Updated on July 7, 2024

Whether you’re new to hiking or have been backpacking for years, if you’re looking for one of the best backpacking tents, you’re in the right place. We’ve surveyed the market and hand-selected a range of tents then shared some of our top picks for specific categories like lightweight, budget-friendly, and best for 4-season camping. Aside from the top picks, we’ve included some runner-ups you might want to consider.

We featured the 2-person model of each tent to put all the options on a level playing field so that you can easily compare them. We included other variations of the same model as well as mentioning if there are 1-person and 3-person options available. 

Each tent we’ve selected has its pros and cons, and there’s not a single tent out there that will be perfect for every hiker, so we did our best to give you an honest opinion to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you and your style of backpacking.



Best Tent Overall >> Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2

Best Ultralight Tent >> Nemo Hornet Elite 2

Most Affordable & Good Quality Tent >> REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2 Plus

Best Tent For Heavy Rain >> MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

Best 4-Season Tent >> The North Face VE 25


The North Face VE 25 Backpacking Tent and others

Testing several tents at the famous Choquequirao Trek in South America


Comparison Table - Best Tents for Backpacking

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NameDoorsFloor AreaWeightSeasonCapacityPriceRatingReview
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2229.0 sq ft2 lbs 12 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P / 4P$4505.0Read Review
Nemo Hornet Elite 2227.5 sq ft1 lbs 15 oz3-Season1P / 2P$5004.6Read Review
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+235.8 sq ft4 lbs 14 oz3-Season2P / 3P$2794.9Read Review
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2229.0 sq ft3 lbs 08 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P$4504.9Read Review
The North Face VE 25248.0 sq ft9 lbs 08 oz4-Season3P$7504.6Read Review
Nemo Aurora 2P231.8 sq ft5 lbs 07 oz3-Season2P / 3P$2504.6Read Review
Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2163.0 sq ft1 lbs 07 oz4-Season2P / 4P$7354.5Read Review
Zpacks Duplex228.1 sq ft1 lbs 12 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P$6494.5Read Review
REI Co-op Passage 2231.0 sq ft5 lbs 05 oz3-Season1P / 2P$1594.7Read Review
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2128.0 sq ft2 lbs 04 oz3-Season1P / 2P$3704.5Read Review
Sea to Summit Telos TR2228.0 sq ft3 lbs 10 oz3-Season2P / 3P$4994.5Read Review
The North Face Stormbreak 2230.6 sq ft5 lbs 14 oz3-Season2P / 3P$1594.6Read Review
Tarptent Double Rainbow230.6 sq ft2 lbs 08 oz3-Season1P / 2P$3194.4Read Review
Nemo Kunai126.0 sq ft4 lbs 13 oz4-Season2P / 3P$5004.0Read Review
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2237.0 sq ft5 lbs 15 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P / 4P$1254.6Read Review
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2228.0 sq ft2 lbs 03 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P$4004.4Read Review
Marmot Limelight233.0 sq ft5 lbs 02 oz3-Season2P / 3P$2704.4Read Review
Nemo Dragonfly 2P230.5 sq ft3 lbs 02 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P$4004.4Read Review
Marmot Tungsten 2P232.0 sq ft5 lbs 04 oz3-Season1P / 2P / 3P / 4P$2144.2Read Review
Hilleberg Nallo 2128.0 sq ft5 lbs 05 oz4-Season2P / 3P / 4P$8154.2Read Review
REI Co-op Flash Air 2228.7 sq ft2 lbs 08 oz3-Season1P / 2P$2994.0Read Review
NameDoorsFloor AreaWeightSeasonCapacityPriceRatingReview

* Weight, floor area and price are shown for the 2-person models.


For more specific backpacking tent recommendations, check out the following buyer’s guides:

Budget Tents >>  

1-Person Tents >>

2-Person Tents >> 

3-Person Tents >> 

4-Person Tents >> 

Lightweight Tents >> 

3 Season Tents >>

4 Season Tents >>

Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Backpacking Tents

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P / 4P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 29.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Increased Livability
  • Large Zippered Doors
  • Ample Gear Storage
  • Privacy Mesh Body
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 is a lightweight and comfortable tent that is a favorite among long distance hikers. It balances weight, weather protection, interior space extremely well which is why we picked it as the best backpacking tent overall. 

What we loved the most about this tent is how liveable it is considering its weight. It has an awning that can be set up with two trekking poles. It gives you a bit of shade while still allowing for plenty of ventilation through the tent. In light rain, the awning would do a decent job at keeping you dry while cooking. 

The biggest drawback of the Copper Spur HV UL is it’s tight for two people. This won’t be an issue for solo hikers but if you plan to camp with a friend, have a look at the three-person option. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum but is still a good value if you’re looking for a lightweight freestanding tent that will last for years. 

The Copper Spur doesn’t come with a footprint so if you want to increase the lifespan of your tent, grab the UL2 footprint or use some type of groundsheet. 

The Copper Spur HV UL also comes in a 1-person, 3-person and 4-person version.

