Choosing the right ultralight tent is one of these important decisions that can have the biggest influence on your traveling experience. Which is why we’ll take a look at the 5 best ultralight tents for backpacking and what are the benefits of each ultralight backpacking tent…
And, that is after choosing the best sleeping bag of course! Both are crucial accessories, that when chosen with care, will make your trip a pleasure, not the one from hell:)
Many hikers and travelers have been turning to ultralight tents as a fast way to substantially reduce the total weight of one’s equipment. They exponentially increase the comfort of both sleep and travel. Of course, not all tents are equal. How to choose the best ultralight 1 person tent, or the best ultralight backpacking tents for 2 persons you ask?
The Many Benefits of Using an Ultralight Tent
Minimal weight – this is the most obvious benefit. Minimal weight makes it easy to travel with the tent which is crucial if you are walking for hours or wandering in the mountains. The best lightweight tent for backpacking will be appreciated by any other user of the tent.
The best ultralight tents for backpacking fit anywhere – Thanks to their minimal weight and size when folded, they fit into just about any backpack – especially if you choose the two-person one. If you’re traveling with a big bag, you should have no problem packing it together with any other equipment you may need.
Looking for the best ultralight sleeping bag too?
Quality materials – Another significant benefit is the quality of materials used. The best ultralight tents for backpacking are made from quality, durable and breathable material for the highest comfort and levels of performance. Low quality materials are usually heavier, meaning that most of the time even a simple, light tent can be more durable than a cheap “standard” one. The most popular materials for flooring and walls) are nylon taffeta, polyester, and polyurethane.
Perfect choice during most of the year – Most of the quality ultralight tents are rated as “3-season”, meaning they offer excellent air circulation while being able to withstand heavy rain and wind – despite their light construction. This makes them a perfect choice for trips during most of the year from spring to fall.
Choosing the Best Ultralight Tents For Backpacking
Once you have reviewed my tips for choosing the best tent, it’s time I shared with you my top picks. Below you will find 5 best ultralight tents for backpacking, plus 2 more that I consider best in their categories – both 1- & 2-person, for budget travelers and more demanding backpackers.
The 5 Best Ultralight Tents For Backpacking
1) Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
The Mountainsmith Morrison is one of the lightest 2 person backpacking tents perfect for backpacking and camping during the hiking season from spring to autumn with its 3-season weather rating.
The Mountainsmith is a freestanding tent which weighs in at a trail weight of 4 pounds and 11 ounces. When compressed down, the tent measures 16 inches in length. This is a definite bonus as most ultralight tents tend towards 20 to 24 inches when packed in length.
Magazine Award Recipient
Being one of the more popular best lightweight tents for backpacking available on the market, we noticed this one was awarded the “2011 & 2012 Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide – KILLER DEAL!” and “2011 Outside Magazine – KILLER VALUE!” We also noticed that the Morrison design is one of the easiest tents to set up in reviews online.
Benefits of the Mountainsmith Ultralight Tent:
- 30 plus years of experience for this award-winning tent
- Trail weight of only 4 lbs, 11oz and measures 35 sq feet inside
- Perfect for 2 people with a peak height 43 inch
- 3 Season freestanding tent -includes 8 anchor points, and 2 cords for rough weather
- Rain fly
- Includes 2 doors and 2 vestibules- vestibules give you 17 sq feet of storage space
- Clip pole attachment for lighter weight. Color coded for fast setup
- Mesh pockets on the inside walls for storage
- Taped floor seams
- Comes with own stuff sack
Mountainsmith’s Commitment to Excellence
Mountainsmith was originally started in 1979 by the legendary outdoorsman, Patrick Smith. He wanted tough durable gear that could withstand backcountry pursuits in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He set about designing the first fully rigid backcountry ski’s sled, and then went on to design backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, pet products, trekking poles and more.
Mountainsmith has a strong commitment to designing and making the most durable and functional accessories on the outdoor market. When you buy a Mountainsmith product for your next adventure, whether it be red Rock Canyons, mountain valleys, far-off countries around the world, or your own backyard, you know you’re buying quality and durability.
