Outdoor traveling has become considerably simpler today compared to a decade ago. Modern inventions such as the backpacking tent have managed to streamline its design in order to be as compact and portable as possible.
The best backpacking tents all have something in common. They are lightweight, compact, and durable enough to withstand all weather conditions. In order to help you find the best possible backpacking tent, we put together this buying guide to assist in narrowing down your choices.
It features a D-shaped side door that rolls up neatly to the side where you can lock it in place with the use of pre-installed clips and loops. It also features a vestibule for added covered space (up to 10 sq. ft. to be precise). The vestibule can be closed and secured by using the zipper and Velcro tabs that are located on its side.
The interior of the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx is designed to offer the best level of convenience. You will find two mesh pockets located on both ends of the tent. It also incorporates a couple of clips above where you can attach some of your camping equipment like your lamp, for example.
Setting up the Lynx is also quite easy thanks to its free-standing design. Attaching the two flexible poles to the hooks of the tent is a simple task to accomplish and setting it up properly can be done in 2 minutes.
The tent features two vents that use Velcro tabs and comes with bras that allow you to prop the flap up if you wish to improve airflow within your tent. It also has two separate windows that are located over at the narrow side.
Design-wise, I commend ALPS for choosing to focus more on safety measures rather than style. The use of bright colors, like orange, is mainly to help improve the visibility of this tent in the instance of accidents and emergencies.
• Extremely easy to set up.
• Single-use but spacious enough inside to provide optimum comfort and leg room.
• Durable and well-made.
• While compact, it is slightly heavier compared to some backpacking tents.
• It does not have tent footprints.
The tent is made from durable polyester material. The walls also feature mesh panels that act as windows or vents for better ventilation during hotter summer days. The tent fly uses a PU coating for optimum waterproofing capability. The zipper pulls feature noise-blocking technology which is a nice little addition.
The bottom part of the tent is also treated with PU coating and has taped seams to ensure no leaking will occur even during the more torrential downpour. The lightweight construction of this tent can be attributed to the DAC press-fit aluminum poles which are not only lightweight and flexible but also impressively durable as well.
Interior of the Kelty Salida is quite spacious (we are reviewing the 2-person model here) and can easily fit two people as well as their camping equipment easily. You can find mesh pockets inside the tent for better item organizing and loops wherein you can hang certain camping gear as well.
• The tent features a well-ventilated design.
• Setting up the tent is extremely quick and easy with its clip system technology.
• A decent number of pockets and loops inside the tent for additional storage.
• Affordable price tag compared to other similarly designed backpacking tents.
• Using the rain fly can significantly lower the tent’s ventilation making it extremely hot to stay in during summer days.
The tent features mesh vents that are located high up on all sides of the dome with another extra vent located a little down below. The problem here is that low positioned vents are not ideal if you will be camping during winter. The snow can pretty much block the lower vent making it more of a weakness to the overall design.
The rain fly covers the top part as well as the mesh ventilation. The concern here is with the extra lower mesh. So far it has managed to prevent water from leaking in during a light rain, I am not as confident if it needs to contend with a heavy torrential rainfall though.
The Sundome tent does not utilize the vestibule feature that is common with most backpacking tents in the market. What you see is what you get when it comes to its covered space, pretty much a standard dome tent design.
The interior features two mesh pockets for additional storage space. You will also have access to a zippered port located in the corner which is for electrical cords and cables. It also features one door which is located on the side of the tent.
• Well-made, durable, and comfortable design.
• Free-standing tent.
• Reasonable price tag.
• Relatively heavy compared to other backpacking tents.
• Small rain fly cover.
As I stated earlier, the Featherstone is designed for maximum comfort and it achieves this with its use of micro-mesh fabrics that gives it breathability while reducing condensation inside the tent. It comes with a polyester rain fly that is coated with 3000m hydrostatic resistance for enhanced protection during rainy days.
The tent comes with a footprint and uses the free-standing design but only uses one sturdy aluminum pole. Setting up the Featherstone backpacking tent is as easy as they come. Now, you might think that this tent will be a bit on the heavy side, don’t fret as it weighs roughly 3.8 lbs. only. Surprisingly lightweight for a tent designed to accommodate two people.
In terms of convenience, the Featherstone utilizes two vestibules and two doors for entry and exit for two people. The two-door design means you won’t be disturbing the other person if you need to go out for a bit.
The Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent is a great and reasonably priced 3 season tent that accommodate 2 persons comfortably. The lightweight and sturdy design further pushes this to the forefront of highly recommended backpacking tents today. Easy to set up, ultralight, and affordable; you can’t really lose with this choice.
• Lightweight tent.
• Spacious enough to accommodate two people comfortably.
• Free-standing design with tent footprints.
• 2-door design.
• Not ideal for use during winter.
The single layer fabric uses PU coating for optimum water-resistance. You will notice that the Alvantor uses a rather unique design compared to other backpack tents. The bottom of the Alvantor uses PE tarpaulin that is quite tough and has a non-sticky finish making it extremely easy to clean.
The tent features two windows for its ventilation, a back vent, and one U mesh window. Setting up the tent is quite easy and even first-time campers will be able to figure it out and set it up within minutes. Taking down the tent and storing it back into the carrying bag is equally simple and easy.
Alvantor has a dimension of 83 x 55 x 42-inches (L x W x H) which should accommodate two average-sized adults with no problems. The Alvantor is marketed as a 3-season tent which means you can bring it for summer and rainy season but is not recommended for use during winter.
• Deep tub design ensures it will withstand even the most torrential downpour.
• High waterproof capability.
• 2-person tent design but is incredibly lightweight.
• Compact, easy to set up and take down.
• The angle of the tent might make it difficult to use for taller individuals.
• Leaves little leg room for two people. I suggest you take your significant other unless you want an awkward situation with a friend.
An important aspect of a backpacking tent, besides its reliability, is how quick and easy it is to set up. In that regard, the TNH can be pitched and ready within a matter of minutes. It features a Quick release buckle feature that allows you to take it down and pack it up in a minute or so.
Even beginners won’t have any difficulty setting up the TNH Outdoor Tent. It uses tent clippings that you attach to the poles which makes setting up and taking down the tent incredibly simple. It also comes with your standard rain fly which is taped at the seams for better waterproofing capabilities. It comes ready with a front vestibule that you can modify to your liking.
The vestibule also offers a bit of leg room which improves overall comfort. It also features cutaway vents which helps improve the airflow inside the tent during summer nights. I also liked its 2-door design which makes getting in and out of the tent easy for both individuals. It also has a pretty decent tent footprint which further improves movement and maximizes space inside the tent.
• Extremely easy to set up and take down.
• Decent ventilation.
• Offers good leg room inside the tent.
• The taped seams appear to be a bit flimsy. I would suggest applying liquid seam sealers to further improve on its waterproof capabilities.
The interior space gives campers at least 35 sq. ft. of flooring with a ceiling height of 43-inches. Personally, I’ve been able to share this with my partner plus our camping gear and still feel cozy inside. The pretty decent headspace also means it makes maneuvering inside the tent easy. It also features 2-doors located on each side of the tent.
The Mountainsmith Morrison uses the ever convenient, free-standing design. As you would expect, this backpacking tent can be used on almost any type of terrain you wish. It comes with stakes that allow you to nail the tent perfectly to the ground.
The Mountainsmith Morrison uses durable and high-quality polyester material. Expect it to last for quite a long time when properly used and maintained. The bottom of the tent, as well as the rain fly, are all coated with a waterproof PU finish. It also has tent footprints that help secure it to the ground.
The floor has taped seams to further ensure that water from the rain won’t be leaking inside your tent. It weighs in at 5 lbs. which is slightly heavier than some of its competition but it makes up for it in reliability.
• Good ventilation inside the tent.
• Spacious. interior
• Durable and waterproof.
• Comes with a loft for your extra camping gear.
• Slightly heavy at 5 lbs.
The Hyke & Byke Zion tent uses non-stretch polyester material which is quite resilient to rips and tears. The spacious interior of the tent also allows you to not only share it with another person but offer enough space to store your camping gear inside as well.
It uses a completely mesh wall designed which makes it an ideal tent to bring during hot summer days. The airflow inside is near perfect as the entirety of the walls and ceilings uses mesh. Of course, the main concern with this type of design is its waterproof capability.
Thankfully, it does come with a rain fly that can cover the entirety of the tent. The rain fly seams are all manufactured using factory grade tapes to help ensure no leaks will ruin your camping trip. The tent also comes with a PU 5000mm footprint to further ensure you remain dry inside the tent even during heavy rainfall.
As for other feature, the Hyke & Byke comes with sturdy aluminum alloy stakes and a stake presser. It also has light reflective guy lines for added safety during the night. As for convenience, the tent uses the 2-door design to allow each individual to get in and out of the tent easily.
The interior of the tent also features mesh pockets wherein you can store some of your smaller gears like gadgets and chargers. The Hyke & Byke Zion Tent is definitely an ultralightweight backpacking tent that I recommend for its reliability and reasonable price, especially as a summertime outdoor tent.
• Spacious interior.
• Impressive ventilation.
• Ultralightweight and compact design.
• Comes with tent footprints.
• Headspace is a bit limited, especially for exceptionally tall individuals.