Nemo Hornet Elite 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 27.5 sq ft
  • Weight: 1 lbs 15 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Well Ventilated
  • Great Wind Protection
  • Volumizing Clips Increase Space
  • Super Lightweight


The Nemo Hornet Elite 2 is a high-end, ultralight backpacking tent that is packed with thoughtful features, which is why it’s our top choice for the best ultralight option. 

The poles have color-coded ends, which makes it easy to set up, especially in the dark. The dual stage stuff sack makes it easy to share the weight with your hiking partner. There’s a light diffusing pocket in the ceiling. The dark mesh interior is great for stargazing on warm cloudless nights when you could sleep without the fly. Another nice feature is there is a little guy line with a hook attached to each side of the exterior of the tent that can attach to a loop on the vestibule. This opens up the interior of the tent a bit more and keeps the inner mesh away from your face when you sit up. Photographers and videographers might like the bright yellow fly color. It really pops in pictures but of course, it’s not ideal for stealth camping. 

While it’s physically possible for two people to sleep in this tent, both people can’t sit up comfortably at the same time. It’s really more of a spacious 1-person tent rather than a true 2-person tent. You could make it work if you’re just going to go to sleep straight away and get right out in the morning, but you’ll find it even annoying to take off or put on a layer without jabbing your tent partner. Another complaint is the fly bar design seems kinda flimsy. We’re not sure how it will hold up over time. Having said that, NEMO has excellent customer service, so if something were to break, we’re confident they will sort it out for you.

If this is your first time buying ultralight gear, something to keep in mind is it is delicate. You need to be more careful when you set it up and pack it down. If you’re tough on gear, look at getting a more durable tent like the MSR Hubba Hubba NX

As with all ultralight tents, we highly recommend a foot print to protect the bottom of the tent from rips and tears.

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 35.8 sq ft
  • Weight: 4 lbs 14 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Superlight construction
  • Pre-bent pole architecture
  • Interior pockets and hangloops
REI Co-op’s Half Dome SL 2+


While there are cheaper tents featured on this list, we believe the REI Co-Op Half Dome SL 2+ is excellent value which is why we chose it as the best budget tent. We also considered that buying a cheap tent could be more expensive in the long run if you decide to upgrade, so we prefer to point you towards a tent that will be easy on your wallet and last for years. 

At under 5 pounds, it’s light enough to be considered a true backpacking tent and has some of the liveability and durability you might find in more expensive models. It’s super easy to set up, it has plenty of interior space and it’s durable, making it a great option for beginner backpackers. 

The Half Dome SL 2+ does weigh quite a bit more than other options but it’s manageable, especially if you divide it up between you and your partner. We think it’s a valid sacrifice if saving money is your goal.  

The Half Dome SL also comes in a 3-person model

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 29.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 3 lbs 08 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Durable
  • Ventilating
  • Flexible Tent Poles For Increased Wind Performance
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2


The MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 is a reliable backpacking tent that balances weight, durability, and comfort well. 

What we love the most about the Hubba Hubba NX2 is how it holds up in rough weather. We put this tent to the test while backpacking in New Zealand through a crazy windstorm with horizontal pounding rain. The poles flexed with the violent gusts that night while our friend’s tent poles bent. Also, we didn’t get a single drop of rain inside the tent which is why the Hubba Hubba NX2 is our top pick for camping in heavy rains. 

While it’s not the lightest tent on this list, it does gain points in durability and interior space. If weight is an issue for you, you can take a look at the Big Agnes Copper Spur, which is also featured on this list, but it has angled walls that get narrow at the feet, reducing liveability.  

Our biggest complaint with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is the price tag. It’s not an ultralight tent but not inexpensive either. It’s a middle ground tent that left us feeling like perhaps it would be better to spend a bit more to get an ultralight tent, like the Nemo Hornet Elite or go for a quality budget option, like the REI Co-Op Half Dome

This tent is also available in a 1-person and a 3-person model.

The North Face VE 25

  • Capacity: 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 48.0 sq ft
  • Footprint Included: Yes
  • Weight: 9 lbs 08 oz
  • Season: 4-Season
  • Packed Size: 24 x 9 Inches
  • Peak Height: N/A
  • Packed Weight: 10 lbs. 5 oz.
  • Number of Poles: 4
  • Vestibule Area: 11 Square Feet in Front, 5 Square Feet in Back
  • Glow in the Dark, Color Coded Zippers
  • Dual Entry Vestibule Makes Getting In And Out A Breeze
  • Port Window So You Can Check Out The Conditions From Inside The Tent
  • Several Vents Prevent Condensation From Building Up


If you consider other tents on this list as shelters, The North Face VE 25 is a bunker. It’s a part of The North Face Summit Series which is designed for extreme conditions and is tested by their athletes. While it would be considered overkill for most popular hiking destinations, it’s an excellent choice for extreme conditions.  

We loved how well the VE 25 holds up in serious weather. We’re talking loads of snow, ice, wind, and rain. It’s the kind of tent that will save your butt in harsh winter conditions and that’s why it’s our choice for the best 4-season option. It’s extremely liveable which is a big plus for those tent bound days. The inner tent has good tension so it doesn’t flap in the wind. It also has great ventilation, the roof can zip open which provides some airflow. 

