Best Backpacking Tents Reviewed & Rated for Quality
One of those things that seems like it will always be annoying about camping is when it comes time to set up the tent. They are usually very bulky and hard to set up, not to mention how difficult they are to take down. There have been huge strides forward since those days of inconvenient tent poles and large, bulky bags that you can't fit the tent back into. Nowadays, you can buy yourself a backpacking tent instead. These are a great choice as they are much more lightweight and also have an emphasis put onto keeping a low-profile and being very easily set up and taken down. They are very easy to set up, and everyone who has gone backpacking knows that weight and space are at a premium any time that you go out on an adventure. Our buying guide focuses on the best 10 options on the market today.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Durable bottom and fly
Many choices in size
10 Best Backpacking Tents
1. Big Agnes Copper Spur
Durable bottom and fly
Many choices in size
The Copper Spur is a great product that does a great job of being able to conquer all kinds of climates and challenges that you are sure to face in the outdoors.
The Big Agnes has been designed to give you as much interior space as possible, but without taking up too much space in your pack. The poles of this tent bend outwards in a way that allows for even more room on the interior of the tent. This helps you feel less cramped while you are spending time inside. The fly and the flooring of the tent are also made of extra durable materials that won;t rip or tear when rubbed against the sharp spurs of nature.
Weatherproofing is Important Too
This tent is designed to be both breathable, and to do a good job of securing you against the elements. The seams of this tent have all been sealed in with a tight-fitting tape that makes sure that you won't have to worry about any kinds of moisture getting at you from the outside world. The inner material of the tent is made of a breathable mesh so you can avoid that steamy, stale feeling that always makes it so terrible to stay inside the tent in the morning.
Cost and Value
The Big Agnes definitely costs more than your run-of-the-mill tent, but the improvements will become immediately apparent when you take it out with you. This tent will give you a secure and comfortable home base that will help you feel prepared for the outdoors. It also comes in many kinds of sizes so you can better decide on the kind of tent that you would like.
2. Nemo Dagger Ultralight
Lightweight for travel
Lots of interior room
Many convenient features
Two doors for easy entry
Can be too tightly set up so be careful
The Dagger is a very light, but also very roomy choice for anyone wanting to buy themselves a backpacking tent.
The Dagger is designed with the smallest profile and lightest weight in mind, so that you don't have to worry about the size of your tent when you are taking long trips out in the woods, or countryside. It is made of very lightweight materials that make it possible to take anywhere with you. It does all this without sacrificing having a roomy interior that won't make you feel cramped.
The Nemo Dagger has obviously been designed by someone who has done a lot of camping. The other focus of this tent is making for the roomiest and most convenient type of time spent inside of it. There is a large amount of room inside the tent so you have lots of space to put your backpack and all of your precious gear. There are also two entrances so you don't have to awkwardly crawl into and out of the tent.
Cost and Value
The Nemo is comparable to the Big Agnes in price. This tent is more focused on keeping the weight of the tent light to make it easier for you to take it anywhere that you might need. The many convenient features are just a happy bonus for anyone looking for a backpacking tent.
3. MSR Hubba Hubba
Very light when packed up
Be careful with zippers
The Hubba Hubba is designed to be alike to its name. This is a great tent for traveling couples with just enough for the both of you.
This tent is designed to give you enough room for all of your things, and to avoid the cramped feeling that often comes from smaller tents designed for backpacking. It has thirty square feet of space, which is more than enough for sleeping with some extra space for all of your gear. It also has a high roof, which gives it a roomy quality where you can still comfortably sit up.
Designed for Travel
This tent has been designed so that it is easy to take with you on trips out into the country, or anywhere in the outdoors. It weighs just under four pounds all together so you won't even notice it when it is hanging off of your backpack. The final size of everything when it is packed up is only eighteen by six inches, which is a very convenient size for packing to the top or bottom of your bag.
Cost and Value
This tent is a little cheaper than the previous two tents on this list, but it is still a reliable and convenient option for anyone who wishes to find themselves a portable tent. It is made of strong and durable materials that will survive the outdoors, but is light enough that you can take it anywhere. This tent also comes with a two-year warranty so you don't have to worry about not being happy with it.
4. Hyke & Byke Yosemite
Very good price
Comes with a footprint
Easy to carry around
Well protected against the elements
Some of the seams are weak
The Hyke & Byke is a very reliable, and very lightweight, option whose claim to fame is the great price that it can be bought for.
