The best backpacking tents for 2022

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Updated on November 4, 2022 at 10:26 am

A backpacking tent is the single most important piece of camping equipment you can bring with you when you’re backpacking. The reason is simple: You need to be able to trust your shelter at all times. Unlike when you’re car camping, you won’t be able to run to your vehicle in case of inclement weather. You need to get a tent that will stand up and keep you protected from rain and wind.

Just as importantly, you need to be able to take that tent to remote areas on foot. This means the best backpacking tent is lightweight and portable. Here’s how to choose the best lightweight backpacking tent for your camping spot.

Key considerations before buying the best backpacking tents

Are you planning to travel alone? Take a 1-person backpacking tent…but if portability is a big concern, you can get away with a minimalist approach with a bivy sack. If you’re going with a friend or partner, a 2-person tent is easier than two 1-person tents… but you both need to be compatible, physically and socially. Is strong wind a problem in the places you go? You need to make sure you get a tent with poles strong enough to take a beating and keep you dry and sheltered. Will you be backpacking in the winter? You will need to invest in a four season tent. Alternatively, a three-season tent will work.

Should you buy a one-person tent or a two-person tent?

When you’re looking for a new tent, the first decision you need to make is its capacity, defined by how many people you can comfortably fit inside the tent. Backpacking umbrellas fit from one to four people. That said, each tent manufacturer defines the capacity of their tents differently, meaning there is no standard capacity measurement. The size of two-person tents varies depending on the company that manufactures the tent.

Most backpacking tents are quite comfortable. You won’t be able to fit more people than recommended in a tent without it being seriously cramped. When in doubt, choose a larger tent. This applies if you will be sharing the tent with someone else at some point in the future, as well as if you are a bigger person in general. However, keep in mind that the larger the tent, the heavier it will generally be to carry.

Best Person: Lynx Mountaineer ALPS 1-Person Tent

A green camping tent with orange and blue parts on it, as well as two ropes that are attached to the orange tent from above.

It is durable, waterproof and easy to install. ALPE mountaineering

The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent is a phenomenal option for sleeping alone in the countryside. Its strong aluminum poles stand up to strong winds and the polyester fly will keep the rain out. It has an area of ​​20 square meters and boasts a minimum weight of 3 pounds 8 ounces.

The two best people: Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent

A camping tent is a person with an oval shape from the top and all covered, which is white and only the sides have a thick green line.

It’s a great all-in-one tent for two people. Celts

You can’t go wrong with the Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent. It’s a three-season tent that weighs only 4.57 pounds. It’s extremely weatherproof and the interior is 30.5 square meters—spacious enough to fit two comfortably.

Consider the seasonality of your tent

Different backpacking tents are made for different weather conditions. Make sure you get a tent that can handle the weather you will face. Most people go backpacking during the warm weather months. Most tents are made for summer use but can still handle the shoulder seasons. These are called 3-season tents and tend to have good airflow and breathability.

If you go backpacking during the late fall and winter—hunting season—then you should consider a 4-season tent. What is the difference? A 4-season tent can withstand the strongest winds and is designed to keep snow drifts out. The fabric also tends to be thicker, which is good for insulation, but will hinder the packing of the tent.

The three best seasons: Eureka! Timberline SQ three-season tents

A small tent with a space at the top, which is tied and shaped like a roof at the top, white in color and with a thick brown and green stripe at the bottom and is secured with orange rope from one corner of the tent to the other .

The two-person tent handles summer camping and shoulder seasons equally well. Eureka!

Eureka! The Timberline SQ three-season tent is a great three-season option. The high/low air gap regulates the interior temperature to keep you and another person comfortable on both warm and brisk nights. The tent has a relatively roomy interior to boot and weighs a fraction over six pounds.

Season Four Best: GEERTOP 4-Season Camping Tent for 2 Persons

A camping tent all closed and solid yellow with some small black parts.

