As any camper knows, not all tents are the same. This is especially true if you like to backpack. The best backpacking tents are lightweight and portable. They will be easy to set up and simple to attach to your backpack. Whether you like to backpack alone or with a group, we have reviewed the top backpacking tents for the money in this article.
Therefore you should keep reading. This article has everything you need to know to find and use a great backpacking tent for any season.
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Table of Contents
- Best Backpacking Tent Brands
- What Kind of Tent is Best for Backpacking?
- How to Choose a Tent for Backpacking?
- Best Backpacking Tent on the Market Review
- 1. LETHMIK Backpacking Tent
- 2. Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent
- 3. River Country Products Trekker Tent 2
- 4. Featherstone Ultralight Outdoor Backpacking Tent
- 5. Hyke & Byke Zion Backpacking Tents with Footprint
- 6. River Country Products Trekker Tent 2.2
- 7. TETON Sports Outfitter Quick Tent
- 8. Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent
- 9. Bessport Camping Tent
- 10. BISINNA Camping Tent
- How to Pack a Tent for Backpacking?
- How to Clean a Backpacking Tent?
Best Backpacking Tent Brands
First things first, we need to discuss the top backpacking brands around. While there are a lot of great brands that make economical and functional tents, three really stand out. You will not go wrong with a product from any of the following companies.
Kelty was founded way back in 1952. Their long life in the outdoor industry is a testament to their high-quality products. Anything you need for backpacking, you can get from Kelty. Plus, their backpacking tents come in all shapes and sizes and are fairly economical.
River Country prides itself on providing the best budget tents and backpacking gear around. This brand makes such great products because they were founded by outdoor enthusiasts. And, they take their design inspiration from the river country in Washington state where the manufacturer is headquartered. For high-quality outdoorsy products of all types, try River Country.
Hyke & Byke
The third backpacking tent brands we want to highlight in this article is Hyke & Byke. As their name suggests, Hyke & Byke sells outdoor equipment like tents and sleeping bags. The whole reason for the company’s founding was to provide the best budget outdoor equipment around. And, they have succeeded. To learn more about how Hyke & Byke provides great quality products for a low cost, go here.
What Kind of Tent is Best for Backpacking?
Backpacking tents come in all shapes and sizes. There is such variety that the best product for the money will be the one that best fits your unique situation. However, the top tents—no matter their shape, size, or weather rating—will have a few features in common.
Any backpacking tent you purchase should be lightweight and fit on your backpack easily. No one wants to spend time fiddling with their tent when they’re ready to get hiking in the morning.
On that note, the tent should also set up and tear down easily.
No matter what capacity tent you choose, it should fit the maximum amount of people comfortably. So, for example, if you purchase a 3 person tent, you should be able to get three people in the tent without any problems.
All of the top products are durable and will last a long time. You may pay a little more for quality, but you will save money in the long run because you won’t have to replace the tent as often.
How to Choose a Tent for Backpacking?
In order to pick the backpacking tent that will work for you, you need to keep in mind a few things. Decide which of the following features you want and need in a backpacking tent, and you will be well on your way towards finding the perfect product.
Capacity refers to the number of people that will fit in your tent. If you hike and camp alone, then, of course, you need a one-man tent. But, as you research different backpacking tents you will notice that they can be found in 2 person, 3 person, 4 person, and even 6 person varieties. Although, often the one man, 2 person, and 3 person tents will be the most common.
When you are determining your capacity requirements, try to imagine who could go backpacking with you. If you have a significant other or children that like to backpack, getting a larger tent makes the most sense. And, it will give you the most room and features for the money. But, since weight and space requirements are limited on a hike, don’t just get a big tent because it's bigger. Make sure you get a product with the capacity that best suits your situation.
All tents will have a season and weather rating. For example, some tents are better at handling wet weather than others. Some are good for high winds and some are better used in hot weather. The manufacturer’s information about the product will give you the information you need to know about the tent’s seasonal and weather ratings.
By far the most common backpacking tents are three-season. That means they can be safely used in the spring, summer, and fall. You will not be able to use these tents in snow or super cold conditions. So, if you plan on hiking a mountain, you will want to ensure you purchase a winter tent.
Similarly, if you hike in wet weather a lot, then you will want to purchase a product that is rated for heavy rain and for high winds. Hunters, especially, may run into bad weather during hunting season, so make sure the tent can handle the worst-case scenario in terms of weather.
