What is The Best Backpacking Tent?

Anyone that is an avid camper, knows that there is a lot of packing, unpacking, traveling and moving when it comes to camping. Every time you need to relocate to a different area you’ll need to essentially pack up all of your items, which can include, all of your hydration, tents, cooking utensils, and any other essentials you bring with you on your camping trip.

Having to carry all of your items can become pretty tiring especially if you’re lugging around heavy items. One of the heaviest items that you’ll have will probably be your tent. That’s why it’s important to have a backpacking tent to potentially minimize the weight you have to carry around.

Picture

Tent

Weight

Price Rating

Dimensions

Rating

Price

Top 1 Person Tents

Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent

4 Pounds

$

102.4 x 35.4 x 94.5 inches

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent

3.9 Pounds

$

36 x 90 x 32 inches

Top 2 Person Backpacking Tents

Sundome 2 Person Tent

6.3 Pounds

$

47.24 x 59.06 x 82.68 inches

Mountainsmith Morrison 2-Person 3 Season Tent

5.5 Pounds

$

43 x 92 x 56 inches

Kelty Salida 2 Tent

4.5 Pounds

$$

55 x 43 x 88 inches

Top 3 Person Backpacking Tents

ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent

5.44 Pounds

$$

41 x 74 x 89 inches

Kelty Trail Ridge 3-Person Tent

5.12 Pounds

$$$

72 x 88 x 47 inches

MSR Elixr 3 Backpacking Tent

4 Pounds

$$$

7 x 11 x 22 inches

Top 4 Person Backpacking Tents

Mountainsmith Genesee 4- Person 3 Season Tent

6 Pounds

$$

84 x 96 x 52 inches

Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Tent

6 Pounds

$$

98 x 80 x 56 inches

What are The Real Advantages of Having a Backpacking Tent?

Whether you are brand new to camping or a veteran, there are a ton of advantages that come with having a backpacking tent. A backpacking tent is just as it sounds, it’s a tent that is light enough for you to backpack and with that comes many benefits such as:

  • Quick Set-Up and Takedown - With Backpacking tents, because they are lightweight, you can expect a much easier set-up and takedown. The average amount of time it takes to set up this type of tent is about 30 to 60 seconds which is a great time saver and frees up your time to put towards other activities.
    • Tent Size - The size of your tent can become a pretty important factor especially if you happen to be rather tall or you are camping with more than one person. Backpacking tents usually are fairly big in size, especially if it is more than a one person tent.
    • Tent Weight - One of the biggest benefits of having a backpacking tent is that it is one of the most lightweight tents that you can buy, which means you do not have to worry about carrying around a heavy tent on your back during your camping trips, which in return saves you energy and can give you a much more enjoyable camping experience. The average weight of a backpacking tent is anywhere from 3 pounds to 10 pounds compared to non-backpacking tents which can be anywhere from 11 pounds to 25 pounds.
    • Ventilation - These types of tents are usually made from polyester which is a good quality material especially when it comes to letting air in and out of the tent as needed for good ventilation, which means that you do not have to worry about feeling too closed in or feeling like you are not getting enough fresh air, whether your tent is open or closed.

    What Are The Different Types of Backpacking Tents?

    There can be a number of different reasons why you want to go camping and even more reasons as to why you are interested in choosing this particular tent for your needs. There are a wide variety of tents including everything from freestanding tents to ultralight tents to choose from and I will be going through some criteria on how to choose a good backpacking tent depending on the different needs for them.

    Single Person 

    If you are looking to go camping by yourself, while also not having a high number of items to carry along with you, a single person backpacking tent would probably be a great option for you. It’s not as big as a multi-person tent but still provides enough space for one person to be able to comfortably fit into the tent and have some extra space as well.

    Multi-Person 

    This type of backpacking tent is best if you plan on camping with more than one person. You can usually find backpacking tents that go up to a 7 person capacity and even then, your tent will still have enough space to comfortably fit all 7 people without being crammed up.

    3 Season

    If you are an all year around camper particularly, spring, summer, and fall and are looking for a tent that can handle the weather conditions of all 3 of these seasons, this type of tent could be a great choice. These type of tents have the material to withstand the rain from the spring, the durability to withstand the winds from the fall and the ventilation to withstand the summer heat.

