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Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth?
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Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 12:12:07 MDT Print View

I am curious, does anyone still use tyvek as a ground cloth?

I know everyone, me too, used it ten yrs ago but with the super light and fairly strong clear shrink wrap style UL ground cloth stuff available all over now, polycro at gossamergear, UL Groundcloth at MLD, generic home window shrink wrap, etc.

The UL stuff is about 4X lighter than tyvek a solo size piece is about 1oz vs the 4- 6oz tyvek pieces I see on some gearlists.

Maybe the tyvek last a bit longer ...don't know, but at only about 10 cents per user night for the clear SUL stuff, that's not really a factor.

I sometimes see UL gear lists and the tyvek ground cloth is half the shelter weight...

The clear SUL so much lighter and quite cheap, why use tyvek anymore? Help me see what I am overlooking.

As far as sustainability vs durability - I would think the tyvek wold have to last many many times longer to cover any factor there since it is so much heavier and bulkier.

Edited by mountainlaureldesigns on 04/19/2013 13:00:45 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 12:21:44 MDT Print View

I haven't used tyvek for 8 years or so when I discovered GG polycro and then generic shrink wrap which is so much lighter and more compact. The two pluses of tyvek for me is that it's more permeable so in the morning it's less likely to have condensation under it with small bits sticking to it and you can sometimes pick it up for free. Other the other hand, there tend to be more condensation above me, and shrink wrap isn't that expensive, and given weight size polycro wins. I have found both to be very durable.


Edited by verber on 04/19/2013 12:22:28 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 12:49:40 MDT Print View

Ah, a tough one. I now use polycro exclusively and it is not much wider than my sleeping pad. What I like about a wider piece of Tyvek is that it is easier to see your gear, especially small items. But Tyvek is heavier and much bulkier.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 12:54:53 MDT Print View

I use it as a movie screen on some trips, but, like others, have gravitated to polycryo for a groundsheet, as well as cuben for a groundsheet, where I go depends on which one I use.

Edited by idester on 04/19/2013 13:27:59 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 12:57:08 MDT Print View

I would only use the Tyvek for some application wherein i need some breathability, but not for a ground cloth by itself. Not unless the tyvek was already playing both roles e.g. the bivy i made recently, tvyek homewrap bottom and feet/shin area, and bug net rest. Don't need a groundsheet in that case and the breathability of the tyvek is a definite plus. Despite that tyvek homewrap is a bit heavy, the bivy only weighs 11.4 oz. I don't know for sure, but i suspect that the Tyvek homewrap is noticeably more durable than the polycryo. Durability is almost as important to me as weight. I don't like contributing a lot to trash. Certainly doesn't vibe at all with LNT principles and philosophy.

If i had the money, i would just go with 1oz cuben for many applications, including groundcloth. Planning on doing this in the near future when i have the money.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
My Groundsheet Evolution on 04/19/2013 13:02:18 MDT Print View

The first groundsheets I used were 'painters cloth' - 1 mil plastic sheetings that were cheap, light, compact and reasonably durable. After several years, I encountered tyvek for the first time -- and marveled at how bulky it was in comparison! My immediate reaction was -- no way I would ever use tyvek!

Then I encountered Polycryo -- and marveled at how much more compact and lighter still it is compared to my 'painter cloth'. I switched instantly and never looked back.

Edited by ben2world on 04/19/2013 13:05:04 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 13:25:18 MDT Print View

I just switched from a GG Spinnsheet to polycryo. The biggest advantages for me are less noise (ugh, crinkly spinnaker) and being able to see what's under the groundsheet. The second point makes getting rid of all the twigs and rocks that much easier. I'm sold on polycryo ground sheets. I'm not so worried about the durability, I bought a big sheet and cut it in half so when this one wears out I've got a replacement in the wings. As for the cost, those of us with construction going on nearby can get Tyvek for free!


Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
I use tyvec on 04/19/2013 13:40:14 MDT Print View

And proud of it. Seriously though, is it more puncture proof than polycro? I use air mats and leaks are trouble for good sleep. If polycro is good for protecting my mat from sharp stuff then i might switch. I have rolls of tyvec from work so i always have it. I always check first for sharp stuff but the tyvec seems like extra insurance.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
tyvek 1.25oz sq/yd on 04/19/2013 14:53:13 MDT Print View

polycro at GG is about 3.65 ounces?

I dont usually use a ground cloth so I had to go look but if you compare that to the 4 ounce ground cloth out of tyvek Im confused? what dos the MLD ground cloth weigh? and if its that light How much protection could you possibly be getting from it? Protection for my pad being the only reason for me to carry one.

For instance I have a piece of cuben at home .33 oz per sq/yd that could easily be used as a ground cloth. and it woud be the lightest ground cloth I could buy. the problem is that everything that can go through my pad can easily puncture the cuben.

