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Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 08:56:52 MDT Print View

Is Tyvek really all that bad? :) Yeah, I know polycro is all the UL rage, but I use a NeoAir. I'm more than just a little paranoid about getting a puncture in the danged thing. Here's a typical camp of mine:


Notice how I'm camped on fairly gravelly ground. I'm thinking that the Tyvek is just going to be a lot better protection.

Here's another camp site. Look closely, and you'll see that there are a lot of sticks and pine cones in the duff. Again, I'm thinking Tyvek gives me a lot better protection given that I use a NeoAir.


Anybody else do this? Or am I just a hopeless Luddite addicted to Tyvek?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 09:11:47 MDT Print View

I am probably a hopeless Luddite, too, Jim - but I feel more comfortable about the safety of my NeoAir on Tyvek. Plus if there is any breeze of wind at all, the polycryo seems a pain to get laid out. I haven't used it (polycryo) that many times, so maybe in time I will like it better.

Maybe if I camped in terrain with more sandy/less rocky and piney sites, I'd like it better too.

Edited by dkramalc on 10/18/2013 09:12:56 MDT.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 09:41:53 MDT Print View

Tyvek definitely offers more protection, so it's not unreasonable. Though polycro is pretty durable, I've had the occasional pine needle, pine cone, or sharp rock poke a hole through it. I never had anything poke through the Tyvek groundsheet I used before I switched. Just make sure you are using the thicker HomeWrap stuff and not 1443.

A Thinlight or one of the discontinued Lawson or Suluk46 1/8" foam pads helps here too. I use a Suluk46 one in conjunction with polycro and have never had anything puncture my NeoAir in a couple hundred nights. It's also worth it to spend 2 minutes clearing the site before you throw down your groundsheet too.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear) - M
Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 11:06:26 MDT Print View

My only issue with Homewrap besides the ascetics of the DuPont label, is how bulky it packs and not so much the weight itself.

I still sometimes use my bug protection/summer bivy which has a Homewrap bottom, nylon mesh top, and a bit of homewrap goes over the feet area for use with a tarp. It's reasonably light at 11 oz.

But it does pack pretty bulky, which became an issue when the S2S UltraSil day pack became my go to overnighter pack. Since my wife's same pack, recently got a hole in it from not a lot of use, i've been re-thinking the pack anyways, which is why i recently bought an MLD newt from gear swap and an REI 18L flash day pack gotten from an REI garage sale.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 11:50:36 MDT Print View

Hi HJ, back in action? :)
I've had great results for years now with medium weight polycryo, even with a mattress. If the needles are that thick where your one pic is, I select another spot. If I was cowboy camping like you are doing and saving weight anyway by not having a shelter, then Tyvek would be the way to go. Polycryo is a pita to make stay on the dirt due to minor wind.
Duane
PS, you still have more stoves than I do, but I am close.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Home Guard on 10/18/2013 12:35:03 MDT Print View

Interesting question for me as I contemplate the merits of tyvek versus a similar house wrap called Home Guard (http://www.hgpbp.com/?page=housewrap). I have used tyvek and honestly prefer the home guard. It is of similar weight and is less paper-like than tyvek and stronger. Admittedly, unlike tyvek it is woven and has microscopic perforations to breathe. On the practical side I have used it extensively as a tarp and groundsheet with no leakage whatsoever even in extended heavy rains. The also make a slightly heavier version which like Tyvek is not woven and not perforated, but is less strong and slightly heavier.

The issue for me is whether to invest in more cuben gear or begin making my own gear with this home guard. I have a MLD soul bivy with a cuben floor and HMG Ultamid 2 cuben tent. Both big investments and gear I tend to overprotect which impacts efficiency and convenience on the trail.

As an example I just returned from a 12 day canoe\hiking trip in the wilderness of Labrador, which was very cold and wet: 5C to -4C. There was 2 of us and we used the HMG Ultamid 2 with Home Guard ground sheets. There is not shortage of deadwood in that part of the world and we relied on fires to cook, dry and stay warm. It was my first trip in a single wall cuben tent and was reluctant to pitch it anywhere near the fire and was glad I didn't as anything that was at all close did get flanker holes including a new Western Mountaineering Flash jacket and arteryx goretex rain paints . . . moan!

