What Is A Double Layer Tent – Are There Any Differences
Before choosing your tent for camping, there is an important question you must answer first. What is the difference between a single, and double layer tent. Learning the difference between the two is an important thing. So this is something that you should learn before making a purchase.
Having the wrong type can effect your trip with some severe consequences. With the main danger being stuck in a tent that doesn’t have the proper protection from the elements you’re in. So you can understand why it’s so important to choose the right type for your situation.
Its like comparing a nylon tent and a canvas tent, both are made from different materials and suit different weather conditions. But they are certainly not the same and can drastically impact your camping experience. Much like choosing a single vs double layer tent.
What Is A Single Wall Tent?
Let’s start with the single wall tent variants and what they are. The big difference between the two is the amount of layers the tent has. So a single layer tent only has one layer between you and the elements. This single layer does also mean it doesn’t take as long to set up as well.
The single layer tents are designed to be lighter and easier to carry. They are mainly used by people who go camping in the mountains where portability and lightweight are 2 of the most important features to consider. These days you can get single wall tents that are coated with a waterproofing sealer and made of a thicker fabric to combat the elements. This essentially eliminates the need for a rainfly.
What Is A Double Wall Tent?
A double layer tent is as it sounds, a tent that has two layers of fabric. Normally the inner fabric is a mesh fabric which allows the tent to breath better. The outside is what they call a rainfly, which is something you put over the tent.
The rainfly can be made from a number of fabrics, but it’s usually finished with a polyurethane waterproof coating to make it waterproof. But never assume that brand new tents are waterproof out of the box. Do a little research into the waterproof qualities of the tent and when in doubt, apply your own coating of waterproof.
Being a double layer tent does give you more protection from the elements as they allow the tent to vent hot air up out through the mesh ceiling. This is one of the biggest differences between the two types of tents. They are also usually more durable and more resistant. This usually allows them to last longer, which is always a big bonus to everybody!
With a double wall, you also get the option to remove the rainfly, whereas on a single wall tent, the single layer acts as a rainfly and cannot be removed as it’s part of the tent. So on hot nights, you can remove the rainfly on a double wall tent and allow the cooler air to submerge you inside the tent. All while starring up through the mesh ceiling at the beautiful star light sky.
Single Or Double Wall Tent, Which Is Better?
Now you know the difference between the two types of tents, the next common question is which is better? This is far from a simple question, there are a lot of factors and considerations to take into account. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. Which is why this is a difficult question.
The pros and cons to these types of tents, are all pretty simple thankfully. So I’ve put together this small advantages, and disadvantages guide to make life a bit easier for you. However, the general consensus is that double wall tents are better suited to wet conditions as you can keep windows open under the fly to allow air to circulate. Which in turn reduces condensation inside the tent and also the humidity.
Pros & Cons Of Single Wall Tents
The fact a single layer tent is only one layer of fabric, means these tents are normally lighter. So this makes them good if you have to carry them for on your back while hiking. For me the best thing about a single layer tent, is that they’re simple. They are easy to put up, and easy to put down.
As well as being lightweight, single wall tents are generally more compact when carrying. So you can attach them onto your backpack, or carry them much easier compared to a more bulkier canvas tent.
The biggest con to a single layer tent is that they can fair worse off in extreme weather. When its extremely hot, the hot air can get trapped inside the tent as the ceiling is not made of mesh. Whereas a double wall tent allows the hot air to circulate up through the ceiling mesh.
But in cold conditions, single wall tents can proof more beneficial, as the heat from your body can’t escape through the mesh ceiling. Therefor making it better for cold conditions. Single wall tents retain heat better, which is why single wall canvas tents are ideal for camping in winter.
Pros & Cons Double Wall Tents
Double wall tents have a lot more advantages in my opinion. When camping there can be a lot of unpredictable weather. You want to be prepared for anything, and a double layer tent has this. The rainfly makes a big difference in all kinds of weather, making them more versatile.
Not only are they better suited to a greater range of unpredictable weather. they are also tougher then your usual single layer tents. So overall they have more useful capabilities in my opinion.
It’s not all positives for the double layers sadly. They have two downsides in my opinion. The first being they’re much heavier, and they take longer to set up. Whether this is a downside for you will vary, but I like setting tents up quickly. To start relaxing quicker!
Single VS Double Wall Tent For Winter Camping
Camping in the winter is not for everyone, but for those of us who do or whom are looking to get into it, its a great experience. So with that said, which is better suited for winter camping, single, or double layered tents? If you want a very simplified answer, then the answer is both! What works for winter in one area won’t work in another.
If you went and got a high quality single layered tent, then winter camping would be possible. But you’d have to go with something close to a top of the line tent in my opinion. Which is why it does make it difficult to recommend some single layered tents for winter camping.
It’s Canvas All The way For Me
That is of course, unless you invest in a canvas tent. A canvas tent is in my opinion, the best for camping in winter. They are the more durable options, but more importantly, they retain heat much better.
So if you’re setting up a tent heater inside the tent, a canvas tent is what you want. This is because the heat from the heater will stay inside the canvas walls much better. In a double wall tent, the heat will just escape up through the open mesh ceiling. Sure the rainfly will keep some of the heat in, but nothing compared to sealed canvas ceiling.
Single Wall VS Double Wall Backpacking Tent
Backpacking and camping really go hand in hand together. However, there’s a stark difference between camping in a tent for a few days compared to a few weeks backpacking. This is especially important for which which tent you buy. If you’re only doing day trips, a regular double wall tent is fine to set up at base.
But when you’re backpacking through the forest for days on end, setting up camp at different locations every night, a single wall or pop up tent may very well be the best idea.
There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a tent to backpack with. Starting with whether a single or double layered is better?
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. When backpacking, keeping the weight down is crucial. Which is why a single layer tent are generally more recommended for it. Not having to carry something that is heavier makes a huge difference after a day out on the trails.
Since you’re backpacking, you’re at the mercy of the elements. This is where a double layered tent comes in, and there biggest advantage. Being inside a warm tent in the middle of a cold night, is something that is hard to pass up. But the extra weight is something that does go against them.
There is one saving grace for backpackers from being exposed to the extreme elements in tents. Which is double layered tents are becoming more lightweight. With some being as light as some single layered tents.
Overall when it comes to tents and backpacking, it’s best to go with something lightweight. Being lighter and easier to carry is just to hard to pass up in my opinion. Whether its a single or double wall will entirely depend on where you’re camping and the temperature you expect to face.