Lightweight with Space to Spare
This product is very lightweight so it can be brought anywhere with you on your back. Despite that, it is still designed to be durable enough for trips out into the bush. It has enough room for you, and perhaps a buddy, to have more than enough space for sleeping and sitting upright. It can also be packed into a very small size so that it doesn't take up any precious room for you.
This tent is also great because it will do a good job of keeping the elements out. It comes with a waterproof fly so you don't have to worry about any unexpected rain on your trip. It is also designed with a mesh that will keep any kind of insects out, no matter how small. Another great feature about this tent is that it comes with a footprint so you don't have to worry about your tent getting scratched up by the great outdoors.
Cost and Value
The Hyke & Byke costs a lot less than other tents on this list. It can be an expensive hobby, going camping, so it is nice to be able to save money where you can. Don't be worried, though, this tent has been designed with your safety in mind. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know that the designers are confident in their product.
5. The North Face Stormbreak
Easy to set up
Lots of headroom
Little bit heavier than others on list
The Stormbreak has been designed with some clever little twists to the classic tent formula so that you can have an even better experience with the outdoors.
This tent has been designed in a way that will impress you with the thoughtfulness put into its design. It has breathable mesh at both the lower parts, and also in the higher parts of the tent. This makes for a larger amount of breathability, which is ever so important when spending some time in your tent. The other clever feature is the extra easy way that it can be set up. You'll never spend more than a minute or two getting this one ready, as long as you read the instructions first.
Roomy and Spacey
This tent has also been designed so that it gives you more than enough room to get anything you might need done when you are inside of this thing. It has been designed with a lot of head room in mind so that you can sit up comfortably while inside the tent. It also has some other features that help you feel comfortable, such as having two doors so you can better access and egress the tent when you need to.
Cost and Value
This tent is more than the Hyke & Byke, but still rests comfortably in that price range. It has been very well-built and easily lives up to the pedigree of The North Face. This makes this a great choice if you are camping on a budget, but also need the assurance of a well proven brand.
6. Marmot Tungsten
Lots of lateral space
Not very high
The Tungsten is a uniquely shaped tent that provides a lot of lateral shape due to its unique design and the way that it is set up.
Most of the options on this list are designed to make the most use out of their length so that there is a lot of space for people. This option is different in that it is quite dome-shaped, like a traditional tent. This gives the user a lot of extra space on the sides for valuables and other important things, but it does it without adding any extra weight to the light traveling backpacker.
This tent has other great features that make it a good buy for any aspiring outdoors-men. This tent comes with two doors, which makes it easy to move through, and have access to all of your things. It has also been designed with durability in mind and has had its seams taped down so that it has improved waterproofing, in case of bad weather.
Cost and Value
This tent is another one that is a good deal for anyone who is a budget-conscious traveler. It costs about the same as The North Face option on our list. This product does a good job of remaining lightweight, while also giving you a lot of space laterally so that you have more room to move around in. This tent is a great choice for any kind of camping you may need to do.
7. Kelty TN
Great additional features
Simple to set up fly
Unique pole design is sometimes hard to set up
This is a very convenient option that has been decked out with a lot of great features to make all of the steps in using your tent as easy and carefree as possible.
Convenient for Packing
There have been a lot of clever choices with the Kelty that make it easy to pack away and get ready for your camping needs. The poles have been designed to pack away a little shorter than other tent poles so that their profile is much smaller. The fly has also been designed to be very easily stuck onto the tent without any trouble.
Other Great Features
The Kelty has some other clever ideas that make it convenient even when it is in use and rolled out. The fly can be easily rolled up so that you can air out the tent at night, or if you want to easily look out of the tent's dome. The zippers have been designed so that they are completely quiet when you unzip or zip up your tent so you don't have to worry about waking anyone up.
Cost and Value
The Kelty is a premium backpacking tent at a completely reasonable price. It is similar in price to the Marmot and The North Face tents, but is also packed with many other great features that you probably haven't even thought of how much you needed them. Kelty's tent has been much beloved since it came out, and there is very good reason for it.
8. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
Easy to set up
Room for you and your gear
Packs down small
No space for anything else
The Lynx is an easy to set up affair that keeps it nice and simple for anyone who just wants something lightweight and portable for their outdoor trips.
