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Our Favorite Backpacking Tents Reviewed

last updated Feb 23, 2019
Looking for a backpacking tent that's lightweight and fits in your bag, but still has all the features you need?

RunnerClick has you covered. Whether you’re a frequent camper who just wants a more streamlined shelter, 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, ease of use, value, and durability were all key points we looked at. There’s nothing more annoying than spending a small fortune on gear, then having it fail on you when you need it. The wilderness can be unforgiving, so when you need a shelter, it just has to work.

You’ll discover options with various capacities, designs, and weights. There’s bound to be an option that will fit your needs.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
94.6/100 our score
Weight
95
Ease of Use
95
Durability
95
Advanced Features
92
Value
96
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Why is it better?

Quick to setup

Lightweight

Durable

Free standing design

Well-ventilated

Waterproof

Comfortable amount of space for 1-person

Great value

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Test Winner: ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2.5k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Sarah Coryell:

This update gives a good selection of great backpacking tents for anyone who is looking for new camping gear for their overnight trips. We have added the Featherstone Outdoor Tent, the Hyke & Byke Zion, and the Mountainsmith Morrison.

Sorting Options
Weight Ease of Use Durability Advanced Features Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Weight
95%
Ease of Use
95%
Durability
95%
Advanced Features
92%
Value
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$84.99
$119.99
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Weight
92%
Ease of Use
95%
Durability
98%
Advanced Features
90%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$138.07
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Weight
92%
Ease of Use
89%
Durability
90%
Advanced Features
93%
Value
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$139.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
Weight
85%
Ease of Use
79%
Durability
88%
Advanced Features
90%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$35.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Weight
78%
Ease of Use
92%
Durability
92%
Advanced Features
85%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$99.97
See Deal
$115.54
$199.99
See Deal
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Weight
86%
Ease of Use
83%
Durability
86%
Advanced Features
82%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$99.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Weight
91%
Ease of Use
90%
Durability
77%
Advanced Features
72%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$32.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
Weight
80%
Ease of Use
85%
Durability
78%
Advanced Features
70%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$99.90
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Weight
95%
Ease of Use
75%
Durability
80%
Advanced Features
75%
Value
65%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$129.97
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.4
Weight
68%
Ease of Use
89%
Durability
70%
Advanced Features
70%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$125.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
  • Snugpak The Ionosphere 1-Person
  • Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 3-person
  • CCTRO 2-person
  • ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-person
  • Featherstone Outdoor Tent
  • EDMBG Pop Up 2-Person
  • GEERTOP 1-Person
  • Hyke & Byke Zion
  • Mountainsmith Morrison
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorite Back Packing Tent

1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Weight
95
Ease of Use
95
Durability
95
Advanced Features
92
Value
96
best offer for today
more shops
$84.99
$119.99
See Deal
Pros:

Quick to setup

Lightweight

Durable

Free standing design

Well-ventilated

Waterproof

Comfortable amount of space for 1-person

Great value

Cons:

Heavier than advertised

Not good for those taller than 6 feet

The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx has enough room to fit one person and is a great option for the solo backpacker. The setup is super simple and it is an extremely durable and a lightweight and compact option to be used by backpackers.

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Weight

It 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 in most cases. Reviewers still found it light enough to be used by backpackers.

Ease of Use

Reviewers said that the setup was a quick process that took no time at all. Disassembly was also a piece of cake.

Durability

Its composition is 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. It features sturdy zippers that won’t get stuck or break. Best of all? It has a lifetime warranty.

Extra Features

It boasts a fair bit of storage space considering it’s so compact. There are pockets inside to put stuff, and the rain fly 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 it is free standing, so there’s no need to stake it down. This helps make setup even quicker and fuss-free.

2. Snugpak The Ionosphere 1-Person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Snugpak The Ionosphere 1-Person
Weight
92
Ease of Use
95
Durability
98
Advanced Features
90
Value
90
best offer for today
$138.07
Pros:

Extremely lightweight

Waterproof

Durable

Easy setup

Compact size

Cons:

Not self-standing

A bit of a squeeze inside for some

Another great one person model! It comes in either tan or olive green and is well-sealed to keep out moisture. It also has a handy repair kit just in case the fabric rips while you're out in the backcountry.

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Weight

It 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 option because of this.

Ease of Use

Setup is super simple and packing it up takes very little time. Reviewers liked that it came with a useful storage case.

