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Advantages of Lightweight Double-Walled Tents

The NEMO Hornet 2P double-walled tent weighs less than two pounds.
The NEMO Hornet 2P double-walled tent weighs less than two pounds.

Double-walled 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 tent category where several 2 person, double-walled tents including the NEMO Hornet 2P, the NEMO Blaze 2P, and the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 all weigh 2 pounds or less, making them lighter weight than most other two person single walled tents. (Of course, if you want to spend $600 and up on a 21 ounce single-walled, cuben fiber tent, be my guest  – that’s too rich for my blood.)

Double-walled 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 walled tents in autumn or winter, when you’d freeze in a single walled tent.
  • Double-walled tents tend to have better privacy because they have less open mesh showing.
  • Deep bathtub style floors protect against accidental flooding on compacted tentsites.
  • Factory seam taped, so you don’t have to seam seal the tent with silicone and paint thinner in your basement.
  • No need to carry trekking poles to pitch the tent if you don’t use them.

For example, compare the following two person single-walled and double-walled tents. There are quite a few two-person double-walled tents available today that weigh less than their single-walled counterparts.

TentSingle or Double WalledWeight (Ounces)Price
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2Double31295
NEMO Blaze 2PDouble32450
NEMO Hornet 2PDouble32370
Mountain Hardware Ghost UL 2Double34449
Yama Mountain Gear SwiftlineSingle35395
Tarptent MoTrailSingle36259
MSR Freelite 2Double39440
Six Moon Designs Lunar DuoSingle41310
Tarptent Double RainbowSingle43289
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2Double44449
Stratospire 2Double46349
REI Quarter Dome 2Double47299
Tarptent Double MomentDouble52359

I’ve owned and used many single-walled shelters in my backpacking career, but my motivation to use them has diminished as double-walled shelters have come down in weight. There’s a lot to be said for a more comfortable double-walled tent when gear weight ceases to be a differentiating factor.

And while single-walled tents still tend to be lower cost, the pricing difference is not as great or universal in the two-person size. Many double-walled 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 walled tent?
  • Would that change if there was less of a price or weight difference between the two types of tents?


  1. Yes. I like double walled tents. They hold heat so much better in winter conditions. But they just weigh to much to put on my back for 100 or more miles.

  2. Double without doubt and I’m a gram counter. The pros outweigh the cons (excuse pun).

  3. While I like double wall tents, and I agree with most general statements, I feel that the examples given are not ideal in a weight comparison.

    First. I take issue with the two Nemo tents mentioned. They’re not freestanding at all by any definition of the word.

    Second, I’ve looked at some of these lightweight double walls on display at retailers and tried to crawl in. Often too narrow to comfortably sleep two adults, and if you’re tall there doesn’t seem to be enough length. I own a Tarptent Squall 2, and it’s palatial in comparison. The flip side it’s that it may require a larger area to pitch, but that’s the price you pay for more real state. Logical, isn’t it? That’s why many people are told that if they’re buying a Fly Creek for two people they should get the three person, particularly if they’re large people…

    Third, I hear the fabric on the Fly Creek is rather fragile. This is one reason why I never purchased one and I don’t recommend it to people. Not an issue with the silnylon used by the cottage industry…

    Now if you’re looking for double wall freestanding silnylon tents that would be light, fit two adults with more room that most mass produced lightweight tents and often tall people, and use more durable materials my recommendation is Big Sky.

    • I used a fly creek ul2 for almost six months last year with my girlfriend and did not have any issues with the fabric. It is a tight squeeze but we managed just fine. I’m 5-8 and she’s 4-11 so that helps.

  4. I’ve only used double wall style tents because of the condensation factor with the single wall. And now that they weigh next to nothing I’ll continue using them.

  5. I own two tents in MSR’s Hubba series, a 1P and a 2P. While not as light as the tents mentioned here, I love them both for their ease of setup, features and durability. I tend to use the 2P more just for a bit of extra room, but it works just fine for my GF and I. The 1P packs down pretty small and is relatively low weight for an overnight. I’m not a hardcore backpacker, so these work out well for me.

