tyvek building wrap

I was reading any article about two backpackers on a trail in the Carolinas and they mentioned the use of tyvek wrap as a waterproof and breathable ground cloth. Has anyone tried this? Does it work? Is it better than the plastic most people normally use as a ground cloth?

Kite material

– Last Updated: Apr-11-06 9:21 AM EST –

I haven't used the building material, but have used Tyvek from kite supply stores. I have no idea if it is the same, or if it is a different version of Tyvek. Unless you know a building contractor, it is easier to get a small quantity of material from a kite store. So far, I have had good success with it as a groundcloth. No seepage through the material, and it has lasted for several different trips, maybe 20 or 24 days total so far. The piece I have cut to fit my tent is roughly 50"x80" and weighs 3.3 ounces.
It is less bulky and lighter than the heavy plastic groundsheet I used to use.

Intothewind.com is one source for the material.


– Last Updated: Apr-11-06 9:32 AM EST –

It is better than the plastic...light, waterproof, yada,yada,yada.....

Check a few construction sites and ask for a remnant.....if you need a large amount for say, a TARP, it can be bought in large rolls at Lowes or Home Depot.

Hint: WASH the tyvek in a machine to eliminate the lound crinkle, it will become soft like Frogg Toggs....


Tyvek is all…
my minimalist backpacking son uses. Claims it is lighter than plastic plus it breathes. Uses it as ground cloth with tent in cool weather and in his hammock in warmer weather. He has talked about making it into rain gear. This is a guy who spends 3-4 days on the trail carrying less than 25 lbs.

Tyvek clothing
Google ‘Tyvek coveralls’ for minimalist/survival clothing, shelter.

A skimming glance showed recycled Tyvek coveralls with elastic waist and wrists, hood and booties for $75 a box of 25. Sounds cheap but maybe I misunderstood.

Seems like there should be more people running around in Tyvek coveralls.


I wasn’t sure if they were pulling my leg in the article. Thanks for the input.

Not sure that the coveralls would be waterproof or comfy to run around it. They’ve usually used as protective clothing when working around paints, toxic stuff like epoxy.

tyvek coveralls
Seems like they’d be handy to have in the pack for emergency bivouacking, though.


tyvek suits water resistant not wproof
I put a tyvek coverall on and stood in the shower for 5 minutes. It leaked around the seams and front (snaps). At that price they would make a good liteweight emergency bivy suit.

Tyvek Suits
We use them for protection working inside water storage tanks and they will leak around the seams and the zipper was not designed as rain gear, no overflap. But they are cheap and i keep one in every vehicle. Great to have when you need to change a tire and you’re wearing good clothes.

I always pack an extra one on BoyScout camping trips, someone always forgets rain gear, and the zipper leak can be cured with duct tape.

The Frog Togs sure look like they are made from Tyvek.


Ground cloth
Use your ground cloth inside your tent not outside. Protects your floor where it needs it and you will stay drier.

Keep the wet side down (canoe that is)


Interesting …I always thought the

– Last Updated: May-10-06 9:42 AM EST –

tent needed protection between the ground and the bottom of the tent...I reject your reality and subsistute my own..isn't that a little like wearing your underwear on the outside...

Proof anyone?
So Cliff Jacobson (canoeing writer) frequently mentions the tip of the groundcloth inside the tent. He seems quite confident. Anybody have experience with this? Personally, I rarely use a groundcloth and my tent is doing OK, as I tend to pitch it in pretty nice places - also, maybe having the mattress pads inside acts as protection?

Used an “innie” for years

– Last Updated: May-11-06 11:07 AM EST –

I used an innie way before ever hearing about Cliff Jacobsen. And I have experienced it saving my bag from getting wet.

Downpour for days, forgot to renew the seam seal on my old tent. Leaks develop. With the innie I could wrap my bag and let the water go on the floor, to be mopped up as it accumulated.


Took kids camping. They thot they knew it all. I let them pitch their tent in a low lying area. Butmade sure the innie was in place. Big storm came thru flooding their tent. Their bags stayed dry.

The whole premise of using an "outie' is to protect the tent floor. My premise of the innie is to keep dry.

I like the innie…
I agree with the innie, sorta a last defense against leaks.

Sometimes, during a windy rain water will find its way into the tent, (front zippers, leaky seam), and that inside sheet of Tyvek or plastic has been the differance between a dry bag and a wet bag for me.

Now, if Mr_canoehead where to say, “hey, Robin, come on up to Manitoba and I’ll show you how an outie does work” as we trip along one of his world class remote routes, I might just change. :slight_smile:

protects the tent, not hte bag
The point of a “groundcloth” is to protect your tent floor from abrasion and punctures, so that you don’t “have to” protect the bag inside the tent. If you always use an “innie”, you will definitely need it to protect your bag after your tent floor is shot to hell!

Cliff Jacobson doesn’t have anything

– Last Updated: May-10-06 9:16 AM EST –

me...I could care less where he puts his ground cloth...I say it goes on the ground..and keep yer seams sealed..

Underwear on the outside
As a matter of fact, Yes it is like wearing your underwear on the outside. If you want to protect your underwear from wear and stains, you should wear them on the outside. However, most people prefer to protect their pants and so wear inexpensive underwear inside to protect their more expensive pants on the outside.

KenE please go to my post

– Last Updated: May-10-06 9:58 AM EST –

on bicker and banter ..therapy..thank you..P. S. HURRY

Actually “groundcloth” is a hold over from when tents didn’t have floors at all. The tent would be set up and then the “groundcloth” would be carried inside the tent and spread out. The groundcloth was not laid out and then the tent set up around it. If it were, water would have rushed in and gotten everything wet.

As far as protection from abrasion and punctures those come from the inside of the tent not the outside. One “complaint” you hear against “innies” is that the groundcloth wears out too fast inside the tent. It gets full of holes. Under the tent the groundcloth doesn’t wear out. No holes. Well, I’d rather have that happen to the ground cloth than the tent floor. NOT having an inside groundcloth will wear your tent floor much faster. An inside ground cloth protects the floor AND keeps the INSIDE of the tent cleaner.