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The map is spread out on your dining table (or more likely your computer screen) and you are planning your next epic adventure. The roads less travelled, destinations you’ve only dreamed of, and adventures into the wilderness.

But wait…the wilderness doesn’t have hotels!!

So it’s time to find a suitable shelter that you can take with you. What is the best tent for bike touring, you ask? It’s a tent that can be packed up small enough to fit on the handlebars of your bike, one that is lightweight so you aren’t carrying too much weight, and one that can handle any weather conditions you might encounter along the way, anything from rain and wind through to hot summer nights.

We scoured high and low to find the best tent for bike touring. There are plenty of options to choose from; tiny tents, spacious tents, tents with storage, multi-person or single person tents. We shortlisted the best options with varying qualities to help you find the perfect tent for your next bike touring adventure.

For more of our top bike touring gear recommendations, check out the Best Stoves for Bike Touring.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Tents for Bike Touring

  1. Nemo Apollo 3P
  2. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2
  3. MSR Hubba Tour 1
  4. Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent
  5. The North Face Stormbreak 1

 

Comparison Table - Best Tents for Bike Touring

PictureNameWeightSleeping CapacityWaterproof?Design TypePriceRating
Nemo Apollo 3PNemo Apollo 3P1.11 lbs3-PersonNoNon-Freestanding$$4.9
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL22.10 lbs2-PersonYesSemi-Freestanding$$$4.7
MSR Hubba Tour 1MSR Hubba Tour 14.7 lbs1 PersonYesSemi Freestanding$$$3.9
Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent2.9 lbs1 PersonYesSemi-Freestanding$4.2
The North Face Stormbreak 13.2 lbs1 PersonYesFreestanding$$$4.8
PictureNameWeightSleeping CapacityWaterproof?Design TypePriceRating
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 - The Best Bike Touring Tents

Nemo Apollo 3P

Specs
  • Canopy Material: Ripstop Silnylon
  • Design Type: Non-Freestanding
  • Weight: 1.11 lbs
  • Sleeping Capacity: 3-Person
  • Waterproof?: No
  • Packed Dimensions: 5.1” x 18.9”
  • Pole Material: Aluminium
Features
  • Simple Design Makes It Easy To Pitch
  • Lightweight And Small Packed Size
  • Adjustable Pole To Change The Height Of The Tent
Nemo Apollo 3P

BEST FOR: SUMMER ADVENTURES WITH FRIENDS

If you’re headed out for a summer bike-packing adventure with some friends, or headed out solo but want to keep you bike and gear in the tent with you, then the Nemo Apollo 3P is just what you need.

The simplistic adjustable center pole design makes this tent extremely quick to set up with the ability to vary the height based on your requirements. The single wall construction and floorless design paired with the single pole makes this an ultra-light tent especially considering it will fit up to 3 people. 

Travelling with a friend? You can easily share the weight by splitting up the poles, stakes and tent shell, which will leave each of you carrying less than 1lb of shelter weight. While not completely waterproof, this tent is designed with durable materials and is able to withstand light winds, making it perfect for summertime when the weather is typically more mild.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Specs
  • Canopy Material: Nylon/polyester mesh
  • Design Type: Semi-Freestanding
  • Weight: 2.10 lbs
  • Sleeping Capacity: 2-Person
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Packed Dimensions: 5.5” x 12”
  • Pole Material: Aluminium
Features
  • 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

BEST FOR: SERIOUS BIKE PACKING

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is the smallest packed tent on the list today, coming in at a tiny 5.5” x 12.5” it will easily fit into most front handlebar racks or mount directly with Velcro hook and loop straps. The small packed size does not reflect the spacious footprint of the tent, which comfortably sleeps two people. The tent also includes a vestibule area to store your packs, shoes, and any other essentials you don’t want to leave out in the elements.

The unusual T-shaped design of the structure reduces the weight and makes it simple to pitch. The internal wall is mesh for ventilation while the external rainfly is waterproof to keep you dry even in heavy rainfall.

