The best tent for backpacking should be lightweight, easy to set up and tough enough to handle any expected weather conditions. Fortunately, tent designs have come a long way in the last few years with weights dropping and fabric strength increasing.
If you’re looking to start your next trailblazing adventure and need a tent then we’ve got the selection for you. With so many options out there we’ve carefully researched each tent to come up with this list to make your buying decision as easy as possible. While many of these are reviewed as 2-person tents most of them are available in three or four person options.
Top #6 – Kelty Grand Mesa 2
For beginner hikers who only head out once or twice a year the Grand Mesa is a great starting point. Weighing in at 4.5 pounds this is far from the lightest backpacking tent but it is good value, for lighter tents, you can expect to pay 2 or 3 times the price you would with this.
It’s a dome tent, meaning it has a low profile which is good if you’re expecting a lot of wind. A see-through mesh allows you to look out at the stars on a clear night. Set up is very quick and it comes with plenty of pockets for storage. Overall this is a comfortable and long lasting tent but loses points for its weight.
Top #5 – Chillbo Cabbins 2 Person Tent
This 2-3-person tent stores compactly in any medium sized backpack and can be set up in no time with ease. Two D-style doors allow for plenty of ventilation and easy exit and entry. A cross-wound fiberglass frame requires no tools for setup.
No-See-Um mesh protects you from insects while still allowing you to see the great outdoors. When you need to pack up and leave it folds up just as easily making it easy to quickly set up and leave at a moment’s notice.
This is a highly affordable and easy to set up tent but with a weight of 8.5 pounds it may be a bit much for solo trekkers.
Top #4 – ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2-Person Tent
ALPS Mountaineering has come out with an upgrade on the basic model 1 which comes with some new features. Weighing 5 pounds 13 ounces, the Alps Lynx 2 can easily accommodate two people with all their gear.
It has two doors for entry and exit and is highly durable thanks to a Polly Taffeta and 1500mm multi-pass urethane coating which means little to no leakage occurs no matter how heavy the rain is. It comes with high-grade aluminum poles that can be set up or packed down in only 5min.
This is a great two-person tent that will stand up to moderate weather conditions and provide all the basics you’ll need on a hiking trip.
Top #3 – Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
With a watertight construction, 35 square feet of interior space and dual doors, the Mountainsmith Morrison is a great option for budget friendly tents. Weighing 5lbs 9oz when packed and 4lbs 12oz when set up this may weight a bit when going solo but distributed between two people makes a great tent for a weekend trip.
An integrated rain-fly provides the protection needed during a rainstorm while high-quality aluminum poles keep it in place despite what motor nature throws at you. Being 3-season tent you’ll get a lot of use out of this tent, whether it be spring, summer or fall.
Top #2 – WEANAS Professional Backpacking Tent 2 3 4 Person 3 Season
For family campers, this is a great option for a weekend trip. Coming in three different sizes, this tent provides all the basics needed for a short trip, whether it be in spring, summer or fall. Two closable ventilation skylights provide plenty of ventilation which is even better when the two-way zipper door is folded up during the day.
The poles are made of lightweight aluminum allowing for easy set-up and fold-up. a waterproof index 0f 4000mm ensures it can hold up against most conditions. As a 4-person tent, many found it cramped and storage space also lacking but for the price you pay this is probably the best 4-person tent on the market.
Top #1 – Sundome 2 Person Tent
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If you’re on a low budget and in need of a decent tent that can take some rainfall then Sundome 2 has got you covered. A big benefit of this tent is that it’s freestanding, making it very easy and quick to set up when needed.
You’ll be hard pressed to find another tent for under $100 that provides the same level of water protection as this. The external guy lines are well made allowing it to stand up in heavy winds and take a lot of rainfall.
Its best feature is the ventilation, even with the rainfly on you still get great airflow thanks to the mesh roof.
Space will be tight for two people but for a backyard campout or solo weekend trip it should suffice.
Deciding on the best tent is very much a personal choice at the end of the day. No matter what choice you go for make sure it is based on your own personal needs.
If you’re not planning on going into extreme conditions for weeks on end then the more weather resistant tents can be given a pass.
The important thing is to not let price dictate your choice too much. We all love a good bargain but just because something is pricey doesn’t mean it’s the best for you.