A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
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Last updated: August 07, 2021
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Having the right tent for outdoor activities is extremely important. If you go out in the wilderness, you want to make sure that your shelter provides all the safety required. Choosing the best backpacking tent for your needs is crucial, as it can affect the quality of your camping trip. Durability, comfort, and light weight are the major three factors you need to look out for when searching for a good product.
For this review of the best backpacking tents, our team has examined 43 different models and included the top ten of them. We made sure to jot down affordable and long-lasting choices for our customers. Our favorite one was the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 thanks to its dual vestibules, large interior area, and excellent durability. If you want to check other models, we have nine more backpacking tents on our list for you.
If you’re looking for the best ultralight backpacking tent, you need to consider some important factors. For instance, you need to think of the head height and occupancy to see if you can sit up straight in it and how many people can fit inside it. You’ll also need to check the season and waterproof ratings. Moreover, we will discuss the packed and trail weight here. For this article, our team has spent more than 60 hours to gather all the information that can help you make your decision. We have visited official websites and consulted experts to find only the best products. Continue reading, and after the detailed reviews of each product, we have our buying guide section, where you can find more factors that are essential for a backpacker.
The Copper Spur HV UL appears to be our Editor’s Choice. The spacious pole construction creates more capacity and steeper walls. The Copper Spur series is known for its solid and lightweight features, and this particular model comes up to its parent model’s standards.
The volume and capacity are notable features, but there are other aspects, which make this tent cozy and versatile. It has two large zipper doors for an easy entry and getaway. Additionally, it also sports a simple yet modern design. The tent’s seams are closed with a water-resistant, polyurethane tape. The floor is made of durable material and has a 1200mm waterproof rating.
Large windows and zip-on doors provide sufficient ventilation, making this model one the best backpacking tents. The tent’s extremely lightweight feature is definitely a bonus. The 4-way, large-volume hub is known for its increased strength. The ripstop nylon is way sturdier compared to its competitors. This feature enhances the durability of the product and doesn’t wear off easily. It can be resistant to any kind of climatic changes.
Another added feature is the large pockets, with the massive ceiling pocket providing plenty of room for your items. There are also 8 aluminum J stakes. The high volume is a bonus feature, which creates extra space for more people, allowing you to eat and sleep there. The tent weighs around 3.1lbs, and the best part about it is that it seems quite large but is easy to carry around. This model is popular for being the best ultra-lightweight backpacking tent. Additionally, you can choose a model to accommodate up to 4 persons or get one for solo trips. However, you must be gentle with zippers as they tend to break if you apply more force.
What do we love it for?
Two large doors
Adequate balance of weight and space
Extremely durable and can stand up against rough weather conditions
The Hyke & Byke Zion 1P is an ideal affordable option for any outdoor adventure. It’s lightweight, but it’s also quite tough. The floor and rainfly are made with polyester non-stretch fabric. This material provides a strong barrier that keeps you protected.
While we are focusing on a model that can accommodate two people, there is also a smaller option. It comes with twelve 7000 aluminum alloy stakes and reflective guy lines with tension lock cord adjustment. If you’re worried that setting up a tent can take some time, you can rest assured that this task is going to be a breeze with this one. The tent can be assembled with 2 poles with a clip-pole attachment for convenient setup. You will also love proper ventilation and a lighter weight. This tent is perfect for all kinds of hiking and can be used during 3 seasons.
The neat aluminum pole design enables backpackers to easily carry the tent, especially with a trail weight of a tad over 3.8lbs. Furthermore, this tent comes with a 5000 PU footprint. Inside, you will find a detectable mesh ceiling pocket. There are also 2 corner pockets and large vestibules for your gear. Unfortunately, a few customers reported that they have received a damaged tent and had to wait for the replacement.
Why is it special?
Proper ventilation system
Lightweight material enables tent to be easily set up
This tent can be considered as one of the best 3-season backpacking tents. Its latest design and numerous features make it a personal crowd favorite designed for two people. The floor has plenty of space, providing up to 29 square feet of floor area, and the interior height measures up to 39 inches. The floor fabric is made of ripstop nylon. The MSR Hubba Hubba NX-2 Person Lightweight Backpacking tent is the perfect outdoor gear for all travelers.
