Tents have been around for a long time and they are still commonly used today. Many nomadic peoples live in them.
Armies all around the world are using tents as an important part of their infantry equipment. But, the most widespread use of tents is for recreational purposes.
Since backpacking is an activity that involves walking and carrying weight, for backpackers the best backpacking tent is a light tent.
The overall mass of the tent is very important, but its functionality depends on many other factors too.
The quality and the characteristics of the materials the tent is made of, the complexity of the assembly process, the packing requirements, and the size of the space inside all need to be considered when you are searching for the best backpacking tent.
To help you make the right decision, we will observe the pros and the cons of the best backpacking tents through seven categories. We will consider all the relevant factors and answer the frequently asked questions.
In the end, it is up to you to use all the carefully gathered information and, based on your needs and preferences, decide which tent is the best backpacking tent for you.
(On a tighter budget? See our favorite backpacking tents under $100 here)
The Quick Answer
The purpose of all tents is pretty much the same; they should keep you protected from the elements, most importantly keep you dry, and they should give you privacy.
Backpacking tents today do not differ much in shape either.
The color spectrum is immense, and they also come in many sizes. So what should you look for when you are choosing the best backpacking tent?
Well, this depends on your particular needs. Are you satisfied with having space only for yourself?
Are the simplicity and speed of the assembly process your priorities? Do you believe in the old school, rigid poles and fabric, or do you prefer more flexible solutions?
Whatever it is, this article has some good suggestions to help you choose the best backpacking tent.
Let’s take a look now at the best backpacking tents in each of the categories.
For a single person, the best available option is the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx tent. If you enjoy sharing your tent or you plan to go backpacking with a partner or friend, the best backpacking tent for two people is the Campla Backpacking Tent.
For those who do not think that three is a crowd, Winterial Three-person Tent is a fine option.
A party of four would feel really comfortable in the ALPS Mountaineering Meramac, four-person tent.
The budget can be a limiting factor sometimes. Luckily, there are more than a few backpacking tents for those who are looking not to overspend.
A superb low-budget solution is the iCorer Waterproof Lightweight tent, for two to three persons.
If you are looking to spend a bit more, but still keep the expenses under $100, the WolfWise Two-person Four-season tent is the best backpacking tent for you. In a price range under $200 is another great tent - the Kelty Salida Tent.
Most people do not see the winter as the best time to sleep outdoors, but there is a tent for those who do. The Lux Tempo Two-person Four-season is the best backpacking tent for all-weather conditions.
The Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent is definitely the family’s choice for backpacking and camping.
Best BACKPACKING TENT Reviews
The previous table is like a bikini: It shows everything but reveals nothing. Sure, it is useful to know the dimensions and other physical characteristics, but there are many more factors that contribute to what makes these tents the best backpacking tents. Keep reading for a deeper analysis of each of these products.
This is an overview of all the category-winning tents, with a special insight into all the pros and cons that make them the best backpacking tents.
1. Best One Person Backpacking Tent: ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent
The best thing about this tent is its simplicity. There are no unnecessary complications here. The two-pole design is a perfect solution for easy assembly.
You might even argue that the ventilation is “too good” because most of the walls are made of mesh. For all that matters, this is a three-season tent and winter adventures are excluded.
The tent is equipped with eight large zippers and the floor insulation is 2cm (almost an inch) thick. So, you should not wake up wet if the rain tries to ruin your trip.
Still, keep in mind that this is not some tent with superpowers. Handle it with care and assemble on higher ground, out of direct sunlight.
The size of this tent is perfect for a single person and the weight is not out of the ordinary. However, the height of only 36” might seem low. Tall backpackers beware, as this one is not your best backpacking tent.
- There's no assembly frustration with our Lynx Tent series; this free-standing, aluminum two-pole design is a breeze to setup
- Polyester tent fly resists water and UV damage while adding one vestibule for extra storage space
- Fully equipped with #8 zippers, storage pockets, gear loft, stakes, guy ropes and one doorway
- The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent is on our best sellers list; it's a must-have for your next adventure
- Base Size: 2'8 x 7'6, Center Height: 36", Total Weight: 4 lbs. 4 oz., Minimum Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
Who is it best for?
