September 29th, 2020
Single Wall Tents and Double Wall Tents: What's the Difference Between Them?
Understanding the Differences Between Single-Wall and Double-Wall Wall Tents
A point of contention looking to get out with wall tents is the pros and cons of single wall tents vs. double wall tents, and which is better. Both types of tents can be appropriate for different types of situations, and different types of environments.
If you’re staying in an environment with no precipitation and low humidity, then a single wall tent could suffice. That said, if you’re camping out in an area with any type of precipitation or high humidity, it’s typically preferred to use a double wall tent for your living situation.
What is a Wall Tent?
Wall tents are typically equipped with four tent walls that are vertical, and they’re generally more spacious than traditional bell tents. Wall tents are also known as outfitter tents, safari tents or hunting tents and are usually built with heavy-duty cotton canvas.
Army duck cotton canvas is an ideal choice for wall tents due to its durable weave, which provides the wall tent with additional protection in the event of inclement weather conditions. Canvas fabric is also breathable, which makes the inside of the tent comfortable in all seasons.
Ideally, the fabric will also be treated to be water repellent and UV and mold & mildew resistant. All White Duck wall tents, for example, are treated with our proprietary PFC-free Phoenix finish, which provides all the aforementioned treatments and also has fire retardant options available.
What is the Difference Between a Single Wall and Double Wall Wall Tent?
The biggest difference between a single wall and a double wall tent lies in the construction of each tent. A single wall tent is made of one, single piece of lightweight fabric. This piece of fabric serves as both the rainfly and the inner wall.
With a double wall tent, there are - you guessed it - two pieces of fabric involved. There is an outer rainfly that is separate from the inner part of the tent. In some double wall tents, this inner layer is just a bug net. In others, it’s a regular tent fabric.
The Advantages of a Double-Wall Wall Tent
A double wall tent is sturdy enough to give you protection from strong winds. Single wall tents may not be as sturdy, and without the right frame and build, a single wall tent can be susceptible to flail in extreme winds. If you plan to be camping in an area where strong winds are a possibility, a double-wall wall tent may be a more suitable option. If installed properly it will keep you safe and stay erect even during strong winds.
Protection from water is one of the top reasons why outdoorsmen choose a double wall wall tent over a single wall wall tent. If you plan to be staying in an area where rain is expected, then you need to do all you can to stay dry in your tent.
Even if you’re staying in a place with little rain, weather is completely unpredictable. Having a double layer of protection from the rain just makes you prepared for any situation. Lying in a wet sleeping bag is never fun!
Another type of wetness that you must deal with during camping, besides rain, is condensation. Humidity in the air brings about a lot of condensation for the fabric of your tent. If the fabric of your single wall tent has condensation on it, one bump into the wall can send all those water droplets falling down to soak you. With a double wall tent, the condensation stays on the outside layer of fabric, keeping you dry on the inside even if the tent wall moves.
White Duck’s Alpha wall tents are equipped with an added layer of fabric around where the poles are for exactly this reason - to prevent condensation and water dripping down on anyone inside the tent.
Due to the extended period of time wall tents usually spend in the outdoors, they may face a variety of conditions. A double wall wall tent is extremely sturdy, and will stay standing in almost any situation if installed properly.
This is usually the case with a single-wall wall tent as well, provided the canvas fabric is built to be durable and the frames are sturdy.
Drawbacks of a Double-Wall Wall Tent
While a double-wall wall tent may make more sense in certain situations, a single-wall wall tent is generally the preferred choice due to its weight, ease of setup and cost.
Weight and Bulk
Because of the extra fabric, a double wall tent is heavier to carry. While the fabric option may be similar to that of single-wall wall tents, doubling the amount of fabric always adds weight. Also, a double wall tent takes up more space in your pack. It doesn’t pack as small, so it generally isn’t as compact to carry. Those who like to move around a lot and carry their things tend to shy away from adding weight to their pack.
Another negative to a double-wall wall tent is the price. Due to the extra fabric, double walled tents are almost always more expensive than single walled tents. Single walled tents are often a wiser choice, especially if they’re built to last.
White Duck’s wall tents, for example, are built with double-fill army duck cotton canvas, which means the fabric can last a lifetime if cared for properly. In addition to this, the windows are three-layer storm windows, and the doors are storm doors as well. This means that at the points of entry, the tent is reinforced to protect from rain, snowfall and other harsh weather conditions.
Written by Emma Cuisance
Emma is a photographer and videographer with a background in journalism from McGill University in Canada. After graduation, she quickly began pursuing her interest in outdoor photography and is now an in-house writer and content creator for White Duck Outdoors.
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