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How to Make a Hooded Tyvek Rain Jacket

A high-end air permeable Gore-Tex or eVent waterproof-breathable rain jacket costs $350 or more; it’s not ultralight, and it requires maintenance.  The lightest one is the Montane Spektr at 8 ounces. A polyurethane laminate rain jacket costs $150-$200 and is lightweight (down to about 6 ounces), and its durable, but not very breathable. Proper jackets are cheap but not very durable. In this article I will describe how to make a hooded Tyvek jacket plus chaps for under ten dollars, in a few minutes using a pair of scissors.

tyvek rain gear

The finished Tyvek hooded rain jacket is extra long and weighs just 5.25 ounces. The chaps weigh 2.6 ounces. You may get some comments about the white color (like “where did you park your space ship?”), but it is actually quite functional because it stays cooler compared to a dark color.

Making a hiking rain jacket? Be sure to check out part 2.

22 Responses to How to Make a Hooded Tyvek Rain Jacket

  1. Barb Mühl February 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    You are a genius! I love the idea of a rainsuit out of Tyvek coveralls. I’m headed over to Home Depot in the morning. I’ve been saving Tyvek mailing envelopes… not sure for what yet, something that has seams. Any ideas?

  2. John February 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Amazing. I’ve been putting off buying a rain suit, but I’m all for this!

  3. Call Me Ishmael March 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    If you would like to make a “Deluxe” model for a little more ($16), you can add a separating zipper with storm flap, and even pockets. Using donor coveralls from Lowe’s, mine came in at 4.0 ounces before seam sealing. These particular coveralls are very thin, with some irregularities, so the second iteration of seam sealing (after a shower test) brought the finished weight up to 4.6 ounces.

  4. Call Me Ishmael March 14, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    For about $20 ($25 with tax and shipping) you can use a #3 waterproof zipper (no storm flap required) and omit the pockets, to make an SUL model. Mine came in at 3.6 ounces before seam sealing, 3.8 ounces after careful, judicious application of SilNet.

  5. Greg March 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Great project, Will! I found some TY122 hooded coveralls, which are the TY127 lighter fabric (I confirmed this with DuPont) plus booties, on Amazon for about $12 including shipping. I plan to make the booties into rain/ wind mitts. Call Me Ishmael, I was debating ordering a waterproof zipper since it doubles the cost of the project, but it may be the best way to go, and if I ever retire the jacket I can always reuse the zipper.
    Anybody have any rainy day field reports on their tyvek jacket yet?

  6. michael April 17, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Just finished making my jacket and chaps. Great idea and great DIY walkthrough, can’t wait to test it out! Mine came in at a total weight of 6.1 ounces (before seam-seal).

  7. Step May 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Hey there, Great project. I made some last week and tested them in a spring storm last week. It took about 2 hours of heavy rain to wet them out. I was not sweating – it was cold. I would not say they are fully waterproof but they are good. The fabric is very delicate IMO. I suggest buying the pants a bit small. Once they got wet they started sliding down my but and I looked like a 90’s rapper. Maybe a belt or something could be designed for them.

    I purchased mine at – you can buy singles and they are cheep. Can you confirm these are the same Tyvek style/material you made your from? It was very soft, not loud and crinkly like my yvek ground cloth.

    I am not yet convinced these will be good for the CDT this year – I am assuming it will see lots of rain. But I think they are perfect for Summer/Fall Sierra storms.



  8. Rick Bauer May 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I made one of these, and used it on several campouts (with a little rain). Worked great. The acid test was wearing it during a BSA Eagle Project (heavy labor) where it rained all day. Worked great for the first 4 hours. Thereafter, leaks developed; I was soaked after 6 hours. Nice experiment. My conclusion: OK for light use. For a serious backpack (3 days or more), I’m taking my Marmot.

  9. Will Rietveld May 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I really appreciate the extended testing in the rain, which I was unable to do. It looks like these lightweight Tyvek rainsuits are best suited for showers or shorter term rain. That’s also true for many nylon so-called waterproof/breathable rainwear — over time they end up getting wet on the inside, and much of that moisture is perspiration. Also, water comes through the seams if they aren’t seam sealed. There are some differences between Tyvek too, the basic Type 1443R Tyvek is very light and soft, and probably the best for this purpose. The Kimberly Clark Tyvek is a lot like DriDucks fabric, it has a smooth outer surface,and I believe it will be more water resistant, but its a bit heavier. There are also families of specialized Tyveks used for chemical cleanup and other purposes, which I have not tried at all. The Tyvek used for mailing envelopes is Type 10, and it is probably too stiff and crinkly.

