A good tent is without a doubt one of the most important ingredients to fun backpacking trips. It’ll be the difference between being warm and dry or cold and wet every night and will have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your time in the outdoors.
While you’re backpacking, the weight of your tent is key. You don’t want to be laden down with a heavy while walking around the mountains, nor do you want a tent that’s so light it doesn’t function that well. It’s all about the balance of weight vs quality vs space.
If you do a quick online search into tents you’ll find thousands of options with a lot of different features to compare. It’s a little daunting, to be honest, and finding the one for you ain’t easy. That’s where we come in.
We have spent the time trawling online to put together this review of some of the best backpacking tents out there, making your choice a little easier.
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Best On A Budget
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Best Of The Best
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The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL tents are made to very high specs and are ideal for those of you who spend a lot of time backpacking around the backcountry.
The most noticeable thing about Big Agnes tents as a whole is the excellent combination of space, lightweight, weatherproof, and ease of set up. It’s hard to find a tent that ticks all those boxes, and this one does it superbly.
Weighing just over 3lbs, and less for trail weight, this backpacking tent is very light. You can attach it to you backpack, or pop it inside and it won’t weigh you down while you hike around. It’s quite spacious inside, and if you camp alone, the 2 person option will fit you and your gear inside comfortably. If you usually camp with a buddy, opt for the 3 person to have maximum comfort.
Once you’re inside, you’ll notice the huge array of storage pockets. There are 8 in total including a large ceiling pocket, 5 mesh pockets, and 2 media pockets. This is very useful, especially if you plan to camp in the same spot for a few nights.
The tent is quick and easy to set up, takedown, and it’s also a breeze to get back into its storage sack. Speaking of breezes, the tent is made for 3 seasons and does well against heavy winds and rain.
Once the Big Agnes tent is set up, it’s very strong and freestanding. You’ll be hard pushed to find a better quality tent at this weight. The only drawback is that it’s pretty expensive but worth it if you spend a lot of time backpacking.
The Kelty Salida Backpacking Tent is another high-quality tent with a bit of a better price, coming in at under $150.
It’s pretty light at 4.5 lbs and will not make a huge impact on your backpack’s carrying load. It’s quick and easy to set up thanks to the color-coded attachments and you’ll find the 2 person option sleeps two quite comfortably but without much room for your gear. Not to worry though, the vestibules are quite spacious and give you a total are of 10ft squared for your gear.
With a waterproof rating of 1800mm and excellent quality materials, this 3 season tent will keep you warm and dry during spring, summer, and fall but it’s not made for winter camping. Some have said that it gets too hot inside in summer, but most tents do.
Getting inside the backpacking tent through the easy entry door is a sinch and once you’re inside you have a few options to store your valuables. The tent is easy to take down once you’re done or moving spots, plus it’s a breeze to get back into the storage bag.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a tent as good as this for such a great price.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX comes in two different options, one with an extreme waterproof coating and one without. The coating lasts up to three times longer than a standard coating and for just an extra $37, it’s an easy choice to make.
With or without the coating this tent is excellent in heavy weather. It provides great protection against wind and heavy rain so that you can stay snug inside a warm and dry tent.
As far as 2 man backpacking tents go, this one is particularly roomy. The almost vertical walls mean that you can situp and hang out with your buddy and not worry about touching the roof or sides.
In terms of weight, this backpacking tent is light at 3.75 lbs and you’ll barely notice it when you set off with it loaded in your backpack. It’s easy and quick to set up, take down and put away in the storage bag.
This tent is also very durable and it comes with a 3-year limited warranty, not that we think you’ll need it. The only drawback is that it’s expensive.
The TETON Sports Mountain Ultra is a great backpacking tent that combines quality with affordability. It comes in at under $200 for a 3 man and to get to the next step in the quality you’d look at breaking the $300 mark.
The 3 man option weighs 6.6lbs, which is a little heavy for a backpacking tent but, it does have enough interior space to fit 3 people comfortably. It’s actually pretty good considering you could have to carry two tents for 3 of you if you wanted them to be lightweight.
