If you are a lover of long hikes and outdoor adventures involving sleeping under the stars, then having the best backpacking tent for your needs is paramount.
It can be a game-changer for the comfort and enjoyment of your trip, both during the day whilst you are carrying it and at night whilst you sleep in it.
But with so many different choices available online and in stores today, how do you decide what you need from a backpacking tent?
Our guide will help you navigate the various features that make the best backpacking tent for your trip, as well as rounding up the top rated backpacking tents available right now.
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Our guide will help you navigate the the various features that make the best backpacking tent for your trip, as well as rounding up the top rated backpacking tents available right now.
|Sierra designs high route shelters
|Solo backpacking tent
|800g (1.8 pounds)
|[amazon_link asins='B06ZZCVQLG' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='438b2e5f-1301-11e8-88a0-519c1e88e0e7']
|Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent
|Lightweight 2-person backpacking tent
|1.5 kilos (3.5 pounds)
|[amazon_link asins='B00UM2K9VQ' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='12909eef-1302-11e8-b183-23f7bc9564fe']
|Big Agnes - Copper Spur HV UL Tent
|3 or 4-person backpacking tent
|2.4 kg (5.3 pounds)
|[amazon_link asins='B01NCU9DVL' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='bf870813-1302-11e8-907b-d37c3462b6f7']
|Family 8-person tent
|9 kg (under 19 pounds)
|[amazon_link asins='B017B9PBOW' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='4cee8692-1303-11e8-8f87-2535350f97de']
|MSR Carbon Reflex 1 Tent
|660g (less than 1.5 pounds)
|[amazon_link asins='B073RTHSFP' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='b240c994-1303-11e8-a04b-37010da02d92']
|Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Tent
|[amazon_link asins='B01AYPSK7A' template='PriceLink' store='nomaisbeau-20' marketplace='US' link_id='11c04466-1304-11e8-b63c-010f8b0ac3cf']
Features of backpacking tents
Season rating is an indicator of the kinds of weather conditions a tent can stand up to. Tents are given a rating of 3, 4 or even 5 seasons. The best 3 season tent will see you through spring, summer and autumnal conditions.
A 3 season tent will be a reasonably lightweight tent. However, for sleet or snow showers, or prolonged cold weather you will need a heavier and sturdier 4 or even 5 season tent.
Keeping pack weight low is obviously a key consideration in the comfort of trekking for a long time with your shelter on your back. However even the best lightweight tent can come at the expense of other features such as interior space, durability or price.
If having an ultralight tent in your pack is the most important consideration for you, then we have included a couple in this roundup.
2-wall tents have an inner tent, and an outer waterproof layer. Such construction helps to keep the inside of the tent dry and free from condensation. However, the 2 wall construction does have the tradeoff of additional pack weight.
Single wall construction can be fine for camping out in dry climates. Some models of ultralight tents will often forego the 2-wall con-struction to save on packweight.
All tents listed in this post – even the ultralight ones – are 2-wall tents.
Tents may be freestanding, which means that they can be erected anywhere including on solid surfaces where pegs cannot be driven into the ground. They are generally heavier, but easier to set up. Non-freestanding tents require trekking poles and guy lines with pegs in or-der to stand upright.
Capacity and interior space
Capacity refers to the number of people that the tent will sleep however interior space may differ between different tents depending on the amount of head or shoulder room available. The best 2 man tent may offer enough space to comfortably sleep 2 people plus backpacks within the interior space.
Conversely, a one person backpacking tent may only be roomy enough for one person to lie flat with their backpack outside in the vestibule. Hence, the best hiking tent for your needs will depend on how much interior space you need to be comfortable.
Doors and vestibule space
Depending on the design, a two person tent is usually better with two doors and vestibule spaces. This avoids one person crawling over the other to get in or out of the tent. Vestibule space also means storage for backpacks, so two doors and vestibules is double the comfort.
