What Is A Tent Rainfly

Tent Rainfly: What is it and when do you need one?

You have arrived to the following page: Tips for Tent Camping»How to Set Up a Tent» What exactly is a tent rainfly, and when do you need to use one? Generally speaking, a tent rainfly is the outermost layer of fabric that covers (either completely or partially) the body of a multi-layered tent. Alternatively, it can be found as a fully separate layer that can be attached to the tent using zippers, clips, or ropes, or it can be found as a portion of the tent that is not detachable and just has a few vent locations that can be opened.

Rainfly materials must be waterproofed, water resistant, and, most importantly, breathable in order to protect the tent from condensation.

The rainfly, when combined with the tent footprint, should provide the best possible layer of protection against the elements.

It is sometimes referred to as an afly tent, which is essentially a sheet of cloth that is suspended from the ceiling by ropes and does not have a body.

Do you need a tent rainfly?

This is the equivalent of inquiring if you require an umbrella. The answer is very dependent on the weather conditions. If it begins to rain, it is required to utilize the rainfly that has been provided. If properly fitted, this will prohibit water from coming into your tent and will keep it dry while you are away. When the weather is dry and warm, it is advised that the rainfly is not installed in order to provide enough ventilation.

What about an extra rainfly to go on top of the existing one? Will it offer better protection?

The only time you’ll want an additional rainfly is if the one you already have doesn’t completely cover the tent’s body. This is especially true if you’re camping during a period of severe rain and the partial fly is unable to keep up with the rain. When sleeping with two totally covering sheets, or at least for a longer amount of time, it is not suggested since it can impair the fabric’s capacity to breathe and allow for the escape of water vapors. In the event that you have them both on for more than 2-3 days, there is a strong possibility that mold may begin to form between them.

How to properly use a rainfly

When the rainfly is fastened to the top of the tent, it is critical that it be stretched as far as possible in order to attempt to generate an equal surface on which rainfall may readily flow down to the ground below. If the tent’s design permits it, it is advised that the fly not come into direct contact with the tent’s body, and that there be a layer of free-moving air between the two is extremely advantageous. When using a fully covering sheet that is longer than the walls, the sheet should be tucked below the footprint rather than between the floor and the footprint, as shown in the illustration.

It is critical that you are still able to give some ventilation, regardless of the covering you are utilizing.

Maintenance and repair works

Damage from repeated use (stretching, packing, etc.) and bad installation might eventually result in holes, the waterproofing layer wearing away, and other problems with the product. Sometimes this may be remedied, and the following are some do-it-yourself remedies for each scenario: The waterproofing layer is being reapplied. The most significant issue that coated materials, such as rainfly, face is that they can lose their waterproofing properties over time if not properly maintained. Despite the fact that this is a major problem, it is frequently fairly simple to resolve.

Choose a well-known brand of waterproofing spray for the best results.

Putting a patch on a hole in the rainfly When dealing with minor holes or cuts, patching tape can be used to quickly and effectively fix them.

There are several stages you must take, as follows:

  1. Clean the area around the hole/cut on both sides with an alcohol solution by rubbing it in. Remember that this will ruin the waterproofing layer, so make sure you are not touching the surface any more than is necessary. Using your fingers, push and stretch the patching tape firmly on both sides to ensure that no air bubbles are caught between the two pieces of tape. Using the seam grip, carefully apply it along all of the borders of the patch. Take care to ensure that both the patch and the rainfly are adequately covered. A decent rule of thumb is to attempt to cover at least half an inch on all sides of the surface. Allow for a minimum of 12 hours of drying time for the sheet. Replace the waterproofing coating on the affected area. Because you cannot be certain that the seam grip has completely covered all of the places that you have previously wiped off, it is advised that you reapply the coating to the whole portion.

Depending on how meticulously you’ve followed these instructions, you may be able to keep this repair going for an extremely lengthy amount of time. The act of washing and cleaning Keeping dirt and mold out of your camping gear is nearly hard to do. However, you shouldn’t be too concerned about this because it is able to wash the rainfly rather quickly. If there isn’t a regular quantity of dirt on the surface, you should strive to dry clean it as much as you possibly can. It is critical, however, not to rub it down, but rather to attempt to blow it away.

  • If the sheet is really unclean, a solution consisting of water and a tent cleaner such as Nikwax would be the most effective method to combat the problem.
  • Finally, if mold is forming on your rainfly, it may be possible to remove it using a mixture of distilled vinegar and a little water.
  • As a result, it is advised that this coating be reapplied.
  • If the odors continue, follow our instructions on how to get rid of them.

