Are Double-Wall Tents Warmer?

When you’re an avid adventurer, winter camping has a lure that the average, leisurely summer camper may never understand. You also know that the frigid weather circumstances require specially-suited gear, like double-wall tents, to block out the biting winds of the Great Outdoors.

Double wall tents are warmer than single wall tents. They are designed to create a layer of air between the inside of the tent and the outside world, resulting in a type of insulation and an increase in inner-tent temperature during the colder months. 

This article will discuss precisely how double-wall tents perform to keep their occupants cozy, as well as how they can keep you cool in a hot environment. 

tents in snow
ID 84666115 © Natalya Erofeeva |

Double Wall Insulation Pockets

Double-wall tents consist of two walls, the rainfly and the body of the tent. A rainfly is designed to cover the tent body and protect the inner fabric from becoming soaked by the rain; therefore, it’s made of waterproof, non-breathable material. The inner wall of the tent body is designed to be fully breathable, allowing for airflow to move through the fabric to the inside of the tent. However, the tent body has no waterproofing properties.

Together, these two walls create insulation pockets between the outside and inside around the entirety of the tent, warming the internal temperature whenever you’re winter camping. This insulation pocket is made possible because of the taut design of double-wall tent floors and the poles that hold the walls up to prevent the rainfly and tent body from touching.

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Limiting the Ventilation to Retain Heat

Venting a tent — that is, allowing the vents or entryways of a tent to open to their full capacity to encourage airflow — will result in the loss of heat and expose the inside of the tent to the cold outdoor air. Limiting the ventilation can help to retain heat inside. 

Limiting Ventilation While Maintaining Air Quality Indoors

  • Ensuring that the rainfly is adequately tied down and covering the tent walls will prevent an excess of air from escaping through the tent walls.
  • Keep the doors and window flaps shut completely to prevent winds from entering the inside of the double-wall tent.
  • Leave canopy vents open enough to receive proper oxygen. Open vents will ensure that carbon dioxide can escape, and clean air can enter the tent. Just as long as entryways and windows are closed, and the rainfly is covering the tent’s body, canopy vents won’t expel an abundance of heat. 
  • Mend any tears or holes in the tent walls. Check the body of your double-wall tent thoroughly for any holes that may cause unintended ventilation. Use repair tape to seal the hole.
  • Extend the groundsheet of your tent to reach underneath the rainfly and flip it outwards. This will reduce the amount of cold outside air that makes its way between the wall layers.

If you’re worried about carbon dioxide building up with a lack of ventilation, it’s a good idea to bring a battery operated CO2 detector. Keep in mind that, without proper ventilation inside your tent, suffocation is possible.

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Reducing Moisture Buildup

When camping, whether it be winter camping or camping during the warmer months, condensation is an issue that many people face. Reducing, or preventing moisture buildup all together, will help you and your group stay dry and comfortable during the nights or long hours indoors. 

Though condensation is less likely to occur when the weather is chilly, it’s not impossible. Condensation during winter camping can come in the form of wet clothing and even your warm breath.

Ways to Reduce Moisture Buildup

  • Set up your tent in an area that is elevated, rather than low-lying. Low-lying land tends to collect pools of cold air. A higher elevation, such as on top of a hill, will help the air to flow away from your tent, rather than puddle around it. 
  • Don’t set up camp next to a body of water. This will cause moisture buildup in your tent. Instead, pitch your tent in a dry area, preferably out in the sun, so that any excess rain on your tent walls can evaporate.
  • If it rains or you decide to take a swim, leave your wet clothing and shoes outside of the tent in a sunny spot to dry.
  • Open your tent up. By opening the doors and windows and removing the rainfly, you’ll be inviting dry air to flow through your tent, helping to reduce your chances for condensation.
  • Avoid cooking inside the tent. Not only will cooking inside your tent increase the risk of carbon monoxide buildup, but any steam will also cling to the inner tent walls.
  • Be sure that your double-wall tent is staked correctly. The rainfly on your tent allows the condensation to build up on the outside of the walls and fall to the ground.

Double-wall tents work to reduce moisture buildup by their double-wall design. The insulation created by the rainfly and tent body separates the cold outside air from the warm indoor air, resulting in less condensation.

Reduce Wind Chill

The most effective way of reducing wind chill inside your double-wall tent is by utilizing the double wall. The rainfly of your tent is designed to be waterproof; therefore, it isn’t as porous as the inner tent’s walls. The material of the fabric still allows for some air to come through, but it will help to block any high winds. 

Another way to reduce wind chill is by placing your (dry) camping and hiking gear around the inside of your tent. This will act as an extra layer of insulation.

Other ways to reduce wind chill are by preparing yourself for cold conditions. You can do this by:

  • Don’t camp alone. Having another person with you will help keep your warm. Lay closeby.
  • Wear proper attire. Wool is an excellent choice for hats, gloves, and sweaters. They’ll keep you warm without restricting blood flow to your extremities. Jackets and coats for rated for cold weather are also a necessity for winter camping.
  • Sleep in a sleeping bag that is designed for cold weather and water resistance, like these Hyke and Byke Mummy Bags.
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You can use a hot water bottle to warm your feet while in your tent or sleeping bag. Using a propane Buddy Heater is another option to stay warm but always be sure to operate it correctly to reduce the chances of injury or damage. For more ideas on staying comfortable while winter camping check out our article on How To Stay Warm in a Tent

Keeping Cool in the Heat

Double-wall tents are multi-purpose in that they work great to keep you warmer during bouts of winter camping, as well as help to keep you cool during summer excursions. They do this by blocking direct sunlight from the inner tent and allowing for internal airflow through both walls.

Other ways to help ensure you’ll be kept cool are:

  1. Pitch your double-wall tent in a shady area. Placing your tent under a canopy of trees will help to reduce the overall temperature by a few degrees.
  2. Leave the rainfly off (until sunset, that is). Having the rainfly covering your tent’s body will trap heat inside and restrict airflow. Keep it tied up during the day, but consider replacing it at night to fight morning condensation.
  3. Don’t sleep inside of your sleeping bag. Sleeping bags have the purpose of keeping the occupant warm, acting as both a makeshift bed and blanket. Sleep on top of your sleeping bag for comfortable padding without overheating.
  4. Keep the windows and mesh areas of your tent open, so fresh air can come in.
  5. Dress accordingly. Lightweight, cotton clothing is an excellent option for camping in the spring or summer.
  6. Use a portable, battery-operated tent fan to move the air inside the tent (like this Amacool Portable Camping Fan).
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Whenever you’re camping in hot conditions, it’s essential to stay hydrated. A cooler full of iced water is a lifesaver in sweltering camping conditions.

Final Thoughts

Double-wall tents are warmer than your average camping tent thanks to its outer rainfly, which protects the campers from biting winds, porous walls, and heat loss. The double-wall also acts as effective insulation, trapping air between the rainfly and tent body, thus keeping the inner tent warm without allowing the cold outer air to penetrate.


Beau is an electrical engineer with a knack for DIY repair and construction. When he's not tinkering with his projects he's on the road travelling and enjoying an exciting lifestyle with his young family.

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