Double-wall tents are making a comeback amongst backpackers because they’ve become much lighter with gear weights that rival their single-walled competitors. This is especially true in the two-person (non-Dyneema) tent category where several 2-person, double-wall tents including the NEMO Hornet 2P and the Durston Drop X-Mid 1 which both weigh 2 pounds or less, making them lighter weight than most other two person single-wall tents.
Double-wall tents have many advantages over single-walled tents:
- Nearly freestanding since they include tent poles, so you can pitch them quickly without having to worry so much about staking and surface conditions (making setup virtually idiot-proof)
- Almost zero internal condensation transfer from tent walls to your gear since the moisture is captured by the rain fly
- Less drafty because they don’t have to be wind tunnels to combat internal condensation – meaning you can use many double-wall tents in autumn or winter when you’d freeze in a single wall tent.
- Double-wall tents tend to have better privacy because they have less open mesh showing.
- Deep bathtub style floors protect against accidental flooding on compacted tent sites.
- Factory seam taped, so you don’t have to seam seal the tent with silicone and paint thinner in your basement.
For example, compare the following two-person single-wall and double-wall tents. There are quite a few two-person double-wall tents available today that weigh less than their single-wall counterparts.
|Gossamer Gear The One Tent||***Single-Wall||20.64||$300|
|Sierra Designs High Route FL 1||Double-Wall||27||$300|
|Durston Drop X-Mid 1||Double-Wall||27.9||$200|
|MSR Carbon Reflex 2P||Double-Wall||29||$550|
|NEMO Hornet 2P||Double-Wall||29||$370|
|Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2||Double-Wall||35||$400|
|Tarptent Double Rainbow||***Single-Wall||42||$299|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2||Double-Wall||43||$450|
|Tarptent Stratospire 2||Double-Wall||44||$359|
|Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo||***Single-Wall||45||$325|
|REI Quarter Dome 2||Double-Wall||53||$349|
I’ve owned and used many single-wall shelters in my backpacking career, but my motivation to use them has diminished as double-wall shelters have come down in weight. There’s a lot to be said for a more comfortable double-wall tent when gear weight ceases to be a differentiating factor.
And while single-wall tents still tend to be lower cost, the pricing difference is not as great or universal in the two-person size. Many double-wall tents are also discounted by retailers, while those produced by cottage companies are almost never on sale.
- What’s your preference: a single-walled or a double-wall tent?
- Would that change if there was less of a price or weight difference between the two types of tents?