Choosing the right tent isn’t easy, but we’ve gathered a few of the best backpacking tents that we tested while camping in the Tetons, Yellowstone and around the country.
Best Backpacking Tents 2019
This three-person, three-season tent packs down to 5.5″ x 19″ and just under 3 lbs. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger, lighter tent than the Tiger Wall UL3. Dual-zipper doors and single-pole architecture make this a convenient tent for setup and sleeping, too.
As if that wasn’t enough, Big Agnes included media pockets on the inside of this tent, so you can stash your phone in the pocket and route your earbuds for easy listening. What more could you ask for? [Purchase: $450]
This two-person tent comes in just over 2.5 lbs., making it a good option for long-distance backpacking. Mountain Hardwear only put the essentials into this tent, keeping it light and functional.
Two doors, a three-quarter mesh canopy, and RipStop construction mean this tent is a solid choice for years to come. [Purchase: $430]
This two-person tent has two configurable vestibules, which makes it great for many different types of camping. That configurability comes with a price, though; the packaged weight of the Stormbreak 2 is only 6 lbs.
But that weight does get you a 43″ peak height, good airflow, and compatibility with The North Face’s Tentertainment Center. Which is pretty great. [Purchase: $160]
The Linx is a two-pole design, which makes it slightly heavier than the single-pole tents on this list. But it’s also a fraction of the price, which is nice. The packaged weight of this tent is 4 lbs. 4 oz., which is still definitely in the lightweight category.
And you get a little extra room, too. While many backpacking tents are in the 85″ range for length, this one stretches all the way out to 90″, making it good for taller backpackers. [Purchase: $90]
If you’re looking for the best value you can find in a backpacking tent, the Passage 2 is a great bet. It’s under $200. You can get it under 5 lbs. on the trail. The two-person size is 88″ long.
And it comes with everything you’d expect from a backpacking tent: twin vestibules, adjustable ceiling vents, color coding for easy setup, and more. If you’re backpacking on a budget, there’s no better two-person tent.
The Dominion is definitely an ultralight tent—if you use it in “ultralight mode” with the rainfly, poles, and footprint, you can get it down to 2 lbs. And the 5″ x 20″ pack size makes it easy to stash for your trip.
But that doesn’t mean this tent is tiny. It’s built for one person, but Outdoor Vitals spent time making it as spacious as possible. The tapered design, 35″ height, and wide crossbar let you move around better than you might think in such a small tent. [Purchase $200]
Geertop’s Pyramid series uses your trekking pole to support the tent, making this an especially light option. The total carrying weight—including the bag—is 2.65 lbs. Even for a one-person tent, that’s really light.
You don’t get a whole lot of extra features with such a light tent. But two vent windows and reinforced, waterproofed corners mean you’ll stay comfortable. And there’s enough room between the tent and the fly that condensation is kept to a minimum. [Purchase: $146]
The solo version of this tent is great for one-person backpacking trips, and the two-person MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 is just as good when you need more room. And with a minimum trail weight of just 3.5 lbs., it won’t weigh you down.
The packed size is extra small, too—6″ x 18″ is one of the smallest on this list. But the tent still stands 39″ tall and has plenty of space for two people. [Purchase: $450]
This little one-person tent is made for lightweight backpacking. But it doesn’t skimp on space; you can fit a 25-in. mattress in it. At 3 lbs. 12 oz., it’s not the lightest backpacking tent, especially for one person. But it’s certainly not heavy. And its 20″ x 5″ packed size doesn’t take up too much room in your pack, either.
MSR includes some great backpacking-friendly features in the Zoic. Aluminum poles provide strength without much weight, and the Xtreme Shield coating adds long-lasting protection from the elements. [Purchase: $300]
If that’s not enough tents for you, here’s the last batch of best backpacking tents that we reviewed:
Though it’s a bit heavier than the Horizon at 3 lbs., 10 oz., the Horizon has some features that make it stand out. Its one-piece design makes setup a breeze, and the permanently attached fly can roll up out of the way for easy access or ventilation.