  6. I used a single-wall tent on exactly one trip. Conditions were humid, and during the night it rained hard. While the tent didn’t leak, the rain knocked the condensation that had collected on the inside of the tent down onto me and my gear. I returned the tent and now use a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. The BA has plenty roomy for my wife, who’s tiny, and me, and light enough that I take it on trips when I’m tenting alone, as well. We bought it on sale for $300.

  7. This post has me thinking I should revisit the double walled options — my reservation is related to Iago’s comment that many of the two person double walled tents are very tight on livable space and tough if you want to actually use them for two people. While I love the idea of not dealing with condensation and having a more idiot proof set up, we have always loved the space of our double walled tarp tent. I think we would make the switch if these tents stayed low in weight while keeping the interior room more useable.

  8. The weight of a tent or any gear taken on a trip is just one of many factors to consider. The ability to move a free-standing tent just a few feet over from the first spot chosen can make a difference, the drier interior of a double wall can be a huge factor.

  9. I like double-wall tents for the reasons mentioned. I found the BA Fly Creek UL1 to be too claustrophobic and the front entrance awkward. The BA Copper Spur UL1 suits me fine. One caveat that I’ve not seen mentioned, however, is that the lightweight silnylon fabric in the fly sags when it gets wet requiring retensioning to retain a taut pitch.

    • I also agree, the front entrance on the Fly Creek UL1 is a PITA – however, it is a nice tent otherwise, and I have gotten quite used to the front entrance, so I don’t plan to buy a different tent any time soon, given that I am just doing weekend trips at the moment.

  10. Freestanding is my top priority

  11. In the last 5 years I have cycled through a Zpacks single person cuben fiber Hexamid tent (16oz), a Tarptent Rainbow single wall tent and a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 single person double wall tent (40oz with stakes). While the UL1 weighs 2 1/2 times more than the Zpacks, the extra 1 1/2 pounds is insignificant in light of having a truly freestanding, nearly condensation free, SIDE entry tent. It is also quite reasonably sized for one person and equipment. I also carry a hammock setup on certain trips which weighs about the same as the UL1 when taking into account the underquilt and tarp. Bottom line, I need a good night’s sleep and at my age, compromising on shelter to save weight borders on “stupid light”. BTW, I managed to pick up the UL1 on clearance for $175 when the replacement came out that weighed 3oz less.

  12. I used to use double walled UL tents, and the Fly Creek UL2 is the last tent I bought and likely will every buy in non-cuben material.

    While I respect your opinion that the price is too rich for your blood on a zpacks style tent, I totally disagree on my end as a backpacker.

    As an average consumer that spends a decent amount of time backpacking, but don’t get free gear or test gear for companies that send me test items, I need a reliable tent that doesn’t get old and leaky or smelly fast. I want that tent to be durable, reliable, totally waterproof, bug proof and roomy enough for the one or two people it is claimed to sleep.

    It is a real luxury (in the best way) to be able to constantly use different tents as they are new or lightly used, and I suspect this could possible lead to a situation where you may not see the added value of the cuben fiber zpacks style tents. When the silnylon tents get a couple years old, that’s when the issues start for many tents I’ve owned. Even with proper cleaning and storage. Not so on the zPacks cuben – it just gets better and better with age. The material softens to make it easier to pack and compress, but that’s about it.

    I got fed up with the combo of cramped space, sometimes leaky materials, inability to keep the inside of a tent dry while pitching with most designs, lack of usable vestibule space and the sagging material when the weather turned to soggy/rainy on the non-cuben tents.

    It is unlikely that I’ll ever go back to silnylon or anything other than cuben fiber. To me, the extra $160 that it costs to jump from a Big Agnes fly creek UL2 (which is really a 1 person tent) to the zpacks solplex has been worth every penny to me. I am currently saving up for a duplex, too.

    Furthermore, not all consumers shop for price. Many consumers would rather support american made products of a higher quality level, that focus on features, function and durability over marketing, fabric colors, and the trends of under-educated consumers. I would rather support Joe Valesko who designed his products from the ground up for every day use while backpacking and through-hiking, than a company that manufactures overseas and cares more about their social media campaign or LED LIGHTING than anything else.

    As someone who lives in NYC and has to overpay for everything, there is a lot of value in a product that is actually WORTH all the money you pay for it. There’s a reason these things never go on sale – demand exceeds supply by a minimum of 6-8 weeks pretty much year round. I bet BA wishes they had so much demand that nobody would close out their stuff online and devalue their brand :)

    • I’m pretty sure all of the other people who’ve commented are backpackers too.

    • I’d love to support american made as much as possible, but who can afford Cuben Fiber? I could get a new mattress in my bed for as much as some of those shelters cost. The average consumer simply can’t afford that.

      • I did a survey about price sensitivity a while back and it’s considered the most important factor in my readers purchase decisions. It trumps American made.

      • Free trade at its finest!

      • I”m not a fan of buying American made. Does buying American Made mean that we should also only going backpacking in our country of origin too? Just askin….

        I’m also a fan of cottage equipment and just dropped a good dollar on setting up my family of 6 with Enlightened Equipment comforters. It’s great stuff and I’d think the best in the world, as in, I bet they can compete toe to toe around the world….except I don’t know where they source there down from either…hmmm.

        The world should unite and start fighting against the beings not on our world. We could have tariffs with off planet civilizations.

      • The point I wanted to make most clearly is that there’s always a “mainstream” way of thinking and then there’s the “niche.”

        marketing research like that will benefit companies trying to grow endlessly with the yearly goal of “growth” and “sell more stuff to more people and faster.”

        That is the difference between a big Agnes and a zPacks. Their growth is fueled by demand more directly in response to the quality of their product and from the need and feedback of individual customers.

        Big companies like nemo, big Agnes, other big names we know are producing way more than they can in any given production run. The stuff will always be on closeout and they will continue chasing “trends” like tent lighting to bring more crossover purchasing into the sales. That means more purchase orders and bigger discounts on fabric. It’s always about getting bigger in sales. They will also always chase what we’d call the external trends… Things that marketing people and numbers tell them. It’s not the whole story or the whole picture though, right?

        As a business and sales educated career guy I feel strongly that the best quality products almost always come from companies with really natural growth curve that do not grow production on a separate curve from demand. If we create products based mostly on the demand that marketing analysis shows, it misses plenty of the market.

        I simply want to say that the “minority” niche market that your marketing research showed you has no relation to how those cottage companies are doing. They’ve had growing wait lists for the better part of a decade or more, no? Pretty much all of them have moved into bigger spaces recently, too. It’s telling.

        I simply present the argument that a significant number of people find the design and function to be well worth the price, and for some of us, knowing that we support people like Joe Valesko, Will Wood and others over some underpaid workers in China, Vietnam or or Sri Lanka (or whoever has he most appealing labor laws at the current moment.)

  13. I’ve been using a REI Quarter dome 3 and BA Copper Spur 3 for my family of 4 kids with my wife and I. The size is fine. Vestibules keep gear dry. Weight per person is at 16oz., which is great.

    A lot of comments mention the size…the tents reviewed do come in 3 person options which I’d recommend for 2 people, through 3 z-fold thermarest pads do fit in each with 0 extra room to spare.

    Philip – can you address the durability and more extreme rain/snow performance of Silnylon vs. Cuban fiber? I’m still wondering about getting a Cuban fiber tarp for solo or two person trips.


    • Silnylon is preferred over Cuben for snow loading situation. Cuben sounds like a snare drum in rain, gets very hot in sunlight, and is very susceptible to UV damage.

      • Can you address the durability of the thinner Silnylon materials used on the Nemo tents and other brands? It seems that some of the weight savings is from thinner material. Should a person be concerned about this?

      • All outdoor manufacturers are using lighter weight fabrics. The big brand tent manufacturers were just slower to adopt them since they have such long design manufacturing cycles. The cottage companies have been using them for years. Truth is people care more about weight than durability. If durability is important to you buy a tent from a manufacturer with a lifetime guarantee.

    • I too have an REI Quarter dome 3, which I really like. When split between two people it runs about 18 oz each, is roomy (good headroom too), plus it has 3 decent sized vestibules.

      • Scratch that weight (brain fart on my part). It is actually about 34 oz each when split – so just over 2 lbs. Still quite reasonable.

