What’s the Difference Between a Single Wall and a Double Wall Tent?

single versus double wall tent

A single-walled tent has one layer of material – usually water-resistant or waterproof. A double-walled tent has two layers of material, an inner breathable layer and a rainproof fly. The decision about whether to buy a single-walled tent or a double-walled tent is largely a matter of tent weight. The advocates of single wall tents maintain that if you can reduce the weight of your tent by a significant amount then some of the disadvantages of a single-walled tent versus a double-walled tent become less important. Some single wall tent advocates push that argument to the point that it begins to sound a little extreme. For example “One Weight First, Comfort Be Damned” advocate went so far as to write…

We’ve been told we need two walls in a tent to reduce condensation and to provide an additional layer of protection from rain, But is condensation really all that bad? It only becomes a problem then you come into contact with it, or when so much is produced it spatters off when pounded by rain…. What if instead of fightenting condensation, we simply accept it as part of the experience?

Okay, for all the condensation lovers out there.

But the fact is that with the weight of all tents coming down, the issue is less and less of a consideration with deciding between a single walled and double walled tent. In fact, some double wall tents now weigh less than a comparable single wall tent.

When evaluating the merits of a single-walled tent versus a double-walled tent you’ll want to take into consideration these factors:

Inside a waterproof single-walled tent your breath releases warm humid air. Ventilation vents can reduce or prevent this from occurring. Look for multiple ventilation vents in your single walled tent.

The waterproof rainfly in a double-walled tent protects the camper from rain and snow. Some double-walled tents come with bathtub floors that prohibit groundwater produced by heavy rain from flowing into the tent.

Single walled tents are generally believed to be lighter than double-walled tents, but this is not always the the case. See the table above. Closely compare tent weights when you’re evaluating a single-walled versus a double-walled tent.

Double walled tents do a better job of preventing condensation. They put two layers of material between the camper and the weather. The inside layer is breathable the outside layer is waterproof weather protection

Campsite Location
Single-walled tents provide more flexibility of setup. They can be pitched in a small space where a double-walled domed tent wouldn’t work.

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