What Is The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Ground Cloth?
I’m all for simple solutions for outdoor related problems. I hate dealing with tents, they are a hassle to put up, take forever to take down, and block my view of the night sky. I’m also every weight conscious and will do anything to drop weight. I’m always searching for ultralight backpacking gear.
Fortunately, I live and do most of my outdoor activities in the Arizona and Southern Utah areas, which means little or no chance of rain 75% of the year. This means I can get away with using a sleeping bag ground cloth or camping tarp rather than packing in a tent. You just have to be careful about rattlesnakes and scorpins.
A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to Tyvek. For those not in the construction industry, Tyvek is the stuff you see on the side of homes during the construction process. It is the ultimate lightweight water barrier.
For those who want the more technical definition this is what Dupont has to say about their product:
“Tyvek® brand protective material is a family of tough, durable spunbonded olefin sheet products that are stronger than paper and more cost-effective and versatile than fabrics. Tyvek® has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than paper, absorbs little or no moisture, is strong and rip-resistant, and is made of environmentally responsible material. Both bright white and silky smooth, Tyvek® has a distinctive look and feel that enhances graphic images and instantly sets it apart from all other materials.”
What really matters is that Tyvek is lightweight, virtually water resistant, very durable and more importantly cheap.
I’ve used a Tyvek sheet as a sleeping bag ground cloth for years and it is still going strong. At first it was kind of crinkly and loud, but after one washing (yes you can throw it in the washing machine) it stopped making noise whenever the wind blew.
My Tyvek ultralight camping tarp is slightly larger than my sleeping back. I like to have extra room to keep my pack nearby and protected from ground moisture as well.
Recently while canyoneering in the Grand Canyon a friend of mine mentioned he was building a single person tent out of Tyvek. I can’t wait to see the finished product since it will be the ultimate lightweight backpacking tent.
I haven’t had time to build one myself, but below are a few additional links to the wonderful products you can make with Tyvek.
- Traverse Japan – What’s Cheaper, Lighter and more Breathable than an E-Bivy? My MYoG Tyvek Bivy – How to guide for making your own bivy
- Link to a guy on Backpacking light who made his own backpack – I doubt I would ever get this ambitious, but it is pretty cool.
- The ultimate guide to ultralight shelters can be found at Tarptent – In my opinion, these are the best backpacking tents available.
- If you don’t believe me read Tyvek Tent: 4 Reasons Why House Wrap Belongs In Your Survival Kit
- If you are on Pinterest check out Kurt Petrich’s board on Tyvek Tents. He has links to all kind of fun stuff you can use Tyvek for.