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Published Apr. 6, 2021

If you’re into long hiking, fishing, camping, hunting trips, and other overnight activities, a quality lightweight tent can be a lifesaver. The best backpacking tents can easily fit into your luggage and not add too much weight to your overall load. Even though they may be a portable, lightweight option, backpacking tents are still extremely reliable, and allow you to enjoy a quality night of sleep under the stars. Backpacking tents come in a variety of styles and sizes, and they can be used for protection, warmth, and comfort in a variety of weather conditions. Even if it’s raining, sleeting, snowing, or hailing, you won’t have to worry about any moisture seeping into your tent. Whether you are looking for great value, durability, reliability, or versatility, we took a look at the best backpacking tents on the market today. Read on to see which backpacking tent is the best fit for your next overnight hiking trip.

The GeerTop 4-Season 2-Person Backpacking Tent may be the best backpacking tent on the market. This tent is completely waterproof, yet still extremely lightweight. It is made from 210T anti-tear checkered polyester, coated with a 3000mm water-resistant finish. This makes it an ideal tent for rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind, and other hazardous conditions. It features a double layer design for excellent weather protection and ventilation. The inner layer can be used alone in warmer, dry weather. The outer layer can be added for privacy and to keep out the wind during any inclement weather conditions. This tent has plenty of room for two adults, and it can easily be set up within just a few minutes. The tent weighs just over six pounds, and can easily be packed into the included duffle bag to keep your belongings secure and organized while hiking or camping.

One downside of the GeerTop 4-Season 2-Person Backpacking Tent is that the zippers are not of the highest quality. The zippers of this tent have been known to snag or break after just a few uses. So you may want to be aware that the zippers may need to be replaced with this tent after a certain amount of uses.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can’t go wrong with the Flytop 4-Season 2-person Double Layer Backpacking Tent. This tent is available at an excellent value, but it is still an extremely high-quality product. It is made from heavy duty 210T polyester, coated with a 3500mm water-resistant finish. The tent floor is made from 210D Oxford fabric with a 4000mm water-resistant coating. The tent is extremely easy to set up, and it contains a storage pocket and hanger in the center of the tent. The tent can comfortably fit two adults, and is able to fit three people without much luggage. The total weight of this tent is just under six pounds, and it can easily be folded up into the convenient storage bag. It is an ideal product for camping, backpacking, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

One issue with the Flytop 4-Season 2-person Double Layer Backpacking Tent is with its durability. The included tent stakes are not ideal for hard or frozen ground. The stakes bend very easily and have been known to snap. So you may want to consider purchasing a more heavy-duty set of tent stakes to use with this cold weather tent.

Although it is priced at a premium, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent is one of the most user-friendly products on the market. With a weight of just 3.5 pounds, this tent is perfect to bring on long hiking, backpacking, camping, skiing trips, and more. The freestanding design can comfortably fit two people and their luggage inside. The tent floor is made from a 30D ripstop nylon fabric with a 4000mm water-resistant coating. It includes a patented Xtreme Shield Waterproof Coating, which is designed to provide durability and last up to three times longer than comparable products. A weather-resistant rain fly is included with this tent for extra protection in the rain, wind, snow, and other hazardous conditions. A limited three-year warranty is included with each purchase to cover any manufacturing defects.

One issue with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent is its price point. If you are shopping on a budget, you may want to consider another tent to best fit your needs. Another issue with this tent is that its light weight can be an issue in heavy winds. Some customers have reported that the tent has been known to shake and become somewhat unstable during storms or extreme conditions.

The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent may be the most user-friendly option available. It features an aluminum freestanding pole system that is ideal for a quick and easy setup. There is a full-coverage rain fly that is completely waterproof and UV-resistant, and there are also two vestibules for extra storage. This backpacking tent includes two doors on each side, and it also utilizes eight extra-large zippers to allow for ventilation during nice weather conditions. With this tent’s unique setup, it can even be used on a hill or incline. The tent has been proven to provide stability and warmth in all types of weather, including rain, wind, sleet, hail, and snow. It measures five feet-two inches by seven feet-eight inches with a center height of 46 inches. With a weight of around seven pounds, the tent can be simply folded up into the convenient carrying bag for long hiking, camping trips, and more.

