So, are you looking for a tent for your next big adventure? It may be your first tent or a new upgrade of your existing tent but in any case, there are plenty of confusing options. Best Backpacking tents in 2020 are usually light, compact and easier to set up but do not compromise on toughness and durability. These are mainly made perfect for adventures.
Table of Content
- All About the Best Backpacking Tents
- Things to Know Before Buying the Best Backpacking Tent
- Best Backpacking Tents In 2020
- Best Backpacking Tents For 1 Person
- Best Backpacking Tents For 2 Persons
- Best Backpacking Tents For 3 person
- Best Backpacking Tents For 4 Person
- Best Backpacking Tents For 6 Person
All About the Best Backpacking Tents
These are some terms you will come across,
Fly: This is the waterproof cover of the tent, it will keep you warm and dry.
Vestibule: The air gap between the fly and the tent, this is a weather-protected area that keeps you protected from the outside weather.
Ground Cloth: Anything that you can’t put between the ground and the tent floor. This can keep you warm and prevent moisture from the ground.
3 Season Tent: Designed for use in spring, summer and autumn and is lighter and less durable than a 4-season tent.
4 Season Tent: Designed to withstand heavy wind and snow. More durable and come with flies and poles, lots of tough fabrics, these are heavier than the 3-season tents.
Stakes: Stakes hold the tent to the ground during the wind.
Guy Lines: Lengths of cord or string that secure the tent in the ground and help give the tent the desired shape. It makes the set-up easy.
Backpacking tents can be both double wall style or single wall style and also a hybrid type. As the name suggests, double-wall style is the one with two layers, the includes a bug-proof internal body, mesh or lightweight nylon, and an external wall to waterproof the tent. The gap between these two walls enables air circulation to prevent moisture build-up inside the tent.
A single-wall tent is the one where these two walls are the same thing. These tend to be hot and condensation is a problem, but a single-wall tent cuts out the extra weight put up by the mesh. Then, there is also a third hybrid type combining the best of both worlds.
But first, we should understand which one is YOUR requirement depending on various things. Let’s dive into things that you should keep in mind before buying the best backpacking tent.
Things to Know Before Buying the Best Backpacking Tent
There are certain features of backpacking tents that you must consider before buying and more important is to understand which one is perfect for YOU.
For example, you might not need an ultra-lightweight tent, in that case, you don’t want to make a hole in your pocket for an ultra-lightweight tent, instead, you can always go for a medium weight tent. So you have to first list down what features you need. Get your priorities straight.
Weight is one of the most important things to consider when you are looking for backpacking tents. If you are car camping the weight is not something that you should worry about. But otherwise, do not buy heavy tents, always go for lightweight ones.
Check the weight and see if you can carry that a distance along with other things. Non-freestanding tents are very lightweight compared to the ones with solid poles, but always take into consideration the time you require to set-up. Freestanding tents are much easier and quicker to set-up.
A very important feature to take into account. There are tents that are super lightweight but aren’t very packable. Packability is a very important thing if you are backpacking because you want room for other essential items as well, you don’t want your tent to take up all the space.
3. Occupant Capacity:
Always try to visit the store and look for yourself if the tent has enough room or not for the specified occupancy. Don’t unnecessarily buy large tents, if 3 people are going to stay together then buy a 3-people tent, because large tents are a lot heavier. We will list below the best 5 tents for different capacities.
Depending on the weather and kind of adventure you are going out for, you need a durable tent to withstand all the harsh weather.
Check the material of the fly and the tent itself, if it’s durable enough or not. Because obviously spending on the same thing repeatedly is not what we desire when we can have more durable options. Read reviews of the product you think is good, because they have used it.
5. Know Weather:
Depending on the weather, there are 3-season or 4-season tents. You will need a more durable tent if you are snow hiking, if the weather is warm and dry the tents must be of a different kind from the ones that are designed for snow hiking adventures. So, first analyze what kind of adventure you are going for.
6. Ease Of Setup:
It’s best to buy a shelter that sets up easy and quick. If you have an easy set-up shelter it means you get to rest and eat sooner after a tiring day of hiking the whole day.
You have to first understand how the fly, poles and the tent body go together, setting up a tent is a matter of a few minutes, they are made for quick set up. It’s best if you practice it a few times before going out, if it’s your first time.
Here’s a link on how to set up the tent
Now we can move on to the list of best backpacking tents on the market.
Best Backpacking Tents In 2020
Here, we have listed the best backpacking tents for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 person based on review and experience. All of these tents are freestanding for easy and quick setup, most of them are 3-season tents, but some of them like the Eureka one and the MSR Stormking are 4-season or all-season tent.
