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Make a Tyvek Groundcloth for Your Tent

Save money (and weight) with this tent-saving DIY trick.
 
Photos & Text: Steve Howe
  • Prolong the waterproof characteristics of your tent floor by making a simple, inexpensive groundsheet out of a common construction material called Tyvek.
  • You'll need: Your tent,  with the floor pitched tightly. Scissors, a waterproof marker, and a sheet of Tyvek.
  • The form of Tyvek used for vapor barriers in building construction is heavy, and stiff. Look for Type 1443R Tyvek, which is used in disposable clothing for hazardous waste use...and high-tech kite making. You buy it by the linear yard.
  • Type 1443 Tyvek resists tearing, punctures and dirt, but is soft and cloth-like, with visible patterning in the non-woven fabric.
  •  Stake your tent enough to stretch the floor out fully. Slide the Tyvek underneath and spread it out flat. Note: Tyvek works best for rectangular tent floors, because it only comes in 60-inch widths.
  • Trace around the tent perimeter, holding your waterproof marker vertically.
  • Cut around the tent perimeter outline with scissors. Important: Cut one to two inches inside the traced line.
  • When finished, your groundsheet should be slightly smaller than the outline of your tent and tent's rainfly. This keeps tent floor abrasion minimal, and also prevents water from pooling on the groundsheet.
  •  White Tyvek takes marker ink well, so you can use it to write down route details, make impromptu maps, SOS signals, or hitchiking signs.
Prolong the waterproof characteristics of your tent floor by making a simple, inexpensive groundsheet out of a common construction material called Tyvek.
Image 1 of 9

Prolong the waterproof characteristics of your tent floor by making a simple, inexpensive groundsheet out of a common construction material called Tyvek.

READERS COMMENTS

Page 1

If you situate your groundsheet in this manner, where it extends beyond the outside of the tent, and it rains, it will just serve to funnel rainwater underneath your tent (not good). The groundsheet should be slightly smaller than your tent floor.
— Rich

Is the type 1443 water-proof/resistant?
— Kevin

Tyvek comes in all sorts of lengths. I have an 8' roll right now I got from a building site (for free) and you can buy it at a building supply store or ask for it on free cycle.
— Clayton

I bought a 9' tall roll for my home project... worked great for a footprint. Also, I learned the hard way that the footprint should be smaller than the tent fly so that water doesn't roll off the fly and get caught by the footprint, pooling under the tent. that was a bad night!
— Jooop

Run the Tyvek ground cloth through a wash cycle. It will soften it up considerably.
— fatport

You don't show or comment on whether tyvek 1443 (or regular tyvek) is strong enough to accept tent pole holes either for fast minimal pitching in general, or just to put up the fly before the tent when it is raining. Do you need to carry (pre-knotted) cord to do that?
— Doug

Must not extend past tent or rainfly, I agree. I use an emergency blanket as my footprint. Cheap, small, light and multi purpose. Less than $4 available everywhere, and packs to wallet size.
— Justin

Must not extend past tent or rainfly, I agree. I use an emergency blanket as my footprint. Cheap, small, light and multi purpose. Less than $4 available everywhere, and packs to wallet size.
— Justin

Must not extend past tent or rainfly, I agree. I use an emergency blanket as my footprint. Cheap, small, light and multi purpose. Less than $4 available everywhere, and packs to wallet size.
— Justin


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