Replacement tent rainfly

If none of the ways listed above work to save your rainfly, or if you’ve misplaced your rainfly, it is still feasible to obtain a replacement. The manufacturer should be able to provide you replacement components for your exact tent type, which is especially important if you have a newer tent model. Here are some links to some of the most well-known manufacturers:

Brand Link to Availability
Coleman rainfly replacement Find part Few models available
MSR part replacements Find part Very few options
Big Agnes replacement support Find part Have to speak to customer support
R.E.I Find part Universal sizes only

If you are unable to locate an original component, there is still the option of purchasing a universal rain fly from Amazon for a fairly reasonable price.

Even while it won’t be a snug fit like the original, it will perform its job to keep your tent dry on the few instances when you’ll need it to. Here’s one that I particularly enjoy and would recommend:

Part-covering vs Fully-covering: which one is the best

If you’re wondering why part-covering rain flies exist at all, it has something to do with the fact that they allow for more ventilation. Condensation and mold have long been an issue for campers, for a variety of reasons. And believe me when I say that they do not occur because the tents are badly constructed; rather, they occur because the owner is at fault nine times out of ten. We don’t remember to ventilate them. And it doesn’t take long for that obnoxious mold to begin to spread. As a result, using a rainfly that completely covers the window for an extended length of time will not assist to obtain sufficient ventilation.

However, this is very dependent on the style of tent you are using.


This guide should provide you with all of the information you need to know about tent rain flies and how to use them. Feel free to put down any ideas or concerns you have about them in the comments section below, and I should be able to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your time!

What Is A Rain Fly? What Are They Used For?

If you’re on the market for a new tent, you might be wondering what a rain fly is and how it works. It’s possible that you’re looking for the finest technique to keep your tent protected from the rain and the snow. A rain fly is exactly what it sounds like: a fly that catches rain. A rain fly is simply a cover for your tent that helps to keep the elements out of your tent while you’re camping. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or blowing, a rain fly will keep you dry and comfortable throughout inclement weather.

What A Rain Fly Do?

In order to enable heat and moisture to rise out of the top of the tent, most tents will feature mesh at the top of the tent. In the summer, your tent would become quite stuffy if it did not have that netting. However, if you use mesh to cover the roof of your tent, you will leave your tent vulnerable to rain coming inside the tent and ruining your camping experience. The purpose of a rain fly is to prevent precipitation from entering your tent via the mesh ceiling of your tent. Rain flys are attached to the top of your tent and are designed to protect water from entering the tent’s inside.

If you want the finest protection from the rain, you should choose a tent with a full coverage rain fly, which will cover the whole surface of your tent and provide total covering.

Is A Rain Fly Necessary?

During the warmer months, you should only use a rain fly if you expect it to rain within the next several days. Rain flys will hold in heat that would otherwise escape through the top of your tent, therefore it will be hotter inside your tent during the summer months if you do not have a rain fly up. If a quick pop-up shower comes through while you are sleeping, you run the danger of not getting enough sleep. I’ve watched my friends scurrying around in a thunderstorm attempting to put their rain fly on, and believe me, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

If you live in a particularly dry climate with little rainfall, you will most likely be able to get by without using a rain fly on your tent. The majority of tents will be sent with a rain fly already attached.

What Is The Best Way To Protect My Tent From The Rain?

Having a full coverage rainfly on your tent is the most effective method of protecting it from the rain since it will cover all the surfaces of your tent. In the case of a cabin tent or a pop-up tent, it is unlikely that you will be able to locate one with a rain fly that covers the whole tent due to the design of the tent. The majority of tents that feature a full-coverage rain fly will be dome-style tents, which makes it easier to give complete protection from the elements. Due to the virtually vertical walls of cabin type tents and the fact that a rain cover cannot be used over them, they are not recommended for camping.

  • With stakes driven into the ground, you may cover your tent with a tarp and keep it tight.
  • Both of these ways should be effective in keeping the interior of your tent moist.
  • When it comes to a vestibule, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s simply an awning for your tent that extends off the front of the tent to give additional protection from the weather on the front side of your tent.
  • In order to understand more about vestibules, you may read my essay about vestibules by clicking on the link provided.

What Is The Best Tent With A Full Coverage Rain Fly?

If you have decided to purchase a tent with a full-coverage rain fly, you may be interested in learning more about the many types of tents that are available that have a full-coverage rain fly attached to them.

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4 person tent

It has an internal space of 7 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches and a center height of 5 feet 2 inches. The ALPS Mountaineering person tent has an exterior space of 7 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches and a center height of 5 feet 2 inches. It has two doors and two vestibules, one above each door, and, of course, a rain fly that covers the whole structure. It has a two-pole construction, which makes it easier to put up the tent than other models. It also includes a partial mesh roof, which will aid in the ventilation of the tent during the hot summer months.

