7 Best Single Wall Tents for Ultralight Camping in 2024

Last Updated on 21/02/2024

best single wall tent

What is the Best Single Wall Tent?

The best single wall tents are super lightweight and can deal with condensation on the inner walls better than others. In this guide, you will learn what to look for in a single-walled tent and which brand has the best single-wall tent selection. Hint, it’s Black Diamond.

Single wall tents are designed to be lightweight and compact to travel fast and light. They work perfectly well in the warmer months but not so much in cold or wet weather. Their outer shell is perfectly waterproof; however, because there is no inner tent, any condensation runs down the inside walls. For this reason, single-wall tents with steep walls are the best, but here are some other ways to prevent single-wall tent condensation.

We have tips to help avoid a wet tent, but the best thing you can do is pack a small sponge or cloth that you can wipe and wring out when needed. One thing worth mentioning is that cheap single-skin tents are often very poor quality. You should only buy single-wall tents from reputable brands that understand the importance of staying dry while camping.

If you just need a super lightweight shelter, then most of the time, you can just leave your inner tent at home and take a footprint or lightweight tarp to put under your tent. There are benefits to single wall tents that double-wall tents don’t have, so it is worth owning one for when you need to be as fast and light as possible.

7 Best Single Layer Tents


Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 Ultralight Pyramid Tent

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 Ultralight Pyramid Tent

  • CAPACITY: 2 People
  • WEIGHT: 530 g / 18.7 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 83 x 107 x 64 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 8.5 x 6 x 5.5 inches

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 Ultralight Pyramid Tent is the best single-skin pyramid tent on the market, in our opinion. It is super lightweight at just over 500 grams and works with a regular hiking pole or kayak oar instead of any packed poles. You buy an additional chamber with a bathtub floor and bug netting in full size for two people or half size for one person.

The material is Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is 100% waterproof and doesn’t rely on a super fine layer of silnylon, which would degrade over time. It is one of the more reliable lightweight tents with a single wall that is super easy to use and can be adapted for different environments. With standard two-person tents weighing up to 3 kg, this tent should win an award for best space-to-weight ratio – 63 square feet.

VERDICT: Hyperlite Mountain Gear makes really good lightweight hiking and camping equipment at a weight that will surprise you. This is a remarkable tent, but it is quite pricey, so it is only really worth it if you are doing a thru-hike or a backpacking trip. If price isn’t an issue, then this is the best single-layer tent for 1-2 people.

 


SIX MOON DESIGNS Lunar Solo

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Gray 1 Person Ultralight Tent. 26 oz. Backpacking Tent. 100% Silicone Coated Polyester Material for Reduced Fabric Stretch & Volume. Trekking Pole Setup.

  • CAPACITY: 1 Person
  • WEIGHT: 737 g / 26 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 48 x 90 x 48 inches (inside bathtub floor)
  • PACK SIZE: 11 x 4.5 inches

The SIX MOON DESIGNS Lunar Solo is a super lightweight single wall tent perfect for hiking and backpacking. Like all of their tents, the Lunar Solo requires either a trekking pole or a rigid pole to support the structure from the center. You can get the Six Moon Designs 49″ Black Carbon Fiber Tent Pole, but we find a hiking pole comes in handy more often and works just as well.

If you are undertaking a thru-hike or long-distance walk, then you don’t want a big heavy tent weighing you down and filling your backpack. What you want is a tent just like this, and if you already use trekking poles, then saving as much weight as you do is a no-brainer. It features a full bug netting inner with a sewn-in bathtub floor which provides total protection in the wilderness.

VERDICT: We highly rate the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent for 3-season use, especially in the summer when ventilation is a priority. For solo hikers and backpackers, it is one of the most lightweight single-wall tents that features full protection and maintains plenty of space for gear and stretching out. One of the most popular single-wall tents when downsizing.

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Black Diamond Firstlight 2-Person Tent

Black Diamond Equipment - FirstLight Tent - Wasabi - 2 Person

  • CAPACITY: 2 People
  • WEIGHT: 1545 g / 54 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 82 x 48 x 42 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 6 x 9 inches

The Black Diamond Firstlight 2 Person Tent is one of only two 4-season single wall tents we would recommend to anyone camping year-round. The problem some people have is that it is over three times heavier than other options in this guide. If you want a more durable tent for harsher conditions but like the single wall design, then this is the middle ground.

