Campers use the rainfly as an extra sheet to cover the tent, protecting their shelter from the rain and wind. However, some people choose to leave it at home since the rainfly seems to be unnecessary. So if you have a canvas tent, does it need a rainfly?
You don’t need to bring a rainfly if you camp in a canvas tent. The tent from this material is solid and waterproof. It doesn’t require any extra layer to stay dry.
In the article below, there will be a lot of helpful information to answer your questions. Let’s read on to know more details!
Is A Canvas Tent Waterproof?
One of the main elements for constructing canvas is cotton. This tent fabric has strong waterproofing properties. As a result, the canvas is waterproof.
If cotton fibers are wet, they expand, making the cloth thicker and less breathable.
The problem is that if you don’t fully dry the fabric right after it gets wet, a little of the moisture may get stuck in the fibers, drawing mildew.
It will then probably smell musty, as do many old tents.
These days, the term “canvas” does not relate to a single type of material. It comes in a variety of textiles, which are subsequently treated with acrylic-based or vinyl-coated substances.
The finished canvas has a considerably tighter weave. It is more waterproof than standard cotton canvas.
Canvas tents with a solid internal frame and breathable fabric are ideal for camping.
Two main types of canvas tents are wall tents and bell tents. The wall tent, such as Davis tent, seems to be more popular due to its durability and easy setup.
What Is A Rainfly?
A rainfly, also known as a tent fly, is a sheet of extra fabric that covers the roof of your tent. This sheet often comes with additional waterproofing.
Thanks to the water resistance element, the rainfly can protect your tent against harsh weather conditions, such as wind, snow, or cold.
Types of rainfly
Depending on the camper’s requirement, they can use either full coverage or a partial coverage tent top.
The tent fly covers all the way surrounding your tent to give full coverage. The sheet wraps all around the tent to shield it from both strong winds and heavy rainfall.
They are ideal if you’re going camping in a chilly temperature or a region with gusty winds.
Partial-coverage flies will work well if you camp in a warmer region and don’t worry about the wind.
These rain flies don’t seal all parts of your tent. They function as a fiber pavilion, providing a shelter on the roof while allowing wind to come through the walls.
How does a rainfly work?
The rainfly works as a double layer to protect your tent under severe weather.
Usually, the rainfly does not sit directly on the tent. You have some insulating space between your tent and the fly, which may help keep your space cool with some fresh air in warm weather.
Does A Canvas Tent Need A Rain Fly?
Most campers choose not to bring the rainfly for their camping trip. The rest opt for the sheet in case of hostile weather; they need extra protection for your shelter.
Here are some reasons to explain why a rainfly is unnecessary for a canvas tent.
Canvas tent is waterproof
Cotton canvas tents are water-resistant, making them a top pick for campers.
This tent fabric is strong, long-lasting, and super durable. A canvas wall tent, as a result, can be an ideal shelter under all kinds of weather and terrain.
Aside from the endurance against moisture, canvas tents are good at UV resistance.
The canvas tent is also sustainable. Eco-friendly campers often seek these items for their tips.
You camp in fine weather
Rain flys help safeguard your shelter against heavy rains and winds. If you camp on a sunny day, the rain flys turn out to be meaningless.
In some cases, campers install the top sheet over their tents. Ultimately, you take it off to enjoy the sunshine. If you check the weather forecast and know that the weather will be fine, leave your rainfly at home.
A rainfly adds more weight to your pack
Don’t try packing everything in your backpack. It’s not a good habit.
If you already have a waterproof tent, you don’t need to carry a rainfly.
Instead, pack lightweight items and enjoy the beautiful scenes across your trip.
Other Ways To Waterproof Canvas Tents?
If you want to lighten your pack by removing the rainfly, make sure your tent is waterproof. If it is raining, you will be secure that your tent can protect you.
There are two main ways to waterproof canvas wall tents: seasoning and using waterproof products.
Seasoning is a waterproofing method for repairing any minor pinholes in a new tent. In essence, you will soak and dry your tent repeatedly.
