best backpacking tents 2021

Buying Guide to the 12 Best Backpacking Tents of 2021

Backpacking can range from short weekend trips to months-long thru-hiking. Depending on what you plan to do, you will need to get the best backpacking tents to suit your needs.

Check out this list of the best backpacking tents available today! Navigate through the page using by clicking on the link below.

12 Best Backpacking Tents of 2021 – Specs and Price

IMAGE PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
  • Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 2 oz.
  • Dimensions: 88 x 52/42 x 40 in.
  • Floor denier: 15D x 20D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Check Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 1 oz.
  • Dimensions: 85 x 50/85 x 42 in.
  • Floor denier: 75D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Check Nemo Hornet Elite On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 5 lbs., 15 oz..
  • Dimensions: 90 x 60 x 46 in.
  • Floor denier: 75D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Check Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 4 lbs., 13 oz.
  • Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 42.5 in.
  • Floor denier: 70D
  • Capacities: 2P, 3P, 4P
Check Kelty Dirt Motel 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 6 oz.
  • Dimensions: 85 X 51/43 X 39 in.
  • Floor denier: 15D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P
Check Nemo Hornet 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 39 in.
  • Floor denier: 15D
  • Capacities: 2P, 3P
Check Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 14 oz.
  • Dimensions: 90 x 50 x 42 in.
  • Floor denier: 30D
  • Capacities: 2P, 3P
Check Nemo Dagger 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 5 oz.
  • Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 40 in.
  • Floor denier: 20D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P
Check Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 3 lbs. 1 oz.
  • Dimensions: 88 x 50/45 x 40 in.
  • Floor denier: 20D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P
Check Nemo Dragonfly 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 5 lbs 14 oz.
  • Dimensions: 87 x 50 x 43 in.
  • Floor denier: 68D
  • Capacities: 2P
Check North Face Stormbreak 2 On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 5 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Dimensions: 88 x 54/46 x 42 in.
  • Floor denier: 68D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Check Marmot Tungsten On Amazon
  • Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 14 oz.
  • Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 39 in.
  • Floor denier: 30D
  • Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Check MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 On Amazon

1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 2 oz.
Dimensions: 88 x 52/42 x 40 in.
Floor denier: 15D x 20D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

Capacity and Design

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Backpacking Tents provide you an excellent balance between weight, interior space, and ease of setup.

It redefined the ultralight tent category by giving you 29 square feet of floor space for the two-person model.
It also gives you plenty of headroom with a tubbed-pole structure and two doors.

Despite all these features, it still comes at a lightweight of just 3 lbs. And 2 oz.

For a bigger floor area, the 3-person version has 44 square feet available. [R] This is perfect for two backpackers if you want even more space for you and your camping buddy.

It gives you plenty of square feet of space at only 3 pounds and 14 ounces, a small increase considering the among of additional space you’re getting!

Durability and Features

The latest 2020 version includes pre-bent poles that slightly increase interior space, have an option for new vestibules that can be set up like awnings using trekking poles, redesigned storage, and only a 1-ounce increase in its weight.

When reviewers tested the Big Agnes Copper Spur during warm nights and heavy rain and wind, it performed flawlessly.

However, remember to remain careful with its 15 x 20 denier floor that is quite thin. Despite this, it still gives you enough benefits that make it to the top of our list.

Pros

  • Best-in-class
  • Low weight
  • Generous interior
  • Easy setup
  • High peak height

Cons

  • Require extra care
  • Thin materials
  • Pricey

Is the Big Agnes Copper Spur for You?

If you plan on camping in moderate conditions [R] and want the best combination of a roomy interior and lightweight, this is one of the the backpacking tents you can buy.


2. Nemo Hornet Elite

Nemo Hornet Elite review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 1 oz.
Dimensions: 85 x 50/85 x 42 in.
Floor denier: 10D
Capacities: 1P, 2P

Capacity and Design

Many are fans of this tent for good reason. Not only does it save you a lot of weight, but also packing space.
The Elite only weighs 2 lbs. and 1 oz. You can even choose to leave some stakes and the stuff stack at home for a minimum trail weight of 1 pound and 11 oz.

Note that unlike other ultralight backpacking tents, this is a freestanding option [R]. It uses an ingenious three trekking pole design, mesh interior, and integrated rainfly to keep you wind, water, and bite-free.