The floor section provides good weather protection. The tent also showcases one unified hub-and-pole system and weighs around 3.5lbs. One standout feature about this tent is its resistance against climatic changes. It comes with a strong coating, called Xtreme Shield Waterproof Coating. This premium product lasts longer than other models. And the Easton Syclone Poles can withstand some storms.
If you want to carry less weight, this tent is perfect for you. For quick-pace traveling, you can leave behind the rest of the tent and carry a minimalist setup, which comprises of poles, footprint, and rainfly. There are two vestibules which provide sufficient space, up to 8.75 square feet on each side, and it also has two doors. The overall product’s warranty lasts 3 years. Although a few buyers reported that their tent had a bad smell upon delivery, it disappeared as soon as it is was set up outside.
Why is it special?
Designed to resist against harsh weather conditions
If you’re a beginner or a seasoned backpacker, this amazing outdoor gear can be perfect for you. It has a low price and provides the comfort and pros of lightweight, sturdy construction. This specific model has plenty of space for two people and boasts two doors for convenience. There are 2 vestibules which will help in keeping your gear dry and secure. The tent is protected from elements with a full-coverage fly with vents. It is seam-taped and doesn’t let water inside the tent, while the fresh air can pass through. And the mesh can stop the insects from getting inside.
The tent has a lot of headspace thanks to the vertical walls that create a wide sleeping area. The floor has straight edges, is catenary cut, and has a seam-taped surface, preventing any leaks. You also store your items in a lampshade pocket, which functions as a headlamp holder.
The tent is relatively easy to set up. It sports color-coded “easy pitch” clips and poles, which makes pitching the tent a whole lot simpler. The product also comes with a footprint. Another interesting feature is the strategic clip placement, which increases the volume of the tent’s interior. It has a simple, freestanding design and is available in neutral colors. However, it could have sturdier zippers, so you must be careful with them.
This tent is known for being extremely lightweight and durable. It has a nylon ripstop covering with silicone repellent, which doesn’t let water inside the tent. It also features 2 large doors and 2 vestibules, creating more space and sufficient gear coverage for each individual.
The floor fabric is made of ripstop nylon as well. The tent contains a white no-see-um mesh to provide better privacy and protection from insects. You can even stargaze, during the night, as the black mesh becomes transparent in the dark. The tent is quick and easy to set up due to the one-piece pole hubbed system. The system allows for a freestanding support and reduces tent weight. The pole clip also increases head space and reduces fly tension.
That space is also further increased because of the volumizing guyouts. This tool attaches the inner tent to the rainfly and then pulls the sidewalls in an outward direction, which creates more capacity. An attractive thing about this model is the Divvy dual stage stuff-sack. The 2-stage bag system enables the components to be organized. You can easily split the load with a partner.
The model has light pockets, and they are of great help in providing and placing adequate light, inside the tent. The pockets have a light-diffusing fabric, and they appear as lanterns. The longevity of the tent is excellent because of the seam construction. Additionally, the floor is seam-taped. Although this product is not that cheap, you get a lifetime warranty.
The affordable Sierra Clip Flashlight 2 is one of Sierra’s best-selling and iconic tents. This is due to the ample space you get with perfect ventilation. Its single vestibule offers easy access while the wings can be deployed for some night time star gazing.
With its 2-pole setup, the tent can be assembled and packed quickly without hassle even for casual campers. There are no requirements of long sleeves to run poles from inside of them. However, the stakes are a bit flimsy, so you might have to use something to ensure they sit in the ground properly.
Once you enter inside, there is ample room for two, while there are also side pockets to store your gear. For people with normal height, the tent allows them to comfortably sleep in with their heads to be at the tent’s entrance. You can also create an awning with it. If it gets windy, you can simply undo it to provide better protection against the cool breeze.
