Backpacking can be a surprisingly expensive hobby. For an activity that often prides itself on minimalism, it can be difficult and pricey to build up your gear closet from scratch. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Focus on an affordable set of base camping gear and expand your collection from there. First and foremost: Buying the best tent.
To get you started, we’ve done the legwork when it comes to buying the right tent and sourced the best backpacking tents under $100 in 2021. These budget backpacking tents range from two-person to four-person tents.
If name-brand matters, Coleman’s Hooligan Backpacking Tent is a great option at just under $100. The 9 by 7-foot interior is spacious enough for four campers with sleeping pads, making it one of the largest on this list. Thanks to an Insta-Clip suspension, snag-free pole sleeves, and a patented pin-and-ring system, it sets up in 10 minutes or less.
Related Reading: Best 4-Person Tents
For straightforward value, it’s hard to beat Moon Lence’s catalog of entry-level camping gear. The brand’s backpacking tent is no exception. It sets up in minutes with more versatility than most tents in this price range. That means you can pitch it as an open-air shelter or add the included fly if the weather takes a turn for the worse. With an 86 by 55-inch footprint, there’s more than enough room for two. Plus, for a sub-$100 tent, it’s reasonably lightweight at just over five pounds.
Related Reading: Best Camping Tents
Clostnature’s 3-Season Backpacking Tent is among the best-reviewed lightweight tents in the category on Amazon. It boasts many of the same features of far more expensive brand-name tents, including waterproof construction, a lifetime warranty, a panoramic mesh design with a rain fly, and a roomy footprint to accommodate two campers and maybe a small dog, too. It’s a steal at under $75.
Related Reading: Best Waterproof Tents
River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 is the lightest and most compact on this list, thanks to one of our favorite field-tested backpacking tent designs. By relying on ordinary trekking poles, it eliminates the need for traditional tent poles. This minimizes weight, pack space, and complexity, making it a snap to pitch, even by just a sole camper. Inside, it’s roomy enough for one camper with gear or two campers who don’t mind stashing their gear outside.
Bessport’s family of camping and backpacking tents is affordable, durable, and versatile. Every model in the lineup features dual D-shaped doors and two vestibules for easy access and gear storage. By relying on a single aluminum pole, the tents pitch fast (especially welcome if you’re camping in the rain). Twin ceiling vents and a large mesh window combine to provide ample airflow. Plus, whether you opt for the 2-person or 3-person backpacking tent, it’s available for under $100.
Related Reading: Best 2-Person Tents
Another solid option from Coleman, the Sundome Tent is an ideal two-person camping and backpacking shelter priced under $100. The unique dome design provides enhanced airflow courtesy of oversized windows and a ground vent. Plus, the weatherproof construction features welded corners, inverted seams, and an included rainfly to fend off rain and withstand winds up to 35 miles per hour. We also love the built-in E-port, which delivers easy electrical power access at your next campsite.
If you value affordability above all else, Night Cat’s Backpacking Tent is a basic offering with only the essentials. The single-layer design is best suited for solo campers with just enough extra room for a child or a pet. The foldable fiberglass poles guarantee easy setup and breakdown, and the entire design collapses into the included carry bag at a compact 16.5 by 4.7 inches across. The best part? The sub-$40 price tag makes this one of the cheapest on this list.
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