The 3000mm waterproof rain fly protects you well from the elements while the bathtub floor keeps you dry. Once you’re inside there is a handy gear loft that gives you ample storage space in the ceiling.
The tent is quick and easy to set up, take down, and store. Handy if you’re on the move a lot and the spacious vestibules have enough room to store your backpacks in the night.
With two doors and a lot of ventilation, it’s easy to get in and out. The ventilation also reduces condensation, to ensure you stay dry. It’s a great tent, maybe a little heavy with bendy pegs, but overall great value.
If you’re a gear head that loves things to be as light as possible, then the Nemo Hornet Ultralight Backpacking Tent is the one for you. This tent weighs and incredible 2.25lbs! I’m not sure you’d even notice it was in your backpack if someone snuck in there as a prank.
With such a low weight you do lose some added benefits though and the price certainly does go up. The 2 person option of the Nemo Hornet is only really big enough for 1 person and if you’re 6ft tall or over, you’re going to find it hard to fit inside.
Once you’re inside the tent body, using one of the two doors (yes 2 doors), there is a good amount of interior space for you and your gear plus some great pocket options. An awesome feature is the diffusing light pockets that turn your headlamp into ceiling light for the tent, super cool.
The Nemo Hornet tent is easy to set up, take down, and store. It does pretty well in rough weather and its quite durable. It also comes with a lifetime warranty if anything does go wrong.
Overall an awesome little solo tent that is super light but it is pretty expensive. If you want to see the full review, check out the Nemo Hornet here.
The Marmot Tungsten UL 2P Tent is pretty great when it comes to a spacious but light enough backpacking tent that’s also semi-affordable. It has the quality of tents that costs over $350 while being roomier and costing under $300.
It does very well in heavy weather thanks to the polyester rain fly. Somehow it doesn’t sag no matter what you throw at it, meaning it won’t touch the inner lining and create a leek.
There are two vestibules, one on each side, perfect for storing your gear and there are two doors for easy access. We have already said it’s spacious, and it is a two person tent that’ll actually hold two people comfortably.
The tent weighs around 3.5lbs and while being heavier than some, it’s still a very manageable weight to add to your backpack.
Overall it’s a very high-quality tent that costs a little less and has a bit more interior space than it’s higher-priced cousins.
The Nemo Dragonfly Ultralight Backpacking Tent is another tent by Nemo that is super light and easy to slip into your backpack without noticing. Weighing just over 3lbs, it is extremely portable and ideal for solo campers who love spending time in the outdoors.
As always with lightweight options, you’ll have to spend a bit more and get a bit less interior space. This two person tent is ideal for one person and their gear, and if you’re over 6ft tall, you’ll feel a bit cramped.
The tent is pretty durable, has two doors for easy access, not bad in heavy weather, and comes with two vestibules for storage. The vestibules can be adjusted to multiple options, so you can still enjoy the views and get the weather protection you need.
Once you’re inside there are a few pockets for storage and a diffusing light pocket that turns your headlamp into a ceiling light. It’s simple to set up and take down thanks to the color-coded tent poles and it comes with a divvy dual-stage stuff sack that makes it easy to divide the load with a partner.
Overall it’s a cool solo tent with a lifetime warranty but it is quite expensive.
SEE OUR full Nemo Dragonfly review.
This Bessport Backpacking Tent is the most affordable of all the tents in the review costing just $86 for the two person option. This is dramatically cheaper than the rest of the tents in the review but it’s worth considering as a backpacking tent, especially if you don’t head into the outdoors that often.
To start off, this is the only 4 season rated tent in the review while still being the most affordable. It’ll handle very cold weather conditions and keep you warm and dry while it does.
It has a waterproof index of over 5000mm and the fully taped seams ensure that the rain stays outside while you stay dry inside. There are two ceiling vents built in to ensure ample airflow to stop any condensation too.
In terms of weight, it is a little heavy for backpacking at 5.5lbs. But for $86 and all the other good things, we think it’s worth carrying around. Once you’re inside its’s pretty spacious, and you’ll have no problem sleeping two of you inside.
Overall it’s an awesome tent for the price.