Durability

The construction is out of sturdy nylon and mesh material. A ripstop rainfly is waterproof and tear-hesitant. The poles are strong but light, so they don’t add too much extra weight. The bottom is also very durable. Although it’s a very lightweight option, durability is not sacrificed at all.

Extra Features

It comes with a useful repair kit for when disaster strikes. It’s a basic model so don’t expect too many bells and whistles. It’s a super simple opt that’s perfect for single backpackers, and is extremely waterproof and durable.

3. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 3-person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 3-person
Weight
92
Ease of Use
89
Durability
90
Advanced Features
93
Value
89
best offer for today
$139.99
Pros:

Roomy interior

Storage space

Durable

Easy to put up

Breathable design

Waterproof

Lantern hook

Cons:

A little heavier than some expected

The bright yellow Teton Sports Mountain Ultra comes in four sizes (1-person, 2-person, etc). It’s very easy to setup thanks to an uncomplicated design and is made of superior quality materials. It's sure to become a cherished piece of camping equipment. Teton Sports also offers a limited lifetime warranty.

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Weight

The three-person unit weighs about 6.6lbs. It's a little heavier than others in its category, but it 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 construction. 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, so setup is quick and easy. Taking down is also another easy task. Remember, the first time you try to get it up and ready for camping it might take a little longer than expected.

Durability

It is made of strong materials on all sides, including the flooring. A waterproof bottom ensures moisture stays outside. Sealed seams also help to keep water away from the interior. Aluminum poles are light but strong enough to keep it standing. They’ll also last a long while. Reviewers found this option quite durable.

Extra Features

The fabric is sturdy but slightly see-through, so it’s easy to see around you. This also ensures breathability. 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 carrying case which is roomy and well-designed.

4. CCTRO 2-person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
CCTRO 2-person
Weight
85
Ease of Use
79
Durability
88
Advanced Features
90
Value
95
best offer for today
$35.99
Pros:

Budget pricing

Lightweight

Compact

Easy to get set up

Breathable design

Convenient carrying case

Cons:

Poor quality stakes

Some users noted low quality

The CCTRO 2-Person comes in either bright blue or vibrant orange. A great value option, it may not be as durable as some other options but the price is right for people just getting into light traveling, who just want to try it out without spending a ton of money. The little kit comes with everything you need including a carrying case, a rainfly, and pegs. It is also well ventilated so you can sleep comfortably even on warmer nights without letting bugs in.

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Weight

In total, the unit and all the accessories weigh about 4.2lbs. Reviewers appreciated the overall weight and found it a suitable choice for people who prefer to have a light baggage. It’s small enough to fit inside a pack.

Ease of Use

The portable carrying case fits everything very easily. There are two access points, so it’s easy to get in and out. Reviewers were pleased with how easy it was to set it 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.

Durability

The construction is out of 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 stakes were poor quality compared to the rest of the accessories.

Extra Features

The roof features a mesh construction for enhanced ventilation. A rain fly can be used to keep rain out, and there are doors on both of the sides.

5. ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-person
Weight
78
Ease of Use
92
Durability
92
Advanced Features
85
Value
85
best offer for today
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$115.54
$99.97
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$199.99
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Pros:

Quick setup

Roomy inside

Great quality rainfly

Lots of extra vestibule space

Well-ventilated

Compact and lightweight

Two entryways

Cons:

A little heavier than some other options

Might not be a good option for taller users

This is the second ALPS-brand model to be featured on our list and for good reason. The company makes excellent quality hiking equipment. This time, we selected a 2-person model with the same durability, value, and features as our 1-person selection. It’s a great choice for a backpacker duo or a single traveler who wants a bit of extra room to stretch out and breathe.

Read more

Weight

The total weight of everything including the accessories is about 5lbs. It 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. After all, it fits well inside a backpack.

Ease of Use

The quick-assembly features a two-pole design. No need to worry about annoying stakes to get it 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.

Durability

A fly cover keeps rain out and won’t get easily damaged by the sun’s strong rays. The zippers are also strong enough to withstand repeated use. One reviewer pointed out that the plastic window is a possible cause for concern since it’s the weakest component 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.

Extra Features

Alongside the rain cover, interior storage pockets are also available. On each side (there are two doors) there are vestibules that are protected by the rain fly. The sides 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 see-through roof.

