Difficult decisions - take it or not.

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
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Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 08 May, 2018 10:06 am

Lightweight walking is always a trade off. Do you bring something or save weight..

Currently debating whether to include a ground sheet as standard kit for my tent when camping in previously unvisited locations.
Last weekend I camped in an area with a fair bit of baby sword grass. Initially thought it was ordinary grass, then while clearing the tent site of sticks etc I looked down at my hands to find them sliced and blood-ee This trip the floor (tarp tent) survived.

Has anyone had experience of sword grass slicing into tent floors?

Any other difficult decisions? What did you decide..
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Orion » Tue 08 May, 2018 11:17 am

This is the Ultralight backpacking forum. So unless you know in advance that you'll be camping on razor sharp knives, don't take a groundsheet. You can easily repair holes/cuts in a tent floor.

Lots of people *never* take a groundsheet, even on non-UL trips.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Lamont » Tue 08 May, 2018 1:10 pm

G'day WW,
For what it's worth I took this on a recent outing-
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015P ... UTF8&psc=1
after having seen it on another forum from a poster there -"battlerattle" (RedditUL). This is the 1-5mm thick, heavy duty (polycro/polycryo) stuff.
A sheet cut from the overall piece delivered at 900 X 900 weighs 70 grams and folds into a package 10 cm X 10 cm about 5 mm thick.
Before I used it I took a sharp pencil and pressed firmly-it took a bit of force ( it didn't just easily go thru', but once thru the rest of the pencil followed) to push it through. This force would have gone thru' the bottom of my tent also I suspect.
I then pressed with the same force a blunt pencil-it needed a quite a bit pressure to get thru'.
A "squared off" stick un-pointed sort of thing. No go. Stepping on it also no go. Didn't think to grind my foot on to it.
Pressing on the floor from inside the tent I could most certainly feel the extra robustness.
Now, a caveat, I am unfamiliar with the grass you mention-but for me I would take this again every time from now on. Sitting/lying on wet grass will (did) not puncture it.
If I don't use it -almost no real weight and importantly NO space penalty. If I do, I suspect I have doubled (?) the resistance of my floor (and cleanliness- man was my floor clean!). Win-win in my book. I also now have an off cut to make a couple more. I know this is not answering your original question and I was going to wait for a couple more uses to review this stuff but it seems appropriate to mention it now. It is Ultralight and maybe the UL solution? Just need a few more people to try it and report back. There is a true SUL version which is the normal window stuff also on Amazon. It is 1mm thick so a piece my size would weigh 45-50gms it also gets recommended a lot.
Also you will see it frequently on the sectionhiker site under his shelters
Cheers
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 08 May, 2018 1:46 pm

Lamont wrote:G'day WW,
For what it's worth I took this on a recent outing-
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015P ... UTF8&psc=1
~SNIP~
Cheers


Thanks Lamont. That film looks really good. I have a tyvek ground sheet and while it is lightweight it is bulky, so this could be a solution.

This is sword grass: https://www.survival.org.au/bf_gahnia.php. Brush past it and your very likely to get sliced. Baby sword grass looks like regular short grass until you cut yourself on it :(
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Lamont » Tue 08 May, 2018 2:08 pm

No worries, some people just ball/scrunch it up, but folded in lengths then squeezing the air out as you fold over and over it becomes the almost tiny size I mentioned. I have only used the HDuty version tho' as it seemed almost no weight/space disadvantage over the Light version-but quite a bit thicker. Does that grow in clumps? I think I have called it something else. Can't tell from the pic and others that I looked at.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Neo » Tue 08 May, 2018 2:14 pm

I don't have a groundsheet.
But I do take a shortened Nike ccf pad.
I put it under the tent floor towards where I enter and pivot, also where my torso is on my air mat.
I think of it as floor and mat saver plus a bit of ground insulation.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Neo » Tue 08 May, 2018 2:17 pm

If using a tarp then I do have a groundsheet.
A heavy duty space blanket I happened to have already plus the shortened ccf for as above.