When hiking, you need the best lightweight tent you can find. Most people can only carry so much weight at a time, and you will need to bring food, water, clothes, and gear. Therefore, you need to choose a tent that will not bring your pack over your weight capacity. Weight is even more important when hunting and for cycling because both of those activities have an even smaller weight limit than simply hiking.
What qualifies as lightweight will depend on your own strength and the size of the tent. But, you will definitely want to pay attention to the trail weight of the product. This is the weight of all parts of the tent—including poles, stakes, etc.—that you will be carrying. Tent weight just applies to the weight of the tent and can be misleading if the rest of the packaging is heavy.
Ventilation is an important part of any tent. You don’t want to swelter all night in a damp enclosure. Backpacking is supposed to be fun, and it will not be if the tent’s ventilation is not functional.
The best products for the money have mesh netting for ventilation throughout the tent. The mesh should only be at the top of the tent. Look for tents with ventilation flaps on the sides, door, and top. That way no matter which direction the wind is coming from you can still air out your tent.
As mentioned above, the setup and tear down of the tent should be simple and easy. Most serious backpackers are not there to just camp, they want to go for long hikes. Therefore, you don’t want to have to spend hours figuring out how to set up or take down your backpacking tent.
Look for tents that have an easy setup system, like a fixed pole system. If you want the fastest type of tent to set up, look for a freestanding product. Non-freestanding products will probably weigh less, but they take longer to properly set up. So, there may be a trade-off between weight and ease of set up, but for the serious hiker or for hunting, that trade-off may be worth it.
Obviously, everything we’ve been discussing so far has to do with the design of the tent. Yet, you will want to look at other design elements as well. These include the shape of the product, the amount of interior space, the location of the doors and windows, and the vestibules.
The best tents will have space for you to store your gear, especially the dirty gear like shoes, outside of the main interior space. Look for a vestibule area as well, which will allow you to transition into the tent from the outside. You want to find a tent with a design that will allow you to remain comfortable all night. Even the smallest one man tent should have a decent and comfortable design.
To get the most tent for the money, you need to find a product that is durable. It should not break after just a season or two. All aspects of the tent should be durable. That includes the tent itself, its poles, covers, and straps.
A durable tent does not have to be extremely expensive. In fact, even tents that cost under $100 can be well-constructed and durable. You should look for a product that has a footprint on the floors of at least twenty denier thick.
Keep in mind that the best lightweight tents are typically made of thinner materials. That is why they are so lightweight. Therefore, it will be much easier to puncture or rip a lightweight tent. This product can still be quite durable, but you will have to take more care with them. If you’d prefer to be tough on your tent and not have to worry about breaking it, we’d recommend springing for a slightly heavier product that has thicker materials.
The last factor you need to consider when purchasing a backpacking tent is the price. There is a wide range of prices for these products. In fact, you will find tents for under $300, under $200, and even under $100. But, many factors will affect the price.
Larger tents with more capacity will tend to be more expensive. Also, you will pay for products from the best and more well-known brands. Yet, don’t fear, if you need an economical backpacking tent, especially if you are just starting out with the hobby, you can still find these as well. Now, you may be giving up some durability and better design elements.
But, that may be an okay trade-off for you. Always make sure you know your budget before you begin looking for a tent, and then you will be able to narrow your search to that price range. We have included tents along the price spectrum in our reviews below.
Best Backpacking Tent on the Market Review
1. LETHMIK Backpacking Tent
LATHMIK’s Backpacking Tent is a 2-3 person model. It is ideal for a small family, for a couple, or for someone that has a lot of gear. The LATHMIK Backpacking Tent can also be set up in thirty seconds. So, clearly, it is not hard to use. It also comes with durable 180T PU fabric and the fabric floor is 190D. If you are not familiar with these numbers it means the tent will be durable and not rip easily.
The LATHMIK Backpacking Tent comes with a number of mesh pockets and lots of ventilation. And, you get its large size and durable construction for only 8.3 lbs., which is ideal for long hikes.
2. Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent
Kelty is a great manufacturer of backpacking tents, and their Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent illustrate why they have that reputation. It only has a capacity of 2 persons, but it is well-designed if small. The small size does get you less weight, as the Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent only weighs 4.57 lbs.
The Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent is a three-season variety, so you should not use it in winter. However, whether spring, summer, or fall, the Salida Tent will allow two hikers lots of comfort and security. Finally, the roll-top cube carry bag easily fits in any pack, which is perfect for hiking.
