The Purpose of a Rain Fly Tarp: Types & Materials Explained
If you have a camping enthusiast in your life, you’ve probably heard the term “rain fly tarp” before. If you’re one yourself, then you know how important this unit can be when it’s raining cats and dogs and you’re in the middle of nowhere. This extra piece of equipment can make or break your whole camping experience.
What Is a Rain Fly?
A tent fly is an extra piece of waterproof material that goes over the top of your tent. Using one will protect you from the harsh weather elements when you’re exploring the great outdoors. It’s usually a square or a rectangular piece of fabric with tie-out points. It comes in a variety of models suitable for different situations.
Reasons for Using a Rain Fly
You’re probably wondering why would you need a rain fly tarp when you already have a tent. Well, rain flys have multiple uses and benefits. While many people use them with a tent, others use them instead of a tent! Regardless of your preferences, here are some reasons why you should definitely invest in one.
- Extra rain coverage – Waterproof and good-sized camping rain flys will keep you and your camping gear dry from rain and dew.
- Temperature insulation – It provides better insulation, maintaining the proper temperature in the tent. Keeps the inside of the tent cooler during summertime and significantly warmer during winter.
- Protects your tent from debris – Sand, dirt, rocks, branches, and not to mention insects can easily penetrate your tent and can be a real hassle to deal with. A camping rain fly is a great way to keep them at bay.
Full Vs. Partial Coverage Rain Fly
As their name implies, full rain flys wrap around the tent, providing full coverage and are great for colder climates and high wind areas. If you plan on visiting warmer places and you don’t mind the wind (or there isn’t any), partial coverage models will work perfectly. Partial tent flys work like a fabric pavilion – they protect from the rain, but wind can still pass through them as they don’t cover the tent all the way to the ground.
Built-In Vs. Removable Rain Fly
Some tents come with built-in rain flys. They are already attached to the poles and don’t require any extra work. However, they have a couple of drawbacks. They can’t be removed in case you want to get some extra air circulation inside the tent. Plus, you won’t be able to warm up your tent that easily on sunny days as the rain fly makes this space more insulated. However, depending on the type of tent you have, it may have a double-walled construction consisting of the tent’s body and a rainfly, and in that case, it can be detached.
With a removable tent fly, you can do as you please. Remove it and you can enjoy the mesh roof on sunny days, stargaze as you’re falling asleep on a clear summer night. Setting up a camping rain fly is a piece of cake, so you might want to look for tents that don’t have it already incorporated into their construction.
What Is a Rain Fly Made Of?
Rain flys are typically made from nylon and polyester. If you’re looking for a high-quality model that will withstand the test of time, polyester is the better choice. It absorbs less water and dries faster than nylon, however, it is also a bit more expensive. The main disadvantage of nylon is its ability to expand up to 3.5 % when it gets wet. This may not be that big of a problem if you’re attaching it on a smaller tent, however, it is not recommended for larger tents.
Are Rain Flys Necessary?
Well, the answer to this question is yes and no. No – because there is a chance that it won’t rain at all on your next trip. However, nature can be very unpredictable, so you might want to invest in one and take it with you wherever you go just to be on the safe side. Rain flys are multi-functional and easy to carry. You know what they say – better be safe than sorry. If your tent is already waterproof, then you might not need a rain fly tarp. However, make sure to double-check this before you leave for your next adventure – it would be no fun waking up in a pool of water with all of your gear soaking wet.