If you are planning your first or next backpacking trip then you must also consider packing a top-notch tent that will make your journey more adventurous and filled with fun. A good quality tent increases your comfort, safety, and gives you a strong shelter to relax. It also needs to be easily portable and durable to last for many trips.
We have put together a list that contains some of the best tents for backpackers. Here are some things that you should consider before getting a tent for backpacking:
- Season Rating
Tents are categorized into season ratings that specify their type, durability, and other features. You should always go with the one that is suitable for the climate and weather where you plan to use it. A tent for more than two seasons will be durable and use a heavier fabric to resist the weather conditions.
Here are the three main categories:
- 3 Season
This is the most popular category of tents for backpacking. Tents that fall under this category are lightweight and easy to carry. They are made with a lot of mesh and lightweight poles so they can provide optimum protection and hold up the rainfly. They are for spring, summer, and fall weather.
- 3.5 Season
Unlike the 3 season tents, the 3.5 season tents have less mesh and sturdier poles to withstand the harsh conditions of winter weather. They are also lightweight but not more than the 3 season category.
- 4 Season
If you are looking for the strongest tent for backpacking then a 4 season rated tent is what you should opt for. Being the most waterproof of all types, they are heavier and have stronger poles that might be a burden on your shoulders. However, there is no better option than this if you are going to a place where heavy snow or rain falls.
If you can bear the consequences/risks, then you can get a 3-reason rated tent that might collapse under snow or storms.
- Number of people
If you want to carry only your own weight then you should get a 1-person tent but if you are going with your partner or a friend then it is better to get a spacious tent for 2 persons. However, if you want more room for yourself then you should also get a 2-person tent that will have more space inside that will enable you to keep your backpack and other stuff at hand. This is a heavier option but will be worth it.
- Weather Resistance
You should better buy a water-resistant tent than regretting later when water will be entering inside during heavy rain. Tent manufacturer seam-seal the entire tent to fully waterproof them but some cheap tents are not seam sealed and you will end up doing it yourself. So you must double check them for waterproofing before buying.
Here is a list of some of the best tent options for backpackers:
This backpacking tent by Big Agnes provides an excellent blend of functionality, weight, and interior space. It features a 4-way high volume hub design that offers extended strength and space; much better than the previous ones by Big Agnes. It weighs less than 3 pounds despite having a number of features. It is freestanding, double-walled, and has near-vertical sidewalls, two large doors/vestibules, and everything that makes a backpacking tent worth carrying.
The fly and the floor have a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating to withstand rain. However, there is a little tradeoff between weight and strength here. The fabric used to make it is no doubt extremely lightweight but it ranks as 20-denier while the mesh ranks 15-denier that might need to be handled with care if you want it to last longer.
If you love swinging in a hammock then get this one, which is a combination of a tent and a hammock. It has also secured “Prestigious Gear of the Year” Award and rated number 1 by many famous websites including backpacker, Outside, and American Survival Guide. Unlike a traditional hammock that becomes banana-shaped when you lay over it, this tent has a flat surface that will support your weight efficiently.
It can also be laid flat on the ground to be used as a tent only. It has a waterproof rainfly that will help you out during rain. One of the best things about it is the integrated mosquito net that keeps those dangerous bugs out.
If you are planning your backpacking trip with your partner or a friend then this 2-person tent by Black Diamond is a great choice. It only weighs about 3.31 lbs. because of the NanoShield fabric used. It has a single door entry and its dimensions are 82 x 48 x 42 inches. The fabric provides a shield against the toughest storms and winds.
Its seams are sewn with silicone-treated thread to avoid moisture absorption. You can open the zippered door all the way down to enter easily into the tent. It is equipped with 2 interior lightweight DAC poles and 2 interior mesh pockets.
This one by Mountainsmith is a 2-person tent that is rated 3-season, which means it is lightweight and can be backpacked easily. It is made with polyester to drop some weight off and has a two-door/ two-vestibule design. The tent fly has ventilation windows to make breathing easy, plus the bathtub floor construction makes it convenient for you to lay down and rest.
It weighs 4lbs and has a space of 35 square feet. The fabric that the tent is made up of ranks 30-denier that also ensures durability. Its dimensions are 56 x 43 x 92 inches. You are also backed up by a limited lifetime warranty with it.
When talking about backpacking tents, how can one forget about mentioning the MSR Hubba NX tent? It is made with 40-denier ranked ripstop nylon. The ultra-lightweight aluminum poles and hubs make this tent easy to carry without fatiguing your shoulders. Setting up the tent is also extremely convenient.
If you are planning to go on a hike solo or with a group, then the MSR Hubba NX tent should be on your list. To open the vestibule for venting, you can easily extend the rainfly past the tent. However, it comes at an expensive price.
This freestanding solo tent by ALPS mountaineering is easy to assemble due to the aluminum 2-pole design. It has a polyester fly to reduce the weight but it still provides resistance against water and UV damage. It includes a vestibule to store your important gear. The fly and the floor seams are sealed properly to provide enhanced protection against wear and tear.
The floor has a 2000m coating that will keep you dry even during the rain. The extra-large #8 zippers on the door and vestibule add more convenience to the overall experience. The manufacturer also provides a limited lifetime warranty in case of any defects.
The Yosemite backpacking tent by Hyke and Byke weighs only 4lbs and offers a room for 2 people. It is a freestanding tent that does not give you a hard time assembling it. It comes with 12 7000-series aluminum alloy stakes, tension lock cord adjustment, reflective guy-lines, and a proprietary stake presser.
The extras i.e. footprint and mesh detachable ceiling loft pocket that you normally have to buy separately, are also included for free in the package. The seams are sealed to keep the rainwater out in stormy weather. It has a bathtub floor so you can relax with comfort, plus the 2-vestibule design makes it easy to store your gear and access it easily.
Backpacking is an exciting thing especially if you are going to travel to new and exotic places. Taking important gear, including a sturdy tent, is extremely important because, without it, you won’t have a shelter to get your back straight. All the above-mentioned tents are the best on the market out there, and you can get the one that seems perfect for you.
However, for a quick sum up, opt for Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent or Black Diamond Firstlight Tent if you are looking for a 2-person high-quality tent. If budget is your thing and you want to sleep solo then get the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent./