A memorable hiking scenic outdoor adventure needs a good waterproof lightweight backpacking tent as companion.
Good hiking tents are more on lightweight, easy to pitch, waterproof and less about comfort.
- 1 Top Rated Tents For Backpacking 2016
- 1.1 Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 Tent
- 1.2 Sundome 2 Person Tent
- 1.3 Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 Person Tent
- 1.4 First Gear – Cliff Hanger – Solo Tent
- 1.5 Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Person Tent
- 1.6 Lightest Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Top Rated Tents For Backpacking 2016
Take into consideration features such as breathable, durable, moisture regulating, water repellent, sun protective, strong, colorfast, dirt repellant when buying your best backpacking tent.
To get an ultralight backpacking tent, obviously you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of comfort, that means less livable space. The smaller the tent, the lighter the weight. Ultralight tents normally weigh 3 pounds and below.
Compact and lightweight are the keywords to look out for.
The weight of the tent will be determined by the tent fabric and the tent poles.
Backpacking Tent Fabric
The tent fabric also contributes to the lightness of the tent. Waterproof polyurethane coated polyester or coated nylon, silnylon (silicone coated nylon) and cuben fiber are the main fabrics used with the lightest being cuben fiber.
Polyurethane coated polyester is the cheapest, breathable but heavier. Cuben fiber is the lightest, doesn’t stretch, most waterproof but very expensive.
Silnylon has a smooth and slippery texture thus snow has difficulty building up on the surface. It is also more resistance to UV damage and water absorption compared to polyurethane coated nylon.
Silnylon or nylon impregnated with silicone results in a stronger tear strength, meaning it is difficult to tear the fabric. Thus it is stronger and more resistant to abrasion compared to polyuretahane coated fabrics. In the unfortunate circumstances that a tear does occur while camping, it is difficult to repair it as duct tape does not stick to it. It is stretchable.
Cuben fiber compared to silnylon, is not stretchable as well as less heat resistance. The more stretchable, the easier to pitch the tent. But the good point is that being non-stretchable means that the tent material will not sag easily when the weather turns colder. However, the material is thin and bordering on semi-translucent. Privacy might be an issue to some. It is also not breathable and has poor abrasion resistance, thus needs careful handling.
Backpacking Tent Poles Material
The type of tent poles used affect not only the total weight but also its price tag as well as the performance of your best backpacking tent.
Let’s check out these lightweight backpacking tents in Amazon’s best selling list with majority positive customers reviews.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 Tent
This 3 season tent is perfect for a comfortable solo getaway or a twosome with a loved one.
An ultralight double wall tent with a trail weight of 2lb 13oz. ( tent body, fly and poles ) and a packed weight of 3lb 2oz., this 3 season free standing tent has eco-friendly anodized DAC Featherlite NFL tent poles.
The J stakes are also green anodized.
It offers the convenience of 2 separate doors and vestibules for individual usage. This is really convenient as one camper can move in and out of the tent without disturbing the other person.
This also makes for a good ventilation and air flow together with the vents at the top and back of the tent. A mesh top adds to good air circulation and an excellent ventilation system.
It is roomy with steep vertical walls, thus allowing for more head room. Four interior mesh pockets and two media pockets as well as loops for lantern and camp stuff add to the convenience.
You have to buy the gear loft separately, same for the Copper Spur Footprint for additional floor protection.
The rain fly is included with the package.
With a floor area of 29 sq. feet, head height of 42″, height at foot section of 22″ and width of 42″, it has a packed size of 5.5″ x 17.5″. Floor width at its widest point is 52″.
The rainfly weighs in at 2lb 1oz. 2 vestibules at 9 sq. feet each, has ample space for shoes and stuff.
With a trail weight of 2lb 13oz (poles, fly and tent body) and a packed weight of 3lb 2oz, there shouldn’t be any weight issues when trekking up the mountain.
Add just another 50z if you decide to carry along the copper spur footprint.