6. Featherstone Outdoor Tent

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Featherstone Outdoor Tent
Weight
86
Ease of Use
83
Durability
86
Advanced Features
82
Value
85
best offer for today
$99.99
Pros:

Very packable

Simple setup

Well-ventilated

Sturdy construction

Cons:

Not suitable for use in the winter

Not suitable for tall users

If you need a backpacking tent that is easy to carry with you and that can sleep up to two people then the Featherstone Outdoor Tent is a perfect choice to consider. It has a basic set up that is easy to master and features waterproof flooring and an outer coating for optimal outdoor performance.

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Weight

At just over 4 pounds, this tent is perfect for packing and taking on any exploration expedition you may have planned. Up to two people will be able to sleep comfortably in this light yet comfortable tent.

Easy of Use

This tent can be easily taken on any hiking or camping trip and will provide quick and easy shelter that is comfortable and water proof as well. The unique design of the sides allows for good air flow and ventilation, making for a more comfortable experience.

Durability

While it is light weight and easy to transport the Featherstone Outdoor Tent is also very durable and holds up well to a lot of use.

Advanced Features

The Featherstone Outdoor Tent features ventilation panels, easy open zippers, bug screens, and a compact design that is easy to take with you on the go. It can be strapped to a backpack, a bike, or stuffed in a pack easily.

Value

With a decent price tag, this tent can be a great addition to your hiking gear and will serve you well for a long time to come and will help you create great memories while you stay active!

7. EDMBG Pop Up 2-Person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
 EDMBG Pop Up 2-Person
Weight
91
Ease of Use
90
Durability
77
Advanced Features
72
Value
87
best offer for today
$32.99
Pros:

Pop up design makes set up extremely quick

Budget price

Lightweight

Ceiling hook

Waterproof

Cons:

Not as durable as more expensive options

Some found interior smaller than expected

A bright orange model at a low-price for the budget conscious backpacker and buyer. The EDMBG is a basic, no-frills option that is capable of fitting two people inside. It comes with a carrying case and is super easy to set up.

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Weight

This super simple to use option 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 it considering the budget price of this model.

Ease of Use

It 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.

Durability

It’s a budget choice so don’t expect the same quality you’d find in more expensive models. Still, it is a reliable option, especially for those who are new to the backpacker's life.

Extra Features

There aren’t too many extra bells and whistles. You will find a screened window and a waterproof floor, but these are pretty standard features in most basic models. One feature you may not expect is a hook on the ceiling which can be used to hang a lantern.

8. GEERTOP 1-Person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
GEERTOP 1-Person
Weight
80
Ease of Use
85
Durability
78
Advanced Features
70
Value
90
best offer for today
$99.90
Pros:

Super lightweight

Well built and durable

Extremely packable

Easy setup

Cons:

Not good for tall users

Longer setup than other models

The GEERTOP tent comes in either blue or orange and is big enough to fit a single person. It’s extremely lightweight, probably the lightest on this list and features a high-quality waterproof design. There’s plenty of ventilation, two doors for easy access, and all the features you’ll need for when it’s time to rest during your hiking adventure.

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Weight

As one of the lightest options on our list, its weight is only 2.65lbs total. It’s effortless to pack it down and into your backpack. Reviewers liked that the it 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 simple set up and takedown. 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 tents.

Durability

Plenty of durable components are featured including the zippers (they’re waterproof!), the fly covering (also waterproof), and the fabric itself.

Extra Features

This two-door option 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 fly portion, you can buy that separately. But they are available for purchase together as well.

9. Hyke & Byke Zion

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Hyke & Byke Zion
Weight
95
Ease of Use
75
Durability
80
Advanced Features
75
Value
65
best offer for today
$129.97
Pros:

Easy to set up design

Lightweight and easy to transport

Durable design holds up to wear and tear

Cons:

A little on the pricey side

Only sleeps 1-2 people max

The Hyke & Byke Zion tent is great for backpacking as it is lightweight and can be used to sleep one or two people. It is perfect for backpacking and hiking adventures and is a popular choice among hobbyists and professional runners and hikers alike.

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Weight

This tent comes with an ultra light weight no-see-um mesh and weather proof sides and is made so that it accommodates a free-standing ultralight set-up. The Hyke & Byke Zion tent is easy to set up and uses light yet durable spikes for fast set up in any terrain.

Easy of Use

This tent can be easily taken on any hiking or camping trip and is a great way to get the shelter and protection you need for overnight trips and excursions.

Durability

While it is made to be lightweight and easy to transport, the Hyke & Byke Zion tent is spurprisngly durable and holds up well to a lot of us. Whether you are a weekend camper or a long-trip hiker and explorer you will love the durability of this tent!