Proprietary NanoShield single-wall fabric is 100% waterproof, and all the seams are double stitched for durability, but you are required to seal the seams yourself (1 tube of sealant is included with the tent). The poly floor is made from a more rugged 70D fabric which protects you from below without fear of it tearing on a rock. The walls are steep to shed snow, and there is lots of headroom, thanks to the tall ceiling.

VERDICT: If you are looking for the lightest single-layer tent, then this isn’t for you. The Black Diamond Firstlight offers the benefits of a single skin with the performance of a double-layer tent. If you want a free-standing single-layer tent that can withstand wind and snow, then check this out.

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Black Diamond Mega Light 4P Tent

Black Diamond Mega Lightweight 4p Tent

  • CAPACITY: 4 people
  • WEIGHT: 1105 g / 39 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 106 x 106 x 106 x 106 x 65 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 5 x 12 inches

The Black Diamond Mega Light 4P Tent is an amazingly lightweight shelter for up to 4 people. It doesn’t have any footprint or any bug netting, which makes it more of a shelter than a tent, as there is no floor or mosquito netting. This doesn’t stop it from being one of the lightest four-person single-walled tents in the world, though.

The single-center pole is made from carbon fiber and is featherweight compared to typical tent poles. You can also use a single trekking pole to save even more weight. The shell material uses high-tenacity 30D ripstop polyester with sealed seams that don’t stretch, sag, or tear. The only thing to bear in mind is that you will need to take a groundsheet or footprint to provide a dry space inside.

VERDICT: The Black Diamond Mega Light Tent is good for four people but even better with two as there is so much space inside to keep backpacks and boots, etc… This is not a tent we would opt for in winter conditions like high wind, freezing temperatures, and snow but for summer trips with a small team, you can’t beat it.

 


Marmot Agate 2-Person Tent

Marmot Agate single wall tent

  • CAPACITY: 2 People
  • WEIGHT: 546 g / 19.5 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 92 x 58 x 42 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 23.5 x 6 inches

The Marmot Agate 2-Person Tent is a hybrid cross between a bivvy bag, tent, and tarp shelter which is actually perfect for people who want to get closer to nature or lighten their gear. It features an open door with a peaked overhang to stop rain from coming in and is plenty big enough for two people to hunker down in a storm.

The design relies on using two hiking poles to create the main support for the frame in a way that we have never seen before but like the look of. A custom groundsheet is included, which attaches to the corners of the tent to be pegged down securely. The guylines make a big difference to how taut you can pull this out and create a very durable single-layer shelter.

VERDICT: The design of the Marmot Agate is simple but effective, and we like that. If you like the idea of tarp camping or bivvying but want something a little closer to a tent, then this is the perfect compromise and is of great value. Above everything else, though, the pack weight of less than 20 oz is the biggest benefit to this single-wall camping tent.

 


Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent

Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent - Alpine Red - One Size

  • CAPACITY: 3 People
  • WEIGHT: 126 oz / 3590 g
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 62 x 110 x 41 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 8 x 25 inches

The Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent is the best single wall tent for winter camping and is as solid as they come. The geodesic dome tent design ensures that no matter how strong the wind is or how much it snows overnight, you will always stay safe and secure. For two to three people, this is the perfect size to spread out and still have space for gear.

The elephant in the room is the sheer weight of this tent, it’s heavier than most double wall tents! Although the ACI 3 doesn’t belong in the same category as most lightweight tents with a single layer, it still deserves a place in this guide. The reason is that it is just so strong that it simply outperforms the lighter tents, but this is to be expected with such waterproof fabric.

VERDICT: If this tent was a kilogram lighter, it would be unbeatable, but because it weighs so much, it ranks much lower. Reasons to buy the Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 are 4-season weather protection, strong freestanding geodesic frame, fast and easy setup, and because it looks very cool. Unfortunately, we find it hard to justify buying this tent for review, but the users we have spoken to seem to love it.

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MIER Ultralight Tent 3-Season Backpacking Tent

MIER Ultralight Tent 3-Season Backpacking Tent for 1-Person or 2-Person Camping, Trekking, Kayaking, Climbing, Hiking (Alpenstock is NOT Included), Khaki, 2-Person

  • CAPACITY: 2 People
  • WEIGHT: 1265 g / 44.6 oz
  • INNER DIMENSIONS: 43 x 86 x 49 inches
  • PACK SIZE: 5.5 x 13 inches

The MIER Ultralight Tent 3-Season Backpacking Tent is an underrated lightweight tent that punches above its weight. It could be argued that the inner tent makes this a double-wall tent, but because it only has mesh and no fabric, we still put it in the single-wall category. If you really want to save weight, you can leave the inner compartment (480 g) at home and use it as more of a tarp shelter with a footprint.

