Gear Guide: Best Tents for Backpacking

by | Feb 13, 2018 | Accessories, Gear | 0 comments

Backpacking is an equally adventurous and pleasurable activity. Nothing compares to the feeling of gratification you experience when you finish a strenuous hike. Having the chance to appreciate astounding landscapes is also a perk.

If you plan on using a backpack tackle box and a backpacking tent you may need which one will be your primary.

What are the best portable tents?

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1. Best 1 Person Backpacking Tent

Winner:
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
ALPS Mountaineering LynxCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Eureka! Solitaire Tent
Eureka! Solitaire TentCheck Price

2. Best 2 Person Backpacking Tent

Winner:
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra TentCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
Coleman Sundome 2 Person TentCheck Price

3. Best 3 Person Backpacking Tent

Winner:
Coleman Hooligan 3 Tent
Coleman Hooligan 3 TentCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Wenzel Alpine 3 Person Tent
Wenzel Alpine 3 Person TentCheck Price

4. Best 4 Person Backpacking Tent

Winner:
Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Tent
Kelty Grand Mesa 4 TentCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person Tent
Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person TentCheck Price

5. Best Ultra-light Backpacking Tent

Winner:
Kelty Salida Tent
Kelty Salida TentCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight Tent
Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight TentCheck Price

6. Best Backpacking Hammock

Winner:
Hennessy Hammock Expedition Series
Hennessy Hammock Expedition SeriesCheck Price
Runner-Up:
Oak Creek Outdoor Supply Camping Hammock
Oak Creek Outdoor Supply Camping HammockCheck Price

1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx – Best 1 Person Backpacking Tent

ALPS Mountaineering LynxThis ALPS Mountaineering Tent is ideal if you intend to embark on an adventure all by yourself. It isn’t made for lounging or relaxation; it is designed just for sleeping.

A major advantage would be the fact that it is lightweight; however, this item doesn’t fall short in terms of durability and quality either. Another highlight would be its affordability – few products of this quality can be found within this price range.

As you already know, stability is a fundamental characteristic if you’re looking for a dependable tent. In this situation, we could say that this item is a fantastic choice, due to its freestanding posture. This ensures that you won’t have to worry about windy weather.

Concurrently, this tent is equipped with a separate vestibule. This is a helpful addition, considering that the tent is rather small. You can use the vestibule to store your belongings during the trip.

Meanwhile, another element that makes this item durable is the construction of the poles. They are made of aluminum – this testifies for the durability of the tent.

Camping during the summer can be quite uncomfortable, due to the unpleasant heat. The good thing is that this tent features mesh walls that optimize the ventilation. Plus, since this tent is designated for three-season use, it is quite versatile, not to mention that assembling it is a piece of cake.

Pros Cons
  • Excellent quality for the price
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Vestibule place – efficient for keeping your stuff safe and dry
  • It resists wind and adverse weather conditions
  • Easy to assemble
  • Versatility – designated for three seasons
  • The floor is quite thin, which could impair your comfort during sleep
  • The rain fly doesn’t fit perfectly
  • Due to the compact design of the tent, entering and exiting may be difficult

Runner Up: Eureka! Solitaire Tent

Eureka! Solitaire TentThe Eureka Solitaire Tent is worth purchasing due to numerous reasons. For one thing, its design is rather unique. Essentially, the tent has a double-wall design as well as an extra top entrance – this makes entering the tent much easier in comparison to the low and narrow front door.

Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that you may only use this entrance when the fly is rolled up. Also, if you want to sleep under the stars, you can roll the fly, but you cannot remove it.

Moving on to the weight of the tent – 2 lbs. 19 oz., we could say that this item easily falls into the category of lightweight backpacking equipment.

What about the way in which this item is organized? If we were to assess the total floor size, we could say that this is a big tent. However, remember that the tent features two distinctive low areas on both ends, of 5 square feet each.

This space could be used as a vestibule, allowing you to store your gear. As for the sleeping area, it measures 16 square feet, which isn’t too bad. Still, since the peak height is 28 inches, you cannot sit in the tent. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t intend to spend a lot of your time in the tent.

The waterproofness rating of this item is 1200mm, which is just right. Additionally, in order to set up the tent, you’ll need roughly five to seven minutes – you can watch the manufacturer’s instructional video in this respect.

Overall, this is a really lightweight tent for entry-level hikers and mountaineers. Still, it is not the most comfortable tent, which is why we wouldn’t recommend it for long tours.