The biggest downside is it is really big and really heavy, but that comes with this type of expedition tent. Its performance in high winds could be better. Over 50 mph, the tent starts to struggle. The back of the tent is so broad that it really takes a beating. It’s difficult to set up and take down in these high wind conditions. This is a common disadvantage of high volume tents. 

If you tend to camp in windy conditions, take a look at the Hilleberg Nallo 2 that is also featured on this list. 

Nemo Aurora 2P

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 31.8 sq ft
  • Weight: 5 lbs 07 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Lots of room. Great for tall people.
  • Boxy shape.
  • Great for bad weather and heavy winds.
Nemo Aurora 2P Tent

The Nemo Aurora 2P is a spacious backpacking tent that would be a great option for taller people or if you just enjoy spreading out a bit. It would also be a good choice for someone who is looking for a tent for gear-intensive trips like climbing or bikepacking, the Aurora 2P would give you plenty of room to store your equipment inside if the weather turned bad.  

What we loved the most about this tent is its boxy construction that makes it much roomier inside compared to a lot of other tents that have more angled sides. We could sit up comfortably inside, which was a big plus. I mean, who loves a soggy tent in your face first thing in the morning? We also appreciated how the Aurora stands up in bad weather, from torrential rains to strong wind gusts, we stayed dry and didn’t get lots of condensation on the walls. Some other upsides are the setup is pretty self-explanatory, it comes with a footprint and the price is hard to beat for a tent of this quality.

Our biggest disappointment with the Aurora is the doors only have one zipper. Having two zippers would make getting in and out a lot quicker and easier. Another downside is it is on the larger side of the spectrum when it comes to backpacking tents. We were able to split the tent up between our backpacks so it wasn’t a big issue but it is something to consider, especially if you want to use it for the occasional solo trip. We also aren’t in love with the olive green color palette but maybe we are just being picky. 

The Nemo Aurora 2P tent is also available in a 3-person version.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2

  • Capacity: 2P / 4P
  • Doors: 1
  • Floor Area: 63.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 1 lbs 07 oz
  • Season: 4-Season
  • Outstanding Durability
  • Exceptional Quality
  • Super Lightweight
  • Incredibly Roomy

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 is a super light backpacking tent that weighs just over a pound. Unlike many other ultralight options, it doesn’t sacrifice interior space to cut weight. It’s a great option for any long distance adventure where your tent becomes your home for weeks, months, or maybe even years.

What we love the most about this tent is its spaciousness. It feels like the palace of light backpacking tents. It has a tepee, pyramid shape and is set up by placing two attached trekking poles in the middle of the tent. This makes it super roomy and gives you a ton of headroom, a thru-hiker or bikepackers dream. If you’re camping with friends, be aware that your tent will most likely become the hangout space. The construction and design of the Ultamid 2 is top notch and well thought out. It’s made of DCF (Dyneema composite fabric) which is super strong and has no stretch to it so it won’t sag like nylon when it gets wet. 

All this spaciousness comes at a cost and not just when it comes to cash. The footprint of this thing is huge so you need a campsite that is large enough to be able to pitch it. If you plan to camp in the desert or in open plains it shouldn’t be an issue but it can make it impossible to use in dense woods or forests. Another bummer is the pole support in the middle means no morning cuddles with your partner. 

Want an even bigger tent? Hyperlite also makes a 4-person version of the Ultamid. 

Zpacks Duplex

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 28.1 sq ft
  • Weight: 1 lbs 12 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics
  • Rainbow zippers
  • Mesh pockets
Zpacks Duplex Tent

The Zpacks Duplex is a tarp style ultralight tent that is easy to pitch, well-ventilated, spacious, and packs down small. It’s one of the lightest and most functional two-person tents we could find, making it easy to see why it’s a favorite among thru-hikers.

What we love the most about this tent is that it is super light, only 19 ounces (539 grams). One of the reasons the Duplex is so light is that it doesn’t come with tent poles, you use your trekking poles to pitch it instead. If you’d prefer to use a proper tent pole, you can buy it separately from Zpacks. The Duplex is made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics (DCF) which is a strong, highly waterproof material that doesn’t absorb water or stretch overnight. Not having to pack away a soggy tent is a huge plus. One big concern we initially had with the Duplex was condensation build up, something common among single walled tents, but it proved to be well ventilated and this wasn’t an issue. 

The stakes are not included with this tent. It takes eight stakes to fully set up this tent. You could get away with using only six if you don’t set up the guylines. The Duplex has a high price tag, at $649.00. If you plan to use this tent for thru-hiking or any other long distance journey we think it is totally worth it. It’s going to be your house for several months after all. 

Do you want the Duplex but prefer a freestanding tent? You can now transform your Duplex with Zpacks Flex Kit.

If you are tall, have a look at the Zpacks Duplex XL version. Zpacks also makes a 3 person version of this tent, the Triplex

REI Co-op Passage 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 31.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 5 lbs 05 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Pole-less Design
  • A-frame Shape
  • Reflective Guylines
best 2-person backpacking tents

The REI Co-Op Passage 2 is a simple and sturdy backpacking tent. It’s an excellent choice for first time tent buyers or backpackers on a tight budget. 

