10 Best Backpacking Tents Reviewed
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.
- ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
- Snugpak The Ionosphere 1-Person
- Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 3-person
- CCTRO 2-person
- ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-person
- WolfWise 2-Person
- EDMBG Pop Up 2-Person
- GEERTOP 1-Person
- Nemo Hornet 2-person
- Coleman Hooligan 2-Person
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person
Quick to setup
Free standing design
Comfortable amount of space for 1-person
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.Read more
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.
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.
It boasts 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 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
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.Read more
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.
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.
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
Easy to put up
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.Read more
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.
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.
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
Easy to get set up
Convenient carrying case
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.Read more
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.
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.
The roof features a mesh construction for enhanced ventilation. A rainfly can be used to keep rain out, and there are doors on both of the sides.
5. ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-person
Great quality rainfly
Lots of extra vestibule space
Compact and lightweight
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
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.
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.
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 rainfly. 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. WolfWise 2-Person
Useful carrying case
Cool LED ceiling lights
Not suitable for use in the winter
Not suitable for tall users
A two-person backpacking model with an affordable price tag and a no-brainer set up. It also has a unique embedded LED light feature and plenty of protection from the elements. It is an excellent option for couples who enjoy camping or backpackers looking for a setup with room for two.Read more
The total weight is just over 5lbs. Reviewers liked the size and the weight and found it fit compactly inside their backpacks. Users also found it appropriately sized for two people.
Ease of Use
It features two easy access doors, and cool LED lighting so you can find your way at night. It's super simple to set up after a hard day of hiking or physical activity. Users particularly liked the carrying bag that came with it. It’s a great choice for those wanting to set up in a hurry.
It is waterproof and comes with a rainfly for added protection from rain and wind. The floor is also sealed off to ensure moisture can’t get in. The aluminum poles are incredibly strong without adding too much excess weight.
The ventilation is good thanks to mesh components. The coolest feature, though, is the built-in LED lighting. It can be charged via USB. It also has two doors. If you have a portable charger with you, you can use it to power the roof lighting.
7. EDMBG Pop Up 2-Person
Pop up design makes set up extremely quick
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.Read more
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.
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.
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
Well built and durable
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.Read more
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.
Plenty of durable components are featured including the zippers (they’re waterproof!), the fly covering (also waterproof), and the fabric itself.
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. Nemo Hornet 2-person
A lightweight, 2 person A-frame tent that’s perfect for summer camping. It’s a 3-season setup, so don’t expect to use it during the winter because it’s a little too well-ventilated for colder temperatures.Read more
The Hornet weighs in at about 3lbs and reviewers were happy with the roominess to weight ratio.
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 others on this list. It’s not a suitable choice for those in a rush. Most reviewers found that the setup was a breeze, though.
The aluminum poles are sturdy, and it is built to withstand plenty of wind. The walls are made of breathable fabric, and the floor is durable and waterproof. Reviewers felt that it provided a quality build for its intended purpose.
It fits easily back into its carrying bag. The ventilated windows it features can be shut or opened, depending on the exterior temperature and weather.
10. Coleman Hooligan 2-Person
Super quick to setup (and take down)
Extra vestibule space
Fits two people comfortably
Too heavy for lightweight backpackers.
The Coleman Hooligan tent is available in three subdued colors and fits a total of two people for a night of rest. The single door is nice and large, and the tent is made with durable, weather resistant materials. If you want a true backpacker's tent, this isn’t it. It’s a little too bulky to be carried comfortably in a backpack, but it’s definitely a lightweight option with a reasonable price tag. For someone new to the adventurer's life and with a small budget, the Coleman Hooligan is an excellent option.Read more
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 on the go. 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. There’s also a small vestibule space that’s also weather protected so it can be used for extra storage.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 featherlight 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!