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[pct-l] Tyvek

Good evening, Dan and Capt. Bivy,

I am a bit slow responding to this thread and everyone has probably
forgotten about it by now.  Anyway, I might as well get the blasphemy out
there and be done with it:  I don't like Tyvek for a ground cloth, and I don
't plan to ever willingly use it again.  I have several gripes, not the
least of which is that Tyvek is too darn noisy when it is new, and for far
too long after that.  Tyvek is fairly slick and it is difficult to keep the
sleeping stuff anywhere near where it aught to be, but it is nowhere near as
slick as silicon-coated nylon.  Even with a few Velcro dots to keep the
buffalo robe in the middle, the whole shebang then slides out from under the
tarp.  I like Tyvek for mailing envelopes and I like sil-nylon for a tarp,
but I don't like either for a ground cloth.  No one has given me a
satisfactory reason to use Tyvek.  Some say, "it breathes." That is good for
house wrap, but it is not what I want in a ground cloth.  Others say it is
cheap, and it may be if you score a freebee from a construction site, but if
you have to buy it off the net it costs about the same as other materials
that I deem superior.

By the way, I think there are three desirable characteristics of distance
hiking gear:  Good, light, and cheap.  With rare exceptions .. such as
molded plastic beverage bottles used as canteens .. you can only have two of
those characteristics in any one item.  Unfortunately for our bank account,
most distance hikers go for the good/light combination.  I don't think Tyvek
is particularly good, it is about the same weight as other options, and it
may or may not be cheap.

I have used the regular (non-Mylar) Space Blanket material quite a bit as a
ground cloth, and while it is also slicker and noisier than I like, it has
been satisfactory with one notable exception.  I used one piece of it with
success from Ashland to Stevens Pass, but by then it was getting pretty
spawned-out, as we say here in the Northwest.  Since rain was likely north
of Stevens, I began using a "new" one at that point from the home resupply.
I say "new" because while it had never even been out of its plastic case
until I cut it to size for the resupply, it had been kicking around in
different vehicles for a number of years.  The first night north of Stevens
the "new" Space Blanket began to seriously delaminate at the same time the
rain began to seriously fall.  By the second night the plastic layers were
disintegrating into what looked like gigantic pieces of silver and blue
dandruff.  Picking up all of that wretched stuff in the early morning light
was a real hoot.  The rain, with some snow, stayed with me until well north
of Glacier Peak so I had to use the ratty thing as best I could.

When I resupplied at Stehekin I dumped it, but all that I could find at the
store to replace it was one of those crummy, blue plastic tarps.  They didn'
t even have a shower curtain.  I don't know why they sell those tarps; maybe
locals use them to cover a stack of firewood.  I think the tarp was 4'x 6',
meaning too short and two wide, so I cut off the metal grommets, whacked a
strip off one side, and duct taped part of it to the end.  Since that was a
same-day, down-and-back, resupply I did the taping in the bouncy old school
bus.  The resulting ground cloth wasn't good, it wasn't light, and certainly
wasn't cheap.  It was ugly and heavy but by then, only a few days from the
border, I probably could have carried a load tarp from an 18-wheeler and
still finished.

What I have come to prefer for a ground cloth is urethane coated ripstop,
however it is getting a bit difficult to find now that sil-nylon is so
popular.  Lots of tents use it for the floor so it is reasonably durable,
and it is notably less slick and noisy


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Freiman/Vicki Cavataio" <pfreiman@popmail.ucsd.edu>
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2004 11:01 PM
Subject: Fwd: [pct-l] Tyvek is expensive

> Dan , I don't understand if the space blanket shredding was
> intentional or not.  I've had the same space blanket ground cloth for
> over 20 years.  Yes, tyvek is lighter, but it can only serve as a
> groundcloth while the space blanket is much more functional.
> HOWEVER, check out http://www.gossamergear.com/ .  I think you will
> be happy with what they have.
> Capt bivy
> >Hello,
> >I went to Home Depot the other day to pick up some Tyvek to make myself a
> >ground sheet after shredding a couple space blankets to pieces.  Little
> >did I know you have to buy it by the roll, and the cheapest roll is $57!
> >I was wondering if anybody had some lying around forgotten in their
> >that I could perhaps make use of?  If you live in the SF Bay area I can
> >come pick it up, or if you live in upstate new york I can pick it up
> >as well as I'm headed there in a week.
> >
> >thanks,
> >dan
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