We spent over 72 hours researching and testing 15 different Backpacking Tent and found that ease of set up, waterproof capability, and ventilation were most important. The Coleman Hooligan Tent scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. This four person tent is perfect for backpacking and offers a coated polyester fly that offers full coverage for you while you’re camping, even in the toughest conditions. The vestibule in the front is perfect for storing extra ear and there is plenty of ventilation in the all-mesh body. The floor wraps up the sides of the tent to provide even more protection from leaking and dampness.
Backpacking Tent Reviews
If you enjoy backpacking, chances are you will be in the market for a good backpacking tent at some point in time. There are several things that make a tent a good choice for backpacking. These factors include being lightweight, easy to set up, weather resistant, waterproof and many other things.
Finding just the right tent can be a challenge if you aren’t sure what to look for in the tent you want to get. We have solved this problem for you by providing the information that you will need to sort through all the choices and make an informed decision that will suit your backpacking needs perfectly.
Best Overall Backpacking Tent
5/5 Product Rating
Coleman is one of the most well known brands for excellent quality camping equipment. If you are an avid backpacker and want to find a great backpacking tent, this Coleman Hooligan Tent could be exactly what you’re looking for.
This 4 person backpacking tent has a full coverage coated polyester fly that wraps the whole tent in protection from even the toughest weather conditions.
The front vestibule provides storage space for your extra gear and the all mesh body provides plenty of ventilation.
The seams of the fly are sealed at the factory for extra durability. The polyethylene floor wraps up the sides of the tent, also known as bathtub style, and provides extreme weather protection.
The seams are welded all over, including the corners, to safeguard against the possibility of any leaks. Set up is super easy with shock-corded fiberglass poles. The pole sleeves are snag free which makes them easy to slip in, no struggling required.
The interior storage pockets are perfect to house some of the campers belongings safely. Other features include the zipper flap over the vestibule zipper to keep rain out, a pin and ring set up that is super fast to set up which is also color-coded. The external guy loops help provide tons of stability even in harsher weather. This backpacking tent is fire retardant as well and includes the needed carry sacks, instruction sheet and stakes. A one year limited warranty comes with this backpacking tent.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Best Overall Backpacking Tent – Runner Up
4.7/5 Product Rating
This 2 person, 3 season tent by Mountainsmith has over 35 sq ft of space, lots of light and plenty of ventilation due to the large mesh wall panels that keep airflow at a good level. The bathtub floor has taped seams to ensure that it stays dry.
The two-pole design along with a color-coded fly attachment means that you’re set up and ready to go within minutes. You can find the instructions are printed on the stuff sack for easy reference.
The double vestibules add an additional 14 sq ft of dry storage space and the removable canopy shelf gives campers an easy to reach perch to store all of the small things. Other features include a detachable ceiling loft, interior mesh pockets for storage, reflective guylines with tri-glide cord adjustments, and adjustable ventilation windows in the tent fly.
The clip-pole attachments improve breathability and reduce the weight load, and other great features that make this a great backpacking tent. There is a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty that covers any defects in materials or workmanship.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Best Budget Backpacking Tent
4.4/5 Product Rating
Stansport Starlite II Mesh Backpacking tent provides everything you need to have a great tent to set up on your backpacking trips.
Made from 190T polyester, the lightweight tent has rainfly to keep it dry. It contains 41.25 sq ft of interior space that fits 1 or 2 people.
There are two shock-corded fiberglass poles and a 2000-mm PU coated polyester floor prevents moisture and dampness from seeping into the tent. It is easy to carry on the trail due to weight only 5 pounds 6 ounces.
That isn’t the lightest tent available but for all you get, it is worth it to have the little bit of extra weight to guarantee a great place to sleep on the trail. The Stansport Starlite II Mesh Backpack tent comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty against defects.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Finding the right backpacking tent can make a big difference in how comfortable you are while out camping and hiking. It is important to look for a tent that will be lightweight and easy to carry while walking the trails.
To get the top three choices we have featured here, we did extensive research on the top 15 backpacking tents and compared them on durability, ease of set up, weight, ventilation, waterproof capability, and more. These choices came out on top in all the categories. Any one of these great backpacking tents would be a terrific choice for an avid backpacker.
Continue reading below to discover all the things you need to know to choose the perfect backpacking tent. This information will cut through all the confusion and allow you to feel confident about looking at the different styles and types of tents to choose one that will fit all of your preferences and needs.
Backpacking Tent Buying Guide
What is a Backpacking Tent?
There are several points involved in choosing the right tent for your backpacking trips. We have listed these points below.
Seasonality –How is the tent equipped to deal with the different elements?
Sleeping Capacity – How many people does the tent sleep comfortably?
Weight – how much does the tent weigh?