    4 Season

    Just like 3 season tents, 4 season tents are even more versatile because they can withstand weather from all 4 seasons. The primary difference between 3 season and 4 season tents is that 4 seasons tents have the structure and the high quality material to withstand the frigid cold weather, heavy snowfall and strong winds that the winter brings.

    Ultralight

    This type of tent could definitely be a great choice for you if you are always on the go or consistently moving from campsite to campsite. These particular type of tents are extremely lightweight, usually weighing around 3 pounds or so, which makes it super easy to carry around on your back, while other tents that are not backpack or ultralight can weigh anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds.

    What To Look For When Buying The Best Backpacking Tent

    Weight - Generally speaking, most backpacking tents are fairly light, hence the reason for the name “backpacking”, but there are some that are lighter than others, which is why you want to make sure to look into how much your tent really weighs. There may be some campers who can tolerate a bit of a heavier tent while others want to go as light as they possibly can. The tents that are listed below are all chosen by the best mix between comfort, convenience and weight.

    Durability - It can definitely be somewhat challenging to find a tent that is durable while also having that lightweight aspect to it as well. Having a durable tent is definitely one of the most important attributes to consider when making your choice. With a durable tent you can be certain that you are going to be protected against heavy winds, rain, cold and hot temperatures.

    Price - You do not have to spend a boatload of money to find a great backpacking tent and all budgets are different. Maybe you are a first time camper and want to try out backpacking and not sure if you would like it, you price range may not be high to start with or maybe you are a die-hard backpacker who cannot get enough of it and would rather spend more money for a higher quality tent. Listed below are a list of great tents in a variety of price ranges, so whether you are looking to spend a little or a lot, you can get what you need.

    Footprint - There are a lot of tents that do not come with a footprint and its not an absolute necessity to have one but if you really want to make your money stretch and increase the durability of your tent it may be a good idea to invest in one. What a footprint does is protect the floor of your tent from damages such as leakages and tears. It also adds to the comfort-ability as well.

    Season - If you are going to be backpacking for the Spring, Summer and Fall, a 3-Season tent is a perfect choice. If you are going to be backpacking through all 4 seasons, a better option would be to go with a 4-Season tent. 

    The Top 10 Backpacking Tents

    Best One Person Backpacking Tent

    If you are more of a solo camper, then a 1 person backpacking tent could be just right for you. When it comes to finding the best one man tent for backpacking, being cost effective and making sure the weight of your tent is manageable, you cannot go wrong. 

    Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent 

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    Designed to only fit 1 person the Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent is a great small and compact single entry tent that is made from Aluminum, to help keep you protected winds while also making sure you have a sufficient amount of ventilation as well.

    • Unlike quite a few other tents, this one actually comes with a repair kit for easy fixes that you can do while on the go.
    • You will have no problem getting from one place to another as this tent only weighs 3.75 pounds which makes it excellent for backpacking.
    • All seams are taped which adds an extra layer of protection to the tent which means that it is a lot less likely to tear.
    • There have been some complaints about this tent actually being too small for some people. Just enough room to lay inside of and not to do other activities such as getting dressed, which is not good because even if you have a single person tent you want to make sure you have enough space to be comfortable.
    • There are problems with water leakage with the Snugpak because of some seams not being closed in the corner of the tent.
    • Purchasing this tent may require you to also purchase an extra floor saver being that the floor of the snugpak is so thin.

    ALPS Lynx Mountaineering 1 Person Tent 

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The ALPS Lynx Mountaineering 1 person tent is the best-selling 1 person tent that ALPS mountaineering has to offer. It has a great freestanding design and can be setup within seconds, great tent for a solo getaway.

    • This tent is equipped with factory sealed seams which means you should have excellent water protection without having to worry about any leaks.
    • Also this tent has 75D 185T Polyester Fly which protects the tent from UV damage in case you are camping in extreme heat.
    • You can expect an easy travel because this tent only weighs 4.2 pounds which makes it an ultralight tent. Wonderful if you are planning on moving around a lot while camping.
    • The Zippers on the tent are known to be a bit tight which can cause the zipper to become stuck or actually snap off in some cases.
    • This tent is made from a pretty thin material which can cause it to rip on the exterior while being set-up or taken down.
    • The windows are plastic which means you may have to be extra careful with activities and sharp objects inside the tent as a hole can be easily made through the plastic windows.

    Best Two Person Backpacking Tent

    If you are planning on going on a camping trip with more than one person and are looking for the best 2 man backpacking tent, you want to make sure that you are thoroughly reviewing the tents specifications to see if the size is right for you to make sure you are getting the absolute best two man backpacking tent you can find.