  14. The North Face updated their Mica FL line to use two wishbones in their pole so now it’s a freestanding tent too! If it helps the FL 1 is 33/34 oz and the FL 2 weighs just over 43 oz. When I was browsing I noticed the change and really liked that too :)

  15. I’ve actually only used double walled tents so I’m not sure if I’m the best judge of everything, but i’m very familiar with all the pros/cons. I’ve used a combination of 1, 2, & 3 person double-walled tents made by REI, Kelty, ALPS Mountaineering, Mountainsmith, and MSR. I’ve never had an issue with any of them. For me my sleeping bag, pad, and clothes have been more crucial choices for comfort than the tent. One of the best pros of double-walled tents is they’re basically 4-season tents in the Southeast. If it’s a nice night, leave the rain fly off. If it’s raining, snowing, or really humid (most often the case in NC) I haven’t gotten wet inside. And it’s warm enough for winters down south when I’ve been in snow around 10-30F. If there’s one theme through the tent brands I’ve used, almost all of them are cheaper, heavier tents. They’re well-made, just heavier, but doesn’t matter as much when parts are split between people. My 1-person ALPS tent is fairly bomber proof freestanding but heavy. It’s the last pricey lightweight gear upgrade on my list.

  16. Nearly freestanding and not needing hiking poles is the winning criteria.

  17. There is one potential drawback to the newer UL double wall tents – the level of how waterproof the material used is. The weight is shaved by using a lighter fabric with a lower water penetration rating. Waterproof (penetration) testing is done in a measurement called hydrostatic head (HH) and is measured in millimeters (mm). The testing is done by affixing the fabric to the end of a tube that is then filled up to a level ( measured in milimeters) to determine at what level the water starts to penetrate the fabric. The higher the water level, the more waterproof the fabric.

    The following is a scale to use when evaluating tent fabrics:
    1000mm or less is considered shower resistant and will soak up rain and get damp after a heavy shower
    1500mm is considered the realistic minimum requirement for summer (and mainly dry) camping
    2000mm is the recommended minimum if you intend camping in your tent year round

    The double wall tents mentioned (Nemo and Big Agnes) are all 1200mm fabric – which could have “misting” through the fabric if pitched in an exposed location during a heavy rain. With these tents, selecting a location that is not as exposed is important as it helps mitigate potential issues. The alternative is a single wall tent that uses a fabric with a higher mm hydrostatic head. Lightheart gear for example uses a material rated at 3300mm HH – that provides a tent (SoLong6) under 2# AND extremely waterproof

  18. Most of these are not truly freestanding. Doesn’t the Fly Creek comes with something like 11 stakes!? I think the Big Sky Soul X2 with premium ultralight fabric is one of the only, if the only, truly freestanding 2-person tent under 2#, but it costs a lot.

    Personally, for the environments most backpackers will be enjoying, I think the best solution today is to get the lightest tarp you can afford along with an inner bug tent, for example from Mountain Laurel Design or Six Moon Design. You can always upgrade to cuben (DCF?) or the next lightest material if you want to go super-light, but with 2 people sharing the load, I don’t think it’s worth the money.

    For single-wall, it’s hard to beat the price and livable space of TarpTent’s Squall 2.

  19. An interesting article, especially since I’ve been eyeing double wall tents lately as a more comfortable alternative to the tarps I mostly use. But it raises a number of questions. First, I question the weights. There is no standard method from one manufacturer to the next. So, what do these tents actually weigh when you put them in your backpack complete and ready to pitch?

    Second, I question the durability of many of these ultralight tents. As others have stated the materials, not to mention the poles, have gotten so light and fragile that I wonder if they can stand up to demanding weather.

    Not to pick on the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL especially but to illustrate the point, Outdoor Gear Lab stated about that tent in their test last November: “Delicate materials, difficult to set up, collapses in high winds”.

    I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that it is not sufficient to just blithely pick one of these new ultralight tents based on weight alone without first being sure it can meet the range of conditions in which it will be used. If you’re a couple of days walk or more away from the road and above timberline where it can snow and blow any month then one of the new UL tents could make for a very memorable experience!

    • Robert, a valuable and important comment indeed. I’ve witnessed the failure of some of these tents personally in what I’d consider to be relatively mild bad weather and especially in high wind.

  20. Good discussion Philip. I find it interesting that none of the UL cottage tent owners can say that their single walked shelters have the same advantages as double walled tents. Instead they attack you personally or argue that People should buy American even when the products are functionally inferior.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. You are a voice of reason.

