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Lightweight Affordable Tarps
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Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 04/30/2014 19:41:36 MDT Print View

I am wondering. Is there any demand for lightweight and affordable tarps? I have been thinking of manufacturing my tarp designs using a material I am calling Cloud Tex. Which is just like Tyvek 1443R.. Weight would be less than silnylon. Price would be less too... My thinking is not everyone wants to pay $150-$325 for silnylon or cuben fiber tarp.. So there might be some demand for a lightweight tarp that costs $75-$125 depending on size and model. As most other affordable tarps are heavy. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and since this is a gear deals forum, I will offer BPL members a deal on them if and when they come out..


Maybe I should of started the forum off with some specs and a photo of one of the tarps rather than asking for general feedback. Here is my 2 person "Fastpacker" model. Same dimensions as the cuben fiber one I use to manufacture. 9'2" Ridgeline, 9' wide at front, 7' wide at rear. It is 100% bonded which I find really helps increase the durability of the material.. In Cloud Tex this tarp weighs 11.3oz.. And was going to be a $100 model. If you compare this to silnylon tarps of equal size the weight is usually more in the range of 14-16oz and costs $160+. So this tarp would save you money and weight....


Edited by Mountainfitter on 05/02/2014 12:26:29 MDT.

David Mason
(dimjim) - F
waterproof rating on 05/01/2014 10:27:10 MDT Print View

Lawson, any idea on what the waterproof rating is on the 1443R Tyvek material? I've seen a few threads regarding Tyvek and I don't believe I've ever read something conclusive, probably due to the fact that there are many different types of tyvek/house wrap material floating around out there.

I think $75-$125 may be reasonable for a full-featured tyvek tarp. There are vendors where you can buy 8x10' flat sil tarps for $75-$90, and less for smaller a-sym sil tarps. That being said, tyvek may have less stretch, more durability, less weight, and many other great selling points.

Good luck and I'll certainly be watching with interest :)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 10:35:20 MDT Print View

What size?

You can buy new 8x10 silnylon tarps for under $125. 5x8 versions in the $50 to $70 range.

I see no benefit to Tyvek over silnylon so if they cost a similar amount.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 10:52:55 MDT Print View

I agree. Anything that costs over $100 I'll be looking for silnylon, not tyvek.
Here are some medium duty silnylon ones:
The 8x10 goes about 14oz and costs $110.

Tarps are really easy to sew. I have made many ranging from 7x8 to 14x18. All cost less than $100.

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
borah gear on 05/01/2014 11:30:28 MDT Print View

Borah gear also has sub $100 tarps that are better quality than equinox.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Hmmm. on 05/01/2014 12:39:39 MDT Print View

I learned along time ago, you usually get what you pay for..... Use the Equinox tarp as an example. The 8x10 you mentioned for $110 has grommets. I use to sell that tarp and can say first hand. Silnylon and grommets do not go well together.. Most high quality silnylon tarps are more in the range of $150-$175+.. The cheaper ones are usually built with inferior materials and poor craftsmanship.. So lets compare apples to apples here..

All that said, Tyvek does offer some advantages over Silnylon so were not just talking lower cost..

First Tyvek is lighter at 1.25oz.. I know you can find Silnylon that weighs the same but the majority of the good stuff weighs closer to 1.5oz+. So using an 8x10 tarp as a comparison the Tyvek version would weigh 11.11oz while the Silnylon version would weigh 13.33oz.. Now this is only material but there is still a 2.22oz (20%) difference... I have found that this weight difference holds up even with a finished product.. My silnylon tarps are about 20% heavier than my Tyvek tarps.. Get them both wet and the silnylon one is even heavier...

Then there is the stretch/sag factor. Silnylon is known for this.. Especially when wet.. Tyvek doesn't have much.. Basically the perfect amount. So with a Tyvek tarp there really is no reason to ever re-tension your tarp like you have to do with a Sil-nylon one..

Last but not least, Tyvek is breathable so condensation on the bottom of the tarp is not much of a issue. So no more waking up with the inside of your tarp raining down on you and your expensive down bag..

Silnylon has the advantage of durability and tear resistance over Tyvek, but its also heavier, has more sag, and is prone to condensation... Waterproof-ness seems to be about the same in the long term. With really good quality silnylon being more water-resistant at first..

Edited by Mountainfitter on 05/01/2014 12:40:13 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 12:50:46 MDT Print View

Non grommet tarps:

-Integral Designs Siltarp 2, 8 x 10, $120.
-MLD Grace, 9 x (7,5), $120.
-Oware flat tarps: 6x10, $89. 10x10, $127.

Condensation under a tarp has rarely been an issue with silnylon.

You may be able to sell the Tyvek tarps if you are 50 to 75% of the cost of a silnylon tarp (as above). Personally, any weight savings with tyvek is matched by poorer hydrostatic head.

Sun shade maybe?

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 14:00:41 MDT Print View

Go get em Lawson. I hate weight gain and saggy. How waterproof though?

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Not Interested on 05/01/2014 14:04:17 MDT Print View

Dave.. There is no doubt in my mind you are not interested in a Tyvek tarp. But I have a feeling other people might be...

Maybe someone that doesn't like silnylon or maybe someone that doesn't want to spend $120 on a solo tarp. No where did I ever say that these tarps would be the same price as silnylon tarps.. Price range is basically $75-$125. With the $75 model being a solo tarp and the $125 model being a huge 10'x12' model.

The same size silnylon tarp from Integral Designs would be $185, from Mountain Laurel Designs would be over $205, and from Granite Gear would be $219..

All that said, what tyvek tarp/tent have you used? What version of Tyvek material did it use?

