Dec 11, 2005 at 2:14 pm #1217338
Does Tyvek make a good tarp? Or should I stick with other materials?
Also, anyone know of a source for tyvek by the foot? (Something other than ebay, prefereably.)Dec 11, 2005 at 5:29 pm #1346825
Tyvek makes fine tarps. It is functionally waterproof AND it breathes enough that even with a tight, winter setup it will rarely form condensation.
In a pinch, Tyvek breathes well enough that you can wrap it around your sleeping bag to make an improvised bivy, altough I would allow for some ventillation just in case conditions favor condensation (in which case any bivy will have condensation inside).
Standard Tyvek ‘House Wrap’ weighs 2 oz per yard.
Tyvek glues easily with Barge’s Cement or even Duco household contact cement as long as you rough up the area to be glued. It does not sew well because the stitch holes are like the perforations in paper – tear lines.
The strongest, lightest way to handle tie lines and stakeouts is to twist the corners and tie the lines on with a sheet bend.
A wonderful use of Tyvek is as a poncho/tarp. When softened, Tyvek feels almost like cotton, it has non-clinging body, and it breathes which adds up to the most comfortable poncho you can imagine. The hood or collar can be a simple rectangle on a slit instead of a hole. Then it won’t pull out of shape when pulled longitudinally in a tarp setup. The collar or hood can then fold flat and not catch water.
New Tyvek is stiff and LOUD like a big sheet of aluminum foil. Soften it by wringing it or by running it through several cycles in a dryer with a pair of tennis shoes.
I don’t know of any convenient source of Tyvek per foot. You might cruise building sites and talk to carpenters. I know folks who have bought it that way. A fair price is $1.00 per foot for 10 ft. wide Tyvek. Check the hardware stores. I have heard of smaller pieces being sold as drop cloths.Dec 11, 2005 at 6:49 pm #1346830
Dancing Light Gear – Standard Housewrap
Backpacker Camper – Standard Housewrap (I think)
(Also sells tyvek ponchos)
Into the Wind – 1422R 1.15oz “Kite Tyvek”
Quest Outfitters – 1443R 1.25oz “Kite Tyvek”
Kitebuilder.com – 1443R 1.25oz “Kite Tyvek”
Also, some of the kite stores sell >100# pure spectra lines for cheaper than most backpacking sites.Dec 11, 2005 at 6:49 pm #1346831
@laveLocale: Western Montana
I’m pretty sure you can still get Tyvek here.
Edit: Doh! I was 30 seconds too late to be helpful!Dec 11, 2005 at 6:54 pm #1346832
Consider ole buddy Andy Mytys for your tyvek.Dec 12, 2005 at 6:09 am #1346838
Just a clarification, I have Andy in my ‘Tyvek’ links for my own personal use.
As far as I know, he’s a great guy. (Certainly, someone who would go through the trouble of buying an entire roll and selling swaths at cost to other backpackers is definitely a great guy in my book).
However, I didn’t list him because he (by his own admission) does not recommend Tyvek for tarps, and only sells in 3′ widths.
“As I don’t believe in using Tyvek® for tarps, I have foregone the selling of 9-foot wide sections of Tyvek®.”Dec 12, 2005 at 7:40 am #1346840
Ooh I see why. I forgot this was for a tarp.Dec 12, 2005 at 10:24 am #1346848
One thing Tyvek is not so good for is ground sheets; it seeps if the ground is soggy. It is also very slippery, even when softened, so you can slide off it. With that said, it is not so bad that I don’t use it for a groundsheet now and then. Most of the time it’s OK. In general, though, it is better over you than under.Dec 12, 2005 at 10:25 am #1346849
.Dec 12, 2005 at 10:42 am #1346850
The vast majority of what I have read is the opposite. Better for ground sheet than directly over your down bag. Yep its slightly breathable but I bet not much more than silnylon. Are there any stats on its breathabillity?Dec 12, 2005 at 3:22 pm #1346860
Only limited experience, but I have been able to compare it in a bivy side by side with Goretex on one occasion, and the Tyvek had less condensation. As a tarp, when set up fairly tightly for nasty weather, I have had no condensation at 50F in fog when my breath was steaming. These experiences were with softened Tyvek. I don’t know how it would perform when new – wouldn’t use it without softening because of the noise, difficulty packing, etc.Dec 12, 2005 at 7:16 pm #1346877
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
So what is the best way to soften Tyvek?Dec 12, 2005 at 11:07 pm #1346880
Wash itDec 13, 2005 at 6:05 am #1346882
Yeah, wash it… with tennis shoes. Then put it through several dryer cycles with no heat … with tennis shoes. You gotta have those tennies pounding the Tyvek or it will not soften up enough.Dec 16, 2005 at 5:34 pm #1347055
This site gives specs on several Tyvek packaging products including the 1400 series sold by the KiteShop.
