Who would ever tell, that the most versatile and one of the most important pieces of gear that I ever carried is a piece of house wrap!
About 8×4 feet, it is the same kind of wrapping material used to wrap houses for insulation purposes. It is called Tyvek and can be purchased at hardware stores at very low prices.
It is hard to list all the uses for it, but I will try here:
I use Tyvek to cover the ground before setting up camp. It protects the tent from dirt and protects the air mattress from thorns and sharp rocks. It also helps keep everything clearn and organized, and for a guy with moderate OCD like me, keeping the camp clean is a must.
I also use the same Tyvek, folded three or four times, to cover the ground when I want to lay down my backpack and gear, to rest, for nature call, or any other reason. That helps keep every piece of gear and clothing clean.
When I want to sit down on a rock, cold bench, or on the rocky ground, the Tyvek makes a good clean surface to sit on.
Tyvek is not very soft, and it feels a little brittle. At first I though that would be a downside but instead it is a great advantage because once you fold it, it “remember” the creases and you can fold it again in the same patterns effortlessly, even in strong winds. Try folding anyting in the wind, it is a frustrating experience, except Tyvek. It nearly folds itself!
It is very easy to clean and can be machine washed. I prefer to clean it with a rag because machine washing would make it soft, and then it wouldn’t fold as easy as it does now.
It doesn’t fray, and it doesn’t rip easily. It is also waterproof, and it helps isolate from the cold.
If the weater turns insane I can use the Tyvek to line the inside of the tent to isolate from the cold winds or rain.
Jumping fences can be a pain in the ass. Literally. Dangerous operation. But if you fold the Tyvek 3 times and lay it on the ground you can lay down and simply slide under the fence, and then pull the Tyvek with the gear to the other side. It is so easy it is a joke!
I keep it folded tight and hold it on the under side of my backpack with elastic cords. I can take it out and put it back without needing to take the backpack out. This way it also protects the bottom of the backpack if I put it own the ground for a moment. So even when I don’t even take it out and unfold, the pieve of Tyvek is there helping out.
Best camping gear ever created!