This step will allow the tent fabric to stretch, sealing any tiny microscopic holes that aren’t visible to the human eye. If you ignore the holes, they can collect moisture and fungus.
The simplest method is to set up the tent and then spray it off with a sprayer. Instead, you may soak your tent in a huge bathtub for some minutes before removing it and putting it out to dry.
Tumble dry only if the manufacturer’s instructions specifically state that you can.
This simple waterproofing procedure should suffice for some time. As your tent ages, you may notice microscopic pinholes in the material that cause little leakage.
If you haven’t done it previously, now is the time to start using a silicone-based waterproof solution.
Read more: Can one person set up a wall tent?
Even if you have seasoned your canvas tents in the first place, waterproofing it is still necessary, regardless of how robust you think your tent is.
When selecting the solution to waterproof your tent, keep the tent size in mind.
If the tent is on the bigger side, you may purchase concentrated canvas preservation to spray or roll on.
It would be best to waterproof your tent on a warm, bright day with no breeze. If the wind is powerful, it will be challenging to apply the waterproof canvas sprayer uniformly.
Now, let’s follow the steps below to strengthen your tent:
- Start by cleaning your tent with a hard brush if it’s appearing a little worn and maybe smelling of mold.
- Place your rent in a dry place.
- If the tent is already in good shape, just hang it upward.
- As equally as possible, spray the tent entirely. Ensure that the spray covers everything, even the little wrinkles and particularly at the seamlines.
- Next, use a small paintbrush to rub the solution around any tough spots where the spray may have failed to cover adequately.
- Allow your tent to dry completely before applying a second coat and letting it dry properly.
- If you’re not pleased yet, you can apply a third coat, but two coats should typically suffice.
Are There Tents That Come With A Rainfly Built-In?
Some tents include a built-in rainfly in their packages. The rainfly often comes with poles, so you don’t need to apply any additional setup.
The built-in sheet fits the tent for sure. Instead of buying an external sheet, which cannot protect the shelter, you should apply the fly designed for your tent.
However, owning a built-in rainfly has certain disadvantages.
You won’t be able to remove the rainfly and boost the circulation within the tent.
Meanwhile, campers prefer to take the rainfly off and enjoy the sunlight on hot sunny days when it isn’t raining.
What Can We Use Instead Of A Rainfly?
The most important thing you need is something to keep the water out of your tent.
As a result, the tent fabric must be waterproof, sufficient to cover the tent, and strong enough to resist rain and strong winds.
In this case, a tarp is a great alternative to the rainfly.
Just like a rainfly, a tarp can work as a double layer to seal your tent. The materials are also water-resistant, sturdy, and long-lasting.
Campers use this gear for two primary purposes: to put it under or over the tent. In the first situation, the tarp is in place of a tent footprint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the canvas tent, rainfly, and how to keep the tent dry even in the rain.
1. How do you keep my tent dry in the rain?
To protect your tent, you need to follow these tips:
- Choose the right campsite. You can choose a higher place so that your spot won’t get flooded.
- Make sure your shelter is made of waterproof material. If not, build a rainfly to seal the tents.
- Store the camping gear in a bag or put them in a dry place.
- Your tent may get wet from the tent floor. Hence, remember to install a footprint to prevent the water from draining in the tent.
2. Can you use a tarp as a rainfly?
Yes. The material for this gear is also waterproof and robust. Covering the tents with a tarp will help prevent rainfall and wind attack.
3. Why does my tent get wet inside?
If the tent is not waterproof, it will absorb water and get wet inside too. Even if you camp in nylon tents, they might have joints that aren’t watertight, allowing rainwater to leak in.
4. How do you dry a wall tent fast?
Let the strong wind do its work if you camp in a windy region. Place the wet tent in the sun if possible to speed up the drying process.
While UV damage may eventually tear down the cloth, the little amount of time you’ll have to keep it in the sunlight to dry it will not harm your tent.
The Bottom Line: Are Rain Flys Necessary For A Canvas Tent?
A rain fly can cover your tent, making it a good option for weather protection. However, if you camp in a canvas tent, the rainfly turns out to be unnecessary. Your shelter is already waterproof.
Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for following this post!