Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tent Footprint Surprise

I don't quite remember how I got a footprint for my Alps Mountaineering Mystique 1.5 tent, but I have one and have used it in the past.  With the plan to further reduce weight, I decided to make my own footprint out of some 3.5 mil plastic that I have on hand for painting and home projects.  I expected to save a few ounces using the plastic.  The Mystique nylon footprint weighs 6.7 ounces including the stuff sack.
Mystique nylon footprint with ties with the used plastic sheet below.
I laid out the Mystique footprint on top of the plastic sheet, held it in place with scraps of used blue painter tape, and cut the matching plastic footprint out with scissors.  A razor blade would have been the better tool to cut with, but I wanted to not cut the carpet (very bad) or the footprint (just plain bad).  My five minutes of work, plus cleanup was over and done fairly quickly.  I folded both footprints up and weighed them.
Mystique footprint plus bag = 6.7 ounces.
Remember, the nylon Mystique footprint weighed 6.7 ounces or 190 grams with the stuff sack.  Well, I was surprised that the 3.5 mil cut-to-fit plastic footprint sheet in a gallon zip-lock bag weighed 5.4 ounces or 152 grams.  By making a new footprint from plastic, I had saved a whopping total of 1.3 ounces.  Or 38 grams.
3.5 mil plastic sheet, cut to fit plus zip-lock bag = 5.4 ounces.
Well, the plastic sheet was paid for over seven years ago and I only used a small part of it.  The sheet was already used 3 or 4 times, so it is really "recycling" the plastic.  And the 1.3 ounces saved is still 1.3 ounces.  I had expected to save over 3 ounces (about half of the weight), which is why I felt stupid, as in stupid light.  I still have the nylon footprint, and will sell that along with the Mystique tent in the future.  In using the plastic footprint on a campout, it worked just fine.
I guess using this plastic footprint instead of the nylon one will make up for the weight of some of the health kit items that I have not yet repackaged.  And I still have the 4.27 pound Mystique tent, hoping to change that to a 1.5 or 2 pound tent at the next retail opportunity.  Otherwise, my packed Kumo backpack is ultra-lightweight.
I'll work on the packing list for an upcoming weekend camping trip so we can see just how "ultra-lightweight" I have become.
I think you'll see that I have been reducing the backpacking system parts weight by half or more while not getting "gram crazy".


  1. Tent footprints are necessary for protecting the tent and making sure you don't get too cold when you lay on your mattress. I find that tarps can do the job or you can just make a DIY one for your next camping adventure. Here's some easy instructions and how-tos. See: