Does Your Tent need a Fly?

I was recently asked if a certain tent was available with a rain fly? Are rain fly’s really needed on modern tents? The short answer is Yes and No. Some tents have waterproof fabrics that do not require an added rain fly to keep your tent dry.

Does this tent come with a fly? I don’t see it listed.

This question came about from a customer that inquired about the Two Room Camping Tent from Trek. This tent incorporates a special fabric called Poly Canvas, this fabric is polyester coated fabric, much like a super heavy duty shower curtain, that is impervious to rain.

In this situation, a rain fly is not needed to keep the inside of this tent dry. But not all tents are created equally, most other models use a standard tent nylon that is treated with silicone to reduce the amount of water that can pass through the fabric. This type of fabric is rated in pressure required to make water pass through the fabric.

Expressed in mm, such as 1000 mm, 1500 mm, 2000 mm, etc. The higher the rating, the harder it is to push water through the fabric. Most cheap tents are around 500 mm, four season or expedition tents range in the 2000 to 2500 mm range, it is wise to choose a tent with at least a rating of 1000 mm, this rating works well for most rain conditions.

Is a fly only for rain? No, a fly can also help keep the inside of your tent cooler by reflecting the sun’s UV rays, it also helps to slow down deterioration of the tent roof caused by UV rays. Whether to choose a tent with or with out a rain fly will depend on the fabric and your needs in a tent.