Top Backpacking Tents of 2019

Best Backpacking Tents

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.

Backpacking Tents Price Comparison

Best Backpacking Tents 2019

MSR Elixir 3 Tent – ($300)

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.

MSR Elixir Review

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. MSR Elixir 3 – $300

Kelty Horizon 2 Tent – ($148)

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.

Kely Horizon Review

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]

Big Agnes Frying Pan SL2 – ($250)

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.

Big Agnes Frying Pan Review

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. Big Anges Frying Pan 2-Person Tent – $250

MSR Hubba NX Solo Tent – ($259)

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]

LL Bean Microlight Tent – ($349)

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.

LL Bean Microlight Review

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. LL Bean Microlight UL – $349

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)

Slingfin Crossbow 2 Mesh

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.

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About the Author

Dann Albright
Dann is a freelance journalist whose love of the mountains keeps him coming back to Colorado. A mountain biker, skier, runner, and hiker, he seeks to shed light on the issues that matter most to the people who live in and around the Rockies.

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