Livability – How comfortable and convenient is the tent with its features and design?
Tent Materials – What materials are used in the construction of the tent?
Ease of Set up – How quickly and easily is the tent to set up? When you’re tired from a long day of hiking, you don’t want to have to fight with your tent.
Types of Tents
3-season Backpacking Tents – The most commonly purchased and popular backpacking tent is the 3-season style. They are lightweight and designed for the milder seasons of spring, summer and fall. They are good choices for downpours and even light snow but if you will be out in harsher storms for a period of time, including violent winds, heavy downpours or heavy snow, you will need something that is much heartier and able to withstand the elements.
The mesh panels prevent bugs from getting in and will keep airflow going as well. The walls are designed to be a little more upright which gives campers more head room. The lighter fabrics used in construction and the fact that fewer poles are used reduce the amount of weight that has to be carried.
Extended-Season Backpacking Tents – Extended season tents are great for summer, early spring and late fall and can handle moderate snowfall. If you backpack frequently to exposed, high-elevation areas, this is the tent for you.
Warmth retention is increased in the extended-season models due to fewer mesh panels being used which holds the warmth inside. In addition, the walls of the tent are more upright to create more interior headroom.
Backpackers have a couple of additional poles that add to the tent’s strength as well. Extended-season tents don’t come with a rainfly which is why they are well-suited for cold, dry conditions. The single-wall tent is made with breathable/waterproof walls.
4-Season Mountaineering Tents – If you love to backpack in cold, snowy weather, a 4-season tent will provide you with the protection you need from the elements and low temperatures. The winter tents are designed to withstand fierce winds and lots of snow.
They do have much less ventilation that the other types of tents and can sometimes feel very stuffy in milder weather. Winter, 4-season tents are made with heavier fabrics and more poles for added durability and strength.
The rounded dome design sustains high winds and discourages snow from settling on the top. There is fewer mesh panels used to increase warmth inside and prevent it from escaping. It has a rainfly that extend close to the ground and keep out snow and rain.
Backpacking Tent Specifics
The designs of backpacking tents are as space-saving as possible without losing comfort. The first backpacking tents were not comfortable at all and usually had very narrow foot space and the headroom was extremely low. The modern designs provide more interior space without adding to the overall weight of the item. There are many other factors that affect the comfort level of your backpacking tent.
- Interior space – No one wants to be crammed into a small tent where it feels like the walls are coming down on you. You want to find a tent that has space inside without adding a bunch of bulk to the tent that will result in heavier weight in your pack.
- Floor Plans – How the tent is laid out will give you an idea of the floor space provided. Most tents are not perfectly square and tend to have more room where the shoulders and head go and less where the feet are.
- Wall Pitch – In general, the more upright the walls of the tent are the more space inside there will be for “living”. Today’s tents have a lot more livable space than their older predecessors did. Due to the type of material used for the walls, this doesn’t mean that the tents are heavier.
- Rainfly Color – a rainfly that is bright in color transmits more light inside the tent so it doesn’t end up feeling like a little, dark bag. If storms keep you inside the tent for a longer period of time, having light inside will make it feel much more spacious.
- Tent Doors – the designers that created tents focus on the door shape, zippers and other aspects of the door but the number of doors can vary. A multiperson tent with one door will cost less and weigh less than one that has a door opening for every person.
- Vestibules – This is an extension to the tent created by the rainfly that is used for storage for boots and other gear so it is out of the elements. The majority of tents do have vestibules but the size of them will vary and affect cost and weight. Vestibules are lighter overall than simply having an oversized floor space.
- Ventilation – People exhale moisture as they sleep so the tent needs to have features in place that will lessen the condensation that can build up. Mesh panels reduce the amount of condensation that builds up because it promotes airflow and ventilation. Make sure that the mesh panels have zip panels that can close over them to prevent cold air or rain from getting in.
Once you choose your tent and it arrives, it is a wise idea to set up the tent at home as a run through. Never go backpacking with a brand new tent that you have not set up at least once. Parts can be missing from the package; the tent could be defective or any other number of things. Doing a run through at home will prevent surprises. It will also give you an idea of how long it takes to set the tent up and how complicated or easy it is.
There are many factors involved in deciding what a good quality backpacking tent looks like and the features it has. We have saved you a lot of time by doing the research part for you and providing you with the three choices that excel in all the points that make up a good quality tent.
When you have the knowledge of the product you are purchasing, sorting through the choices, even if there are a lot of them, is much easier and makes more sense. You will be able to make an informed decision that you can feel confident about. In addition, it will be a backpacking tent that you will have tons of fun using.
- Coleman – https://www.coleman.com
- Mountainsmith – http://mountainsmith.com/
- Stansport – https://www.stansport.com