Many campers don’t set up a rainfly because they want to see the stars at night. Yet, when you camp in nasty weather with strong winds, things may change.
So, do you use your rainfly when it’s windy?
The answer depends on where you camp and the condition of your tent.
You need the rainfly if the winds are too severe at your campsite. This tool will offer extra protection for your shelter.
Yet, you may want to abandon the fly to enjoy the atmosphere by yourself. The weather is also nice enough so that you don’t need a tent with more layers.
Let’s go into the details and the article will give you helpful information!
What Is A Rainfly And Its Use?
A rainfly is a multifunctional tent part that is usually a removable piece covering your tent’s mesh top.
The fly should be water-resistant. It keeps snow, rain, and other environmental occurrences out.
A rainfly may be helpful in cold weather by keeping the warm air inside the tent.
Rainflies differ from each other in terms of water resistance, substance, covering, and how they contact each other. Before purchasing a tent, it’s crucial to know where and how you will use the fly.
There are two main kinds of rain flies, and they serve different purposes:
Full coverage flies, as the title indicates, totally coat the outside of the tent from bottom to top.
If you’re camping in a place with a lot of rain or strong gusts, full-coverage models are a good idea. They seal your tent, keeping water from entering.
However, they have the drawback of drastically reducing the amount of airflow in the tent, making it hot and stuffy. Of course, if backpacking in inclement weather, keeping the tent warm might be essential.
Rainflies with partial coverage simply protect your shelter partially, making them ideal for camping in milder climates.
Partially covered tents keep the rain out while still allowing good air circulation. This style is ideal for camping in higher temps or moist conditions.
This rainfly is not suitable for traveling in windy or rainy situations. Rain can still penetrate the ventilation holes on the sides.
Is A Rainfly Necessary In The Windy?
While the rainfly protects your shelter from strong gusts, it may block your vision and doesn’t allow you to enjoy nature.
Before answering whether or not to use the fly, you should check its pros and cons. Then, consider how it works in your situation.
- Extra protection from external elements
- Easy to set up
- Effective windbreak
- More weight for your luggage
- Limited ventilation
- Obstacle for viewing
Since the fly has both benefits and drawbacks, it may be necessary for some instances or skippable in other situations.
When do you need a rainfly?
Rainflies may be incredibly handy in many conditions. So, consider your camping site before deciding whether or not to have your rainfly on.
- In regions with a lot of wind, there may be some heavy rain. The fly will keep your shelter and valuables dry.
- The rainfly can help keep things like glue, animal waste, and plant debris out of your shelter if you’re staying near many trees.
- Wind often comes with sand and dirt. The rainfly will help protect you and your tent from these things.
While it’s usually a good idea to bring your rainfly just in case, there are situations when it’s not necessary to do so.
- If you’re in the tent and it’s sunny outside, you might prefer soaking up the sunshine to getting in layers of fabric.
- Keep the rain fly off if you stay in a scorching, humid, or stiffy location without adverse weather. This kind of environment doesn’t allow proper ventilation inside the tent.
- If you’re in a place with significant astronomical importance or with an open sky, removing the rainfly can provide you with some of the most fabulous stargazing you’ve ever experienced.
Whereas all rainflies have the same objective of enhancing a protective barrier against the external elements, they don’t all achieve it in the same manner or performance.
Can Tent Without Rainfly Handle Strong Winds?
Yes. Other factors contribute to the wind-resistance feature of your tent, such as material, construction, location, and how you build it.
With stakes, most tents can ensure wind gusts for 40 mph or less. Otherwise, the tent without stakes can withstand winds of 20 mph or less.
The winds may be too severe for your tent to endure. However, if you position your shelter next to trees, you will have more protection. Make sure that the tree is big enough. If not, it will become a danger when falling.
Some materials for tents are durable, such as canvas or DCF. They often come with solid poles for extra strength.
How To Set Up A RainFly That Prevents Wind?
The key for putting up a rainfly in the wind is the stakes and the knots.
The best way to stake the rainfly depends on which terrain you are camping on.