Without a doubt, our favorite thing about this tent is its price. At $159, it’s hard to beat. Even though it is basic, it comes with some nice features like gear loops, internal pockets, and adjustable ceiling vents 

It’s a heavy tent for backpacking standards but if you share the load with a partner, it’s not so bad. A little annoyance is the zipper sometimes snags. Also, the stakes are pretty crap. If you’re going to camp on hard ground, consider replacing them.

If you’re willing to pay a little more for a better quality, lighter and roomier tent, check out the REI Half Dome SL 2+.

The REI Co-op Passage also comes in a 1-person version

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

  • Canopy Material: Nylon/polyester mesh
  • Capacity: 1P / 2P
  • Design Type: Semi-Freestanding
  • Doors: 1
  • Floor Area: 28.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 2 lbs 04 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-Person
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Packed Dimensions: 5.5” x 12”
  • Pole Material: Aluminium
  • Multiple Internal Pockets For Storing Gear
  • Durable Rain Fly For Protection In Bad Weather
  • Tent Designed Specifically For Bike Packing With A Small Packed Size
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is an ultralight tent that has been recently redesigned to give it steeper walls and more interior space than the older model. It’s a great option if you’re looking to cut weight but aren’t willing to splurge on a high end, super light tent. 

What we loved the most about this tent is it is light but still can be set up with proper tent poles. Some other ultralight tents on this list need to be pitched with trekking poles, which is resourceful but it puts some people, especially new backpackers off. 

The Fly Creek HV UL2 might not cut it for true ultralight hikers who count every ounce. Our biggest drawback is the single door. That’s fine if you’re going to use this tent for solo adventures but it’s a real pain for two people. On that note, unless you and your partner are short and slim, sleeping two people in this thing is going to be a struggle. 

In conclusion, this is a good option for solo hikers who are looking for a practical lightweight tent to use in summer and spring.

The Fly Creek HV UL also comes in a 1-person version

Sea to Summit Telos TR2

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 28.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Adjustable vents at the base of the tent
  • High tent doors
  • Very roomy and liveable
Sea to Summit Telos TR 2

The Sea to Summit Telos TR2 is a newcomer to the world of backpacking tents. It’s quickly becoming a favorite among weight-conscious hikers. 

What we loved the most about the Telos TR2 is how roomy and liveable it is. This is thanks to a small but effective design tweak Sea to Summit calls the “Tension Ridge”. It’s a crossbar that slightly bends the ridge pole upward instead of sloping downward like most other backpacking tents. The result is taller doors, much more headroom, and better ventilation. Another feature we loved was the tent pole bag. While this isn’t usually something to write home about, Sea to Summit creatively converted this ordinary piece of kit into a useful tool they call the “Lightbar”. When you put your headlamp inside the bag it diffuses the light. It can be snapped onto the ceiling of the tent and is a great tool for reading at night or early morning packing. 

Our biggest concern with the Telos TR2 is the thin floor, one of the trade-offs when it comes to cutting weight. It shouldn’t be a major issue if you are extra careful. If you plan on camping in places that might have sharp rocks or roots, consider getting the Lightfoot Print or using some kind of groundsheet. 

With a $499 price tag, the Telos TR2 comes in on the expensive end of the spectrum. If you are tall or plan on spending a lot of time inside your tent, you might consider the extra cost well spent. The Telos TR2 is in tight competition with the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. The Copper Spur wins when it comes to price and weight, but the Telos TR2 is still our pick for liveability. 

If you’re the kind of hiker who camps right to the end of shoulder seasons, take a loop at the Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Plus. It’s designed to handle wet and windy conditions like a champ. 

If you’re looking for a larger tent, Sea to Summit also makes a 3-person and a 3-person Plus version of the Telos.

The North Face Stormbreak 2

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 30.6 sq ft
  • Weight: 5 lbs 14 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Easy-pitch design
  • Twin-zips
  • Very affordable
The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent

The North Face Stormbreak 2 is a super spacious tent with plenty of headroom that is a great choice for hikers who don’t mind sacrificing a bit of weight to save some cash.

What we love the most about this tent is how liveable it is. There is plenty of headroom and space for two people. The spaciousness is much appreciated if you have to wait out a storm. We also appreciated how it is to set up. It would be a great option for someone who is new to backpacking who wants an affordable, easy to use tent that doesn’t feel claustrophobic.

The biggest downside we see with the Stormbreak 2 is it is bulky and heavy. We’d only recommend it as a backpacking tent if your hiking partner is willing to split the load.

Another complaint is the cheapie stakes. They are thin and tiny. They’re probably okay for camping on very soft ground but not much more. If you’re set on this tent but the stakes also concern you, check out the MSR Ground Hog Stakes, they are super sturdy and almost indestructible. 

If you’re looking for a bigger tent, check out The North Face Stormbreak 3.

Tarptent Double Rainbow

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 30.6 sq ft
  • Weight: 2 lbs 08 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Can be setup with trekking poles
  • Free-standing (with trekking poles)
  • Roomier than other minimalist tents
Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent

The Tarptent Double Rainbow is one of the top picks among ultralight minimalist backpackers, it offers a great balance between weight, packability, interior space, and durability, making it a great option for those who want to go light and fast. 