The Winterial is quite affordable. It offers enough legroom inside for a single individual and is well-made as well. In terms of handling various weather conditions, the Winterial can hold its own during the rainy season. This is due to the pre-sealed and sturdy rain fly that comes with this tent.
Assembling the Winterial is simple and easy as it comes with all the tools you need to do so. It has aluminum stakes, poles, and a durable rope. Mesh ventilation is located on the ceiling which is actually a nice design choice, in my opinion. I enjoy camping during summer with the clear night sky above so the mesh ceiling will be great for those who love gazing at the night sky.
The sturdy zipper door is also exceptionally large which makes it easy to access and get out of this tent. It also features a vestibule where you can store your gear. However, the Winterial tent does not come with its own tent footprints and I suggest you get one as you will need it to ensure you can use this tent in most terrain types.
• Affordable price tag.
• Good ventilation from the ceiling mesh vent.
• Lightweight and compact.
• It does not come with its own tent footprint.
• The vestibule is rather tight.
Fortunately, after checking out the Teton Sports Mountain tent it did prove to be quite an impressive backpacking tent for outdoor enthusiasts in a budget. The tent already comes with all essential tools to make setting up and staying in the tent safe and comfortable. It has a tent footprint and a rain fly that you can easily clip on.
The tent is made from durable polyester fabric making it waterproof. It also utilizes heat -taped seams to ensure no water will be able to leak into the tent. The mesh vents are located at the upper part of the tent which gives it good airflow in the interior while also acting as your ‘sunroof/moonroof’ which allows for natural light to enter and give you a good view of the night sky during camping.
The tent’s weight depends on the model you choose. It can weigh between 4.5 lbs. (1-person tent) to 9.5 lbs. (4-person tent). The 1-person tent features a single zippered door while the 2 to 4-person tents have 2 doors.
• Good ventilation.
• Comes in 4 sizes.
• Affordable price tag.
• Easy to set up.
• Even with the 1-person tent, it tends to be heavier than other backpacking tents in the market.
The Yosemite offers a spacious interior designed to fit 2 people comfortably. The tent is made from durable and waterproof polyester fabric. The seams on the tent are all taped to further ensure no leaks will happen even during heavy rainfalls.
It follows all the industry standards when it comes to backpacking tent features. It is lightweight, durable, and is well-ventilated. It uses the dual-door design to allow both individuals inside to access and get out of the tent easily.
Looking at the interior, you will also find a couple of mesh pockets that allow you to store some of your smaller gear and gadgets. You can place your camping equipment inside the two vestibules which greatly increases overall storage space for things like portable showers.
The Yosemite is a good choice for those who plan on camping during the summer days due to its double doors and walls which are made from mesh fabric. It comes with a rain fly that completely covers the entirety of the tent in the occasion that a thunderstorm rolls-along.
The Yosemite tent uses the free-standing design making it ideal for any terrain. It also comes with tent footprints to improve the durability of the tent floor. Besides the tent, you will also get alloy stakes, a stake pusher, a guy rope that has a reflective finish, and a carry bag.
• Great ventilation.
• Comes with a tent footprint.
• Easy to set up.
• I would not recommend this for mountaineers.
The waterproof material and reliable rain fly that comes with the Grand Mesa further guarantees you won’t have any problems contending with harsh weather conditions. The flooring features a tub design with sturdy waterproof material and taped seams to make sure not even a torrential downpour will cause any difficulty.
The vents in the Grand Mesa are well-placed and uses mesh windows to help keep airflow inside at a comfortable level. Condensation might slightly be an issue if you use the rain fly during the rainy season but the vent placement minimizes this problem considerably well.
It features a large vestibule where you can throw your c equipment in which gives you all the leg room and extra space inside the tent. The Grand Mesa is solid backpacking tent built for the long haul and comes at an affordable price tag.
• Handles condensation issues quite well.
• Waterproof construction.
• Simple and easy to use.
• Pretty much a bare bones tent with only the basic features available.
The Zephyr features the free-standing design which makes it ideal for all terrain types. It comes with a rain fly made from a 75D polyester material with a 1500mm PU coating. The tent flooring also uses this material but with a 3000mm PU coating which pretty much guarantees you won’t experience any leaking if you ever get caught in a thunderstorm during camping.
The Zephyr tent weighs in at about 4 lbs. and comes with a compact carry bag. The tent walls are all made from mesh to provide optimum ventilation inside the tent. Interior also features mesh pockets for small storage and two vestibules where you can store your main stuff. It also utilizes the dual door design which makes getting in and out of the tent easier for both individuals.
• Spacious interior big enough to accommodate 2 persons with some extra legroom.
• Good ventilation.
• Made from high-quality material and is well-constructed.
• The plastic window feels a bit flimsy.
