10 Best Backpacking Tents Reviewed
Looking for a lightweight tent that is small enough to pack down tight inside a backpack?
We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a list of the ten best backpacking tents. Whether you’re a frequent camper who just wants a shelter with a little less bulk or you’re a seasoned backpacker who wants to find the best option for overnight stays in the wilderness, there’s a tent for you on this list.
Among the many factors we considered, weight, capacity, functionality, ease of use, and overall durability are all key points we were interested in a lot. There’s nothing more annoying than spending a small fortune on some gear, then having it fail on you when you need it to work. The wilderness can be unforgiving, so when you need a shelter, it just has to work.
You’ll discover tents with various capacities, designs, and weights. There’s bound to be an option that will fit your needs.
- ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
- Quick setup
- Snugpak The Lonosphere
- Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
10 Best Backpacking Tents
1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx (1-Person)
The tent weighs about 3lbs and packs down to a compact size that easily fits in a pack. Some reviewers say that the actual weight is closer to a little over 4lbs, but the extra ounces are not a big deal for most use cases. Reviewers found the tent light enough to be used as a backpacking tent.
Ease of Use
Reviewers said that putting up the tent was a quick process that took no time at all. Disassembling it was also a piece of cake.
The tent is composed of sturdy aluminum poles and a UV resistant fabric. The rainfly also keeps out water. The floor is also highly resistant to wear and tear. Th tent also features sturdy zippers that won’t get stuck or break. Best of all? The tent is backed by a Lifetime Warranty.
The tent has a fair bit of storage space considering it’s so compact. There are pockets inside to put stuff, and the rainfly juts out a bit to cover a vestibule area. The mesh walls are a great feature that ensures proper ventilation during hot weather. Another neat feature is the fact that the tent is free standing, so there’s no need to stake it down. This helps make setup even quicker and fuss-free.
- Quick to setup
- Free standing design
- Comfortable amount of space for 1-person
- Great value
- Heavier than advertised
- Not good for those taller than 6 feet.
2. Snugpak The Lonosphere (1-Person)
The tent fits a single person and is very compact. Reviewers liked that even though it’s meant to fit just one person, there’s enough extra room that sleeping inside doesn’t feel too tight. Most reviewers were surprised by how lightweight it was. It’s a great backpacker’s tent because of this.
Ease of Use
Setup is super simple and packing it up after the fact takes very little time. Reviewers liked that the tent came with a useful storage case.
The tent is made of sturdy nylon and mesh material. A ripstop rainfly is waterproof and tear-hesitant. The poles are strong but lightweight, so they don’t add too much extra weight. The bottom of the tent is also very durable. Although it’s a very lightweight tent, durability is not sacrificed at all.
The tent comes with a useful repair kit for when disaster strikes. It’s a basic tent so don’t expect too many bells and whistles. It’s a super simple tent that’s perfect for single backpackers.
- Extremely lightweight
- Easy setup
- Compact size
- Not self standing
- A bit of a squeeze inside for some
3. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra (3-person)
The three-person tent weighs about 6.6lbs. A little heavier than other backpacking tents, but this is a tent that fits a total of three people. To compare, the 1-person model weighs just over 3lbs, which is relatively lightweight. Most reviewers were happy with the overall size and weight of the tent. Some found the total weight was a bit too heavy for comfort, though.
Ease of Use
There are just three poles to deal with on the Teton Sports tent, so setup is quick and easy. Taking down the tent is another easy task. Remember, the first time you try to get the tent up and ready for camping it might take a little longer than expected.
The tent is made of strong materials on all sides, including the flooring. A waterproof bottom ensures moisture stays outside the tent. Sealed seams also help to keep water away from the interior. Aluminum poles are light but strong enough to keep the tent standing. They’ll also last a long while. Reviewers found the tent quite durable.
The fabric is sturdy but slightly see-through, so it’s easy to see around you. This also ensures that the tent is breathable. A rainfly can be added on to add privacy and protection from rain. Inside there are some pockets for storage and a hook to hang items like a lantern. Everything can be packed back into the tent’s carrying case which is roomy and well-designed.
- Roomy interior
- Storage space
- Easy to put up
- Breathable design
- Lantern hook
- A little heavier than some expected
4. CCTRO (2-Person)
In total, the tent and all the accessories weigh about 4.2lbs. Reviewers appreciated the overall weight of the tent and found it a suitable choice for backpacking. It’s small enough to fit inside a pack.
Ease of Use
The portable carrying case fits the tent and its accessories very easily. There are two access points to the tent, so it’s easy to get in and out. Reviewers were pleased with how easy it was to get the tent put up and found that it packed away quite well inside the included carrying case. Some users remarked that set up is even faster if you are two people.