Got a bit of tyvek that I'm yet to make a bathtub out of.

Edit: for the fanatics I'm only teetering around lightweight, between seasons. Not UL with the Nike material, would need polycro or (flimsy) thin ccf for that.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 08 May, 2018 2:39 pm

Lamont wrote: Does that grow in clumps? I think I have called it something else. Can't tell from the pic and others that I looked at.


It does grow in clumps. The mature plant is bush size. Its also called Saw Sedge. Very common around Sydney and the blue mtns. The sides of the long thin leaf will slice you and the ends can poke your eye out.. nasty stuff :lol:
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Neo » Tue 08 May, 2018 3:29 pm

Yep clumps and looks a bit like Lomandra but with different leaf tips and sharp leaf blades! A few varieties, gets a flower spike/plume that browns off.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Orion » Wed 09 May, 2018 11:12 am

wildwanderer wrote:This is sword grass: https://www.survival.org.au/bf_gahnia.php. Brush past it and your very likely to get sliced. Baby sword grass looks like regular short grass until you cut yourself on it :(


That looks like the same thing as "cutting grass" in Tasmania. Nasty stuff if you slide it across exposed skin. I can't quite picture how you'd set your tent up on those. Seems like it would be kind of bumpy.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 09 May, 2018 12:23 pm

Orion wrote:...... I can't quite picture how you'd set your tent up on those. Seems like it would be kind of bumpy.


:lol: smarty..

Tent was set up on an area simlar to this pic..

dscf7938.jpg
dscf7938.jpg (168.42 KiB) Viewed 7047 times
Image from - https://wangiwriter.wordpress.com/tag/australian-bush/

Turns out the short grass was baby sword grass. We dont all have the luxury (or the inclination) of camping in manicured campgrounds.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Orion » Wed 09 May, 2018 3:55 pm

That actually looks pretty well trimmed.

So the "baby" version will cut through a nylon tent floor?
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 09 May, 2018 8:09 pm

Orion wrote:That actually looks pretty well trimmed.

So the "baby" version will cut through a nylon tent floor?


It sliced up my hands easily enough when I was clearing sticks from the tent site.
Not sure about the tent floor but given the lack of floor slicing stories in this thread, Im taking it as a good sign.

Note. the 'baby' version isnt a seperate variety (as far as im aware). Its just sword grass in its first sprouting state before it grows into a mature plant.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Orion » Thu 10 May, 2018 1:45 am

wildwanderer wrote:Note. the 'baby' version isnt a seperate variety (as far as im aware). Its just sword grass in its first sprouting state before it grows into a mature plant.


Yes, I understood that. I've never seen it during my visits to Tasmania. Or maybe I've never recognized it as such. It would be interesting to test a weighted floor against that stuff. Would it cut it?

If you know your floor will likely be damaged then it's surely worth taking protection for it. A hole or tear or two once in a while is no big deal. You just patch it. But I once had a tent littered with dozens of small holes in the floor. I don't even know how it happened. There were so many it made repair very difficult.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby taipan821 » Thu 10 May, 2018 10:25 am

I hammock camp, so while I don't really need a groundsheet I do carry something to act as a doormat. I print out my maps on tyvek at office works and they pull double duty.
I've also used my liner trash bag as an impromptu floormat, but would only recommend this when sustained rain isn't likely.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Drew » Thu 10 May, 2018 9:31 pm

I print out my maps on tyvek at office works and they pull double duty.


You can do that?! At any Officeworks? Do they call it tyvek or something else?
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby taipan821 » Fri 11 May, 2018 9:25 am

Drew wrote:
I print out my maps on tyvek at office works and they pull double duty.


You can do that?! At any Officeworks? Do they call it tyvek or something else?