See also:  How To Build A Tent With Sticks

It comes with a floor saver that you can use to place beneath your tent and that is just the right size for this tent.

ALPS Mountaineering manufactures tents with camping aficionados in mind, and their products include some of the most innovative tent technology available to keep you dry in the case of a rainfall or thunderstorm.

This ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-person tent is available for purchase on Amazon. To learn more about it, please visit this page.

NTK Cherokee GT 9 Person Family Dome Tent

If you are searching for a larger family dome tent that also has a rain fly, the NTK Cherokee GT 8 to 9 person tent might be a good option. Because of its inside dimensions of 10′ 12′ and center height of 6′, this tent is suitable for persons of average height as well as taller individuals. The interior of this tent will be spacious enough to accommodate you, your family, and your camping gear if you have a large family or a considerable amount of camping equipment that you carry along with you on your camping trips.

  • A two layer rain fly made of polyester that has been bonded with polyurethane provides additional protection from the elements when used in conjunction with this tent.
  • Because the tent’s roof is made of mesh, you can look out the top of the tent and vent the tent while also keeping mosquitoes and other pests out of the tent.
  • An additional feature of the NTK Cherokee GT tent is its waterproof floor, which is composed of seamless polyethylene that is anti-fungal, which helps to prevent mold and mildew from forming within the tent.
  • An additional layer of protection between you and any groundwater that may collect around your tent is provided by an inner silver coated layer of the tent.

NTK Indy GT XL 6 Person Family Dome Tent

The NTK Indy GT XL 6 person tent is an additional tent with a full coverage double-layer rain fly that can accommodate up to 6 people. It has inside dimensions of 14′ x 8′ and a central height of 6 foot 2 inches, making it suitable for persons of average height as well as taller individuals. Probably the most notable feature of this tent is the full coverage double-layer rain fly, which wraps completely around all four sides of the tent to give total protection from rain and wind. In the double-layer rain fly, one layer is constructed of polyester, which is then laminated with another layer of polyurethane to provide a waterproof barrier.

  • One other pleasant feature of this NTK Indy GT XL tent is a vestibule that extends over the front of the tent entrance and serves as additional storage space for your camping equipment.
  • It has a partially mesh roof and is perfect for camping during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer not to exit through the front awning area, this tent is equipped with a separate side entrance.
  • If you don’t need to accommodate 6 people in your tent but enjoy the style of the NTK GT XL, you might want to explore the NTK Indy GT, which can accommodate 4 people comfortably and is a more affordable option.

It’s a little smaller in size than the NTK GT XL, but it’s significantly less expensive and has the same style. The NTK INDY GT 4 to 5 person family dome tent is currently available for purchase on Amazon. To see the current pricing of the tent, please click here.

Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent

The Coleman Hooligan 2 person camping tent is equipped with a full-coverage rain fly that completely encircles the tent, shielding it from the elements completely and completely. Given its full mesh construction, it will be ideal for usage during the hotter summer months but will not be suited for use during the cooler winter months. A complete mesh design implies that it will be an excellent tent for stargazing, which is something you should consider if you plan on doing so. It should be noted that this is a two-person tent, so it will be on the smaller side.

In addition, the Coleman Hooligan tent includes a vestibule that extends over the tent’s front door to provide additional protection for the entranceway.

In addition to having sealed seams to assist prevent water from getting into the tent, this model also has a water-resistant floor that continues up the edges of the tent walls to further aid in preventing water from getting into the tent.

This tent is one of the more affordable Coleman tents, which is a benefit if you are on a tight budget and looking for a tent.

How to waterproof a tent rain fly?

Rain flys are intended to be slightly waterproof in order to aid in the collection of water on the surface of the rain fly. However, if your rain fly is left out in the rain for an extended period of time, water will ultimately begin to seep through the surface of the fly. The surface of your tent and rain fly may be made more hydrophobic with waterproof sprays, which will aid in the repelling of water from the tent and rain fly. For those of you who are interested in purchasing one of the waterproofing sprays that I would recommend, I have included a link to Amazon for one of the products I would suggest.

  1. It is recommended that you use a rain fly when camping in the winter months since it will assist to retain the warm air from your body inside the tent.
  2. When should you not use a rain fly, and when should you?
  3. When the rain fly is removed from your tent, the heated air trapped within the tent will be able to rise through the mesh of your tent ceiling and out of your tent, allowing you to sleep better.
  4. Always check the weather forecast to see if there is a probability of rain in your location tonight before making a decision to do something like that.
  5. Another option for protecting your tent from the weather is to place a tarp underneath your tent’s footprint.

Most tent manufacturers will claim that their tent flooring are waterproof, but if they are submerged in water for an extended period of time, some water may seep through.