Pros Cons
  • Roomy and spacious design
  • Excellent price
  • It is lightweight
  • Packs up small
  • Good ventilation
  • You can use it in stargaze mode
  • Not sturdy enough for windy conditions
  • The poles aren’t very durable, as they are made of fiberglass – however, aluminum poles are available for purchase

 2. TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent – Best 2 Person Backpacking Tent

TETON Sports Mountain Ultra TentBy only looking at this tent, one could tell that it has a distinct design. To be more precise, you can exit the tent on both sides – this is genuinely convenient when it comes to two-person tents, meaning that you won’t disturb your companion whenever you want to leave the tent.

Essentially, regardless of this item’s apparent simplicity, this doesn’t jeopardize its quality and durability in any way. The entire body is made of mesh, which translates into remarkable ventilation and condensation management.

Still, for the same reason, this tent is suitable for warm weather only. When it comes to cold weather conditions, one may find it impossible to stay warm with only one mesh.

You should note that this is also a waterproof tent. This is achieved with the addition of the bathtub flooring and protective rainfly. Another nice feature about the rainfly is that the design minimizes rustling and blowing – this can be really helpful if the weather is windy.

Moving on, you may place a ground pad on the floor of the tent in order to increase both your comfort and protection. As for the hook in the center of the tent, it comes handy if you want to hang up a light when it gets dark. Plus, the storage pockets incorporated in the floor are handy, storage wise.

Pros Cons
  • Great ventilation and condensation management
  • Durable pole system
  • Convenient option
  • You get a lot of room
  • Some users experienced leaking incidents in extreme rainy conditions
  • It isn’t designated for heavy-duty use

Runner-up: Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent

Coleman Sundome 2 Person TentColeman aimed at creating a truly high-quality, reliable tent – and this item features a nice mixture of characteristics that make it genuinely comfortable. Thanks to the large door and hooded fly, entering and exiting the tent is effortless, creating the minimum of disturbance.

A noteworthy advantage of this tent is, without a doubt, its waterproof capabilities. That being said, if you typically camp in rainy conditions, having the extra coverage is more than welcome – as this tent features 33 percent more water resistance than similar items in the same price range.

Next, we were positively surprised by this item’s ventilation. Even with the rain fly on, the ventilation is still quite decent, thanks to the mesh roof.

Plus, note that this is a freestanding tent. This means that setting it up takes a few minutes – tops. For instance, after a couple of attempts, we were able to get it pitched in roughly five minutes.

Since it is rather small, the heat remains inside during those cold mornings. However, this means that this tent isn’t necessarily suitable for larger persons. In other words, we would recommend this item if you don’t plan on taking too much gear with you – otherwise, you’ll feel that the space is rather tight.

Pros Cons
  • Handy waterproof feature
  • Easy to set up
  • Optimal ventilation
  • If you pack lightly, it is appropriate for two adults
  • It isn’t the biggest tent for two persons
  • It isn’t the most durable item – however, for the price, it is worth it

3. Coleman Hooligan 3 Tent – Best 3 Person Backpacking Tent

Coleman Hooligan 3 TentThis is a spacious tent equipped with a large vestibule. And when we say spacious, we mean that three people can sleep comfortably, while having some extra storage space where they can place their pack or boots.

The entrance is at an angle, due to the vestibule, whereas the vestibule is quite low. That means you should be agile when it comes to getting in and out of the tent. The good thing about this arrangement is that the doorway is safeguarded from the wind.

If you tend to plan most of your camping adventures in the spring, summer or fall, then this 3-person tent will become your go-to item for these seasons. Both the full cover coated rain fly and the mesh inside the tent offer excellent protection while enabling the air to circulate accordingly.

Additionally, you can open the extra air vent in the top. Plus, in the case of hot, dry weather, you may remove the fly altogether and use that as a screen. Although this could be an advantage in warm weather, in cold weather it serves as a disadvantage – that is why this is advertised as a 3-season tent.

The floor is made of 1000 denier polyethylene, which provides extreme weather protection. What is more, the corners feature welded seams that deter leaks.

The carry weight of this tent is 11.57 lbs. This is a sturdy, well-made tent that is genuinely versatile. Even though it isn’t necessarily lightweight, most users believe that the weight is acceptable, considering that we’re dealing with a 3-person tent.

