Best Backpacking Tents

Best Backpacking Tents

Best backpacking tents in use at Broken Top, United States

Best Backpacking Tents of 2018

Backpacking in the backcountry means you’ll always have to carry top notch gear with you. The best backpacking tents will have a few important considerations to take into account. The good news is that we will break down these aspects and help you choose wisely for your next backcountry venture.

For your comfort, we have also reviewed 2018 best backpacking packs and sleeping bags.

What to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Tent

  • Protection and safety – A good tent has to provide protection from the elements, otherwise it’s no good. As we know that a tent is your home away from home, every tent on our list will offer good protection coverage and safety.
  • Weight – Backpacking means keeping it minimal and ultra weight. Being one of the heaviest items you’ll carry on your backpacking trip, it’s essential to keep weight an important factor.
  • Spacious – Most backpacking tents are very minimalist when it comes to interior space. Most 2P tents will offer just enough room for 2 backpackers, their backpacks and some equipment in the tent’s vestibules. If you need more room think about increasing tent size but sacrificing weight in the process. You can also consider choosing from camping tents.
  • Price tag – We tried to be as diverse as possible on our list of best backpacking tents. While being a backpacker doesn’t essentially mean spending more on suitable gear, it is sometimes a good decision to invest in better quality gear. Whether you are a budget backpacker or a veteran one, we have tried to find a suitable choice for you.
  • Design – A proper backpacking tent design should be simple and effective. 2 doors are better and storage room should be adequate. Interior pockets and vestibule are essentials.
  • Capacity – As you will see, the majority of tents covered are 2 Person as they offer the best balance of weight and design.
  • Setup – Majority of mainstream backpacking tents are freestanding, which means they have poles attached to the main body of the tent, allowing for an easier setup. Non-freestanding tents use stakes and guylines and weigh less for that. Backpackers will have to choose between being weight savvy or prefer easier setup.
  • Vestibules and doors – 2 doors are always preferable as they offer more in terms of accessibility. 2 person backpacking tents are often quite tight and having more room to maneuver inside is always helpful. We made sure to review only tents that have 2 doors and vestibules in our list.
  • DurabilityWhile trying to make backpacking tents lighter, the biggest trade-off is thinner and lighter materials that have more potential to break and tear. It is crucial to find a tent that uses high end materials and to remember to treat your tent kindly. 


Nemo Hornet Ultralight

Nemo Hornet Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 2 lbs. 0 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P
Pros: Light and an easy setup.
Cons: Not too roomy.

2 things the Nemo Hornet does exceptionally well are the easy setup and the ultra light weight. The setup should take about 5 minutes and even though the tent is very ultra weight, the materials seem to be durable. In addition to being very light weight, it packs up to a very nice and small size. If you need the extra space and weight for other things, the Nemo Hornet Ultralight is the backpacking tent choice for you. Although considered as freestanding, we would better describe it as a non-freestanding, because having the Nemo Hornet staked would be best utilizing it.

Not a lot of room on both capacities. Having the tent staked out would help a lot.

Big Agnes – Copper Spur

Big Agnes - Copper Spur Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 3 lbs. 7 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Pros: A good combo of light weight and spacious.
Cons: Durability issues.

The biggest upside to the Big Agnes – Copper Spur is its combination of a roomy interior with light materials. 2 doors and added vestibules will dish out notably more interior space than other tents on out list. The almost vertical walls contribute a lot to the roomy feeling and will also allow you to sit upright without your head touching the tent. We feel like Big Agnes nailed 2 of the most important aspects of backpacking tents that are rarely done successfully together – Weight and interior space. If those 2 are whats important for you than this is the pick for you.

The materiel is ultra thin so expect to treat this one with a lot of TLC. If you expect your tent to suffer some beatings than perhaps consider a different one. 

Kelty Salida

Kelty Salida Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 4P
Pros: Good enough for budget backpackers.
Cons: Lack of ventilation.

Let’s be clear about the Kelty Salida, it’s by far the cheapest on the list and we have decided to include it only as a budget alternative. With that being said, it’s indeed not bad compared to the low price tag it carries. Even though quite spacious, your backpacks will have to stay outside. Material quality is once again, not bad and will hold up pretty nice. Two inside pockets on the upper side of the tent will help keep some personal items. Overall a decent decision as long as you’re budgeting, if not better off with the more high end backpacking tents. 

Lack of ventilation while using the rain fly will make you feel hot and humid in warmer weather.

Kelty TN2

Kelty TN2 Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 4 lbs. 4 oz.
Capacity: 2P, 3P
Pros: A Stargazing  rain fly for those clear nights.
Cons: A bit heavy and tight.