What Is A Rainfly, And How Effective Is It? 3 Things You Need To Know

What exactly is a rainfly? I was aware that I had posed this question when I first started camping. Perhaps you’ve just purchased your first tent and are putting it up when you come across a piece of cloth that is not linked to the rest of the tent. What exactly is it, and what are you supposed to do with it? Perhaps you’re a seasoned camper in the market for a new tent, but you’re having trouble deciding between a tent with a full coverage rainfly and a tent with partial coverage rainfly. Wherever you are in your camping trip, we are here to help you debunk the myths surrounding the rainfly.

  • Water-resistant in nature, the rainfly is meant to keep out rain, snow, and other natural elements from entering the tent.
  • Camping last summer during the Brood X Cicada boom, I expected nothing more than the deafening sound of the cicadas’ chorus.
  • It took me completely by surprise when my tent looked to be covered with sticky raindrops that were falling from an otherwise clear sky.
  • I was quite pleased that my rainfly was with me throughout the trip!

The Purpose of a Rainfly – How it Works and When to Use it

As we’ve covered, a rainfly is a versatile component of a tent that serves several functions. It is often a separate component that is attached to the top of a tent and covers the mesh. It is occasionally used in conjunction with the tent, which we will describe in further detail later. The roof of the majority of three-season, double-walled tents is composed of mesh. This mesh is used for a variety of vital functions. The mesh in the tent’s roof facilitates the movement of air into and out of the tent.

When used at night, the mesh allows you to stargaze while keeping the pests out of your eyes.

When it is forecast to rain, or if your tent is beneath trees, in a sandy environment, or in an area where there is a significant bug or bird population, you will want additional protection above the mesh screen.

When to Use a Rainfly

Rainflies may be quite beneficial in a variety of conditions, so it’s important to evaluate the environment in which you’ll be camping to determine whether or not leaving your rainfly on would enhance your camping experience.

  • Using a rainfly will keep your tent and possessions dry if you’re camping in an area that receives a lot of rain or if you’re anticipating rain at any point during your trip.
  • If you’re camping and there’s even the slightest chance of severe weather, it’s best to err on the side of caution and put up your rain fly.
  • An effective rainfly can assist keep items such as sap, animal droppings, and tree debris from getting into your tent while you’re camping under a dense canopy of trees.
  • An umbrella or rainfly might assist keep you protected from the weather if you’re camping in sand or loose mud and gravel.

While it’s always a good idea to have your rainfly with you in the spirit of being prepared, there are occasions when it’s not worth it to pull it out of the bag.

When to Consider Abandoning Your Rainfly

Despite their utility, rainflies might occasionally interfere with your enjoyment of the outdoors.

  • If you are camping in sunny weather and want to spend the day in your tent, you may want to leave the rainfly off so that you can soak in the rays.
  • It is possible to improve air circulation inside your tent by removing your rain fly if you are in an exceptionally hot, stuffy, or humid environment that is not accompanied by stormy weather.
  • The absence of a rainfly can provide you with some of the most spectacular stargazing you’ve ever experienced whether you’re in an area of astronomical significance or just a location with dark open sky as far as the eye can see.

While all rainflies have the same function of forming a protective barrier against the elements outside, not all rainflies perform this function in the same way or with the same effectiveness.

The Different Types of rainflies

Rainflies are available in every color and pattern imaginable, much like tents. Rainflies are distinguished by their water resistance, substance, coverage, and whether or not they are connected to the surface. Most of the time, knowing how and where you’ll be using your tent before purchasing one is the most vital factor to consider. Which climates will you be camping in? Will you be camping in relatively moderate climates or in locations with more strong rain and winds? What kind of trip are you planning?

Full vs. Partial Coverage – Pros and Cons of Each Style

Rainflies are included with your tent and will provide either partial or complete covering, depending on how the tent will be used. Full coverage rainflies, as the name indicates, completely encircle the exterior of your tent from top to bottom, providing total protection. Camping in an area where there is a lot of rain or wind is made easier with the use of rain flys that provide complete covering. They totally enclose your tent, preventing any water from getting inside. However, they have the disadvantage of drastically reducing the quantity of air moving in the tent, making it feel hot or stuffy as a result.

Because they are often heavier, full covering might add additional weight to your carrying burden.

Rain will not be able to enter your tent because of the partial covers, but air circulation will be improved.

It is not recommended to use this form of rainfly when camping in windy circumstances or during periods of severe precipitation.

Single-Walled vs. Double-Walled Tents

Tents with two layers or walls are referred to as double-walled tents. The body of the tent, which is made of a variety of materials, including mesh, is one of these walls. The outer wall of the tent serves as a rainfly, and its purpose is to provide protection for the inner wall of the tent. Rainflies are typically included with all double-walled tents. These tents are useful because they give the camper the freedom to set up his or her tent in whatever way they see fit. Double-walled tents can be heavier than their single-walled counterparts.