Also tyvek 1443r is 1.25 oz per square yards. so a how big are these tyvek ground cloths your talking about cause for one to weigh 4 ounces it would have to be atleast 9 square feet? so for 2.5 ounces you could have one that is 6 square feet which should suffice as a ground cloth.

Edited by needsAbath on 04/19/2013 14:54:40 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
tyvek on 04/19/2013 15:05:05 MDT Print View

easier to make a bath tub set up with tyvek??

tyvek on 04/19/2013 15:08:11 MDT Print View

The majority of AT hikers that stay in shelters use a ~3x7 piece of tyvek under them there, even though many dont use anything under their tent.

Anton Solovyev
(solovam) - F

Locale: Colorado, Utah
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 15:08:46 MDT Print View

Here's an example:


The ground is a mix of shale, small rocks and sand. The sand consists of particles from dust sized to regular beach sand. Everything alive has thorns. Tyvek seems tough enough and gives some nice separation from sand on the ground.

I may try polycro in the future. Is it tough enough and easy enough to shake the dirt off?

Thanks for pointing this out. I have been wondering what people use besides Tyvek.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: tyvek 1.25oz sq/yd on 04/19/2013 15:11:48 MDT Print View

Josh, 3.65 oz is for a 6'x8' sheet. I bought a big sheet from MLD and cut it down to 30"x8' and it weighs about 1.3 oz.


Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Yep on 04/19/2013 15:12:42 MDT Print View

Still using the same 2X6 foot 3 oz. piece since about 2001.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: Re: tyvek 1.25oz sq/yd on 04/19/2013 15:38:03 MDT Print View

Adam- That is saving you an ounce over tyvek 1443r of a similar size.

My point is there is not such a big weight savings that warrants talking about tyvek as though its a heavy outdated option for a ground cloth. And certainly not "4 times lighter".

Edited by needsAbath on 04/19/2013 15:40:25 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Does anone still use tyvek as a ground cloth? on 04/19/2013 15:46:45 MDT Print View

I use a sheet of Tyvek under my Trailstar.

ground on 04/19/2013 16:18:33 MDT Print View

I usually use a 1.5 oz piece of space blanket.
The good thing, is they are $3 at any walmart in the country.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: ground on 04/19/2013 16:24:15 MDT Print View

Oh, the reason I use the sheet of Tyvek is I got it for free with the Trailstar.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
polycryo on 04/19/2013 16:31:58 MDT Print View

I saw all this talk about using tyvek some years back and ordered a piece, but it was massive, heavy, bulky, and then when I read about how non water resistant it is, particularly the lighter variant, is that 1433?, which you can quite literally see light through the holes if I remember right, I just put those away as an experiment. I, probably like many others, didn't believe polycryo would or could work, but it did and does, all I do is hose it off over a clothes drying rack when I get home and dry it and that's that.

I do of course clean the spot first of sharp pricklies, but I always did that so it's not a difference in use.

tyvek would be tougher for abrasion I think, but I just haven't found any circumstances where that toughness would be of much use to me.

1.5 oz for polycryo, 5.5 for tyvek regular housewrap, you're right, not quite 4x heavier, only 3.6x?. Tyvek is too noisy too. If I want a tougher ground cover I'll just use a simple sheet of coated 70d nylon, it's not that different in weight from tyvek, and it's more pleasant.

I really didn't believe that polycryo would work, and there's probably some cases where it's not great, like being pitched on solid rock for example.

I got some of the lighter, kite type, tyvek to check it out, but when I saw that it had basically zero hydrostatic head, ie, it has visible holes in it, I decided that was it for tyvek and me. Maybe for cowboy camping where you have no tent floor? I don't know, I guess it has use for some people, I can't see it myself though.

Ron, nice to see you factor in the sustainability/durability component too, that's something it is often ignored with ul gear. I just treat these as if they all basically are made out of oil, so whatever the weight is is roughly how much oil it took, give or take, crudely. That's somewhere lighter materials do better too as long as they are not disposable, most people don't wear their gear out, they usually just stop or don't use it enough to wear it out.

Edited by hhope on 04/19/2013 16:33:34 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: polycryo on 04/19/2013 16:45:04 MDT Print View

I tried 1 mil painters plastic, but it was so thin and flimsy that it stretched out or ripped if I didn't step on it very carefully. It was also so light that if I slid my leg across it, it just dragged the plastic with it. I didn't like that.

Is polycro tougher than that? I like having a larger ground sheet to give myself a dry and clean living space to set down my gear. And I want to be able to walk over it.

I'm considering doing tyvek because it's more like a tarp material and I don't like using flimsy crinkly plastics.

They are both cheap so I probably end up trying both. I normally use a piece of nylon but it's double the weight.