Inside, you can place a headlamp in the pouch, illuminating the entire tent. In rainy weather, the nylon floor keeps the water from getting inside. The tent features thick fabric, keeping the rain from entering the interior. However the fabric can get a bit flappy when the winds started speed up and the stakes are somewhat flimsy. The overall build quality of the tent allows it to withstand different conditions, and with proper care, this tent can last for years to come. Moreover, there is a lifetime warranty to make sure that this product is durable.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 takes the best features of some of the most popular tents and offers it in a single, light package. Weighing at about 2 pounds and 8 ounces, this tent definitely offers a lot more for what it weighs. It’s semi-freestanding, which makes it lighter than the competitors.
Constructed with mesh and thin nylon, it comes with the ultralight DAC poles that allow it to be a big tent in a small package. This makes it really easy to pack and carry when backpacking.
Even though light-weighted tents usually don’t offer enough interior space, that is not the case here. With 28 sq. ft. of space, there is enough room for two. The center ridgepole stretches the sidewalls, making it easy for two people to sit and sleep there. The feet area provides a bit more comfort for the campers, while also giving you some room for your items. You get 2 doors and vestibules with this tent.
What it lacks in the weight it also lacks in durability. The rainfly and the 15-denier floor are thin, and, therefore, this tent should be handled with care.
Although it could be a bit sturdier, it still can withstand the force of nature. However, you will need to set it up really well to ensure that all the guylines are done properly. This way, the Tiger Wall UL2 will offer plenty of protection against winds and rain.
The Mountainsmith Morrison EVO 2 is a feature-full and stealthy tent that offers comfortable lounging at a great price. Yes, it’s a bit on the heavier side, so be mindful of that when planning to carry it around the whole day long. However, once opened and set up, it’s a very cozy shelter for the outdoors.
With 36 square feet of main floor space, it is one of the most spacious tents out there. Additionally, its 45″ inch height will let you move inside freely. To make it even more spacious and comfortable, the manufacturer provided a design with 2 doors and vestibules with zips that open up almost all the away, which is perfect for ventilation. There is also space to store your gear, items, and clothes.
The tent has been constructed with 185T polyester rainfly and 2000mm polyurethane coating. This makes it a bit heavy and less breathable but allows the interior to stay warm and cozy. It has a 190T polyester floor with 5,000mm polyurethane coating, which helps it to withstand heavy rains.
With its simple 2-pole design and guylines attached to the fly out of the box, the Morrison EVO 2 can be set up easily. Because it uses polyurethane coating, make sure to dry it out properly before storing it. This will ensure the longevity of the tent.
Making it to our list as one of the most straight forward designs, this low-cost tent is perfect for those who wish to go outdoors on a budget. It has a single door vestibule, making it a more secure tent to protect the 7.85 sq. ft. storage space.
The Kelty Late Start 2 offers an interior space of 29.5 sq. ft., which is perfect for a single person, but two of you can fit inside easily. While it’s a budget tent with lesser space, it still offers a sleeping length of 6 feet. Each of the 2 sides has a pocket to store your gear.
It can hold well against harsh weather, and the setup process is incredibly simple. All you have to do is to insert the pole ends into sleeves at the corners. With its 2-pole structure, it will take only a few minutes to create a perfect shelter.
Apart from the vestibule, there are no other vents on the fly other than the door. With the trail weight at just 4 lbs., it shouldn’t be hard to carry with you. Its pole structure is quite sturdy, which is why it can be used almost everywhere. When packed, it doesn’t really require a lot of space.
The KIKILIVE Ultralight 3-Season Backpacking tent is one of the best lightweight backpacking tents in the market. The trail weight is no more than 2.9 lbs, making it easy to carry even on extended hikes and backpacking trips. Additionally, it has been designed to be easy to set up and pack, with the packing size being 16.9 x 5.5 inches. This makes it even easier to carry.
In order to provide good water resistance during rains, the tent’s fly has been constructed of 15D silicon-coated nylon. Not only does this help the tent be ultralight, but also it ensures excellent protection from elements. Moreover, seam-taped rainfly makes it repel rain even better.
The walls of the tent are made from no-see-um mesh, which allows increased airflow and ventilation. The pockets are also made from the same material, and they can be used to store small gear items.
The tent is fairly easy to set up. However, you will need to use trekking poles as they are not included in the package. There are two doors with vestibules that are located on the different ends of the tent to make it easier for both travelers to enter and exit without disturbing each other.
