Whether you are hiking or camping, the best lightweight backpacking tent is not only an essential piece of your traveling gear, it serves a greater purpose. In essence, as much as a tent will allow you to get up close and personal with nature, it actually is intended to be your home away from home.
Your shelter from the elements. Your protected space to sleep in your TETON Sports ultralight sleeping bag and live while out in the wilderness or in a campground.
Whats The Difference Between Hiking & Camping Tents?
There is a very distinct difference between lightweight tents for backpacking and hiking to camping tents. A camping tent can be very large, some styles include corridors where multiple ‘rooms’ are connected and take up a large footprint. These family camping tents allow for longer time spent living in them and can accommodate large groups of people.
The best lightweight backpacking tent is typically much lighter in weight and smaller in size as you would normally be carrying it with your in a backpack.
The other lightweight hiking tents are ultralight tents which compress right down when packed and are the lightest of all the hiking tents
The Top 7 Best Lightweight Backpacking Tents
Here are our choices for the top 7 lightweight tents for backpacking in the marketplace today. We looked at styles, size, weight, manufacturer and durability when we put this list together. It is your best guide to finding the perfect hiking tent!
1). Coleman Hooligan Tent
The dome design of the Coleman Hooligan tent means it can be set up in 10-minutes as is uses snag-free, continuous poles sleeves. The interior is described as ‘spacious’ and welded floors and inverted seams used as part of the WeatherTec system keep water out.
Fully Covered Vestibule & Rain Fly
Entry is dry with a fully-covered vestibule which doubles to provide wind protection at the entrance. A complete rain fly offers additional weather protection and a full-mesh inner tent allows for ventilation.
The Coleman Hooligan is available as a 2, 3 or 4 person tent and has a footprint that measures 9-feet by 7-feet with a centre height of 4-feet, 10-inches. Enough room to fit your favorite inflatable camping pad for that extra degree of comfort…The manufacturer has added a one-year limited warranty to this product. Coleman make many of the most popular lightweight tents for backpacking.
2). Eureka! Solitaire – Tent
One of the top rated backpacking tents, the Eureka! Solitaire – Tent is a unique two hoop bivy-style of a 1 person hiking tent. The Eureka! is quick to set up with a shock corded 6.3-millimetre fiberglass frame. The pole pockets are on one end with rings and pins on the other which aid in speeding up the set up with nylon pole sleeves adding stability to the frame.
The fly features three storm guys and the footprint measures 21.33 square feet with a centre height of 28-inches. The roof cloth has a zipper for easy access and the roof has a full coverage fly in addition to being made of mesh to provide superior ventilation. There are two storage pockets and a flashlight loop. The tent weighs just 2-pounds, 9-ounces.
3). Stansport Starlite II Mesh Backpack Tent
This Stansport “Black Granite” Star-Light Tent with Rainfly is one of the lightest 2 person tents for backpacking/camping tent and is made from 190T polyester and includes a rain fly. The size of this tent is 41.25-square feet making it large enough to sleep two adults comfortably. Take your compressible sleeping bag, inflatable camping mat and camping pillow and emerge ready to tackle the day on the trail.
The set up is easy as the design employs two shock-corded fiberglass poles and features a 2,000-millimetre PU coated polyester floor. The tent weighs in at 5-pounds, 6-ounces and will pack down to the size of 13-inches by 5-inches. The manufacturer has included a one-year warranty.
4). Slumberjack Lightweight 2 Person Tent
The polyester Slumberjack lightweight 2 person tent is free-standing, two-person trail tent has a full coverage rain fly and vestibule. It is extremely easy to set up as it has a colour-coded clip construction and a side release buckle, ten-fly connection construction.
The sturdy fiberglass poles add stability and the 75D polyester 1,200-millimetre construction includes taped seams, complete ventilation with mesh wall panels and zipper pulls that are silent. Using a ridge pole design, this tent has maximum interior floor space that measures 33.3-square feet.
There are also storage pockets. The tent weighs 6-pounds, 5-ounces and packs down to a size of 6-inches by 20-inches.
5). Mountain Trails Current Hiker Lightweight 2 Person Tent
Mountain Trails Current Hiker Lightweight 2 Person Tent features a large Dutch D style door, with a pair of polyester mesh windows, this is one of the most popular recommended lightweight tents for backpacking which is perfect for camping or hiking. The floor is welded polyethylene with inside binding.
There are two polyester mesh roof vents to provide increased air circulation and weighs in at just 3.5-pounds. Utilizing a stow-n-go system, this tent has a duffel set up, take down and storage capability that reduces a lot of work and time each time it gets used.
6). Weanas® Waterproof Double Layer 2, 3, 4 Person 3 Season Aluminum Rod Double Skylight Outdoor Camping Tent
Weanas Waterproof Double Layer Tent is available as a 2, 3, 4 person and it’s one of the lightest 2 person tents. The Weanas is made from tough durable waterproof polyester with an index of over 4000mm. The special UV coating is SPF proof to prevent it breaking down over time.
The 3 season tent in 5 different colors features a design where the door can be opened either from the inside or outside. The window uses a brace type design and two closeable skylight vents are built into the tent top for a double skylight. Completely waterproof and tested to an index measurement of over 4,000-millimetres and also wind proof thanks to the tent skeleton and tent nails.
A special UV coating also makes the tent SPF proof. The high-strength aluminum poles make set up easy enough for one person although it is large enough to accommodate two to four. This is rated as a three season tent and has great ventilation using breathable nylon walls.