It has enough coverage to keep two people warm and comfortable on windy winter nights. GEERTOP Store

The 6.4-pound GEERTOP backpacking tent works well year-round, but is an especially good option for two-person late-season backcountry hunting trips. It’s a two-layer tent that easily sheds snow and rain. The fly extends down to the ground, which is important to keep snow out of the tent.

Backpacking with your family or a large group?

The most common tents are one- and two-person setups, because larger tents are bulky and heavier to pack. That said, there are plenty of four-person tents that are certainly packable. However, if you’re backpacking with a group of people or your family, consider packing multiple two-person tents. This option works well if you have a lot of people in your party who are strong enough to pull a tent on their back.

If you’re traveling with several smaller children, a lightweight four-person tent will do the trick. Opting for a tent larger than four people, even if it’s advertised as a backpacking tent, is a recipe for tough hikes and backaches.

Top four people: Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent; 3-4 people

A bright brick colored canopy from the top as well as the open front and black support bottom.

Packs well and has plenty of room for a backpack. TETON Sport

The Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent is somewhat of a ‘tweener. Fits three to four people, depending on the space each person needs. It’s easy to set up, and at 10.1 pounds, it’s significantly lighter than most four-person camping tents.

Go ultralight with a bivy sack

If you’re traveling long distances, weight becomes an issue, especially if you’re moving fast. If you spend a lot of time in the wilderness covering a lot of ground, the best backpacking tent may not be a tent at all. Instead, you should consider a bivy sack.

What is a bivy sack? A bivy sack is a minimalist one-person shelter designed for mountaineering expeditions. A bivy sack keeps you dry, but doesn’t offer extra room to lounge around, or even sit down. Some describe it as sleeping inside a large garbage bag. But if you want to pack light and set up and break down camp very quickly, a bivy sack is the way to go.

Best Backpacking Bivy Sack: Outdoor Research Helium Bivy

A camping tent and winds all in the form of a single bed.

It will provide minimal – but effective – shelter from the elements. Outdoor research

The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy is a high value bivy sack. It’s 100 percent waterproof and extremely light to pack at just 1 pound and 0.8 ounces.

Want the best backpacking tents on a budget?

Backpacking umbrellas can be quite expensive – and for good reason. They are a critical piece of camping gear. That said, if you don’t have a lot of money to drop on a new tent, or you’re not sure how often you’ll be backpacking, you should be able to find a budget tent that will work well for the moment. .

What should you expect from a budget backpacking tent? These products will not be as wind or water resistant as high quality offerings. Be aware that tent poles can be prone to snapping in high winds. A low-quality tent will likely be heavier than more expensive offerings, meaning you’ll pay for it in sweat on the trail instead of cash.

The best budget: Bedroom 2 Person Camping Tent

A small oval shaped camping tent which is all orange with some small blue markings.

It is a great value and low cost backpacking option. BUSINESS

The two-person tent weighs only 4.7 kilograms, which is comparable to much more expensive models, and has covered vents on both sides.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How much should a backpacking tent weigh?

How much a backpacking tent should weigh depends on its size. One- and two-person tents must weigh 5 pounds or less. Three- and four-person tents must be under 10 pounds.

Q: What is the best tent for backpacking?

The best backpacking tent comes down to personal preference. That said, almost all backpacking tents are “dome tents”. This style is portable, easy to set up and is strong enough to withstand the elements.

Q: What is the difference between a camping tent and a backpacking tent?

The main difference between a camping tent and a backpacking tent is size and weight. Backpack umbrellas are compact and easy enough to attach to your backpack and carry on your back. Car camping tents are not very compact or lightweight. You can still use a backpacking tent when you go car camping, but not the other way around.

A final tip for buying the best backpacking tents

Invest as much as you can in a backpacking tent. It will be your home in the wild, and you’ll want one that’s lightweight, easy to set up, and strong enough to withstand wind and weather. A cold, wet night in the backcountry is too much.

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