The KIKILIVE Ultralight 3-Season Backpacking tent can also be used for stargazing without putting up the rainfly. Additionally, it can also be set up as a tarp-tent.
What makes it special?
Easy to carry on long hikes
Perfect weather protection
What cons did we find?
No poles included in the package
Things to Consider
With so many models available on the market, it can be hard to make the right choice. Each tent comes with its unique features, and they all are made of different fabrics. Now that you’ve looked through our list of the 10 best backpacking tents, we are going to share some additional information with you. This should help you learn exactly what you are buying. Whether you are going for a casual backpacking trip, or extended hiking in the wild outdoors, you need a tent that will ensure your comfort on this journey.
How to pick the best backpacking tent
In this section, we will tell you more about the features of the backpacking tents. We will cover everything from the tent’s size and inner space, ventilation, weight, and a waterproof rating to the ease of setting up and more. Unless you have thousands of dollars to throw away, you need to make sure that you choose a tent that works best for your particular needs. Whichever backpacking tent meets your specific requirements, that will be the best one for you!
Tent size and inner space
When going camping or hiking, especially when you are planning to spend your nights under the sky, you need a tent that has ample interior space. After all, you’ll be needing the rest after the tiring walks and climbs, so having enough legroom is important.
You must have ample floor size too so you can lie down easily with your legs stretched. This becomes even more critical if you’re sharing a tent with someone. Also, there are bigger tents that can easily accommodate two or more persons, but they tend to be on the heavier side when it comes to carrying them.
This is an important feature for a tent because you want to have easier access inside. A vestibule offers more room for the gear that you carry with you.
Tents have limited space, so having any extra area that allows you to store your gear is simply more convenient.
Depending on the tent, you will either get a single or 2 doors for entry and exit. Even though 1 door may be enough, having 2 can be more convenient if there is more than 1 person inside, making it simpler for you to enter and exit without disturbing the other.
If you’re going camping alone, or will not be sharing the tent, a single door and vestibule tent will be enough for you. However, if you are planning to use it for two people, it would be best to go for one that has 2 vestibules, like the Hyke & Byke Zion 1P.
Ventilation is important when camping in the summer, spring, or autumn seasons. If it’s quite hot outside, you will want to get a tent that lets the fresh air in quite well. This depends on the construction and materials of the tent, and the more mesh parts it has, the more fresh air will pass through.
Because you will be using the tent for outdoor camping, you may be pestered with bugs and insects relentlessly. In order to avoid that and get a good night’s rest and sleep, you need the tent with the mesh so none of the creepy-crawlies can enter. Also, you’ll benefit from having the vents on the rainfly. This is the case with our Editor’s Choice, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.
Nature can be unpredictable, and you never know when you have a hail storm or a regular rain coming your way. When going camping, you need to be prepared for anything, which is why you should make sure that your tent has a good waterproof rating.
Waterproof ratings are given in millimeters (mm) and can range from as low as 800mm to 10,000mm. If you’re wondering what these numbers mean, then to put it simply, the higher the number, the more water-resistant that particular tent will be. You can find the ratings of the floor and fly water resistance in the product description.
For example, if a tent is rated at 5000mm like the KIKILIVE Ultralight 3-Season, it can take a 5000mm or 5-meter column of rainwater coming down on it. Anything above that, and it will start to leak.
If you’re going camping during heavy rain seasons, it will be highly advisable to pick one with a higher rating. And vice versa if it’s quite hot outside to provide better ventilation.
With the weather, you never know when things turn ugly. If you end up with a tent that’s not durable enough to withstand rain, chances are you’ll have a very difficult time in the wilderness. So, when going camping, make sure you have a tent that is constructed of strong materials such as polyester or nylon with waterproof coating.
The poles need to be strong enough to withstand the blows of the winds and rain, so as to keep the tent fixed at its spot. The poles are made of DAC aluminum, one of the toughest materials to ensure the sturdiness of tents, while also being light at the same time.
Packed and trail weight
Once you are on the trail, you will be carrying the tent, all packed and snug, on your back. If you are on a long hike with plenty of up and down hills, you will tire yourself before reaching the destination. This is why it’s important to have a tent that does not weigh so much.
