It is often mistakenly thought that a backpacking tent is a backpacking tent and just about any old tent will do. But the thing is, unless you want to end up cold, wet, or overcrowded or are the only thing keeping your tent from blowing away, you’ll need to think about what tent you’ll be packing on your trip. If you don’t have time to sift through the hundreds of different brands and styles being sold today, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for.
We combed through every tent we could find to come up with this list of the 7 best hikes. Each of them is the expression of the tentmaker’s state of the art. Deciding which tent is right for you will depend on several factors, including how many family members or friends will be sharing the tent with you.
Just to be clear, we will start with single person tents and gradually progress to larger tents. Let’s start.
Top 7 Backpacking Tents Comparison chart
- 1 Top 7 Backpacking Tents Comparison chart
- 2 Top 7 Backpacking Tents Reviewed
- 2.1 1. Top Writing – MSR Hubba Hubba Nx Tent
- 2.2 2. MSR Zoic 3
- 2.3 3. Budget Top – Ferrino Sling 1 Person Tent
- 2.4 4. Camp Minima 2 Pro
- 2.5 5. MSR Elixir 3
- 2.6 6. Top value for money – Vaude Campo Compact XT 2P
- 2.7 7. MSR Habit 4
- 2.8 8. Camp Tent Minima 1 SL
- 2.9 9. Ferrino Proxes 4
- 2.10 10. Vaude Taurus 2P
- 2.11 Backpacking Tents comparison- The battle time
- 2.12 AmazonBasics Dome Tent vs. COLEMAN Darwin 4+ Dome Tent
- 2.13 Semoo Waterproof Camping Tent vs. GEERTOP Waterproof Camping Tent
- 2.14 Skandika Montana 8-1937 Camping Family Tent vs. Naturehike Cloud-up excursion tent
- 3 Things to Consider Before Buying the right Backpacking Tent: Your Complete Guide
- 3.1 The type of fabric & materials
- 3.2 Mounting accessories
- 3.3 How To Care For Your Tent: Use and Maintenance Tips
- 3.4 Comparison between tents and ultralight shelters
Top 7 Backpacking Tents Reviewed
Whether you are a family of backpackers, a mountaineer or simply a fan of outdoor adventures, here you will find the best tents for your nights outdoors or to shelter you in the event of unfavorable weather conditions. All our favorites are quality, recommendable products that are suitable for 3 season use and have been thoroughly examined by our team. We also offer you our dedicated buying guide following our recommendations so that you can choose a tent suitable for your use with complete peace of mind!
1. Top Writing – MSR Hubba Hubba Nx Tent
The best all-around backpacking tent with excellent weather protection.
- Number of people: 2
- Seasonality: 3
- Weight: 1,720 g
- Room dimensions: 213 x 127 x 100 cm
- Materials and coverings: 20 denier x 330T ripstop nylon flysheet; Durashield silicone and polyurethane coating; 30 denier x 262 T ripstop nylon floor with Durashield silicone and polyurethane coating
- Water column and waterproofing in mm: 3000 mm floor / 1200 mm roof
- Apses: Yes, two
The MSR Hubba Hubba Nx may cost more than all of our other picks, but it’s an option we encourage you to seriously consider if you’re looking for a durable two-person tent that combines unrivaled roominess with generous space. Considering the build quality and feature set, it’s a smart investment that you won’t regret.
While not the lightest or roomiest on the market, this premium backpacking tent positively ticks almost all the boxes, thanks to an “Optimized Symmetrical Geometry” design that has been studied to offer enough comfort. space to accommodate sleeping systems for two people. Whether you want to relax seated or on your knees, it will allow you to feel perfectly comfortable where others may seem cramped and claustrophobic for two.
That being said, part of the reason the MSR Hubba Hubba Nx tops our list is because unlike many ultralight models, it features two doors and vestibules, as well as nearly vertical walls, ensuring excellent habitability. Added to this are adjustable integrated installation loops that speed up installation, an interior that clips tightly or a compact pole.
Very well built and ready to follow you for adventures in 3 seasons, the MSR Hubba Hubba Nx also has a solid bed that can withstand rough use. In this regard, one of the key advantages of this hiking tent is that it performs very well in wet and windy conditions. Its weather resistance is excellent, and its pole-to-hub design guarantees rock-solid stability.
Other good things about the MSR Hubba Hubba Nx: it has superior ventilation to suit summer hiking, and includes full coverage to effectively protect occupants in rain showers. Many other great features make this backpacking tent a premium product: the easily movable and tilting freestanding structure for perfect positioning, the twin D-shaped doors, each with a large porch, to give each occupant their own entrance and space to store a backpack and boots.
2. MSR Zoic 3
Lightweight and highly breathable design makes this backpacking tent ideal for traveling with family or friends.
- Number of people: 3
- Seasonality: 3
- Weight : 2,670 g
- Room dimensions: 223 x 191 x 100 cm
- Materials and coverings: Flysheet in 40 denier Ripstop polyester coated with Xtreme Shield polyurethane and silicone; Floor in 70 denier Ripstop nylon, Xtreme Shield polyurethane coating and hydrophobic protection Water
- Column and waterproofing in mm: 3,000 mm on the ground / 1,500 mm on the roof
- Apses: 2
If you are looking for MSR quality, but cannot afford some of their higher end tents, then the MSR Zoic 3 is an option worth considering. It is designed to accommodate up to three people and is ideal for traveling with family or friends.
Equipped with three geared lofts for custom storage options and two easy-access doors that make it easy to get in and out in the middle of the night when needed, the Zoic 3 delivers on durability: lightweight aluminum poles and strong, proven MSR design geometry, long-lasting Xtreme Shield waterproof coating.
This tent offers decent storm protection, and can count on its 1500mm waterproof rating rain fly that covers the whole body from top to bottom. That said, one of the main draws of the MSR Zoic 3 is its excellent performance in terms of ventilation and airflow. These are largely made possible by its full, ultra-breathable canopy made from micro-mesh panels. For your hot weather adventures, you can count on a cool, dry interior.
In addition to maximum breathability, the Zoic 3 benefits from optimal moisture control, and offers beautiful views from the inside, as it is composed of very little fabric obstructing the view. Also, while the wide floor plan and steep sidewalls create a spacious interior, this tent is slightly smaller than most 3-person models, so it might be a little tight for you and two other campers.
Moreover, to install it you will not have to break your head, because the MSR Zoic 3 has a self-supporting structure, can support its own weight on any terrain and does not even need to be staked in most cases.
3. Budget Top – Ferrino Sling 1 Person Tent
Excellent value for money and features perfect for trekking and independent travel.
Number of people: 1
Weight: 1,250 g
Room dimensions: 220 x 80 x 65 cm
Materials and coverings: Double roof in 70 D diamond polyester, 75 g/m² and thermally insulating polyurethane floor
Water column and impermeability in mm : 2,500 mm on the ground / 2,000 mm on the roof
If you’re on a tight budget and need a good one-person tent, look no further than the Ferrino Sling 1. It offers the most basic of tents and could be everything. what you need for your solo adventures by bike or on foot, or for trail running.
Lightweight (just 1250g) and compact in design, this 3-season one-person tent sets up easily and provides you with adequate shelter in mild climates.
Supplied with aluminum anchor pins, carry bag and repair kit, this durable, lightweight tent measures just 32cm long and 12cm wide when folded. This compact design, however, does not prevent it from offering an interior spacious enough to make you feel comfortable.
The Ferrino Sling 1 has a chamber that is 220 cm long and 80 cm wide at the shoulders. As for the transport dimensions, they are only 33 x 12 cm, which makes it a tent that takes up almost no space in your backpack.
Other advantages of the Sling 1 that are worth mentioning: this tent has interior pockets in which you can store your personal items. Similarly, a hook is provided so that you can hang a lamp. Let’s finish by noting that the Ferrino Sling 1 is waterproof and able to withstand the most adverse weather conditions. It is therefore equipped with a water column of 2000 mm.
4. Camp Minima 2 Pro
2-person tent with double roof, compact and ultralight.
- Number of people : 2
- Seasonality : 3
- Weight : 2,100 g
- Bedroom dimensions : 220 x 120 x 100 cm
- Materials and coverings : flysheet in 30D Ripstop nylon, and floor in 70 D 190T/N nylon polyamide
- Water column and waterproofing in mm : 5,000 mm on the ground / 3,000 mm on the roof
- Apses : yes, two
If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight two-person tent, the Camp Minima 2 Pro might be just what you need to fully enjoy your next hiking or camping adventure. Although very light for a tent intended to accommodate two people, it demonstrates great stability and relies on its double-walled design to guarantee effective protection against the elements.
Delivered with a compression carrying bag, pegs, additional guy lines and a repair kit, the Camp Minima 2 Pro is appreciated for its quality of manufacture and its guarantees of durability, despite the apparent fragility of its construction materials. : flysheet in 30D Ripstop nylon and platform in 70 D 190T/N nylon polyamide.
So you don’t have to fear unpleasant surprises when you venture into difficult conditions. Speaking of which, the Camp Minima 2 Pro promises to keep you dry, thanks to its light, strong and completely waterproof rain fly. Likewise, it has a waterproof index of 5,000 mm for the floor and 2,000 mm for the roof.
That being said, if we recommend this 3-season tent, it’s also for the good climate that reigns within it. Camp’s Minima 2 Pro features an all-mesh main frame and a rain fly with two large windows and cross-vents for this purpose. This allows a sufficient amount of air to enter, as well as effective moisture management.
Another interesting feature: the bedroom of the Minima 2 Pro from Camp has dimensions of 220 x 120 x 100 cm, and therefore offers enough space for two people to sleep there. You and your partner will be able to enter the tent at the same time, as it has two large zipped entrances (one on each side).
Let’s finish by noting that the Camp Minima 2 Pro offers plenty of storage possibilities with its four pockets on each side and its two large vestibules that provide the extra space needed to curl up in bad weather.
5. MSR Elixir 3
Extremely livable backpacking tent at an excellent price-performance ratio.