Advanced Features

With almost perfectly vertical walls you get maximized interior space. This tend also features PU 5000 rainfly design, reinforced seams to keep rain out in stormy weather, 2 easy open zipper doors, corner pockets for extra storage, and two vestibule design that makes access easy at all times.


Value

If you want a tent that is easy to use, is very portable, and will last a good long while, then you need to look at the Hyke & Byke Zion tent today!

10. Mountainsmith Morrison

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.4
Mountainsmith Morrison
Weight
68
Ease of Use
89
Durability
70
Advanced Features
70
Value
90
best offer for today
$125.95
Pros:

Super quick to setup (and take down)

Durable construction

Extra vestibule space

Fits two people comfortably

Good price

Protective rainfly

Cons:

Too heavy for some backpackers.

The Mountainsmith Morrison backpacking tent is a great option for acting people who love to hike and bike and explore the great outdoors. It is designed to sleep up to two people and is made to pack down easily into a pack for super simple transport.

Read more

Weight

At around 5 pounds, this tent is made for outdoor exploration expeditions and campouts where you don’t want to be weighed down by a lot of unnecessary stuff. Up to two people will be able to sleep comfortably in this lightweight camping tent.

Easy of Use

Seasoned hikers a well as beginners will find the Mountainsmith Morrison backpacking tent easy to use and set up which makes it a good choice for anyone looking for their first camping tent.

Durability

Even with a lightweight design, this tent will make it easy to get shelter and protection from the elements. It will hold up well to the rough train environment and does good in wet and dry conditions.

Advanced Features

The Mountainsmith Morrison backpacking tent features ventilation panels, protected zippers, waterproof bottom and cover, as well as a handy interior set up that make storing your gear easy. It can be strapped to a backpack, a bike, or stuffed in a pack easily.

Value

This tent is a little more expensive than other tents but it is still a great choice for beginners and experienced hikers alike and is a smart investment for anyone to make!

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Weight

For backpacking options, this is the most important criteria of them all. These are meant to be super lightweight and compact enough to fit inside a pack easily. You’ll find a variety on our list from feather light options to heavier models, but most of our picks weigh well under 10lbs. When you’re carrying everything you need on your back, every pound matters, so be sure to take into account what other gear you’re bringing and how much weight you’re willing to carry. If you need a something that can fit more than one person, expect it to be a bit bulkier and more cumbersome to handle. Still, even a four-person tent should have a good capacity to weight 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 breaking down. Most of the options on this list are super simple to set up. Many feature minimal poles. That makes pitching a much easier task. It also means there’s less to carry. Some are even freestanding, so they don’t require the user to drive stakes in the ground to anchor them down. We also have pop-ups which will always be the simplest option in terms of setup.

Durability

A product that’s meant for the outdoors should be able to handle exposure to the elements. The ones that made our list are all made of sturdy, weather-resistant materials. The majority feature extensive waterproofing and have strong support poles.

Especially if you plan on being out on the trail for days at a time, look for a tent that will hold up to the elements. The last thing you need is to be in the backcountry days from help, and have something go wrong with your shelter. This is definitely the type of product where it pays to go with a higher-quality material even if it costs a little more.

Advanced Features

We also looked at any other features offered. When making your choice, it’s not necessary to have windows or lantern hooks, but these are nice bonus features. While many of our picks sport the bare minimum regarding features in order to save weight, there are a few options with extra components that some might appreciate. Please think about extra features that might be important to you, and be sure to get a tent that comes with them.

Value

To get the highest quality and lightest option, you’ll probably be spending at least $50, and closer to $150 or even $200. Again, this may be one product where it's definitely worth it to pay a bit more to make sure you get quality. If you can imagine being miles from nowhere in a nasty storm, and having your tent malfunction, you can easily see why paying a few extra bucks for a high-quality tent may be worth it. If you’re new to backpacking however, or you'll just be using your tent at a campground and you don’t mind a bit of extra weight, a budget option may work just fine.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Weight
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#2
Ease of Use
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#3
Durability
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#4
Advanced Features
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#5
Value
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Location, Location, Location....

Location is everything, is at all possible set your tent up on high ground to avoid flooding during heavy rains. An ideal location would also be in a shaded area, as tents warm up quickly from the sun. Be aware of trees in poor condition or with dead limbs as these may come down in heavy winds. Have fun and be a Happy Camper.

