One day browsing through my Facebook feed I saw that Gossamer Gear posted a blog link to something I thought was pretty cool: rain gear made from Tyvek!
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 the space savings made me very happy. More room in the pack means I can carry lots of extra food for backpacking in the Olympic National Park.
To make this rain system will cost you around $15. Yes that is right, $15 dollars. I promise you this will be the smartest piece of outdoor gear you ever spent your money on.
|Heavy rains in the upper Elwha valley - fording a creek wearing DIY Tyvek Jacket|
I am not really good at following directions 'by the book'. So following directions as close as possible; I went to work with my scissors.
My lines weren't perfectly straight, but that doesn't really affect the structure. As long as you keep some material below the zipper to keep it functional.
I ended up sealing the seams a little different than what was suggested as well. I purchased some weather tape made by Duct Tape. I turned the jacket inside out and taped the seams the best I could. This will affect the net weight of the rain system. However I feel that it makes the seams more secure against ripping. Keep in mind that doing this may be a bit overkill.
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 tied 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-- shy of a snow storm-- I never once experienced that 'clammy feeling' you dread after 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 of 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 me warm by keeping the wind out. Even out performing my $500+ jackets. It also dries out quickly with a light breeze.
|Boiling dinner in heavy rain|
|Walking the Olympic National Park Coast - 30 mph winds and 48 hours of rain|
The material shows no sign of wear or has any tears whatsoever. 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.
I choose not to put chemicals on my skin for fear of the long term affects 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 wearing gloves. The small hood opening would also 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.
|A few mosquitoes were keeping me cozy. - I was thankful to have a head-net.|
|Wearing Tyvek while crossing the Blue Glacier of Mt Olympus|
- Cost - Cost - Cost
- Skin Protection
- Easy Repair
- Holds body odor
- No pockets
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.
Reference: Gossamer Gear Tyvek Post
I forsee this being a popular option for people looking for a craft project or to needing a cheap solution to get them outdoors. Too lazy to make your own Tyvek Rain Gear? Check out many options online or at your local hardware store. You should also consider more durable rain gear options like Frogg Toggs; which are more costly, but repel water better.
Updated: December 2014 - Barefoot Jake - Hiking Olympic Mountains.