When we loaded the canoe I took a 9x12 foot piece of the Home Guard on a whim. The first time I have taken a tarp additional to a tent. It turned out to be the critical piece of gar on the trip. It rained everyday for the first 7 days. Even aggressive hiking with 60lb packs left us hypothermic after 3 or 4 hours caused by the evaporative heat loss evaporating sweat. I am usually good at monitoring my body temperature and am careful to avoid sweating, especially in winter. These were very challenging conditions, with a tight timeline, and staying on your feet took all your concentration.

To stay warm, we would build a large fire around noon and stand over it to dry and warm a little. Then when we made camp at the end of each day at around 5PM, the Home Guard tarp was the first thing we pitched and built a fire right in its opening for warmth and drying. It of course too got flanker burns, but was of no concern as a 9 x 100 foot roll costs $120. This tarp kept us dry while cooked and lay back on spruce bows and chatted, repaired our bodies and gear every evening. Without it we would have been miserable cooped up in a tent with not secondary heat source.

As I consider my gear performance during the trip I am realizing that when ultralighting with fire as a heat and clothes drying source, which is necessary in this climate, you have to accept that some it will get damaged. Which is leading me to consider less expensive options, which may be slightly heavier than cuben, but which function almost as well, and can be replaced at a pittance of the cost.

So, for me the answer is: Tyvek (or Home Guard) is not bad at all. If it is relatively light, functional and cost effective to replace, it is perhaps ideal!! Fo for comfortable Fall camping Labrador next year, I am considering venturing into the MYOG world to make a beak for my cuben tent that would extend from its peakt to the edge of the fire. Far enough away to protect the tent and close enough to keep me warm!

Footnote: I realize 60lbs does not fall within the prescribed limits of ultralight in this community, but trust me, we carried nothing we didn't need, and virtually all of all of what we did carry was ultralight gear. There are no trailheads , indeed there are no trails, and notwithstanding the merits of bearspray and batoning wood with a knife, a shotgun and axe are your best friends. We ran low on food on our way back to the first food cache and a couple fresh spruce grouse came in handy for supper.

Newly considering the merits of light, but discardable, gear:

Derrick

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 13:43:40 MDT Print View

Hi HJ, back in action? :)
Well, I got a job anyway. AFter a year and a half of only spotty contract work, I'm now a full time employee again. The down side is that I'm back to commuting -- about 97 miles a day and that in Southern California traffic. Ugh. But it's a good job. We're in the process of relocating. Time is a little tight for now, but I'll squeeze in the occasional comment here and there. Probably no serious article type writing in the short term.

I've had great results for years now with medium weight polycryo, even with a mattress. If the needles are that thick where your one pic is, I select another spot. If I was cowboy camping like you are doing and saving weight anyway by not having a shelter, then Tyvek would be the way to go. Polycryo is a pita to make stay on the dirt due to minor wind.
I've learned the hard way to carry some kind of shelter when I'm out, even in Southern California. The shelter stays in the pack if the weather is good. This is my camp on the porch of a bathroom in a thunderstorm:

Thank God that I just happened to be near a place with a bathroom when the thunderstorm hit. I didn't have so much as a poncho with me. I mean c'mon, May in Southern California? How often does it rain. Often enough, apparently.

That's interesting, how good your experience with polycro is. It seems so, well, flimsy.

PS, you still have more stoves than I do, but I am close.
Ha! I have stoves you know not of. ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
tyvek on 10/18/2013 14:02:45 MDT Print View

I still use kite grade tyvek. I hike mostly in the Sierra and tyvek is just more durable against rocks and stones and such, 99% of my backpacks are in dry conditions.
I do bring 2 oz of polycro along if it gets wet.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 14:11:53 MDT Print View

Ha! I have stoves you know not of. ;)

Me too!
Duane

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 14:42:45 MDT Print View

Seems to me that one should carry the right gear for the trip, rather than following some sort of religion about what is good and bad. So if the ground is going to be very harsh all the time, some Tyvek might be the best gear. If there is a risk of fire/ember holes, something cheap is best.

> I mean c'mon, May in Southern California? How often does it rain. Often enough, apparently.
Ha! Depends on locale. Here in Sydney (or in our mountains) we can have blue sky everywhere and hail an hour later. Once again, the right gear for the trip.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 10/19/2013 01:55:41 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 15:01:57 MDT Print View

Tyvek works fine, but polycryo stows smaller and is lighter, more waterproof-- and a lot quieter. Polycryo tends to stretch over the bumps. I agree that Tyvek would have the edge for air mattress protection on dry ground.