The internal area of the tent features lots of pockets, hooks, and loops which is perfect for storing essentials like your phone or hanging a headlamp or damp clothes. The Big Agnes Fly Creek tent also has plenty of add-on accessories such as underflooring for extra protection during storms and attachable pockets in case you have a lot of small things to store inside. You’ll be able to take your bike packing to the next level with this tent!

MSR Hubba Tour 1

Specs
  • Canopy Material: DWR Coated Ripstop Nylon
  • Design Type: Semi Freestanding
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs
  • Sleeping Capacity: 1 Person
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Packed Dimensions: 7” x 17”
  • Pole Material: Aluminum
Features
  • Short Poles Allow For Small Packed Size
  • Spacious Vestibule For Storing Gear Overnight
  • Unified Rain Fly For Quick Pitching
MSR Hubba Tour 1

BEST FOR: THE LUXURY BIKE TOURER

If sliding into a small bivy tent is not your idea of a good time, and you’re looking for something that is a little more spacious for both you and your gear, then the MSR Hubba Tour 1 could be the tent for you.

While this tent is not as light as some of the others on this list, for its spacious size it is still a light-weight package. Additionally its packed size is a mere 5.5” x 17” which makes it a great choice for bike packing.

The specially designed tent, with an exoskeleton frame (meaning the poles are on the outside of the tent) makes pitching this tent quick and easy. Paired with the unified rainfly, the main canopy is also waterproof, meaning even in wet weather the inside of the tent will stay clean and dry. The large vestibule allows plenty of space for your gear or lots of space for you to wait out a bad storm.

Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent

Specs
  • Canopy Material: Nylon
  • Design Type: Semi-Freestanding
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs
  • Sleeping Capacity: 1 Person
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Packed Dimensions: 18" x 4.5" x 4"
  • Pole Material: Aluminium
Features
  • Durable Rain Fly For Protection In Bad Weather
  • Includes Cords And Stakes To Secure The Tent
  • Ventilated Mesh Inner Walling To Keep You Cool And Comfortable

BEST FOR: BUDGET CONSCIOUS ADVENTURERS

The Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent is an excellent choice for those who don’t want to spend too much money. This is the lowest cost option on the list, however it is not lacking in all the key areas that you would look for when purchasing a tent for bike touring. 

Weighing in at under 3 pounds and packing up into a relatively compact bag, it’s perfect for strapping onto your bike and hitting the road. This is a bivy tent (see Features Explained section below for more explanation) which means it is short and you will not be able to stand or sit in the tent. The benefit of the small bivy design is that it uses less material and makes this tent super lightweight.

Pitching the tent is easy as it uses a 2 hoop design, where the lightweight poles simply snap together and thread through the tent loops to create the structure. The inner mesh material allows for plenty of ventilation, perfect for the warmer months. Plus it has a rain fly for when the weather turns bad, making it suitable for heavy rainfall. This tent will see you through three seasons and is a great value for cost option.

The North Face Stormbreak 1

Specs
  • Canopy Material: Polyester Taffeta
  • Design Type: Freestanding
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Sleeping Capacity: 1 Person
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Packed Dimensions: 7” x 9” x 21”
  • Pole Material: Aluminium
Features
  • Small Design Keeps It Lightweight
  • Mesh Netting For Good Ventilation
  • Simple Design Makes It Easy To Pitch

BEST FOR: WINDY AND WILD WEATHER

Heading out when there may be some wind and wild weather? The North Face Stormbreak 1 is an ideal choice for you. It has an X pole design, where the poles cross over each other, giving it plenty of structural stability to stand up to strong winds. The aluminium poles and minimal design keep this tent a lightweight package. 

The mesh netting allows for good ventilation, while the rain fly holds up to rain. The North Face thought of some clever tricks to make this tent easy to assemble by color-coding the corners of the main shell with the rain fly so you will easily get it right every time. The tent also features a small vestibule allowing you to store your packs and any other small items you want to keep dry.