7). ALPS Mountaineering Taurus Lightweight 2-Person Tent with Fiber Glass
Using ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent , a free-standing two pole system with fibreglass poles, this lightweight polyester tent is easy to set up. It uses pole clips that snap quickly into place over the tent poles. A pair of vestibules allows for storage of extra supplies and provides additional protection from the elements.
There are also weatherproof fly buckles which allow for extra adjustability and protection. Add to this the vents in the mesh roof for added ventilation and you have yourself a great tent.
The 75D 185T poly fly has UV protection and additional weather protection comes from the sealed fly and floor seams. The taffeta floor has 2,000-millimetre coating and there are two different entrances with extra large #8 zippers.
Things To Consider When Shopping For A Hiking Tent
1 – Keep It Lightweight
The term lightweight means just that – the best lightweight backpacking tent you will be carrying on your back has got to be light. The difference between a pound and two pounds can be crucial when you are attempting to keep the overall weight of your load at a minimum.
The point to keep in mind here is that the weight of your tent will have an effect on the quality of it as well. The lighter the tent, the smaller it will be and it will not be as strong as a heavier one. If you take care of it, you should get to enjoy using it on many, many hiking trips. Here are 27 Tips on Trail Etiquette to make the most of your trip.
2 – Impact On The Wallet
While the amount you are prepared to spend on a top rated backpacking tent rests with your personal budget, you will want to stay away from the cheapest ones you find. The reason being that if you purchase the least expensive tent you will end up with precisely what you pay for.
A rip or tear in the fabric on your first use or some other problem will cost you more when you end up replacing it for your next trip into the woods. Spend what you can, but aim for quality so you will have something to use for many trips.
3 – Ummm, Does This Protect Me At All?
Since you will be using your hiking tent in the wilderness mostly, you need to find one that offers protection from the elements. If you don’t, you risk illness and much more if, by chance, you end up in a storm or bed down and the weather goes south overnight.
You will need a tent that is at the very least waterproof and strong enough to keep you from getting wet and cold. This is where you will want to once again steer clear from budget priced tents as they just won’t have the strength to keep you protected from whatever Mother Nature tosses at you during your outdoor adventure. Yes, those top rated backpacking tents may cost more, the long term benefits for you far outweigh the initial outlay
4 – Room With A View
Okay, remember, a hiking tent is not intended for entertaining a lot of other people, so the amount of interior space one has should be minimal. This will help keep the lightweight part in play.
Different designs offer various amounts of space on the inside, such as those with vertical walls, but unless you plan on doing a lot more than just sleeping in yours, keep the size of your tent to just what you will require.
5 – Pass On Fancy Designs
The simpler the design of your hiking tent, the longer it should last. A really nifty extra feature could result in wrecking the rest of the tent especially if the extra is not meant to enhance function.
Headroom, multiple doors and ventilation air holes cannot be ‘short-cut’ and without these, your camping experience will suffer. Pass on the fancy touches and focus on what you need to stay comfortable and warm.
6 – ‘Tis The Season
The season rating for best lightweight backpacking tents for hiking is crucial. Your smartest choice is to spend time looking at and money invested towards those identified as 3 Season tents.
The construction of these kinds of tents means they can be used during spring, summer and fall because they will protect you from the kinds of weather you will encounter between April and October.
7 – A Bit O’ Elbow Room
Here’s a valuable tip: lean your preference towards two-person tents. Yes, they will be larger and heavier than a one-person tent but even if you are hiking on your own, a two-person tent will give you some extra room. They also offer enough space when hiking with a friend. Larger tents are great for group trips, but you won’t want to be the person chosen to pack that one in or out of the campsite. Here are the vital accessories you need to take when car camping for the ultimate in enjoyment.
8 – Settin’ Them Up!
The way in which a tent is designed to be put up says a lot about how you may want to use it. For example, the best lightweight backpacking tents are freestanding tents. They are much easier to set up and they take far less time to take down. This is because they are designed with a fixed pole system.
Tents that are not free-standing use trekking poles and stakes as part of the set up design. They are lightweight as they do not include tent poles. Either choice is fine, but will depend on your specific tenting activities.
9 – Up Against The Wall!
This is a personal choice item as wall construction comes in one of two designs – double-wall or single wall. A double wall tent has a tent body and a rain fly outer body. The inner tent mesh wall creates a barrier from condensation that may form on the inside of the rain fly. A single wall tent is lighter and combines the two layers making for stronger tent walls and with air vents, condensation is reduced.
10 – Footprint Or No Footprint
A footprint is used to provide a touch of durability for the part of your tent that sits on the ground. If you are looking to keep the weight of your backpack down, passing on loading up a footprint is a good idea. Depending on the type of surface your tent ends up on for the night, and your sleeping bag, you may discover you won’t need a footprint on any of your hiking trips.
Final Thoughts On Buying The Best Lightweight Backpacking Tent
The perfect tent for your specific hiking/camping trips will be a personal choice. However, you will need to keep the above-noted points in mind. What you may sacrifice in weight, will impact size and what you choose in material may affect weight and size.
There is a delicate balance that only comes from regular camping experience. In other words, when you see the perfect tent for your adventures – you will know it. Hopefully our buying guide has taken away some of the mystery behind tent features and helps you to better find the best lightweight backpacking tent for your outdoor adventures….
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Here are some more sites with tips on how to choose the best lightweight tents for your hiking trip:
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