Size is important...

Tents are rated by how many persons they can sleep. Keep in mind this is assuming everyone sleeps side by side. This allows almost no room for gear. Always buy a tent rated for more individuals than you really need unless you are doing a back country type trip where size and weight are major factors.

Other Factors to Consider

Capacity

You can’t just make a purchase like this based on price tag and weight. It has to meet your needs. How many people will be sleeping in there? Make sure to buy an appropriately sized model. Backpacking models tend to provide the minimum space required to sleep, so if you prefer a roomier fit, opt for something a bit bigger, but remember, bigger means more weight to carry. If you have a lot of gear, but you’re solo, make sure you can reasonably manage all of the gear you might have to carry. Taller users should verify that they can fit inside. Users over 6-feet may find some models a bit cramped.

Weather Resistance

Tents typically come in 2 categories when it comes to weather resistance and rating: 3-season and 4-season. Not all tents are four-season ready. Most are 3-season ready, including the majority of options on our list. 3-season models offer protection from the elements, are waterproof, and provide plenty of ventilation for when the temperatures skyrocket. 4-season options provide even more protection from outside conditions but are often more expensive and a bit heavier. We only recommend buying a 4-season if it truly will be for winter use.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What’s the difference between a 3-season and 4-season tent?
a:

3-season models 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 as well. They tend to work out well 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 unless you’re heading out to camp in a snowstorm.

A four-season model 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 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?
a:

Nope! A high-quality, lightweight backpacking model will be made of highly durable materials. Just because the product is lightweight, doesn’t mean it will break on you.

Despite being very light, the materials used for modern tents have a very high level of durability. Modern synthetics can resist abrasion and tears while keeping out cold, wind, and rain, and the synthetic fabrics are woven to allow breathability while keeping out water. These fabrics can also withstand a strong consistent wind without stretching or ripping.

q: I don’t want to feel claustrophobic inside my backpacking tent. What should I pay attention to while shopping for one?
a:

Capacity will only tell you so much. A product may say it sleeps two persons, but that doesn’t mean the fit is roomy. Check to see what the peak height is as well, 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. If roominess is very important to you, consider buying a two person model if you’re backpacking solo, a three-person if there’re two of you, etc.

You can also look at options 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 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 is to look for innovative features for separate storage space.

q: Do I really need a rainfly for my tent?
a:

Yes! Most tents will come with them, because a rainfly is truly 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 can cause problems even during warm summer nights, when condensation naturally occurs on the outer skin, and if you’re in a sleeping bag and it rests against the inner skin, the moisture will pass through the material and be absorbed into the sleeping bag. Even when it’s not raining, a rainfly keeps your tent from flapping in the wind, helping you sleep better.

q: To evaluate packability all I need is to look at is size, right?
a:

Not necessarily. These tents may be super lightweight but could be a pain to pack away. Make sure it can be easily folded up and fits properly inside your backpack. Otherwise even a lightweight model 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 models. Also look closely at the bag which is used for carrying and storage as it may have design features which make 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:

When you’re planning your backpacking trip, you’ll want to double check that you have everything you’ll need. When it comes to your new tent, it’s a good idea to practice setting it up at home first. Always make sure you have all your poles, stakes, and other pieces.

When putting together your backpacking gear think about where you will store it overnight while camping. Is your choice designed with a built-in storage area or an extended rain fly under which items can be safely stored? Is it a free-standing design and if so do you need to bring an extra support pole, or if it is a traditional design, do you have extra stakes for securing guide ropes?

It’s also a good idea to take along a repair kit. What type of repair kit you get will depend on if the materials are natural, synthetic, or a combination. Depending on the season, you will need to consider if you have the type 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 it up at least once before you ever use it under real conditions, check that everything is secure, no damage or defects and that you have all the poles and stakes which are required to safely set it up.

After your trip, be sure to clean out the tent and let it dry well before storing it. A tent put away damp can easily become moldy, ruining it. Take good care of your gear and it will take good care of you!

Sources

  1. Ben Rabinowitz, How to Choose a Tent, Outdoor Website, May 13, 2015
  2. Jake Walnut, Buying a Tent: The Complete Guide, Camping Website, Oct 09, 2016
  3. Jessica Haist and Jess McGlothlin, How to Choose the Best Tent for Backpacking, Outdoor Gear Website, May 20, 2017
  4. Kristin Hostetter, Tent Buying Guide, Backpacking Magazine Website,