Ground sheet

Hi guys,
Some advice please.
How do I chose a ground sheet?
What should I keep in mind?
Look out for?
What are the best options vs prices out there?
Thanks in advance

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Hi Stephanie. The choice of groundsheet would depend on your intended use. For under a tent? For sleeping outside or in a cave with no tent? For having a clean picnic area on a hutted hike? For car camping?

There are many options for groundsheets, but most of them fail in one area: unnecessary weight. I however like using one under my tent, and also like taking one with when sleeping outside to protect my mattress and have a clean living space.

For a tent groundsheet, I would suggest either First ascent groundsheet or Coghlans picnic blanket. I own both. The FA one is durable and waterproof, but is very heavy. the Coghlans one is thinner and lighter but not waterproof. Both of these have points in the corners where you can attach pegs. This helps. I use the Coghlans one under my hiking tent, to protect the floor. Stopped using the FA one due to its weight.

For a cheaper / possibly lighter general purpose groundsheet, a painter’s drop sheet works fine (thick plastic). You can get it from a place like Builders Warehouse and cut to size.

For car camping / caravan park type situations, I can recommend shadecloth cut to size

There are also other materials, like Tyvek, which you can try and find if you feel resourceful. I am sure someone on this forum would chime in on the more technical options

Companies like Naturehike and MSR also supply ultralight groundsheets with their tents, but regrettably do not sell them separate. This would be ideal, as the biggest frustration with a hiking groundsheet is excess weight


Think at @Gerrienel covered most of it. I’ve been enjoying using Tyvek as a ground sheet, lightish pretty indestructible and waterproof. I have no idea where you can easily get it in SA though, it is a pretty standard building waterproof membrane so might actually be something you can just pick up at a diy place.

If it is for a tent then one of the things you want is for it to be a little smaller than your tents footprint, so it isn’t acting as a rain catch. If it is an option the manufacturers version in nylon or polyester is probably the best bet. This JR gear from Drifters isn’t cheap but a lot lighter, and 40d seems a decent weight to start at. First Ascent is using ultralight ironically I assume with theirs being like half a kg.


My apologies to @Gerrienel.
Since it’s a Hiking website I assumed it’s only fellow Hikers who’d be exposed to my ignorance!
I’m sure the car campers, picnic goers, hell maybe we have an undercover caravan fanatic here too would excuse blunder.

I do want to say thank you though.
I appreciate you taking the time to answer so thoroughly.


Hi Stephanie, no need to apologise, I respond extensively and sometimes ridiculously, purely because I love doing it! A little procrastination while at the office! With all the questions and answers we are building a database for others to refer to in the future. All the best

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I use the JR Gear groundsheet the Jaxz mentioned, and like it a lot. Remember to have the taped seams facing upwards, rather than touching the ground. I have also used cheap plastic painters drop sheets, cheap emergency space blankets and the footprints that come with some of my tents. They all work well. If you need to be able to stake down the groundsheet, make sure that it has some sort of guy-out points or grommets at the corners / edges. If using it under a tent, make sure that it does not protrude further than the edge of the tent, as it can then channel water underneath your tent when it rains.


Thank you Ruth! As always, your reviews and advice are appreciated.