When hammocking, it’s important to always have a solid, reliable rain fly with you, no matter the forecast. The Grand Trunk All Purpose Rainfly is designed to be flexible and adaptable to any situation, providing a 10’x10′ shelter with minimal weight. That sounds great, but how does it perform?
The All Purpose Rainfly is constructed from very durable 210D DWR coated ripstop polyester. It’s designed with a catenary curve, meaning the sides of the tarp curve in somewhat into a gentle “u” or concave shape instead of following a straight line from corner to corner. The result is a bit of an indented diamond shape which creates a tauter pitch for less flapping and higher wind resistance while minimizing weight due to the use of less fabric. The Rainfly is fully seam taped from the factory and includes 15 reinforced guy out points for both adjusting the pitch and for battening down to weather a storm. The All Purpose includes the rainfly, guy lines, stakes and stuff sack. It retails for $79 and weighs 20 ounces.
What I liked
The most distinguishing factor with the All Purpose Rainfly is the overall durability . Being constructed of burly 210 denier ripstop polyester, it’s very strong.Polyester is not only more puncture resistant than nylon, but the rainfly also resists sagging when it’s cold or wet. Moreover, it handles wind and tension very well thanks to the thicker fibers used inside the fabric. Whereas nylon would expand and become floppy in humidity or when wet, this shelter holds it’s shape and stays taut without constant adjustment throughout the night. The stitching is mostly consistent, although I did find the occasional loose string, and the seams are all well taped, preventing any rain or moisture from seeping through. The webbing loops are also quite tough as they’re constructed out of thick folded nylon that’s reinforced with three stitches around the seems. I’ve left it out on exposed slopes with trekking poles during some pretty intense winds and it’s had no issues at all. This isn’t a tarp that you’ll have to be gentle with.
Usability is quite nice, using a simple design that’s both easy to set up and straightforward to adjust when needed. The fly pitches by simply tying two ends to a tree and staking out the corners, or by sliding trekking poles into the webbing loops for lift and guying out accordingly. The tensioners slide easily without slipping during use, and the cord itself is thick enough to be easily manipulated with cold or wet hands. With little effort, the rainfly pitches taut and securely without much in the way of fiddling, a definite plus when trying to set it up in the wind or rain.
Being under the fly is quite comfortable thanks to it’s spacious interior. It provides a great wind break and a nice shade for those hot summer backpacking trips. I’ve gained great views while still being totally protected, and the fly also provides enough space to stash gear underneath so it’s easy to get to . The shape allows for plenty of ventilation, so condensation isn’t going to be an issue.
Weather protection is all around good , especially when paired with a hammock. It’s generosity in length provides ample sanctuary from even a hard rain at most angles, and if the rain does shift to a sideways onslaught, the lavish amount of webbing loops allow the user to tie down any side individually to compensate without shifting the hammock or rainfly around. It can be used as a ground shelter too, although coverage is somewhat limited if you’re trying to put two people underneath it.
The price makes for an excellent value. at just $79 it’s a solid value while still providing reliable weather protection and a pack weight that isn’t encumbering.
It packs down to a manageable size at roughly 8″x 12″ when rolled up, so it’s not taking up too much space. I’ve found that it packs down smaller by simply being folded into the pack, which saves even more room. It’s not the lightest or the smallest rainfly style shelter available, but for the price I’m not complaining.
The included stakes are quite nice for a tarp in this price point. Three side stakes provide excellent holding power and durability, while weighing less than most other stakes. I was quite impressed with this and cheap stakes are a pet peeve of mine, so good show chaps!
What I didn’t like
I also found myself wanting a little extra cordage and a few extra stakes for guying out, although most people will not be as obsessive about staking things out as I am. I like to have all sides locked down and stable so that I’ll not had to change anything if the weather shifts, which does add weight. With the money you save on the rainfly, investing in some stakes and line is easily justifiable.
Like most larger shelters, harsh wind can cause some buffeting and flapping when it hits the rainfly on it’s large sides. Circling back to my previous complaint, a little extra cordage and a couple stakes goes a long way and makes this a non-issue also. If you’re a fair weather camper, you’ll be unlikely to have this become an issue though, as typically mild winds are handled nicely by the design.
The weight of the shelter is decidedly just O.K. at 20 oz. It’s not particular heavy but it’s certainly not an ultralight either. It’s a middle of the road weight that will appeal to some but deter others.
Older models of the All Purpose Rainfly seem to come with cheaper, sheephook style stakes. Keep an eye on that as the older models would likely bend easily, provide less holding power and actually weigh more. At this point I don’t know of a way to identify the difference by packaging other than simple opening them up. It’s also worth noting that the older model has gromet built in that are prone to failure. The new model has no such issues. It’s a minor thing, but worth a consideration if you’re purchasing one.
I like the All Purpose Rainfly. I’ve found it to be useful at a specious sun shelter, a stable wind block when pitched on exposed peaks with trekking poles, and it’s an excellent cover for a hammock in practically any 3-season condition. It’s generously equipped with plenty of guy-out points which allows the shape of the shelter to be adjusted on the fly to coordinate with the changing weather, and by adding some additional lines and stakes it becomes a stout hideaway when it’s needed the most. Aside from the mild complaints of too little line and too few stakes, it’s a reliable option at a stellar price.
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