Are you planning to go backpacking? This outdoor activity became very popular also because of the hippie trails of the 60s and 70s. It is a #1 activity among people who want to explore the unseen with a backpack on their backs. What is the most important equipment when going on an outdoor adventure? It is definitely a shelter.
Backpacking tents are a must when going on the trails. It is crucial that it is lightweight as you will carry it on your back for the whole time. The ideal weight of a two-person unit for exploring should be less than 6 pounds. There are also other factors when choosing this type of tent. It should be compact, breathable and fit perfectly in a backpack.
If you want to have a good shelter that won’t burden your back too much, consider buying high-quality backpacking units that I recommend in the table. Look at their features. Each of them has its own pros and cons so you decide which fits you best.
Best Backpacking Tents in 2020
Which is the best backpacking tent?
When choosing it you should consider the next features, its size, seasonality, weight, durability, and livability.
Are you going on the trails alone or will someone who will make you company? Consider the number of tent users and choose one that will be big enough for resting and storing your gear.
Seasonality is very important for your safety, protection and feeling good. Most of these come with a 3-season label which means that you will able to use it most of the year, except for the winter.
Their main feature is a mesh material that is used for breathability in warm days. They are lighter compared to the all-year tents precisely because of a lot of mesh. There are also 4-season ones that provide protection from the snow and winds and have more waterproof material and features for element protection.
Its weight depends on the size and material. The bigger is the model the more it will weight. All-year units have more material and weigh more than 3 season ones.
What about durability? All-weather tents are more durable because they have more material to protect from the precipitation and strong winds. Also, the mesh fabric on a 3-season one can be torn apart faster than a strong polyester or nylon fabric.
Don’t forget about livability that will determine your comfort and enjoyment in the tent itself. How many doors and windows does it has? Does it has internal pockets to organize your items? Is it big enough for you and your partner to turn around?
These are just some of the main features to look at when choosing your unit. Now let’s take a look at the ones that are on the top of the backpacking tents in 2020.
MSR Hubba Hubba nx 2 person backpacking tent
- 3-season, 2-person backpacking tent that offers the most livable accommodations in a lightweight...
- Pole geometry maximizes space with 29 sq. feet of floor area, interior peak height of 39 inches,...
- Complete setup weighs 3. 9 lbs. and packs down to 18x6 inches; minimalist setup option uses...
- Includes DuraShield Coating and DAC Featherlike NFL poles
- Includes tent, one unified hub-and-pole system, rainfly, stakes, and guy lines; footprint sold...
The first one on the list is one of the most adaptable units you can find. It is a 3 season model that can accommodate 2 people.
This freestanding tent has 29 square feet floor and 39 inches of center height. Unified hub-and-pole system and color-coded clips enable an easy setup. Its vestibules provide 17.5 square feet of extra space for storing your gears.
The model is made of 20-denier ripstop nylon and 15-denier nylon mesh. It has DuraShield Coating and DAC Featherlite NFL poles for rain and wind protection. This one is one of the lightest since it weighs 3.5 pounds when pitched so I am sure you will like it as a backpacker.
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent
- Two door / Two vestibule layout
- Two person layout
- Three season, fre standing tent
- Tent fly ventilation windows
- Bathtub floor construction
This freestanding 3 season unit can accommodate 2 people. It is made of breathable 185T polyester. The floor material is 190T polyester with a polyurethane coating of 5.000mm. It has a rainfly that is made of 185T polyester with a 2.000mm polyurethane coating.
The model has an aluminum V-stakes that stabilize it no matter how harsh the weather is. It has a tent fly with adjustable ventilation windows. You will like the reflective guy lines that have tension lock cord adjustment which improves performance and durability during bad weather.
It has 35 square feet of interior space and weighs 4lbs and 12oz. It is easy to set up, has dual vestibules and doors. The mesh storage pockets and ceiling loft pocket enable that your gears remain organized and easily accessible. You can easily separate it into two parts for privacy.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 Person Tent
- There's no assembly frustration with our Lynx tent Series; This free-standing, aluminum two-pole...
- Polyester tent fly resists water and UV damage while adding one vestibule for extra storage space
- Fully equipped with #8 zippers, storage pockets, gear loft, stakes, guy ropes and one doorway
- The Alps Mountaineering Lynx tent is on our best sellers list; it’s a must-have for your next...
- Base size: 2'8 x 7'6, center height: 36", total weight: 4 lbs. 1 oz. , minimum Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz....
This freestanding 2-pole tent design is for solo adventurers. It is made of mesh and water-resistant fabric with taped-up seams. D-shaped side door is made of mesh and rolls out if you want to keep it open.
This ALPS model has an additional 10 square feet vestibule that has a storm flap and a zipper that comes with Velcro tabs. It has a water-resistant polyester fly that also protects from UV. The unit comes with aluminum poles.
Walls are mostly made of mesh that helps improve ventilation. It has 75D 185T Polly Taffeta floor with 2000mm coating that will keep you dry when the weather gets bad.
Eureka! Apex 2XT 2 Person Tent
- Eureka!'s versatile three-season tent assembles easily, with a freestanding fiberglass frame...
- Durable waterproof fabric, a bathtub floor with sealed floor seams, and a full coverage fly provide...