We liked how roomy the tent was compared to other minimalist ultra tents on the market. Two people can comfortably sit up side by side. You can make it freestanding by using your trekking poles on the ends at the head and the feet, instead of using stakes. This is useful if you end up camping somewhere where it is hard to get the stakes into the ground. We were also impressed by the overall construction and build quality of the Double Rainbow. You can only buy this tent directly from Tarptent, so we were a bit wary because we couldn’t check it out at our local outdoor store before using it. 

One of the downsides of the Double Rainbow is the floor has low sides so if the wind picks up, you feel a draft and if it’s dusty some dirt might come in. Also, the setup isn’t super intuitive so we’d recommend you do some trial runs at home to avoid the stress of having to figure it out after a long day of hiking. 

If you’re sold on the Double Rainbow but want an even light tent, check out the Double Rainbow Li.  If the single wall design puts you off, check out the double wall version, Double Rainbow DW. Want a 1-person tent, have a look at the Rainbow

Nemo Kunai

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 1
  • Floor Area: 26.0 sq ft
  • Footprint Included: No
  • Weight: 4 lbs 13 oz
  • Season: 4-Season
  • Number of Poles: 2
  • Double-Walled Construction Prevents Condensation From Forming, Keeping You Warmer At Night
  • Stuff Sack Included For Convenient Storage
  • Quick And Easy Set-up
Nemo Kunai backpacking tent

The Nemo Kunai is a 4-season tent that was designed for short and light mountaineering trips. 

What we love about the Kunai is it’s only 4 pounds, which is light for a 4-season winter tent. It has a double wall construction, so the inner isn’t mesh, it’s fully lined. So basically it’s like having two tents. This design is great for insulation and strength. The Kunai can handle extreme weather from strong winds to snowstorms. 

The double wall is great for staying warm and dry but we were concerned about the airflow and condensation. The large vents on the inner tent worked great at keeping the tent ventilated in cool weather. It would be way too warm for summer camping, but that’s not what it’s built for.   

The Nemo Kunai also comes in a 3-person model.

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P / 4P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 37.0 sq ft
  • Footprint Included: No
  • Height: 46'
  • Weight: 5 lbs 15 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Two-Pole Design
  • Two Doors
  • Half Mesh Walls

The Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 is one of the most affordable backpacking tents out there. It’s over 5 pounds, which is common at this price point but if you’re willing to haul a bit more weight, then it is a good buy for summer backpacking trips. 

What we love the most about this tent is the price tag. At $149, it’s one of the best options for this price. It’s roomy and pretty well ventilated. The zippers are large so they are sturdy and easy to use even with gloves on. 

The weight prevents this tent from being used on long distance trips. For shorter trips it should be fine, especially if you can share the load with your partner. Its two-pole system limits it to warm and calm weather. 

The Alps Mountaineering Lynx also comes in a 1-person, 3-person and 4-person model.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 28.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 2 lbs 03 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Lightweight
  • Headspace For Two
  • Ample Pockets
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 is an ultralight, technical backpacking tent that has some eco-conscious design features. It has a lot in common with the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL but it’s a bit lighter. 

Big Agnes uses a solution-dyed fabric for the Tiger Wall UL2 which greatly reduces energy consumption and water use during manufacturing. It’s better for the environment and improves the quality of the fabric. We also loved the color coded ends on the tent poles which makes set up super easy and straightforward, especially in the dark.  

If we had to nit-pick, the privacy wall is kinda see-through. Also, the white mesh interior isn’t ideal for stargazing. 

If you’re between the Tiger Wall and the Nemo Hornet Elite, this one is roomier for 2 people. The trade off is it is more expensive but you do get much more room, thanks to a little tent pole that runs perpendicular to the main pole. This makes the headroom larger so it is easier for two people to sit up at the same time.  

The Tiger Wall UL also comes in 1-person and 3-person versions.

Marmot Limelight

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 33.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 5 lbs 02 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Super Wide Doors
  • Roomy
  • Great Head Room
Marmot Limelight

The Marmot Limelight is a super spacious and durable tent that is a favorite among people who like to bring their dog along camping. 

What we love the most about this tent is it has tons of headroom and it’s so spacious for a backpacking tent. Two people plus a small to medium sized dog could sleep fairly comfortably in the Limelight. The door opens all the way around, which makes it super easy to get gear in and out. You can even pack the door away into a little pocket so that it can stay fully open. This accessibility is also one of the reasons why it’s great for dogs. The floor is pretty durable, making it more paw friendly than other tents that use delicate fabrics. 

The biggest downside is it’s a smidge over 5 lbs. But, like all of our budget conscious tents on this list, we still think the Limelight is an awesome deal. If you decide to upgrade to a lightweight backpacking tent in the future, the Limelight would work great as a car camping tent. 

The Marmot Limelight also comes in a 3-person version.

Nemo Dragonfly 2P

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 30.5 sq ft
  • Weight: 3 lbs 02 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
Nemo Dragonfly 2P backpacking tent

When it comes to cutting weight and pack size, the Nemo Dragonfly 2P is one of the best freestanding tents you can find. 