    Sundome 2 Person Tent

    Quality 

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The Sundome 2 Person Tent is a 3 season tent that is made from coated polyester which is great for rainy weather. This tent is lightweight weighing 7.17 pounds, is pretty easy to get set-up and comes with a 1-year limited warranty

    • This tent is equipped with 2 large doors which is great for easy entry and exit and also comes with a hooded fly which can provide excellent ventilation when it is raining.
    • A Unique feature about this tent is that it comes with an electrical access port which enables you to run AC power throughout the entire tent. 
    • The floors of this tent are polyethylene and is shaped in a bathtub style which enables it to wrap up the sides, included with welded seams to protect you against leaky floors.
    • Because this is a lightweight tent the odds of the support poles breaking and the stakes bending are more likely to happen than if you were setting up a heavier tent.
    • One of the vents on this tent does not zipper up which could be a cause for concern especially if the weather is cold while you are camping.
    • The tent floor seems to be pretty thin which means that if you are actively using your tent the floors can rip fairly easily.

    Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent 

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    Designed to be durable through 3 seasons the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent provides campers with 35 square feet of main floor space, weighing in at only 4 pounds and 11 ounces which is a fairly lightweight tent.

    • Included within this tent are mesh wall panels which makes for excellent ventilation in the heat or when its cold as well.
    • Also the Mountainsmith Morrison has a removable canopy shelf with an easy access perch to make it easy to store all of your essential belongings, also this tent comes equipped with double vestibules which adds 14 square feet of dry storage space.
    • Also included with this tent is a clip-pole attachment which reduces the overall weight of the tent and improves breathability significantly.
    • There have been a few issues with the rainfly leaking on this particular tent which is not good because that could mean the inside of your tent can get wet, which is never a good situation for a camper
    • Because of the lightweight and the thin material made for good ventilation, this tent sometimes has a tough time withstanding strong winds making making it super easy to blow over if you are not inside of it. 
    • The seams has a tendency to break when used or moved around too often, mainly because this tent is not double stitched but has only single stitching.

    Kelty Salida 2 Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The kelty Salida 2 Tent is high quality backpacking tent that fits 2 people and is a 3 season tent. You have 30.5ft2/2.83m2 of floor area and a vestibule area of 10ft2/ .93m2 which makes this tent pretty spacious even for 2 people.

    • This tent is super simple to assemble because it actually has color coded clips to clearly indicate how to secure your fly without my effort on your part.
    • Also equipped with compact poles,this could be great for you if you want to eliminate the hassle of effectively and quickly packing up your tent.
    • Included is also no-see-um mesh panels which is great for keeping small bugs from out of your tent.
    • The tips of the support poles are made from plastic which can be bad in some cases considering that if you happen to tug your pole the wrong way it can snap the plastic pretty easily requiring for you to have to replace the pole.
    • This tent being too flimsy has also been a concern as well. With the poles being aluminum and the tent also being ultralight, could raise some issues as far as durability is concerned. 
    • The Kelty Salida 2 does not get much ventilation with the fly still on the tent. In order for you to be able to enjoy a breeze or get a good amount of ventilation you would have to remove the fly which cannot always be done, especially if its raining.

    Best Three Person Backpacking Tent

    ​Finding the best 3 person backing tents can be tedious and time consuming considering how many factors are involved when it comes to choosing the perfect tent for you. Below is a list of some great 3 person tents that are not only affordable, but are lightweight and durable.

    ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    If you are looking for a great backpacking tent that is easy to set-up, affordable, and spacious, the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr Tent could be just right for you. Made from polyester taffeta, this dome style tent is 41 inches in height and has a floor area of 40 and only weighs 5.44 pounds, making this an ideal backpacking tent.

    • The walls of this tent are completely composed of mesh, which makes for an excellent flow of ventilation throughout the tent.
    • The poles are made from aircraft alloy aluminum and are strong and lightweight.
    • This tent has a 2 pole aluminum design, which makes set-up very simple and offers a lot more head space while in the tent.
    • This tent has been known to leak, during heavy and or light rain.
    • The way the zipper is designed on this tent makes it difficult to unzip from the inside.
    • The thin material of this tent can cause it to be easily ripped set-up or take-down.

