To put it in a nutshell, the best backpacking tent isn’t overly large, has tough materials that can handle virtually any weather conditions and is light enough to pack down small and carry on your trip. The last couple of decades have done wonders for camping because tents now use poles that are stronger yet lighter than before and sport fabrics that avoid tearing, are lighter than previous ones and still manage to hold their own.
Having a lightweight backpacking tent is extremely useful when going to one or more locations. Carrying around dead weight is the last thing any camper wants to do as we’re often walking with all our gear on our backs and not slung into the trunk. The best tents for camping may be a one person, two-person or even a 4-person one. It depends what your personal needs are. Be aware though that if you’re bringing along a dog, then you’ll want a two-person tent even if you’re otherwise traveling solo as single person tents don’t leave much room for fido to move around too Check out the following backpacking tent reviews to see which one will be perfect for your future camping needs. Even Complete your hiking kit with our well researched and tested reviews about sleeping bags and best camping tents.
Our Top 10 Backpacking Tents Are:
1. MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tentis a two-door, two-person tent that looks snazzy in red. It balances both practical use and its carrying weight nicely to not be too heavy to pack down and carry with you. The interior is simple and comfy, plus the build quality is good too.Putting up this tent and taking it down later isn’t cumbersome or requires much thought. The package at 3 pounds, 7 ounces is light because of good use of modern fabrics that don’t feel heavy. The floor is 30-denier for a thickness that won’t get holes in it from rough ground. There’s two doors making getting in and out easy. The total floor space is 29 square feet which is ample for two people to spread out.
The rip-stop nylon walls are 20-denier, with the nylon mesh being 15-denier. The rain gutter along the doors avoid rain coming in when unzipping it. There’s also two vestibules on either side to store items away from the main floor area.
2. Big Agnes – Copper Spur HV UL Tent
The Big Agnes – Copper Spur tent is a colorful durable product that uses a double rip-stop material that adds 20 percent greater strength to prevent fabric tears. Both the rainfly and the floor enjoy the same improvements.The tent is available in two vibrant color themes: grey and orange, or olive green. There are interior pockets to store media above the sleeping place.
Every seam is designed to be waterproof. The tape around the seams is made from polyurethane but no solvent was used. The two doors use 20-denier material like the rest of the tent.
Clips made from light plastic secure each part of the tent to the frame. The frame is light and the materials are fairly thin. It contributes to the 2-pound, 12-ounce weight. The tent walls are almost vertical which ensures more internal space inside.
3. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
The Mountainsmith Morrison is a tent designed for use through three of the 4 annual seasons. It has a distinctive dome-like shape and suits two people well. It has a green and white exterior coloring.The tent’s main material is polyester. There’s two doors for easy access and two vestibules provided too. There is convenient mesh wall ventilation which lets air circulate. The floor provides 35 square feet of space to move around in and sleep side-by-side at night. The metal poles are made from 7000 Series aluminum for strength and durability despite their lighter weight profile. The tent is color coded to make it easier to erect. The ceiling can be adjusted and there are useful mesh storage pockets in the interior to stash items safely and off the floor to avoid tripping. The vestibule offers 14 square feet of extra storage which makes the tent far more usable than if it didn’t have this feature. Quality YKK zippers secure the doors.The four-pound, 11-ounce weight is worth the extra heft because of the waterproof features and space this affords for two people.
4. Nemo Dagger 2P Ultralight Roomy Backpacking Tent
The Nemo Dagger 2P Ultralight Roomy Backpacking Tentis one for two people in a modern design. It comes with a couple of doors, two vestibules for easy movement and backpack storage, and overhead areas to share light across the tent more evenly.The total floor area is 31 square feet and is made from 3,000mm nylon ripstop material. Both the ripstop and fly use 15-denier nylon with the overhead canopy using 20-denier. The height is better than most, so taller backpackers will enjoy the extra headroom with the Nemo Dagger.
The rainfly doesn’t fully cover the tent. The entrance and exit lack a covering there which isn’t ideal in rain that never ends. Ist in’t therefore the best waterproof tent though it’s clearly made from tough nylon that has waterproof properties.Whilst this model isn’t the best back packing tent you’ll ever find, it’s affordable, light and durable enough to be very useful for backpackers who are looking for flexibility and good value.
5. MSR Freelite 2
The MSR Freelite 2 is a backpacking tent designed for two people. It’s freestanding and light at only 2 pounds, 7 ounces. There are some trade-offs for the lighter weight though including 10-denier and 15-denier nylon instead of thicker nylon versions and a thinner flooring too.
Let’s start with the flooring; it’s 15-denier and coated to make it waterproof. The overhead canopy is a nylon mesh that’s 10-denier and the rain fly is 15-denier made from ripstop nylon just like with the flooring.There are two doors which are a generous size. The floor is 29 square feet that is plenty of space for two sleeping bags and stashing the gear.Overall, the trade-off here is lightness for thinner nylon. You may feel the earth below you a little more and in foul weather, the tent it likely to billow a bit more than a heavier one. Anyone with a dog should probably opt for a thicker tent just to be safe.
6. Big Agnes – Copper Spur
The Big Agnes – Copper Spur Backpacking tent is available as a one person, two-person or four-person version. The vestibule is protected from the elements. The zipper has flaps over it to avoid breezes getting inside.Above the sleeping position are media pockets to hold items. There are two doors making it easy to access the tent from different exterior positions. The floor is 20-denier which is reasonably thick but not as good at the Hubba Hubba model from the same brand which is likely to be longer lasting. The 29 square feet of internal floor space is pretty typical of this class of tent.
