DIY Tyvek Tent Footprint

DIY gear has so many great advantages. It cheaper, often lighter, and you can customize it just for you, just to name a few. It can be a little intimidating at first but you just have to get in there and give it a try. 

My latest piece of DIY gear is actually an improvement on a piece of gear I already had. A Tyvek (this is that waterproof wrap they put on houses) footprint for my Coleman Max 2 person tent. I have been using a piece of Tyvek as a footprint for years but I wouldn’t call it DIY because I bought it precut and just threw it down and set the tent on top of it. Which has worked fine until I found out there is a better way.

While researching how to put up a two-wall tent in the rain I learned a new way to use the footprint. If your footprint has grommets in it you can use the footprint to hold up the poles then lay the rainfly over the poles crawl under the fly out of the rain and attach the tent to the poles! Little to no rain in the tent. Yeah!

Start with a piece of Tyvek larger than the bottom of your tent.

Next draw a line from one grommet on your tent to the next. I did this by tying string from one tent pole to next at the base of the pole. Now cut the Tyvek along these lines. The corners of the piece you just cut is where your grommets will go. You can get a grommet kit at hardware  or home improvement stores; they are inexpensive and easy to use.

Make sure your grommets aren’t bigger that your tent poles. Learned that the hard way. Now place your tent on top of the footprint again and draw lines at the edge of the tent fabric. The idea is to trim as much as possible off so that the Tyvek does not come out past the tent. If it does it can cause rain to collect between the footprint and the tent, which leads to wet backpackers. 

Last piece of advice again learned from one of my rookie mistakes. Brand new Tyvek sounds like aluminum foil when you handle it. Before you take it on the trail the first time soften it up by running it through the washing machine. It won’t hurt it, and you and everyone around you will sleep better.

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