Of all the single wall tents on this list, the MIER Ultralight Tent seems to deal with condensation the best. You can also get this in a single, but for the weight difference, it is better to stick with the double and spread out for the weight saving you make. You do need to use two hiking poles, but this is a benefit for most people who already carry them.

VERDICT: This is the kind of superlightweight tent some companies charge hundreds of dollars for, whereas this seems to be excellent value. Although this is made in China, and there are a few different brands offering the same thing, we think this is way above average. We give this our seal of approval, and you can let us know if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

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What is a Single Wall Tent?

A single wall tent has an outer shell but no inner tent lining. This saves weight and makes it easier to set up, but it can create issues with condensation. Single wall tents can range from tarp shelters with no floor and hooped bivvy bags to fully geodesic structures with just one layer of material protection. Because there is no inner tent for backup, it is essential that single wall tents are totally waterproof and has some form of ventilation.

Single Wall Vs Double Walled Tents

There are pros and cons of using a single wall tent vs a double wall tent or even triple walled tents with insulation. Here are the benefits and downsides to both types of tent:

Benefits of Single Wall Tents

The benefits of single wall tents are that they are often incredibly lightweight and compact for their lack of an inner tent. This makes them ideal for long-distance hikes and staying fast and nimble on the trail or when climbing. Single wall tents are also the easiest to put up and take down, which is a bonus if it is raining as you pitch.

The Problem with Single Wall Tents

The problem with single-wall tents is that they often suffer from condensation, which can soak your sleeping bag if it touches the wall at night. This can be helped with proper ventilation and pitching somewhere with a breeze but this doesn’t always work.

Benefits of Double Wall Tents

The benefits of double wall tents are that they offer better climate control and offer better protection from both wind and condensation on the inside of your tent. It is easier to stay dry and comfortable when you can leave wet gear in the porch and step into a dry zone. Another benefit is bug protection which in some places is crucial to getting any sleep.

Problems with Double Wall Tents

The problems with double-wall tents are that they are heavier and bulkier to carry due to the extra material and zips. You can get incredibly lightweight double wall tents, but you end up paying a lot of money, and the fabric is very thin.

 

What to Look for in a Single Wall Tent

When looking for the best single wall tent for camping, here are some of the features you should consider:

Weight

Weight is a big one and often the reason for desiring or switching to a single wall design. The most lightweight options will start at just over an ounce and require a hiking pole or two to create the frame structure. Anything under 1,000 gams would be considered lightweight in our books, and anything up to 2 kilograms would be acceptable in most circumstances.

If your tent weighs more than 2 kilograms, then you should have a good reason for it. Either you need a tent that is strong for winter conditions, or you are providing shelter for multiple people. If you are sharing with multiple people, then you should still apply the same guidelines of around 0.5 – 2 kilograms per person.

Inner Dimensions

The inner dimensions of a single wall tent are often the same as the outer dimensions unless there is some kind of bathtub floor and inner netting pod. You should match the inner dimensions of a tent to your individual needs. For instance, if you are 6 ft 5 inches, then you need a Tent that is long enough. If you have a lot of gear, a dog, or a partner, then you also need to consider the width to make sure it will fit your sleeping pads.

Pack Size

Single-wall tents often compress down very small, which can be a big bonus. Packsize might not be important for some, but if you only have limited space in your pack and need to carry a lot of supplies, then a compact tent is ideal. As a rough guide to single wall tent pack size, we would suggest anywhere from 5 x 9 inches to 10 x 5 inches as being competitive.

Season Rating

Most single wall tents are designed for spring and summer use, with many being suitable for autumn too, but only a few are rated as 4-season. In order to survive harsh weather like wind and snowfall, the tent structure needs to be strong and freestanding, and the walls should be steep to shed snow. There are two tents in this guide that meet the 4-season standard, while the rest are three seasons or less.

Waterproofing

Because there is only one layer of material to keep you dry, it needs to be extra waterproof. Anything over 1,200mm HH will do this; however, if you can get closer to 3,000, we would feel more comfortable. You can, of course, improve tent waterproofing with sprays and sealants, but it is something to consider for sure.

Wind Resistance

Using a single wall tent in high winds can be risky business if it is of the tarp tent style. To mitigate the risk, try and avoid pitches that are too exposed, angle your tent to deflect the wind, and pitch the sides low to the ground. The pyramid-style tents, I feel, do flap around in the wind but it doesn’t matter which direction it is coming from. Dome tents are stronger in the wind but suffer more when it hits the side on.