- Number of people: 3
- Seasonality: 3
- Weight: 3,190 g
- Room dimensions: 213 x 172 x 104 cm
- Materials and coatings: Flysheet in 68 denier Ripstop polyester with polyurethane coating and DWR coating; floor in 70 denier nylon taffeta, polyurethane coating and DWR coating Water
- Column and impermeability in mm: 3000 mm on the ground / 1500 mm on the roof
- Apses: yes; 2
Although it weighs a little more than other 3-person tents in its class, the MSR Elixir 3 is a great tent in almost every way. The perfect combination of comfort, light weight, quality and affordability, it is ideal for most camping situations, and is very easy to set up in about a minute or two.
All of its poles are sturdy enough not to come undone, and as long as you pitch the tent correctly, you’re guaranteed to end up with stable shelter, even in a windstorm.
The MSR Elixir 3 is certainly not made to withstand very cold weather or snow, but for a 3 season tent it handles rain, wind, chilly nights surprisingly well and is generally well armed. to handle different adverse weather conditions without failure. This tent further manages to offer excellent ventilation without compromising privacy or warmth. So you won’t have to fear on hot days, as the Elixir 3’s micro-mesh canopy guarantees maximum breathability.
If we recommend this backpacking tent, it is also because it is extremely livable. The Elixir 3 indeed adopts a unique geometry of the poles which optimizes the headroom. This design offers plenty of headroom and is roomy enough (especially for two people with their gear) and comfortable.
However, the floor space may be too small for three tall people to sleep comfortably inside.
One thing we like about the MSR Elixir 3 is that it offers excellent views, thanks to its adaptable rain fly. Plus, other features like built-in lofts and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls enhance livability. This tent also features two large doors for easy entry, as well as two large vestibules for storing your muddy or wet boots and clothes.
6. Top value for money – Vaude Campo Compact XT 2P
Spacious, compact and comfortable two-person backpacking and camping tent.
Number of people: 2
Weight: 2,700 g
Room dimensions: 215 x 140 x 105 cm
Materials and coverings: 100% polyester 75 denier polyurethane flysheet; 100% 70 denier polyamide coated polyurethane floor.
Water column and impermeability in mm: 5,000 mm on the ground / 3,000 mm on the roof
Apses: yes, 1
Built with a versatile structure suitable for camping and trekking, the Vaude Campo Compact XT 2P has been designed to allow occupants to sleep and live in comfort. Vaude has overlooked no detail. For example, the outer layer of the tent has been darkened for greater sleeping comfort, while the inner material is lightweight to make living inside easier.
The 215 x 140 x 105 cm room offers enough space for two, without the tent having too large a footprint. Likewise, the Vaude Campo Compact XT 2P demonstrates great stability in strong winds, thanks in large part to its solid aluminum frame that withstands many assembly and disassembly cycles.
When it comes to deployment, it’s not the fastest-to-assemble model we’ve encountered. It usually takes about fifteen minutes. This somewhat long time is not due to the fact that the assembly is difficult, but there are a multitude of connectors which can be a bit confusing and make assembly tedious. Fortunately, the hoops or hoops elements, as well as the tubes are marked with a color code which guides the orientation of the poles.
A register in which the Vaude Campo Compact XT 2P is illustrated positively is that of protection against bad weather. With a water column of 3000mm and a waterproof rating of 5000mm for the floor material, you are sure to have a dry refuge even with the heaviest downpour of rain. Vaude has also done a nice job with ventilation and humidity management.
For this, the inner tent is made of 68 D polyester, a material whose properties prevent condensation, and the walls like the door (of the inner tent) have ventilation inserts in anti-mosquito mesh to let in a quantity of air. enough.
Note that the Campo Compact XT 2P has a wide entrance which also contributes to a good climate within the shelter. Ending by noting that this 3-season tent has the advantage of having pockets inside for storing various objects, but above all a large awning that offers enough space to store equipment or cook in case of bad weather.
7. MSR Habit 4
Compromises on ventilation, but increased protection against the toughest storms and conditions.
Number of people: 4
Weight: 5720 g
Room dimensions: 241 x 241 x 185 cm
Materials and coverings: Double roof in 68-denier Ripstop polyester with polyurethane coating; Parterre in 68 denier polyester taffeta with polyurethane coating
Water column and impermeability in mm : 10,000 mm on the ground / 1,500 mm on the roof
Even though the MSR Habit 4 sacrifices ventilation somewhat, it is one of the best tents you will find in terms of durability and weather protection. Designed to withstand rough and intensive use, this tent is not afraid of harsh campsites or bad weather. Its sturdy construction made from lightweight, high quality materials is joined by one of the best post systems we have seen.
So this family dome tent can support its own weight on any terrain, without having to be staked in most cases, but in strong winds, it is always better to secure it to the ground with the Steel stakes and guy lines included. Once in place, the MSR Habit 4 provides safe and comfortable shelter, even in harsh conditions.
Special mention to its durable and water-resistant floor, but also to its rainfly that completely covers its body, from top to bottom. Note that the latter has a waterproof rating of 1,500 mm, which means that you will be effectively protected in the event of heavy showers.
