Single-Wall vs. Double-Wall Tents

Single-Wall vs. Double-Wall Tents: Hiker at a camp, well-prepared with a double-wall tent for the harsh conditions

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Ever wondered about the differences between single-wall and double-wall tents?

Imagine you’re out in the wild, setting up your temporary home for the night, and you have to decide between these two options. That’s where this post comes in.

We’re going to explore the pros and cons of both single-wall and double-wall tents, so you can make an informed decision the next time you head out. Let’s go.

Unraveling Single-Wall Tents

Single-Wall vs. Double-Wall Tents: An ultralight single-wall tent in the Finnish tundra

Instead of having multiple layers like a regular tent, single-wall tents are made from a single, tough piece of material that keeps rain out and lets air flow in.

These tents are a favorite among adventurers like ultralight backpackers. Why? Because they’re super light and quick to set up.

However, like anything, they come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Pros of Single-Wall Tents

Single-wall tents may be simple, but they bring some great advantages to the camping scene. Here’s why people love them:

  1. Light and Easy Setup: When time is of the essence, these tents are your go-to. They’re super light and set up quickly, even in challenging conditions.
  2. Fits Tight Spaces: In cramped camping spots, these tents shine. Their compact size is perfect for snug spaces on mountains or in forests.
  3. Budget-Friendly: Single-wall tents often cost less. They use fewer materials, making them a smart choice for budget-conscious campers.
  4. Quick to Dry: Nobody wants a soggy tent. With just one layer, these tents dry faster, so you can get back to exploring sooner.
  5. Dry and Cold Friendly: These tents excel in dry, chilly places. If you’re camping where rain is rare and the air is cool, single-wall tents keep you cozy.

Cons of Single-Wall Tents

While single-wall tents offer benefits, there are also downsides to consider:

  1. Dealing with Condensation: Imagine waking up to a damp tent – not fun. Single-wall tents can trap moisture, leading to condensation inside.
  2. Less Warm in Extreme Cold: While effective in cool climates, single-wall tents may not provide sufficient warmth in extreme cold due to reduced insulation.
  3. Limited Space for Gear: Unlike pocket-rich tents, single-wall ones have fewer storage choices, potentially making weatherproof storage a challenge.
  4. Drafts for Ventilation: To avoid condensation, these tents need airflow. But that can make things colder inside. It’s a trade-off between staying dry and staying warm.

Exploring Double-Wall Tents

Single-Wall vs. Double-Wall Tents: An ultralight double-wall tent, alongside a hiker, at a scenic mountainside campsite

Double-wall tents are like camping superheroes – they offer more than meets the eye. Unlike single-wall tents, they come with two layers: an inner tent for letting air circulate and a rainfly for keeping you dry during different weather conditions.

When staying warm is important, double-wall tents are your solution. The extra layers provide insulation, ensuring cozy nights even when it’s chilly.

However, there’s a catch. Choosing the ultralight options might mean a higher price or a slightly heavier load to carry.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the specifics of double-wall tents.

Pros of Double-Wall Tents

Double-wall tents bring their own set of advantages to the camping game. Let’s explore why they might be your ticket to a fantastic outdoor experience:

  1. Dry and Protected: When rain comes pouring down, a double-wall tent keeps you snug and dry. The rainfly acts as a reliable shield, ensuring your camping adventure stays dry and comfortable.
  2. Gear Haven: Extra storage space is a big perk. Double-wall tents often come with pockets and vestibules, giving your gear a safe and dry spot.
  3. Your Cozy Retreat: If rain or humidity hits, double-wall tents are like your personal oasis. The dual layers provide a barrier against the cold and damp, keeping you snug and comfortable inside.
  4. Versatility in Seasons: Whether you’re camping in winter or summer, double-wall tents have your back. They’re adaptable to different weather conditions, making them a great option for year-round adventurers.

Cons of Double-Wall Tents

Like all camping gear, double-wall tents have their drawbacks. Let’s explore the challenges you might face when choosing a double-wall tent:

  1. Weight and Setup: Double-wall tents are heavier and bulkier, less suitable for lightweight adventures. Setting them up takes more time due to multiple layers, and without a fly-first design, there’s a risk of the tent getting wet in the rain.
  2. Cost Factor: More features can mean a higher price. If you’re budget-conscious, the added cost of a double-wall tent might be a consideration.
  3. Not Always Needed: In dry climates, the extra layers might not be necessary. You could end up feeling warmer due to reduced breathability.

Making Your Choice

So, which option should you choose?

You should choose a single-wall tent if…

  • You’re looking for the lightest tent possible.
  • You are planning to venture into dry areas.
  • You are ready to put up with some condensation.
  • You don’t want to spend too much money.

You should choose a double-wall tent if…

  • You are looking for a tent that can do it all.
  • You are willing to add some weight for more comfort.
  • You need large storage pockets inside the tent.


In the world of tents, both single-wall and double-wall options bring their own perks and quirks.

Single-wall tents can be a bit chilly and less waterproof, while double-wall tents might be heavier and costlier. Think about the weather conditions you’ll face and the comfort you seek.

When it’s time to make a decision, take into account your camping style, the climate, and your budget. Nevertheless, both options promise unforgettable outdoor adventures.

Interested in an ultralight tent? Check out our TOP 5 guides that cover the lightest tents on the planet.


Is a single wall tent better than a double wall tent?

Deciding between a single wall tent and a double wall tent depends on what kind of camping you’re doing. Single wall tents are lighter and good for backpacking and nice weather. Double wall tents have better airflow and control moisture, so they work well in different conditions. Think about how heavy you want your tent to be and the weather you’ll face to choose the right one.

How much warmer is a double-wall tent?

Using a double-wall tent can make you feel about 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8-5.6 degrees Celsius) warmer compared to a single-wall tent. This is because the double-wall design keeps more heat inside and less moisture builds up, which is super helpful, especially when it’s chilly outside.

Spread the word →

Search Insights

Have any questions?

Follow us

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
©2023 HikingLite - All rights reserved

Start your ultralight journey!

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date ultralight gear content.