This tent is a good pick for those solitary travelers who are happy to use their polyester accommodation for sleeping only. Although no one expects to walk into a backpacking tent, the height of this particular one could be just a bit too low.
2. Best Two-person Backpacking Tent: Campla Backpacking Tent
A very modern backpacking tent. If other tents were throwing a casual party, this one would definitely come overdressed.
The basic cover layer is well ventilated through mesh-made doors and two small triangle-shaped windows, but the additional wind and rain cover is included as well. This promising feature should be enough to guarantee a safe stay outdoors, no matter the weather.
Another innovative and rather cool feature is the LED waterproof, detachable, light strip. It is USB-charged and provides useful, long-lasting illumination.
This is a very convenient and eco-friendly way to light up your evening of camping. Let’s just hope that the bears are not curious.
The manufacturer states that this tent is very simple to disassemble and that it accommodates two people.
- Include main ventilating Inner Tent and WATERPROOF & ANTI-WEAR Outer Rain Fly for a double protection, which is an ideal shelter against wind and pouring rain.Every detail guarantees its durability and high performance.(see detailed features in the pictures)
- Provide you with excellent inside Ventilation by 2 prop-up triangle windows and two opposite ventilating mesh zippered doors.Outside and Inside zipper pullers is handy and easy for your entrance and exit.
- Equipped with a detachable WATERPROOF LED USB Light Strip,which can be conveniently powered on with your power bank(not included).
- Follow the specific instruction to simply complete the assemble.This tent can accommodate 2 adults.
- Easily tear down and pack up into a carrying bag.Extremely portable to carry around for your various kinds of outdoor activities such as camping,fishing,hiking,beach,park,courtyard and traveling.
Who is it best for?
This is a tent for couples or those who prefer more space over practicality. The additional cover and LED light are useful but can be too much to handle for beginners or people who prefer to carry as little as possible.
If you don’t believe that less means more, this could be your perfect backpacking tent.
3. Best Three-person Backpacking Tent: Winterial Three-person Tent
A very light three-person tent. Two aluminum poles and four stakes are all you need to put together to assemble this tent.
Looks simple enough for anyone and features no unnecessary parts. This is not a five-star tent but a basic shelter for up to three people.
Roof ventilation is a nice feature as long as it performs well in heavy rain. The manufacturer does not supply any data about the floor insulation, but everything else about this tent makes it seem like a very sturdy and durable option.
Having one door only is not the best solution for a tent that is supposed to accommodate three people. For the person furthest away from the door, it could prove to be a bit of a quest to exit.
- FEATURES include: Rain Fly Vented Roof ,Two Durable ALUMINUM Tipped Tent Poles Screen and Solid Zippered Doors
- EASILY holds 3 people. Comparable to Coleman and Alps Mountaineering
- 4 Metal Stakes; Open Dimensions: 82 x 64 x 46 inches, Pack Dimensions: 23.8 x 4.4 x 4.1 inches / 4.4lbs
- PERFECT for any outdoor trip, lightweight and is very compact when folded
- GREAT 3 person backpacking tent that can be easily packed for your trip!
Who is it best for?
If you don’t care, you don’t share. This then is not a tent for you. Also, a three-person tent is all about space and practicality.
There is no room for additional, fancy features. Do you want to enjoy nature and use your tent only for resting? If so, this is your best backpacking tent.
4. Best Four-Person Backpacking Tent: ALPS Mountaineering Meramac
A bestseller in its category and coming from a company whose name really rings the bell, this tent is the best four-person backpacking tent currently available. The design features some innovations, such as the shock-corded fiberglass poles.
This is a truly spacious tent. Standing at 60 inches high, it looks like it’s a whole size larger than other tents in its category. This size comes at a price too. When packed, the tent weighs over 11 lbs.