Inside, you get a roomy floor area of 21.8 square feet, which may be small but good enough for two people. This is, however, a necessary compromise for all ultralight backpacking tents.

Durability and Features

More than being just light, it is also a great tent for terrible weather. Even on rainy nights on the trail, it can keep you dry and comfortable.

You also get a two-vestibule area [R] setup for gear storage, along with two doors. Even in the rain, this space is enough to keep all your equipment [R], shoes, and other gear safe and dry.

It is easy to set up and take down. Once you are familiar with it, you can easily set it up in less than 5 minutes.
This can withstand a lot of conditions because it is rated for three seasons [R[, though we discourage you from using it for car camping.

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Packs tiny
  • Good weather resistance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Too fragile for car camping [R]
  • Not for sharp rocks

Is the Nemo Hornet Elite for You?

If you want the best ultralight tent for thru-hiking or carrying over long trips, the Elite is for you.

While it comes at a high cost, it is worth the features and weather resistance you get that are unmatched comparative ultralight backpacking tents.


3. Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 5 lbs., 15 oz.
Dimensions: 90 x 60 x 46 in.
Floor denier: 75D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

Capacity and Design

If you are on a budget, know that you will have to give up some features for that lower price. But the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 makes reasonable compromises that you would not mind making for that cheap price.

It is not the lightest nor most premium backpacking tent, but it has its pros.

Inside, it is roomy and offers sufficient ventilation along with excellent weather protection.

Note that this may be one of the heaviest backpacking tents you can get, even for a two-person tent.

Durability and Features

The Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 offers excellent value for a 2-person backpacking tent.

The floor uses a burly 75-denier material with substantial zippers that are great for those who abuse their gear a little too much.

Two vents on top keep good air circulation. There are also two large doors and vestibules for easily storing your gear at night.

Because of its low cost, you may find that the fabrics and poles feel cheaper than mid-range to premium models, though that is expected considering the price difference of hundreds of dollars.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Good feature set

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Budget build quality

Is the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 Backpacking Tent for You?

If you are a beginner at backpacking and want to keep to a low budget, the roomy Lynx 2 has enough features that make it worth it.

The only downside is its heavy weight and compromises with its materials. This is really only noticeable if you compare it to other backpacking tents that cost hundreds of dollars more.


4. Kelty Dirt Motel 2

Kelty Dirt Motel 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 4 lbs., 13 oz.
Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 42.5 in.
Floor denier: 70D
Capacities: 2P, 3P, 4P

Capacity and Design

Kelty is known for giving you excellent value on a low price range. This backpacking tent does well at giving you both good price and quality.

One of their best backpacking tents is the Dirt Motel 2, which has near-vertical walls that come at a competitive price tag of less than $300.

It doesn’t just save you money, it also gives you a lot of space and roomier vestibules so you have plenty of room for your gear and a comfortable night’s rest.

The only downside is an additional 8 ounces, which is a small increase for the features you get.

However, note that the small increase in weight and 360-degree viewing comes with a disadvantage. The extended mesh of this backpacking tent runs from the tent body to the waterproof bathtub floor.

With this design, you will experience stronger winds and more dust, making it ideal only for pleasant weather.

Durability and Features

We love the Dirt Motel’s durable materials and ease of use. You will not find a better half-dome design at this price.

Its innovative “Stargazing tent/rainfly” design is unique among backpacking tents. It offers full mesh coverage for a totally new open view of the night sky, so you can look up and admire the constellations when the rainfly is off.

Other backpacking tents only offer you a partial night sky view with a combination of mesh and nylon.

When the rainfly is in the tent, you can roll it up halfway and cinch it back down whenever the weather turns nasty.

Pros

  • Creative fly design
  • Unobstructed views
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Mesh too low
  • Not good for dusty weather

Is the Kelty Backpacking Dirt Motel for You?

If you are looking to buy a backpacking tent on a budget and with excellent value, you need to seriously consider the Kelly Backpacking Dirt Motel Half Dome Backpacking Tent.

This is best if you particularly love stargazing and only plant on camping out on days with wonderful weather.


5. Nemo Hornet 2 Tent

Nemo Hornet 2 Tent review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 6 oz.
Dimensions: 85 X 51/43 X 39 in.
Floor denier: 15D
Capacities: 1P, 2P

Capacity and Design

If you are a minimalist who still wants a tent that is pole-supported and bug-proof home away from home, this tent is for you.