See also:  How To Clean A Tent With Mildew

Tents with only one layer or wall are referred to as single-walled tents.

These aren’t the tents most people think of when they imagine camping at a drive-in site for a weekend getaway. Single-walled tents are lightweight and set up quickly, making them ideal for backpacking or hike-in camping.

Do Rainflies Make Your Tent Waterproof?

Despite the fact that rainflies are designed to provide an additional layer of protection against the weather, can they truly make your tent waterproof? As we discussed in “Are Tents Waterproof?,” tents are not completely waterproof. Tent Waterproofing: 4 Things to Look for and 3 Methods to Protect Your Tent”: In contrast to tents, which are not waterproof, they are extremely water resistant. They considerably slow down the entry of rainfall, although they do not completely prevent it from occurring.

The amount of water resistance provided by your rainfly is dependent on a number of factors, including the fabric used, the coating applied to the material, the waterproof rating, whether the seams are sealed, and the age of your tent.

Keep your rainfly dry when not in use, and inspect the seams and fabric on a regular basis to ensure that it is in excellent condition.

How to Pitch a Rainfly

The most important step in using a rainfly is to ensure that it is properly attached to your tent. When putting up your rainfly, make sure it is aligned with the outside poles of your tent. If your rainfly is equipped with velcro straps, make sure you utilize them to secure it to the tent pole. The most crucial component of pitching a rainfly is to make sure it remains taut throughout the process. The goal is for water and all other natural elements to roll off your rainfly, not to pile on top of one that is too loose.

Rainfly Cleaning and Care – Tips and Tricks to Keep it in Tip Top Condition

As you can see, a rainfly is a very important component of a tent, and keeping it in good condition is necessary. Your rainfly requires frequent inspection and upkeep to ensure that it remains in good working order. If left unattended, harsh rain, tree sap, and animal droppings can weaken your rainfly’s structure and induce mold growth, which can be fatal. After every camping trip, you should thoroughly examine your rainfly. Your rainfly should be stored in a dry and clean environment at all times.

  • Avoid scrubbing your rainfly with anything abrasive, and handle it with utmost gentleness when necessary.
  • Hanging your rainfly to dry over a clothesline or shower rod is the most effective method after it has been washed.
  • In our article “Are Tents Waterproof?
  • In “4 Things to Look for and 3 Ways to Waterproof Your Tent,” we explore the need of seam sealing and the use of a long-lasting water repellent as alternatives for keeping your rainfly water-resistant.

Being aware of your surroundings and the weather forecast can assist you in determining when it is the most ideal time to attach your rainfly. Your rainfly will remain in excellent condition for many seasons if you give it the proper attention and care.

What Is A Rain Fly?

If you’ve ever been in the company of camping enthusiasts, you’ve certainly heard the term “rain fly,” but what exactly does it mean? Even if you’ve never heard of the word before, you’re definitely familiar with what it refers to in some way. When it comes to camping, this (sometimes) additional piece of tent equipment may make or break your vacation. I strongly advise all campers to get a high-quality sleeping bag. Rain fly: A rain fly is an additional piece of fabric that is placed over the top of your set up tent.

Using one shields you from many of the harsher weather factors, such as rain, snow, wind, and freezing temperatures, which may be dangerous.


As soon as you begin to put up your tent, you will be in possession of the major portion of your tent with its windows, doors, poles, and material. Some tents come with an additional rain fly, which extends the coverage of your primary tent even further. This additional layer may be equipped with its own pole(s) or guy lines, which will aid in further securing it. Rain, snow, wind, and cold are all protected from your main tent by adding that extra layer of material (which is usually more durable and treated), and your primary tent will be better protected as a result.

  1. It is possible that the extra space between it and the tent will act as an insulation layer, helping to keep your tent cool in higher weather.
  2. Some of them just cover the top of the tent, rather than the entire structure.
  3. I propose purchasing an extra rain fly that is large enough to cover the full tent space.
  4. This type of rain fly can provide even greater protection for your tent than the standard rain fly that comes with the tent.
  5. Preventing precipitation from collecting in cracks and folds, which can cause damage to the material over time, is important.


It is possible to make rain flies out of many various materials, much like the standard tent structure. Some examples of such materials are as follows:

  • Polyester, nylon, cotton canvas, polycotton canvas, PVC, cuben fiber, and other fibers

Polyester and PVC are the two most often used materials for making rain flies. Polyester is likely to be the most practical material for most campers. If you’re serious about camping in extreme weather conditions, PVC is more durable and provides even more protection.