All the tents in this list are double-walled tents, that function a lot better than single-walled ones, only the Gossamer’s one is single-walled tent in the list.
Best Backpacking Tents For 1 Person
1. The MSR Carbon Reflex 1 (23 oz (0.65 kg); $450)
The MSR Carbon reflex is the lightest tent on the list and also one of the most expensive. The tent offers complete protection, wind resistance, durability and a simple set-up.
This is a double-walled, non-freestanding tent weighing just 23 oz. The carbon fibre poles used are exceptionally lightweight. This tent is designed for 3-season adventure. The tent comes with guy-lines.
2. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1 (39 oz (1.11 kg); $379)
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1 is double-wall, 3-season tent, with excellent head and foot room for your amazing solo camping. The tent has a side entrance with a vestibule to store all your gear.
The tent features a carbon fiber pole structure for exceptional stability in winds, and the rainfly vents help to prevent condensation inside the tent. The overhead pole increases livable space inside the tent.
3. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1 (30 oz (0.85 kg); $350)
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1 is a 30 oz, spacious, double-walled tent. Its durability makes it a popular choice among hikers. Large ceiling pockets and side pockets make it very efficient for storage as well. The oversized single door makes life easier. This tent is a 3-season, free-standing tent.
4. NEMO DragonFly 1 (32 oz (0.9 kg); $360)
NEMO DragonFly 1 is little as compared to other tents in this category, but it is worth it. It is a double-walled, freestanding, lightweight, 3-season tent. The tent is very easy to set up, with excellent ventilation to reduce condensation inside the tent body. White mesh on the tent sides provides extra privacy, while black ceiling mesh is virtually transparent to provide bug-free star-gazing.
5. NEMO Hornet Elite 1 (1 lb 13 oz (0.81 kg); $449)
NEMO Hornet Elite 1 is an ultralightweight backpacking tent. The tent is a high quality, durable tent. NEMO’s new Flybar™ volumizing clip adds even more room without adding any weight. This is a semi-freestanding tent, most advanced in NEMO line-up. The tent provides plenty of room for one person. Its easy setup makes it one of our top picks.
Best Backpacking Tents For 2 Persons
6. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent (3 lb 1 oz (1.38 kg); $449)
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is one of the overall best backpacking tents in terms of quality and space weight. The tent comes in a great variety of space (2P, 3P, premium, etc.) The build quality of the tent is something mentionable.
But the tent is a bit tight for 2 people, you can always go for UL3 which has enough room for 2 people (weighs 13 ounces more). If you are okay with a bit of a tight space then you can go for UL2. This is a 3 season, freestanding backpacking tent.
7. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 (3 lb 7 oz (1.54 kg); $449)
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 is a well designed, durable, spacious tent. It provides excellent protection in windy and wet weather. The tent has plenty of interior space for 2 people. And also the tent is very easy to set up. The tent is featured with a large vestibule to store your gears, 2 doors for easy entry, and reflective guy outs.
Its adjustable stake-out loops make set up easier. This 3 season, free-standing tent lets you experience the hike at its best.
7. Marmot Tungsten UL 2P (3 lb 8.5 oz (1.6 kg); $299)
Marmot Tungsten UL 2P is a very nice balance between cost, durability and livability. This tent feels very roomy inside with its floor plan. The tent is also very durable and can withstand considerable wind and rain, its polyester rainfly doesn’t sag in wet and cold weather. But the cost of the tent is much more affordable than other tents in this category. This is a 3-season, freestanding tent with 32 sq foot floor area.
8. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 (2 lb 8.1 oz (1.13 kg); $399)
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 is a perfect balance of price, weight, and functionality. This ultralight, 3-season, semi-freestanding tent has just enough space for 2, and has 2 doors to make life easier for you. It has a strong single pole architecture with DAC Featherlite materials, and pockets in the interior. The tent makes camping or hiking much more comfortable. 2 doors and 2 vestibules make it perfect for backcountry adventure. Double sliders on the vestibule zippers allow for venting from the top or bottom.
9. NEMO Dagger 2P (3 lb 11 oz (1.67 kg); $429)
NEMO Dagger 2P is lightweight but very spacious for 2 people. This is a 3-season tent and has more space than any tent in this price or weight category. The tent efficiently protects you from heavy rain and bad weather. NEMO dagger is a durable, packable tent perfect for backpacking and also its dual-stage stuff sack allows you to share the weight with your partner. The tent comes with 2 doors, 2 large vestibules, and DAC Featherlite material poles and colour-coded poles for easy setup. The tent provides good air-flow to control temperature and condensation, the side walls are no-see-um mesh to give you the desired privacy.