    Kelty Trail Ridge 3-Person Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The Kelty Trail Ridge is a 3 season tent, that weighs 6 pounds 5 ounces and is excellent for backpacking. This dome style tent has a floor area of 44 feet and a maximum height of 47 inches, which means there is plenty of space for all 3 people. Also having a vestibule area of 9 feet x 9 feet and a packed length of 24 inches, makes the Kelty Trail Ridge a great choice for a backpacking tent.

    • This tent is equipped with dual doors so you do not have to worry about climbing over anyone else to get in and out of the tent.
    • All of the set-up clips are color coded, so you will have no issues when it comes to setting up the tent.
    • The entire tent has completely taped floor seams, which means you will be well protected against floor leaks throughout the tent.
    • There is not much ventilation with this tent. One of the only ways to get a good flow of air throughout the entire tent is to open the vestibule doors, which can be an inconvenience at times, especially if its cold or rainy.
    • The stakes included with this tent are pretty heavy and not of great quality, which may cause some stability issues during any heavy winds.
    • The guy-lines are completely black, and does not have a fluorescent highlight of any kind, causing you not to be able to see them at night and possibly tripping over and losing them.

    MSR Elixr 3 Backpacking Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The MSR Elixr 3 Tent is a 4 pound 10 ounce, dome style tent that has a nylon-micro-mesh and a rip-stop nylon material. The maximum height is 41 inches and has a floor area of 39.5. This tent includes aluminum color coded poles, webbing's and clips to make sure there is no confusion with the setup of your tent, all of the qualities that make up an exceptional backpacking tent.

    • The unique pole geometry allows a great amount of headroom and can also comfortably fit 3 mats.
    • This tent is equipped with an adaptable rain fly , this allows you to be able to have a view from inside of your tent. 
    • Also included with this tent are 2 large vestibules, which provides plenty of extra storage space.
    • Because the doors on this tent only have netting towards the top, it can mean very little ventilation.
    • There have been multiple issues with the poles snapping after a couple of set-ups and take-downs.
    • With this tent being so lightweight it can cause for the framing to easily break as well, if handled too roughly. 

    Best Four Person Backpacking Tent

    Finding the best four person backpacking tent can be tricky because the higher a capacity of a tent usually the more it will weigh and sometimes it can be hard to find that balance between capacity and weight but below is a list of some lightweight 4 person tents.

    Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person 3 Season Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The Mountainsmith Genesee is a 6 pound 9 ounce tent included with mesh wall panels, a detachable ceiling loft pocket and aluminum poles. This backpacking tent is exceptionally spacious having a floor area of 56 square feet and a vestibule area of 21 square feet.

    • This is a 3 season tent so you do not have to worry about buying a new tent for the summer, spring or fall seasons, which is great if you are trying to save money.
    • You can be sure to get a great source of ventilation with the Mountainsmith Genesee because it comes equipped with tent fly ventilation windows.
    • The floor of this tent is made in a bathtub style, which means increased comfort ability and you are better protected against leaks through the floor of the tent.
    • The poles on this particular tent are super lightweight, which makes them quite flimsy. This can definitely be a problem during heavy winds.
    • The quality of the stitching could be better, as the stitching seems to easily come undone without much usage of the tent.
    • The zipper quality is not the best either as the zipper has been known to snap off without much effort.

    Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Tent

    Quality

    Durability

    Set-Up

    Our Rating

    The Kelty Grand Mesa 4 is a 7 pounds 7 ounce, 3 season tent that can even handle some lighter parts of the winter. You can be sure that you will have enough room for all 4 people with the maximum height of 56 inches and over 50 square feet of floor space. An absolutely awesome choice if you are looking for a 4-person backpacking tent.

    • One of the best qualities about the Kelty Grand Mesa is that it is super durable against rain and high winds because of the high quality fabric it is made of.
    • The Kelty Grand Mesa is a tent that can be used for multiple uses. Not only is it great for backpacking but it makes for an excellent car camping tent as well.
    • This tent has an open mesh top, which provides a great flow of ventilation.
    • The packaging is large, which could be a little inconvenient when traveling around.

    Conclusion

    This list contains some of the best lightweight backpacking tents and has been carefully researched based on a number of different specifications such as weight, durability, set-up time and overall quality. Whether you are shopping on a budget and looking for a cheaper tent or willing to spend a little more money, looking for the best quality, within this list you have a vast array of options to choose from to make sure you are choosing the perfect backpacking tent for you.