Rain flies are frequently treated with additional or stronger waterproofing chemicals on top of the components mentioned above. Related Reading: What materials are used to construct tents?


Are you still unsure whether or not you require a rain fly? Take a look at this list of reasons why you might desire one.

  • Additional rain protection
  • Insulation from the cold
  • Providing protection from the elements for mesh windows and doors. UV protection for the body of your tent
  • Protection against tiny particles such as sand, mud, pebbles, and branches
  • Protection from flying objects
  • Because of the employment of additional tents and guy lines, your tent will be more stable.

If this sounds appealing to you, you should think consider purchasing a rain fly to protect yourself from the elements.


While reading this article, you may have thought to yourself, “Wait a minute.” I’m aware of what you’re talking about, but I’ve never heard it referred to as such. While rain fly is the official name, they are often known by a variety of other names, including the following:

  • Cover
  • Canvas*
  • Tent top
  • Fly sheet
  • Fly
  • Tent flap
  • Canopy, Cover, Canvas*
  • Tent, Canvas*

It really doesn’t make a difference which term you use. Different nations have different names for rain flies, but if you’re seeking to buy one in the United States, be sure to check for the term “rain fly.” *Do not use any of these phrases. When it comes to tenting, they actually imply something very different.


Next time you’re out camping and someone asks you, “What is a rain fly?” you’ll be able to answer them with confidence since you’ll know what you’re talking about. As previously stated, I strongly advise you to at the very least utilize the rain fly that came with your tent, and if possible, get a larger one. Take a walk outside and breathe in some fresh air! If you enjoyed reading this article, you may be interested in the following: What is a Dome Tent and how does it work?

Fly (tent) – Wikipedia

Aflyrefers to the outer layer of a tent or to a piece of cloth that is strung together usingrope to create a minimalist, stand-alone shelter, respectively. In its most basic definition, a fly is a creature that does not have walls. Purpose-built stand-alone flies are sometimes known as bivouacs, bivvies, tarpaulins, or hootchies when used for camping or other outdoor activities. The majority of the time, flies are employed to keep moisture (such as condensation or rain) and sunlight off of people while they eat, rest, or sleep.

  • A stand-alone fly is a multi-purpose item that may be used in a variety of situations.
  • A fly also has the virtue of being extremely light and portable, which is a plus.
  • Fly rods, on the other hand, can be used to suspend flies or they can be jury-rigged, for example, usingpaddles.
  • Following that, a regular tent is built beneath the fly.

See also

  • Trail Craft: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Vacation Trips
  • Out of Doors
  • A Treatise on Hygiene and Public Health
  • Trail Craft: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Vacation Trips
  • Trail


When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. As a child, I did not have the opportunity to sleep in a tent. My family was not outdoorsy, and the closest we came to a tent was my grandmother’s home in Michigan, which we visited every summer. As a result, when it came time for me to pitch a tent for the first time, I had a high learning curve to overcome.

Once, in the Grand Canyon, just as the clouds began to roll in, I set up a tent with no tarp below it, only to discover that it wasn’t the appropriate approach.

I camped down behind a picnic table with a cover for the night. Fortunately, I’ve already made the mistakes for you. Here’s how to avoid making a mess of your tent on your first camping trip.

Buy a freestanding tent that’s easy to pitch

In today’s world, the majority of tent designs rely on two poles to produce a dome that is quite uncomplicated and simple to put together. Look for a tried-and-true design that has been shown to keep people warm and dry for many years before making your purchase. Whatever you do, be sure you have a free-standing tent. Non-freestanding tents are fantastic if you’re going lightweight or if you have a lot of wilderness experience, but they’re a nuisance to put up and don’t provide the same level of protection as freestanding tents.

The Half Dome 2 even comes with instructions for setting up the tent printed directly on the stuff sack.

Seam seal the tent and fly

The majority of tents are sent from the manufacturer with a waterproof rain fly, however with time, this feature will become less effective. This has been especially true in my experience with lower-priced, entry-level tents, some of which have proven to be difficult to set up straight out of the box. To ensure that your tent does not leak in the middle of the night, treat it with a water-proofing treatment and put a seam sealant on the fly. Allow plenty of time for it to dry before taking it camping with you.

Always use a tarp or footprint

If I’d brought a footprint or tarp with me to the Grand Canyon, my night in the canyon would have been a lot less damp. Tent flooring are very robust and water resistant, but a lot of rain accumulating below the tent will cause them to give way quickly. Not only does a footprint keep water out, but it also helps to keep your tent floor from being ripped up while you’re camping. Purchasing some Tyvek to construct your own footprint is recommended; however, make sure to cut the Tyvek so that it is slightly smaller than the tent floor so that water does not gather on it.