Weight and Size…
With the trail weight of just slightly over 4 pounds and the size of 7.5’ x 16’ when packed you will barely notice that you are carrying it. A smaller footprint in your pack means you can include other important comfort items such as a comfortable camping pad….
With more than 35 square feet of interior space, plenty of light, and optimal ventilation from the large mesh wall panels, the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 person backpacking tent is roomy enough for 2.
Double Vestibule Adds 17 Sq Feet Of Storage Space…
The double vestibules give you convenient shelter space with an added 17 square feet of storage space to keep your things dry. Store your pack, damp clothes, walking boots or anything that gets wet or muddy during hiking overnight. There is also a canopy shelf which it is removable to store those small essential items such as your camping lantern etc. The double vestibule allows you to keep your “sleeping area” fully dry and clean.
Mesh Walls And Easy Setup…
The mesh walls reduce condensation and offer great breathability. Thanks to the clever color-coded buckle attachment of tent and fly, you’ll be able to set up camp very quickly as it’s very easy to set it up.
The Morrison is classic rectangular tent with the 7000 Series aluminum alloy Yunan poles which cross over at the top for a domed appearance. The height from floor to tent peak is 43 inch.And, in the unlikely event you forget how to set the Morrison up, the instructions are printed on the stuff sack – a nice detail, especially for first timers!
8 Anchor Points In Case Of Stormy Weather…
In case of high wind and rain, there are 8 anchor points to securely hold the tent down. The guy lines are reflective so you don’t trip over them at night. There are tension lock cord adjustments to tighten or loosen as needed.
The materials used make it highly durable even during strong wind and rain and the 5,000-milimeter-rated polyurethane coating floor protects you from water and makes the ground feel warmer… The actual tent is constructed from breathable 185T polyester and the rainfly is made from 185T polyester with a 2,000-millimeter-rated polyurethane coating to keep you dry.
Thanks to reflective parts, it’s easy to pitch even when it’s already dark.
Basic Specs Again:
- Size & Floor Dimensions: 2 Person tent, 56” x 92”
- Weight & Dimensions (Packed): 4lb 11oz; 18” x 7.5”
- Weather Range: 3-season, waterproof thanks to durable rainfly and fully taped floor
- Tent Style: Freestanding tent with 7000 series aluminum alloy poles
Although it’s slightly more expensive than some of the choices on the list, it can still be considered a “friendly-priced” one, especially considering it’s quality.
2) Eureka! Solitaire 1 Person Tent
The Eureka! Solitaire is next on the list of our 5 best ultralight tents for backpacking. It’s perfect for those who enjoy traveling alone and are looking for an ultralight, durable and safe place to sleep tent. This bivy-style tent is best ultralight 1 person tent long enough to fit even the tallest person for a comfort sleep.
While it might get quickly become crowded if you bring too many things into it, if you are an individual who only has in sleeping mind, this comfortable, light and incredibly easy to set up tent will be the best solution for your needs.
Benefits of the Eureka! Solitaire Ultralight Tent:
- Perfect for solo trekking
- 2 hoop bivy tunnel design is exceptionally compact
- Excellent ventilation with large meshed roof is zippered to let you star gaze
- 6.3 millimetre fibreglass frame is shock corded for fast set up
- 2 storage pockets
- Weighs 2 pounds, 9 ounces
- Size & Floor Dimensions: 1 Person tent, 8’ x 2’8”
- Weight & Dimensions (Packed): 3lb 4oz; 17.5” x 4
- Weather Range: 3-season, with a 70D nylon taffeta floor and rainfly
- Tent Style: Freestanding tent with fiberglass shock-corded frame
Eureka! Making Camping Gear Since Before 1895
The Eureka! Solitaire is lightest, most compact 3 season tent made by Eureka. This company has been making camping products for more than 100 years, since before 1895 in Binghampton, NY,and they proudly say their products are designed from lifetime of use, providing the maximum comfort you need to enjoy life outdoors.
