Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

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Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby PedroArvy » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 12:03 am

Many years ago, in the 80s, I had a brand new Macpac Olympus with I think a 10,000mm hydrostatic head floor. We were camped on a slight slope in the Western Arthurs but there was a lot of slope above us to create fetch for the water to run down. After a few hours the rain turned the slope into a continuous sheet of water coming down the hill and under our tent. After 14 hours of heavy rain water began penetrating the floor. The material could no longer stand it. We weren't happy. I remember repackaging food and using whatever plastic bags we had to place under our beds to stop it wetting our gear. I seem to remember a comment by John Chapman to take plastic for the inside of your tent as no tent floor is waterproof. Does anyone actually do that?

I am interested in anyone who has experienced floor failure in a relatively new (i.e. not 20 years old and ready for pasture) tent. What was the floor thickness and how much rain did it take to make it leak? With many highly recommended tent floors being so thin these days this must happen often.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 6:59 am

Yes unless the ground is really spikey a groundsheet works much better inside the tent. Added warmth as well as waterproof.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby matagi » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 7:18 am

Recently camped on snow and the tent floor was wet through by the morning. I carry a thermal blanket which I use as a floor liner inside the tent (amongst other uses) and it worked a treat.

EDIT: Not sure how relevant it is but the tent is a Hilleberg Anjan 3, floor material has a hydrostatic head of 12,000mm.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 8:44 am

Had the same experience of rain on Bechervaise Plateau with TWO Macpac Olympus tents roughly 20 years ago (I only slept in one of them, in case you're wondering). There was a layer of water running across the plateau after heavy rain all day and most of the night. But in this case, our tent floors didn't let any water through, and we came out unscathed.

Those Macpac floors are quite amazing (most of the time).
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby PedroArvy » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 9:43 am

matagi wrote:the tent is a Hilleberg Anjan 3, floor material has a hydrostatic head of 12,000mm.


Well if the creme de la creme of tents leak I guess it means everything leaks given enough exposure to water.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby norts » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 9:58 am

I had a Hilleberg Akto, and the floor started leaking, it was about 5 yrs old and had done a lot of work, I contacted Hilleberg in the USA( I was on the AT at the time) and they replaced the the inner for me. It was very good service.
Only had to prove it was leaking, they just asked for a photo of it.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby PedroArvy » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 10:01 am

I guess that begs the next question - what is the lightest plastic to use in a tent for an epic Tassie trip? I believe polypro, which is very light, is not necessarily 100% waterpoof. Of course I could get a Bunnings plastic, but I am wondering what the lightest material that will do the job is.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby north-north-west » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 11:33 am

Woven fabrics, regardless of coating and treatment, will in time become permeable. It depends not only on the amount of water in contact with them, but the amount of pressure exerted on the fabric either by the water itself - as in norts' photo - or things on the other side of the fabric (ie, you lying on the tent floor).
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby PedroArvy » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 11:37 am

The examples above also show that a 10,000mm hydrostatic head does not mean that head exists with sustained pressure. There is no way a human body on a sleeping bad exerts anywhere near that pressure.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby Biggles » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 11:38 am

My Mont Moondance 1, 2009 vintage, began leaking in 2017. It had during the course of its travels been pitched on less than pristine, comfortable ground — from gravel to pebbles to rocks and riverside reed clumps, so the floor had a few very tiny holes, but of little consequence with the addition of a sheet of plastic between the footprint and the floor. In early 2019 the corners where the seam seals were began leaking also. Then the fly zip failed! I considered the highly varied and adventurous 10 year service life to be called a job well done. I replaced the first-gen Moondance 1 last year and expect to have the second-gen tent last the distance going forward.

PedroArvy wrote:Many years ago, in the 80s, I had a brand new Macpac Olympus with I think a 10,000mm hydrostatic head floor.


The "MacPac Hilton" Olympus was my first bushwalking tent, and came with me on two ascents of Victoria's Mount Bogong in 1988 and again in 1992, when it was pensioned off for the much-maligned MacPac Microlight. I'm surprised to learn the floor leaked even in the conditions you described, as it was pitched toward use in extreme environments where the chance of water penetration would have been addressed in design. But then we are talking about the 1980s. I'm sure things back then were not as refined as they are now. MacPac tents today are not of the stuff that will fall apart in 120km/h front-on gales. I know. I've huddled in one as the wind and rain roared.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 2:22 pm

PedroArvy wrote:I guess that begs the next question - what is the lightest plastic to use in a tent for an epic Tassie trip? I believe polypro, which is very light, is not necessarily 100% waterpoof. Of course I could get a Bunnings plastic, but I am wondering what the lightest material that will do the job is.

My 2 cents..

With a good quality tent that isn't many years old or rough used (used without a ground sheet) I'm not sure the risk in most circumstances is that great. Could test your tent before you go.

For an 'epic style' trip. I choose tyvek as a outside ground sheet as Im often not sure where or what Il be pitching on. Its light, tough and I've not seen it leak. (Though I think the HH is under 1000 so it has the potential too)

Polycro is good, lighter (packs much smaller) but it's not as robust. That won't matter to much if you're using it inside your tent exclusively. I've used it in a tarp setup (as a ground sheet) in the rain and on already wet ground and not had dampness penetrate (Including in NZ with torrential rain)

For me I always have my ground sheet on the outside. Depending on where I'm camping I use tyvek or polycro. My priority is preventing microholes in the tent floor and associated leaks in the wet.

I periodically test my tents by pushing them down into a bathtub of water to see if water penetrates. None of the current lot have so far and at least one has 50 nights on it. Nor have it's floor leaked in the rain with standing ground water. Is rated at 3000mm hydrostatic head.

As you mentioned with a full length mat the pressure you exert on the ground is spread out.

That said if you're camping on ground that could flood (like you described in your first post) I'd probably take a polycro for the inside as well. It doesn't weigh much.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby J M » Tue 24 Aug, 2021 10:48 pm

matagi wrote:Recently camped on snow and the tent floor was wet through by the morning. I carry a thermal blanket which I use as a floor liner inside the tent (amongst other uses) and it worked a treat.

EDIT: Not sure how relevant it is but the tent is a Hilleberg Anjan 3, floor material has a hydrostatic head of 12,000mm.


I had a similar experience in the same tent. One night of solid rain and a lot of surface water led to a very wet floor inside (and dripping through some of the fly seams).
Needless to say I wasn't impressed, but hilleberg covered it all under warranty (6 or 7 years after I bought the tent). I haven't had a chance to test it yet with these pesky lockdowns though...
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby matagi » Thu 26 Aug, 2021 8:20 pm

J M wrote:
matagi wrote:Recently camped on snow and the tent floor was wet through by the morning. I carry a thermal blanket which I use as a floor liner inside the tent (amongst other uses) and it worked a treat.

EDIT: Not sure how relevant it is but the tent is a Hilleberg Anjan 3, floor material has a hydrostatic head of 12,000mm.


I had a similar experience in the same tent. One night of solid rain and a lot of surface water led to a very wet floor inside (and dripping through some of the fly seams).
Needless to say I wasn't impressed, but hilleberg covered it all under warranty (6 or 7 years after I bought the tent). I haven't had a chance to test it yet with these pesky lockdowns though...


Hilleberg have some quite impressive customer service.
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Re: Has your quality tent floor ever leaked?

Postby madpom » Fri 27 Aug, 2021 5:03 pm

A simpler question would be: have you ever had a tent who's floor didn't leak.

"No".
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