3. River Country Products Trekker Tent 2
River Country Products desires to make economical and yet still high-quality backpacking gear, and the Trekker Tent 2 doesn’t disappoint. This backpacking tent under $100 is a 2 person or one man with gear variety.
The Trekker poles for the tent are not included in the price. However, you can easily purchase them through River Country Products. And, your purchase of the Trekker Tent 2 does include the stakes and a carry bag. For a 2 person tent, the Trekker Tent 2 is quite large and has a lot of headroom. It also just weighs 2 lbs. 12 oz., which is perfect for a long hike.
4. Featherstone Ultralight Outdoor Backpacking Tent
Another 2 person tent with a roomy design is the Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent. It has a seam-taped construction, which means it is great for use in heavy rain. The bottom of the floor is also slightly elevated from the ground, which protects you from getting wet during the night.
The Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent only weighs five pounds and comes with 12 aluminum stakes and reflective guy lines. It is a super easy tent to set up and take down as well. You would do well to give the Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent a try.
5. Hyke & Byke Zion Backpacking Tents with Footprint
Hyke & Byke’s Zion Backpacking Tent with Footprint comes in a lot of fun, bright colors. You may not want to use this tent for elk hunting. But, for camping and hiking, it will work perfectly. It is another product that you can pick up for under $100. But, it still comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know it will be a high-quality product.
The footprint and gear loft is included in your purchase of the Zion Backpacking Tent. Plus, the design of the tent is very room, will keep out heavy rain, and has two pockets and two vestibules for storage of your gear.
6. River Country Products Trekker Tent 2.2
River Country Products makes such great backpacking tents that we had to include another one of our top ten. The Trekker Tent 2.2 is very similar to the Trekker Tent 2, but there are a few important changes. The large sidewalls and vents make the Trekker Tent 2.2 almost a two-layer tent. It is still a 2 person model, but it sets up even faster than the Trekker Tent 2.
Other features of the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2.2 is the roomy interior design. The new seams and material used in the construction of this tent make it even more durable and useable than River Country’s other products.
7. TETON Sports Outfitter Quick Tent
TETON Sports’ Outfitter Quick Tent sets up almost instantly. This is a one man tent, so all you have to do to set it up is roll it out, lock the poles, and pull the drawstring. And, you will have a fully functional one man tent.
There is plenty of ventilation in the Outfitter Quick Tent. It is also very lightweight and is roomy enough to be used with the TETON Sports Outfitter XXL Camp Cot. For versatility, you can’t beat this backpacking tent.
8. Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent
The Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent can be purchased with a one man, 2 person, 3 person, or 4 person capacity. It also comes in five muted colors. Plus, it is easy to install and is a great lightweight tent.
What sets this backpacking tent apart is that its outer layer can be propped up and used as a separate outdoor room. You can easily store your backpack and shoes outside of the tent while still keeping them dry. For the money, you can’t beat the extra features of the Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent.
9. Bessport Camping Tent
The Bessport Camping Tent has two doors, which is ideal for the 2 person tent. This design also comes in a one man tent option as well. There is both a canopy and rain fly on the Bessport Camping Tent. So, it can easily be used for heavy rain and throughout three seasons.
Bessport has designed its Camping Tent to be easy to set up and lightweight. Plus, the many ventilation ports will help the interior of the tent stay dry and comfortable. Finally, if you have any problems at all with the product, Bessport will send you a new one free with no questions asked.
10. BISINNA Camping Tent
The final backpacking tent on our list is the BISINNA Camping Tent. It is another great product for under $100, which proves your backpacking tents don’t have to cost a fortune. The BISINNA Camping Tent is weatherproof, has sun protection, is a double layer tent, and has plenty of ventilation.
You can easily fit two people in the BISINNA Camping Tent. Plus, this product will last you a long time. For the money, you can beat the Camping Tent by BISINNA.
How to Pack a Tent for Backpacking?
Once you’ve found your tent for backpacking, you still have to get it on your pack. A backpacking tent cannot be left in the car until you are ready for it. Instead, it needs to be brought with you, which means you need to understand exactly how to pack a tent for backpacking the right way. Follow the tips below to ensure that don’t pack your tent incorrectly.
The exact procedure for packing your tent will depend on the type of product you purchase. Often the manufacturer will include some suggestions about the best ways to pack their product in the user’s manual. For example, some tents may fit better in your pack while others may be designed to go on top of your backpack.
