Double Wall


A typical generic double wall tent, with the separate rain fly attached (in red).

Double wall shelters are the most common type of shelters you will find at campsites. Until the recent ultralight single wall trend, the majority of shelters on the trail were double wall.

Free standing double wall shelters are a great option when you aren’t sure of the quality of the terrain or your ability to use tent stakes in the ground; free standing tents can remain erect without stakes in non windy conditions.

Choosing a double wall shelter usually offers the user more room inside, and less moisture/condensation collecting in the interior; thanks to the space between the rain fly and the tent body itself, double wall shelters have intrinsically superior ventilation.

High end double wall tents are starting to get down into the sub 2 pound range, INCLUDING POLES! Crazy! Unless you are trying to achieve a super low base weight and shave every gram and ounce you can, at the low weights manufacturers are able to produce shelters at nowadays, an ultralight double wall shelter seems to be the obvious choice as far as “comfort to weight ratio”.

The following are some of the Double Wall Shelters I’ve used and liked (or not) on the trail:



Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Tent – 1 Person – Retail $349.99

Trail Weight: 765g1lb 11oz 
Packed Weight: 936g2lb 1oz
Footprint Weight: 85g /3oz 
Fast Fly Weight:
Packed Size: 4″ x 19″ / 10 x 48cm
Vestibule Area: 5 sqft / 0.5 sqm
Sleeps: 1

The HV UL was, until the Platinum series came out, the lightest weight free standing double walled shelter in Big Agnes’s collection. The main difference between the Fly Creek HV UL and the Fly Creek HV1 Platinum is that the Platinum uses less nylon and more mesh on the interior wall, helping to shave off  4 ounces from its total trail weight.

Other big differences include the UL’s larger packed size, heavier rain fly (which would only be a matter of comparison if you are using only the rain fly as a tarp/shelter on its own), and the Platinum’s heavier footprint.  Floor/inside square footage for the UL is not listed, but the two Fly Creek shelters look to be of similar size.

I would not categorize either Flycreek shelter as truly “freestanding” because without stakes, the walls of the shelter slack inwards, compromising performance.




Big Agnes – “Fly Creek HV Platinum” Tent, 1 Person – $499

Trail Weight: 652g / 1lb 7oz 
Packed Weight: 822g / 1lb 13oz
Footprint Weight: 113g / 4oz
Fast Fly Weight:
Interior Area: 20 sq ft
Packed Size: 4″ x 15″ / 10 x 38cm
Vestibule Area: 5 sq ft / 0.5 sqm
Floor Area: 20 sqft / 1.9sqm

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Platinum series are the newest additions to the Fly Creek family, which already included some of the lightest double wall free standing tents on the market.

The Fly Creek HV Platinum builds on the success of the extremely popular Fly Creek HV UL tent. The basic shape and footprint have remained the same, but weight has been shaved off by using more super ultralight mesh in the body of the tent – except for the silicone treated nylon rip-stop bathtub floor, the entire tent is mesh.

Both the bathtub floor and the rain fly are silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a 1200mm polyurethane coating, meaning they are very waterproof.

I would not categorize either Flycreek shelter as truly “freestanding” because without stakes, the walls of the shelter slack inwards, compromising performance.







Terra Nova “Laser Ultra” 1 3-Season Backpacking Tent – $899

Trail Weight: 482g / 1lb 1oz   (Guy line only set up – does not include poles)
Packed Weight: 567g / 1lb 4oz  (Including poles)
Fastpack Weight: 385g / 13.58 oz   (Fly only)
Interior Area: 14 sq ft / 1.3 sq m
Vestibule Area:
2.64 sq ft / 0.25 sq m
Floor & Fly Fabric: ULTRA fabric 10000 mm
Poles: 7.55 mm Carbon Fiber
Packed Size: 3.1 x 13.8 in / 8 x 35 cm
Sleeps: 1

The Terra Nova “Laser Ultra” is not a free standing shelter (it requires 4 guy lines, as well as stakes, to set up) but it is double walled and has been awarded the Guinness World Record for the lightest double wall shelter in the world!

That’s right, if you have $900 bucks to invest in a shelter, you can own the world’s lightest double wall shelter. Those extra dollars buy you more than just a trail weight 6 ounces lighter than the next lightest double wall tent I know of; it also packs down to a very small packed size, several inches smaller than the Fly Creek tents, and its fabric has an exponentially higher waterproof rating, at 10000mm vs 1200mm of the Fly Creeks.

The 1 pound 1 ounce trail weight requires use of one extra long guy line (at the peak) along with 3 other “regular” length guy lines at the corners, to pitch the shelter with out the use of poles.

When using the poles to pitch, you still implement the guy lines, but the longer one is not necessary. Pitching with poles brings the weight of the Laser Ultra up to 1 pound 4 ounces; still almost a quarter pound lighter than the trail weight of the Fly Creek Platinum.

The 10000mm waterproof rating on the fly and floor of this shelter is insane. It means the fly and floor are completely waterproof. As long as your seams maintain their seals, you will be dry.

It is worth noting that the claimed pitch time on the Laser Ultra is 5 mins. It takes practice to get this shelter pitched in that time and trust me, 5 minutes is a looong time when it’s already raining.

Is an extra $400 dollars worth a couple of inches in packed volume, a quarter pound of weight savings, and the peace of mind that comes with a 10000mm rating? That’s up to you.





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