    • Who, exactly has said that Beatrice A.?

    • Beatrice, not sure if my tone comes across negatively because I certainly don’t intend to attack any other points of view by stating my own and when pointing out the importance of American made to some buyers.

      On addressing the double wall advantages – it’s so hard to speak to that without discussing tents individually but in general as a single walled tent user these days I notice a little bit more condensation than with some double walled tents, but not all.

      For example, with the BIg Agnes fly creek UL2 I owned for one person it was less condensation than my one person Cuben shelter when both were closed. But it gets more interesting when you add a second person or talk about leaving doors open. Having a second person in the fly creek UL2 created as much condensation in many situations as any single walled shelter. Even worse, it’s so cramped that you will definitely push on the wall with your sleeping bag. That results in wet sleeping bags. Additionally, the sagging material means one has to go adjust every time the weather takes a turn for the worse.

      Additionally, with the shelters that have doors not angled out away from the base allow drilling in and therefore one cannot leave a door open in light rain. With some you can, and that’s also a strength of many of the Cuben single wall shelters.

      I didn’t originally comment on the advantages of single wall because I think it takes a direct comparison between tents to accurately discuss it is all :)

      I think everyone should do what makes them happy, I just like sticking up for the more expensive tents that got dismissed over price originally because I think it’s a matter of perspective and individual values. Have a nice evening.

  21. Good comparison, but the weights in table above sometimes don’t quite compare apples to apples. For example, most of the big-manufacturer double-wall shelters seem to be listing “minimum trail weight”, which doesn’t include stakes or guylines or stuffsacks, while all of the Tarptents include those in the given weights. Also, just checking REI Quarter Dome 2, the weight given is even below the “minimum trail weight” on linked page, which is 49 oz, with actual packaged weight of 57 ounces (which may include an ounce or two of packaging cardboard, I don’t know). But, in any case, would be good to have weights in table be accurate, I think some of them (e.g., the REI tent) are of the “fast pitch weight” which is actually just the fly and separate footprint, not the nest at all. ALSO, of course, Tarptents and others would balloon up by an ounce or two after seam-sealing.

    • The weights of the tents sold at retail (not tarp tent, six moons, etc) are accurate: fly, inner, poles but not stuff sacks or stakes. That’s pretty standard practice. I also have a few of these tents on hand at the moment and can vouch for the weights.

  22. I use a Eureka Spitfire and so far it has performed well in gusty winds. Sectionhiker has a review here:

    I bought mine on Black Friday at almost 50% off retail.

  23. Patrick McFarlane

    My shelter experience started with a rather heavy (5 lb) MEC double wall tent. It had all the qualities you describe and was probably more durable and waterproof than the latest UL double wall tents. But it was heavy so I switched to an MLD mid with bug netting sewn on the perimeter. I would not switch back to a double walled shelter even if the weight penalty is now much smaller. My silnylon mid is bombproof; it has stood up to 70km wind gusts and handles heavy snow without issue. The new generations of UL double wall tents largely achieve light weight in a freestanding design by using fewer poles and by sacrificing pole and fabric strength (due to the need to use fire retardant fabrics), making them fragile in inclement conditions. I can’t afford a tent for all occasions so I would rather use the right combination of gear, skills and knowledge to overcome the inconveniences of a minimalist shelter while knowing that my shelter will keep me reasonably well protected in just about any conditions.

  24. The discussion has gotten a little weird. The article simply made a reasonable point that double wall tents have improved over the years and are an appropriate option for many (could be most) people.
    I have a z-pack hex twin and am quite happy, but so what? A light double wall tent is a better choice for most people.

  25. It always amazes me how beligerant single walled tent owners are to people who use double walled tents. You’re obviously not one of them. But others on this thread are. They really do have concrete advantages over single walled shelters. We should examine the flaws of single walled tents with the same level of gusto.

    For example, the headroom under a pyramid? Terrible. Two person tents without two doors. Terrible. I could go on and on. I use a hammock now, which isn’t perfect either.