Pros Cons
  • It facilitates decent protection from wind and rain
  • Spacious design
  • It is easy to pitch
  • Sheltered vestibule – excellent for storage
  • Sturdy construction with sealed seams
  • Low outer door – you have to crawl or kneel when entering the tent
  • There’s no room for standing in the tent
  • Other 3-person tents are more lightweight

Runner-up: Wenzel Alpine 3 Person Tent

Wenzel Alpine 3 Person TentThis is a decent 3-person tent for the price range. We liked that setting it up was rather easy to accomplish – since there were only three poles; it comes as no surprise that it was that easy.

Depending on the size of the people who use this item, this could be a 3-person or 2-person tent. Concurrently, you should remember that if you carry a lot of gear with you, this will significantly reduce your storage space.

Getting a suitable mattress is highly recommended, and there are plenty of thermarests (TM) that will easily fit into the tent. We wouldn’t advise you to get an air mattress, as this might make you touch the walls of the tent, which is contraindicated if it’s damp.

Moving on, this is quite a versatile tent that will be your companion for most of your camping experiences. It withstands light rain and stormy weather, being meant for 3-season utilization. As a matter of fact, users have noted that this tent behaved unbelievably well in thunderstorms, which is quite reassuring.

Since it weighs less than 8 pounds, this piece of equipment is rather lightweight. When we installed it, it took us 10 minutes or so – and even one person can aim at completing the job.

Lastly, this tent’s pentagonal construction is a major benefit, as well as the use of durable fabric – polyurethane, which is water resistant and UV resistant. The material is both lightweight and tough, which means you’ll get a lot of use out of this tent.

Pros Cons
  • It’s lightweight
  • Waterproof, sturdy material
  • Easy to assemble and take down
  • Withstands strong wind and stormy weather
  • Metal stakes
  • A tight fit for three large people
  • The windows are rather small; hence, condensation could be a problem.

4. Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Tent – Best 4 Person Backpacking Tent

Kelty Grand Mesa 4 TentIn spite of its affordability, the Kelty Grand Mesa 4-person tent comes with a great deal of features. So, if you thought that high-quality items have to be expensive, this product proves the opposite.

It comes accompanied by a rectangular package bag, which is really handy and spacious. Since the tent has only two poles, assembling it is not very difficult. Plus, thanks to its x-shape, you can set it up in a matter of minutes.

You’ll also find a bunch of double pockets inside the tent – these are great for storing smaller items. Moreover, the upper part of the tent features a mesh. This means that breathability and ventilation are a guarantee.

As for the lower part of the body, it is made of 68D nylon. The same material is used for the fly and floor, which means you can depend on the durability of this tent.

Plus, since this is a free-standing tent, it means you can pitch it on all types of terrains, even the roughest ones.

Pros Cons
  • Solid construction
  • Functional design
  • Weatherproof for rain and wind
  • Color-coded clip construction
  • The freestanding design means you can pitch it in rough terrains effortlessly
  • 4 large people might feel a bit cramped inside
  • The fact that the tent has only one door can be inconvenient

Runner-up: Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person Tent

Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person TentWe’ll start by saying that this tent offers great value for the money. This is undisputable. And, presumably, the best part is that you don’t have to make any compromises when it comes to the available space – the 56-square floor effortlessly fits four tall adults.

The materials are genuinely durable – namely, the aluminum poles are made of sturdy, 7000 Series alloy, whereas the tent is made of 68 to 75-denier polyester. Also, the exit design is convenient, as there are two big doors. Without a doubt, the flexibility of a two-door tent is unmatched.

Plus, each entrance features a decent-sized vestibule, which is ideal for airing your equipment and storing your gear. There are also a few additional storage pockets at the corners of the tent.

Meanwhile, the mesh panels covering the tent body as well as the two vents supply decent ventilation. Nevertheless, the design of the ceiling loft pocket is subpar, which is why we didn’t use it. However, the gear loop featuring the tent peak is the perfect spot for hanging a lantern.

For longer hiking journeys, we would recommend splitting the tent between 2 people, due to the weight of the item. All things considered, this is a fantastic tent that offers great value.

Pros Cons
  • Strong and resistant to wind and damage
  • Durable and well-made
  • Smart, insightful design
  • It features two doors
  • No leaking incidents monitored
  • It is a big heavyweight – however, if the weight is split between campers, it is perfectly acceptable

5. Kelty Salida Tent – Best Ultra-light Backpacking Ten

Kelty Salida TentThis is another item that offers great value. It is quite spacious while being long-lasting and durable. After all, Kelty is a renowned manufacturer in the backpacking industry, and their tents are really reliable. Weighing 3 pounds and 14 ounces, it is lightweight, while also supplying decent interior headroom.

