Tent footprint ideas

Hi all. I am looking to buy / make a lightweight tent footprint (100 - 200g somewhere). Searching online, many of the recommendations include strange names like Tyvek and Polycryo which seems hard to find in SA. See below my research, please add / comment

1 Buy a dedicated footprint / repurpose beefed up space blanket type things. The main problem here is cost and weight. Links to options below, mostly ranging from 300g to 650g. The lifesystems one may work, only 84g and cheap, but doesnt have eyelets.


2 DIY options - painters drop sheet. 3mm is too heavy, 1mm is too thin. Perhaps theres an answer somewhere

3 DIY ripstop - this will be ideal, ripstop nylon goes to as thin as 7D. Then one could habe eyelets put in by tent repairer. But, where to buy?

So that is the sum total of my research, any other ideas???

Builders plastic works quite well…i used it for many years with a MSR 1 man and never had a problem.No eyelets possible but its cheap and relatively light.Not sure what the need is for eyelets…nice to have but not essential.

curios to know what you want to use it for:
protecting tent floor?
additional waterproof layer?
fast & light set-up?
if you find someone that sells ripstop nylon please let us know!
and, if waterproofness isn’t that important, find an old hiking tent inner and cut the floor out.

Lightweight groundsheet to protect tent floor. I also like the idea of using a groundsheet that can double as a heat retention device

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i guess either thermal retention or and durability is going to be sacrificed. let us know if you find something (the holy grail?) that satisfies both!

@willemb thanks, I am considering to buy the lightest one mentioned (84g) and see what the quality is like. At R130 its not a bad price, and I can take it along when guiding as a stronger space blanket (if it appears that it wont work for my intended purpose). This is the nice thing about guiding , buying all sorts of nonsense and justifying it as I need it for my “profession”. :nerd_face: No more guilt, and tax deductability.

As far as I know, those lifesystems space blankets do not crinkle (huge bonus) and are likely similar in durability to plastic (it is in fact plastic which has been “metalised” on one side). I will share my trials and tribulations here!

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I’m not sure if they have a minimum quantity on orders, but Hayford Traders might be a good place to contact: https://hayfordtraders.co.za/product-category/textiles/

Amazon also has some options: https://www.amazon.com/emma-kites-Repellent-Dustproof-Airtight/dp/B00ZR809GU/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=ripstop+nylon+fabric&qid=1569419188&sr=8-7

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If you are not in a huge rush, I would also have a look on Aliexpress. Nature Hike and 3F UL gear make some silnylon footprints and tarps.

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Hi all, thanks for the great recommendations. I ended uo buying the plastic spaceblanket thing and it feels OK for a few uses.

Need a footprint for my (brand new :star_struck:) tent. Its the FA helio, with bomber oxford polyester for a floor. So the lightweight plastic should be ok. I will test it and report. Did a test pitch on the patio last night and all seems well. Looks like it would qualify as a UL groundsheet. Although the sheet may get very flappy in high winds. See pics below, i am thinking of reinforcing the corners and long ends with duct tape to make it easier to handle. Uploading: IMG_20190925_204241.jpg…

Tyvek is easy to find if you live in Gauteng. Just contact Marshall Hinds in Jo’burg, I regularly (well, like once a year lately) buy from them, mostly for other people. benefits of Tyvek:

  • Very good insulator. Needed in the winter in the Drakensberg, trust me on this one.
  • The width is fixed (think it is 105cm), but you can choose the length and thickness. Thicknesses are 0,5mm, 0,75mm and 1mm. Obviously the 1mm one is a bit heavier, but will offer better protection.
  • Waterproof, so really helpful when the ground is wet.

I think the cost for the 0,75mm I bought last year was around R130 for 3m, which is not too expensive. Only downsides are that it is white in colour (although this helps in keeping your sleeping spot clean) and you have to wrinkle it up a lot to make it supple and pliable (although this will give you a reat forearm pump :slight_smile: )

@Riaang thanks, this is awesome info. Will have a look into it.

Oh that’s great to hear. Had been looking for someone that would actually sell small quantities. Was suggested to me that one of the best ways to soften up Tyvek is just to run it through a couple of cycle in the washing machine. Though I don’t know how it does with detergents, so maybe not alongside another load.

I would recommend AGAINST using detergent on Tyvek. My cleaning lady used Jik on it, and it destroyed the waterproofness of the material. I just rinse it off with water to get the dust or mud off.

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Hi all. Quick feedback on my footprint adventures on the Rim of Africa. I ended up buying a coghlans picnic blanket as a tent foorprint (non waterproof polyester with peg out points, 200g). It worked fine for the purpose.

I also took the Lifesystems Heatsheet space blanket with. Used it as an additional ground sheet form my tent porch, an extra insulator inside the tent on cold nights, a groundsheet for sleeping outside, to create a seat at night (wrapped clothes inside it with shiny side up), and to wrap my pot in it when hot-soaking my food (to save gas). Very impressed with it for the 84g and R130 premium. Would work well as a UL groundsheet, fast/light groundsheet or emergency heat source, and it is HIGHLY recommended as part of any first aid kit. I handled it roughly, it did pick up a few pinholes from the fynbos but nothing to write home about. Its big (the size of a 2 man tent footprint), and folds up really small really easily. (i.e., it could almost fit into an envelope).

Hey Gerrienel :slight_smile:
Sounds like an awesome sheet to work so well on the RoA. Who did you buy it from if you don’t mind me asking?

Hi there, I bought it at Drifters in Cape Town although they should also be available online (see links on my first post to this thread)

Thanks, Dude.
Just in time for payday. :ok_hand: :sweat_smile: These adventure stores are dangerous…

Hey Gerrie How’s that Coghlans Picnic Blanket holding up?
One night in Magalies on coarse quartzite and I now have 3-5 abrasions / punctures in my trusty Vango.
Looking at options…


I like the look of it for it’s weight, cost and fact that it’s sized just about right. Not being waterproof not a biggy, but would be a plus.