Best Backpacking Tents For 3 person
10. MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3 (4 lb 13 oz (2.18 kg); $549)
MSR Mutha Hubba NX3 is a 3 season, ultra-durable tent weighing 4 lb 13 oz. The tent comes with Xtreme Shield™ waterproof coating to keep you dry and comfortable even when the weather is really bad. Non-tapered floor and symmetrical geometry makes enough room for 3 people, although the area is not huge, it’s 39 sq foot. The tent has 2 large vestibules, where you can store your gears and 3 stay dry doors that make your adventure a lot more easier and comfortable.
11. Eureka K-2 XT (11 lb 6 oz (5.16 kg); $549)
Eureka K-2 XT is a super high-quality, roomy, 4-season tent. The tent is little on the bulky side but the quality and the space is all worth it. This is a tough tent being a 4-season tent, it can withstand extreme climates, and keep you safe inside. This freestanding tent has 52 sq foot space in the interior and extra two 18 sq foot vestibules, the tent is featured with a cold-weather polyurethane window to brighten up the tent. This beast can make your adventure even more memorable and comfortable.
12. Marmot Tungsten UL 3 (4 lb (1.97 kg); $399)
Marmot Tungsten UL 3 is an ultra-lightweight, affordable tent loved by all the backpackers. The tent is super light for its space and price. It offers 41.5 sq foot space, not a mansion for 3 people, but will do the work. It has two vestibules, one of 10.6 sq ft and another of 7.8 sqft, which makes enough space for you to store your gears easily. This tent is a boon at extreme weather conditions, it can withstand winds over 50mph and heavy rainfall. And also, the setup is very easy.
13. Marmot Limelight 3P (6 lb 11 oz (3.03 kg); $299)
Marmot Limelight 3P comes at just $299, it’s a treasure in itself with 42.5 sq foot area, and it’s a super easy setup weighing just 3kg or 6lbs 11oz. The vertical walls offer plenty of space to sleep. The tent comes with a footprint, so you don’t have to buy it separately like most of the tents. This one from Marmot can protect you from rainfall easily. No-see-um mesh gives you privacy inside the tent. It’s super easy setup is a boon when the clouds are getting over you.
14. NEMO Galaxi 3P (8 lb 1 oz (3.66 kg); $249)
NEMO Galaxi 3P is almost a palace for 3 people, if you are the kind of person who loves comfort then this is the tent for you. NEMO Galaxi 3P is a 3-season, super-roomy tent with 51 sq foot floor area and two 11 sq foot vestibules, to store all your gears. The tent is also very easy to set up. Although the tent is a bit heavier than other 3-season tents in the list, but the spacious tent body is all worth it.
Best Backpacking Tents For 4 Person
15. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 (5 lb 3 oz (2.35 kg); $649)
If you are looking for the best roomy interior, space, lightweight tent, then Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 is the one you are looking for. The tent has a very roomy interior with 57sq foot and also packs into a small package, ideal for backpackers. For its size, this freestanding, 3-season tent is exceptionally lightweight, thanks to its DAC Featherlite pole. The vertical walls of the tent makes the interior very roomy. The tent has only one air vent, which can make it a bit uncomfortable at high temperatures.
16. MSR Papa Hubba NX 4P (5 lb 15 oz (2.69 kg); $699 (* the latest version))
MSR Papa Hubba NX is a great alternative to Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4. The tent provides enough livable space inside the tent, and is more weather-resistant, and durable than the Big Agnes. The tent height might fall a little short for hikers above 6ft, but is manageable. The architecture os Papa Hubba is very unique, which makes is wind resistant. Another great advantage of this is a minimalist setup called the Fast & Light Body, which another tent body, where only the footprint and the fly is used. This is more durable in harsh weather.
17. Big Agnes Tumble 4 mtnGLO (7 lb 14 oz (3.57 kg); $269)
Big Agnes Tumble 4 mtnGLO is a comfortable, 3-season, freestanding tent with ample space for 4 people. The tent has 2 doors, and large vestibules for your ease and comfort. Its pre-bent pole adds extra room inside the tent body for comfortable movement. The floor area of the tent is 60 sq foot, which is quite an area for a comfortable stay. This is an award-winning tent with Big Agnes’s very own mtnGLO technology so that you don’t need to carry your headlamp, the LED works on a push button.