Easy to Set Up
More poles may mean more ways to great space, but the Lynx is great because it works off a simple two pole design. This makes it very easy to set up. It will only take you a minute. The set up is as simple as crossing the two poles and then forgetting about it. It even comes with an easy to set up vestibule so that you have somewhere for your gear to stay protected.
The Lynx has been designed with durability in mind as well. It will often come to pass that you have some bad weather coming your way at some point in the trip. This tent does a great job of keeping you covered from both the wind and the rain. The fly is made of waterproof polyester so that you don't have to worry about ever getting wet.
Cost and Value
The Lynx is about as simple as a one person tent can get, but that is also its main strength. It gives you just enough space so that you have somewhere to sleep. It is also designed to be easy to set up for you and your gear. This tent also comes in at a very cheap price that makes it affordable to anyone who wants to buy themselves a solo tent.
9. Black Diamond Firstlight
Clever design for amount of space it provides
Panels for ventilation
No fly, so not as breathable as others
The Black Diamond is a very light option with a charming design that reminds one of the Volkswagen beetle. It is made of high-quality material and is designed with travel in mind.
The gentle curves of the Black Diamond give it a stylish feeling that make it feel like a good place to call home for an evening or two. The design is actually useful for giving you some extra space as well. The Black Diamond's design emphasizes the largest amount of space it can afford to the camper, as well as emphasizing the lightness of its design.
The Black Diamond is designed to be as light as possible. It weight just over three pounds and can be packed down into a very small size which is ideal for bringing along on a journey. That weight is achieved through some important decisions on the part of Black Diamond. The poles are made of a very lightweight material that is very easy to carry around. The material of the tent itself is also designed to be very lightweight, and does all of its weatherproofing without a fly.
Cost and Value
This tent is quite expensive for its size, but this is also the tent that you want if you are very serious about backpacking with a tent. It makes some important decisions when it comes to really paring down the amount of weight that you will have to carry around with you from day to day on the trail. This tent is perfect for one or two travellers who see themselves spending a good deal of time carrying a tent around with them.
10. Mountainsmith Morrison 3 Season
Lots of room
Easy to set up
Might be too large for some backpackers
The Morrison is a reliably built option that is designed to keep you safe and cozy in many kinds of weather.
The Morrison is a very simply built product that is probably recognizable to many people. It uses an everyday design, but does it all very effectively as well. This tent comes with two doors to make it easy to access your things that are inside of the tent. It also has a vestibule so you have somewhere to keep you gear safe as well.
Roomy and Lightweight
The Morrison is designed to comfortably fit two people. It definitely does this, as can be seen from the thirty-five square feet of room within the tent. You will never feel cramped inside this tent. It also packs up into an easy to carry bag that can be quickly strapped onto a backpack so that it is easy to carry around.
Cost and Value
The Morrison is a very cheap tent for what you get out of it, It doesn't leave you wanting in any area, and is built to be reliable and easy to use. This tent is great for both people who want to go backpacking, as well as people who just need a tent for the weekend at a campground.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The biggest thing to look out for when buying yourself a backpacking tent, is to make sure that it is very light. You will probably be carrying this tent over some very long distances, and it is important to make sure that the tent won't be the thing that is weighing you down too much. The way that tent makers achieve this is by making sure that the materials that make up the tent are very light so that the tent is easy to carry around. The higher the rating in this category, the lighter that the tent will be. Other things that will keep the tent light is how much material is actually involved in the tent. Most tents will be made up of the tent's fabric, the poles, and a fly. Anything more than that will add weight.
Another important factor in backpacking is the size of all the things that you are carrying. This impacts you in many ways. Your backpack, and you, can only carry so many things. There is only so much space to put things. When going camping, you are going to need room for food, clothing, toiletries, and all the tools needed to have a comfortable time in the wilderness. The tent is often the largest thing that you will be bringing with you. The tent and the sleeping bag will usually make up more than half of what you will be carrying size-wise. You want a tent that will comfortably strap itself to the bottom or top of your backpack and won't make your profile too large or top-heavy.
Once the tent that you have chosen can comfortably fit on your back, as well as be light enough that you are confident that you can carry it for a long time, now it is time to make sure the inside is large enough for your needs. The first thing to think about is how many people you plan on fitting in the tent. These backpacking tents can hold up to three people on this list. The fewer people fitting inside the tent, the smaller the tent will be. A convenient way to keep the size of your tent down is to buy one of the tents on this list that come with a vestibule so you have a shelter for your supplies. This will save some space, without sacrificing room inside the tent.