For soft soil, you may push the stake into the ground with your hand.
It’s ideal for putting the hook in at an angle of around 90˚ to the draw direction. It will be less likely to pull out if you do this.
If the ground is solid but free of rocks, use a plastic mallet to hammer them in gently. It won’t take a lot of work.
If you camp on snow, you should prepare more tools to build the fly, such as a mallet, a piece of wood, and an ax. The ground is hard, so you need more labor to stake in.
Sailor knots are significantly more robust than standard knots. They’ll make it much simpler to hold the canvas and any tarps in position.
Even if the winds blow fiercely, the tent and your belongings will stay in place.
Here is how to tie the knot:
How About Tents That Have A Built-In Rainfly?
Separate rainflies seem to be more convenient than built-in ones.
The significant advantage of the built-in tarp is that it fits your tent perfectly. The set may also come with other tools. Hence, you can set it up at ease.
However, if possible, you may want to unzip the tent towards the top to enable air to pass through rather than pulling against it like the way a kite works.
Another disadvantage of using a built-in fly is the lack of flexibility. You may find it hard to adjust the fly as desired because everything stays in its structured position.
Tips For Camping In Windy Conditions
Aside from investing in the rainfly, there are some other tips to help you stay safe in strong winds.
Check the weather forecast
Heavy winds might be a sign of impending nasty weather. You need to check the weather forecast for the region where you’ll be camping before you go.
Keep an eye out for impending rain, hail, or other more bad thunderstorms and prepare accordingly.
Camp with your friends
It would be best to go with one or two friends. More hands are helpful for anchoring ropes and preventing equipment from flying away.
Additionally, more bodies can weigh down the tent, making your shelter more secure.
Pack the suitable gear
Make sure you are setting the greatest high-wind tent. A 12-person tent with an awning and space to sit on a fellow hiker’s shoulders is not the greatest protection in a high-wind region.
The fewer surfaces against which wind may blow, the better. It’s advisable to limit your tent to types that are low to the ground and strong enough to resist a storm.
Skip the firecamp
There are several methods for creating and maintaining a fire in windy weather. In windstorms, though, it’s preferable to stay away from the fire.
Unless you stay on a rocky coastline with no vegetation or other possible fuel surrounding, you’ll want to keep the fire from spreading and igniting the forest.
Don’t install a stove in the tent
Bringing the grill into a tight place can be fatal due to the gases it emits. It can induce asphyxiation.
If you must use cooking equipment, keep it covered, under supervision, and outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about camping in windy weather. Please check the answers carefully because you may face the same problems on your next trip.
1. Are air tents good in the wind?
Inflatable tents can resist heavy winds thanks to the flexibility given by the inflatable poles.
The poles still bend if the winds are too severe. However, they can recover to their original shape.
2. Can a tent withstand gale-force winds?
The average speed of a gale-force wind is about 43 mph. Meanwhile, a tent general can withstand a wind speed of 40 mph.
If you want to guarantee your safety, you can choose a durable canvas. Also, put more effort into constructing your shelter.
3. Should you use the rainfly in the winter?
Yes. The fly helps your shelter stay warm at night. Even when the wind is blowing, you can be cozy inside, thanks to the extra layer on the top.
4. What is wind speed safe to camp in?
As aforementioned, a normal can ensure a wind speed of 20 to 40 mph. It’s best to camp in places with lower speeds.
5. Do you stormproof a tent?
If you don’t like the idea of the rainfly, you can stormproof your tent instead.
Some of the tips for this task are:
- Use a waterproof tent;
- Ensure the ventilation;
- Seal the seams;
- Place the tent door far away from the wind;
- Add a plastic sheet on the tent floor.
If the wind is too strong, you’d better put up a rainfly to stay safe. Otherwise, abandoning the fly helps you enjoy nature easier.
The answer depends on when and where you camp. Safety should always be your priority. Also, pack the right gear to make the best of your outdoor adventure.
Hopefully, you will find the answers and the tips in this article helpful. Now, it’s time to pack up and go deep into the wild to explore the world!
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