I recently bought a Terra Nova Laser Comp to replace my Macpac Microlite for a saving of just over 1kg. While the Macpac is a great tent it certainly isn’t microlight, but it handled quite severe conditions for a 1 pole tent and had plenty of room. More importantly to this topic, it has a solid floor fabric unlike the Laser Comp which survived a couple of hundred nights use intact. This has set me thinking about footprints and whether they were worth the weight or not. Given the price of the Laser Comp I would like to get plenty of use out of it. My plans for the next 18 months see over 100 nights use; the Australian Alps Walking Track in Dec-Jan and Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne in August-September 2011 are the major contributors.
The footprint options seem to be
- Don’t use one and end up doing minor repairs on an increasingly frequent basis
- Buy one off the shelf and add 250 grams or more to the pack weight
- Build one – largely a cut out job using a very lightweight material such as Tyvec.
The other aspect I am playing with is trying to get multiple uses out of a footprint if I am going to use one. I was thinking about using a rain cape but then decided to look at using 3mm closed cell foam. This should provide really good protection, add a little to the warmth and comfort of the tent and make the tent floor a little less prone to condensation. On investigation the lightest closed cell foam is 30Kg/cubic metre which equates to 30 grams per mm or 90 grams per sq metre of 3mm foam. This density is used for sleeping mats so it should be perfect. The sheets available in Australia are 2 metres by 1 metre while a useful size may be 2 x 0.75 metres, giving a weight of 135 grams – worth checking out. There are not a lot of places that may stock this in Canberra so if I can’t find it locally it will have to wait until I go to Sydney in a few weeks time.
The only downside I can think of right now is that the bulk will be considerably greater than a fabric footprint. A quick calculation says 4.5 litres for the proposed size.
Does anybody have a thought on this?