Likewise, the MSR Habit 4 includes a vestibule that, in addition to providing space for storing shoes and other belongings, joins the robust construction and full-length rain fly, to ensure good resistance in case of strong winds.
That being said, one of the main features of the MSR Habit 4 is that it can accommodate up to four people. However, we find this tent works best with two adults and two children. Besides, a nice bonus is that its high height (about 12% more headroom compared to similarly sized tents) offers plenty of headroom.
All in all, the MSR Habit 4 may be a little more expensive than most four-person tents, but on closer analysis it’s a worthwhile investment, as this comfortable tent should serve you for many years. years. It offers solid performance, even in difficult conditions, and very good habitability, compared to most other cabin-style family tents.
8. Camp Tent Minima 1 SL
Single-person double-roof tunnel tent, compact and super light.
- Number of people: 1
- Seasonality: 3
- Weight: 1,150 g
- Bedroom dimensions: 220 x 80 x 65 cm
- Materials and coverings: 30D Ripstop nylon flysheet and 70 D nylon polyamide floor.
- Water column and waterproofness in mm: 5,000 mm on the ground / 2,000 mm on the roof
- Apses: NC
Weighing just 1150g (including frame and poles), the Camp Minima 1 SL is the lightest tent in our top 10 and one of the lightest in its class. This, in addition to its small size, allows it to be easily transported in the supplied bag or in another.
Tunnel-shaped, this tent is made up of small diameter poles, a 30 D Ripstop nylon flysheet and a 70 D nylon polyamide bed.
These fairly solid materials provide good resistance, including in rainy weather, which is a big advantage given its size. However, you must ensure that you configure it correctly. Fortunately, climbing the Camp Minima 1 SL is not at all difficult, and, in principle, it will not take you more than 10 minutes if the ground does not present any particular constraints. The aluminum stakes and guy wires provided for assembly are easily identifiable.
Another thing we like about this one-person tent is that it can withstand a lot of weather conditions. In addition to a waterproof index (2,000 mm for the outer canvas and 5,000 mm for the ground) that exceeds the characteristics usually found on ultralight tents, the Camp Minima 1 SL has a structure mesh fabric for optimal ventilation. As for its outer fabric, it guarantees good heat distribution.
9. Ferrino Proxes 4
Perfect combination of ventilation, resistance and habitability for this ideal family tent for summer camping holidays.
Number of people: 4
Weight: 9,000 g
Room dimensions: 210 x 240 x 170 cm
Materials and coverings: Flysheet in Diamond 70D polyester, 75 g/m2, aluminized heat-insulating polyurethane coating; floor in 70D polyester, 80 g/m2
Water column and impermeability in mm : 2,000 mm on the ground / 2,500 mm on the roof
Apses: yes, 1
The Ferrino Proxes 4 may not be the best 4-person tent on the market, but its great value, large structure, spacious bedrooms and living area, and affordable price make it is an option that deserves serious consideration.
Tunnel-shaped and composed of three fiberglass poles with drawstring, the Ferrino Proxes 4 offers a perfect combination of ventilation, resistance and habitability. Even though the solid construction of this tent implies a rather heavy weight of 9 kg, you are assured of having a safe shelter that effectively protects its occupants in all weather conditions during 3 season use.
The Ferrino Proxes 4 is appreciated for its ability to provide good ventilation, which makes it suitable for camping in hot weather. The “Air” system with large mosquito net, sleeves and ventilation windows joins the water-repellent polyester interior to promote good maximum breathability.
That being said, the rather closed structure of this 3 season tent makes it work best in a cool climate.
Moreover, as mentioned above, one of the biggest attractions of the Ferrino Proxes 4 is that it offers a really generous space. Ferrino states a capacity of up to four people, but the dimensions (210 x 240 x 170 cm) of the room mean that four medium to large adults will feel cramped.
On the other hand, this tent is perfect for three adults or for family camping with two adults, children and all their equipment. Let’s finish by noting that you won’t have any trouble installing it, as long as you follow the instructions (a video is available for configuration with the activation of the tent’s QR code) provided by the manufacturer.
10. Vaude Taurus 2P
Enjoy reasonable space to comfortably sleep two in this robust tent with clever ventilation system and openings in the roof.
- Number of people: 2
- Seasonality : 3
- Weight: 2,600 g
- Room dimensions : 230 x 130 x 95 cm
- Materials and coverings: 100% polyester 75 denier polyurethane flysheet; floor 100% 70 denier polyamide, polyurethane coating
- Water column and impermeability in mm: 5,000 mm on the ground / 3,000 mm on the roof
- Apses: yes, 1
With its 2.6 kg on the scale, the Vaude Taurus 2P is not the lightest two-person tent, but its relatively heavy weight is a fair compromise to benefit from typical German quality and features studied to allow to the tent to provide a refuge in which two people can live comfortably. Perfect for camping and hiking, the Taurus 2P inspires confidence with its construction and ability to perform well even in inclement weather conditions.
With a canopy dome structure and made from materials offering a good compromise between lightness and resistance, this pretty three-season tent from Vaude includes a flysheet in 75 denier polyurethane polyester and a floor entirely in coated 70 denier polyamide. of polyurethane. So you can use it without problems for camping on small rocks and twigs.