And here is a breakdown of Homewrap:
As you can see from the test results, Homewrap will handle a higher head of water and pass more water vapor than most of the packaging grades, and the 1400 series is not even rated for these factors that are critical to backpackers. Also note that there are many products under the general trademark, Tyvek.Dec 16, 2005 at 6:58 pm #1347057
Thanks Vick. I’ll check those out.Dec 16, 2005 at 11:33 pm #1347066
Of course, “softening” Homewrap is essentially destroying it’s ‘structure’, potentially turning it into ‘kite-tyvek’.Dec 17, 2005 at 11:20 am #1347094
>Of course, “softening” Homewrap is essentially destroying it’s ‘structure’, potentially turning it into ‘kite-tyvek’.<
I’m not sure softening “destroys” its structure. Sleeping on it certainly will make it leak after a while, but I’ve used this stuff a lot in seriously wet conditions, and I haven’t had the softened ‘Homewrap’ leak unless used as a groundsheet on saturated ground. Then it leaks only when pushed into the wet. It still turns rain.
Tyvek is really a varied line of products that DuPont refers to with terms such as ‘compressed Olefin mat’ and such. There are at least a dozen variations and weights engineered for everything from packaging to stucco backing, but none made specifically for outdoor enthusists. Pity.Dec 30, 2005 at 4:49 pm #1347607
Instead of starting another thread since my next question is Tyvek related …
I was wondering if Tyvek overalls/jackets/smocks can be used as rainwear?
Certainly a lot cheaper than Frogg Toggs; possibly lighter? but will it work?Dec 30, 2005 at 5:42 pm #1347611
I dunno. There are lots of versions of Tyvek. One might assume that garment Tyvek is designed for breathability since it is made for clean rooms and used as safety gear meant to be worn for extended periods. Then the question is whether it is adequately water resistant or whether the garment design is suitable for rain protection.
If cost is an issue and you want serious water repellancy with really great breathability, look at Durafab,made by Kinberly Clark, and found at least at Academy Outdoor. The last I got there was on sale. Complete suits for under $5. It holds up reasonably well. I’ve used it while trail building and also have stayed comfortable using it for mosquito protection in warm, sweaty weather. The major downside is the rubber ducky yellow color.Dec 30, 2005 at 6:05 pm #1347612
Vick … I’m working on a little experiment now. I remembered I had a pair of the tyvek boot covers for a project at home that I purchased at Home Depot for about $2.
I have had one of the boot covers sitting in a large bowl to hold the sides up and put about 8 oz of water in the “cupped” tyvek material. An hour now and no moisture has made it through.
It’s not so much the cost; but I was hoping for something even lighter than the current rain gear that is generally discussed.
I know pants are also available in tyvek and might be a good choice underneath a poncho. (YEA, my GoLite is being shipped next week!)Dec 30, 2005 at 6:13 pm #1347613
@craig_shelleyLocale: Rocky Mountains
81g for a Large. It was mentioned at this site. I bought one. I have used it a few times but haven’t really evaluated it. It is light and inexpensive.
I had trouble with the web address you posted but assume it would be like other Tyvek clothes, like at http://www.tasco-safety.com/clothing/clothing3.html#c
Very inexpensive but you need to buy a lot of them at tasco-safety.com.
Craig ShelleyDec 30, 2005 at 6:40 pm #1347614
Interesting product. Why don’t more people make XXL? (sigh)
Yes, the tasco-safety site carries the same basic products. Some of the other sites permit single item purchases instead of by the case. Some are as low as $3.50 per item.Dec 30, 2005 at 6:48 pm #1347615
Well, the experiment is now complete with the tyvek boot covers. Just sitting in the bowl, no real moisture to be found underneath …
But, when I carefully picked up the boot cover with the water still in it and formed what might look like a water balloon … and put pressure on the balloon … water shot out in very small streams from the micro holes.
So did it do what it was designed to do? … Breathe under normal conditions and relatively water resistant, but not water proof?Dec 31, 2005 at 10:03 am #1347642
I actually carried Tyvek overalls for my rain gear back in 2003. At that time they were available in the Lowes paint department.
The problem with them is they were designed to be inexpensive not rain wear. Here are some of the less desirable design “features” that need to be dealt with:
- Front zipper lacks a storm flap.
- Unlike any other shirt I’ve seen, the seams running the length of the sleeves are on the top. This exposes the most vulnerable part of the sleeve to direct impact with rain drops.
- Two out of three of the overalls I bought (all were the same brand) had a seam running down the middle of the back. Unfortunately this is where most of the water goes after leaving the brim of your hat.
- None of the seams are sealed.
All of the above “features” were intentially designed in to bring price points down and they all work against you when converting to rain wear.
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