Their tents have even been used to conquer Mt Everest and sheltered Eric Simonson and his team in their historic research expeditions on this great mountain. They were attempting to find the truth of the attempted summit expedition in 1924 of the early English explorers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine and what happened… In 2004, the world famous adventurer Pasquale Scaturro traveled 3060 miles in four months as they traveled the entire length of the blue Nile using Eureka! products. You can see the details of their trip in this
Tiny Footprint Once Packed
The best ultralight 1 person tent is so small once it’s packed that you will quickly forget you are even carrying it. It’s also one of the best-ventilated tents thanks to meshed walls (as long as you don’t use the rainfly) – so if you don’t mind the lack of privacy, sleeping in it during a warm night somewhere on the trail watching for shooting stars is a fun experience.
3) ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent
The Alps Mountain Lynx is another great best ultralight 1 person tent for solo backpackers who enjoy the convenience of traveling on their own and sleeping anywhere they want.
About Alps Mountain and Dennis Brune
Alps Mountain make a phenomenal range of camping gear to cover every situation could possibly think of from, sleeping bags, tents, knives, rain wear, sleeping pads, trekking poles and loads more. They have an excellent reputation in producing top-quality products at prices that will not bust your wallet!
Dennis Brune has been working in the outdoor industry since 1978 in a variety of sales and marketing as well design positions in the outdoor gear area. He started Alps Mountain in rural east central Missouri because he wanted to offer performance oriented outdoor gear. His mission has succeeded.
Benefits of the Alps Mountain Lynx Ultralight Hiking Tent:
- Large half mesh walls for the best ventilation
- Dome style rectangular hiking tent
- 10 clips onto two crossover 7000 Series Aluminum Poles
- 1 vestibules for storing your extra gear
- 8 Extra large zippers
- Size & Floor Dimensions: 1 Person tent, 7’6” x 2’8”
- Weight (Packed): 3lb 15oz
- Weather Range: 3.5-season, with a 75D poly taffeta floor and weatherproof rainfly
Plenty Of Ventilation
This is best ultralight 1 person tent which comes with breathable mesh walls that are just like the one above which can be unzipped to use at night to watch the stars. When you are hiking in hot weather, it’s a definite bonus to be able to unzip the walls and let the breeze play across your body. This works only if you do have to set up the rainfly.
1 Door and 1 Vestibule…
The large size vestibule lets you store your pack, muddy shoes and other bits and pieces outside so you can keep the inside of your tent nice and clean.
The rainfly is extremely durable, and quality sealed. It buckles onto each corner and has adjustable tension straps which allow you to set it up quickly when needed, we move quickly when you’re breaking camp, and for fast adjustment.
Room Enough For 1 Person…
This really is a 1 person hiking tent. If you have a camping pad such as the Klymit, you’ll find it fits inside easily as the length of the Alps is 7′ 6″ long and 32 inches wide, so its long enough to suit the majority of people.
All the main fly and floor seams are factory sealed, and 2 fly vents can be opened or closed for adjustable ventilation.
Just like with the most quality solo tents, you will be able to set up the tent in 2 minutes as we mentioned. Thanks to the aluminum poles and strong stakes, it all forms a robust and durable frame which makes the tent very stable even during strong wind.
An Excellent Inexpensive Ultralight Hiking Tent Option…
If you’re looking for best ultralight 1 person tent that is stable and quick to set up, this one is your perfect choice – especially if you are traveling alone. It will fit inside anything you need and thanks to great mesh sidewalls, and provides an excellent ventilation for summer days and nights.
4) Mountain Trails Current Hiker 2 Person Tent
The Mountain Trails Current Hiker is the most affordable tent on my list. Although the price is low, that doesn’t mean it’s low-quality or that you shouldn’t get it.
In fact, this dome-style tent is an excellent choice for two people traveling on a budget, who value convenience and don’t need any extra features except for the low weight of the tent.
Benefits of the Mountain Trails Current Hiker:
- Compact and lightweight free standing dome style with carry weight of 3.5 pounds
- Measures long when packed 17.5” x 6”
- Large Dutch “D” style door for easy access
- 2 Polyester mesh windows with inside flaps which can open for airflow
- Welded polyethylene floor
- 2 Roof vents for increased air circulation
- Super easy to set up
- Lightweight shockcorded fiberglass frame
- Area: 6 feet. x 5 feet
Plenty of Ventilation
The large door, polyester mesh windows, and additional roof vents provide you with excellent ventilation, and durable fiberglass frame is enough to make a stable solution for camping even during strong wind.