Ventilation

Ventilation is key with single wall tents as the condensation build-up can be a real problem otherwise. Ventilation openings help to improve airflow, or you can pitch the edges slightly higher off the ground to let a breeze through. It helps to have a bathtub floor if you lift the edges higher, as this helps to block the wind from making you cold at night. Leaving the door open helps a lot, so long as it doesn’t rain.

Pole System

Does your single-wall tent include tent poles, or do you need to incorporate hiking poles? If you already use hiking poles, then getting a tent that doesn’t require you to carry pokes is a huge weight saving. You can also get adjustable tarp poles, which work just as well. Single-pole tents are typically less stable than ones that use multiple poles, which can impact your level of protection and comfort.

Wall Angle

The angle of the wall is important for single wall tents because the steeper they are, the better they cope with rain and snow on the outside and condensation buildup on the inside. That being said, a more domed or aerodynamic design is better at deflecting the wind, so we think the balance lies somewhere in the middle.

Footprint

Does your single wall tent include a footprint or flooring? If it does, then great; if not, then you can just use a tarp underneath your tent. A footprint is important to keep moisture from rising from the ground to cause condensation and to protect your sleeping pad and bag from the ground. Even a bin bag is better than nothing and will improve your comfort, we promise.

Bug Netting

We would guess that around half of single-wall tents feature some form of bug mesh, and the other half don’t. We have had too many bad experiences with swarms of mosquitos and so we are biased to recommend bug netting if you can. If your single-wall tent doesn’t have any bug netting, you can always add your own.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Green 1 Person Ultralight Tent. 26 oz. Backpacking Tent. 100% Silicone Coated Polyester Material for Reduced Fabric Stretch & Volume. Trekking Pole Setup.

Ultralightweight Single Wall Tent Brands

There are some tents that didn’t make it on the tour guide because we couldn’t find anyone who had one to test or speak with, but we are aware they have built a strong reputation with thru-hikers.

Gossamer Gear

Gossamer Gear is another well-known brand in the lightweight hiking gear community, but again, they have never tested their shelters. We believe they only have a one and 2-person model aptly named the ‘one’ and ‘two.’ They have built their reputation mostly with lightweight backpacks that thru-hikers love, but their venture into tents looks promising.

Tarp Tent

We used to own a Tarp Tent many years ago but can’t find it anywhere and don’t remember the model. Still, we wanted to mention them in this guide as they are specialists in the single wall tent design, which weighs very little and packs down very small. You will have to seal the seams yourself, and the condensation has been an issue for them in the past, but they are still worth a look.

Zpacks

Zpacks are known for making specialist hiking and camping gear that is extremely lightweight and usually made from Dyneema® Composite Fabric (formally known as cuben fiber). They have over a dozen tent designs, with many of them only having a single outer layer and no inner tent. We would love to test one but struggle with the high price tag when the ultra-thin material is so vulnerable to being damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions About Single Wall Tents

Here are some questions we couldn’t find answers to when researching this guide, and so we hope they help someone else save some time.

Are Single Wall Tents Worth it?

You will often save money when you buy a single-wall tent vs a double-wall tent, and considering they weigh a lot less, they are absolutely worth it. They are not always suitable for winter camping, but for spring, summer, and most of autumn, they are very effective.

Are Single Wall Tents Waterproof?

All of the single-wall tents in this guide are made from 100% waterproof materials. However, there are some that may require some additional seam sealant to make them 100% waterproof along the stitching and seams. You can use waterproofing sprays to improve resistance, but it is better not to have to rely on this.

Can You Put a Tarp Over a Single Layer Tent?

If you put a tarp over your single layer tent then you may as well get a standard double-wall tent. That being said, yes, you can, and it does help to improve the waterproofing but actually makes the ventilation worse.

Are Single Wall Tents Warmer or Colder than Double Layer Tents?

Double wall tents are warmer than single layer tents as they create a space for warm air to be trapped around you and bring up the temperature. The difference is negligible, but still, if you are looking for warmth outside of your sleeping bag, then a double layer tent is probably best.

How Do You Stop Condensation on a Single Wall Tent?

To stop condensation from building on the inside walls of your single-layer tent, you can try to improve ventilation and airflow, or you can use a sponge to wipe it off and wring outside. The second one is more of a patch to the problem, but it works, and everything else we have tried doesn’t.

 


We hope you found everything you need in this guide to the best single wall tents. Get in touch or leave a comment if you have any questions.

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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