18. Marmot Tungsten 4P (7lb 14.5 oz (3.58 kg); $499)
Marmot Tungsten 4P is a freestanding, 3-season tent, which offers 53 sq foot floor area. The tent gives you 100% protection from rain and wind, and is also very easy to set up, which is very important when the weather is bad. This tent gives a 53 sq foot floor area, which is not very great for 4 adult people, but its pre-bent angular poles provide considerable room. The tent provides the ideal privacy and enough of storage space to store your gears. Another nice thing about this tent is, it is as easy to dismantle as to set up, very important!
19. Marmot Limelight 4 (7 lb 15 oz (3.6 kg); $408)
Marmot Limelight 4 is the heaviest tent in the list and also very tight in matters of space. But, the tent is exceptionally durable, weather-resistant and breathable. The height of the tent is 54 inches, which is great even for hikers above 6ft. The set up is also very easy, awesome when you are about to get hit by a storm. The tent can easily withstand heavy rainfall as high as 1500 mm. So, if you are looking for a tent that is durable and made for bad weather then this is the tent you should go for.
Best Backpacking Tents For 6 Person
When it comes to 6 person tent, the weight range can no longer be fitted into backpacking range. Because obviously the tent has to accommodate 6 adult persons, so it has to be bulky, as the materials required are much more than smaller tents. In such cases, what you can do to make “backpack-able”, you can the different parts of the tent among your group.
20. MSR Habitude 6 Tent (14 lb (6.3 kg); $599)
MSR Habitude 6 is a 3-season, freestanding tent with 83 sq foot floor area, in addition to 23.5 sq foot vestibule area. The peak height of the tent is a massive 73 inches, creating plenty of headroom even for tall people to move around comfortably. The tent is made of durable fabric and stainless steel zipper which makes the tent quite durable overall, it also features an Xtreme Shield waterproof coating for long-lasting durability and protection from challenging weather. The setup is also exceptionally easy, with colour coded poles and simple design. Although the tent is too heavy to carry as a backpacking tent, but the stuffs can be shared among your partners, and indeed this will be a backpacking tent.
21. Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 ( 20 lb 6 oz (9.24 kg); $699)
Big Agnes Flying Diamon 6 is very bulky tent, we put it in our list because of its durability and weather withstanding properties mainly. The tent is also very roomy with a whooping 92 sq foot area, it has an extra “room” separated from the main room, the space is large enough to hang out for a 6 people family. The tent is also very easy to set up, can be done by a single person. The vestibule is also quite large, 23+6 sq foot. The tent is an all-season tent, hence very durable even in tough conditions.
22. Marmot Halo 6-person Tent (20 lb 1.5 oz (9.11 kg); $643)
Marmot Halo 6-person tent is perfect for car camping with friends or family n the weekend. The tent is high-quality, comfortable, and easy to set up. The tent has 2 doors, one full size and other D shaped to enable easy entry and exit into the tent without creating trouble for others. The vented full-coverage fly with the tent protects you from rainstorm but without hampering air-circulation to reduce condensation inside the tent. The tent comfortably accommodates 6 people with 92.6 sq foot floor area.
23. Big Agnes Titan 6 mtn GLO ( 15 lb 6 oz (6.9 kg); $599)
Big Agnes Titan 6 mtn GLO is lightweight compared to the space it provides. The tent provides 82 sq foot floor area, which is not a massive area for 6 adult people, but surely is manageable if you want this super lightweight tent for your next adventure. You can use the fly for faster and easier setup. This is a freestanding, 3 season tent. mtnGLO™Tent Light Technology illuminates your tent interior for sorting gear. The poles are of DAC DA17 exoskeleton, which provides plenty of room inside the tent and also makes it stronger to withstand a storm.
24. Marmot Limestone 6P (17 lb 9 oz (7.96 kg); $545)
Marmot Limestone 6P is a freestanding, 3-season tent. It has 2 doors, one full size and another D shaped, which makes entry and exit easy. Pitching is made simpler and quicker with colour-coded Easy Pitch clips and poles with pole sleeve-clip combination. This is a freestanding, 3-season tent with 83 sq foot floor area and 23 sq foot vestibule. Although the floor area is not a huge one, but the interior of the tent feels quite roomy, the peak height of the tent is 76 inches which lets a 6 feet person move around comfortably. The vestibule is large enough to store your gears comfortably.
Read more: What Is Eco Travel and Benefits
So, are you planning an adventure trip with your friends or family? Adventures are always super fun right? Here we are to make it even more fun, more comfortable and less cumbersome for you. In this article, we have listed the topmost, lightweight backpacking tents and reviewed them in details just for your convenience. These tents are absolute beasts when it comes to adventure. It can be your protector, your partner in your solo adventure trip, and your companion cum helper, always at your rescue during bad weather.