Tent body is ultra lightweight nylon at the bottom part and polyester mesh at the top.
Floor is ultralight silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating
Fly is ultralight silicone treated nylon rip-stop with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating
All seams sealed with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane (No PVC or VOC’s) seam tape.
The tent comes with 2 color coded Aluminum DAC Featherlite NSL poles.
All DAC poles made from TH72M aluminum (a blend of titanium with aluminum, copper etc): the latest technology in lightweight tent poles featuring improved durability.
DAC Featherlite NSL 2 pole system with press fit connectors, and lightweight hubs – featuring eco-friendly anodizing.
This means no toxic nitric acid and phosphoric acid used during anodizing process common in non eco-friendly systems. Anodizing is essential to prevent corrosion of the aluminum poles.
Featherlite feature of the DAC tent poles reduces the weight of the joints in a significant way. These poles come with a protector to prevent the ends from denting, a strengthener to prevent breakage at joints and a stopper to stop swayed ends from jamming.
DAC Featherlite NSL poles have expanded section at the ends, thus creating a strong pole end which is 20% stronger than the inner tube. These result in the creation of thin but strong and durable tent poles.
Pitching The Tent
Since it is a free standing tent, setting up is simple and can be done even in a rocky terrain. Set up is fast and simple with color coded poles and fly connectors.
DAC Twist Clips attach tent body to the pole frame for quick and easy set-up.
Reflective quick-adjust guy lines and reflective webbing on tent corners make the job easier when pitching at night.
Reflective corner webbing
Included are 8 superlight aluminum J stakes – featuring eco-friendly anodizing just like the tent poles.
Storm flaps over zippers prevents water leakage into tent
Limited lifetime warranty by manufacturer
- Ultralight tent
- Good ventilation
- Quick and easy to set up
- Rainfly top vent cannot be closed from inside the tent
- Floor fabric is thin – Buying the extra footprint is recommended as additional protection, thus incurring additional cost
Lightweight waterproof tent that is comfortable and has good ventilation.
Tent stays dry during heavy rain. Condensation is not a problem.
Plenty of space for storage with 6 mesh pockets, loop for optional gear loft and 2 vestibules for shoes and gear. However, buying the footprint incurs additional cost.
Here is a video by Backcountry edge on the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 person ultralight tent
Sundome 2 Person Tent
This is a 3 season dome shaped backpacking tent with 1 door.
2 fiberglass pole design ensures a hassle-free setup. Fiberglass tent poles help in lowering the overall cost of the tent but are heavier compared to aluminum alloy poles.
1 door free standing dome tent
2 pole design
Electric accessibility port for easy power supply inside tent
2 person tent
Comes with a rainfly
2 windows with 1 large rear hooded window – this window can’t be zip closed
Ground vent for extra ventilation
Mesh vents on roof
Bathtub style floor
1 interior mesh storage pocket
Convenient loop on the ceiling for hanging your flashlight
Carry bag and stakes are included
Tent – Polyester mesh 75D inner tent
Rainfly – Polyester taffeta 75 denier flysheet
Floor – Rugged 1000D polyethylene bathtub style floor
Weather Tec System – Patented welded floor and inverted seams keep tent dry
3 fiberglass poles – shockcorded fiberglass poles for easy setup of the tent dome shaped frame.
2 poles are for the tent setup and the third pole is for the rainfly
Snag-free, continuous pole sleeves
Diameter of the poles is 8.5 mm.
Tent measures 7′ x 5′ x 48″
Internal height at center part is 48″
Floor – Polyethylene
Shipping weight is about 7.2 pounds
1 year limited warranty
Customers reviews and feedback
A good waterproof tent with good air flow due to the vents at the top. Super easy to set up even if doing it alone.
Double folded tarp under the floor is recommended to protect form sharp stones etc.
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 Person Tent
This is a free standing 3 season 2 pole system lightweight 2 person backpacking tent.