One downside of the ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 2-Person Tent is with the durability of the included rain fly. While it is weather-resistant, the rain fly only has a rating of 30D. It has been known to rip and tear during periods of heavy wind and inclement weather conditions.

The Snugpak Scorpion 2 Camping Tent is another high-quality compact option. This backpacking tent has been proven to keep you dry during rain, wind, snow, and other hazardous conditions with its ripstop waterproof fly sheet. This lightweight tent can accommodate two people comfortably, and it can be set up in just a few minutes. The tent features DAC Featherlite aluminum poles with press fit connectors, 16 alloy stakes, and is suitable for use in all four seasons and any weather conditions. There is a basic repair kit for added convenience, which includes a metal pole repair sleeve, tent guide rope tensioner, spare cord, elastic loop, and patch materials. It weighs just over five pounds when packed into the included storage bag. This tent includes one large door and three windows for great ventilation during nice weather conditions.

One downside of the Snugpak Scorpion 2 Camping Tent is with its durability. Some customers have reported issues with the zippers and snap buckles included with this tent. The zippers and buckles have been known to break, so you may want to consider purchasing another set of zippers and buckles for replacement options.

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ultralight Backpacking Tent is an extremely reliable option from a trustworthy manufacturer. This backpacking tent features two doors and two vestibules, making it easy to get in or out of the tent. There are several interior storage pockets for safely storing and protecting your valuables. Storm flaps on the exterior zippers keep the interior of your tent dry as you enter and exit in wet conditions. The three-season tent is made from lightweight, durable materials to hold up in all types of weather conditions. Despite its protective features, this tent is well ventilated to maximize airflow and reduce condensation on the interior while sleeping. The single-pole design allows you to easily set up and take down your tent in a matter of minutes.

One issue with the Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ultralight Backpacking Tent is with the rain fly. The part of the rain fly that covers the zippers has been known to get caught in the zippers. This can cause damage to the tent and eventually leak in extremely wet conditions or heavy rain.

The Nemo Dragonfly Ultralight Backpacking Tent is another well-constructed, extremely durable product. This lightweight tent is designed to hold up in all types of weather conditions, including rain, sleet, snow, hail, and other inclement weather. It features two doors and two vestibules for easy access from any angle. There are protected strut vents at the top of each zipper flap, which provides great ventilation and minimizes humidity during wet conditions. The tent floor is made from a 20D Nylon fabric, and the rain fly is constructed from a 15D Nylon ripstop fabric. With a packed weight of just over three pounds, this tent makes a high-quality, lightweight option for long hiking, fishing, hunting, backpacking trips, and more.

One downside of the Nemo Dragonfly Ultralight Backpacking Tent is with its durability. Some customers have reported issues with the poles or stakes snapping in extremely windy conditions. You may want to have a backup set of stakes on hand, or consider another tent for backpacking if you plan to use it in extreme wind.

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL is one of the most popular, ultra lightweight options on the market today. It features one door and one vestibule. Double-sided zippers provide multiple access options, and it is a great tent for keeping rain and moisture out in wet conditions. Oversized ceiling pockets in the overhead of this tent allow for great additional storage space. There are also media pockets to allow cord-routing from phones, tablets or other devices. It is made from a nylon double rip-stop fabric for ultimate durability. The pre-bent span pole is stable and allows for a quick and easy set up of your tent in a matter of minutes. It is an excellent option for hiking, fishing, hunting, backing, trekking, and more.

One issue with the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL is with the zippers. Some customers have reported constant issues with the zippers snagging, so be aware of this if you purchase this tent. You will need to be careful when zipping and unzipping the doors and windows.

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Why should you trust us

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I have spent plenty of nights sleeping under the stars after a long day of hiking, biking, or fishing. Trust me when I say, owning a high-quality backpacking tent can be essential for a full, comfortable night of sleep. The best backpacking tents are lightweight, yet still designed to keep you warm, comfortable, and dry, no matter how inclement the weather conditions may be outside. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and have written a number of other outdoor lifestyle products and camping equipment articles, including camping towels, hiking water filters, walking sticks, insulated coffee mugs, and more.

Different kinds of backpacking tents

There are three main types of backpacking tents. Each type of tent offers its own unique set of features and advantages. Depending on your individual preferences and whether you enjoy camping alone, as a couple, or in a small group, you may require a different type of backpacking tent to best fit your needs. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the different types of backpacking tents before making your final purchase.