The tent is constructed using resistant materials. The rain fly is waterproof, and the fiberglass poles are both lightweight and sturdy. The zippers are also durable so even as they’re continually being tugged they won’t break or rip off. Some users did mention that the included tent stakes were poor quality compared to the rest of the accessories and tent.
The roof features a mesh construction for enhanced ventilation. A rainfly can be used to keep rain out, and there are doors on both sides of the tent.
- Budget pricing
- Easy to get set up
- Breathable design
- Convenient carrying case
- Poor quality stakes
5. ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr (2-Person)
The total weight of the tent and accessories is about 5lbs. The tent uses only two poles that are made of lightweight (but sturdy) aluminum alloy. It’s not as lightweight as some other options, but most users were happy with its size and found it was a fine option for backpacking. After all, it fits well inside a backpack.
Ease of Use
The tent features a two-pole design for quick assembly. No need to worry about annoying stakes to get the tent up and ready for sleeping since it’s free standing. Two doors provide easy access for campers. It’s even simple enough to set up that it can be done solo without frustration.
A tent fly cover keeps rain out and won’t get easily damaged by the sun’s strong rays. The tent’s zippers are also strong enough to withstand repeated use. One reviewer pointed out that the plastic window on the tent is a possible cause for concern since it’s the weakest component of the tent and after some time is likely to let in moisture. The user did mention the issue to the company who promptly replaced the defective model.
The tent not only has a rain cover but also features interior storage pockets. On each side (there are two doors) there are vestibules that are protected by the rainfly. The sides of the tent are mesh, so they allow air to circulate and let users see the outside a little more clearly. If you want, you can remove the rain fly on a dry night and enjoy looking up at the night sky thanks to the tent’s see-through roof.
- Quick setup
- Roomy inside
- Great quality rainfly
- Lots of extra vestibule space
- Compact and lightweight
- Two entryways
- A little heavier than some other options
- Might not be a good option for taller users
6. WolfWise (2-Person)
The total weight of the tent is just over 5lbs. Reviewers liked the size and weight of the tent and found it fit compactly inside their backpacks. Users also found the tent was appropriately sized for two people.
Ease of Use
The tent features two easy access doors, and cool LED lighting so you can find your way around the tent at night and it’s super simple to get up and ready after a hard day of hiking or physical activity. Users particularly liked the carrying bag that came with the tent. It’s a great tent for those wanting to set up in a hurry.
The tent is waterproof and comes with a rainfly for added protection from rain. The floor is also sealed off to ensure moisture can’t get in. The tent’s aluminum poles are incredibly strong without adding too much excess weight.
The tent is well-ventilated thanks to mesh components. The coolest feature, though, is the built-in LED lighting. It can be charged via USB. The tent also has two doors. If you have a portable charger with you, you can use it to power the roof lighting.
- Useful carrying case
- Very packable
- Simple setup
- Cool LED ceiling lights
- Sturdy construction
- Great price
- Not suitable for use in the winter
- Not suitable for tall users
7. EDMBG Pop Up (2-Person)
The super simple to use pop up tent weighs in at about 4lbs, and although it comes with a carrying case, it’s compact enough to fit inside a backpack. Reviewers were impressed with the overall weight of the tent considering the budget price of this model.
Ease of Use
The tent takes very little time to set up since it’s a pop-up design. No need to fiddle with all sorts of parts and components since it just pops up in two seconds. Packing it down is just as easy a process.
It’s a budget tent so don’t expect the same quality you’d find in more expensive models. Still, the tent is a reliable option, especially for those new to backpacking.
There aren’t too many extra bells and whistles on this tent. You will find a screened window and a waterproof floor, but these are pretty standard features in most basic tents. One feature you may not expect is a hook on the ceiling which can be used to hang a lantern.
- Pop up design makes set up extremely quick
- Budget price
- Ceiling hook
- Not as durable as more expensive options
- Some found interior smaller than expected
8. GEERTOP (1-Person)
The tent is one of the lightest on our list weighing only 2.65lbs total. It’s effortless to get this tent packed down and into your backpack. Reviewers liked that the tent packed down very small and liked that the tent did not skimp on features and quality to shave down on weight. Even though it’s very lightweight, there’s enough space inside for a comfortable fit.
Ease of Use
Reviewers liked that the tent was simple to get set up and just as easy to take down. It’s not as simple as a pop-up tent, but it’s uncomplicated enough that most users can get it up quickly without any trouble. Because it requires the use of ground stakes, setup may take a little longer than other types of backpacking tents.
The tent features plenty of durable components including the zippers (they’re waterproof!), the fly covering (also waterproof), and the tent fabric itself.
The two-door tent also features two windows that offer extra ventilation. If you want, you can purchase the different components separately. So if you only wish to have the tent fly portion, you can buy that separately. But they are available to purchase together as well.