This dome shaped tent comes with half mesh wall which is great for ventilation. You’ll appreciate the cool air circulation when sleeping.
2 doors make for easy entry and exit especially when there are 2 person using the tent, one door for each person.
2 vestibules means more space for your boots, backpack, even for cooking when raining etc. It makes a great difference when there are 2 campers sharing the tent. Besides, they offer extra protection from the rain.
Half mesh walls for better air flow. The 2 doors add to better ventilation feature.
Rainfly is included.
Factory sealed seams for the fly as well as the floor ensures no water leakage even during heavy rain. Fly buckles are waterproof too. Rainfly goes all the way to the ground.
Gear loft is included. Attached it to the loops at the top center of the tent for extra storage space for your small items.
Extra large zippers for the doors and vestibules make for easy handling.
Stakes, guylines and some extra tent material for repair complete the whole package.
The floor is made of 75D 185T Taffeta with 2000mm Urethane Coating
The rainfly is made of 75D 185T polyester with 1500mm Urethane Coating
Mesh walls are made of polyester taffeta no-see-um mesh.
The tent measures 90″ x 60″.
Floor area : 37 sq. ft. (7.5″ x 5′)
Total vestibule area : 20 sq. ft. (10 sq. ft. for each vestibule)
The vestibule area is in the shape of a triangle. The edge of tent to triangular tip of vestibule measures 32″.
Interior center height : 46″
Minimum weight of 5lbs 4oz (Tent and fly weight combined). For a much lighter Alps backpacking tent, you might be interested in the Lynx 1 person tent with 1 door and 1 vestibule with a total weight of just 3 pound 15 ounces.
2 nos. of 7000 series aluminum poles with 8.5 mm diameters.
It is designed with pole clips that snap over the tent poles for easy assembly.
The poles fold down into 9 short sections held together with elastic cord for easy packing.
Customers reviews and feedback
They seemed impressed. Setup and disassemble was easy, within 5 minutes for most. Waterproof with no leaking when it rained was mentioned a lot. More than one customer mentioned that it was the first tent that they owned that didn’t leak a drop.
Getting the Alps tent floor saver or footprint is recommended to prevent the floor from tearing or puncturing against rocks, twigs etc.
First Gear – Cliff Hanger – Solo Tent
The Texsport FirstGear tent is a very lightweight solo tent. A small but strong 3 season tent weighing just 3.5 pounds, this ultralight backpacking tent is functional and value for money tent.
To keep its weight down, it has a full no-see-um mesh body that is also great for ventilation besides keeping out the bugs.
It comes with a full coverage rainfly that has taped seams for additional protection against water sipping into the tent.
Comes with a moss green rainfly and a steel grey base. Unfortunately, there is no color choice for those not into moss green.
A full no-see-um mesh wall and roof encourages good air flow. The rainfly with 2 air vents contribute to an even better ventilation system.
The fly extends out beyond the door providing a small vestibule for your wet stuff or shoes.
Heavy-duty 1000mm taffeta rainfly is polyurethane coated polyester and buckled down for full coverage. Covers the whole tent including the door.
Extra heavy-duty 1500mm polyurethane coated 150D nylon Oxford floor with bathtub style design and taped seams.
Tent body and roof consist of full “no-see-um” mesh that does wonders to the ventilation.
It comes with 2 nos. shock-corded 7.9mm segmented fiberglass poles
Tent Set up
Setting up this free standing tent is simple and fast due to its simple 2 poles system.
Dimensions are 6 feet 7 Inch by 2 feet 5 Inch with a height of 3 feet 7 inches. It is possible to sit up inside the tent.
Has a total area of 14 square feet with another 5 square feet for the vestibule.
Has a packed size of 20.5″x6.5″.