Any lightweight fabric is vulnerable to sharp objects however using a heavier tent fabric will mean carrying more pack weight. If you take care of a lightweight tent, there is no reason it won’t last for a good few seasons.
You can get a very decent 2 person backpacking tent at a very low cost if you are shopping purely for budget. However, considering all the other factors above, if you want to get the best backpacking tent that offers maximum durability, construction, interior space and weather protection at a minimal pack weight, then you will have to compromise on price.
Best backpacking tent
These backpacking tent reviews round up the best tents for different sizes and requirements based on the various features listed above.
Best Solo Backpacking Tent
Our vote for the best one man tent is the Sierra Designs High Route. This is a non-freestanding tent, however that does not distract from the long list of features that set this apart as the best 1 person tent we have found. It offers 3 season weathering plus protection in moderate winters which should satisfy the hardiest of hikers.
It has a simple, fast and intuitive setup – the outer tarp should be set up first which is perfect for keeping the inner tent dry if you are stopping mid-storm.
However, what clinches it as the best one man tent for us is the 2-door design and super-generous dimensions – 36 square feet of space for a one-man tent. Despite this, it weighs in at just over 800g (1.8 pounds). Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best 2 person backpacking tent
The Nemo Dagger Ultralight is our pick for the best 2 person camping tent. It offers two doors, very spacious vestibules and a symmetrical ceiling. This design maximises interior comfort which was an important consideration when selecting the best two man tent for this list.
It also has an extremely durable floor and packs in at just over 1.5 kilos (3.5 pounds) making it a very lightweight 2 person tent for backpacking. Check the latest price on Amazon.
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Best 3 or 4 person backpacking tent
Our top pick for the best 4 person backpacking tent is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL tent. This tent offers excellent condensation control, as well as 2 doors and larger vestibules for maximising space and sleeping comfort. It also packs in at only at only 2.4kg (5.3 pounds).
With an easy setup as well as interior pockets for organising smaller items like phones, it is easy to see why it takes the pick for best 4 man tent on our list.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur is also available as a 1, 2 or 3 person tent depending on your own backpacking needs. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best family tent
Timber RidgeIf you are looking to shelter more than 4 people in a single tent, then you may want to con-sider purchasing a 2 room tent that offers dividing space for privacy.
However, tents that berth 6+ people have a starting weight of around 8kg. Generally this makes them too heavy for one person to comfortably carry together with a standard backpack for long hikes.
If you are set on sleeping in one tent as a family or group (and can agree on a fair distribution of pack weight!) then this Timber Ridge 8-berther is a 2 room tent that weighs in at under 9 kilos.
It is easy to set up and has 2 separate doors and vestibules. It comes at a great price for its size, making it the best budget backpacking tent we have found. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best ultralight tent for one person
If weight is your primary consideration, then we have you covered with not one, but two op-tions for the best 1 person tent and the best 2 person tent in the ultralight category.
For the solo ultralight backpacker, the MSR Carbon Reflex tent comes in at a featherlight 660g (less than 1.5 pounds) and still keeps the 2-wall construction.
Being so lightweight and packing tiny means it does compromise somewhat on interior space and comfort, and at 17 square feet of floor space, it is definitely not a 2 person tent even at a stretch. However, it is perfect for the serious hiker looking to trek comfortably with a sturdy, lightweight weather-proof tent. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best ultralight tent for 2 people
Big Agnes Fly Creek Tent Best lightweight backpacking tent for two people is the Big Agnes Fly Creek tent. Packing in at just over 1.1kg (2.5lb), it is one of the most lightweight 2 person tents we have found.
The weight and size do mean it again compromises on interior space. It can work as a freestanding option if needed, however if it is possible to stake out then interior space is better maximised. Check the latest price on Amazon.
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We hope that this buying guide will help you to find the best backpacking tent for your pack-ing and adventuring needs. As a final watch out – when buying a tent online make sure that you test it out at home before taking it out on your hiking trips.
You can usually return or ex-change an unused tent if it turns out not to match the specifications needed for your trips. Otherwise, happy camping!