In addition, the interior of Vaude Taurus 2P provides enough space (230 x 130 x 95 cm) for two people to sleep. On the other hand, the walls of this tent are low and inclined, so much so that the space is narrow for two people to sit at a time.
Thus, it is not particularly pleasant to shelter in this tent while waiting for a storm to calm down. On the other hand, the Vaude Taurus 2P stands out positively when it comes to weather protection, thanks to its double-walled design and rain fly.
Another advantage: The ventilation inside the Vaude Taurus 2P is very good. This is made possible by the design of its interior walls in polyester and by the clever ventilation system with openings in the roof. Likewise, the vestibule has four zippers through which you can open it from either side or from the top to increase the incoming airflow.
Backpacking Tents comparison- The battle time
AmazonBasics Dome Tent vs. COLEMAN Darwin 4+ Dome Tent
COLEMAN Darwin 4+ Dome Tent
Coleman offers you a camping tent for four people. It is very light since it weighs only 6.2 kg and very easy to transport. Indeed, it is a foldable tent sold with its transport backpack.
Completely folded, it measures only 50 x 30 x 20 cm. Although very easy to transport, this tent still offers a large space of 340 x 240 x 140 cm when fully erected. Made of flame-retardant polyester, it also features a ground sheet, sewn inside the tent itself.
Its fiberglass frame makes it both resistant and light thanks to its WeatherTec system. It is suitable for use in all circumstances, in all weather conditions, throughout the year. Completely waterproof, its water column is 3000 mm.
AmazonBasics Dome Tent
This four-person camping tent is ideal for weekend getaways. It is a tent even suitable for unseasoned campers thanks to its ease of assembly in a system of guys and poles which make it stable and resistant to the wind. Thanks to the material with which it is made, it guarantees good impermeability.
In fact, it has a rainproof layer, which not only protects against bad weather, but also guarantees shade and freshness when the outside temperature is high.
Ventilation is ensured by means of a special panel that allows a change of air even when it rains. The mesh storage pockets are very useful for storing small items and keeping order in the tent. If you buy it online, its price is very attractive.
Semoo Waterproof Camping Tent vs. GEERTOP Waterproof Camping Tent
Semoo Waterproof Camping Tent
The Semoo camping tent was designed for couples, but it can accommodate up to 3 people. Its height makes it welcoming and comfortable when closed. This tent is very light as it weighs only 3.6 kg and its small size makes it easy to carry. Its carrying bag is sold with the tent, but it can also fit into a backpack made for trekking.
In very resistant and waterproof polyester, this tent guarantees you to stay dry, even in the event of rain, as well as excellent ventilation thanks to its large mesh window.
It has a fiberglass frame and is sold with 19 steel pegs and 6 guy lines that make it wind resistant. Two internal storage pockets will allow you to organize your tent and easily store your personal belongings. This tent is easy to disassemble and is ideal for camping alone.
GEERTOP Waterproof Camping Tent
The Geertop camping tent is characterized by the superior quality of its materials. The 210T polyester fabric is waterproof, anti-UV, and tear-resistant. The outer surface of the tent allows rain and snow to quickly slide off. This tent can accommodate up to two people and is very easy to set up, even by one person.
This tent is also suitable for all seasons, as it consists of two layers, one of which can be removed. When folded and stored, it weighs only 2.6 kg and has been designed to be easily carried in a backpack. The aluminum poles provide good stability and wind resistance. The waterproof seams of this tent guarantee a good fit and waterproofness in all weathers.
Skandika Montana 8-1937 Camping Family Tent vs. Naturehike Cloud-up excursion tent
Skandika Montana 8-1937 Camping Family Tent
This is an eight-person tent under a height of two meters, which is very comfortable and easy to pitch. This waterproof and sturdy tent is designed to accommodate your whole family.
It has three sleeping compartments: two for two people and one for four people which can be divided into two by means of a removable partition. This tent therefore has the possibility of four sleeping compartments.
It has a large internal space allowing you to store everything you need and it has in its center a common living room ready to welcome everyone, even when the weather conditions are not favorable. The tent is made of 185T polyester and guarantees optimal ventilation. It has storage pockets on the side walls to better organize your space.
Also designed to accommodate children, this tent has mosquito nets at the entrance and at the entrance to the sleeping lodges to prevent any attack from unwelcome insects. The frame is fiberglass and steel.
This camping tent is also sold with its repair kit and storage bag for easy transport.
Naturehike Cloud-up excursion tent
The main feature of this camping tent is undoubtedly its very low weight. Indeed, it is designed in nylon and its frame is in aluminum, all for a total weight of 1.8 kg! Easy to transport, it can accommodate up to two people. It has a roof in double thickness, waterproof and impermeable.
Its water column is 4000 mm. All seams are sealed and the groundsheet is made of siliconized polyester covered with polyurethane.
Although the fabric is thin and light, this tent is also UV and wind resistant. It has a mesh mosquito net that protects against insects while promoting ventilation. The dimensions and the reduced weight of this tent, once folded and stored in its transport bag, for a total of less than two kg, make it one of the lightest tents on the entire market.
