Tarp / ground sheet? (hiking/camping experts?)

Hi all,

I have a couple of problems trying to google these things!
Im missing the technical terms that hiking experts use (or maybe the english word for it) and Im also not sure what to get.

Im looking for a tarp (the ‘triangle’ shaped tent supported by the walking pole some people use, from the photos in here) and something for the ground so I dont have to take my misses posh camping ground thingy.

Any recommendations? UK sites please!
In the event you have tips for choosing hiking poles Im happy to hear about it!


we discussed Tarps on the Facebook page of Sota and John Messenger MW0XOT very kindly posted the link for

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TyVek brand house sheet comes in 3ft / 1M wide and makes an excellent very low cost ground sheet material that is fairly indestructible… it can be taped together to make larger wider sheets. I always have a ~4ft x 4 piece with me (plus an old piece of Karrimat in the winter)

UST brand has a small emergency shelter that is widely available and fairly inexpensive…

These are the bits of Gear you develop along the way and you’ll find a system that works for u eventually…

Richard // N2GBR

Thanks I checked it. is this size the standard? I saw a youtube video by an american and it seems small.

nice ground material! I’ve never heard of it. thanks a lot. this is very helpful

ground material is really crucial in the UK, the grass is always wet, really wet.
TyVek says resistant or proof?

Tyvek is a fairly magic material Tasos. It’s woven like a fabric but feels like a slippery piece of paper. It’s lightweight and very strong. It’s almost impossible to rip but is easy to cut with normal scissors. It lets water vapour pass through but not liquids. It is used a lot in the construction of buildings to waterproof them during construction, i.e. keeps out the rain. Because it allows water vapour to pass, it can be left in place when the outer walls are built and wont result in bad condensation in the buildings.

Find yourself a building site and you’ll see the material in use. Ask the nice people working on the site and they may give you some off-cuts.

It seems like Tyvek is ‘the’ stuff to have!

I built an MTR that went to live in CO., he took his owner backpacking in a Tyvek tent :smile: -


I have used a tarp from Poundland to good effect. I think they’re sold as garden furniture covers. Just prop it up with a walking pole and use tent pegs to anchor it.

I tend to use my summit shelter / KISU / bothy bag, if I need shelter, I sit in it, if I just need to sit on wet ground, I sit on it.

73, Colin

Funny enough I could put the misses (both architects here, I’m in academia though) to ask for some from the contractors we works with… they are doing million pound projects from her… a bit a cloth won’t harm!!! hehe


DIY tarp seems a good idea too!! cheers!

If you are looking for something cheap and a little stronger than a tarp (short for tarpaulin by the way), a painters sheet is what I use for ground protection - or I should say, part of one as they can be quite big.


Maybe this is what you are looking for


or maybe this one ?

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My bothy bag has never been used in any manner in over 500 activations. I always take it with me as I know that the first time I leave it out of my backpack, that is the first time I will need it. Otherwise I carry a cheap plastic tarp (6ft x 4ft) which can be rigged for shelter in numerous ways. I also have a larger tarp (8ft x 6ft), but find it difficult to handle when it is windy… and that covers most activations!

73, Gerald G4OIG

I have the same problem with my lucky anvil. I’ve lugged it up 450+ summits on the off chance I would need it and I am loathed to stop taking as, just like you suggest, that will be the time I need it.


Yes, I heard that you had also stopping taking the patio heater and barbecue so now get both cold and hungry on activations.


You know I find the lightweght fibreglass poles fits very well into the Hardie Hole, (the pritchel hole is too small), Can’t do without the Anvil on the summit!


Tyvek sheets are readily available on eBay here in the states < $15 shipped.

in the Uk is not that common.
I found some on Etsy (~4 pounds per meter) and they offer different ‘types’
… not that I know whats the difference!


Tyvek is a bit heavier than alternatives and not as waterproof. It lets some spray through in heavy rain.

The cheapest and lightest ground sheet is polycryo. You can get it as heat shrink film that goes on windows. It is light enough that it will blow away if you aren’t careful.

For tarps, silnylon is light, waterproof, and strong.


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Check out ZPacks in the US. Cuben Fiber is awesome. Will not absorb water. Extremely light. 2 person tent with carbon fiber stakes, 60 litre backpack and sleeping bag under 3 kilos total. Many ground sheet/tarp options in the 3-5oz range. Their dry bags are perfect for <1oz electronics protection. Excellent customer service to build what you need.
Best wishes,