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Why to invest in a Tyvek ground sheet

Why to invest in a Tyvek ground sheet

I honestly thought I’d use my tyvek ground sheet once or twice a year tops, which made it a hard purchase to make (even at $15). It turns out to have been one of my most used pieces of gear and best investments.

Last summer I bought a 4′ x 8′ Tyvek ground sheet on amazon. I picked it up so I had something light and durable to go along with with my sil-nylon tarp for lightweight and ultralight backpacking.

It’s really a simple piece of gear. Tyvek is housing wrap used as a moisture barrier. You can but it by the roll or as I did, pick up a pre-cut, pre-designed for the purpose ground sheet. It has four loops, one in each corner, that are very sturdy and hold up to a lot of abuse.

Whenever I go out on a family trip, be it a day at the park, a short hike, or a beach trip it comes along. It only weighs 7 ounces with my attached guy lines and can be folded or rolled up (rolled up it’s about 12 inches long and 2.5 inches wide). I chuck it in my pack with 4 tent pegs and forget about it.

choro 18 ul shelter

Here are some of the things we’ve used it for:

  • Picnic Blanket – It’s a good place to prep food, and clean up after the kids have been playing
  • Wind block – It can be set up vertically to ward off breezes while eating or cooking
  • Tarp – All the kids have hid under it when a surprise rain storm started up.
  • Lean-to shelter – On a recent backpacking trip I used it with a mylar blanket as my UL shelter. It worked really well.
  • Oh, and one more thing, it does a pretty good job as a ground cloth too!


The only downside is that the edges don’t hold a straight edge after a lot of use. It’s hard to peg it tightly, but it really hasn’t been a problem.

Oh and when it’s all done it’s easy to wipe down with a wet cloth.

Do you use Tyvek? What do you use it for and have you found to be a good purchase?

About The Author

A guy trying to get away from his desk so that he can fish, hike, play and just plain be in the outdoors.

Number of Entries : 381
  • Mike

    Could a large piece of Tyvek replace the tarp? I am thinking of getting a hammock/bivy setup from DD but I would need to add a tarp. This seems lighter & cheaper.

    • PaulOsborn

      It could. It is certainly a cheaper option. You might want to specifically look for hammock tarps though at least to get an idea of how to cut it out. I`d recommend The Hammock Hanger’s guide as a book on the subject as I don’t have a lot of experience in that.

  • ronda

    I carry a small well-used soft piece in my pack all the time. I use to sit my pack and gear on when unpacking and packing up, during meals to sit on and spread out food and cooking items, and in floorless tent for gear. The white color allows for items to be seen better and not get forgotten on the ground and keeps everything cleaner. With time and washing, the piece feels like cloth.

    • PaulOsborn

      Ronda, that’s a great idea. How big would you say it is?

  • http://www.trail-mom.com/ Trail Mom

    We use Tyvek a lot, too. It is light and packs down well. The local outdoors store sell it by the foot. I love it for diaper changes on trail, and we cut custom pieces as tent footprints. And, I like your idea to use it as a lean-to shelter.

    • PaulOsborn

      Glad to find a fellow Tyvek fan! Lucky for you your gear store sells it. Unfortunately ours doesn’t. :)

  • Mark Keeler

    I keep a small roll of Tyvek in the back of our van. Thank goodness, I have never had to use it. I bought it to use a lightweight backpacking ground cloth for my solo bivy sack.

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