What we loved the most about the Nemo Dragonfly 2P was its storage space. There is a huge gear loft overhead as well as two large storage pockets on each side. One nice feature is the included divvy sack which makes splitting the weight between two people easier.   

Our biggest complaint is that the fly doesn’t reach all the way to the ground which creates a draft in windy conditions. Also, we found the Dragonfly 2P to be tight for two people. This might be okay for a couple or two kids but we thought it was worth mentioning in case you prefer a bit more space. The tent doesn’t come with a footprint and the floor is fairly thin so we’d recommend you get one especially if you plan to camp on rocky terrain. 

If you’re looking for a smaller tent, the Nemo Dragonfly also comes in a 1-person model.

Marmot Tungsten 2P

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P / 3P / 4P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 32.0 sq ft
  • Length: 88 in. (Floor)
  • Weight: 5 lbs 04 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Color Coded Easy Pitch Clips
  • Lampshade Pocket to Hold Headlamps
  • 2 Vestibules
Marmot Tungsten 2P

The Marmot Tungsten 2P is a simple, straight forward tent. It’s pretty bulky and heavy, so we wouldn’t call it a true backpacking tent but if comfort and saving money are a priority, the extra weight might be worth it. 

What we loved the most about this tent is the poles and clips are color coded, which makes it easy to set up. It’s also super roomy even for two tall people. At $214, we don’t mind the price either. 

As we mentioned, this tent is a beast, it weighs over 5 pounds and packs down to the size of a toddler. We added the Tungsten 2P to this list because even for its weight, it’s still a good option for people who are new to backpacking or those who are attempting to introduce their spouse without scaring them off. 

The Marmot Tungsten also comes in a 1-person, 3-person, and 4-person version. 

Hilleberg Nallo 2

  • Capacity: 2P / 3P / 4P
  • Doors: 1
  • Floor Area: 28.0 sq ft
  • Weight: 5 lbs 05 oz
  • Season: 4-Season
  • Very lightweight
  • Tunnel construction
  • Separable inner and outer tent for simultaneous pitching

The Hilleberg Nallo 2 is a tunnel tent that was designed for high winds and tough conditions. 

What we love about this tent is how well it balances strength and weight. It’s tough enough to handle storms and powerful winds. The pole sleeves can fit an extra set of poles, which makes the tent much stronger. Also, the fly goes all the way to the ground, which prevents splashback and draft. 

The biggest downside of the Nallo is it underperforms when it comes to heavy snow loading. If you get caught in a snowstorm, either you’d need to get out (or convince your hiking partner to get out) and knock snow off the roof and vestibule to prevent the poles from bending. 

If you’re looking for a tent that can handle extreme winter conditions, have a look at The North Face VE25, which is also featured on this list.

REI Co-op Flash Air 2

  • Capacity: 1P / 2P
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 28.7 sq ft
  • Weight: 2 lbs 08 oz
  • Season: 3-Season
  • Packs down small.
  • Can be set with trekking poles.
  • Lightweight.
REI Co-op Flash Air 2 tent

The REI Co-op Flash Air 2 is a cross between an ultralight tent and an ultralight shelter. It’s a great option for a long-distance backpacker who is looking to shave weight. 

The biggest upsides we saw with this tent is how small it packs down and how lightweight it is. If you want to trim even more bulk and weight, you can pitch it with a set of trekking poles instead of the poles it comes with. Priced at $299, it is excellent value for money when it comes to ultralight tent options. 

The biggest downside we saw was it is very tight for two people. This might be ok if you plan to hike most of the day and only use the tent for sleeping, but if you get stuck inside on a rainy morning it might feel claustrophobic. Another point of weakness we found with this tent is its ability to handle rough weather. While it holds up just fine in light rain, if it turns into a downpour with strong winds you might be in for a cold and wet night. REI lists the Flash Air as a 3-season tent but we don’t feel comfortable recommending this tent for shoulder seasons or for use in places where the weather can suddenly turn nasty. 

The tent doesn’t come with a footprint, so we’d recommend getting the Flash Air 2 Footprint or some type of groundsheet if you plan to use it on rocky terrain. 

If you’re looking for a smaller tent, the REI Flash also comes in a 1-person model.





Most backpacking tents can comfortably sleep between 1 – 4 people. The number of sleepers a tent can hold is known as the tent’s capacity. There are several things you should keep in mind when considering the capacity of the tent you plan to purchase.

Most tents are designed to sleep exactly the number of people specified with no extra room. Consider how much gear you plan to pack with you as well as your sleeping style and your potential companions (2-legged or four!).

Sleepers who require extra elbow room or who sprawl out at night may want to add +1 person to their expected tent size. Also, if you plan on hiking with a pet or want to have plenty of space for your backpack in the tent, we recommend to go for a bigger capacity.

If you’re a solo backpacker needing some extra space and have no extra companions, it may be more cost and weight effective to look for a 1-person tent in a wide or plus model. And if you’re hiking or camping solo with your dog, we suggest opting for a 2-person tent – pups can take up a lot of precious space!

While couples may be fine with a snug fit in a 2-person tent, friends sharing a tent may want to opt for a 3-person tent to allow for extra space. If you’re a family with children, then we recommend looking for at least a 4-person tent. And if you have four people total plus gear and pets, then we definitely suggest considering buying a 6-person tent to make sure everyone has plenty of space to sleep at night.