Thanks to its low price and reasonable sized dimensions, many people consider it an unbeatable choice for a solo tent. If you sleep diagonally in it, you can store a lot of things inside and still have the comfort of space around you. It’s a good alternative to some of the one-person tents. Or, if you’re traveling as a family, you can consider this an extra tent for your kids.
Having said all that, remember, you get the quality of tent you pay for. There are others which are a better choice on our 5 best ultralight tents for backpacking list.
5) Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent
Even though the Swift-n-Snug tent is two-person, it is more lightweight at 2.64 lbs, it’s one of the lightest 2 person backpacking tents than some of the one-person options on the list. Perfect for those who value backpacking comfort when carrying the tent and the ease of setup.
Its near instant setup means it takes just a few short minutes to top it up which is definite bonus when you need to set up camp quickly. And vice versa of course!
This tent is designed in a great orange and grey or yellow and grey color which means you can’t possibly miss if you wander away from the camp site…. To collect firewood, or water….Its especially good to help kids keep the camp in sight.
Benefits of the Swift-n-Snug Tent:
- Available in 2 colors yellow or orange
- 3 Season freestanding tent comfortably fits two people and is roomy and wide
- Takes just 5 mins for fast set up
- Very durable polyester tent being made from heavy duty materials
- 190T Polyester – good for all weather travel
- 2 fiberglass poles
- Measures 6 feet 7 inches long and 5 feet wide
- Packed dimensions 22″ x 4.7″ x 3”
- Rainfly included
And when the weather gets hot, the ventilation system will provide you with just the right airflow, allowing fresh air inside and keeping the insects outside.
Definitely Fits Into Our 5 Best Ultralight Tents For Backpacking
Looking for a tent which you can drop in your backpack and forget about it? Swift-n-Snug is so light at 2.64 lbs, you will quickly forget you are even carrying it in your backpack. And when the time comes when you are tired and ready for sleep, the ease of fast setup will make it extremely quick to pitch.
Weanas® Waterproof Double Layer 3 Season Camping Tent
The Weanas® Waterproof Double Layer 3 Season Camping Tent, unlike most other ultralight tents, comes in different sizes and is suitable for two, three or four people. Even though the 3 and 4-person options are bigger than a typical ultralight backpacking tents for 2 person, they still don’t weight a lot.
Manufactured From Top Quality Materials…
It’s a little bit more expensive than most reviewed options but at the same time it’s also more durable – both the material and also are high quality and are capable of withstanding much higher pressure from wind or rain. One big advantage over many tents available on the market is the great design and variety of available colors that will suit even most demanding customers.
Benefits of the Weanas 3 Season Tent:
- Size: Comes in 3 variations – for 2, 3 and 4 people. Click here to check the exact measurements.
- Weight (Packed): 4.5lb (2 Person) 5lb (3 Person) 6.2lb (4 Person);
- Weather Range: 3-season made of durable 210T polyester cloth (inner tent) and 150D anti-tear Oxford cloth (floor)
- Tent Style: Freestanding tent with 2 high-quality aluminum poles
Available In 4 Colors and 3 Sizes
Looking for a slightly bigger option to travel with your family or friends? Look no further. In my opinion and, in the opinion of thousands of customers, this is one of the best ultralight tents that comes in different capacity options. The Weanas comes in 2, 3 or 4 person options and is available in green, blue, orange and azure.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
Are you a demanding backpacker looking for the highest quality and reliable gear that will never let you down no matter what conditions you will need to use it in?
The MSR Hubba Hubba is different from all other tents in this list – it’s aimed at those who want to maximize the space, and get the most durable, ultralight tent I can recommend. It’s the lightest 2 person backpacking tent on our list.
Color Coded Setup…
Thanks to color-coded poles and hubs, the setup is very intuitive and unique frame configuration allows you to fit even more comfortably in it, leaving more space for your head and elbows. The large doors protect the insides from water dripping in when opened and quality vents provide the interior with just the right airflow.
