DIY Tyvek Rain Gear: Long Term Review

 Update:  Tyvek will 'wet out' with enough saturation, like most outdoor material on the market.  I use fleece or wool underneath for this reason in the Pacific Northwest.

   One day browsing through my Facebook feed.  Gossamer Gear posted a blog link to something I thought was pretty cool.

  In the article was a detailed description from one of their Trail Ambassadors. I thought it was very crafty.  Only thing needed is pair of Tyvek coveralls and scissors.

  At the time I was not happy with my spendy traditional backpacking rain gear.  They totaled $500 for top and bottom without mentioning any brands.

   Not only the bulky price tag, but my old rain system took up a lot of room in my pack.  My body tends to run warm, so I rarely wear the gear while moving.  So that space savings made me very happy.  More room in the pack means I can carry  lots of extra food if needed.

  To make this rain system will cost you around $15.  Yes that is right, $15 dollars.  I promise you than this will be the smartest piece of outdoor gear ever spent your money on.







Tyvek jacket
Heavy rains in the upper Elwha valley - fording a creek wearing DIY Tyvek Jacket








Craft
  I am not really good at following directions 'by the book'.  So following things close as possible; went to work with my scissors.

  My lines weren't perfectly straight, but I don't feel like that really effects the structure.  Long as you keep some material below the zipper to keep it functional.

  Ended up sealing the seams a little different than what was suggested as well.  I purchased some weather tape made  by Duct Tape.  Turned it inside out and taped the seams the best I could.  This will effect the net weight of the rain system.  However I feel that it makes the seams more secure against ripping.  Keep in mind by doing this it may be a bit over kill.

  With the construction of the rain pant.   I chose to make small tabs while sealing the seams of the legs with tape.  Once that was done; punched a small hole in the tab and used 8" of cord.  I tie this cord around my belt loop.  If not wearing pants with belt loops; one can make a belt out of cord around the waist.   Then tie ends of the rain gear tabs to that belt.

  The pant can also be worn just with the Poncho during a storm while traveling.  Doing this will help keep you cool.






Breathability & Repellent
  After wearing this in every natural element for this area; shy of a snow storm.   Never once experienced a 'clammy feeling' that you dread wearing traditional gear.

  Tyvek also dries fast when completely saturated with water.  It also does not feel heavy when wet.  Your body heat should do a good job on keeping the material dry to the touch on the inside.

  In really heavy rains you can expect to get damp like most expensive gear.  For this reason I will continue to bring my Poncho during the wet season.

  During high winds the material does a great job at keeping the wind out and me warm.  Out performing my $500+ jackets.  It also dries out quickly with a light breeze.







Tyvek jacket
Boiling dinner in heavy rain
Tyvek backpacking
Walking the Olympic National Park Coast - 30 mph winds and 48 hours of rain







Durability
  The material shows no sign of wear or has any tear's what so ever.  Even with all the bushwhacking through the brush this summer.  I was delighted to find no snags or scuff.

  Around the wrists and hood opening there is elastic to keep material snug against your body.  These are both showing signs of stretching.  For this reason I will replace my system once a year.

  Comparing it to the cost of a modern traditional jacket. I can purchase one suit a year for the rest of my life and still come out even.






Skin Protection
  I choose not to put chemicals on my skin.  In the fear of the long term effects that it may have on my body as I age.  For this reason; I don't wear sunscreen or bug spray.

  Totally delighted to find that bugs hate Tyvek.  A mosquito would land on its surface and quickly fly away.  Which is awesome; since they are known to dig through my traditional outerwear.

  The longer sleeves would allow me to hide the back of my hands inside without the wearing of gloves.   The small hood opening would keep the little suckers out of my ears.

  When paired with my headnet.  This would act as my bug protection while sleeping under my Gossamer Gear Spinnshelter.  Doing this came in handy on warm nights when choosing not to sleep in my sleeping bag.

  While traveling on snow; I would wear the material as well.  This would keep me from getting burnt by the suns reflection.  Hot evenings around camp; it would act as shade and help keep me cool.





Tyvek jacket
A few mosquitoes were keeping me cozy. - I was thankful to have a head-net. 
Tyvek jacket
Wearing Tyvek while crossing the Blue Glacier of Mt Olympus







Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Compact
  • Cost - Cost - Cost
  • Breathable
  • Skin Protection
  • Replaceable
  • Easy Repair



Cons

  • Holds Body Oder
  • No Pockets




Customizing
  I have not yet made any changes to my system.  I foresee people dying or drawing on their Tyvek.  It will be cool to see how people customize their gear in the future.  Send me pictures of design ideas and I will post them up on this blog.  




Link Reference:  Original Gossamer Gear Blog Post





What about you?
  Have you made your own Rain Gear?  What are your thoughts?  Got any questions that I can answer?   Have any custom designs that you wish to share?





Having trouble finding Tyvek Suits locally?  Try this.



1 comment:

  1. When gossamer gear first posted this idea, I happen to have a pair of non-hooded coveralls at the house. I made a jacket with it and ended up ripping the zipper out a couple weeks later. I was at Home Depot earlier tonight looking at their coveralls but got side tracked by my wife (we are remodeling our house) wanting me to look at bathroom tile. I think I'll be making a trip back tomorrow and pick up a pair while I'm there. Thanks for updating us on how they have held up!

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