- Tall zippered side entrance
- Small hook to hang a flashlight or lantern at ceiling of tent
- Small pocket at back of tent for storing some gear stuff
- Flame retardant, meets C.P.A.I.-84 specifications
- Zippered carry bag provided
- Stakes, secure clips and nylon rope included
- 3 year warranty
- Easy to set up and take down
- Good ventilation
- Full coverage fly
- High doorway – the entire height of the tent at 43″
- Footprint needed as nylon flooring might not withstand rough ground.
- Fly could be bigger
Very light tent that can be set up fast and easy. Most recommended not using the carry bag provided so as to knock off .25 pounds from the total weight.
Comfortable enough for a single person, even for a six footer as mentioned in customers reviews on Amazon.
Rainfly does a good job in keeping out the rain and condensation. Some commented about the convenience of having a hook in the center of the ceiling to hang a light.
Overall, a good affordable lightweight solo backpacking tent.
Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Person Tent
A 3 seasons free standing backpacking or hiking tent, the Grand Mesa is a double walled 2 person tent.
With a single entrance at the front end, it comes with a zippered door and a front vestibule.
Tent Wall : 68D Polyester and No-See-Um mesh covering
Floor covering : 68D Polyester, 1800 mm
Rainfy : 75D Polyester, 1800 mm PU, UV resistant polyester-taffeta
2 DAC Pressfit aluminum poles
Interior living area : 30 square feet (82′ x 58′ at widest point)
Interior peak height : 44″
Packed weight : about 4 lbs 10 oz
Dimensions : 82″ x 58″
Packed dimensions : 20″ x 7″
Vestibule : 6 square feet
Ease Of Setting Up
Setting up is pretty simple using color coded clip construction. After spreading out the tent on the ground, the tent poles are then laid out on top in an X formation. The end of the poles are then inserted into the grommets at each corner of the tent.
The tent is joined onto the poles using clips or hooks. It can be staked out for a more taut structure.
Fly is attached to the tent using a buckle and clip system at the corners with additional hooks and loops fastening system onto the poles
Great ventilation provided by wide mesh covering on wall panels and vent at the back of tent
- 2 mesh pockets at front corners
- Nylon loop at ceiling for hanging flashlight, lamp or a gear loft
- Taped floor seams
- Fly seams are taped on the underside
- Air vent at the back of tent
- The Kelty tent is a snug fit for 2 person, perfect for one person plus camping gear
- 12 aluminum 8″ J tent stakes
- 4 nylon guyout cords
- Noiseless zipper pulls
- Stuff sacks included
- Fire retardant
- Warranty : Lifetime
- Great ventilation
- Easy to setup
- Full coverage, non stretch rainfly
- Affordable price
- Footprint not included
- No zip covers for mesh
- Stakes are only suitable for soft soil, bend easily
Lightweight and affordable tent is a common feedback. Some commented that the tent has held up to extreme heat and rain, with no water leaking into the tent. Setup was fast with most commenting that it was done within 5 minutes.
Lightest Ultralight Backpacking Tent
One of the lightest ultralight backpacking tent is the Terra Nova Laser Photon 1 Person Tent.
Weighing in at a maximum weight of 1 pound 9 ounce, this 1 person 3 season tent has a packed size of just 13.7″ x 3.9″. Imagine the size of a water bottle – that is the packed size of your ultalight Terra Nova tent.
It comes with a waterproof silicone-coated nylon ripstop fly and floor as well as carefully stitched seams to prevent water from leaking in.
There is also a waterproof pole cover to protect the zipper as well as repel water from the single Scandium alloy pole sleeve.
It is not a free standing tent but set up using a single pole. There are also 4 reflective clam-cleat guy lines and 12 titanium stakes to help in pitching the tent.
There is a small vestibule for your boots.
The fly has roll-up tabs to allow for better air flow. The half mesh door contributes to good ventilation too.
The pitched tent measures about 34″ at its widest point and about 86″ in length.
The vestibule measures about 10″ at its widest point. The highest internal height is at its center and measures about 36″.
Footprint is sold separately. It is extremely lightweight and strong and is made of Cuban fiber.