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$10 Tyvek coveralls converted to 2.95oz jacket & 1.73oz chaps.
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Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
$10 Tyvek coveralls converted to 2.95oz jacket & 1.73oz chaps. on 05/30/2012 11:16:55 MDT Print View

Several yrs ago I modified a set of disposable coveralls for camp use on self-supported whitewater kayaking trips. Enough rain protection and extra warmth.

Since, I had been hankering to do something similar for backpacking. Then, when I stumbled upon Will Rietveld's article, I had all the inspiration needed.

I found the lighter Tyvek that Will refers to on Amazon for $5.26 + shipping.

I cut the jacket long then removed about 1/3rd of the zipper and sewed up the bottom. Having a very goofy fitting hood, I took out some of the material from the top and back then removed the existing elastic band, cut back some material around the face and installed a cord with two tiny cord locks.

The chaps are simple. I just added 1/4" grosgrain with a mitten hook that hooks onto the bungee belt on my shorts.

I intend to use the jacket not only for a windbreaker but for extra warmth in the evenings, mornings, and while sleeping, if necessary.

I'll use the chaps with my poncho for extra rain protection as well as anytime my legs need extra warmth. This way, I don't need to worry about bringing pants.

At 6' and 150 lbs, I was very pleased with the way the large fit me. The jacket would be a little snug for much layering underneath but perfect for how I intend to use this stuff. I also love the cut of this jacket and the elastic it has in the lumbar region. After I modified the hood, this thing fits more like a high-end jacket than what one would imagine from something meant to be disposed of.

Don't know how long this set-up will last me but I'm guessing I'll be able to get 3, 4, or more seasons with some care.

Jacket = 2.95 oz
Chaps = 1.73 oz


Edited by rustyb on 05/30/2012 11:30:30 MDT.

Sean Rhoades

Locale: WV
tyvek gear on 05/30/2012 16:34:43 MDT Print View

Thats pretty nice man. How much water will the jacket shed? Just curious if the heavier stuff would work for a disposable rain jacket.

Thayne N
(teethless) - MLife

Locale: Boston
whoa on 05/30/2012 16:34:43 MDT Print View

That looks fantastic! Well done sir!

I know you didn't state the intended use was for rain protection, but did you seam seal the zipper area you stitched back up?

I'm gonna take a stab at this and will post my results if I don't screw it all up too badly...

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Thanks, guys! on 05/30/2012 17:09:16 MDT Print View

I'm not sure how much water this Tyvek will shed as I have no experience with it. The disposable coveralls I mentioned before for self-supported kayak camping trips was made from another material which, was good for 2 hrs of light steady rain. Hopefully someone with experience with this particular Tyvek will chime in.

I did not seal anything on the jacket or chaps.

Give it a shot, Thayne! Tyvek is easy to work with and this project is very easy, relatively speaking.

Dan Johnson

Locale: PNW
Superb! on 05/31/2012 00:09:52 MDT Print View

This looks great!

How did you shorten the zipper exactly? I have no experience with sewing/modifying zippers but I would also want to create a pullover instead of full zip.

Also how is the wind resistance with the lighter Tyvek?


Also how well does the jacket pack down is size?

Edited by Seattle on 05/31/2012 00:18:05 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Superb! on 05/31/2012 08:59:15 MDT Print View

Thanks, Dan. When I cut the jacket from the coveralls, I cut through the zipper, leaving about 5" of zipper left on the lower half of what would be cannibalized and made into the chaps. At this point, since the zipper was cut through on the jacket, you need to sew across it at the bottom so the slider doesn't come off, essentially turning the jacket into a pullover with a super long zipper.

Or, one can do what I did and unpick the zipper from the jacket starting from the bottom...going as far up as you want then cutting the excess zipper off. Then, you just overlap the Tyvek where the zipper used to be and sew it up to where you cut the zipper off. I overlapped the Tyvek 1/2" and made two lines of stitches. To finish it, run a couple lines of stitches perpendicular to the zipper at the bottom to act as a reinforcement and slider stop. Let me know if any, or all, of this doesn't make sense and I'll clarify.

I shortened the zipper like this to save weight.

As for the wind resistance, I don't know. Have not worn it in the wind yet. I have no reason to believe that it won't be good though.

Re the packed size, from just rolling it up in my hands, it'll go to the size of a grapefruit without too much effort.

If you have no experience sewing, once you cut the jacket off, you can take some of the lower piece of Tyvek and practice with it. The existing stitching at the zipper is wide and loose so is easy to unpick. And modifying the zipper may sound tricky/scary to the uninitiated but as mentioned before, this is not a difficult project. If you decide that you'd rather not tackle it, you can do what Will Rietveld did in the link I provided above and just cut the jacket below the zipper and be done with it. The jacket will be long and a bit heavier but it's as easy as using scissors.

Either route, I say go for it!

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
sticker removal? on 05/31/2012 10:54:50 MDT Print View

Hey Rusty, looks great! I got one of these too and I just cut it below the zipper (like Will did). I like your hood cinch cord!
I was wondering how you removed the big DuPont sticker. Tyvek is pretty durable but I've seen some other people's versions of this project where the sticker, which seems to use some pretty heavy duty glue, rips the tyvek when removed. Did you use GooGone or something?
I haven't used it in a downpour yet but I have used it on several misty/light rain couple-hour dayhikes and it's done fine. I'll probably seam seal it at some point.
The version I got was a couple dollars more but it included Tyvek booties which I use as rain mitts.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: sticker removal? on 05/31/2012 11:09:05 MDT Print View

Thanks, Greg...and thanks for the feedback from your rain experience.