Overall, the tent is a lower quality than other models in the sense that it uses thinner nylon which won’t hold up as well over time. However, for a tent that’s affordable and portable, plus lighter, it’ll certainly be suitable for many campers who don’t require more.
7. HillebergNiak 2 Person Tent
The HillebergNiak 2 Person Tentis available in either red or green color. The tent is designed to provide cover for 3 seasons.Kerlon 1000 fabric is used on the exterior. The poles are 9mm to keep them light while strong too. The design comes in a dome shape. It is self-supporting with only the vestibule that requires pegging down. The inner and outer tent are connected, so they only have to be erected once, together.
The floor is 50-denier which is thicker than most. There is a single door with this tent. The floor is 28-square feet which is slightly smaller than some other models. It still sleeps two people, but it has a tiny bit less space than other tents in the category.It’s also 3 pounds, 5 ounces which is not overly heavy.
8. Nemo Hornet 2 Person Tent
The Nemo Hornet 2 Person Tentsounds small, but it’s actually not a small size. There is a 28-square feet floor size which is only slightly smaller than most other similar tents. There’s a large door at the side which is well protected from rainfall.The interior of the tent has lightweight pockets to store small items. The floor uses a tub-like shape that cuts down on the number of seams. A stuff sack provides a way to store the tent when it’s not in use.
The tent is an extremely light 2-pounds exactly. The flooring is 15-denier which is very thin. There are two doors for access in two directions. The floor area is 28 square feet which is smaller than some tent models.Overall, the tent is one of the smallest, lightest ones. It doesn’t have the thickest of materials and it’s a bit tight for two people.
9. The North Face Triarch 2 Person Tent
The North Face Triarch 2 Person Tent is made in a single size for two occupants. The coloring is a gold and brown mixture that’s appealing while not being too eye-catching.There are two doors and matching vestibules to match. The vestibules ensure the interior of the tent stays dry. There is plenty of head room and the tent is long enough to not feel cramped when fully stretched out.
The floor is 70-denier which is far superior to many other tents in our review. Feeling the earth under foot is far less likely but it’s still important to erect the tent on even ground for best results. Despite the thickness of the flooring, the tent weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces which is not excessive.
The poles are strong and durable, so the tent should last the duration. The 43-inches of head room is at least an inch more than most other lightweight tents in the same category.
10.Big Agnes – Fly Creek UL Tent
The Big Agnes – Fly Creek UL tent is available for one, two or three people. There’s one door and vestibule area. The zipper is protected by flaps cover it which avoids wind coming in when undoing the tent.The floor is made of 20-denier nylon. The DAC feather-lite pole works with a simple hub system. It’s all designed to keep the weight down. The total weight is just one pound, 15 ounces. This is incredibly light for any tent.
The interior space is a bit cramped. A redesign recently created a little bit more space but it’s still a compact tent. The rainfly is also not the best. It sometimes doesn’t stand away from the main body of the tent which can create water weight issues on the tent during heavy rainfall.With that said, this tent is extremely light, so for basic camping in good weather and summer conditions, you cannot go wrong.
Types and Features of the Backpacking Tents
Backpacking tents break down into single person, two-person, or three-person tents. There are occasionally large ones too. Whether the tent is designed for one season or multiple seasons is useful for people who still camp in wetter or colder seasons outside of the summer months.
The interior floor space often matters more than this designation too because some smaller two-person tents are better suited to be spacious single person ones. Partly it does depend whether the occupants are slender or heavy set.
For height, not all tents offer the same clearance for the head when walking around inside. Anyone who struggles to get enough headroom with tents should specifically look for the taller ones to manage their needs better.
The denier (or thickness) level of the nylon used with typical tent materials matters greatly for waterproofing, comfort under foot and insulation on all sides. Some tents are as thin as 15 or 20 denier which is particularly thin and vulnerable to possible tears or simple wear through over time. Other tents reach 50 or 70 denier which is a whole different deal. The nylon is almost always coated to provide better waterproofing.
The trade-off with better denier nylon is the increase in overall weight levels. The thicker the nylon, the heavier the tent will be. One pound to 1.5-pound tents are only possible when the nylon denier is low. The two pounds and heavier tends to come with thicker nylon.
A vestibule is a feature common to many tents now. It allows separation between the main door and the interior. It’s also a good idea to store bags in the vestibule to give clearer floor space area.
Mesh pockets are a side panel feature provided in a few tents. This is helpful to store items for quick access without needing to go to the vestibule for everything. Overhead, there’s sometimes a media pocket to store items there for faster access. Cable tidies for headphone and other cables is often provided when a media pocket is included in the tent’s design.
Most tents are semi-freestanding or completely freestanding. Modern tents are simple to erect and stay up without needing to peg them down all around the exterior. Newer materials and improved designs have changed how tents stick to the ground and manage varied weather conditions. The use of fly sheets and vestibules keeps them drier so they’re easier to manage.Quite a few models come with a bag to compress the tent down and stuff it into. It’s best to dry the tent out before storing it, or, at least, re-erecting it in the garage when home to let it dry out properly to avoid bacterial buildup.
The main thing with tents is choosing the right size and weight for you. If you need something durable and long-lasting that can handle different seasons, then picking a super light one probably isn’t the best idea. Successful camping means choosing an appropriate tent for your needs for best results.