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Tyvek as a tarp?
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Michael Freyman
(mfreyman) - MLife
Tyvek as a tarp? on 12/11/2005 15:14:26 MST Print View

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.)

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Tyvek as a tarp? on 12/11/2005 18:29:28 MST Print View

Michael,

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.

Edited by vickrhines on 12/12/2005 11:28:32 MST.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Sources for Tyvek on 12/11/2005 19:49:19 MST Print View

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.

Eric Lavering
(lave) - F

Locale: Western Montana
Re: Tyvek as a tarp? on 12/11/2005 19:49:46 MST Print View

http://www.geocities.com/amytys/Tyvek.htm

I'm pretty sure you can still get Tyvek here.

Edit: Doh! I was 30 seconds too late to be helpful!

Edited by lave on 12/11/2005 19:51:15 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Tyvek as a tarp? on 12/11/2005 19:54:01 MST Print View

Consider ole buddy Andy Mytys for your tyvek.

http://www.geocities.com/amytys/Tyvek.htm

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Didn't mean to 'forget' Andy on 12/12/2005 07:09:40 MST Print View

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®."

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Didn't mean to 'forget' Andy on 12/12/2005 08:40:13 MST Print View

Ooh I see why. I forgot this was for a tarp.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Tyvek uses again on 12/12/2005 11:24:31 MST Print View

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.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Tyvek uses again on 12/12/2005 11:25:18 MST Print View

.

Edited by vickrhines on 12/12/2005 11:25:59 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Tyvek uses again on 12/12/2005 11:42:58 MST Print View

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?

Edited by jshann on 12/12/2005 11:43:47 MST.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Tyvek uses again on 12/12/2005 16:22:02 MST Print View

JS,
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.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Tyvek uses again: How to soften on 12/12/2005 20:16:19 MST Print View

So what is the best way to soften Tyvek?

David Sandford
(dropkick) - F
tyvek on 12/13/2005 00:07:09 MST Print View

Wash it

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Tyvek uses again: How to soften on 12/13/2005 07:05:07 MST Print View

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.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Tyvek breathability on 12/16/2005 18:34:19 MST Print View

John Shannon,
This site gives specs on several Tyvek packaging products including the 1400 series sold by the KiteShop.

http://industrialpackaging.dupont.com/4products/index.html

And here is a breakdown of Homewrap:
http://construction.tyvek.com/pdf/K02134CompProperties.pdf

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.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Tyvek breathability on 12/16/2005 19:58:44 MST Print View

Thanks Vick. I'll check those out.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Washing Tyvek / Breathability on 12/17/2005 00:33:56 MST Print View

Of course, "softening" Homewrap is essentially destroying it's 'structure', potentially turning it into 'kite-tyvek'.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Washing Tyvek / Breathability on 12/17/2005 12:20:04 MST Print View

>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.

Michael Freyman
(mfreyman) - MLife
Tyvek as Rain Gear? on 12/30/2005 17:49:49 MST Print View

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?

Example --> http://www.northernsafety.com/cart/cart.cfm?Action=03&CURR_PAGE_NUM=2&skw=GP135TYVE02

Certainly a lot cheaper than Frogg Toggs; possibly lighter? but will it work?

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Tyvek as Rain Gear? on 12/30/2005 18:42:56 MST Print View

Michael,

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.