Best type of tent groundsheet ?

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 04, 2017 at 15:42
ThreadID: 134243 Views:7139 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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OK so which it the best type of groundsheet for under your tent or softfloor camper.

There are several types out their , we have both shadecloth mesh type and also a tarp based solid cover unit.

The mesh one is really good on grass and lets water go thru it and not pool, hence staying drier.
It also doesn't kill grass quite as quick but there isn't much in that unless its used under an awning as the tent base is solid PVC anyway.

My tarp based one seems to be generally better provided you have it a couple of 100mm smaller the the tent floor. Even when water pools, well you just flip if off, it dries quick and doesn't matter anyway.

I have come across some issues for both types hence the questions.

First camping recently at "Farina" we went to bed under clear skies and it rained from midnight.
The red soil quickly turned to a sticky red mud and was every where.

With a mesh groundsheet the mud would likely seep thru and cover the tent floor.
With the pvc tarp groundsheet the tent floor (except the edges) doesn't get mud on it and can be packed up clean. With care even the tarp can be folded to minimze the sticking mud.

Putting down a tarp has however proved to be difficult without helpers in wind , whereas a mesh type has much less wind issues, particularly if its made a little bigger than the tent floor, such that tent pegs can be driven into it without making holes as it would with tarps.

If the groundsheet gets really dirty then the mesh one cleans easier but only if you have lots of water !

The Tarp ones are so cheap and light that you can carry a spare if it really got serious mud.
This might be the best answer for when your in a hurry !

I note you can also buy mesh type in a rubber material by the metre , it seems to be mostly used under Van awnings.

On sand the mesh types can apparently just be shaken and most sand will come off (but is sand left on the tent base? ).

Some special mesh ones are treated to shed dirt faster - wonder how they would go with sticky mud ?
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Saturday, Feb 04, 2017 at 19:31

Saturday, Feb 04, 2017 at 19:31
Like you we have both and use according to the conditions.
The plastic tarp is slightly larger than the tent base and we tuck the edges under the tent folded downwards so it doesn't create a gutter.
When it is windy we peg the corners to keep the tarp secure, pitch the tent and then progressively fold the tarp under and peg the tent.
Seems to work ok.

AnswerID: 608279

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 09:17

Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 09:17
Thanks Andrew , it can be little things like folding down instead of up that can make quite a difference.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 15:11

Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 15:11
Now you really do have me confused. But it might just be a language difference.
In SA we tend to fold something "up" to put it away. Or take the tent "down".
From your post, it seemed that the issue was to do with setting up the camp.
We have yet to have a problem with the ground sheet in the wind when packing it away. One peg in a corner seems to keep it down and under control, if needed
FollowupID: 878047

Reply By: Dusty D - Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 08:51

Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 08:51
I've only just recently gotten back into tenting with a Black Wolf Turbo 240 and try to utilise some of our caravan gear, one being the rubber mesh awning mat that has served me well for quite a few caravanning trips.

The only advantage I find with this mat is that it doesn't have to be pegged down due to the weight of the material and therein lies the biggest problem - it is heavy and bulky compared to a similar sized shade-cloth type mat. Being such a heavy mat, it is a pain in the butt to try and shake out accumulated sand, grit or mud.

A few years back, a mate gave me a decent sized lump of heavy vinyl tarp that had been used on grain bunkers and I've managed to cut a piece from it that is the perfect "solid" type mat to go under the tent floor.

From experience with mesh type mats, mud is a problem no matter what you use. It's all part of camping I guess.

AnswerID: 608285

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 09:49

Sunday, Feb 05, 2017 at 09:49
Actually Dusty one reason I was asking this question is because I noticed that Supercheap are now selling a heavy Vinyl tarp is various sizes. I have also noted that wind is a bigger problem than first imagined.

When I was setting up tents for a Wedding recently I was simply unable to deploy a tallish dome tent as wind bent the lightweight fibreglass poles, and trying to put down a groundsheet was also not on because the grass was about a foot high and stuff just lay on the grass allowing wind to get underneath and blow it away.
Robin Miller

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FollowupID: 878043

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Feb 06, 2017 at 15:16

Monday, Feb 06, 2017 at 15:16
I don't like putting "solid" (tarp or plastic) sheet down. When sand and dust comes between the tent and the sheet, it may grind. Add water from rain and it becomes a grinding paste.
I much rather put those rubber like annex floor sheets (perforated, from any caravan shop or BCF) down. It protects the tent's ground sheet and any sand dirt and water will fall through the perforations.
AnswerID: 608339

Reply By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2017 at 10:30

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2017 at 10:30
We use a cut down tarp.
It also doubles as our trucks water bra for river crossings. Mesh isn't so good at that.
AnswerID: 608379

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