and save others suffering damp/wet nights.
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Old 8 Aug 2010
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My experience is that a top quality tent will not leak, ooze or weep water through the floor. Quality is expensive (although expensive doesn't guarantee quality).

I now use Hilleberg tents. Neither one has ever leaked any water through floor or elsewhere. I do not use a groundsheet, and I've had them pitched in adverse situations.

In the past I've done the same with Bibler tents, and before that I used an extinct brand named Alpine Designs. In fact, I've never used a groundsheet for any of my tents in almost 40 years of year-round camping, climbing, mountaineering, and even (gasp!) motorcycle camping . The whole concept of using groundsheets under tent floors is a recent development; before that, tent floors were expected to keep the water out. Now, if your tent leaks or the floor punctures because you pitched it on some pine needles, the salespeople will sell you a fitted groundsheet for an unconscionable amount of money. This does not strike me as reasonable, somehow.

Of course I've also used cheaper tents, although they don't usually belong to me. They tend to leak unless seamsealed laboriously and repeatedly, and they ooze water through their floors. They also tear and puncture more easily, and they often photo-degrade more rapidly. There are various grades of nylon, polyester and other materials (mylar, for example) used in tent manufacture, different ways of sewing seams, and various grades of waterproofing treatments. Some work better than others, and some last longer.

Just something to consider. YMMV.

Mark

Edit: redundancy

Last edited by markharf; 8 Aug 2010 at 15:35.
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  #14  
Old 8 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by oothef View Post
So who's the manufacturer? I've used a Robert Saunders for years,
Ha!!
Mines a Robert Saunders, too!!

If you do call or email with a problem: don't expect a helpful response if any!!

Must say I'm disappointed: I will try some of the suggestions above, but over the 4 years since I bought it I have used, but not abused it, always dry before packing, always with a footprint.... and it leaks.

Maybe I'm expecting too much impermiability from what had aalways looked like a very fragile base material...

PVC bases were heavy, but they worked!
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Old 8 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
My experience is that a top quality tent will not leak, ooze or weep water through the floor. There are many grades of nylon and polyester fabric, and many grades of waterproofing. Quality is expensive (although expensive doesn't guarantee quality).
Robert Suanders may not be in the Hilleberg price bracket, but they are supposed to be a good quality brand, so perhaps I've been unlucky (or lucky, depending how you look at it: never a really heavy night of rain until recently).

I have some pointers I plan to implement, and hopefully it'll work because I'd hate to chuck a tent that is otherwise really nicely made!
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