Benefits of the MSR Hubba Hubba:
- Size & Floor Dimensions: 2 Person tent, 84” x 50”
- Weight & Dimensions (Packed): 2lb 2 oz. (fast & light option) 3lb 7oz. (standard); 17.5” x 4”
- Weather Range: 3-season, with a 20-denier ripstop nylon and 15-denier nylon mesh
- Tent Style: Freestanding tent with DAC aluminum 9.3 millimeter poles
5 Star Reviews
If you are a professional backpacker who understands how important is the reliability of your equipment, and you’re looking for a true freestanding tent that you can set up on any ground in minutes, you can’t miss the Hubba Hubba. It’s a little bit pricey but the investment quickly pays off and you will thank yourself later for the comfortable sleeping spot any time you travel.
What to Look at When Choosing a Quality Ultralight Tent?
There are many different things to consider when buying a backpacking ultralight tent. Of course, some things will have more importance to you than others. It all depends on your hiking style and you are going to use the tent. Below are a few of essentials every backpacker should look at:
Season / Weather Rating – the first thing you can start with is the season rating, which has been already mentioned above. Don’t go for anything below “3” (on a five-point scale) as its better to invest in a tent that will be (almost) year-round. You want a tent that will withstand even the most adverse rain and wind conditions.
You don’t have to buy a tent with the score of 4 and 5 unless you’re going to camp in the winter (keep in mind that you will not find any ultralight solutions for that).
Materials used – You don’t want a cheap tent that will get wet as soon as there is a little rain, or which tears during a heavy wind. Look for tents made of nylon taffeta with a density of “70D+,” ripstop nylon or 185T – 190T polyester.
Of course, the type of material will differ, depending on the price of your chosen tent. Make sure that it’s waterproof though, as you don’t want to pack yourself into a car just because it’s raining outside.
Size – Another important thing to consider is the number of people that you usually hike with. Tents come in capacities of one, two, three or four people. Remember that any extra person and any additional walls or poles increase the weight of the tent.
The best ultralight 1 person tents are just that, 1 person only. Most ultralight backpacking tents are 2 person sized. This is useful as you can fit 2 people, or plenty of room for all your gear if you are heading out for an extended hike….
Almost all of the tents are for one or two people only, as this are the most common choices made by backpackers.
Style – My favorite style of tent, which I’m reviewing in this guide are the freestanding tents. They are easy to pitch as all you need are the set of free standing poles that comes with them. Meaning you can set up almost anywhere.
Another type of tent is the non-freestanding tent. To get them pitched, you usually need guy lines. They are even more lightweight, but there’s more work and experience involved in pitching them.
Durability – Although ultralight weight tents are not as durable as standard tents, that doesn’t mean they will not last for years if taken care of. Of course, the cheapest ones may not survive even one camping trip….
The better quality range of tents will shelter you against even the most adverse weather conditions. They will continue to serve you for years to come, no matter how often you use them. Provided you care for them properly of course
Rainfly – Check whether the tent comes with a durable and quality waterproof cover which is designed to fit over the roof of your tent. Some of the tents are pre-made of waterproof material, but others are made of breathable materials which may not be as waterproof as a good rainfly. If the rainfly is capable of covering your whole tent, it gives you even more protection from adverse weather conditions.
Price & Brand – everyone wants the best bang for their buck. Luckily, if you know where to look (hint: check my review of tents above), you can save a lot of money and get buy ultralight quality tents online. The price of your typical ultralight backpacking tents for 2 person varies.
You can get a tent for as little as 20 bucks, but if you want something a little bit better with more durability and breathable material, the price can go into a few hundred for the best lightest and durable options. As you will see in the tents I reviewed, the prices of the best models in their price range are set between $20 – $300. The most popular brands include MSR, Weanas, Mountainsmith, Eureka! And Alps Mountaineering.
5 Best Ultralight Tents For Backpacking
If you still haven’t decided on your favorite tent quite yet, go to the individual websites of each of them and read the comments of other users. You will get an even better understanding of the benefits of what each brand name and design can provide you with. Of course, if you have an open budget there’s no other choice than the Morrion MountainSmith or, the Hubba Hubba – but if you are getting one for the first time or you’re looking for something more affordable, there’s a tent out there waiting for just about any customer…. These choices of the 5 best ultralight tents for backpacking are currently the most popular and I will be updating as they change.