  26. I’ve found as much condensation inside double wall tents as in single-wall; the difference is that with a double-wall you can’t get at it but need to wait for it to drip through the inner tent.. I personally prefer my condensation where I can reach it and wipe it off! I love this blog entry by the well-known Will Rietveld: http://ultralightinsights.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-simple-inexpensive-lightweight.html

  27. From a weight standpoint I still prefer my NEMO single wall tent, but when it comes to condensation you can’t beat a double wall tent for keeping things drier inside. If it’s a clear night and I can keep the vestibule doors open, or there is a good breeze blowing, the single wall tent has no problems when it comes to keeping condensation level under control.

    • I’ve used a nemo single walled shelter for half a season in the ADK high peaks. It basically rained on me inside my tent in almost every circumstance. There was a horrible amount of condensation even at times when there should have been none. Additionally, it was so cramped that my head or feet touched the slightly saggy edges at all times, and I always had some wet stuff inside the tent. Yuck. FYI there are other single walled shelters that don’t allow nearly that much condensation. And that’s one of the reasons I’m such a proponent of these things – learning where to pitch and having good air flow, plus the key ability to be able to leave one door wide open even in the rain allows for seriously lower amounts of condensation. Design and knowledge on how to avoid condensation are a must with single walled shelters. I sold that nemo single walled shelter so fast… It was probably the worst one I’ve ever used as condensation and bad design goes. I still use a double walled tent when I’m car camping and I appreciate the flexibility on occasion, but when backpacking I leave them home.

  28. Philip, which of the tents on your list would you be willing to use on “The Great Outdoors Challenge”?


  29. I have been using a nordisk telemark 2 for the last 2 years. It is double walled, very very light and fits me (at 6’4″) just fine. Month ago a hailstorm – together with lots of rain and wind -decided to visit me at night (i was sleeping on the Dutch island of Texel, famed for its winds and weather) and the Nordisk held fine and everything stayed dry. I don’t think i would have enjoyed it quite so much with a single wall tent..

  30. I use both a single wall (Black Diamond Hilight) and double wall (Big Agnes Copper Spur SL1), based on the trip. Until I settled with these two, I would purchase one or two new tents every year for about 10 years.

    I am 6′, 185 lbs. The BD has space galore and the BA is much tighter living room. The BD side entry is easy to get into since the door is just short of the max height where the BA requires a drop to the knees to crawl into the side entry.

    I typically go out for 1 week and have been in multi-day storms at 10K to just below 13K with both tents. The BA has more condensation since the rain fly reaches almost flush to the ground and essentially has non existent venting near the ridgeline. The BD with the two opposing vents at the ridgeline works much better and I expect the large volume of space helps as well. What little condensation appears in the BD I wipe with a pack towel, something that is much harder to do with the BA double wall and I inevitably brush against the fly or compress the mesh onto the fly and get wet.

    The BD is rock steady at raging winds (same design as Bibler) where the BA flattens into my face even with guy lines.

    Drying time is a huge advantage for the BD. I can pick it up (a real free-standing tent), shake it and the exterior is almost free of moisture. The underside of the BA fly requires lots of wiping with my pack towel and sun/wind.

    For the occasional summer trip where I am at lower elevations and in the trees, I prefer the BA since I can go flyless for maximum ventilation or hang out inside the tent if there are voracious mosquitos.

    A good friend bought my BA Seedhouse SL1 (which was not good in the environment I normally backpack) and he absolutely loves it

    Neither my BD or BA is perfect and my 1st Gen BD had a change with the latest version to the material – supposedly even better The BA remains unchanged since I bought it.

    I am always considering new tents but it is not obvious to me that there is any benefit from the newest tent designs compared to what I currently use.

  31. Having lived and traveled extensively double wall tents are by far my prefered choice. Try a single walled bivi in northern Finland in late autumn and a snow cave becomes a palace or up high in the Southern Alps of New Zealand in driving rain and sleet. Having said that I do carry a 7×9 ft tarp as emergency shelter when hut trekking and have used it in warm summer weather in preference to loud snorers in a crowded hut. When young and foolish I did own a single wall pup tent made of proofed calico with wooden poles and survived happily in summer and winter in the highlands of Scotland.

  32. Last weekend I went out to the Tenkara campout in PA. I brought both my big Agnes fly creek UL 1 double walled tent and my zpacks solplex.

    Let me tell you that there was zero advantage to the BA and it was even worse than I had remembered. It was cool and rainy which was perfect for testing – ideal condensation weather.