Being a free-standing tent, pitching it is easy. The great thing about ultra-light tents is that you can easily accommodate them in the tightest spaces inside the forest.

The inner tent is quite spacious, as well, not to mention that the extra mesh pockets are great for storage. The air-fly comes in a distinct dome-like shape, wholly covering the tent. Still, this could jeopardize the airflow, when the doors are closed in cold weather or rain.

Lastly, we believe that this is a bargain for an ultra-weight backpacking tent for short trips in relatively good weather. Bear in mind that if you intend to hike in arid conditions, condensation could be an issue.

Pros Cons
  • Pitching it is a breeze
  • Designated for three seasons
  • Excellent mesh ventilation
  • Gear loft included
  • Insufficient vestibule storage
  • The close-fitting rain fly leads to internal condensation

Runner-up: Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight Tent

Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight TentThis is another product of excellent quality that is really lightweight, yet it doesn’t cost a fortune.

It is manufactured by a small company that directed a lot of thought and attention into engineering a state-of-the-art tent that doesn’t disappoint. It comes with everything you need, including a high-quality rain fly featuring a 3,000 mm PU coating and taped seams.

Meanwhile, the tent floor and footprint are made of 70-denier polyester, which means that the entire tent weighs 3 lbs. and 14 ounces (without the footprint and stakes).

A bonus feature would be that the tent includes a footprint. Most manufacturers don’t incorporate it. Also, since it is so lightweight and compact, it is ideal for biking tours.

What is more, we are impressed with how easy it is to set up the tent. It also accommodates a bit of luggage – not too much though. The hook in the middle of the tent is a welcome addition to hanging a lamp, whereas the air ventilation is decent.

Pros Cons
  • Good air circulation
  • Decent space for one person
  • Helpful footprint
  • It packs and pitches easily
  • Great for biking
  • 100% waterproof
  • Remarkable customer service
  • The rain cover is a bit too narrow – it could be wider

6. Hennessy Hammock Expedition Series – Best Backpacking Hammock

Hennessy Hammock Expedition SeriesThe Hennessy Hammock is the backpacking hammock we love the most. It is an innovative tool that comes with an integrated bug net, a rain fly, and suspension. You can successfully use this hammock to get comfy in all sorts of terrains and weather scenarios – its versatility being one of its strongest points.

We prefer this model due to its durability and storm-proof construction. Also, comfort wise, this item doesn’t disappoint either – that is due to its asymmetrical design.

It’s true that finding the perfect spot for hanging the hammock implies a bit of experimentation. For instance, this isn’t the best option for sitting up perpendicularly.

The ridgeline has a mesh organizer, which we found really helpful for keeping a book, headlamp, tablet, so on and so forth. The material is rather stiff and heavyweight, which means it’s less comfy than thinner materials. Still, once you get into your sleeping bag, this is no longer a problem.

This is a lightweight, versatile hammock, and it is ideal for cold or rainy weather. While there are other more lightweight models on the market, nothing beats the versatility and the resistance of this piece of equipment, being a go-to for rough terrains and cold weather.

Pros Cons
  • Integrated bug net
  • Durable design
  • Tarp included
  • Recommended for rough terrain
  • Difficult to set up
  • A bit heavyweight

Runner-up: Oak Creek Outdoor Supply Camping Hammock

Oak Creek Outdoor Supply Camping HammockIf you’re on a budget, yet you want to purchase a dependable camping hammock, this one is worth a look. It comes with everything you need, including a rain fly and mosquito net. Additionally, it has a sturdy construction, being made of highly resistant 210T parachute nylon.

This means that this is a hammock that resists all the natural elements associated with camping. Plus, it is lighter than a sleeping bag, weighing 3.6 pounds.

Thanks to the strap system, you can adjust the hammock in order to get the desired angle. At the same time, the elastic in the loops offers some flexibility.

However, the zipper of the hammock is quite sensitive, which might make it prone to breaking. That’s why we advise you to be extra careful while managing it.

As for this hammock’s use during the cold weather, we wouldn’t recommend it for autumn or winter, as it is more suitable for warmer seasons.

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Great assembly of accessories
  • Comfortable to sleep in
  • Affordable price
  • It isn’t suitable for cold weather
  • The mosquito net isn’t the most durable
  • The quality of the straps could be improved

Backpacking Tent Buyers Guide

If you enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors and you like to challenge yourself, investing in the best backpacking tent is mandatory.

Nevertheless, picking the best item out of the overwhelming number of products out there is difficult.