    I’m glad to see lots of folks trying this out and advancing the state of the art of Tyvek rainwear, thanks for your contributions! Best wishes, Will

  10. Meng Koh July 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Absolutely genius!! I was thinking of making a tyvek rain jacket out of home-wrap. Little did I know, there are coveralls out there. I’m extremely excited to make mine!


  11. Wild Bill,nc September 21, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Thanx for tha tips.
    Tweny years ago a company catered to tha “biker” community and came out with a two piece tyvek rain suit, spray painted in several camo colors, I belive they ran about fourty bucks a set…but they were for “emergency” use….light and disposible…they were called “Frog-Toggs”….my concern is, how well will tyvek keep out CHIGGERS here on tha Blue Ridge ?

  12. Call Me Ishmael September 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Frogg Toggs will keep out chiggers as well as any untreated rain suit; you will have to tuck in your pants legs and/or apply insect repellent around your ankles. And now, there is even better news from the Frog Toggs people: DriDucks. These are the lighter version of the original Frogg Toggs. They list for $40, but you can usually find them much cheaper online.

  13. Diane November 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I actually made a pair of these for my PCT hike. I did not need to use them more than once, and the rain turned to snow, so they didn’t get that great of a test as far as waterproof-ness. But they did work and they are cheap. There was some pilling around the inside of my calves after hiking in them for a few hours.

  14. Heather Darnell November 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    (To Diane) re: pilling – is that something easily corrects my by a strategically applied strip of duct tape?

  15. Paul April 30, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    I took some Tyvek gear on a trip up a Norwegian mountain last Autumn.

    1. A groundcloth/tent footprint I use under the tent. It’s a piece of Tyvek Housewrap (called Homewrap in USA) Very useful to protect tent groundsheet from sharp rocks, etc. Also, my tent groundsheet is rather thin and not completely waterproof so having the Tyvek underneath works very well. I also used the brilliant white surface to write my hitch-hiking destination with a large black marker pen. Drivers could not miss my signs! So now I have some souvenir place names on my groundsheet.

    2. Disposable trousers. I was wearing fairly wind-resistant and water-resistant trousers anyway (Montane Terra Pants) but we had some serious and prolonged, wind-driven rain up there and the Terra Pants became soaked. I pulled on the Tyvek trousers over the top of my saturated Terra Pants, and carried on walking into the horizontal rain. As I walked, I found my trousers actually began to dry! No, the Tyvek tousers are not totally waterproof, but they breathe so well that in practice they keep you dry. Earlier in the trip I had used the trousers inside my sleeping bag to add a bit of warmth. Unlike sil-nylon, Tyvek has a bit of fibrous bulk so it does contribute to warmth. Once I had used them in the rain however, I would not have used them in the sleeping bag again. Too mucky. I got a size WAY too big, cut the bottom of the legs to the right length and rolled the waist over the elastic to bring thecrotch up to a comfortable level. That’s so I can slip them on without taking my boots off. Tyvek clothing will last for a week-long trip or even longer, but it is not a very robust fabric. Definitely the best rain trousers I’ve ever had so I shall continue to use them. For £4/pair I don’t mind that they are not so robust.

    3. Tyvek hooded, zipped jacket. This item is great and got a lot of use. Very windproof, lightweight, quite warm, and showerproof. I used it as a windshirt, putting my rainjacket on over the top when the rain started in earnest. I also wore it in my sleeping bag for extra warmth.

    The jacket and trousers are made of a lighter, more flexible fabric than Homewrap/Housewrap, and the garment fabric is softer and is micro-perforated for greater breathability. The jacket lasts better than the trousers, as you drag trousers legs through underbrush/mud and sit down on rocks in the rain and so on. Then again, on many trips the trousers won’t get serious use.

    The trousers work extremely well as overtrousers for serous rain, whereas the jacket is more a showerproof windshirt and I would not in a million years rely on it out in the mountains. I had wondered what would happen if you had two jackets made of Tyvek – whether the rain would still be able to force its way through two layers – and maybe I will experiment, but then again I’m not sure how useful that would be really as you have no pockets.

  16. John July 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks Will. Just ordered the Montane Spektr based on your data. I love quantitative analysis!

