View Full Version : Rainfly/Footprint Question

2006-04-18, 14:47
My friend and I camped out in his North Face Merlin 33 and loved it. It's a 3-person, 3-season tent with a full rainfly. We always pitch it with the footprint, which is made specifically for that model tent.

The footprint is shaped for the tent and vestibules. Our boots and bags that stay outin the vestibule sit on the footprint, not in the dirt.


When shopping for a 2-person tent, I was shocked to find that this is apparently not the norm. The footprints are all shaped to only go underneath the tent itself. The helpful staff at REI explained that a larger footprint could lead to water pooling under the tent, but then why would TNF make the larger footprint on the Merlin?

Which is better? Have I been spoiled by the larger footprint? Should I just settle for a 2-person tent that doesn't have an extended footprint? :confused:

2006-04-18, 15:50
the issue with water pooling would be if precipitation were to errantly get insde the vestibule (or, god forbid, you fall asleep with the vesibule open a bit for ventilation and the weather turns bad and starts pouring before you wake up.. then you're SOL). I tend to agree with the reps at REI that would be a bad thing.

However, if it were me, I would get a bit of drop cloth from the hardware store and make my own custom footprint just for the vestibule this has the benefit of keeping your gear off the ground and out of the way of errant streams of water as well as keeping the vestibule isolated from the main tent should water get into the vestibule somehow (like falling asleep with the vestibule open)

2006-04-18, 19:36
Check out their website and see what they have available for use as groundclothes. Basically buy what you like, ignore the commercial footprint, and then make up your own groundcloth from what Gossamer Gear has available. Just a thought.

2006-04-19, 01:01
I've had a lot of tents and never actually bought a footprint. I've made them from old canvas tarps, plastic sheeting, or cheap poly tarps. I even carried around an old bathroom carpet that I used under a canvas wall tent for a while (very heavy tent - never went far from a vehicle or boat).
What I'm trying to say is you don't have to be fancy. I would just buy some cheap fabric from Walmart and cut a piece to fit. As it will be covered you shouldn't have to worry much about it being waterproof.

Hog On Ice
2006-04-19, 09:31
a fair number of people use a piece of scrap Tyvek house wrap from a construction site as a ground cloth/footprint - washing it in a washing machine will greatly reduce the noise/crinkling