Still, we want to make the shopping process easier – that’s why we reviewed 12 products for you. Additionally, we’d like to outline the main things you should consider before making a purchase. Let’s proceed, shall we?

Important Considerations – How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent

  1. Number of People

There are some people who prefer hiking by themselves, as opposed to going on group hiking trips. That’s why a tent’s capacity is, perhaps, the most important consideration.

Concurrently, you should also remember that, aside from the space designated for each camper, you’ll require extra space for storing wet gear or your hiking equipment. Also, many people go on hiking trips with their dogs – and this should be taken in consideration, as well.

What many people have the tendency to overlook is that plans might change. And if you have a big dog, or you like to camp with your family and friends, choosing a bigger tent might make more sense. Nonetheless, if you’re the solo hiking type, a smaller tent is the right choice.

  1. Location

The location you’re headed to matters just as much as a tent’s capacity. For example, let’s say that you’re going to a windy area. In this situation, getting a low-profile tent is highly recommended.

Also, it should be rigid and easy to pitch. On the other side, when it comes to hot or humid areas, a roomy tent with excellent ventilation and open walls is the decent option.

At the same time, some tents incorporate a combination of features, which makes them suitable for various locations.

  1. Weight

It goes without saying that a tent’s weight mustn’t be overlooked. For instance, a lightweight tent might seem like the most convenient alternative. Still, less weight translates into less room, which would minimize your space. So, there’s a compromise one has to make.

Evidently, tents with greater capacity will weigh much more. However, if you’re hiking with a partner, you can divide the components of the tent.

As an extra tip, before you buy a tent, you should assess its weight. Afterward, you should carry a rucksack that has the same weight, to see what you’re dealing with.

  1. Length of the trip

Do you enjoy going on lengthy trips? Or, on the opposite, you prefer weekend, short hikes. Your hiking habits are of utmost importance.

There are two types of hikers. Firstly, there is the person that hikes all day and goes straight to sleep after eating. Secondly, there is the hiker that lingers at camp and prefers taking the hike one step at a time.

Essentially, the second type of hiker will spend more time on the trip, which will require a roomier backpacking tent. Meanwhile, the more focused hiker can easily cope with a minimalist tent.

  1. Season Rating

Backpacking tents are separated into two major categories – 3-season tents and 4-season tents. 3-season tents are the most commonly met. They are more affordable, and they are the sensible choice if you don’t hike during the winter season.

Plus, they are more lightweight than their counterparts. On the other side, 4-season tents are designated for winter conditions. In other words, such a tent should withstand harsh weather such as abundant snowfall and severe wind.

  1. Vestibule

Generally speaking, most backpacking tents are equipped with storage space, such as vestibules. A vestibule is a place in which you can store your gear so that you safeguard it from the outdoor elements. Essentially, when you travel with children or with a bigger group, having adequate vestibule space is of utmost importance.

  1. Tent entrance

The tent doorway is quite important – in fact, it could make the world of a difference in your overall camping experience. For instance, if you get a two-person or three-person tent with only one door, this could be rather inconvenient and restricting, in comparison with a double door at each end.

So, make sure you take this into consideration, especially when you pick a tent with larger capacity.

  1. Shape and comfort

Backpacking tents come in an overflowing number of designs, ranging from the classic A-frame to the rounded geodesic and dome. And if you carefully analyze the design of a tent, you’ll see that each design offers a specific air space.

On a different note, the rounded tent design provides more head space, being roomier. In the same way, an A-frame tent features sloping walls that minimize sit-up space. The advantage with these tents is that they are easy to pitch while being lightweight.

It’s up to you to think about your habits as a camper. Do you spend time inside the tent or do you use it only for sleeping and lying down? Additionally, you should consider your height, and compare it to the sit-up height of the tent.

  1. Set-up

Typically, most tents nowadays are rather easy to pitch. Truthfully, the most popular ones feature a freestanding design, which is the most convenient from this point of view.

So, remember that the more pole sections a tent has, the more difficult and time-consuming it will be to set it up. However, you shouldn’t get discouraged, even though it may seem like a lot of work. Once you give it a go, you’ll find it increasingly simpler.

As an extra tip, you should try to set up the tent at home, before you go on a hiking trip. This way, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to backpacking, everyone has different specifications, budgets, and needs.

That’s why, before picking an item out of the ones we mentioned beforehand, you should take the time to analyze your backpacking habits, budget, and needs. Only this way will you get a lot of use out of your investment.

We hope that this guide has been helpful to you. If you already tried one of the items we included in our article, feel free to share your thoughts and experience with us. Happy camping!