The Thermarest Slacker Rain Fly provides protection from the weather for you and your gear. The Slacker Rain Fly is basically a stretched out, hexagon shaped, waterproof tarp. With the Slacker Rain Fly, Thermarest includes four shepherd’s hook style aluminum stakes, four guylines with installed line tensioners at the corners, a ridgeline with tensioners at both ends, and a nicely sized stuff sack.
When shopping for a rain fly, you’ll find rectangular and hex shaped offerings. The Slacker Rain Fly is pretty close to a rectangular shape, but the ends are cut at a slight angle making it a hex tarp technically. Catenary or “Cat” cuts are used on all sides of the rain fly. A catenary curve is one that would be formed by sagging string. Gravity pulls down on materials and they usually form this curve. Cutting the sides of the rain fly in this way makes it easier to keep the rain fly pitched tightly so that it does not flap in the wind. A 70D Polyester Ripstop fabric is used which didn’t tend to stretch and stays pitched pretty tight.
Sturdy guy lines come attached to webbing loops at the four corners. Two more lines with loops tied at the end are attached at the peak or ridge line. A middle tie out is provided on each side to use when the wind and rain is really nasty. Lightweight metal line tensioners come installed on each piece of cordage. These are basically flat pieces of aluminum, bent into a slight curve. They are pretty easy to adjust and hold their place well. I just love slip knots like the taut line hitch and line tensioning gizmos. Each has pros and cons. I like the simplicity of these and the fact that they come pre-installed. Small carabiners are needed in the loops of the ridgelines to wrap them around trees and clip onto themselves. It would be nice if Thermarest could provide these with the rain fly to finish off the setup.
My test sample measures about 127 inches in length at the ridgeline and 38 inches from the peak to the corner tie outs on each side. Since the edge is cut on a curve, the sides measure roughly 36 inches at the center. Thermarest reports 130 inches by 76 so maybe I could have stretched out the test sample a little better. Coverage is adequate but not what I would call spacious. The setup was tested in a fairly strong thunderstorm. The blowing wind and rain were held off of the hammock but there was a bit of nervousness that things would eventually start to get wet. No water leaked at the ridge.
On my scales, the Slacker Rain Fly weighs in at about 15.8 ounces by itself. The stuff sack and stakes bring the total weight up to 18.7 ounces. It packs down to roughly 5 by 9 inches. By folding and rolling, I found it easy to get everything back into the stuff sack. This rain fly would be good for 3 season use but I would look at adding some coverage on the ends for winter camping. A webbing loop comes installed at the center of the ridge. This little loop is great for hanging a light or you could attach your bug net to hold it up.
The Thermarest Slacker Rain Fly has an MSRP of $89.95. The build quality is top notch as with all other Thermarest products I’ve seen. Click here to browse over to the Thermarest website.
I’d like to thank Thermarest for providing the Slacker hammock and accessories for testing and review. We at IndustryOutsider have limited budgets just like everyone else. Being able to take a look at gear and pass along information hopefully benefits everyone.