The polyester cover offers good protection against rain and UV radiation, and a two-door design is very handy. The storage pockets and the gear loft, located on the inside, support a better use of space.
- Easy assembly free-standing two-pole design with shock corded fiberglass poles
- Polyester fly resists water and UV damage, while providing an awning over each door
- Fully equipped with storage pockets, gear loft, stakes, guy ropes and two zippered window doorways
- The ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent is on our best sellers list; a perfect tent for your next adventure
- Base Size: 7'6 x 8'6, Center Height: 60", Total Weight: 11 lbs. 10 oz.
Who is it best for?
This is a group tent. It is tall, spacious, and well-vented. The two doors make it very practical as well.
If you are a social camper and you have good friends or family to share your outdoors experience with, share the weight of this tent too.
Best Budget Backpacking Tents
Budget control is the reality of most people’s lives. If you are looking for a quality tent but you don’t want to spend too much money, check the following choice of the best backpacking tents – budget edition.
1. Best Cheap Backpacking Tent: iCorer Waterproof Lightweight Tent
This is a truly convenient and spacious backpacking tent too. It can accommodate two to three adults.
Polyester cover and fiberglass poles are the materials of choice for this budget tent. The overall weight is low (4.8 lbs.) for a rather large backpacking tent. No cuts were made where it matters the most.
The floor is 2cm thick and waterproof, and the mesh-made walls keep the tent well-vented. An additional sun-protection roof is included.
The manufacturer offers a 90-day limited warranty for this backpacking tent.
- Quality Materials - Made of durable 170T polyester for layer (PU 1000mm) and 210T polyester for floor (PU 2000mm), 7.5mm fiberglass poles. Edge banding and seam taping guarantee its waterproof performance.
- Spacious interior - 78.7 x 78.7 inches in length and width, 51 inches center height. Roomy to sleep 2 adults or 3 children and move comfortably inside. Ideal for both camping and enjoy fun outdoors.
- Lightweight enough - 4.8 pounds only, which adds not much weights for family camping and traveling.
- User-Friendly Design - Adopting two-pole design with clips for super easy setup. High density mesh roof and zippered mesh door provide excellent ventilation and a clear view of night sky while keeping mosquitoes and bugs out.
- Buy with Confidence - We stand behind our products and offer a 90-day limited warranty.
Who is it best for?
This truly is a lightweight tent, so anchoring it down well is very important. Also, some terrains (ex. rocky) might not provide the best surface for assembling it.
More experienced backpackers could find this tent to match their needs and skill level.
2. Best Backpacking Tent Under $100: WolfWise Two-person Four-season Tent
If you could start a fire inside this tent, you could be camping all winter. This is the kind of feeling that the manufacturer is aiming for with this tent.
Double-stitched seams and aviation-grade aluminum leave an impression of superior durability. It is a big and tall tent that can accommodate two people in most weather conditions.
Eight stakes hold it firmly on the ground and an extra wind rope is thrown in as well. The tent comes with a rain cover and a USB LED light. Two doors are a very convenient feature too.
- INCLUDED LED LIGHT STRAND - Light up the interior of the tent with included roof USB LED lighting. Two aligned oversized rain cover doors allow easy entry and exit, while fluorescent buckles make access easy on dark nights
- LIGHTWEIGHT & PORTABLE - Weighing only 5.07 pounds, this tent sets up in minutes for waterproof shelter for two people in a variety of environments, in all but the coldest times of year
- ANTI-TEAR FABRIC & WATERPROOF - Sleep in comfort with this shelter made from anti-tear 190T embossed polyester and ventilating mesh with double-stitched seams, stitch taping, and waterproof tent floor, resisting even pouring rain
- EASY TO SET UP - Aviation-grade aluminum poles are light weight while delivering durable structural support. Shock-corded pole design sets up quickly with easy-to-follow instructions
- WHAT YOU GET - Each box includes one tent that opens to 82.7 inches wide, 55.1 inches long, and 43.3 inches high, with rain fly, roof light, carrying bag, wind rope, two shock-corded poles, and eight tent stakes. We are absolutely certain you will not regret your purchase. You can order right now with complete confidence
Who is it best for?
