Your tents will be more secure than ever with a footprint on the base and a rainfly on the top. However, some tents only offer a groundsheet. Can you use a tent footprint as a rainfly?
The answer is yes. Since the footprint is waterproof, it can protect your tent from water leakage. However, if possible, you should choose the rainfly for the ultimate weather protection.
Let’s get right into the details!
What Is A Tent Footprint?
A tent footprint is a sheet of waterproof fabric or material that lies underneath your tent. It serves as a protective layer and punctures and abrasion prevention.
Often, the footprints are smaller than the tent. Some footprints can fit the floor size properly. To allow rainfall dripping off the tent’s rainfly to seep into the adjacent soil, you should tuck the footprint margins beneath the tent’s sides.
What Is A Tent Rainfly?
A rainfly is a sheet of additional fabric that hangs over the top of a tent.
A rainfly material is often waterproof since it is mainly polyester, nylon, PVC, and cotton canvas. It can help avoid your tent from many of the tougher weather factors, such as snow, rain, wind, and low temperatures.
The rainfly does not sit directly over your tent. You will have some insulating gap between it and your tent, which may help keep your space cool in warm weather.
Advantages Of Using A Tent Footprint As A Rainfly?
When there is no rainfly, campers often should footprint instead. Here are some advantages of using a tent footprint to cover the upper part of the tent.
When rain suddenly comes, you must panic. You have to protect your tent at once. In this case, a footprint is available right in your tent to save your day.
The footprint is also waterproof. It also excels at avoiding the rain entering your tent just like the way a rainfly can.
Most tent footprints for two-person tents weigh around 5 to 10 ounces and cost between $30 and $60, depending on materials and size.
A basic blue water-resistant polyester rainfly may cost between $10 and $100. Meanwhile, a heavy-duty, completely waterproof PVC plastic fly would cost between $30 and $400.
As you can see, a rainfly has a broader price range than the footprint. It is also more costly due to the robust material and the size it offers.
Less weight for packing
The tent footprint is often lightweight, making it perfect for backpacking.
When camping, you want to carry as little as possible. However, you also want to secure the tent.
The footprint will then become your greatest friend, as it will keep your tent dry and safe while adding just the tiniest, virtually negligible extra burden.
Many campers choose the footprint over the rainfly since protecting the tent ground is crucial. If you only need to bring one tool, you can save extra money on the other tool.
The idea is true for buying the footprint instead of spending money on both sheets.
When Not Using A Tent Footprint As A Rainfly?
Although a footprint can work as a rainfly, there are some cases where you should retain it as a ground cover. The rainfly has its own value that you may not find anything to replace sometimes.
The footprint has the exact size of the tent or maybe smaller. Because of its smaller size, the footprint is less likely to gather rainfall and redirect it below the tent.
On the other hand, a rainfly should be bigger to cover your tent against the rain completely. So, a footprint may be large enough to take the place of the rainfly.
- Unsmooth surface
We use a footprint to lay on the ground. There must be some small holes on the surface. Using the footprint as a rainfly can’t prevent all the water from falling into your tent.
Because the footprint doesn’t have a tailored design to the form and curves of your tent, it’s not a matter of throwing it over the tent like a rainfly. As a result, draping might create a lot of exposed places.
A footprint might trap moisture or enable water transmission from the outside if it doesn’t have the proper structural support.
Should I buy a real rainfly for my tent?
The weather has a big impact on the response. If it starts raining, you need to utilize the supplied rainfly. If properly placed, this sheet will block water from entering your tent and keep your place dry.
A rainfly has a form and structure to secure your tent perfectly. Even when you can use a footprint or a tarp instead, nothing can beat the rainfly in terms of being weather-resistant.
On the other hand, installing a rainfly is not necessary if you camp on a warm and dry day.
If you need a real rainfly for your tent, try this product. It helps you set up your tent at ease while still protecting your tent with its wind-strong frame and zipper protection.
Keep in mind when using tent footprint as rainfly
Footprints also originate from waterproof materials. When using it as a rainfly, you should bear in mind is which side of a tent footprint you should raise?
Theoretically, the waterproof face of the footprint should face the sky. It is the gleaming side, which generally bears the company logo.
Is the tent footprint long enough to cover the tent?
The footprint is often the same size or smaller than the tent, while the rainfly is usually bigger. If you want to use a footprint to cover the top of your tent, choose the big-sized sheet. Hopefully, it can fit your tent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions of campers regarding using the footprint as a rainfly.
1. Can I use a tent footprint as a rainfly in heavy rain?
It would be best to use the rainfly in heavy rain. This sheet can block water drainage thanks to its customized structure.
2. Can I use a tent footprint as a rainfly on rocky ground?
A tent footprint is meant to cover the rocky ground. It can serve as a rainfly if the weather is not too hostile.
3. Do tents already have rain flies?
Many tents come with rain flies. You can go for tents with a full-coverage rainfly as well.
4. Can I build a DIY rainfly for my tent?
Yes. You can learn more tips for building a rainfly via this video.
The Bottom Line
You can use a tent footprint as a rainfly. The use of the footprint offers some benefits in terms of accessibility, cost efficiency, and packing advantage. However, everything has its own function and can perform best in its place.
Hopefully, the article has provided you with useful knowledge.
Thank you for your interest in the article!