Despite its low weight of only 2 lbs. and 6 oz., this backpacking tent has two doors and two vestibules. It is easy to store all your gear and enter or exit this tent.

They make it for thru-hiking [R] or ultralight backpacking, making it an excellent two-person tent with its floor area of 27.5 square feet.

Durability and Features

Considering it is an ultralight tent, you will need to take excellent care of the thin and fabric of this backpacking tent. This also means it is not the best option for camping during a storm.

As for its size, it is less roomy than comparable backpacking tents, so it isn’t the most comfortable option.
Nemo equipped this backpacking tent with two “FlyBar” pole clips, which are essentially two mini ridge poles that are at the head and foot ends of this tent.

The pole clips make it easier for you and your friend to sit up side-by-side, though we recommend this tent more for single backpackers.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Two doors and vestibules

Cons

  • Tight for 2 backpackers

Is the Nemo Hornet 2P for You?

If you are a single backpacker or a minimalist who is looking for a tent for thru-hiking or ultralight backpacking, the Nemo Hornet 2P is for you.

While it is not the roomiest or sturdiest, it makes up for these disadvantages in its extra low weight. This makes it easier for you to carry a tent for weeks or months-long hiking trips.


6. Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ul2

Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ul2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 8 oz.
Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 39 in.
Floor denier: 15D
Capacities: 2P, 3P

Capacity and Design

Big Agnes is a brand that is good at mixing and matching various designs to come up with a brand new product. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 is proof of this.

It gives you the same two doors and vestibules from the popular Copper Spur and incorporates the semi-freestanding layout of the ultralight Big Agnes Fly Creek.

The result is a tent you and a companion can conveniently access and store your gear in while remaining super lightweight at just 2 pounds and 8 ounces.

You also get a floor area of 19 square feet for this two-person backpacking tent, though this is a bit cramped compared to other tents.

Durability and Features

This design makes the Big Agnes Tiger Wall ideal for those looking for a spacious but ultra-lightweight backpacking tent for very long camping trips with a companion.

The large ridge pole across the tent makes it more livable than the Nemo Hornet.

It also has a silicone-coated nylon that is incredibly strong despite being thin and requires gentle handling.

Note that the semi-freestanding design of this backpacking tent may not be for everyone, as it is hard to get a tart pitch when camping on a rock.

It is also not as weatherproof or spacious as the Big Agnes Copper Spur.

Pros

  • Spacious
  • More viable for two backpackers

Cons

  • Not the lightest

Is the Big Agnes Tiger Wall for You?

If you are a more experienced backpacker who wants an ultralight tent that is spacious enough for you and a friend, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall is the best option for you.

It gives you the right mix of weight and space, so you can take it on your long camping trips with ease.


7. Nemo Dagger 2

Nemo Dagger 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 14 oz.
Dimensions: 90 x 50 x 42 in.
Floor denier: 30D
Capacities: 2P, 3P

Capacity and Design

Weight-conscious backpackers who still want a livable and durable tent, the Dagger is an excellent option.
At a weight of only 3 lbs. and 14 oz. For two people, this tent is spacious, light, and feature-packed.

It comes equipped with two large doors, two spacious vestibules for storing gear, and a spacious interior that was increased by 10% in the latest model.

The floor is symmetrical and not tapered toward the feet like other comparable models, making it possible for two persons to sleep in opposite directions for shoulder room.

Durability and Features

The Dagger gives you more interior space at a reasonable price. However, it comes a little short in protection during wet weather.

They raise the rainfly at each end of the tent, leaving a certain section of the tent body susceptible to blowing rain.

And while the fabric is waterproof, you can still feel the wetness whenever you bump your head, hands, or feet against the walls.

Pros

  • Roomy
  • Relatively light
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Wet weather protection could be better

Is the Nemo Dagger for You?

The Nemo Dagger is a great option for those who prioritize a good balance of space and price who do not plan on camping under heavy wet weather.

It’s great for those who may be bigger as it lets you sleep in opposite positions.


8. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 2 lbs., 5 oz.
Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 40 in.
Floor denier: 20D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P

Capacity and Design

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a feather-light tent at just 2 lbs. and 5 oz., making this a favorite among people who prefer fast and light hikes.