The 28-square-foot floor might be best suited for solo trips, but it can fit two full-size pads for backpacking. And the 15″ x 12″ x 3″ carry cube makes transport easy. [Purchase: $148]
An ultralight tent with room for two, the Microlight UL is perfect for a two-person backpacking trip. It packs down to 16.5″ x 7″ and weighs just 3 lb. 2 oz. with the stuff sack and stakes. Just over 30 square feet of floor space provides plenty of room, and two vestibules make it easy to keep your gear dry without taking up sleeping space.
7000-series aluminum poles are strong without adding weight, and the coated ripstop rain fly will handle abuse on the trail. Two side doors add convenience, and the mesh tent body protects you from bugs while maintaining airflow. [Purchase: $349]
At just under 6 lbs. trail weight, the Elixir is an ultralight backpacking tent for three people. The freestanding design and color-coded pieces make it easy to set up, and the 8″ x 20″ stuff sack is easy to transport.
You can also use the Elixir’s footprint and rainfly to create a minimal shelter to cut even more weight. If you’re looking for the lightest three-person backpacking tent, the Elixir should definitely be on your radar. [Purchase: $300]
The Frying Pan SL2 is a great do-it-all tent. It’s big enough to sleep two comfortably but small enough to not take up all of the room in your backpacking rig. Minimum trail weight is 4 lbs. 5 oz., but you still get 28 square feet of floor space and 40″ of headroom. Two doors make midnight bathroom runs less annoying, and two vestibules let you keep more gear dry.
There are plenty of pockets on the inside of the tent, a fly vent keeps the interior from getting too clammy, and reflective details make it easier to find your tent in the dark. All of these features add a bit of weight—but they also make the tent more versatile than most. [Purchase: $250]
With a minimum trail weight of just 2 lbs. 7 oz., the Hubba NX Solo is an ultralightweight option for solo backpackers. 18 square feet of floor space provides enough room for a sleeping pad and bag, and the 9-square-foot vestibule gives you a little extra room to keep your gear out of the elements.
A single hubbed poleset and freestanding design make setup easy. A StayDry door keeps water out of the tent. The compression sack is only 6″ x 18″. In short, this is the perfect tent for minimal backpacking trips when you only need sleeping room for one. One of the Top Backpacking Tents for under $350. [Purchase: $259]
Slingfin Crossbow 2 Mesh – ($479)
If you’ve never heard of Slingfin, you might not know that they’re very serious about making the best lightweight backpacking tents available. Their gear has helped people through some of the most intense environments on earth, from the Utah desert to Mount Everest. The Crossbow 2 is Slingfin’s three-season tent. Now this tent is actually over $350 but we like it so…
At just under 4 lbs., it’s very easy to pack, and the simple construction makes it a breeze to set up. 32 square feet of space provides all the room you need for two people, and two doors add convenience for entry and exit. You can also use trekking poles instead of the included top bow pole to lighten your load a bit. [Purchase: $479]
Cabela’s Orion 3 Person Backpacker Tent – ($150)
It’s going to be really tough to find a backpacking tent this light for this price. It’s frankly difficult to believe that Cabela’s was able to pack almost 47 square feet of floor space into a 6-lb.-8-oz. tent. But that’s what this three-person backpacking staple provides. This tent also made the list of the best family camping tent of the year.
Beyond the lightweight and great price, you won’t get a whole lot of features; one door, standard fabrics, and a single vestibule keep things simple. Even so, you absolutely cannot beat this price. Cabela’s Orion 3 ($150)
Backpacking Tent Price Comparison
- MSR Zoic 1 ($300)
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 ($450)
- Outdoor Vitals Dominion ($200)
- Alps Linx 1 ($90)
- The North Face Stormbreak 2 ($160)
- Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 ($430)
- Geertop Pyramid I1 $146)
- REI Co-op Passage 2($160)
- MSR Hubba Hubba NX2($450)
- MSR Elixir 3 ($300)
- Kelty Horizon 2 ($240)
- Big Anges Frying Pan 2-Person ($250)
- MSR Hubba NX Solo ($259)
- LL Bean Microlight UL ($349)
- Slingfin Crossbow 2 ($480)
- Cabela’s Orion 3 ($150)