Has anyone added a vent to a rainfly?

10:54 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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This is not actually a repair, more of an improvement.

I would like to add a small hooded vent to the rainfly on my older MH Skyview tent. The tent is a convertible 3 -4 season tent and the fly is urethane coated.

I camp in hot & humid weather during the summer. It's "air you can wear".

The tent uses hi - low venting and has a large zip out solid panel in the top of the inner tent that exposes a mesh section, but I think the ventilation would be considerably better with a vent in the rain fly above this mesh.

I'm not worried about warranty issues with MH, nor my ability to construct the vent, but rather advise from those who own tents with vents, or who have added vents to a tent as far as performance or drawbacks.

How much more ventilation may I expect?

Are there drawbacks to having a vent in the fly?

Would this cut down on condensation? 

Any other thoughts or considerations?

thanks, Mike G.

2:41 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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A vent at the top of your fly would greatly aid humidity/ventilation issues, as long as you also have and opening lower on the tent and fly open, such as the door.  Your design should provide a generous overhang between the vent cap and the edge of the opening you cut into the fly, else sideways blowing rain will infiltrate.  You need to treat the cut edge on the fly in some manner to preclude it fraying.  You also will need some way to hold the vent open so air can circulate.  The solution that facilitates this need not be sophisticated; it can be simply a strip of blue foam pad held in place on both vent and fly by velcro. 

The drawbacks to a top vent are greater susceptibility to rain getting in under high winds, and spindrift when used while snow is blowing about.  The vent will also make your tent somewhat less warm in cold weather.  All of these drawbacks can be addressed providing velcro closures to all such vent openings..

11:13 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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As Ed has mentioned there are pros and cons to a modification of this nature. 

Done properly it will create what is referred to as a chimney effect which basically pumps fresh air in from the bottom and moist air out from the top. 

My Eureka tents had hi-lo venting. Basically a zippered  "doggie door" on both vestis of the tents that worked in correlation with 2 top vents. There were also stiffening rods integrated into the design of the top vents which held them open. 

The vents up top could be closed with hook & loop closures so you could batten down the hatches when the weather goes south. 

***Unless you are skilled at doing a mod such as this and doing it correctly I would highly recommend you letting someone who does this type of thing professionally.***

You may end up doing more damage than good and some mistakes could be irreversible so please keep this in mind. 

I wouldn't want you to ruin your fly and I doubt if ya did MH would cover it being it was done due to a mod you tried to perform.

I would strongly recommend that you contact Rainy Pass Repair

Adding vents and doing modifications is one of their specialties. They also do a good bit of the warranty work for many top manufacturers

I hope this helps ya out a bit.


11:18 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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You are describing a great feature that is omitted on too many tents.  I try to select tents that have lots of circulation, but I live in the West where condensation is less of a problem. 

I learned the value of convection by living in a tipi with a large open smoke hole.  Properly erected, air enters the tent under the outside layer on canvas and exits the smoke hole.  In warm weather the north side of the canvas can be raised to encourage air flow.  In cooler weather, with a liner and a fire inside, cold air goes between the 2 layers of canvas, but not inside the tipi and out the smoke hole.  Even in a hard rain storm or major snowstorm, weather is kept out of the tent by controlling the smoke flaps with poles on the ground.

4:20 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the replies,

I have some tent material from an old tent to do a mock up with before I modify my Skyview and I've already learned how to cut, stitch, & apply Urethane coatings.

I'm not worried about the warranty with MH either since the tent has served me so well and I've more than got my money's worth out of it several times over.

Mike G.

10:47 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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If the images of your tent that Google shows me are right, maybe take a look at the vents in MEC's Tarn tents:


I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the hood at the top of the door (the tent's highest point) covers an inverted-V shaped vent with a two-way zipper. The triangular flap can be unzipped down from the point on each side as far as you want, or closed altogether, from either side of the door. The adjustibility and accessibility is nice. The hood itself has a stiffened hoop in the hem and stays open. I've spent a lot of time in a Tarn 2, and it works extremely well, given the mesh wall panels and the fact that you sleep with your head by the door.

Would this be where there's a window on yours, and would it be a high part of the tent? If so, maybe you can make a hood there and add a zipper to the fly.

11:27 a.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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My tent has a ventilated fly.  The leading edge of the vent has some semi-rigid foam to hold it open.  I pitched it in a driving rain at 9,000 feet and stayed dry and it allowed us to dry out inside since there was good airflow inside. 

Its not as warm inside the tent with a ventilated fly but I don't think that is much of an issue for you in your neck of the woods. 


You can see the vents above the door openings.  If you can make it work its a good idea. 

7:17 p.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Though I feel I do know quite a bit about tents I would lead you in this direction.

1. I would draw up your plans as best as you can based on the design of your tent.

2. I would contact both Rainy Pass Repair here in Seattle

groader@gmail.com & Pendra at Moss tent repair services .http://www.tentrepairservices.com/index_files/Page386.htm .  I have delt with both these companies and both have each time given the same quotes price wise on repairing someoff my tents.  I feel that they know their stuff with it comes to the repaire and adaptaion of ourdoor gear.  I have never read anything bad about either company and have found much praise regarding both companies

3. I would ask their thoughts regarding my idea(s) of venting the tent and the best way to go about it. I would then ask how much they would charge vrs. doing it yourself. Even if you do it yourself you can find out how they, as experts would do it.

I have many tents and I know how I would do it but I'd still run it by them before I ever cuting into a tent.

These are the premier repair people in the industry and know most if not all of the tents that are vented and what does and does not work. They will know the proper way to sew the vent(s) on and what material's in regards to vent material, thread, sewing machine needles and speed of sewing. You can actually burn tent material if it is sewn to fast.  They will most likely know which materials work best together in regards to keeping the vent open and placement of Velcro so you can shut the vent as they are privy to all the new materials and designs in the industry. They also may say that venting may or may not work well on the tent that you have.

It may very well be worth it to have them do the work as I think they both warranty their work.

My guess is that their recommendations will be that you will need more than one vent but that is just my thought.


4:19 p.m. on April 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey Mike,  I some how made mistake when listing the web site which Rick also provided for Rainyday Pass. Their web site is http://rainypass.com/contact-us/  and not, I repeat, not  groader@gmail.com . 

6:08 p.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks guys!

I will follow up on the links & suggestions.

My tent is similar in pole structure to the MEC Tarn 2 that Islandess linked to above.  My tent has two doors in the vestibule and two doors for the inner tent. One if the inner doors goes into the vestibule, and the other door opens to the outside of the tent. My vestibule runs out horizontally (supported by a fourth pole) past the inner about 20" before sloping to the ground.

I want to put the vent at the highest point of the fly which is inside the vestibule at the edge of the inner tent and could be opened through the tent door leading into the vestibule.

I will take a photo this weekend and post it.

thanks again, Mike G.

7:38 p.m. on April 17, 2013 (EDT)
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I think Kelty and Bibler used Delrin rods in vents and bivy sack hoods. Also I believe Gardua did in tent door visors and assorted vent tabs where the cloth is held open by a short rod sewn into a casing with a velcro tab on one end.

kelty uses zippers in rain fly vents, and the vents are off set so you can cross vent or in a storm create a vacuum with one open and the other closed.

A google search will come up with delrin rods in big industry.

10:28 a.m. on April 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Thank you guys for all the info, links, and advise.

It is a big help, I will keep you advised of my progress and I would like to do a video of the actual project when I do it, time permitting.

Thanks and keep it coming if you can add more,

Mike G.

10:40 a.m. on April 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Cool, looking forward to seeing how it goes. 

12:30 p.m. on April 27, 2013 (EDT)
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I'd have to echo the above comments-perhaps consider going to a secondary tent for summer use.

May 23, 2018
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