Monday, February 3, 2020

German Elephant Skin Groundsheet – Military Classic Surplus

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Today Luke is taking a look at an interesting Classic Military piece of gear; the German Elephant Skin Groundsheet.

Agenda Free Link :

Price : $15 (not sure if there is a shipping fee with this site) – price can range depending on where you find it for sale.

Weight : Weight will vary due to size; mine is – 14.2oz

Measurements : These were never made to an exact spec so the size will vary by a few inches; mine is – 8’ x 3.2’

NSN : 8465-12-301-9147

Genuine European Military Surplus. Made in Germany former west germen forces.

Made of strong, durable and waterproof 100% ripstop nylon. Color: Olive Drab OD.

Rubbery sort of feeling to it.

These are very popular overseas; not so much here in the USA.

Known as "Elefantenhaut" (Elephant Skin) in Germany -Made in the Former West Germany in October 1985

Designed To Protect Sleeping Bag from Wet Surfaces

The BW Ground Sheet is also known by German soldiers as elephant skin. The name comes from the reinforced fabric structure of the tarpaulin, which is robust and durable. As a ground sheet for the sleeping bag when lying directly on the ground, it protects against sharp stones and also from moisture. Also suitable for other equipment.

This is often described as a tarp but that really isn’t accurate.

Pros :

Excellent price.

A history of being strong and durable.

Much stronger than the groundsheets that I generally use

Good size for a one person tent groundsheet

Cons :

The biggest problem with these is that it wasn’t designed to be staked down; luckily you can correct this in numerous ways.

I wish that they made larger versions of this

Summary :

Heavy in my opinion for backpacking but if you can come up with a use which justifies the weight, more power to you.  Excellent for camping, overland use and so on.

A single modification of tie off points would make this a much more versitale product – as it is, the amount of uses is basically limited to groundsheets and sitting pads as there is nothing stopping it from being blown away.

Make sure to pay attention and ask questions if purchasing used – you want to make sure that your sheet doesn’t have any holes.

The question is; what would you use one of these for?  How would utilize it with your kit?


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  17. "German Elephant Skin Groundsheet" is likely a military surplus groundsheet made from a durable material, and it's often used in camping, outdoor activities, or survival situations due to its robust construction .

  18. A groundsheet is a protective sheet or tarpaulin designed to be placed on the ground to create a barrier between the ground and the occupants of a tent, shelter, or sleeping bag. softscr It serves to keep the interior dry and clean, especially in wet or muddy conditions.