Things to Consider Before Buying the right Backpacking Tent: Your Complete Guide
You want to go hiking and you have planned to spend the night under the stars? To make the best choice of hiking tent, follow our dedicated buying guide!
Today, there is a wide range of tents on the hiking equipment market. However, not all models will be equal in terms of performance depending on your uses and what you want to do with them. Our guide will reveal the keys to a good investment in terms of a tent.
Choose a tent according to your use
Depending on your uses (static or roaming use), the choice of a tent will be decisive for a good night’s sleep outdoors. Here are the different situations that may lead you to choose one model over another:
In this situation where you will probably spend several days in the same place, a comfortable, spacious tent that is large enough to store equipment will be preferred. Here the weight will not be a problem since, theoretically, you will bring your camping equipment by motorized vehicle.
If you plan to go hiking, to be constantly roaming and only to stop to bivouac, it will be necessary to favor the purchase of a light and practical tent model , suitable for several seasons.
If you want to go hiking but from a more “minimalist” angle, without encumbering yourself with the superfluous, extremely light tents designed in innovative materials and generally suitable for one person will undoubtedly be the ideal tent model.
To face the elements and the sometimes difficult climatic conditions, it will then be necessary to opt for four-season tents. For your safety, it is essential to choose a tent adapted to the weather conditions of the season in which you want to go hiking.
Seasonality- Why it’s important
As we saw in our previous point, tents are classified according to their seasonality. This is an index that will determine the insulation capacity of the tent against the elements, but also the solidity of its design:
Generally suitable for spring and summer , these tents can be used in mild and mild weather conditions.
These tents will generally be usable from spring to autumn and sometimes more but will not be suitable for withstanding very harsh winter weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall and blizzards.
These tents can be used all year round, regardless of the destination. They are supposed to guarantee you optimal protection against all the elements and climatic conditions, while having a robust design.
The different forms of tents
There are three types of tent shapes on the market:
- Tents in the shape of “domes” (also called “igloo”): This is a widespread model of tent, easy to set up and generally self -supporting (they stand up on their own) using their two arches which intersect at the top to ensure stability. Geodesic tents are part of this same family of tents, except that they have more poles to further strengthen their resistance.
- Tunnel tents: Often spacious and suitable for use by several people, they can also shelter equipment due to their surface area. Non-self-supporting , they will require full guying to stand up. Their assembly is generally simple and their structure is made up of semi-circular arches which form the tunnel.
- Tipi tents: In the form of a pyramidal structure , they can sometimes be compartmentalized for more practicality and conviviality. There are also models compatible with the use of a wood stove.
Supporting tents overview
There are three types of tents:
These tents stand upright without the need to use pegs (you can guy these tents to guarantee increased safety and stability in the wind), but the absence of the use of pegs will allow them to be installed on all types of soil, even the most difficult such as sand. They will require little floor space and will be very versatile.
These tents do not stand up without fixing and guying with sardines. What could be likened to a disadvantage is however only a formality in reality: nothing could be simpler to install a non-self-supporting tent. On the other hand, its installation will require a ground compatible with the use of sardines .
These tents stand up almost on their own but will require the use of one or two pegs to optimize their volume.
Types of roof top tents – This is what you need to know
There are two types of roof for tents:
These tents do not have the “inner room and double-roof” combination, but only have a simple single-wall roof. The main advantage of these tents is their incredible lightness and small size. On the other hand, they are sensitive to the formation of condensation inside and do not offer good evaporation of humidity.
These tents have an inner chamber and a double-roof which allows them to optimize protection against the elements: wind, rain, humidity. Generally, the outer canvas is made of a water-repellent material.
The type of tent structure
There are several types of structure that make up the frame of a tent:
- Inflatable structure : These are inflatable tubes.
- Hoop structure : They can be made of aluminium, carbon or composite materials.
- Structure with poles : In steel or aluminum which make it possible to support the structure of a tepee tent or a tarp.
- Structure provided by hiking poles : Generally used in addition to minimalist shelters in order to optimize the weight and size of the tent.
The capacity of tents estimated
The capacity corresponds to the number of people who can shelter in the tent. To determine it, it will be necessary to take into account:
- The dimensions of the tent: The width and length of the tent room will be important knowing that a hiking mattress is 51cm wide, but also the height under the ceiling which will allow you, or not, to sit in the tent .
- The shape of the interior space: A tent made up of vertical interior walls will be more spacious than a tent whose walls are at an angle.
- The presence of an apse which will allow you to store your hiking equipment and to be able to prepare a meal in case of rain.
Obviously, the greater the capacity of the tent, the more its weight and the area required for its installation will increase.
The comfort of a tent is obviously determined by the capacity of the latter and its layout, but also depends on the presence, or not, of a living space separate from the interior room. The number of doors and openings will also be decisive, because the more doors you have, the easier it will be to move around if there are many of you sheltering in the tent. Several openings will also allow ventilation.
The number of apses will also be important because it will allow the equipment of all the occupants to be stored.