- Super lightweight
- Well built and durable
- Extremely packable
- Easy setup
- Not good for tall users
- Longer setup than other models
9. Nemo Hornet (1-Person)
The Hornet tent is a little bit bulkier when taken down than other models on this list. It weighs in at about 7lbs but keep in mind that it’s big enough to fit four people. So you actually get plenty of room for the amount of weight you’ll be lugging around. Reviewers seemed to be cognizant of this fact and very much appreciated the roominess of the tent.
Ease of Use
The tent is propped up by five poles, so set up is a little bit more complicated - though not by much - than other tents on this list. It’s not a tent for those in a rush. Most reviewers found the tent setup was a breeze, though.
The aluminum poles are sturdy, and the tent is built to withstand plenty of wind. The walls are made of breathable fabric, and the floor is durable and waterproof. Reviewers felt the tent provided a quality build for its intended purpose.
It fits easily back into its carrying bag. The tent also has ventilated windows that can be shut or opened, depending on the exterior temperature and weather.
- Sturdy construction
- Relatively easy setup
- Windows for ventilation
- Floor is a little flimsy, requires ground cover
10. Coleman Hooligan (2-Person)
The Coleman brand tent is not the lightest available, but it’s a good option for those who can afford to carry a bit more weight as they travel to their campsite. It’s also a good option for backpackers on a budget who cannot afford a high tech lightweight, compact tent. This one will do the job in a pinch.
Ease of Use
The tent is super easy to set up and take down. All that’s required to prop up the tent is a single pole. No need to struggle with tons of pieces, which makes it perfect for those who need to set up fast when they’re backpacking. Reviewers found the tent easy to set up. It’s much quicker to get propped up than your regular standard tent thanks to its one-pole design. Packing away the shelter is also a no fuss ordeal.
The tent floor is made of heavy duty material that ensures a durable finish and prevents moisture from getting in. The tent walls are coated with a unique substance to ensure the tent keeps its shape and doesn’t become damaged by sun exposure. The tent’s material is also fire retardant. Reviewers felt the tent was good quality and durable enough for extended use.
The tent is well-vented, so moisture and temperature are well-regulated. Inside, users will find some mesh pockets to stuff extra small items while in the tent. There’s also a small vestibule space that’s also weather protected so it can be used for extra storage.
- Super quick to setup (and take down)
- Durable construction
- Extra vestibule space
- Fits two people comfortably
- Good price
- Protective rainfly
- Too heavy for lightweight backpacking
Our Research Criteria Explained
We chose the tents on our list based on weight, ease of use, durability, and any extra features we found useful or interesting.
For backpacking tents, this is the most important criteria of them all. This type of tent is meant to be super lightweight and compact enough to fit inside a pack easily. You’ll find a variety of tents on our list from featherlight options to heavier models, but most of the tents on this list weigh well under 10lbs. The amount of weight you’re willing to carry will depend on what else you’re bringing along and how much you can bear. Weight will go up the larger and more durable the tent is. If you need a tent that can fit more than one person, expect it to be a bit bulkier and cumbersome to handle. Still, even a four-person tent should have a good capacity to size ratio if it’s marketed as a backpacking model.
Ease of Use
When we looked at ease of use, we examined user reviews to find out if people had any issues setting up or taking down the tent. Most of the options on this list are super simple to set up. Many backpacking tents feature minimal poles. That makes putting up the tent a much less involved task. It also means there’s less to carry. Some tents on this list are freestanding, so they don’t require the user to drive stakes in the ground to anchor them down. We also have a pop-up style tent on this list which provides the simplest means of setup.
A product that’s meant for the outdoors should be able to handle exposure to the elements. The tents on this list are all made of sturdy, weather-resistant materials. The majority feature extensive waterproofing and have strong support poles.
We also looked at any other features the tents offered. When choosing a backpacking tent, it’s not necessary to have windows or lantern hooks, but these are nice bonus features. While many tents on our list provide the bare minimum regarding features, there are a few options with extra components that some might appreciate.
More To Think About
When selecting a tent for your outdoor adventures, you also need to consider how many people (and perhaps pets) will be sleeping inside. You should also check to see whether a tent is four-season ready or not. Price, of course, is also critical.
You can’t just buy a tent based on price tag and weight. It needs to meet your needs. How many people will be sleeping in the tent? Make sure to buy an appropriately sized tent. Backpacking tents may provide the minimum space required to sleep, so if you prefer a roomier fit, opt for something a bit bigger. Keep in mind. A bigger tent means you’ll be packing on the pounds. If you have a lot of gear, but you’re solo, make sure the tent can fit you and your stuff. Taller users should verify that they can fit inside a backpacking tent. Users over 6-feet may find some models a bit cramped.
