I will be explaining inside this very article exactly what a rain fly is for your tent and why they are so important for your outdoor adventures.
Basically, you are going to learn everything that you need to know about rain flies.
Even I had no idea what they were used for when I first started camping, which is why I want to help others that are in the same boat.
Keep reading to see what rain flies are all about for your tent.
What is a Rain Fly?
You’ve probably noticed a piece of fabric that goes over top of your tent and wondered why the heck you need one for.
Well the simple answer is: A rain fly stops rain from getting inside the tent, it’s as simple as that.
Most tents are not waterproof, so they rely on a rain fly to resist the rain, ultimately to keep you, your camping buddies, and everything else dry.
Types Of Rain Flies
Full-coverage – What the heck is a full-coverage rain fly? These are mostly used for campers that are adventuring in high winds and heavy downpours.
The reason why a full-coverage rain fly does such a great job is because they are known to stop 99% of the wind coming into the tent while ensuring NO rain water will make its way under the fly and into the tent.
Half-coverage or partial – Then you have the half/partial-coverage rain flies. They DO get the job done, but not quite as good as the full-coverage rain flies.
These cover the important parts of the tent (the sleeping areas), ensuring you will stay bone dry in a torrential downpour.
But because they don’t cover the entire tent, you will feel the outside cold a lot more, so extra blankets is a must if you want to survive the night.
But Do You Even Need One?
In most cases, a tent does require a rain fly to allow it to function properly.
As I have outlined already in this article, tents are not made to be waterproof, so additional fabric (like a rain fly or tarp) is needed to resist the rain as much as possible.
But in saying that, some types of tents (although not many) can be pitched and ready to go without a rain fly, meaning the body has been highly waterproofed already.
Example Of A Waterproof Popup Tent
However, I don’t rely on them to keep me dry as they have been known to leak, which is why I’d rather use a rain fly for that extra security against the elements.
Most of the time you will need a rain fly for your tent, but there are still tents out there that work like a charm without the use of a rain fly or additional coverage.
Nylon – When nylon gets wet, it expands by 3.5% since it absorbs water easily.
Of course, that isn’t much of an issue on smaller tents since the change isn’t dramatic enough to see very easily.
However, manufacturers have started to use polyester on larger tents, especially because of quality control issues, but also since the water makes the fly stretch and sag in the rain.
Polyester – Polyester material absorbs less water and dries faster. Not only that, but it weighs less when wet as well.
Manufacturers have discovered that people are moving away from nylon rain flies and moving towards polyester.
The changes are very different, which has made polyester much better than nylon IMHO.
Keep In Mind
When shopping around for a tent, you will soon realize that prices change a lot depending on the size of the tent and the type of fabric that the tent is using.
A tent with a polyester rain fly might be much more expensive than a tent with a nylon fly if they are the same size.
But please keep in mind, it would be in your best interest to go towards the polyester type, as tents with nylon fabrics get outdated REAL quick.
Just because polyester is better than nylon, the extra costs might not be necessary depending on your plans.
For example: A polyester tent might be $100 and in a lightweight range, but the nylon alternative could be $50 with much more weight to it.
The difference here is that one would be good for backpacking and the other for car camping.
That is WHY you must first decide what your plans are for your outdoor adventure, then you can make your final decision on what type of tent will suit you and your needs.
Thanks for reading…
Did you find what you were looking for?
Talk to me in the comments below, do you still have any remaining questions 🙂