It is important to make sure that you have enough room inside of your tent that you can feel comfortable. It is well and good that it is small enough to carry around, but if you feel too cramped to get any sleep when you are inside the tent, then there isn't much value to the tent anyway. The best way to go about finding a comfortable tent is to check for small features in the tent that will make it easier to move around in. Being cramped in your tent is against the point of being outside in the great outdoors. Make sure there is enough room in the tent that you can sit up inside of it, this measure will usually be on the tent's store page. It will also help your comfort if there are multiple ways to access the tent, such as if the tent has multiple doors to get in.
Ease of Use
When using your tent, one of the things that you will notice is that you will be spending a lot of time setting it up and taking it down. If your trip has multiple legs on it, and more often than not it will, it is wise to make sure that it is as painless as possible to put the tent together and take it apart. Putting the tent together is always the worst part of camping, so try to find a tent that comes with as few poles as possible. There are many design decisions for tents these days that make it easy to put your tent together and take it apart in minutes, so check around on this list for the one that fits you best. However, a quick word of warning; make sure to read the instruction manual that comes with the tent before you take it out. This will save you a lot of time if you buy a tent with a foreign kind of set up system to the one that you are used to.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
One of the terrible parts of sleeping in a tent is when it begins to feel so hot and humid when you wake up in it in the morning. No chances for sleeping in when you use one of the cheaper tents you can find on the market. Many of the tents on this list are very breathable and make sure to have lots of ventilation so you don't have to wake up feeling sweaty and moist. This has to do with the quality and size of the meshes that each tent uses. It also has to do with the fly, which is often draped tightly over the tent, instead of a little more gently where it leaves some room for air to get in. Try to find a tent that leaves lots of room for air to get in, and also one that uses a complex fly system that makes it easy for you to put on and remove it.
If you live in a climate where backpacking all year round is a legitimate possibility, you will definitely want to ensure you are taking a look at the season rating of the tents you're looking at purchasing. Typically the three season options are the most common even amongst the options on our list. These are made for the spring, summer and fall weather and will have a focus on keeping the rain and wind out while ensuring that proper ventilation is still happening inside the tent. Nothing is worse than waking up in a blistering hot (or freezing cold) tent.
Other Factors to Consider
The great outdoors can be a rough and tumble place, so it helps to make sure that you have a tent that is equipped to handle anything that nature throws at you. This can be the most useful thing to look out for and will save you a lot of money in the long run. Try to make sure that the product you buy uses materials that are designed to be ripstop so that they can do a good job of being scratched with tree branches and sharp rocks. Something that will do wonders for you is to find one that comes with a footprint, which is a mat that rests underneath and keeps it protected from rougher patches of the forest floor. Some options on this list come with a footprint, while with others you will need to find one for yourself.
Another important thing to look out for when is to find one with some of those quality-of-life improvements that make it feel more like a home. In a lot of ways, all you really need is a roof over your head when you sleep, but there are other useful features that might make your life on the road a little bit easier. This includes things like the ability to have pockets on the inside so you have somewhere to put your things. It could also be something like somewhere to hang a light attached to the ceiling so you can better see inside of it at night. One more thing to look out for are things that make your life easier on the outside,, such as silent zippers, or something like a rollable fly.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do these come with a warranty?
Some of the options on this list do come with a warranty. It is useful to look around on the seller's store page to see what they are offering. There are many hazards out in the wilderness so it is useful to know that any damage that comes to pass upon your tent might not be the end of the world. The warranties range wildly from product to product as well, so it might be worth doing your own research in these cases. There are warranties ranging from two years, to a lifetime warranty. It can sometimes be the case that the warranties don't cover every kind of damage either, so it might be a good idea to check what kind of damages that these warranties cover.
q: Are the options on this list waterproof?
It is important to make sure that the product that you buy is well safeguarded against the elements. All the options on this list are waterproof to some extent. These products are of very high quality, so the waterproofing should be more astute than a cheaper option that you might find. They have waterproof material covering all of the seams, and other sensitive areas that might get covered in water. You can be confident that the water will stay out. However, it does vary between the individual products to some degree, so try to make sure that you check the reviews for each and see what the people have to say.