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Best Backpacking Tent

Best Backpacking Tent

A tent, is a tent, is a tent, right?

Actually, No!

Backpacking tents differ in so many ways from their ancient counterparts (the ones used by families for vacations anyway). Finding the right tent for backpacking is quintessential if you plan on having a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable trip out in the backcountry.

The problem is that there are literally thousands of amazing backpacking tents on the market, so where do you start? Which one do you opt for?

Luckily that’s where this guide comes in. we’ve researched and tried out much more than our fair share of tents and tarps, and can safely say that we’ve narrowed the masses down to a list loaded with the best of the best.

Sit back, read up, and enjoy this read. It’s going to help you make the best purchase, which essentially will lead to many happy, comfy, and dry backpacking trips!

How to Avoid a Tent Trap

Before we show you the good stuff, it’s pretty important that we share a little tent considerations with you. Here’s what you definitely want to keep in mind before you go ahead and just buy any old backpacking tent:

Your Budget - this is one of the most important factors. Rookies shouldn’t be busting the budget just to get their hands on great quality, there are a lot of great tents on the market that fall under the budget class, you just need to know what to look for. If you’ve been camping for a while and plan to do much more of it in the future, go ahead and spoil yourself a little!

Tent Weight - pack weight needs to be as low as possible, because it might not seem like an issue at the moment, but a few extra ounces start feeling like a mountain of strain when you’re out in the backcountry during a hot summer’s day or a blizzard. Hiking and backpacking tents HAVE to be lightweight; otherwise they’re just defeating the objective.

Weatherproofing - we’re not pointing this out to remind you about how useless a tent is that doesn’t protect you against wind and rain; we’re highlighting it because it can mean the difference between a great trip and a dangerous encounter with the forces of nature. Don’t skimp too much when making a pick, make sure you’re picking something that’s going to keep you warm, dry, and safe.

Setup - you’ll have to determine whether you’re looking at investing in a freestanding tent or a non-freestanding tent. Freestanding units boast quick setups and they can also be pitched almost anywhere. Non-freestanding tents on the other hand have to be set up with guy lines, stakes and trekking poles, but they’re usually lighter than their freestanding counterparts since they don’t have lengthy tent poles.

Durability - sadly, most lightweight tents aren’t as durable as heavy-duty backpacking tents. Luckily most lightweight tents will last a few seasons if you’re not too heavy and abusive with your gear. Investing in a lightweight backpacking tent is one of your best options for backpacking, and as long as you’re taking good care of your gear, it’ll travel thousands of trekking miles with you.

Best Backpacking Tent

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite picks for backpacking tents that the 2016 market has on offer…

Hilleberg Anjan 2 Person Tent

Weight - 3 pounds, 14.5 ounces

Dimensions - 52 x 87 x 40 inches

Best Features -

  • Super light
  • 3-season
  • Superb airflow with its 3-season construction
Hilleberg Anjan GT 2 Person Tent

Why This Tent?

We love the perfect balance between weight and weather resistance that the Hilleberg Anjan 2 brings to the table. It also offers amazing comfort for backpackers camping out, and it’s the leader in its class when it comes to strength and durability. We firmly believe that this tent in worth every single cent of its price tag, and when it’s taken care of, it could easily last you a lifetime. The Anjan is the perfect tent for 3-season camping and can easily be used for multi-day trips.

Heads Up:

If you’re prepared to fork out some moo-lah for a backpacking tent, the Hilleberg Anjan 2 is one of your best options, but unfortunately this tent will not fit everybody’s budget.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Weight - 3 pounds

Dimensions - 86 inches x 52 inches x 42 inches

Best Features

  • 3-season
  • Sleeps 2 people
  • Double-wall construction
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Why This Tent?

For a double-wall construction tent, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HC UL2 is the lightest semi-freestanding tent in its class. It offers great convenience and living space for one person. If you’re looking for the durability of a double-wall tent and need a light pack weight, but would like to have extra space in case you need to squeeze another camper in there, this is the perfect fit.

Heads Up:

Although it’s rated as a 2-person tent, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is actually only suitable for 1 person.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Weight - 2 pounds 12 ounces

Dimensions - 90 inches x 52 inches x 42 inches

Best Features

  • Sleeps 2 people
  • 3-season
  • Double-wall construction
  • 2 doors
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Why This Tent?

For a perfect balance between space, ease of use, functionality and weight, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is an excellent choice. We love just about everything that this tent brings to the table, and as far as 2-person backpacking tents go, this is one of our very best picks.

Heads Up:

Two regular sized backpackers will sleep comfortably in the Big Agnes Copper, but it might not be the ideal fit for two bigger folks to camp out in.

Nemo Hornet 2P

Weight - 2 pounds

Dimensions - 85 inches x 51 inches x 43 inches

Best Features-

  • 3-season
  • Double-wall construction
  • 2 doors
  • Semi-freestanding
Nemo Hornet 2P

Why This Tent?

Coming in at a mere 2 pounds pack weight, the Nemo Hornet 2P is ultralight and offers all the durability that you’d expect from a double-wall construction tent. It has slanted walls just like the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2, which actually classifies it as 1-person tent since interior space is limited for two people. With its two doors and two vestibules, it is very convenient and easy to use. The Nemo Hornet’s most attractive features has to be its light weight and the fact that its super easy to set up, making it a perfect pick for backpackers that want to keep pack weight down and pitch a shelter in a short amount of time.

Heads Up:

The Nemo Hornet 2P is marketed as a 2-person tent, but it’s actually only suitable for one person.

Mrs. Hubba Hubba NX

Weight - 3 pounds, 7 ounces

Dimensions- 84 inches x 50 inches

Best Features-

  • Double-wall construction
  • 3-season
  • 2 doors
  • Freestanding design
MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Why This Tent?

A lot of ultralight backpackers have been praising the Mrs. Hubba Hubba NX for a while now, and it’s obvious why. With its nearly vertical side and end walls, this tent offers a LOT of interior space. It also has a rectangular floor and symmetrical shape, providing campers with more than enough sleeping space on opposite ends of the tent. The Hubba Hubba has kickstand vents to help improve airflow inside of the tent, and for added convenience, it also has interior gear pockets.

Heads Up:

This isn’t the lightest of the backpacking tents on this list, but if you’re willing to sacrifice a little weight for more convenience, this tent might just be your cuppa.

The Wrap Up

We’ve tried our best to keep this guide as informative and useful as possible, and really hope that you’re now armed with everything you need to know in order to make a tent purchase that’ll prove worth its weight in gold.

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About the author

Joey Shonka

Joey Shonka is a mountaineer and adventurer who has spent more than a decade traveling in Latin America. Throughout his pursuit of isolated peaks, remote beaches and spectacular reefs, he has come to know and love the diverse cultures and kind people of these countries. Shonka is a professional biochemist, a former Division 1 rugby player, one of few individuals to complete the Triple Crown of Trails in North America, and has recently finished a 3-year solo trek across the entire Andes Mountain Range during which time he successfully climbed many of the highest peaks in the Americas. More About Joey

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