They equip it with a single door at the head end and an interior that aggressively tapers towards your feet. The subbed pole structure runs the length of the tent in a spine-like shape.

You will still get pretty good headroom at 40 inches because of this pole structure, so you need not worry. However, the walls are too slanted for two people to sit upright beside one another.

Durability and Features

Despite being ultra-lightweight, the thinner fabrics for the tent and rainfly are still impressively strong, though they are semi see-through making it difficult to use when you are camping with others.

Note that because of its low weight, its durability isn’t as good. It cannot give you the same protection from the elements as a sturdier backpacking tent would.

During heavy rain, the rainfly is prone to sagging onto the tent body, which requires you to guide it out properly [R] to fix this issue.

We recommend you use a footprint to protect the thin 20D floor if you plan on camping on rough surfaces or want to extend the lifespan of your tent.

Pros

  • super lightweight

Cons

  • Single door
  • Thin fabric
  • Semi see-through

Is the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 for You?

If you are camping yourself, this is a solid choice, especially if you choose to sleep in the middle.

For camping with a buddy, we think there are better, roomier options in this list because of the cramped space inside.


9. Nemo Dragonfly 2

Nemo Dragonfly 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 3 lbs. 1 oz.
Dimensions: 88 x 50/45 x 40 in.
Floor denier: 20D
Capacities: 1P, 2P

Capacity and Design

The Nemo Dragonfly will give you an outstanding balance between comfort and weight.

It has two ample side doors, two-tone mesh, and wind-resistant lower sidewalls that make this an excellent choice. The vestibule area will give you enough space for cooking and gear storage.

You will have sufficient head-to-toe length and headroom in this tent unless you are over 6 feet in height.

Note that because this tent tapers at the end, you may experience some foot end pinching, making it ideal for shorter hikers.

Durability and Features

It can withstand a variety of situations. However, we think it is best for you if you plan to travel on the lighter side without giving up the livability of your backpacking tent.

The fabric is pretty durable and is the same as other ultralight tents. The trapezoidal rainfly will remain taut and quiet even when exposed to the wind, which is rare in this category of tents.

The Nemo Dragonfly 2 also has plenty of storage pockets, though you may have to reach out a bit to get to them when you are lying down.

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • 2 doors and vestibules
  • Small packed size
  • Freestanding
  • Suitable space for the solo hiker
  • Lots of storage
  • Sturdy in wind

Cons

  • Not for 2 people
  • Short if you are over 6 feet tall
  • Expensive
  • Narrow at feet

Is the Nemo Dragonfly 2 for You?

If you need an ultralight tent that can resist the wind well and provide you with plenty of gear storage, two side doors, a spacious vestibule area, and a rainfly that will remain in place, this is the tent for you.

But if you are over 6 feet tall, we recommend looking at the other options in this list to get a more comfortable backpacking tent.


10. North Face Stormbreak 2

North Face Stormbreak 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 5 lbs 14 oz.
Dimensions: 87 x 50 x 43 in.
Floor denier: 68D
Capacities: 2P

Capacity and Design

If you have ever finished a tough week in the office and just felt the need to get out of the city for a quick break, the North Face Stormbreak 2 is going to be your best friend.

This is a favorite among weekend warriors who are heading out solo, with your favorite pet, or a companion. It works well and is durable enough for car camping and weekend getaways.

You get a massive floor area of 30.56 square feet with this backcountry tent. Its design will also give you plenty of headroom because its structure includes cross poles that expand the area at peak height.

This means that both you and your companion or partner can easily sit up at the same time for those long heart-to-hearts under the stars.

Durability and Features

This tent is incredibly durable and sturdy. It has a three-season rating, which means it can withstand rain and wind.

For storage, this backpacking tent has plenty of large storage pockets for small items that you need to keep close at hand.

It also comes with a vestibule area configuration that lets you choose whether to set up your tent to prioritize ventilation and weather protection in different ways.

The two doors make it easy to enter and exit the tent, as well.

The only downside is it is quite heavy, although you can choose to leave some parts at home and carry the fast pitch option with you for a lighter minimum trail weight.