Always stake out the tent—with nice tent stakes

At a campground near Moab, I once woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone else’s tent blowing past my campsite. Regardless of whether or not there is a prediction for wind or rain, a correctly staked-out tent will provide you with more internal room and keep the tent walls away from your face when sleeping. Purchase some high-quality tent stakes as well, as the ones that come with a lot of entry-level tents are substandard and will bend the first time you use them. You’ll want to drive the stakes in at a 45-degree angle away from your tent, so that they’re not visible.

See also:  How To Fold A Tent

Use the rainfly

Another common misunderstanding is that “since it is not going to rain, there is no need for the rainfly.” Wrong. First and foremost, and this is especially true if you’re in the mountains, the weather may change fast and dramatically. It’s more preferable to have the device turned on than to struggle to get it set up at 2 a.m. Using the rain fly will also help to keep you considerably warmer, and most tents these days have excellent ventilation, so you won’t have to worry about being too hot when camping.

In case you’re particularly concerned about the heat, choose a tent such as the Sierra Designs Flash or theNightwatch, both of which have cool, roll-up rain fly designs.

Bring paracord

Guy lines, which are little lengths of string with small plastic sliders connected, are included with most tents. They are intended to give additional support for your tent in high winds and are included with most tents. Those extra tent stakes in the package are for attaching them to the rain fly’s fabric or webbing loops so that they may be anchored down if necessary. These work fine, however I also store some additional paracord with my tent stakes in case anything go wrong. If it’s really windy, you’ll need to add extra man lines, and having paracord on hand provides you more alternatives without adding any more weight.

Organize in the daylight

Once the tent is set up, the first thing I do is gather everything I’ll need in the middle of the night and hang an aheadlamp or a small LED lantern from the tent’s ceiling to provide illumination. Most tents come with either a built-in gear loft or, at the at least, a loop in the ceiling for hanging items. I prefer to complete the step when there is still plenty of daylight available so that I am not left hunting for items in the dark afterwards.

Bonus: Don’t put the fly away wet

To start your day, take off your rain fly and put it up somewhere to dry as soon as you get up in the morning. The likelihood is that it is moist, either from condensation within the tent or dew on the outside, and you don’t want to store it damp if at all possible. While obviously not always practicable, you should at the very least take it outside and let it to dry when you come home from work. Alternatively, it may mildew, and you will have a significant amount of cleanup to undertake.

What Is The Purpose Of A Rainfly?

This time, it’s pouring outside, and my tent is flooding.wait, that’s not how it works? But that’s exactly what may happen if it starts to rain and your tent isn’t equipped to withstand the elements. If your tent isn’t waterproof or if it has a totally mesh cover, you’ll want to carry a rainfly with you to protect yourself from the elements. So, what exactly is the function of a rainfly? A rainfly is a piece of waterproof material that is used to cover your tent to protect it from getting wet.

However, as I was investigating rain flies, I had a slew of questions, like I usually did.

What Does A Rainfly Do?

As I indicated in the introduction, rain flies are useful for keeping the interior of your tent from becoming wet. They are waterproof pieces of material that are either fastened to your tent or placed over it to keep rain out of your tent. It’s as simple as that. In contrast, just as with the majority of camping-related items, there are solutions for just about any circumstance!

Full-coverage rain flies

As the name indicates, these rain flies completely encircle your tent to give ‘complete covering,’ not just from rain but also from strong winds. When planning a camping trip in a cooler environment or in a location with strong winds, these are excellent choices.

Partial-coverage rain flies

In warmer climates, where you don’t mind the wind (or where there isn’t any wind), partial-coverage rain fly will be ideal for keeping you dry.

These don’t go all the way down to the ground, but instead function more like a cloth pavilion, providing rain protection on the top while allowing wind to come through on the sides.

Are There Tents That Come With A Rainfly Built-In?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock Yes, some tents will come with a rainfly already attached to them. These are normally pre-assembled with the rainfly already attached to the tent poles, so there is no need for additional setup. This makes it very simple to set up and has the added benefit of providing a waterproof tent in no time. There are, however, significant disadvantages to having a rainfly built into the roof. It will be impossible to remove the rainfly and allow some more air circulation to circulate within the tent for beginnings.

Furthermore, because there is no option to remove the rainfly and enjoy your mesh roof, you can expect tents with built-in rain flies to be significantly warmer in hotter weather.

In some cases, depending on the sort of tent you have, it may be constructed with a double-walled design that includes both the tent body and a rainfly that can be removed.

Is It Better To Have A Removable Rainfly?

