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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Create Tyvek Treasures

Stay warm and fight the rain with three simple projects using this waterproof/breathable material.

by: Kristy Holland

» Tyvek 1443R ($65; 60 inches x 10 yards is enough for all three projects;
» 3M 396 Super Bond Polyester Film Tape ($25;
» Tape measure
» Scissors
» Waterproof marker
Savings: $40 Groundsheet
Stake out your tent and slide a piece of Tyvek underneath it. Use your marker to trace your tent’s perimeter and cut the Tyvek one to two inches inside the marking (a sheet that’s slightly smaller than your tent won’t collect drips). Visit for a how-to slideshow demo. If your tent’s wider than 60 inches, you may have to tape two sheets together.

Position the Tyvek smooth side down. The slicker surface provides better water resistance and collects less dirt. For some projects (like the bivy and skirt) consider cutting/assembling with the material white-side-out so you’re not a walking Tyvek ad.

Savings: $30 Emergency bivy sack
Lay your sleeping bag out atop a length of Tyvek, and fold the material around your bag’s non-zippered side. Trim the Tyvek to roughly match your bag’s shape, leaving extra material under the hood and along the edges (you want the bivy to be plenty roomy, and you’ll lose two inches when you tape the seam). Tape your bivy’s foot end closed and seal half of the open side. Upgrade: Use Velcro to seal the rest.

New, crisp Tyvek crinkles noisily. After cutting the material and before taping it together, soften/quiet it by washing it in a top-loading machine with cold water (no soap!). Put it through two rinse/agitate cycles and hang it to dry completely before sealing your bivy.

Savings: $95 Rain protection
Make a rain-blocking skirt: Cut a Tyvek rectangle that’s 20 percent wider than your hip measurement and 24 to 36 inches long, depending on your height.(You want it to overlap in front and fall to at least your knees). Adhere two 2-inch-wide lengths to the top corners (see below) to use as waist ties. Rather wear pants? Purchase a ready-made Tyvek pair ($3.50;; go up a size for easier layering.

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star
May 23, 2014

So, you're spending a minimum of $90 to save $73.50 (they say you can buy a pair of premade tyvek pants for $3.50, not at any hardware stores around my house, but I don't know where they were shopping)? Do you work for the government by any chance?

Star Star
May 23, 2014

Last year ther ewas an article about Tyvek being used as a ground cloth. I went to the local big box stores and the lunber yard looking to Tyvek. The smallest piece was 150 yards, 16 ft width. No place local (Michigan) sold it in smaller quantities. Unless a consumer can purchase Tyvek in smaller amounts this is a nice idea that has no pracital application. One web site is not adequate.

May 23, 2014

Tyvek??!! The building product? Really? Ever held any in your hands? It's stiff, heavy, and doesn't fold compactly. Better to cut up plastic shopping bags or condums for this.

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Material Concepts
May 09, 2013

Thanks for mentioning in your piece on the 3 cool DIY Tyvek projects. Just did a blog post about your article on our Tyvek Innovative Uses blog; see


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