Anytime you start buying backpacking or even camping gear. You should ask yourself THREE questions: Where are you going? How long will you be out there? Is weight important to you? Answering these questions will help in determining how much your going to use this gear. Gear is expensive, so don’t buy gear you don’t use or need.
Most backpacking tents weigh somewhere between 1-4 pounds. It then comes down to your trail lifestyle. Will you be sharing the tent most of the time? That’s important because you may want a Tent with two doors instead of crawling over your partner in the middle of the night. Do you have dogs that will be sleeping with you? Are you tall, need leg room? Ultralight tents require more care when setting them up and storing them when you get home. Ultralight tents also come with a heftier price tag. When comparing tents, you’ll typically see two different weight specs. The minimum trail weight is the weight of the tent, fly, and poles only. But you’ll probably also need stakes, a stuff sack, and maybe a footprint to protect the bottom of the tent.
3 Season Tents: Unless you are going to be Apline camping in the Tundra. A 3 Season Tent is the majority of tents sold in the market. Don’t spend money on a Tent for Everest when you are below 12,000 feet.
Double Wall VS Single Wall: Double-walled tents tend to ventilate better and experience less condensation due to airflow. A single-walled tent is weatherproof all around without the need for a fly, and that often helps shave off some weight. Single-walled tents also typically have no windows and little mesh. However this trend is starting to change. Single Wall Tents are expanding thier mesh screens. Some single wall tents can often mean that condensation can be a problem in wet conditions. Single-walled tents are best in cold, dry conditions.
Tarps: A tarp-style tent is one that you set up using your trekking poles for support and by tying guy lines to trees, rocks, etc to get it taut. Tarp-style tents are lighter since they don’t have poles tend to appeal to experienced long-distance hikers. TIP: Some Double Wall Tents with a Rainfly can be set up just with the Rainfly and thus acting like a Tarp. The REI Half Dome is one of them.
OUR SUGGESTIONS FOR BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TENTS
2 Person Tents
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent – The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent is a 3lb, 1oz tent for roaming the backcountry trails. Loads of space for you and a friend, with High volume vertical walls creating more room within.
NEMO Equipment Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent, 2 Person – This best-seller is updated in 2020 with prebent poles to create more headroom color-coded poles and webbing for intuitive set up and several additional improvements to increase ventilation convenience and durability.With two doors and two massive trapezoidal vestibules Dagger has more area and volume for storage than any other tent in its price and weight category. It also has the unique Divvy dual-stage stuff sack which allows you to split the load with a partner.
REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 Tent – Completely redesigned with new architecture and lightweight, rugged materials, the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 tent is is an easy-to-live-in 2-person backpacking tent that’s sturdy enough for 3 seasons.
1 Person Tents
Tarptent Aeon LI – Weighing in at 15.8 oz this is a super lightweight tent. Single wall, single pole, and made with Dyneema®, it packs to 14 in (36 cm) and is perfect for any minimalist adventure including thru-hiking, bikepacking, packrafting, and backpacking.
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Green 1 Person Ultralight Tent 2020 Version – The Lunar Solo’s distinctive low hexagonal shape easily spills the wind no matter the direction. Short, steeply sloped sides, handle snow or high winds with ease. A generous canopy covers a 26 sq. ft. sleeping area plus 8.5 sq. ft. of vestibule storage. The 49″ peak height, set in the middle of the tent maximizes room for sitting and taking care of chores.
LightHeart Solo Tent Sil-Nylon – Only 27 oz. and 30 sq. ft. of floor area; the Solo has adequate room to store all of your gear inside the tent. The patented center ridge pole provides full use of measured headroom and allows users to sit up and change clothes comfortably.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, we receive a tiny bit of compensation at no added cost to you. However, some of our suggestions are NOT affiliate links and are suggested because they are damn good tents. Any purchases you make help keep the site and Podcast going…so thanks for all of your support! If you ever have any questions about any of the products featured on our site, please email us. Scott & Ariane