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  1. #1
    Registered User TurboDog's Avatar
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    Tupelo, MS

    Default Fast pack w/ rainfly, poles, and footprint?

    When I started hiking the AT last year, I purchased a Sierra Design Hyperlight with foot print. My theory was that it would be great to leave the tent body at home when there are no flying biting bugs around, thus saving weight. However, I have yet to use it because of a concern with getting my sleeping bag or other gear wet if it rains. Can some of you share your experiences with using only a rain fly and foot print as opposed to the whole tent. What are the benefits or drawbacks?

  2. #2


    I have a SD Omega, it can also be "fast packed". Bugs and the potential for other critters are the only concern. I find that the fast pack setup still weighs too much, so I never use it. I do however use a flat tarp. My stuff won't get wet, and I wouldn't expect yours to either considering I can stay dry under my tarp. Most flys reach far enough down to the ground to avoid any rain. A little bit of room is needed away from the edge to avoid splash and a real driving rain. If you are concerned, give it a try in the backyard with a hose or the next time rain is forecast.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  3. #3
    Registered User
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    I have an REI Half Dome that is used exclusively as a fast pack with foot print.
    I use it this way all winter (NO BUGS), but have not tried it in the summer. Alligator is right, In a DRIVING rain there is a little splash (only a little) but in average rain you will be dry as a bone.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by TurboDog
    Can some of you share your experiences with using only a rain fly and foot print as opposed to the whole tent. What are the benefits or drawbacks?
    As long as you stake out the sides as far as possible there are rarely problems. Once I even pitched on a side hill, propped the uphill side of the foot print up with rocks under the poles, in a driving rain. The water ran under the foot print and to my amazement, I stayed dry. It is more weight than a tarp but I love having a floor.

  5. #5


    Yeah, I've done this with my North Face tent and haven't had a problem. I think any problems you would have would be the result of setting up in a low area where water might collect. Think like a tarper when you use it and you'll be fine.

  6. #6
    Registered User Donn Ahearn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Riverdale, MD

    Default My limited footprint/rainfly experience...

    ...has been with the Sierra Designs Mondo Condo (whose name should give you an idea about how fast you'll fly down the trail with a full one in your pack).

    I encountered snow showers on one trip (October) and the weather behaved on the other (December). The Condo sleeps 4 and is palatial with three. Without the tent body taking up interior space, it's more palatial, the feel being as well considerably more "outdoor." Although cautions about not being right up against the sides are right on, even with four we didn't have that problem.

    And a five-pound shelter, split among four and providing almost the full protection of the full tent (virtually all of it, really, outside of bug season) is...well, can't go too much lighter and stay dry.

    As I guess an aside: I used the old (old) Chouinard Megamid (now Bibler, I believe) on the beach at Assateague Island, MD, during bug season. No problems at all with them. The "sand floor" felt like 1001 Arabian Nights. One of the most memorable nights I've spent out. Rained some. Only way I noticed? One of my buddies came in to get out of it.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed." - Mohandas Gandhi

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