For all the persistent backpackers who refuse to stop wandering until it gets too cold. This tent is built to be completely windproof and waterproof. It is an all-year tent for camping enthusiasts.
3. Best Backpacking Tent Under $200: Kelty Salida Tent
This tent is just about as small as a two-person tent can get. Compact packing dimensions and light weight could be an advantage to some. For tall people, however, this only means more diagonal sleeping.
The Kelty Salida is a freestanding tent with one door. Like most of the tents in this category, it is simple to assemble and to pack.
The interior is equipped with storage pockets and gear loft loops. Materials are solid, reliable, and should last a long time.
All put together, this is a very affordable, classical two-person tent.
- Backpack-friendly compact folding poles, Gearloft loops, Color coded clip and fly attachment.Wall material:68D Polyester, 40D No-See-Um Mesh,Floor material:68D Nylon, 1800 mm
- Roll top cube carry bag, Easy set up, Free standing, Fabric/mesh tent walls
- Kelty hug clip, Easy entry D door, Internal storage pockets, Fully seam taped construction
- Seasons: 3, Number of doors: 1, Number of vestibules: 1, Number of poles: 2, Capacity: 2
- Floor area: 30.5 ft² / 2.83 m², Vestibule area: 10 ft² / .93 m².Wall material:68D Polyester, 40D No-See-Um Mesh,Floor material:68D Nylon, 1800 mm
Who is it best for?
If you need a two-person tent and you don’t feel like experimenting with more modern solutions, this is the best backpacking tent for you. It has all the features you would need in a tent, it can fit two people and it is still a lightweight, easy to carry and assemble, highly durable backpacking tent.
4. Best Four Season Backpacking Tent: Lux Tempo Two-person Four-season Tent
This is a very good example of an all-weather tent – because tents are not all about bad weather and worrying about whether you will stay dry or get wet. This tent has it all.
Cross-ventilation to keep you cool and stop condensation in warm weather and a 3 cm thick PU coated floor, to keep you and your gear dry even in pouring rain.
The inner tent has a mesh roof to enable stargazing on clear, warm nights. Another mesh layer is on the inner side of the door and can be opened only from the inside, guaranteeing privacy. This is a two-person, four-season tent and it has space and the equipment to prove it.
- Inner Tent is constructed from a LARGE PANEL of 210T highly breathable polyester for great cold-weather protection and dry weather views;Mesh roof and DOUBLE-LAYERED doors for HIGH-LOW cross ventilation and greatly reduces condensation,offering outstanding warm-weather performance
- This tent is designed to deliver years'service;TESTED and RELIABLE Water Resistance:FULLY TAPED Rip-Stop rain fly with 3000mm PU coating;TAPED BATHTUBE tent floor and carefully welded corners keeps you and your gear bone dry even in storm rain
- Multi-functional MESH GEAR LOFT not only offering handy storage for essentials,but also helping diffusing the light to create a comfortable and even glow through the whole tent when its empty;REINFORCED TENT CORNERS can sustain constant tension and pulling;SBS?zippers won??t drive you crazy
- 2 VESTIBULES provides ample gear storage space;vestibule doors can be affixed to fully closed or partially open for ventilation and sun shade while maintaining gear coverage; Mesh layer of the doors can be opened ONLY FROM INSIDE ,this feature can stop naughty intruder and offer absolute privacy in wilderness ;Reasonable peak height for abundant headroom to sit straight
- Mesurements:Floor,55.1 * 82.6 in.;Peak Height,43.3 in.;Vestibule:8.7 sq.ft+6.8 sq.ft; Packed Weight:5.7 LBs; Accessories:2 guylines,12 aluminum stakes; FOOTPRINT is a must-have to increase a tent's life ;Best Use:Car Camping,Backcountry Adventures,Alpine,Backpacking;Please scroll down to get the designerÂ¡Â¯note for this version of Luxe Tempo Tent (footprint,sleeping pads and bags are for better presentation and are sold seperately)
Who is it best for?