The Kelty TN2 does a good job of balancing the quality you get for the price tag. The innovative design in the shape of the great stargazing rain fly has definitely earned it a place in our list. If setup correctly there will be minimal condensation while two vestibule windows will be great for view (although improper setup might cause them to tear). The tent floor is very sturdy and rough and feels like it can withstand heavy use.

A bit heavier than other 2P on our list of best backpacking tents and felt like a pretty tight fit. Might want to consider the 3P for if looking for a 2P tent. 

MSR Pappa Hubba

MSR Pappa Hubba Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 5 lbs. 5 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P
Pros: The best for a backpacking family.
Cons: The tent’s floor is a bit too delicate.

The MSR Pappa Hubba has impressed us indeed. With a quick and easy setup, a very roomy interior,  a strong endurance to all kinds of weather and pretty impressive weigh for its size, make the Pappa Hubba perfect for backpacking families. Made with thin quality materials, it is very durable and will withstand the majority of backpacking hazards. The mesh windows are positioned strategically, which allows for a good airflow.

We recommend using a footprint as the tent’s floor is a bit delicate. Also, make sure to clear any big rocks or other obstructions.

MSR FreeLite 2

MSR FreeLite 2 Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 3P.
Pros: Excellent fabric work overall.
Cons: Pack volume a bit too big.

The MSR FreeLite 2 did a great job of of forming the fabric up around the sides at different heights. That way, it helps prevent condensation when fabric hits other fabric (The rain fly as an example) at windy weather. Despite its low weight, it seems like the FreeLite made no compromises when it comes to design and quality. The rainfly and pole are strong and flexible enough to withstand some rough weather. Setup is pretty straightforward and should be easy enough to perform even at night. 

Pack volume is a bit too big. The tent along with a footprint and a rainfly just takes a bit too much space in your pack. Not a reason to give up on the FreeLite as it is great, but a thing to consider. 

Hyke & Byke Zion 2P

Hyke & Byke Zion 2P Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 3P.
Pros: Rainfly and footprint included in an overall great price.
Cons: Not high end quality.

The reason we have included the Hyke & Byke Zion 2P in our list of best backpacking tents is that it offers the best value for money. Yes, quality is not in par with the rest of the contenders but it’s not thats far off either. For the budget backpacker paying less than $150 for a decent tent that included a footprint and the matching rainfly, that just might be a deal maker. The nylon fabric is pretty durable and the Zion has nice airflow going that will keep condensation out. Overall not a bad bargain at all. 

As can be expected at this price point, materials are not as quality as other famous brands out there. With that being said, the Zion is an easy pick for budget backpackers and does its job better than other, more expensive tents in the market. 

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 4P.
Pros: Affordable price tag with great value for money.
Cons: Not high end quality.

The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx is full with features. A  freestanding design that allows for a pretty easy setup (Pole clips that are attached easily enough to the poles). The vestibule is large and will be able to safely store a 65 liter pack. The wide use of mesh for walls is good for ventilation. Rain fly is great and very durable with a nice tension strap. Zippers and doors are sturdy and will sustain heavy use. While the low price tag might make you suspicious, it seems like all the essentials are there.

As can be expected, materials are not high end quality. With that being said, if you aren’t looking to spend a few hundred dollars more, than this tent is definitely for you. 

Nemo Dagger Ultralight

Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.
Capacity: 2P, 3P.
Pros: Spacious and built from quality materials.
Cons: Use of a footprint is a must.

The Nemo Dagger offers durability, is light weight and made of quality materials. 42 inches at the tallest point, the Dagger is very roomy and offers a spacious experience while backpacking. The 2 person Dagger will definitely have room for 2 people plus a medium sized pet. The great build holds strong against windy weather and the awesome rain fly will keep you dry at heavy downpours. The ultra light feature make it a very attractive tent and overall a serious tent to consider as your next one. 

We recommended using the Dagger with a footprint as the tent’s floor is a little weak.

TETON Sports

TETON Sports Backpacking Tent

Minimum weight: 5 lbs. 5 oz.
Capacity: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P.
Pros: Easy setup and great for travel camping.
Cons: Problematic at heavy downpours.

The TETON Sports in general is a pretty decent tent. While it might not fit heavy duty backcountry treks it will do its job at light to medium treks. Most notably, is the Sports easy setup. Reinforced seams makes it much more durable than anticipated. Price tag makes it perfect for budget backpackers.

We noticed that in heavy downpours the tent is prone to leaking.

Make sure to complete your backpacking gear set by viewing our guides for best: