Reader Q || Do I need a footprint for the High Route Tent?

I don’t recommend using a footprint with the High Route. When I leave the inner tent at home, I use a mylar blanket as a groundsheet.

A question from reader Caspar R:

I just bought your High Route Tent. Do you recommend using a footprint with it? If so, which one?

I generally do not recommend using a footprint with the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1Fl. A custom-sized footprint for it is intentionally not available, and there are no plans to offer one.

The inner tent of the High Route features a waterproof floor made of medium-duty 30d nylon coated with silicone on one side and polyurethane (PU) on the other. It is rated to 3,000 mm hydrostatic head, which is nearly as waterproof as Cuben Fiber or premium sil/sil nylons used by cottage manufacturers like MLD. It should withstand extensive use before its loss of waterproofness becomes noticeable or problematic.

If you manage to wear out the floor, you have two options. (1) You can send it back to Sierra Designs for repair or replacement. (2) Or, you can supplement its waterproofness with an ultralight groundsheet made of mylar or polycryo (i.e. window shrink wrap).

When using the High Route Tent without its inner — which is my go-to configuration in Colorado for nearly the entire year — I carry a mylar blanket to protect my gear from groundwater, keep my gear out of the dirt, and help prevent air pad punctures. This summer I’ve been using the post-race blanket that was distributed to runners at the Boston Marathon in April. Mylar blankets are not created equal. If you go this route, purchase a blanket that is marketed as being more durable (e.g. thicker, double-sided) than a standard blanket, which will tear easily.

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4 Responses to Reader Q || Do I need a footprint for the High Route Tent?

  1. Russ August 31, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    How do you deal with the mosquitoes without the Inner? I have the High Route but rely on the inner when it is so buggy.



    • Andrew Skurka August 31, 2017 at 11:12 am #

      When the bugs are bad, bring the inner. When they’re not, leave it at home. That may or may not be practical depending on where you live and when you backpack.

  2. Alan September 12, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    Andrew, have you used the F1 in very rocky areas a lot? I’ve used a MSR Nook 2 for many years now. I think around year 3 I developed several tears in the floor which is 40D nylon. I’m pitching on typical abrasive Sierra granite. I think the worst is when I’m camping on solid rock. Invariably there are small pebbles between the tent floor and the solid rock and those really do a number on the floor. Even though its extra weight and space… I now carry a footprint unless I KNOW I’ll be camping on more forgiving ground.

    • Andrew Skurka September 13, 2017 at 6:03 am #

      Yes, I’ve used it in rocky areas, but rarely with the inner. If you used the High Route as you have your Nook 2, I would expect similar results. Although you’ll struggle to pitch the High Route on granite slabs because it’s not free-standing.

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