It is a tent for campers and backpackers who are passionate about their gear. More importantly, it is truly a four-season tent.
Sun, rain or snow, this tent has everything necessary to perform well. Only low temperatures can stop you from staying outdoors in a tent like this.
5. Best Family Backpacking Tent: Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent
This is an easy-to-set-up family tent. The tent is clipped to two aluminum poles, there are no sleeves, which makes the whole assembly process much faster.
It is a four-person tent, so two doors really simplify going in and out. However, the dimensions show that people taller than six feet will probably have some issues with sleeping in this tent.
The 6.2 lbs. of weight do not seem as very light to carry, but then again, this is a big tent. For any reason, the manufacturer offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee. For quality-related issues there is a 12-month warranty.
- SUFFICIENT ROOM - This dome camping tent weighs 6.5 lb, with Floor Dimensions 88"x80", Peak Height 53". Great for your backpacking & hiking trip. It can sleep 3 normal size adults, or 4 slim adults comfortably. It's taller than most tents this size which makes changing clothes inside easier.
- SNUGLY PERFECT FOR TALL PEOPLE OVER 6ft - Upgraded floor dimensions is 85x51 in, which ensures tall people will fit comfortably in it, without heels and head pushing both sides when laying down.
- TWO DOOR DESIGN & BIG FRONT VESTIBULE - This tent has two doors so that occupants aren't crawling over each other to enter or exit. The front door of the fly is double zippered on the sides, can extends to make a porch with the help of your walking sticks. Perfect for your backpacks, hiking boots, and other camping gear.
- EASY SET UP & DOWN - One person can finish the set up in about 5-10 minutes. The easy-to-pitch design uses 2 poles of equal length and snappy clips for quick setup. The tent attaches to tent poles via clips so you don't have to push it through sleeves, which is probably the most convenient thing!
- GREAT VENTILATION & WEATHER-PROOF - It's a 3 season tent but it can also be used as a winter camping tent with sleeping bags! With the tent being mainly mesh screen, there isn't even any condensation. The fully seam-taped construction and rainfly keep the weather outside. The tent can be well ventilate or closed down for cold night, and keep you dry even in the downpour.
Who is it best for?
This tent is perfect for families or larger groups of campers looking to share the shelter. As long as the occupants are not too tall, this tent will provide enough space for a comfortable night of sleep. It is affordable even for those on a tight budget.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in Your Best Backpacking Tent
This is really important. You will never feel comfortable if you cannot fully fit inside your tent. Some people choose to sleep diagonally.
Others don’t mind squeezing in for a night or two, but sleeping is not something you should try to save money on.
There is no room for compromise here, no matter how attractive the low price and some fancy additional features are. Size is important in the world of tents. Your best backpacking tent has to be the right size for you.
It’s not all about the floor size – the height is important too. If you cannot sit in the tent, don’t buy it. Also, take into consideration all the gear that you might want to keep inside.
Do you want to use the sleeping bag or an inflatable mattress? Only when everything fits, and you still feel comfortable inside the tent, is it good enough for you.
A special concern for every backpacker is the weight of the load they are carrying. A tent is a great contributor to the overall weight of the backpack, even though the common materials used for making tents are light, like aluminum or fiberglass.
When it all adds up, you might be left with quite a big load to carry if you are not careful. So, choose wisely, always check the manufacturer's specifications and the weight of the fully packed tent.
Assembling and disassembling the tent is a process some people find complicated, time consuming or even boring. Others take pride in their tent-assembling skills and do it with joy and ease. It is up to you to decide to which group you belong to.
If you are a beginner, choose a tent that is simple to put up. There are many tent models available on the market which can be put up by following just a few simple steps.
Those tents have a low number of parts and take little time and effort to assemble. Bigger, more demanding models can be a headache for inexperienced campers.
If you are fond of puzzle-like challenges, this is a good opportunity for you to put that logical thinking to work.