[url]https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/Print-And-Copy/Speciality-Posters[url]
hope that helps, I like using A1
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 14 May, 2018 5:17 pm

The hard part will be to print it to scale for consistent compass work.
Just move it!
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Drew » Tue 15 May, 2018 10:35 am

The hard part will be to print it to scale for consistent compass work.


True. Hijacking the thread a bit here, but I'm wondering what map files you're printing from taipan821, and how you get the scale right?

Thanks
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Mark F » Tue 15 May, 2018 11:13 am

Drew wrote:
The hard part will be to print it to scale for consistent compass work.


True. Hijacking the thread a bit here, but I'm wondering what map files you're printing from taipan821, and how you get the scale right?

Thanks

If you have the map as a pdf file then then it will print to scale especially if you have an Adobe PostScript print driver and your printer can handle PostScript. Other print drivers may well be equally as good now but a few years back the PostScript route was the sure fire way. This assumes you turn Page Sizing option to "Actual Size" not "Fit" or "Shrink oversize pages" in the print dialog box. You can use the "Custom Scale" box to shrink or enlarge - 50% would reduce a 1:25k map to 1:50k.

PS. PostScript is the Adobe page definition language that is used to define a pdf file.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Lamont » Mon 21 May, 2018 5:45 pm

G'day WW,
just back from a few days use of the window insulation I listed. I cut it down a tad more so no rain (woke up in a wee pool outside, flamin' hell) would go on to it then under the tent (about 5 cms all round -now fits easily in the smallest zip-lock weighs about 55 grams) Wasn't for water-proofness remember, just boosting the blocking of sticks etc. Dried very easily and the dirt/mud/sand just fell off. I thought I would have to hose it, it was so filthy-nope. Do a Taylor Swift- Shake it out, put it in the wind and sun and bingo, bango, bongo all clean! Happy as Larry.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Singe » Sun 27 May, 2018 7:07 am

Lamont wrote:(woke up in a wee pool outside, flamin' hell)


Try to avoid drinking too much before bedtime would be my advice ;)

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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 28 May, 2018 8:43 pm

Lamont wrote:G'day WW,
just back from a few days use of the window insulation I listed. I cut it down a tad more so no rain (woke up in a wee pool outside, flamin' hell) would go on to it then under the tent (about 5 cms all round -now fits easily in the smallest zip-lock weighs about 55 grams) Wasn't for water-proofness remember, just boosting the blocking of sticks etc. Dried very easily and the dirt/mud/sand just fell off. I thought I would have to hose it, it was so filthy-nope. Do a Taylor Swift- Shake it out, put it in the wind and sun and bingo, bango, bongo all clean! Happy as Larry.


Sounds like a good option. Does it make any noise in the wind? thats something I dont like about tyvek, as soon as the wind gets up.. its like someone is devouring a packet of chips at the movies.
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby Lamont » Tue 29 May, 2018 5:59 am

No noise, at all, but did you note that it is completely covered by the floor of the tent? So it can't be blown. Another thing is it is really easy to adjust it with the tent up and loaded up with your stuff, it just slides, as long as you don't cut it too small. I carry a couple of Lebanese flat bread bags opened up (60 X 30 cms) in the porches to give a mat for my shoes rucksack etc they are tough and weigh very little each bag roll them up and stuff them. Although I did use 2 for a barrier against my wet runners and dry socks. I think if you had the polycryo in the wind without it being pinned it would rustle. If however it is cut so it falls outside the border of the tent it will collect water and then go it could go easily back under the floor.Cheers
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Re: Difficult decisions - take it or not.

Postby legend » Sun 24 Jun, 2018 10:57 am

I think the sword grass would not harm your tent. It isn't spiky, and would flatten out when the floor is on it.
Your hands were cut because they were sliding up along the razor sections of the grass.
However, burrs and other prickly nasties are a very different category. They will penetrate almost anything, depending on size of the spike.
If camping where these persist, then trying to 'sweep' the space clean might be your only option.
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