Tents are made with a few different “seasonality” ratings depending on the weather in which it will primarily be used. While most campers and backpackers prefer to use 3-season tents, there are some cases where an extended or 4-season option is certainly needed.



Made to handle most seasons and weather conditions, 3-season tents will keep you comfortably covered through spring, summer, and fall. Lightweight and dependable, these tents are designed to shield you from bugs and moderate weather including rain, light snow, and modest winds. Anything beyond these limits will require a heavier duty tent.


Extended Season

Also known as 3+ season tents, these in-between models offer more strength and warmth than their 3-season counterparts. By employing an extra tent pole or two, adding more fabric layers to zippered seams, and reducing mesh fabrics, extended season tents offer added protection in early spring and late fall when unexpected snows or unseasonably low temperatures may surprise you.

Extended season tents are also a great option for those who backpack and camp at higher elevations where intense bouts of wind and snow are more likely. However, if extreme weather such as strong winds and heavy snow are expected, an upgrade to a 4-season tent is highly recommended.



Designed to tackle harsh conditions like heavy snow and strong winds, 4-season tents employ heavy duty fabrics and more tent poles than 3-season and extended season tents to increase durability, comfort, and warmth. Also known as mountaineering tents, these shelters are created with a dome style to keep snow from accumulating on the roof and deflect extreme winds.

And extra warmth doesn’t exclude 4-season tents from summer use. Removing the rainfly will allow these types of tents to breathe and increase airflow during hot summer nights.



How you decide on a backpacking tent will be a matter of what features you want within your budget. On average, you’ll spend between $100-$500 on a backpacking tent. Entry-level tents will be on the lower end of the price scale. These tents tend to offer minimal features with a heavier weight and less durability. Meanwhile, the more money you spend, the more you’ll gain in durability, weather protection, and decreased weight.



When choosing a backpacking tent, weight is a major selling point that shouldn’t be ignored. Unlike car camping tents, backpacking tents skimp on weight wherever possible. This helps keep pack weight to a minimum while reducing space.

In terms of how heavy your tent should be, that’s really up to you. The lighter the tent, the less space it is likely to have and vice versa. When it boils down to it, it’s a matter of how much you’re willing to lug around to sleep comfortably at night.




Dome Style: Best suited for all types of backpacking due to their lighter weight and thoughtfully engineered design, dome style tents have sloping walls to deflect wind and curved tops to prevent rain and snow from collecting.

Cabin Style: Better suited for families and those staying put for a few nights, cabin style tents offer more “livable” space and tend to be larger. Some models can include dividers for privacy to create multiple rooms within the dwelling. Because they are larger, heavier, and have flat roofs, these are best used in pleasant weather and as a base camp. Packing up and traveling with these tents night after night will become cumbersome.



Backpacking Tent Rainfly

Rainflys do more than just keep sudden rain showers off you while you’re sleeping – they can also help insulate your shelter by trapping warm air and prevent winds from creating a chill in your tent. They’re also a good way to keep you dry by preventing morning dew from collecting on you and your belongings.


Doors & Vestibule

Backpacking tents and vestibules

When sharing a tent with other people, the number of doors and their placement can help create easy access for bathroom breaks without disturbing your tent-mates.

The addition of a vestibule outside the tent doors is also a useful feature. Typically built into the rainfly, a vestibule is an extended bit of fabric that adds extra covered space separate from the main tent. This is a highly desirable feature as it can act as a “garage” to store muddy, dirty, and/or wet gear such as hiking boots. You may also choose to store your pack in the vestibule on a dry night to give you extra space inside the tent for stretching out and relaxing.



Tent ventilation

Mesh fabric is primarily used as a way to ventilate camping shelters. Some tents include a removable rainfly that allows the mesh to breathe and create more airflow. Other tent designs include flaps built into the tent that you can open to increase ventilation.

We all know that ventilation is important for creating a cooler atmosphere in warm weather. But did you know that proper ventilation can also help keep you warm in cold temperatures by reducing condensation? When you breathe and move in your tent, warm air is trapped. The colder outside air can create condensation that gets you and your gear wet. Properly ventilating your tent in cooler weather will help keep you cozy and dry!




Hiking tent footprint

A footprint is a ground cloth that provides an extra layer between the tent’s floor and the ground. It can help reduce wear and tear on the tent floor, allowing it to last longer and eliminate the need for repairs. Footprints are also useful in preventing groundwater and excess moisture from soaking your tent’s floor and subsequently you and your belongings.

Many, if not most, tents have an option to purchase a custom-fitted footprint. Although you could create your own, we suggest buying a matching footprint for your tent to obtain a perfect fit. A footprint that’s too big will stick out from beneath the tent and capture water, soaking your floor in the process. If it’s too small, only a limited portion of your tent floor will be protected from the wet ground and you’re more likely to end up wet if the whole bottom of your tent isn’t covered by the footprint.


Gear Loft

Backpacking tent gear loft

Usually found as a built-in accessory on most tents, a gear loft offers extra space overhead to store quick-access items such as your car keys or a headlamp for midnight bathroom breaks. Gear lofts can also be purchased separately with additional features, such as pockets and gear loops.