  17. Stuart Longland July 5, 2014 at 2:26 am #


    I stumbled across this whilst looking around for ideas for clothing to wear whilst cycling. I hate the idea of lycra, if for no other reason than Brisbane (Australia) traffic probably does not wish or need to see my flabby backside wobbling its way between home and the workplace.

    I wanted some clothing that would:
    – not make me sweat profusely
    – was ideally class DN high-visibility
    – was loose, not tight like lycra

    Bonus points if it could be wind proof/waterproof.

    I have some Breathalon coveralls that I bought off eBay some time back. I’ve worn these a few times on the bicycle, however they’re as rare as hens teeth to purchase in these parts. One shop sells them for AU$150 a pair, another wants to charge >$500! If they ever fall to pieces on me I’ll have hell replacing them. That said, with those, and a lycra stinger suit underneath, I sweat less in those than I would in regular clothing. Previously I had just worn them in wet weather, last night I tried them in dry weather, and found I was much more comfortable as the suit provided a very good wind-break.

    Having seen this page, I’ve bought some disposable coveralls. Not sure if these are Tyvek or one of the similar fabrics out there, they’re described as “MP4” type. I tried pouring water on them, and the water pooled on the surface. Stuck a hand under the pool and it did not leak. The seems are already taped on this pair: bright orange tape, so it seems the no. 1 weakness of this clothing has been addressed in this particular variety.

    I’ve put them on and been wearing them for a little while now and I’m not sweating, so things look good. They’re white rather than the traditional daytime high-vis colours. I note you can get some that are a Tychem material in a yellow colour: not sure how Tychem differs in breathability/waterproofness, and there are some that have reflective bands on them too.

    I can live with white however, and I’ve got some aluminium tape that will probably adhere well (and is cheaper than the ScotchLite material) should I want reflective bands.

    I’ll leave them as a single-piece suit, with the view I can wear these instead on the bicycle, thus prolonging the life of my trousers which otherwise quickly malfunction in the crutch. These are AU$10 a piece from RSEA, so I can afford to replace a pair if they do malfunction and they’re light enough to carry a spare set on the bike should I have problems.

    I’ve got 3 pairs: and cycling is about as rough on the crutch of trousers/overalls as one can get. I’ll see how they fare in this scenario, I shall report back.

  18. Stuart Longland July 5, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    Gah, typo:

    Previously I had just worn them in wet weather, last night I tried them in dry weather, and found I was much more comfortable as the suit provided a very good wind-break.

    Last week, not last night. Mind you it’s mid winter right now, the real test for breathability will be in summer.

  19. Ed Selby January 30, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    I made one of these rain suits and used it a couple of times. Then on one hike where the trail was overgrown, I had to pass though some beggar ticks. They stuck to my suit like crazy until it was coated with them. There was no way to get them all off so I chucked the suit.

  20. Rick Donnelly July 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    I’ve gone about 3 hours in serious rain in this setup, and stayed about as dry as in my Montbell and GoLite rain suits. But seriously, after 3 hours I’m looking to find an overhang or pitch my pyramid to get out of the wet unless I’m on last leg out anyway. I have a friend who made something similar who soaked it in Nikwax TX.Direct solution, which he claims extended the time it took to become waterlogged. I thought that was supposed to work only on GoreTex, but maybe it works on Tyvek as well?

    • Prospective Thru-hiker December 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

      In case anyone was wondering, the only real difference between Tyvek and GoreTex is how they’re made. Tyvek is spun-bonded (plastic threads ironed together) and GoreTex is stretched to created tiny tears. Both result in a fabric-like plastic sheet with microscopic holes that are much larger than water vapor but smaller than liquid water particles.

      Tyvek however makes 14-S, the thermally reflective member of the 1400 series. Its basically Tyvek and reflective Mylar bonded together. The SOL escape bivvy is made with 14-S, and it’s pretty warm for its weight and packability. If you can sew, this may be the best material for raingear available.

  21. oatmealradio June 27, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    Great thinking! I did the same thing too. By the way, they sell them in Blue and Camo on ebay for playing paintball for $13 and in the US “Ocean State Job Lot” often has yellow ones for like $2 each. And Ebay has separate jackets and separate pants for like $5 each. I think they are a great idea for ultralight clothing that can be taken on a hike. They would probably also be great to keep in a car, like if your car broke down you layered two jumpsuits and you would be super warm in the winter. Or you could spray paint cool patterns on them. This idea has lots of potential. It really hasn’t been explored much.

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