So, given the advantages and disadvantages of a built-in rainfly, is it preferable to have a removable rainfly? The answer is that it all depends on your own preferences. You will not be able to remove it to enjoy a mesh roof, and it will be somewhat warmer as a result; but, you will have the convenience of simply having to put up your tent rather than both your tent and a rainfly. If you’re planning a camping vacation, that’s one less thing to worry about packing and one fewer thing to forget.

Having a detachable rainfly will allow you to enjoy the sun and fresh wind going through your tent without having to worry about damaging the roof.

Is A Rainfly Necessary?

Considering all of the discussion on what rain flies are and how to find the best one, one has to wonder: is a rain fly really essential in the first place. The answer is no, and there are two reasons for this. Answering the first question is more along the lines of “no, but I’d bring it anyhow.” Due to the possibility that you may not receive any rain, you should dress accordingly. Using a rainfly would not be essential in such situation. However, I’d rather have the extra weight and know that I’ll be able to keep dry than take the chance.

More practically, the second response is more appropriate.

After all, if your tent is completely waterproof and you don’t want additional protection from strong winds, what is the point of carrying along the rainfly?

A word of caution: before leaving the rainfly at home, double-check that your tent is completely water-resistant. It wouldn’t be much fun to find out by sleeping in a pool of water with your clothes and gear soaked through.

What Are Tent Rain Flies Made Of?

Now that we’ve established that it’s probably a good idea to always have some sort of mechanism to keep the rain out of your tent, let’s talk about the different types of materials that rain flies are constructed of. Nylon and polyester are the most common materials used in this industry. When it comes to quality, polyester is the greatest material to choose from. The reason nylon does not perform as well as other materials is that it can expand by up to 3.5 percent when it is wet. A nylon rainfly on a bigger tent may create a significant amount of drag, which is not an issue when using a smaller tent.

Polyester rain flies are often more costly than cotton rain flies.

Polyester absorbs far less water and dries significantly faster than nylon.

While both cotton and polyester will perform an admirable job of keeping water out of your tent, polyester is the superior choice.

Can You Use Anything As A Rainfly?

You aren’t even need to acquire a rainfly that is designed exclusively for tent use. The most important item you’re looking for is something that will prevent water from seeping inside your tent. Because of this, the material must be waterproof, as well as large enough to completely cover your tent and tough enough to endure rain and strong winds. Tarps, for example, may be used to create excellent rain flies. To correctly set up your homemade rainfly, make sure you get the guy lines and stakes in addition to the waterproof material.

For starters, they will be a better fit for your tent.

Second, as long as you get a high-quality rainfly (you may check the evaluations if you’re still hesitant), you’ll be confident that they’ll function as intended.

How Do You Put A Rain Fly On A Tent?

We’ve learnt everything there is to know about rain flies, including the numerous sorts of materials utilized and why they’re required. But how does one go about putting up a rainfly? Easy. Stakes and guy lines will be included with your rainfly, as will the nylon or polyester material used to construct it. To build and put up a rainfly, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the notches where your guy line connects to the ring
  2. Tie the guy line to each notch with the non-looped side of the guy line. Place your rainfly over the top of your tent. Stakes should be used to anchor each guy line to the ground. An adjuster should be installed on your guy lines to allow you to tighten or loosen them as needed. Make the necessary adjustments until the lines are taut (there is no need to extend the rainfly, simply fasten it)

To avoid tripping over the stakes or man lines, attach a bright pool noodle to the bottom of each one as a safety precaution.

Can I Camp Using Just A Rainfly (No Tent)?

Ron Swanson doesn’t even bother with a tent while he’s camping! Is it really necessary to have a tent if a rainfly keeps rain from getting into my gear? Nope. You could camp without a tent if you brought a rainfly with you. However, because you don’t want to risk getting your gear wet and because it’s great to have a dry pad to place your belongings on, it’s advised that you carry at least a footprint with you (tarp or similar). Because having a damp or muddy sleeping bag would be a pain to clean up afterwards.

Furthermore, you will not have walls to shield you from the elements if the weather turns terrible outside or if there are a lot of pests, so make a plan ahead of time!

Related Questions

What causes tents to become damp on the inside? Simply said, tents become wet on the inside due to the fact that they are not water resistant. Even tents made of nylon or polyester might have seams that are not waterproof, which can cause them to leak when they are in use. Purchase a tent that is completely waterproof, or use a rainfly to cover your tent to keep it from getting too wet. This is most certainly the case if you are employing one of these two options and your tent is still damp inside from the previous night’s rain.

Do tents provide adequate protection from the elements?

Other tents feature mesh roofs that don’t do a good job of keeping the rain out.

What is the best way to keep a tent dry in the rain?

), you can keep your tent dry in the rain.


It is waterproof and will function in the same way as commercially produced rain flies.

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