    The amount of condensation inside the BA way exceeded that of the solplex tent. The entrance is horribly designed and the rain dropped on my stuff every time I had to get in and out of the tent.

    I’ll have to try one of these side entry tents one day but not unless it’s also vented at the top….

    That being said I’ll stick with my solplex going forward.

    • Did you sleep in both tents? If not, it’s no surprise that the one you did sleep in would have more internal condensation. Water vapor from exhalations is a major contributor to internal tent condensation.

      • Absolutely. I slept in a hammock, and two tents during the weekend to try things for testing purposes. I definitely am not uneducated on mitigating condensation and the effect of breath, ventilation, pitch site, etc, and you make an important point.

        Anyone using or buying a single walled shelter needs to learn how and where to pitch in order to help prevent condensation, IMHO. The ability of the solplex to keep you dry in light rain with one door open is a major benefit and great way to reduce condensation. Can’t do that in a BA.

        Those factors help any tent really, and so I try to compare apples to apples in the pitch location, angle, etc. I definitely wouldn’t just sleep in the BA and not the solplex and spout off about it but it’s valid for you to ask :)

  33. Hiking the AT this year my single wall gave in to the rain and humidity, I might as well have thrown it in a creek. Finally switched to Copper Spur 1P, 13 ounces heavier than the Lunar Solo, but roomy with great volume and a much drier experience in heavy rain and fog. Surprised me that I was willing to add the weight! Very nice to sleep in and big enough to pack gear up in when raining

  34. Every tent/shelter will handle condensation differently in different conditions. I do think that regardless of which type you use, the individual designs of the tents, the conditions you’re camping in, and your campsite selection will make the biggest impact on whether the inside of your tent gets wet.

    My personal preference is to have a shelter I can pitch fly or nest only, ideally using trekking poles, such as a mid + inner net. A single wall less than ideal for me because I always have to carry bug protection, even if there aren’t any bugs.

  35. Don "lostagain" Proctor

    Personally, I’m an “ecosystem” kinda guy. For me, cost, though important, isn’t as important as a totality of factors. Those include, weight in relation to the rest of my gear; comfort level of use; overall functionality; and packability. I like to look at my gear as an integrated whole. That’s why I say weight in relation to the rest is an important factor. I don’t want to carry a 5 pound tent if the lightest sleeping pad I can carry is 1 pound and the lightest quilt or sleeping bag is 2 pounds. That puts all that weight at 8 pounds! Factor in the rest of the gear and I’m now carrying anywhere from 16 to 20 pounds base weight. Now, contrast that to a tent/shelter system that weighs 2 pounds, a pad that’s sub-1 pound, quilt/bag that’s 1.5 pounds and that’s manageable.

    Conversely, If I can get a lightweight tent to match my somewhat heavier other gear I’m OK with that too. Especially if that shelter will allow me to put ALL my gear inside in the event of really inclement weather, or I’m in an environment where I don’t want creepy crawlies in my pack or shoes, or to protect from critter investigation at night. Or one that allows me to spread out my gear without worrying about will I have to repack my pack/stuff sacks before turning in so I don’t wind up sleeping on all of it. Is there enough room to comfortably change clothes? How easy is it to get in and out? How well does it pack down? Will I have to strap it onto the outside of my pack or will it fit down inside? How long are any associated poles? Will I have to be creative in my staking should I find myself in a less than optimal setup area? How much actual ground space will I need? Will I need some form of footprint? If I get caught in a thunderstorm, will I have to worry about not only condensation, but rain splash getting inside? Finally, how will it’s weight fit in with my overall base weight? All those questions are what I ask before deciding on which tent to buy.

    I’m currently in the market for a decent shelter because I plan to thru-attempt the PCT in the next year or so, and I mostly hammock. So, I’ve semi-settled on the SMD Lunar Solo because I’ve seen folks review it online who are roughly my height and size. However, I’m also still considering my alternatives, and a freestanding or even semi-freestanding tent is definitely in the picture.

  36. For someone tall 6’3 who wants a solo shelter with liveable space and peak height, freestanding or nearly freestanding, under 3lbs packed weight, what are some of the best options out there? BA Copper Spur HV UL1, REI Q1 HV, Tarptent Bowfin, Nemo Hornet 2, any I am missing?

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