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Hyrdostatic Head on 05/01/2014 14:20:50 MDT Print View

Duane, In my experience the 1443r Tyvek is equal to most silnylons in terms of water-resistance over the long run. It tests out at 850.. But it test at this number forever.. Alot of silnylons test higher when new but over time they test much lower.. Its the reason you see people re-waterproofing their silnylons.. You have to remember MOST silnylon is not designed for shelter use. Its designed for parachute use. Its the reason for the low water-resistance and high stretch...

That said, I think Tyvek is like Cuben Fiber in respect to water proofness. Cuben Fiber CT2K.08 which is the most common tarp material used only tested out at something like 540 but in real world conditions its far more waterproof than this number. Its the same with Tyvek.. The thing is, Tyvek checks alot of boxes.. Lightweight, Low Stretch, Breathable, Pretty Darn Water-Resistant, Doesn't absorb moisture, and is very affordable..

I built a tyvek tarp about 5 years ago that I still use to this day and I think its a great tarp material..

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
deleted on 05/01/2014 14:23:53 MDT Print View


Edited by on 05/02/2014 09:24:33 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Not Interested on 05/01/2014 14:24:59 MDT Print View

Experience: Used a Sublite. The fabric isn't waterproof and that is a specialized shelter for relatively dry climates.

An Integral Designs 5x8 tarp is $70 in silnylon for a solo model (as mentioned above). Also, GG tarps are regularly on sale. Right now you can buy an 8x10 for a little over $100. Free shipping. Did you want to comment on Oware, who produce tarps under your price point?

Curious about all of these other people interested in a Tyvek tarp? What is the purpose of a Tyvek tarp? Sun shade? Wind shelter (if it is breathable, is it good in the wind?)

Really though, an 8x10 Tyvek tarp would cost $10 to make. Maybe $15.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 14:36:54 MDT Print View

I have an Equinox flat tarp that has its grommets set in reinforcing, so they have not had any problem in over twenty years now.

Personally, I find Tyvek to be noisy. Using it as a ground sheet is OK, but using it overhead in wind is too noisy.


Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 16:26:55 MDT Print View

Tyvek 1443R soft structure is not the same as the noisy Tyvek 1085d. It is not noisy at all.


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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 17:05:06 MDT Print View

"Tyvek 1443R soft structure is not the same as the noisy Tyvek 1085d. It is not noisy at all."

We are not discussing Tyvek 1085d. Tyvek 1443R was the subject.


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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: No Chance on 05/01/2014 18:10:50 MDT Print View

Lawson, I guess I will have to send this Tyvek 1443R back to the vendor and inform them that it can't possibly be Tyvek 1443R, because you said so.

The only vendor that seems to be complaining is in this one thread.


Nathan Meyerson
(NathanMeyerson) - F

Prototypes? Tests? on 05/01/2014 18:46:13 MDT Print View

If the tyvek is functionally acceptable in comparison to silnylon, weighs and costs less. This should be a no brainer. (yes, people will buy it)

The question is whether Tyvek IS functionally comparable to silnylon.

The burden of proof is on the producer.

Lawson, it sounds like you're letting yourself be defeated by naysayers.

If you say "Any feedback would be greatly appreciated."

Don't get upset when you get feedback.

Drop the personal attacks, we came here for DEALS.

The market is big enough for competition, if it ain't we'll find new jobs. Life goes on..

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Play nicely guys! on 05/01/2014 18:48:34 MDT Print View

Hi all combatants

Yes, this thread has been reported.
However, I am not going to censor it (yet) as there are some interesting factoids to be found in places - mixed in with a small number of ad hominum attacks. The latter are deprecated, as you know.

Seems to me that in a country with the population of the USA, there should be room for a few manufacturers of similar products. How about we let the customers decide what they want to buy? Brief reviews based on actual FIELD experience would be useful too.

Roger Caffin
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking Light

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Affordable Tarps on 05/01/2014 19:48:44 MDT Print View

"We are not discussing Tyvek 1085d. Tyvek 1443R was the subject."

If your Tyvek is noisy, you aren't discussing 1443R. The rest of us are.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: No Chance on 05/01/2014 19:56:12 MDT Print View

Lawson, you asked if anyone would want a Tyvek tarp. You received your feedback and I am sorry it isn't what you wanted to hear. Due diligence is key here - you choose to ignore the fact that you can get silnylon tarps below the price point that you mention in the OP. If you don't want to hear feedback on manufacturing a Tyvek tarp, then just do it and market it. I don't think it will take long to determine if it is a success or failure. What is interesting to me is that the feedback you received was nicely presented and yet you chose to attack. Lovely.

With respect to my membership, I was first a member for 6 - 7 years but elected not to renew the membership because I no longer needed to read the articles. That was something like 2 years ago. But I sure did buy some gear from the gear shop so I suspect I supported the site that way. Did you? I have been around for a while and seen 'gear' manufacturers like you come and go. Based on your resounding success in customer service (how many threads have we read about zero contact with clients?), I suspect you may eventually fall to the latter.

What I see here is someone who only wants to hear from those that will definitely buy something from you. In effect, you have a membership to sell your product. This is fine by me. Who am I to criticize motive?

By the way, I have never seen a current or potential gear manufacturer respond to questions or feedback the way you do. It is really fascinating to the point of being a case study of how not to react. I doubt that Dave Olsen who adds a tremendous amount of knowledge to these forums (not to mention he makes seriously high quality, reasonably priced tarps and mids) could give two hoots about whether you manufacture a Tyvek tarp. I could be wrong but I really don't see you as competition.