If the tent goes inside your backpack, you will want to make sure your pack has an external frame. This creates a little extra space inside the pack for you to place the tent.
You can also purchase a compression bag for your tent. It can be tough to get tents into these bags, but the payoff is that they will make your tent as small as possible.
Heavy items, like the tent and its accessories, should be placed at the bottom or middle of your bag, above your sleeping bag. Keep the lighter items at the top, which will make sure the distribution of weight in your pack is appropriate for your health.
If you prefer to pack your tent above your backpack you will need to ensure you have the correct backpack with multiple compression straps. Some backpacks do not allow for strapping large items to their outside.
Packing your tent outside your backpack can save a lot of space, but it should still be placed in the correct location of the pack. We recommend you always tie the tent to the bottom of your pack because of its weight. It should be in the same approximate position as it would be inside your pack, but it will just be hanging on the outside.
How to Clean a Backpacking Tent?
Even if you only use your backpacking tent occasionally, you will still need to clean it regularly. Cleaning is especially important if you like to camp with dogs or with a lot of people. It is always better to start your trip with a clean tent. Therefore, make sure to always wash your tent after your trip, so you don’t have to worry about performing this task as you prepare for your next hike.
If you are new to washing your backpacking tent, keep in mind the following tips.
You will need all the components of your tent, water, tent cleaner, a rag, soap, and somewhere to wash the tent.
Clean all the super dirty and stained stops first. Then you can submerge the entire tent in water and gentle soap solution. Gently wash the entire tent in the water.
Once the tent is washed, you will need to rinse it completely of the soap. You don’t want to have any soap left on the tent, or it could stain it and potentially smell.
Finally, you will want to dry the tent completely before you reroll and store it. The best way to do this is to hang it on a line either in your yard or in a basement/washing room. If you hang the tent outside, monitor it frequently, as too much sun cause damage. But, you should definitely wait until it is completely dry to store it, or mold could form.
Let’s end this article with a few more facts about backpacking tents and how to use them.
How much should I spend on a backpacking tent?
As we mentioned in the price section of our buyer’s guide above, the amount you spend on a backpacking tent really depends on your own budget. In general, most tents you find will be under $300. But, a medium-of-the-road tent will cost you around $200 or just under $200.
If you need an economical tent, then there are products under $100. Yet, these tents will likely be much smaller—probably a one man tent—and they may not last as long as the slightly more expensive options.
What size backpacking tent should I get?
The size of the backpacking tent you need will be completely determined by the number of people that will be using it and your amount of gear. A number of people are the easiest size requirement to figure out. All tents will tell you their recommended capacity. So, for example, if you have a family of four that will be hiking and camping, then you need a 4 person tent.
The amount of gear you carry will also determine the size of the tent you need. If you have a lot of gear, especially if you are going for long hikes, climbing a mountain, or going hunting, then you will need to consider your gear as another person or two. In this example, if you were camping alone, then you would still want to purchase a 2 person or 3 person tent in order to house all of your gear as well. If you only go for shorter trips, then you may not have to consider your gear at all and can stick to number of people to determine the size of tent you need.
How much should my backpacking tent weigh?
In general, you want the best lightweight tent you can find. But, the actual number of pounds that your tent needs to be will be determined by your own strength level and body weight. It is recommended that your entire backpack not weigh more than twenty percent of your body weight.
Your tent will be one of the heavier items, along with your sleeping bag. But, you will still need to calculate the weight of all of the items you plan on carrying to determine the maximum number of pounds allotted for your tent.
How to set up a backpacking tent?
Setting up your backpacking tent will really depend on the product that you purchase. However, there are a few universal guidelines that you can follow.
Ensure the site you choose is flat and has not large rocks or boulders. The campsite should also be protected from the worst weather, including high winds, wet weather, and snow.
When you are ready to pitch your tent, and it is a freestanding model, then begin by staking down the corners. Then set up the poles and put on the canvas. Don’t over-tension at first. You want to wait for everything to be on the poles correctly before adding tension evenly.
It may seem like there is a lot that goes into picking the best rated backpacking tent. But, that is really not the case. If you follow the advice in this article and choose from one of the ten top products we review, then you will be well on your way towards beginning this new hobby.
Whether you are an experienced hiker/camper or just starting out, you need the best backpacking tent for the money. Try one of our recommended products today and experience the fun and ease that comes with camping with the correct backpacking tent.