If you can get a chunk of Tyvek from a local building project, why not? If you are going to buy something, you can get a window film kit (aka Polycryo) at most hardware stores in the northern US, where getting Tyvek by the foot is usually an on-line purchase.

I can use either with my hammock ;)

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 15:09:39 MDT Print View

psshhh...Tyvek. What's that? It's all about LA County black trashbags HJ ;)

J/K, I rotate between tyvek, silnylon, and yes, LA County trashbags...tough little buggers too. I have not set choice when it comes to groundsheets personally, it's whatever I decide to bring.

Joseph Lynch
(rushfan) - M

Locale: Northern California
No problems with Tyvek on 10/18/2013 15:13:00 MDT Print View

I keep mine on the outside of my pack in a pocket so bulk is not much of an issue. I'm a lot less sensitive to weight than most on this site however. I also use a Neo Air.

Has anyone tried washing tyvek to reduce noise? Read somewhere online that a couple of washings will do the trick, but you know how reliable then internet can be...

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Washing Tyvek on 10/18/2013 15:47:43 MDT Print View

"Has anyone tried washing tyvek to reduce noise? Read somewhere online that a couple of washings will do the trick, but you know how reliable then internet can be..."

Yes, I've done that. It works. It took me a few cycles thru the washer to get it softened up though.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 16:25:52 MDT Print View

psshhh...Tyvek. What's that? It's all about LA County black trashbags HJ ;)
Dude. Black trash bags? C'mon. That is so "hiker trash." I mean who would do something like that? ;)


HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 16:41:08 MDT Print View

See! Now you're getting it!

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 18:28:04 MDT Print View

Hey Jim,

How about neither :-D


Tyvek is great it that it is strong, but little short needles and thorns still poke right through it and into your precious air pads. But, it is bulky, a bit heavy, and a PITA to clean if it gets muddy.

Plastic (be it the stuff gg sales or just a trash bag) also suffers pine needs and tumble weed thorns poking through.

A 1/8 pad (such as what GG, Suluk46,etc sales) is less than double the weight of the plastic that GG sales, about (sometimes lighter) the same weight as tyvek, and pretty much solves the issue of needles and thorns deflating your air pad. A bit more bulk space required, but you are gaining a weebit of r-value as well.

My favorite setup is still the 'Adventure Medical Kits Sol Emergency Blanket' and a 1/8th pad and the Therm-a-Rest XTherm Large. :)

+John Abela

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 21:06:20 MDT Print View

It was my first trip in a single wall cuben tent and was reluctant to pitch it anywhere near the fire and was glad I didn't as anything that was at all close did get flanker holes including a new Western Mountaineering Flash jacket and arteryx goretex rain paints
Ouch, Derrick. Unfortunately, that seems to be the way of the world with wood fires. I have several outer clothing items with mm sized holes. I too keep any shelter (particularly Sil Nylon!) well away from fire.

Thanks for sharing your Labrador experience. It's fascinating to me since it's nearly the opposite of where I live (semi-arid, seldom rains). Despite the fact that I've been hiking and backpacking since the 60's, I'd be essentially a new comer in your environment.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear) - M
Re: Re: Re: Is Tyvek Really That Bad? on 10/18/2013 21:35:28 MDT Print View

Derrick, glad to hear the Home guard saved the day--good idea bringing it.

For conditions like that, i would have brought my Seek Outside Tipi tent and titanium wood stove.

It's really nice being able to light a fire inside your tent, especially when it's very wet and cold. I normally don't bring or use the combo because it's kind of heavy (i think with tent and stove combined, it's around 6 lbs).

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Re: Washing Tyvek on 10/18/2013 22:08:15 MDT Print View

Tyvek comes in two types Soft structure and hard structure. building wrap is hard structure and it is noisy. Soft structure (Tyvek 1443 and 1460)is is less noisy.

While I have not washed hard structure tyvek. I did take a tyvek envelope and crumpled it up a few times and that did quiet it down. I have some 1443 soft structure tyvek that I might use for some projects and it is not that noisy.