We are back to Nemo tents again but this time they might have cracked it. The Nemo Dagger Ultralight 2 person tent actually has enough room for two people, woohoo. The extra room does come at the cost of a few extra ounces though. The tent weight is 3.75lbs, which is still pretty light, especially when shared between two backpacks. And remember, trail weight would be lighter again.
As well as being roomy and light, this backpacking tent has a lot of storage space thanks to the two large vestibules and it does pretty well against the weather. Rated at 3 seasons, it’ll keep you comfy from mid-spring to mid-fall.
Getting in the tent is easy peasy thanks to the two doors and spacious vestibules. Once you’re inside you’ll notice the gear pockets in each corner and the overhead light pockets that distribute light across the tent easily.
If you want a ultralight tent that actually fits two people, this is a great choice. It comes with a lifetime warranty and a divvy store sack to share the load while hiking but it is a bit pricey.
Price doesn’t mean everything when it comes to a good backpacking tent and we have included tents from all price brackets in our review to show this. The prices range from $86 up to $400 but every tent in here is a quality purchase.
The things that affect pricing are usually weight and quality. The lighter the tent, the most expensive it’s going to be and the same goes for quality. If you backpack a lot, it’s worth investing in a tent that’s a bit more expensive as it’ll end up lasting a bit longer and will most likely have a lifetime guarantee.
Your tent is going to be one of the heaviest pieces of gear in your backpack and a few ounces does make a difference, believe me. The tents in this review range from 2.5lbs to over 6lbs and the pricing goes down the heavier they become. If you’re on a budget, it’s best to find the weight/price balance which sits at around $180 (check out the allrounder below in the ‘Our Favorites’ section). If you’re all about lightness and don’t mind spending some cash, the Ultralite tents in the review will be right up your street.
If your tent can’t keep you warm and dry, you might as well throw it away. Wet and cold tents are dangerous and you should be careful to buy one that has sufficient protection from the elements. All the tents in the review will keep you warm and dry from mid-spring to mid-fall.
Backpacking tents keep weight down and while doing so also sacrifice some space sometimes. Quite a lot of light tents labeled for 2 people will only fit one and some gear comfortably. Think about the space you need and I’d recommend always going for one size up from what you actually need.
Three season tents are a solid choice when it comes to choosing a rating and all the tents in the review are 3 season or above. They’ll keep bad weather out and be cool enough on sunny days. They are not made for snow and if you want to do some winter camping, you’ll need a 4 season tent.
It’s important your tent is easy to set up and take down. Freestanding tents are by far the easiest and quickest to pitch and as they come with a fixed pole system. Non-freestanding tents need stakes and lines to keep their structure. Once you get to know a tent, you’ll become a master at pitching, taking it down and folding it up in the storage bag.
If you want a tent that’s super fast to pitch, go for a freestanding option, but if you don’t mind spending a few extra minutes on it, then a non-freestanding tent will do just fine.
An ideal tent has two vestibules for storing your gear and two doors for access, this is particularly important if you’re planning on sleeping two or more people in the tent. You’ll have ample storage and avoid people having to climb over each other to get in and out.
Light tents are made from thinner materials in order to keep the weight down. This usually means they’re a bit less durable and more delicate, but if treated with care, they’ll last a long time. You’ll need to be careful with a lightweight tent and if you’re a bit tough on your tent, maybe a heavier weight option might be best,
The best allrounder of the backpacking tents is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL. This tent has all the qualities you’ll need for adventures in the outdoors while being extremely light. It’s spacious, strong, great in bad weather, and easy to set up/takedown.
The best on a budget backpacking tent is the Kelty Salida. You’ll find it very hard to find another tent that matches this across weight, quality, warmth, ease of use for the same price.
The best of all the backpacking tents in this review is the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. This tent has it all! It’s light, great against weather, spacious, durable, easy to set up, to take down, to store, and more.
The lightest backpacking tent in the review is the Nemo Hornet Ultralight Backpacking Tent. Perfect for a solo camper that loves to backpack around the outdoors, this tent weighs just 2.25lbs while being durable, great in weather, and coming with a lifetime warranty.