The type of fabric & materials
To be of good quality, a tent must be solid , waterproof and must protect you from both harmful insects and UV rays. To do this, it will be necessary to take into account the type of fabric used in the design of the tent:
- Nylon (polyamide): this is a synthetic fabric which has the advantage of being flexible , light and resistant . However, being UV sensitive and subject to expansion when wet , it will often be treated on its outer surface to make it UV resistant and waterproof.
- Polyester: it is also a synthetic fabric but it is heavier and less elastic than nylon. It does not absorb water and holds its shape, but will be less durable than nylon.
The weaving process
The process of weaving the fabrics of a tent will also be decisive:
- Ripstop: used for nylon and polyester, this weaving method increases resistance to tearing and abrasion.
- Taffeta: it is a process also used for nylon and polyester that gives the fabric excellent durability , in addition to being able to dry quickly and being waterproof and windproof.
The deniers are a specification that can be found on the descriptions of the products and will give a good indication of its robustness. For example, if the expressed deniers are 150D, it will mean that the fabric used is a yarn of fabrics with a weight of 150g for a length of 9000 meters of yarn. The higher the number, the sturdier but also heavier the fabric will be.
Coatings and treatments
Coatings and surface treatments will guarantee the durability, impermeability and UV resistance of a tent:
- Polyurethane (PU ) coating: applied in layers on the fabric, it makes it possible to obtain waterproof values of between 800mm to 10,000mm in water columns ( see our article on waterproofing ). However, the thicker the PU layer, the more waterproof but also heavier the fabric will be.
- Thermoplastic polyurethane coating (TPU): this coating is more resistant to wear than the conventional PU coating.
- Silicone coating: it is generally found on nylon tents and increases tear and UV resistance while increasing the life of the colors of the tent.
High-end tents use a silicone coating on both sides of their walls. However, silicone and PU coatings degrade over time and successive uses (folding, unfolding, handling, etc.). It will therefore be recommended to opt for tents with a high water column index .
The seams are often the weak point of tents because they can come loose and/or facilitate water infiltration. To make sewing threads waterproof, manufacturers use two methods:
- A silicone treatment on the seams (for nylon fabrics).
- Heat-sealed or heat – sealed strips on the seams (for polyester fabrics).
The materials used in the design of the poles are also important:
- Fiberglass is generally used for entry -level tents: They are often heavy and fragile poles .
- Aluminum: They can sometimes be designed in alloy with other metals and trace elements guaranteeing them various properties. The aluminum poles are listed by a number but also a letter and a number which determines the treatment of the metal and defines its rigidity. Thus, the higher the number, the more the arch will be rigid, but it will also have to be flexible enough not to break under tension.
- Carbon: It has a very good strength/weight ratio ensuring excellent rigidity and durability.
- Composite fibres: Light and strong , they are more flexible than aluminum or carbon.
The diameter of a pole will also influence the sturdiness of a tent.
Finally, sardines can also be made of several materials:
- Stainless steel will guarantee good solidity at the expense of high weight.
- The aluminum will make them light.
- Titanium will be even lighter but much more expensive.
- ABS plastic will be strong and inexpensive.
- The fabric will be suitable for soft ground etc.
Pegs also come in different shapes for different uses but should not be an essential point when buying a tent as they can be purchased separately and later.
To avoid the condensation that accumulates in a tent, it will be necessary to choose a model capable of limiting the problem. To do this, there are models equipped with:
- Ventilation systems (the number of openings and doors can help renew the air) – fabric panels such as mosquito nets (mesh).
- A double roof that allows the air to pass at ground level.
- Additional mats (footprint) that will protect you from humidity.
Size and weight
As we saw in our first point, the weight of your tent will be conditioned by the use you want to make of your equipment. For an extended hike where you want to carry only the bare minimum, we advise you to opt for a compact and light model. For more sedentary or very short-term camping, weight will probably not be a determining factor for you.
Ease of assembly
The structure of your tent and its dimensions will determine its ease of installation. A freestanding small capacity tent will be easier to set up quickly than a non-freestanding tent with a capacity of four or six people.
This point may seem secondary but it can be important. If you are camping in winter or in environments with little sunlight, opt for a clear tent which will allow you to benefit from more light inside the tent. On the other hand, a colored tent will be a guarantee of safety and will allow you to be visible if you should ever get lost and the helpers go looking for you.
Depending on the type of tent sought, the use for which it will be intended (short hike, camping, demanding trek in spring or winter), not all tent models will be equal.
If you wish to acquire an accessible but nevertheless versatile tent for occasional use in mild latitudes, models offered by Decathlon will meet your criteria (such as the Forclaz models for example).
On the other hand, for more intensive and/or technical use , in more demanding conditions , manufacturers such as MSR , Bergans , Vaude ,Chullanka , Ferrino or Camp will offer models of robust tents capable of satisfying your expectations.
Depending on the type of tent, its capacity and the materials used in its design, the price will obviously vary. For entry level small capacity models , you can find tents around 150 $ while the most elaborate and top of the range models can come close to 1000 $ or more .
How To Care For Your Tent: Use and Maintenance Tips
Storing your tent properly is fundamental to its durability. Once you no longer need your tent, because the weekend is over, remember to fold it up and keep it in its carrying bag: which is by far the best solution.