Not all tents are four-season ready. Most are 3-season ready, including the majority of options on our list. 3-season tents offer protection from the elements, are waterproof, and provide plenty of ventilation for when the temperatures skyrocket. 4-season tents provide even more protection from outside conditions but are often more expensive.
To get the highest-quality and lightest backpacking tent, you’ll probably be spending more than $50. If you’re new to backpacking or you don’t mind a bit of extra weight, a budget option may work just fine.
Q. What’s the difference between a 3-season and 4-season tent?
3-season tents are a good choice for most backpackers or campers. They can handle wind, colder weather, and are made of waterproof materials. Most are also able to handle exposure to snow, too. 3-season tents are a good choice if you’ll be setting up during the late fall months when there may be a chance of snow or blustery weather. 4-season models are made for extreme conditions. You probably don’t need this type of tent unless you’re heading out to camp in a snowstorm.
A four season tent will be of a higher combination of durable materials which should be able to withstand any type of weather. The design features built into these tents will be more accommodating and practical in the sense of needing to house people and equipment for all four seasons of the year.
Q. Aren’t lightweight tents flimsy and easily damaged?
Nope! A high-quality, lightweight backpacking tent will be made of highly durable materials. Just because the product is lightweight, doesn’t mean it will break on you.
Modern synthetics are very durable and can resist abrasion and tear while keeping out cold wind and rain, the synthetic fabrics are weaved to allow breathability while keeping out water. Resistance to wind force is very good and these fabrics can withstand a strong consistent wind without stretching or ripping. While being very light the materials used for modern tents have a very high level of durability.
Q. I don’t want to feel claustrophobic inside my backpacking tent. What should I pay attention to while shopping for one?
Capacity will only tell you so much. A tent may say it sleeps two persons, but that doesn’t mean the fit is roomy. Check to see what the peak height of the tent is to get an idea of how much overhead space there is. Look for a model with more than one window to provide not just ventilation but to prevent you from feeling trapped.
You can also look at tents which offer an extra extension separate from the sleeping area and the extension can be used to store backpacks, camping and cooking equipment which results in more free space in the tents sleeping area. Some extensions resemble an interior which is small but similar to the sleeping area and has secure zip-up features while other extensions are a basic storage area which is available under an extended rainfly sheet and semi-open to the environment. The key to not feeling cramped inside a tent is to look for innovative features for separate storage space.
Q. Do I really need a rainfly for my tent?
Yes! Most will be packaged with them, but honestly, a rainfly is essential if you want to stay dry. Even if the weather forecast looks good, save yourself the worry and trouble and don’t leave this accessory at home.
Not using a rainfly sheet can provoke problems even during warm summer nights, condensation can naturally occur on the outer skin of the tents and if you’re in a sleeping bag and it rests against the inner skin of the tents the moisture will pass through the material and be absorbed into the sleeping bag. On windy/breezy nights even summertime a rainfly sheet will be the first line of defense for a comfortable sleep at it will deflect the wind or at least take the impact and this means a camper will not be woken of disturbed by a flapping inner tent.
Q. To evaluate packability all I need is to look at is size, right?
A. Not necessarily. A backpacking tent may be super lightweight but may be a pain to pack away. Make sure the tent can be easily folded up and fits properly inside your bag. Otherwise even a lightweight tent may end up causing you trouble.
Look for features which are easy to disassemble such as extendable rods which are used for putting up freestanding tents, if the designer has built this type of technology into a tent it can be safe to assume that creative and innovative design has been put into assembling or disassembling the whole tent. Look closely at the bag which is used for carrying the tent as it may have design features in the bag which makes packing away a tent much easier.
Q. Is there anything I need to think about before heading out on my backpacking adventure with my new tent?
A. There are countless things to think about, but when it comes to your new tent, it’s a good idea to practice setting it up before you have to do so in the great outdoors. Always make sure you have all your tent pieces, too, before heading out to camp.
When putting together your hiking gear think about where you will store it overnight while camping, is your tent designed with a built-in storage area or an extended rain fly under which items can be safely stored. Is your tent a free-standing design and if it is do you need to bring an extra reserve extendable and flexible support pole, or if the tent is a traditional design do you have any extra stakes for securing tent guide ropes?
Which materials have been used in the construction of the tent, are they solely synthetic or a combination of natural and synthetic materials and which types of repair kite do you need to take along just in case the tent gets damaged. Depending on the season in which you will camp out you will need to consider if you have the type of tent which needs to be treated with waterproofing or any other type of general maintenance. When you have a new tent it is important to set up the tent before you ever use it, check that everything is secure, no damage or defects and that you have all the poles and stakes which are required to safely set up a tent.