It is also among the most lightweight backpacking tents around at 3.7 lbs. which means bringing this tent around will be a breeze. Setting up the tent can be completed within minutes and is quite easy as well. As for the material, the Topnaca Naturehike uses durable polyester fabric intertwined with quality mesh to provide a durable yet breathable tent.
You could tell this tent was designed primarily with summer use in mind due to its UV 30+ coating which helps protect it and you from the harmful rays of the sun. The rain fly is coated with silicone and PU 10000mm which improves its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
It features the always welcome dual door design and a couple of windows which helps improve ventilation inside the tent. The doors also incorporate the two-way zipper design which means you can zip it up from the inside or outside. As for the tent flooring, it utilizes quality Oxford cloth coated with 5000mm PU. The bottom is tear resistant which means you can use it on any terrain without worrying too much about damaging the bottom part of the tent.
• Tough and waterproof rain fly and bottom.
• Lightweight and compact design.
• Can actually fit up to 3 people. However, it will be a tight fit.
• The aluminum poles feel cheaply made.
The tent comes with 8 metal stakes for pitching the tent. One downside here is that the packaged does not include trekking poles. However, it circumvents issues regarding the lack of pole by allowing campers to use any type of stick that is at least 42 inches in length. You can also tie the tent around two nearby trees.
Now you understand how it managed to weigh in at around 2 lbs. If you include the trekking pole, the total weight of this tent goes up to a little over 3 lbs. which is still ultralight. The fact that River Country Products Backpacking Tent does not come readily available with a pole somewhat avoids the most common complaint in a backpacking tent: subpar quality poles.
This tent is compatible with any trekking pole, you can pitch it using a sturdy stick, or simply use a rope and tie the top in between two anchor points. This backpacking tent is pretty much a call back to traditional methods of pitching a tent. While it does not offer some of the modern features (i.e. mesh pockets, vestibules, etc.) it does manage to deliver a reliable and affordable option for those who prefer something ‘old-school’ with their camping experience.
• Extremely lightweight.
• Flexible and easy to set up.
• Compact and durable design.
• Traditional backpacking tent.
• The tent is unfortunately not waterproof.
• It does not include trekking poles.
Backpacking Tent Buying Guide
Things to Consider
Choosing the right backpacking tent will require you to take a bunch of factors into consideration. The last thing you want is to have a tent that is inadequate for your needs when camping. By taking the following factors below into account, you will be able to shorten your list of choices when it comes to backpacking tents.
- Number of Occupants
Consider how many will be using the tent. Will you be the only occupant or will you be sharing it with others? You can find backpacking tents that can accommodate up to 4 people while still being relatively lightweight. Personally, I always opt for buying 2-person tents just in case I will bring a family member, girlfriend, friend, or my pet dog along for the trip.
- Camping Duration
Single day campers/hikers can make do with your basic tent. Basically, just a tent to let you spend the night in peace. Campers that prefer to stay outdoors for a couple of days will require something more robust and spacious. A heavy-duty backpacking tent with a couple of helpful features such as vestibules, interior mesh pockets, and hanging loops will make your prolonged stay much more comfortable and convenient.
- Overall Tent Weight
It goes without saying that if you are planning on hiking quite a distance, every single ounce of weight matter. The lighter your gear is, the easier the journey will be. However, it must be stated that you should never compromise quality overweight. Find a middle ground wherein you get a comfortable, lightweight, and reliable tent.
- Tent Season Rating
This one is pretty straightforward. Do you live or plan to camp in a region that goes through winter? Choose the 4-season tent. For everything else, the 3-season tent will suffice.
- Interior Comfort
I actually remember a time when tents offer very little leg and headroom to wiggle around. Nowadays, modern tents actually feature some unique designs that allow it to maximize living space without affecting the overall durability of the tent.
- Tent Wall Type
There are two wall types used by a variety of tents. The single wall tent type features, you guessed it, a single layer of fabric as its tent. The single wall is lighter and is good for camping in dry climate regions. The double wall tent utilizes a mesh and rain fly combination. This prevents condensation from forming inside the tent during the early morning but is slightly heavier.
- Tent Doors and Vestibules
If you are planning on camping and sharing the tent with another person, I highly recommend you get a dual door tent. This will eliminate the need for one of you to constantly scoot over whenever the other is entering or getting out of the tent. Vestibules are also important as it gives you extra storage space for your bag and camping gear. Again, having a dual door tent with each access point having its own vestibule is the ideal scenario.
- Tent Construction and Material Durability
The durability of the tent can be roughly estimated with how thick the tent walls and floors are. Thinner fabric is more susceptible to tears but is lighter. If you will be camping in a relatively pleasant terrain then a lighter tent with thinner fabric will do. Terrains that are rugged will need a tent with thicker flooring and walls. Of course, it also boils down to how well you maintain and use your tent.