- Two opposing, extra-large, D-shaped doors provide easy access to the interior from either side.
- Keep gear organized with the interior side and corner pockets; includes a polyester footprint to...
- Sleeps two people; measures 7 feet 4 inches by 4 feet 4 inches (floor) and 3 feet 7 inches tall at...
This freestanding 3 season tent is appropriate for 2 people. It weighs 6lbs 6 oz. and has 3 feet and 7 inches of center hight. Its fly and floor are made of 75D nylon. It features fiberglass poles.
If you love stargazing, then you will love its setup. It has waterproofed walls with a mesh that will keep you comfortable during hot temperatures. This Apex model has a factory-seamed, bathtub floor.
It comes with a clothesline and a flashlight loop, 2 doors and windows, pole, and twin track zippers. Two mesh gear pockets are perfect for storing your belongings.
Coleman Hooligan 2 person camping dome tent
This is one of the best backpacking tents for rain that is non-freestanding and can occupy up to 2 people. It features a fully coated polyester fly, the sealed fly seems and a rugged 1000D polyethylene floor. Its welded seams offer leakage protection.
Setup is quick due to a single pole and pin-and-ring system. Mesh and zippered back vent take care of ventilation. The frame is made of Shock-corded fiberglass. This model weighs 7lbs and 3 oz.
The rain fly is full coverage but isn’t the easiest to assemble. It has a little front vestibule that offers storage space for your gear. The mesh is good for ventilation and watching the stars at night.
How to choose a backpacking tent?
I already mentioned what it is, however, I have some other tips on how to choose your tent for the trails and what to consider when buying it.
If you plan to explore in a place known for its wet climate, make sure to pick a model that has a vestibule that will protect your gear from the rain and morning dew.
This tent type mostly comes equipped with 1-3 poles. As I have already mentioned that the perfect backpacking unit is always light in weight, it is obvious that it is better to have fewer poles because they are usually the bulkiest part of a tent.
Freestanding units are more flexible compared to the non-freestanding ones and are easier to pitch and move.
Aluminum tent poles
It can have aluminum or fiberglass poles. Aluminum poles are lighter and stronger compared to the fiberglass. They are sturdy enough to last for years while fiberglass can easily break.
They don’t break even when extreme pressure is applied. You’ll actually need to put in a serious effort to break them.
Fiberglass tent poles
Fiberglass tent poles are cheaper than aluminum and can crack easily if they are exposed to pressure. They will not corrode. These poles aren’t appropriate for frequent backpackers and campers since they aren’t so durable as aluminum poles.
If you are going camping in summer, opt for a model with mesh walls. They will provide air circulation and protect you from bugs. However, if going camping in winter, buy one with solid walls. This one won’t allow cold mountain breezes to reach you.
There’s no use of buying a backpacking tent if it’s not of high quality. If you have a good one it will withstand harsh weather conditions.
What is the best 1 person backpacking tent?
It is the one that offers comfortable space for a backpacker who wants to spend the night outdoors. There must be space for him and for storing the equipment that he carries.
It must have a quality material that will protect you from the participation and sun. However, you shouldn’t forget about vents and mesh that will provide air circulation.
In my opinion, ALPS Mountaineering Lynx is not just the top tent for a solo backpacker but it is also very popular among adventurers who want to stay in a quality and durable unit.
What is the best 2 person backpacking tent?
A 2-person backpacking unit should offer space and comfort for two people. This means that they aren’t squeezed in the tent and have enough space for sleeping and changing clothes etc.
I suggest you pick an MSR Hubba Hubba NX, EUREKA! Apex 2XT, or Mountainsmith Morrison model from the list. They are easy to pitch, freestanding, and lightweight units for a perfect hike.
Should I buy a 1 or 2 person tent?
There is no such question if you will be on the trails with someone else. However, if you are exploring alone, what sized tent should you get? The answer is simple.
If you intend to go on a short trip then it is best to take one man unit with you so your backpack will be as light as possible. However, if you will be out there for a few days or more maybe you will need a bigger (2-man) model because you will have more things and equipment with you to store inside.
How heavy should a backpacking tent be?
As you already know this type of tent should be as light as possible because you will carry it on your back. In general, it should weigh about 2.5 pounds per person. However, their weight varies.
If you look at my table you see that model’s weight varies from 3.5 pounds to 7 lbs and 3 oz. If you will go on a short trip I suggest you take the lightest one as MRS Hubba Hubba (3.5 lbs).
On the other hand, if you expect rain and will be outdoors for more than a few days, I recommend that you opt for Coleman Hooligan no matter that it is heavier (7 lbs, 3oz.) as it is a well-constructed unit with full-coverage rainfly for protection.
Where do you put a tent on a backpack?
You don’t know where will you put your tent in a backpack? Consider my simple tip. Pack a backpack by putting the most usable things on the top. This means that it shouldn’t be on the top as you will need it at the end of the day when you will encamp.
If you don’t have a tent yet, consider buying one of the best backpacking tents on the market. Quality shouldn’t be a question for you if you want to enjoy the trails.
When choosing one, ask yourself where will you be exploring and which model will satisfy your needs. Never choose a cheap one no matter how good it looks because you will regret it.