Good question about that sticker. At first, I thought it was going to come off fine but....some of the Tyvek ended up coming off with it, unfortunately. I just cut a patch from the left over Tyvek bottoms and sewed it over the damaged area. No problem and even to my anal eye, is barely noticeable.

John Taylorson
(heyjt) - M

Locale: SoCal
Yep, It's Waterproof... for the most part on 06/06/2012 23:26:18 MDT Print View

Rusty, I made a jacket from the same Tyvek jumpsuit; I bought mine at Home Depot for about $9.

I wore the jacket during a serious downpour for about an hour. The only places I got damp were the seams. So I sealed the seams with white (or clear would work) silicone, let it dry, and waited for the next storm. A week later, another storm hit, and I slipped on the Tyvek jacket and took a 2-hour hike in light to moderate rain. Not a drop on me except for my face (the hood is a little weird) and minimal condensation, as temps were in the mid 60s and I was hiking.

So far it's a winner, plus I get all kinds of goofy comments. Anyone who gives me a hard time, I just let them know how much it weighs (3.7oz), how well it compacts, and that it cost me less than $10 -- plus I got free chaps as a bonus!

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Yep, It's Waterproof... for the most part on 06/07/2012 09:11:26 MDT Print View

Nice! Thanks for your input, John. Don't ya just love stuff that works well at a small fraction of the cost!

Edited by rustyb on 06/07/2012 09:37:10 MDT.

John Taylorson
(heyjt) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Yep, It's Waterproof... for the most part on 06/07/2012 17:33:44 MDT Print View

I sure do! ;)

george lawrence
(geebeaner) - F
Pits on 06/12/2012 11:54:09 MDT Print View

How hard would it be to sew some mesh in the armpits to make it more breatheable?

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Pits on 06/12/2012 12:00:43 MDT Print View


I have never done that before but in looking at the jacket, it doesn't look like it would be difficult. Maybe someone who has done a mod like that can chime in.

Tom Watkins
(watkins) - F
Right Tyvek? on 06/12/2012 12:06:13 MDT Print View

That the right kind of tyvek out of interest?

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Right Tyvek? on 06/12/2012 13:13:12 MDT Print View

I'm not sure. That suit looks grey. The tyvek I'm familiar with has all been white. Here's the suit I used:

That said, the suit you linked too is quite inexpensive so it might be worth a shot to experiment.

Tyler Johnson
(riemannia) - F

Locale: Northeast Georgia
one-sy on 06/16/2012 01:11:18 MDT Print View

I'm considering ordering two of these, cutting one up into a jacket for summer use, then just replacing the zipper on the other with a waterproof zipper I have laying around for shoulder seasons.

Has anyone ever just left these tyvek suits as coveralls instead of hacking the legs off and making a pair of chaps? Is there any reason (aside from looking slightly stranger) one wouldn't just use it as a one-sy?

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: one-sy on 06/16/2012 07:37:07 MDT Print View

"Has anyone ever just left these tyvek suits as coveralls instead of hacking the legs off and making a pair of chaps? Is there any reason (aside from looking slightly stranger) one wouldn't just use it as a one-sy"?

Yes, I have a one-piece I used to use for kayak camping. It wasn't Tyvek but some other similar disposable coveralls, blue in color. They didn't have a hood so I added a sil-nylon hood. Good in a light-medium rain for 2 hrs before wetting out. Perfect for camp use. Got razzed a fair amount from my comrades but they were light, free, and functional. I've always found a one-piece anything to be warmer too without the gap at the waist.

Who cares what other people think! The comfort and functionality is for the user. It either works or it doesn't. Go for it!

Misha Berger
(aeropenguin) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
pit ventilation on 06/22/2012 17:35:12 MDT Print View

I have just been poking around the site here and there whenever Google deposited me here, but I couldn't resist chiming in for the first time right now -- this is just too brilliant!

I am 22, doing a solo JMT in August, and trying to wade through all the marketing hype to get to the secret "DUUH!" cheap, lightweight, and simple solution when possible. Tyvek overalls are definitely going on my packing list now.

For armpit ventilation I am thinking of either using the leftover zipper from the pullover-fication or just use a hole puncher to punch evenly spaced holes in a diamond-shaped region, maybe 8-12" long, 2-3" in the middle, tapered to a point on the ends. This way I get ventilated pits AND save weight -- but there wouldn't be a way to open/close them and it would weaken the material.


Misha Berger
(aeropenguin) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
down sweater protection on 06/22/2012 17:41:43 MDT Print View

oh man... best of all, I can wear this by the fire over my down sweater to protect it from flying sparks. If it gets a hole, I can throw a piece of duct tape on it from the inside to keep it waterproof and just make a new one for the next trip if it bothers me enough.

Also, re. why you might not want to cut it up into a jacket and chaps in the first place -- for greater ventilation.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: down sweater protection on 06/22/2012 18:10:04 MDT Print View

"for greater ventilation."

If it is cool enough that you are wearing a down sweater, then it may be cool enough that you want the maximum protection of a full wind layer, not something cut short.