This tent is specifically designed to sleep one, and for the price point paired with a good quality package it would be hard to go wrong selecting this tent for your next adventure.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A TENT FOR BIKE TOURING

WEIGHT

When bike touring, every ounce matters. The more weight you have, the harder you have to work to carry it around. Lightweight tent options are plentiful and there are plenty of multi-person tents available to share the weight of the tent with your fellow bike tourers.

 

TENT STYLE

There are three main styles of bike touring tents:

Bivy Tent

These are the smallest style of bikepacking tent. They have minimal height and are very compact and lightweight. This style will generally only fit one person and their sleeping gear. You will not be able to sit up inside the tent. Read more about Bivy Tents and Bivy Sacks here.

Single Pole

This style of tent has a single main pole in the center and the edges are staked out to give the tent its shape. Single pole tents come in a variety of sizes. They can be lightweight but do take some practice to pitch.

Exoskeletal Frame

Tents with an external frame use poles that snap together to form the skeleton (structure) of the frame. They can come in either multi-hooped design, X- design, or T-section. These tents are quick to pitch and semi-freestanding. They still require staking but will hold their structure even without being staked down, making set-up super easy.

 

INTERNAL TENT SPACE

How many people do you want to fit in the tent? Do you want to fit your gear and packs in there too? These are all questions to ask yourself as they will help determine the best tent option for you. 

An advantage of choosing a multi-person tent instead of each person on the trip having a solo tent is the overall weight is not doubled from a single to double person tent. This means you can share the weight of your tent with your bike touring buddy, helping to reduce the overall weight each of you are carrying.

 

PACKED SIZE

Typically the length of the poles has the biggest impact on the length of the packed size. Ensure the packed tent can fit onto your bike, whether it’s inside bags or perhaps on your front handlebars. Alternatively you can store the poles and stakes separately to the canopy and rainfly to help distribute the weight.

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

TENT SHELLS

Rain Fly

This is the outer shell that is designed out of waterproof material and will often have additional waterproof coatings. The seams on the rainfly will also be specially sealed to increase the waterproof qualities. This shell is attached over the top of the tent.

Ventilated Mesh Inner

This is often the inner layer and main component of the tent shell. It’s made from a mesh material which allows for ventilation, helping you stay cool and comfortable while camping in the warmer months. During the warmer months and in good weather these can be used on their own. If used in conjunction with the rainfly, a mesh inner allows for airflow which decreases the chance of condensation forming. Less condensation = more heat so you can stay toasty in the cooler months as well.

Unified Rain Fly

This is a single shell that integrates the rainfly into the main component of the tent shell. Tents with a unified rainfly can be pitched without getting the inside wet even if you’re setting up in the rain.

 

PITCHING

This is the term used to describe putting the tent up.

 

STAKES

These are made from metal or strong plastic and are used to hold the tent to the ground.

 

POLES

These are most commonly made from aluminium and will either dismantle or be adjustable so they can be stored in short lengths for easy transport. The aluminium poles that dismantle are very easy to use, simply by sliding them in or out of one another to create longer poles that are used in the exoskeletal tent design.  

 

POLE DESIGNS

There are a variety of designs that use aluminium poles that join together. The advantage of this is the poles are compact yet when joined together they form a flexible yet strong structure. The tent shell is then attached to this structure. There are a variety of ways these poles can be used:

Hooped designs use lengths of aluminium poles that create a flexible semi circle. A tent with a hooped design will feature 2 or more hoops that are placed at either end of the tent, which creates the structure of the tent.

X-Style designs use equal lengths of aluminium poles that create a flexible semi circle. Two of these poles are crossed over one another to create an X shape and form the structure of the tent.

T-Style designs use two varying lengths of aluminium poles. The longer length pole forms a semicircle while the shorter length poles connect to the middle of the long pole to form a T-shape.

 

STRUCTURE

Freestanding tents are a sturdy structure that do not require stakes to be inserted into the ground to hold them upright.

Semi-Freestanding tents are a sturdy structure that can stand on its own when pitched. However, they require staking into the ground to hold them in place.

Non-Freestanding tents have no independent structure and can not stand on their own without being staked into the ground.

 

READ MORE

For more of our top bicycle touring gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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