Think of the Weather and the Terrain
Before choosing the best backpacking tent, ask yourself a few questions. What do you need the tent for? Where are you going to use it?
You need to choose a tent that will perform well in the terrain and weather conditions where you will be spending most time. Heavy rain, strong winds, and extreme cold or heat can seriously affect your outdoor time and your equipment too.
Some terrains can also be demanding. Stakes can hardly be driven into the rocky soil and wetlands are not the best place to put up a tent.
The bottom line is that your best backpacking tent has to be able to withstand the conditions and keep you safe and dry everywhere.
Best Backpacking Tent FAQ
Is my tent truly waterproof?
This is probably the number one concern regarding all tents. The answer is not so simple and straightforward. Many factors influence the waterproof characteristics of a tent. The most important one is certainly the quality of the tent and the materials it was made of.
All tents are made to be waterproof but usually only under certain conditions. Proper use and handling of a tent should result in it functioning accordingly.
This means that if you, for example, assemble your tent in the foothills during a shower, the water is bound to enter it at some point.
The main purpose of a tent is to provide a temporary shelter. This means that tents cannot be seen as a permanent solution to rain, snow, and other weather conditions that may occur in nature.
Always choose a slightly higher ground for positioning your tent. Avoid depressions, slopes, soft ground and any areas that look wet.
Can this tent be used In all temperatures?
Changes in temperature affect us all and everything around us. Even steel is affected by sharp and constant changes in temperature in the long run. Tents are no exception.
What matters more here are the short-term effects of temperature changes. Extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures are more likely to make us unable to spend time in tents than they are to cause any damage to them.
It is important to know that tents offer little protection against direct sunlight and heat, and no ventilation system can change that. The same applies to extreme cold; advising anyone to stay in a tent in freezing temperatures is utterly irresponsible.
To sum it all up, tents will suffer little or no damage in extreme temperatures over short periods of time. But we should be very careful about the time we choose to spend inside the tents.
What does the expression “three-season tent” mean?
Expressions like “three-season tent” or “four-season tent” have, surprisingly, caused confusion with some people. If a tent is a three-season tent that does not imply it should be used for three seasons only and then scrapped.
What this actually means is that the tent’s characteristics allow it to be used for three seasons during the year (usually spring, summer, and fall). Following the same logic, we can see that a four-season tent is really a tent that can be used all year long.
Does this tent protect against dust as well?
Many people ask this question. Considering that all tents are set up on the ground, dust can be a serious issue in places with extremely dry soil. Dust particles are extremely fine, and it is hard to stop them from penetrating almost everywhere.
Most tents are composed of the inner tent, usually mesh-made for dry weather and ventilation purposes, and the outer cover, or rain cover. The rain cover is used to protect from the rain but the bad thing about it is that it also does not let any air through.
Talking about dust, the inner tent is useless for stopping it. The only way to stop the dust from entering the tent is to use the rain cover. The heat becomes a problem here because dusty areas are usually hot and sunny.
This could make your choice harder. Will you accept some dust in return for a breath of refreshing wind, or block the dust but suffer the heat?
What is a freestanding tent?
All backpacking tents are freestanding. The meaning of this is that they do not need any outside support to stay erect. Some other types of tents need to be kept tied to other objects, such as trees, or else their parts need to be inserted into the soil.
Although backpacking tents support themselves, they still need to be secured with stakes driven into the ground. This is not for support but to stop them from flying away. Due to their light weight, backpacking tents can be swept away by a stronger breeze.
How to stop condensation in a tent
Condensation is a normal occurrence in tents but it also a very annoying one. You can never be completely safe from condensation but there are a few tricks that can help you prevent it.
Keeping your tent well-vented is the most important thing. Don’t keep any wet things inside the tent and don’t use heaters.
Don’t put your tent up close to a large body of water. Instead, try to find a spot that gets plenty of natural breeze. Last but not least, never cook inside the tent.
Even with all the precaution, condensation might still occur in your tent. The only smart thing to do if you notice it is to wipe it off with a towel.