Tyvek Tent Footprints

Several readers commented on the recent post Is a Tent Footprint Worth It? and offered several suggestions for alternative tent floor protection. One of the best options? Tyvek.

Made by DuPont, Tyvek is that heavy-duty, tear-proof, water-proof paper-like stuff used to wrap homes during construction to protect exposed materials from the weather, as well as produce indestructible trail maps and envelopes, among other things.

Without getting too deep into the chemistry, Tyvek is essentially a densely woven fabric made from microscopic plastic (polyethylene) fibers roughly one-tenth the diameter of a human hair. It's waterproof and breathable, blocking liquid moisture but allowing water vapor to pass through. It's also incredibly tough and nearly indestructible. (For everything else you've ever wanted to know about Tyvek, here's the DuPont handbook.)

Tyvek is generally very lightweight, about the equivalent of a lightweight nylon or silnylon. Though the exact specs vary based on the multiple thicknesses and weights available, a good general guideline is commonly used Tyvek HomeWrap, which weighs just under 2 ounces per square yard. (By comparison, an ultralight silnylon footprint weighs in around 1.5 ounces per square yard.)

Tyvek is significantly less expensive than ultralight silnyon, running roughly $2 per square yard. It can be tricky to purchase in small amounts, however, since it's usually sold in quantities designed to wrap a house. Some ultralight sites offer it by the foot, such as antigravitygear.com.

Alternatively, you can often find Tyvek scrap for free that is sufficiently large for a tent footprint. Large pallet shipments are often wrapped in Tyvek; ask at your local home improvement store, for example.

Once you secure some Tyvek, cutting it to the size you need is straightforward. Tyvek is easily cut with scissors, plus the edges fray little if at all. Nice. Do, however, cut the footprint slightly smaller than the dimensions of the floor, which helps prevent rain-catching edges from sticking out from beneath the tent.

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

Labels: ,