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The 11 Best Backpacking Tents for Hiking and Camping

Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2
Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Backpacking Tent
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Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
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Kelty Late Start 1 Tent
Kelty Late Start 1 Backpacking Tent
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MSR Hubba Hubba NX
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent
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Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent
Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent
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Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent
Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent
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HyperLite UltaMid 2 Pyramid Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Pyramid Tent
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Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp
Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp and NetTent
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REI Co-op Half Dome SL
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent
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Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent 3 Season Backpacking
Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent
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Sea to Summit Alto TR 1 Tent
Sea To Summit Alto TR 1 Tent
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Hiking and backpacking shelters come at all shapes, sizes, and prices. Big, heavy tent options offer plenty of room for people and gear but weigh you down while trekking to the next camp. Ultralight models save your legs from burning on the trail but rarely provide proper living space or weather protection. Buying the right tent requires shopping for a wide range of solutions. If you're looking for a camping tent that falls somewhere in the middle, you're going to want a backpacking tent. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you to round up the best backpacking tents, from budget to ultralight and everything in-between.

Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Backpacking Tent.
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Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Backpacking Tent

True to its name, Mountain Hardwear delivers some of the world’s most “hard-wearing” camping gear. The Nimbus UL2 Tent is one of the lightest two-person backpacking tents on the market, with a minimal trail weight of just two pounds. Despite that featherweight design, it offers more than 28 square feet of floor space with almost eight square feet of vestibule storage. Plus, it promises solid weather protection with a 20D nylon rainfly impregnated with silicone on both sides to increase waterproofing and durability.

Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2
Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Backpacking Tent
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

We’re fast becoming fans of Big Agnes. The brand’s Copper Spur HV UL2 is a solid backpacking tent that just received a significant upgrade. The latest incarnation is better in every way, with lighter, more durable materials and improved pitchability that make it easier to set up than ever before. At under three pounds, it’s a great solution for backpacking duos who appreciate saving a few ounces on the trail.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
Kelty Late Start 1 Backpacking Tent.
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Kelty Late Start 1 Backpacking Tent

If you value convenience above all else, few solo tents are as quick and easy to pitch as Kelty’s Late Start 1. So named for “late starters” who often find themselves setting up camp after a long day at work or on the trail, everything about the Late Start is designed to be dead simple, thanks mainly to the brand’s Quick-Corner Technology. At north of three pounds, it’s a bit heavy for a solo backpacking tent. But, we think the easy pitchability makes up for the added bulk in your outdoor backpack.

Kelty Late Start 1 Tent
Kelty Late Start 1 Backpacking Tent
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent.
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MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

MSR’s two-person Hubba Hubba has been a favorite tent among backpackers and ultralight hikers for ages. Pared-down, it boasts a minimum “fast-pitch” trail weight of just three pounds or 3.8 pounds for more typical users. Even with such a trim design, it boasts almost 30 square feet of living space and a 39-inch interior height. StayDry doors and a canopy-compatible rainfly combine for excellent wet weather when camping in the rain.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent
Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent.
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Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent

Marmot’s Limelight 2P strikes a balance between weight, living space, and weather protection. With a minimum trail weight of just over five pounds, it’s well-sized for even weight-conscious backpackers. But, the three-season design offers excellent wet weather protection, and the 33-square-foot-floor plan and 9.5-square-foot vestibule provide plenty of space for two.

Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent
Marmot Limelight 2P Backpacking Tent
Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent

Finding the right tent for a three-person backpacking trek can be tricky. Eureka’s Summer Pass three-season tent is relatively lightweight (the seven-plus-pound weight can be divvied up amongst everyone in your group), airy, and durable enough for all but the coldest weather. It also features the brand’s Camp Comfort Sleep System -- a three-part system with a quiet but grippy layer on the tent floor to keep everyone in the same spot all night. So, if you move, at least it’ll be quiet enough not to wake your tentmates.

Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent
Eureka! Summer Pass Three-Person Backpacking Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Pyramid Tent.
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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Pyramid Tent

For backpackers who value saving grams at any cost, Hyperlite Mountain Gear always delivers. The brand’s Ultamid 2 Pyramid Tent has become something of a gold standard for ultralight backpacking tents. The pyramid style is arguably the most time-tested of any tent design. It’s durable, pitches easily, and provides outstanding weather protection with its 100% waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabrics. The best part? It tips the scales at just over one pound (yes, you read that correctly).

HyperLite UltaMid 2 Pyramid Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Pyramid Tent
Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp and NetTent.
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Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp and NetTent

Carrying a camping tarp instead of a full tent is the ultimate move in packability. Six Moon Designs’ Deschutes Solo Tarp is purpose-built for that reason. Set up a ground mat, a pad, and a sleeping bag under the 44-square-foot area for a great night’s rest with plenty of ventilation. If the bugs are getting at you, add the Serenity NetTent inside for 15 square feet of bug-free bliss. Like the Ultamid 2, the whole thing pitches by guying out the corners and holding the center up with a single trekking pole.

Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp
Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp and NetTent
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent.
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REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent

For those who appreciate car camping and modest weekend backpacking trips, REI Co-op’s Half Dome SL 2+ Tent is a near-perfect compromise. It’s among the heaviest on this list at more than four pounds packed, but that’s really the only downside. That weight can be easily split between two campers. It’s also one of the roomiest, and most storage-friendly, affordable, and straightforward to pitch, thanks to color-coded poles.

REI Co-op Half Dome SL
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent
Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent

Backcountry.com’s exclusive Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent is another solid bet for those who split their time between car camping and weight-conscious backpacking trips. At more than five pounds, it’s no featherweight. But, it does offer all the essential features of the best hiking and backpacking tents, including three-season capability, a PU-coated floor and rainfly, a mesh ceiling for stargazing, and plenty of interior storage space. The real win for budget backpackers, however, is the sub-$200 price tag.

Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent 3 Season Backpacking
Stoic Driftwood 2 Tent
Sea To Summit Alto TR 1 Tent.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sea To Summit Alto TR 1 Tent

This Sea To Summit Alto TR 1 Backpack tent is a one-person semi-freestanding tent that is faster, lighter, and more efficient than anything else. It is perfect for solo backpackers who are weight-conscious and still want a high degree of livability in their shelter. It features Tension Ridge architecture, which allows for more space inside and creates high doors for easier entry. Also, It is made for longevity and superior waterproof performance.

Sea to Summit Alto TR 1 Tent
Sea To Summit Alto TR 1 Tent

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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