However, if the weight does not matter so much to you, this won’t really be an issue.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Good floor area
  • Plenty of headroom
  • Fast-pitch capabilities
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Heavy

Is the North Stormbreak 2 for You?

If you are a casual backpacker who only goes away for brief trips, this backpacking tent is for you.

It is incredibly affordable and comfortable enough for you to live in. You and your partner will have plenty of great camping memories in the Stormbreak 2!


11. Marmot Tungsten

Marmot Tungsten review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 5 lbs., 4 oz.
Dimensions: 88 x 54/46 x 42 in.
Floor denier: 68D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

Capacity and Design

At a budget friendly price of around ~$200, the Marmot Tungsten offers you excellent value.

It has a similar build and uses comparable materials to competitors at this same price point. It will give you all the features you’d need if you are a weekend backpacker.

This tent has two doors and vestibules. Inside, it has 32 square feet of floor space, enough for you and a friend, though it might not be the most comfortable for two people.

Durability and Features

Made of a mix of solid nylon and mesh on the tent body, you will get good ventilation while keeping prying eyes away whenever you have to change clothes.

It also comes with a footprint to protect your floor and back from sharp rocks and other debris.

Just note that its packed size is big, so you may find it difficult to squeeze into your backpack. We suggest dividing the load between you and your companion to make it easier.

For an ultra lightweight option, Marmot offers the Tungsten UL [R]. Marmot also has options for 4 people which are more suitable for family camping. [R]

Pros

  • Includes a footprint
  • Hybrid tent
  • Good backpacking/car camping tents

Cons

  • Not as roomy as competitors
  • Large packaged size

Is the Marmot Tungsten for You?

If you are camping with a friend and you both do not need a ton of space, the Marmot Tungsten may be the best value option for you.

While it is big and heavy, it still offers all the weekend backpacking tent features you will need to have a great trip.


12. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 review

Key Specs
Packaged weight: 3 lbs., 14 oz.
Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 39 in.
Floor denier: 30D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

Capacity and Design

While not being the lightest nor most spacious, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 is still a great option for a backpacking tent.

Despite its light weight of 3 lbs. and 14 oz, it still offers good livability with two doors and vestibules, almost vertical walls, and a floor area of 29 square feet.

Compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur, it has a relatively strong 30-denier floor that can take more use and abuse from whatever campsite you may have chosen.

Note that the Nemo Dagger weighs the same as the Hubba Hubba while providing more interior space because of a higher peak height and width, so we think that the Dagger edges this out in those categories.

Durability and Features

Its weather resistance is incredible. The Easton Syclone dubbed pole improves this tent’s performance in windy conditions and provides a longer-lasting waterproof coating on the rainfly.

The Hubba Hubba overtakes the Nemo with its superior ventilation for summer backpacking and more complete rainfly coverage, making sure you stay dry during those surprising rain showers.

Finally, the Hubba Hubba is well built and is more readily available throughout the seasons that are ideal for backpacking, so you won’t have a hard time buying one.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Great weather protection

Cons

  • Pricier and less roomy than comparable models

Is the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 for You?

If a little compromise on space is not a problem for you and you prioritize durability, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 is a simple choice to make.

While it may not be ultralight nor extra spacious, it overtakes comparable models with its weather resistance and overall durability.


How to Choose Among the Best Backpacking Tents

Weight

Portability and ease of transport is a primary consideration for any backpacker.

Most of these tents weigh between 1 to 4 pounds. The lighter the tent, the easier it is to carry it on your back.

However, a lighter tent may mean you have to sacrifice some durability.

The packaged weight is the weight of the complete tent set upon purchase, which includes the tent itself, the fly, poles, stakes, guy lines, stuff sacs, and any other accessories it may come with.

The minimum trail weight is limited to the weight of the tent, rainfly, and poles. There is no industry standard on what to include and exclude when calculating the minimum trail weight.

More likely, you will carry something closer to the packaged weight because you will want to carry the tent with all its accessories. So, consider the total packaged weight of the tent you will be purchasing.


PRO TIP:
If you do not want to spring for an ultralight tent, one hack is to buy a tent of your choice and just swap the stakes that come with the set for a set of lightweight aluminum stakes. [R]

Setup and Takedown

Nothing is worse than having to pitch a tent that just won’t cooperate. The good news is that most modern tents are easy to set-up now.

