10 Best Backpacking Tents Reviewed

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Looking for a lightweight tent that fits inside of a backpack, but still has all the features you need?

We’ve got you covered. 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, 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 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.

Last Updated: August 5, 2018
By EJ Callanan:

This update gives a good selection of impressive tents which are perfect for backpackers. Please revisit this page because we regularly update and add to and extend your choices. The FAQs section has a selection of very interesting questions and advisory answers from experienced backpackers.

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
  • ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quick setup
  • Price: See Here
Snugpak The Lonosphere
  • Snugpak The Lonosphere
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof
  • Price: See Here
Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
  • Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Backpacking Tents

 

 

1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx (1-Person)

The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx tent has enough room to fit one person and is a great option for the solo backpacker. Setup is simple, the tent is super durable, and it’s lightweight and compact enough to be used by backpackers.
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Weight

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 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. Disassembly was also a piece of cake.

Durability

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. The tent also features sturdy zippers that won’t get stuck or break. Best of all? The tent is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Extra Features

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.
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.

2. Snugpak The Ionosphere (1-Person)

Another great one person tent! This tent comes in either tan or olive green and is well-sealed to keep out moisture. It also comes with a handy repair kit just in case your tent fabric happens to rip.
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Weight

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 takes very little time. Reviewers liked that the tent came with a useful storage case.

Durability

The tent is made 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 of the tent is also very durable. Although it’s a very lightweight tent, durability is not sacrificed at all.

Extra Features

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, and is extremely waterproof and durable.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Waterproof 
  • Durable 
  • Easy setup
  • Compact size 
Cons
  • Not self standing 
  • A bit of a squeeze inside for some 

3. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra (3-person)

The bright yellow Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent 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 tent weighs about 6.6lbs. It's a little heavier than other backpacking tents, 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 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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
Pros
  • Roomy interior
  • Storage space
  • Durable
  • Easy to put up
  • Breathable design
  • Waterproof
  • Lantern hook
Cons
  • A little heavier than some expected

4. CCTRO (2-Person)

4. CCTRO (2-Person)
The CCTRO 2-Person Tent comes in either bright blue or vibrant orange. The little tent comes with everything you need including a carrying case, a rainfly, and tent pegs. The tent 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 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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
Pros
  • Budget pricing
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Easy to get set up
  • Breathable design
  • Convenient carrying case 
Cons
  • Poor quality stakes 

5. ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr (2-Person)

5. ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr (2-Person)
This is the second ALPS-brand tent to be featured on our list and for a good reason. The company makes excellent quality backpacking tents. This time, we selected a 2-person tent model with the same durability, value, and features as our 1-person selection. It’s a great choice for a backpacking duo or a single traveler who wants a bit of extra room to breathe.
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Weight

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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
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

6. WolfWise (2-Person)

6. WolfWise (2-Person)
A two-person backpacking tent 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. The lime green tent is an excellent option for couples who enjoy camping or backpackers looking for a tent with room for two.
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Weight

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. 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 the tent. It’s a great tent for those wanting to set up in a hurry.

Durability

The tent 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 tent’s aluminum poles are incredibly strong without adding too much excess weight.

Extra Features

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.
Pros
  • Useful carrying case
  • Very packable
  • Simple setup
  • Cool LED ceiling lights
  • Well-ventilated 
  • Sturdy construction
  • Waterproof 
  • Great price 
Cons
  • Not suitable for use in the winter 
  • Not suitable for tall users 

7. EDMBG Pop Up (2-Person)

7. EDMBG Pop Up (2-Person)
A bright orange tent at a low-price for the budget conscious backpacker and buyer. The EDMBG brand tent is a basic, no-frills tent that is capable of fitting two people inside. The tent comes with a carrying case and is super easy to set up.
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Weight

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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
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 

8. GEERTOP (1-Person)

8. GEERTOP (1-Person)
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 on your backpacking adventure.
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Weight

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.

Durability

The tent features plenty of durable components including the zippers (they’re waterproof!), the fly covering (also waterproof), and the tent fabric itself.

Extra Features

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.
Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Well built and durable
  • Extremely packable
  • Easy setup 
Cons
  • Not good for tall users 
  • Longer setup than other models

9. Nemo Hornet (2-person)

9. Nemo Hornet (2-person)
A lightweight, 2 person A-frame tent that’s perfect for summer camping. It’s a 3-season tent, so don’t expect to use it during the winter because it’s a little too well-ventilated for colder temperatures.
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Weight

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 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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
Pros
  • Roomy
  • Sturdy construction
  • Relatively easy setup
  • Lightweight 
  • Windows for ventilation
  • Waterproof 
Cons
  • Floor is a little flimsy, requires ground cover 

10. Coleman Hooligan (2-Person)

10. Coleman Hooligan (2-Person)
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 backpacking 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 backpacking with a small budget, the Coleman Hooligan is an excellent option.
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Weight

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. 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.

Durability

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.

Extra Features

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.
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 lightweight backpacking
 

 

Our Research Criteria Explained

The choices on our list were chosen based on weight, ease of use, durability, value, and any extra features we found useful or interesting.

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 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.

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 are historically the simplest in terms of setup.

Durability

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

Extra 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, 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 the one you’re considering is ready for multiple seasons or not. Price, of course, is also critical.

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.

Seasonal Use

Not all 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.

Price

To get the highest quality and lightest option, you’ll probably be spending at least $50. If you’re new to backpacking or you don’t mind a bit of extra weight, a budget option may work just fine.

 

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a 3-season and 4-season tent?

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?

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?

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?

Yes! Most 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,
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