But what does it mean by packed weight and trail weight? The packed weight is the weight of the entire package when you purchased the tent, including fly, guy lines, tent body, poles, patch kits, repair sleeves, and other accessories. The Trail weight consists of only the poles, tent body, and rainfly.
Now that you’ve reached your desired camping spot, you want to set up the tent as fast as possible so you can get the much-needed rest. How fast you can set up your backpacking tent depends on the number of poles and the quality of its construction. A lot of times, the flimsy design and cheap materials make it difficult to get things right.
Usually, it takes 10 to 20 minutes to set up the tent completely. This also depends on your experience in handling tents and whether you are setting up a new tent or have had the tent for some time.
For example, check the Kelty Late Start 2, which comes with a 2-pole design and is incredibly easy to set up.
What really sets a tent apart from competitors is the extra features it offers. These features can make a big difference in the overall experience of the camper. You will be staying the night in the outdoors, away from civilization and other comforts, which is why it is important to put some extra thought into these things
For instance, you will probably need to have reflective guy lines on the tent as it will make it visible during the night. You also need a spot to store your gear, which is why it helps to have pockets inside the tent. Additionally, having lamp hangers will allow you to brighten up the nights.
When buying a tent, don’t forget to check the warranty as you never know when you might have to get it replaced due to some faults or damages. Most good companies offer lifetime warranties, but having a 5-year warranty is good enough as well.
No matter which tent you end up liking the most, it all comes down to whether you can afford it or not. After all, there are tents available that cost thousands of dollars, but not everyone has that amount of money lying around to spend on a tent. And the reason why this list can help is that it introduces both cheaper and expensive models for you to choose from.
Depending on your budget, if you are looking for something that offers good value for money, Hyke & Byke Zion 1P is the perfect choice at $90. It offers great value for money and doesn’t take much time to set up.
However, if you have the budget to get something a bit more on the costly side, consider the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, which runs at $450. This tent can withstand almost any weather conditions and provides plenty of room for your gear.
Also, you can find an excellent option somewhere in between, which will be able to provide you with everything you need.
In the end, it all depends on your specific camping requirements, and if the tent actually fits your budget.
This actually depends on how many people will be sleeping in a tent. If you are sharing the tent with someone, you will need to carry a tent that can easily accommodate 2 persons. There are tents that are ultralight, yet allow two people to spend the night easily. Make sure that you don’t end up carrying more weight than you need to. If you are planning to sleep there alone, it would be best to go with a tent that is ultralight and fits a single occupant.
The main difference here is the weight. Backpacking tents are much lighter than regular ones. You’ll be carrying backpacking tents on your back, so they shouldn’t be too heavy, especially if your trip lasts the whole day. Moreover, backpacking tents are fast to set up. You’ll probably be tired after hiking, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort setting up the tent. Backpacking tents are very easy to carry. This means they fold into a smaller and more easily manageable unit, which is a big help when you’re hiking.
Most of the times, the answer is no, as not all tents come with footprints. However, even though it depends on your preference, a tent footprint is great to have as it protects the tent’s underside from moisture and abrasion. Not only does this help in making it more comfy for the traveler by keeping it drier, but it also extends the lifespan of the tent. This is especially true when camping on a rough surface, where it can greatly damage the floor of the tent. If you prefer to keep your investment in good shape for a longer period of time, it would be better to have a footprint.
Now that you know everything about these products, it’s time to focus our attention on our top 3 picks.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 has won the Editor’s Choice nomination for being the best of the best. It has an incredible structure, matched with a spacious pole construction with more capacity, excellent ventilation thanks to the large windows, and its light weight. All these add up to making it the best ultra-lightweight backpacking tent.
Secondly, the Hyke & Byke Zion 1P is our Best Value pick. Not only does it offer great features, but it also won’t cost the earth, while also offering great airflow and ease of set up.
Finally, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX appears to be out Premium Pick because it can withstand harsh weather conditions, has multiple pockets for your items, and a lot of space for your gear.
So, now that you have the best backpacking tents in front of you, there is nothing stopping you from getting the one that you want to enjoy the great outdoors in!