Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Simple Cliff Cabana Double Fly Review

Black Diamond Simple Cliff Cabana Double Rain Fly
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Feb 6, 2010
Price:  $250 List
Pros:  Simple, easy to set up, relatively affortable.
Cons:  No door, high winds cause it to soak you
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

This is a great fly if you don't plan to be in a storm. That may sound stupid, but the fact is most Yosemite and Zion climbers never count on a storm. Ninety-seven percent of the time a storm never comes and they are fine. Three percent of the time a storm comes and causes massive suffering, rescue, and death. So this is a great fly to at least save you from rescue and death (you may still suffer). You can set up the fly above the portaledge so that if rain or snow unexpectedly comes during the night, you can drop the fly. It is relatively affordable compared to other rain fly options like the Black Diamond Deluxe Cliff Cabana Rain Fly and the Metolius Bomb Shelter Rain Fly.

If you are climbing when a storm is likely or in winter, we highly recommend the Black Diamond Deluxe Cliff Cabana Rain Fly. But for most Yosemite and Zion climbers, this is a great option for a "just in case" rain fly.

Our Analysis and Test Results



The Cliff Cabana Simple Fly is simple to set up, has a nice waterproof closure up top, and at $250 is relatively affordable. It comes with a tent pole to tension the inside. It has a nice label on top to tell you what is the wall side and what is the air side.


If you are in a light storm and there is no wind, this ledge should keep you dry. However, if you are in a storm with strong wind, there is a problem that shared by all rain flys with this design:

When the wind kicks up the fly will inflate and deflate and the walls of the fly, covered with your own perspiration, will get you wet. This is because three factors come together:
  • the open bottom of the fly lets wind in
  • it is difficult to get the walls of the fly tensioned, even with a tent pole
  • this design of fly does not ventilate well

Using the tent pole and underside straps can help, but overall there is no way around getting a little wet. For this reason you should definitely bring a bivy sack if you think there is a slight change of storm. The above problem is made worse since it is very hard to ventilate this fly sufficiently. Unlike the Black Diamond Deluxe Cliff Cabana Double Fly, there is no door to both ventilate the fly and use to get in and out easily.

This is a flaw that all flys like this share. And it is the price you pay when you opt for light weight, economy, and ease of setup rather than a more bomber and expensive fly.


This is one of the better values in rain flys. It's $200 less than the Black Diamond Deluxe Cliff Cabana Double Fly and $125 less than the Metolius Bomb Shelter Rain Fly.

Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: March 12, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Mar 12, 2013 - 02:11pm
Diesel_Smoke · Climber

This information is not particular about this fly (which I do own) but I was given some information today from Black Diamond that I found very distressing about their quality of product support. Consider buying BD very carefully because they will not sell any parts or pieces to their ledges and will only sell complete ledges. So any ledge from BD is a very 'fragile' purchase in that regard, at least to myself.

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