What is Tent Rainfly and How to Use a Rainfly? These are the questions most beginner campers ask, especially when planning to go camping during the rainy seasons. Most rain flys come equipped with a factory-made tent set. So, when you are buying a separate rain fly, you might want to look inside your existing tent components first.
A rain fly is a protective cover that keeps several elements out of your tent. Rain, snow, wind — no condition makes a rain fly any less essential or helpful. You can count on it to keep you dry in camping conditions that would make anyone run for cover.
In this article, we will cover the critical aspects of a rainfly and why campers should give much importance to this gear during their camping journeys.
Table of Contents
How to Use a Rainfly: The Basic Pros and Cons
To properly use a rainfly, you must stretch it over the tent as much as possible. This way, the rainfly will create an even surface for the raindrops to flow down smoothly. Also, it will keep the waterproof coating intact from any severe side effects.
The tent’s outer poles must be exposed if you want your rainfly to work correctly. Otherwise, the fly will flap and flutter in the wind and won’t be able to perform its most important function: keeping water out of your tent. When lining up your rainfly, make sure it covers all three outer tent poles completely. If you have velcro straps on your rainfly, use them to hold the poles in place.
If you choose a dome-sized tent, you will be available to use both the full and partial coverage rainfly. However, we recommend using the partial one to persist a free air space in between. It is preferable to utilize partial coverage rainfly while the temperature is pleasant. Therefore, there will be no risk of heavy rain damage to your tent.
However, while using a full-coverage rainfly, you must not tuck it between the tent floor and footprint. That way, your tent will have no external raindrops seeping through the layer of the sheets unexpectedly.
You can use such full-coverage rain flys for durable insulation in winter camping or the heavy rainy season. Or else, you can use an additional tarp instead of these heavy covers as they give better protection from rainy weather. Regardless of the rain cover you use, it is critical to have some ventilation inside your tent.
Different Type of Tent Rainfly for a Camping Trip
At times, people buy a double-walled tent from the market and, later on, look further at buying a distinct rainfly. We are not saying that you can not obtain an additional rain cover once you have purchased a tent furnished with an attached rain covering sheet. You don’t need any additional rainfly coverage over such tents depending on the weather demand, such as mild weather camping.
Although on the bigger picture, you must buy an extra rain fly to keep your tent dry. You can even use it for insulation purposes during wintertime camping. We’ve previously published an article on it. Thus, you may look that up to better understand the case.
Well, back to the hype, we were talking about the usage of rainfly. But before we dig in any further, let’s understand the types and which tent body fits them the best?
Full-Coverage Rainfly VS Partial-Coverage Rainfly
You might wonder why anyone would use a partial-coverage rainfly when there is an availability of a full-coverage one. Well, it depends on both the camper and the weather necessity.
For instance, a double-layered tent is already manufactured with a built-in rain cover. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of covering it with a rainfly. You need to cover your double-walled tent partially from excessive snowfall in colder weather. Likewise, you should use a full-coverage rain fly for inclement weather protection for a single-walled tent.
A Rain Fly, full or partial coverage, is intended to prevent raindrops, snow, or other outer substances from penetrating an entire tent. Howbeit, it also has a connection with the tent ventilation process.
In contrast, a full-coverage rainfly covers the entire wall of a tent. So, in the heavy rain, you can tuck in the rainfly under your tent floor or tent footprint and be stress-free regarding tent protection. Although, a full-coverage rain cover is not appropriate for a cabin tent or pop-up tent. So, it’s better to use a dome-sized tent for the camping journey.
With a full-coverage rainfly, you will have less air circulation inside the tent. Therefore, it’s better to avoid using it in summer conditions. Also, keep in mind that these rain covers tend to have a heavier weight than their partial counterparts.
Partial Coverage Rainfly
A partial coverage rainfly allows the tent to space between the rain cover and the top mesh. As a result, the heat air circulation inside the tent gets an escape instead of being trapped inside the space. So, if you are camping in mild weather in the summer days, a partial coverage tent will help your tent weather be at optimal temperature due to the optimal air circulation.
Double-Layered Tent VS Single-Layer Tent
When discussing the different varieties of rainfly, we have to give thoughts on the sorts of tents either. Double-Layered or Double-Walled, the name itself implies the structure of the tent. It consists of two fabric layers, one of which is intended to protect the tent from any outer substances harm.
For various materials used in the built-in process, a double-layered tent tends to be more durable than its single-layered counterpart. The first layer of the tent walls includes a mesh at the top of the tent. On the contrary, the second layer has a waterproof coating to prevent raindrops from seeping through the inner tent walls.
Such double-walled tents also allow the users to have the flexibility of setting up the tent their way. However, if you are a backpacking camper, these tents might not be a good choice. These tents tend to be heavier than single-walled tents with two-layered structures. Besides, you will face difficulty in packing and the setting up process.
On the other hand, Single Layer Tent is the best pick for backpackers. These tents come with a single fabric structure. The fabric layer is made of water-resistant material along with other components. Hence, there is no guarantee that it can save you from heavy rain soaks.
We suggest you pack a double-layered tent if you start your camping journey at a drive-in site. But, when you are going on a backpack camping trip with friends, you must ensure to pack an additional rainfly with this single-walled tent.
These tents are lightweight and quick to set up. Therefore, you can easily carry it on your back during the backpacking journey.
Rainfly Maintenance and Repair Work
For the maintenance and repair work for a rainfly, you need to learn about these three basic steps. The first one is regarding the waterproof coating. No rainfly is entirely waterproof; instead, it includes an external water-resistant coating to ensure no water can seep through the fabric for a long time.
- However, once you notice the waterproof coating has weakened, you should reapply the layer with a waterproofing spray. We know the entire process seems hazardous. But it is as easy as coloring a metal showpiece for room decoration. Nonetheless, make sure to purchase waterproof coating spray from a known brand.
- The next rainfly repairing trick is regarding minor holes and cuts. A rainfly could easily get torn or develop tiny seeping holes with continuous stretches and use. And so, without replacing the entire rainfly, you can use patching tape on it.
- All you need is an alcohol pad, patching tape, and waterproofing spray for the process. Clean the rain cover area around the hole. Then take a small-sized patching tape to cover the gap. Make sure to rub the tape carefully over the place so that no air bubbles remain trapped inside.
- The last rainfly maintenance tip is to keep the rain cover clean from any tree debris or mold. Every time you come back home from one of your camping trips, check for any unwanted piled-up mold on your camping gear.
- If you see no heavy dirt on the rainfly tent, you can dry clean it. Experts always recommend dry cleaning a rainfly so that the waterproof coating doesn’t get damaged frequently. Although, you can clean your rain cover with shampoo or other cleaning soap. But be aware of using any abrasive sponge. Also, spray the rain cover inside-out with waterproof coating after every wash.
Rain covers are an essential part that can also give UV protection to the consumers. It is the equivalent of a tent jacket. When you need it, you’d better have it, or else you’re in for a cold, soggy night of uncomfortable sleep. Rain flies protect a tent from the elements during rainstorms, snow, and windy weather. They can even be used as tarps when camping under the stars in warm weather!
This post should help you figure out which kind is right for you. Please share your ideas and concerns about this article in the comments section. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.