These tents use simple clips that only take a few seconds to attach and have trekking poles that are streamlined and come together with ease.

You only have to lie out your footprint if you have one, stake out the corners, attach the poles, and clip everything together.

Note, however, that some ultralight backpacking tents can be more troublesome to set up and require some practice.

Regardless of your choice, it’s always best to try setting it up and taking it down at home first. That way, you understand what to do and can accurately estimate how quickly it will take you.

Storage

There are two storage options on tents: vestibules and gear close outside, and interior pockets for smaller items.

Vestibules

A typical vestibule covers the entry door with enough space for a few packs and footwear. This is very handy so you don’t have to bring in dirty gear nor leave them to get rained on outside.

The size of your vestibule space is measured in square feet and can vary from model to model.

Interior Storage

While not essential, interior storage can be convenient.

If you opt to get this, choose a tent that has a simple mesh pocket positioned near your head.

If you want a headlamp inside, some backpacking tents have a ceiling pocket along the inside of the roof. And if it doesn’t, you can always check if it has hang loops for securing your light.

Number of Doors

The number of doors on your tent will impact how convenient it is to get in and out, so two-door backpacking tents are better. Most of these have vestibules outside each door for extra storage space.

If you are getting a two-person tent, prioritize the number of doors, too. That extra door won’t really affect its overall weight, so you might as well go for it.

For a single door tent, choose one at the head end.

Interior Space or Capacity

Dimensions (Length x Width x Height)

The length and width of the tent will correspond to the floor area which matters when you are trying to fit two backpackers with your sleeping bags and other gear side-by-side.

For the most space, you can opt to get a plus or three-person backpacking tent to get more space.

Note that some tents taper off at the foot end, which helps lower its weight though making it a bit more uncomfortable to live in.

The height (a.k.a. “peak height”) refers to the tallest point at the center of the tent. For a two-person backpacking tent, the peak height will range from 38 inches up to 44 inches.

Those extra 6 inches will matter for comfortably sitting up and moving around inside your tent.

Just remember that manufacturers do not always provide the most precise dimensions for their specs, so it is better to assume that the true dimensions are smaller than the listed ones.

Slope

The majority of newer backpacking tents have modern trekking pole structures that stretch the walls outward and make them almost vertical, while some budget and ultralight versions have more slope which gives you less interior space.

We recommend that, besides the dimensions, also inspect the shape to get a more accurate idea as to the actual amount of space you will have inside.

Consider whether the walls are vertical or cut in sharply toward the middle of the tent and whether the ceiling abruptly slopes toward the foot end.

Durability

For the durability of backpacking tents, you need to look for the “denier” rating of the fabric used in constructing the tent. This refers to the measurement of the fabric yarn’s weight. The lower the denier, the thinner/less durable the fabric, and the lighter the tent.

You can find the denier rating of most tents as to their tent floor, canopy, and rainfly.

Remember that the area that is most vulnerable to rips, tears, or punctures from your trips is the floor, so get the highest denier rating you can for it. However, there may be other variables, such as construction type and overall quality, which also affect your tent’s durability.

One way that manufacturers improve the tear strength and longevity of their backpacking tents is by adding a silicone coating (aka “silnylon”).

Most high-end tents even come with 3 or more layers of silicone on both sides of their ripstop nylon, which significantly improves the strength of your tent without making it heavier. However, this comes with a massive increase in price.

But if this is something you will spend on, it’s worth it. If you choose ultralight backpacking tents, it will probably come with a lower denier rating. Check your campsite for sharp sticks and rocks before setting up your tent to avoid damaging it.

We recommend finding the best balance between weight and durability when choosing your tent.

Weather Protection

As a camper, nothing is worse than experiencing rain on the trail. You wouldn’t want to get soaked just because your rainfly didn’t do its job right?

Rainfly

The rainfly refers to the cover for the exposed tent body, which gives you better resistance from precipitation, wind, and cold.

You should get a tent that has a waterproof coating, is seam-taped, and can withstand hours of heavy rain without leaking.

Remember that most leakages actually come from the ground around the bottom of the tent, so pay particular attention to that area when choosing the tent you will buy.

We highly recommend getting a full-coverage rainfly, though some rare models offer impressive weather resistance without this full coverage.

Structure

Your tent’s structure will also play a major role in keeping you dry and cozy, no matter the wind or rain outside.