But before you fold it up, you’ll need to clean your tent and make sure it’s completely dry to prevent mold and stains from forming. Ultralight tents are also less durable, so store them carefully to avoid tearing.
Generally speaking, if you move around a lot on a long trip where you camp overnight, you’ll tend to bend it roughly, and we’re not judging you! However, in order to keep your tent as long as possible, we advise you to fold it correctly and put your heart into it. Remember, this is your home for the night!
Fixing your tent is essential, especially if the weather conditions are bad. In this case, it is strongly advised to use all the sardines and all the guys or even to add some extra. It is also recommended not to lose sight of your tent and to check that it is in place at regular intervals in order to check that the guy lines are tight and that the pegs are still in place.
If you have a tent mallet, you will be advised to use it to drive your pegs well into the ground and stabilize your tent as well as possible. As a last resort, if the weather conditions are far too bad or even dangerous, it is always best to dismantle your tent and return home. Staggering your camping weekend is always less worse than taking risks,
It is important to carefully choose the place in which you will camp and thus have an idea of the type of terrain on which you will pitch your tent. If you don’t know the place well, we suggest you go and do some scouting beforehand.
Often, it happens that the most beautiful places are actually the least welcoming. For example, it is good to avoid pitching your tent near water or in places that are too flat and open. Prefer heights. Never pitch your tent under a tree, at the risk of being struck by lightning.
Areas that are too high are also to be avoided because of their wind resistance, and hollow areas are also to be avoided because of the risk of heavy rain and therefore flooding.
The ideal place to pitch your tent should be more or less flat, not very hilly, in a space open enough to enjoy the view, but sufficiently protected to avoid any risk and it should be far from any element that could become dangerous.
Comparison between tents and ultralight shelters
When you have to choose your future camping tent, you have to take into account its water resistance. It comes from the type of fabric used, but also from other elements such as the floor of the tent and its seams. A waterproof tent with seams that do not let water in is ideal.
Often the seams are doubled and covered with an adhesive tape to guarantee resistance and optimal protection. The shape of the tent must be designed to favor the flow of water and snow. In this case, the ideal shape is that of the Canadian tent: pyramid.
The pyramidal structure prevents water from stagnating. Wind resistance must also be taken into consideration, which affects both the shape of the tent and the fixing system to the ground.
The water column of a tent indicates the water pressure (in mm) that a tent can receive over a diameter per inch (2.54 cm) before letting it pass. In conclusion, the higher your tent has a water column, the quieter you will be, even in heavy downpours.
Camping is quite an adventure, an art of living! We find ourselves in contact with nature, sometimes very wild, but that does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of all conveniences. Ultra-light tents are often functional and easy to transport, but they leave little room for comfort… You will very often have to bring your own equipment for better comfort, including sleeping bags to spend quiet nights.
What do you expect from your tent? It all depends on the idea you have of camping, but also on the external conditions: those that you do not control. The perfect camping tent should protect you from cold and rain and ensure the passage of fresh air when it’s hot.
It should allow you to make the most of a magnificent starry night while cutting off the sometimes violent winds. It must also be able to be mounted on any type of terrain and adapt to your type of campsite. Finally, it must be at the same time light, durable and resistant.
The ease of pitching a tent is a prerequisite when it comes to camping and especially shelters for camping. The expansion in the sale of inflatable camping tents that go up instantly speaks volumes about the importance of this criterion.
Despite what you might think, double-layered tents are easier to pitch than ultra-lightweight tents. The speed of setting up and taking down your tent obviously depends on your experience as a camper, but it is certain that a freestanding one, which does not need to be fixed to the ground, will be quicker to set up.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I maintain and clean my tent canvas?
To ensure a good longevity for your tent, it will need to be properly maintained after each use. To do this, use a damp sponge and mild soap, avoiding washing machines and abrasive detergents so as not to damage your tent canvas. Let it dry before folding it up for the next use.
I would like to camp in winter, what type of tent should I go for?
To camp warm and safe, you will need to opt for tent models capable of dealing with the snow and guaranteeing you optimal insulation. Go for 4-season tents and above all do not overlook equipment adapted to the cold and winter in order to be able to camp in complete safety, preserving yourself as much as possible from the cold without risking your life.
Do not hesitate to discuss your hiking project with a seasoned professional and to prepare yourself physically in anticipation of your winter camp.
I hesitate between several models, what should I do?
Before making a purchase, it is essential to try on the models that interest you in order to check whether the product meets your expectations and the use you will make of it. Do not hesitate to ask all your questions to a seller authorized to answer you and ask for advice . Sometimes these two steps will be enough to determine which tent is best suited for your project.
Choosing your camping tent is not an easy thing, as with any other camping accessory, by the way. We advise you to take into consideration all the characteristics and all the points discussed above before making your purchase. An ideal tent should be of sufficient size for you, your family or your friends, light, comfortable, resistant, waterproof, and above all, it should meet all your needs.
Aiden is a freelance journalist and content writer who writes about the outdoors, the environment, and travel. He is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. Aiden has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.
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