Freestanding tents are the most user-friendly and easiest to set up and take down of all the types of backpacking tents. This type of tent typically does not require stakes, but you may want to use them if camping in inclement weather or windy conditions. The pole system usually has enough tension to keep the tent body stable, unless it is under heavy wind or pressure. It is the most versatile type of backpacking tent. Freestanding tents are usually the most spacious option, and they are advantageous if hiking in areas with hard or frozen ground.  


Semi-freestanding tents have a separate pole system so that they can either be staked into the ground or stand on their own without stakes. The stakes that are included should be used to maximize stability during inclement weather or extreme conditions. Semi-freestanding tents usually come with a tent body, rain fly, and a set of stakes. They are quite lightweight, portable, yet still extremely versatile with enough space inside the tent.


Tarp tents are the most basic and budget-friendly option for all types of backpacking tents. This type of tent usually requires separate trekking poles or stakes to stand upright. Tarp tents only include a single wall, which can lead to a build-up of condensation and moisture during wet conditions or high humidity. Tarp tents require a lot of patience and time to set up. On the plus side, tarp tents are usually extremely portable and lightweight, so they do not take up much space in your luggage while on long hiking, camping, or backpacking trips.

What to look for when buying backpacking tents

For this article, we extensively researched and tested a wide variety of different types and brands of backpacking tents. These included freestanding tents, semi-freestanding tents, and tarp tents. The tents were all tested for reliability, durability, ease of use, and versatility. They were all tested in a number of different conditions, locations, and in a variety of weather conditions.

The results of this thorough research and testing can be found throughout this article. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types, brands, and features of each backpacking tent before making your final purchase to best fit your camping requirements.

Why Do You Need a Backpacking Tent?

There are several key advantages to purchasing and using a backpacking tent. The most obvious benefit is that it is typically lightweight, built specifically from materials that are designed to be folded easily into your luggage. At the same time, your backpacking tent should be designed to keep you dry and comfortable while spending a night under the stars in spring, summer, or fall weather conditions. 

Most backpacking tents are durable, versatile, and user-friendly, featuring easy-to-assemble tent poles or freestanding versions that pop up when unfolded. Many backpacking tents will also feature a form-fitting rain fly that is designed to keep out water and keep you dry when sleeping inside your tent at all times.

  • One of the major benefits of backpacking tents is that they are portable. Backpacking tents are built from extremely lightweight fabrics that at the same time, are extremely durable and built to hold up during inclement weather conditions. Most backpacking tents will keep you dry and comfortable, even during heavy wind, rain, sleet, or snow.
  • Another main benefit of backpacking tents is that they are user-friendly. Backpacking tents are easy to set up. Freestanding tents do not even require stakes, while semi-freestanding tents include a set of optional stakes for stability. Even tarp tents, which take some time to set up, can easily be collapsed and folded into your luggage in a short period of time.
  • Backpacking tents are extremely versatile. Not only are you easily able to travel with these tents, but they are usually well constructed from reliable materials. They can be set up in a matter of minutes to protect you in a variety of conditions, including heavy wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and more.

Pricing ranges for backpacking tents

  • Under $200: Backpacking tents in this price range are available at an excellent value. These tents can be of the freestanding or tarp variety. Make sure that a rain fly or tent stakes are included, particularly if you will be camping in inclement weather. 
  • $200-$400: This is the most common price range for backpacking tents. Tents in this price range are usually fairly high quality, reliable, and can be used in various weather conditions. 
  • Over $400: Backpacking tents in this price range are priced at a premium. Tents in this price range include a number of special features, including multiple doors, vestibules, extra protection, and high waterproof or weather-resistant ratings to hold up in the most extreme conditions. If you don’t mind paying a premium price, tents in this range will not disappoint.

How we chose our top picks

When reviewing new outdoor products, we much prefer to go the hands-on route, but sometimes a lack of resources may prevent us from trying out the outdoor equipment in person. To make sure we don’t let you down, we take the time to thoroughly research and review other professionals who have hands-on experience with the equipment, combing through extensive reviews on Amazon, professional publications, outdoor enthusiast blogs, and more to bring you the best information available. For this review, we found the information at Clever Hiker, Switch Back Travel, Outdoor Gear Lab, Gear Junkie, and Eureka Camping to be extremely helpful when shopping for the best backpacking tent.

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