The more expensive the tent, the better its weather resistance. However, some ultralight tents aren’t necessarily more protective.

For budget tents, trekking poles and poly systems will probably be swayed by strong winds, while high-end ones are stronger and have more exterior ties that will keep you anchored down during a storm.

Ventilation

If you’ve ever camped in a tropical climate, you know how icky and uncomfortable it is to wake up to your body sweating like crazy.

Check the amount of mesh around your tent.

A double-wall tent has a rainfly that is independent of the tent body.
If you get one with a lot of meshes, it should breathe well in mild weather with the rainfly off the tent, as long as you aren’t under direct sun.

But with the rainfly on, the waterproof coating of the fly will protect you from getting wet but will not ventilate well while keeping moisture from your breath inside the tent. This will make you feel more humid and sticky.

Some tents offer roof vents that are at the top of the rainfly, which you can open up even while it is raining.

Since the rainfly’s fabric covers the vents, it should be okay during a downpour unless you’re right in the middle of a storm, in which case you should reconsider whether it was right to go out in the first place!

Season Rating

Most backpackers are fine with a tent rated for 3 seasons.

These breathe well in moderate weather, which includes heavy rain and light snow during spring, summer, and fall.

However, if you know you will camp in heavy snow or extreme, exposed conditions, prioritize getting a 4-season tent. These have much less mesh and have better heat insulation, with an obvious drawback of less ventilation.

But when you’re camping in the middle of a tundra or during heavy snowfall, you will thank yourself for having the foresight to prioritize heat retention.

Footprint

A footprint is an option. They go beneath your tent to provide an extra layer of protection and help prevent water from seeping in as long as you avoid pooling.

However, they come at an additional cost and weight, so it will really depend on the conditions you will encounter and your preference.

Get a Footprint if:

  • Your tent has a low denier rating
  • Camping on rough surfaces like granite
  • You tend to be careless with your gear
  • You do not have the risk tolerance for a damaged floor

Purchase a footprint that is specifically designed for your tent that is pre-cut to the proper dimensions and the grommets will directly attach to your trekking poles.

Price and Value of backpacking tents

Get an entry-level tent if:

  • You are on a budget
  • Plan on backpacking once or twice a summer
  • You will cover short to moderate distances
  • You do not mind carrying a few extra pounds

This type of tent is best for weekend warriors and casual campers who just need a tent for outdoor activities once in a while.

In this case, the weight would not be the most important consideration for you as you will want to have a comfortable experience.

Splurge on a lightweight or ultralight tent if you:

  • Take longer, multi-day backpacking trips
  • Go on trips multiple times every summer
  • Prioritize keeping the weight of your backpack lower

If you fall under this category, your pack can get extremely heavy on long trail days.

While costing more, light tents should give you an excellent combination of low weight (below 3 pounds), generous interior space, outstanding features, and thinner materials.

Spring for a true ultralight or crazy light tent if you:

  • Are a thru-hiker
  • Want to carry the least possible weight
  • Don’t care as much about cost
  • Know your gear inside and out, so complicated setting-up is not an issue
  • Do not care about paper-thin materials or minimalist features

If you will be carrying your tent for weeks or months on end, its weight will really matter. Consider the conditions in which you will hike, as well, as durability will depend on the ultralight tent you select.

Top Picks

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2: Best Overall
If you want the best combination of lightweight, roomy and comfortable floor area, and all the backpacking features you need, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is the one for you.

It has unanimously received the highest ratings from many reviewers. The bottom line is that this is the best overall backpacking tent you can buy for all-around use.

Nemo Hornet Elite: Best Value
We chose the Nemo Hornet Elite for its great value because this a durable ultralight tent that will give you the best of both worlds, albeit at a premium.

It can withstand long hikes regardless of the weather, allowing you to plan that long-awaited excursion.

The bottom line is this is the best backpacking tent for those who go on very long hikes with its three-season rating and excellent floor area.

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2: Best Budget
If you are on a budget, expect that you can’t get the lightest backpacking tents. However, This will offer you excellent ventilation and a roomy interior for the best weekend backpacking experience on a budget.

Bottom Line

We have featured the best backpacking tents available today in this guide. Now, you can choose the best one for you with ease! We have also some family tents here.


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