Tent Repair Kit

We highly recommend including a tent repair kit with the purchase of your tent, considering how lightweight and inexpensive they are. Usually consisting of an extra swatch or two of fabric, adhesive glue, a tent pole splint, extra zippers, and a sewing needle and thread among other items, a tent repair kit can mend holes, tears, rips, broken poles, and busted zippers. It can mean the difference between a wet and dry tent or the ability to keep bugs out.




Hiking tent footprint

A layer of cloth that goes beneath a tent to prevent tearing and scratching of the tent floor and minimize leaking from excess water underneath your tent.



Freestanding backpacking tent

A tent that stands upright without the need for tent stakes.


Guyout Loops

Camping tent guyout loops

These loops are found on the exterior of a tent or rainfly and allow small ropes called guy lines to be attached. Guy lines help to keep your tent and rainfly taut and prevents them from flapping in the wind. A properly anchored guy line can also help prevent condensation inside your tent by creating a layer of air between the two materials of the tent body and its corresponding rainfly.


Loop & Clip System

Tent loop and clip system

The features (loops and clips) on the tent body that are used to assemble your tent.



Backpacking tent rainfly

A piece of fabric separate from the tent body used to add protection from the wind and rain.



Backpacking tent stakes

A tent stake is a plastic or metal rod that you dig into the ground to anchor a tent and rainfly. Stakes keep your tent from shifting or flying away in inclement weather. We recommend that you stake out your tent as soon as setting it up, regardless of how pleasant the weather is at the time of arrival. You never know when a sudden wind or rainstorm might appear!


Tent Body

Backpacking tent body

The main area of the tent. The body is held up by the tent poles to create the interior.


Tent Pole

Hiking tent poles

Lightweight plastic or metal poles that snap into place to create a frame for the tent. Tent poles create structure and stability for the tent. Some lightweight backpacking tents allow you to use trekking poles instead of proper tent poles. This will reduce weight and decrease set-up time.



How do I choose a backpacking tent?

When choosing a backpacking tent, think about how you are going to use it the majority of the time. How many people are going to sleep inside? What kind of weather will you camp in? How much are you willing to spend? Is weight a big issue?

Do you need a special tent for backpacking?

You can camp with just about any tent that you can carry. However, using a tent that is made especially for backpacking will be more comfortable. Tents that are popular among car campers aren’t as light and small as backpacking tents, so they will be more of a burden. Also, they won’t perform as well in high winds, snow or rain as a true backing tent would.

What is a good tent weight for backpacking?

Expect a decent backpacking tent to weigh between 3 – 4 lbs. You can find lighter ones, but they will be more expensive. 

How light is an ultralight tent?

We consider ultralight tents to be under 3 lbs. 

What is the lightest backpack tent?

The Laser Pulse Ultra 1 is 1 lb (450g), making it the lightest tent currently available.

Is 4 lbs too heavy for a backpacking tent?

4 lbs is on the heavier end when it comes to modern backpacking tents but it’s not too heavy. If you plan to hike with a partner, you can split up the fly, inner tent, ground sheet, poles and pegs. 

How much does a good backpacking tent cost?

Expect to spend around $250 for a decent backpacking tent. This price point typically will get you good durability, packability, ventilation and weight.

Why are backpacking tents so expensive?

Backpacking tents are much lighter and pack down smaller than typical camping tents. They use special fabrics like expensive high grade ripstop nylon or dyneema composite fiber to cut weight and size, as well as increase durability.

What is the best affordable tent?

The North Face Stormbreak 2 is one of the most affordable backpacking tents on the market, with a price tag at $159.00. While you can certainly find cheaper options, they most likely aren’t the best choice for backpacking because of their weight and pack size.

Are cheap tents worth it?

If you are new to backpacking and not sure if you’ll like it, an inexpensive tent is a valid option. A cheap tent won’t be as lightweight or packable as the high-end options. However, using one will give you an idea of what kinds of features you want if you do decide to upgrade in the future.

What is a footprint for a tent?

A footprint for a tent is a piece of fabric that goes under your tent that protects the tent floor from rips and tears. It also helps keep the tent floor dry and relatively clean. It’s a good idea to bring one if you plan to camp on rocky terrain.

Best 3 Season Backpacking Tents

Testing the MSR Hubba Hubba NX and other tents in Patagonia

3 Responses

  1. Adrian

    I have a question did you have pleasure or non pleasure with Coleman Exponent Helios X2 Tent. I heard about it few good words and dont know if it will be good decision to buy it ??(unfortunetaly i need to deliver it from USA :/)

  2. Del

    Get in the tent and test it out. I had to order the BigAgnes HV UL3. It wasn’t in stock at REI near my house. I found the tent much smaller inside than it is stated on their website.

    States 39SqFt and actually it’s 34.7SqFt.

  3. Ross Pun

    Best 4 seasons should be TNF VE25. If going for light weight 2 persons, Robert Saunders Spacebacker Plus was the best, however, the bad news is Robert Saunders passed away a few years ago that this brand and its models were no longer available.