How to Make Your Own Tyvek Tent Footprint

How cool would it be to hike from Georgia to Maine with all homemade or handcrafted gear?

Or how nice would it be to head north with the finest gear on the market that does just about all but hike for you?

Well, one would be easy on the wallet, the other would wreak havoc.

I’m close to having a complete set of gear, though I constantly find myself on Facebook pages that are selling gear, at REI garage sales, or looking anywhere for that piece of gear that will make all the difference on my next grand adventure, without costing an arm and a leg.

I’ve decided to purchase a new tent, and seeing as it will be my home for the next six months, I can justify the price. I settled on the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. Not included, but a very important part of taking care of a tent, is the footprint. The footprint lies beneath the tent floor, preventing direct contact with the ground. So while camping out in the wild, this isn’t such a bad idea because you are going to be sleeping on sticks and rocks each night. The catch is that it is sold separately from an already hefty price tag that comes with the tent.

So with that I decided, why not make my own ground tarp/footprint? And here is how we (my dad helped, thanks!) did it.


–Tyvek: An extremely durable material that is both strong and light. I am lucky to have a good friend who works construction, and he hooked me up with an 8×10 sheet. Thank you, Ket and Mr. Ket.

–Grommet kit

–Hammer and scissors


It is important to take accurate measurements because if the ground tarp extends past the tent, water will collect on top of it. If this occurs, you will basically be sleeping on a puddle. The thin tent floor will be the only thing separating you and the puddle of water.

Next, we laid out the Tyvek and set up the tent. We then marked the four corners before inserting the grommets. We wanted to make sure that the grommets would be in the correct place before trimming the Tyvek.

We decided to leave some extra room beyond the markings on each corner. This way we could fold the Tyvek over the part so that there will be a double layer where the grommet is inserted.


Next step was applying the grommets. This process is fairly simple. It is done by first punching a hole in the Tyvek using the cutting tool and a hammer. You must make sure to have something sturdy underneath the Tyvek. Place the cutting tool over the marking, then simply pound with a hammer. Place the grommet (post up) on the base piece, and stick it through the hole you cut in the Tyvek. Place the washer on top of both the grommet and the Tyvek, and insert the punch tool, then giver a whack with the hammer. Be sure the washer and grommet fit tightly to the Tyvek. And there you have it.

Repeat to get all four corners and we’re almost there folks.

Set It Up

Time to set up the tent and hope the measurements were correct. If so, the tent poles will fit right into the grommets.

Our measurements were spot on.

Trace and Trim

Time to trace the tent and trim it down.


There it is. I may do a little more trimming down the way, but right now I am happy with it as is.

All in all, this cost $7.50, for the grommet kit. Granted, I was gifted the Tyvek (thanks again, Sauce) but still, Ttvek is inexpensive. Also, thanks Pops for the help and Ma for the wonderful photos.

The official footprint retails for about $70, depending where you purchase it.

Also, icing on the cake… this bad boy weighs 5.6 ounces, four ounces less than the $70 brand name one. And it’s just as packable.

Not too bad, ay? Pretty simple stuff. I hope this helps anyone who is looking into making their own footprint or any other pieces of gear.

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Comments 7

  • tj : Feb 23rd

    Nice! Best self-make footprint I’ve seen!! I think most manufactures cut the ground sheet a couple of inches in and under, to ensure water can’t seep between the footprint and the tent bottom. Enjoy!!

  • Smokebeard : Feb 23rd

    Love it.

  • Cam : Feb 23rd

    Just remember tyvek is semi -permiable(spelling?) It is made to allow moisture to escape from one direction while not allowing water to enter. You will want to make sure the letters are facing the ground so it will wick moisture out but not allow moisture in. A better option would be a different brand of house wrap such as typar, same principle but alot more quiet.

  • Was Siddiqi : Apr 3rd

    Love it! Following your instructions and making my own. How has your experience been so far with it? Anything you would do differently?
    One comment – does it make sense to fold over all along the edges and glue it ? Wondering if there is a chance of a rip developing from the sides.
    Also I’m thinking of ducktaping the 4 “ears” to provide additional strength there. Thoughts?


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