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9 Best Backpacking Tents for Hiking and Camping in 2021

Backpacking shelters take many shapes and forms. Big and heavy gives you plenty of room but weighs you down as you hike to the next camp. Ultralight saves your legs from burning, but won’t give you much space in bad weather. Making the best selection requires a range of good options, and these are the best backpacking tents, from budget to ultralight.

Take a look at our guide to buying a tent if you don’t know where to begin. We’ve also found the best sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and chairs to complete the experience.

If you’re looking for more affordable options, take a look at some of the best Black Friday tent deals and backpack deals we’ve found for 2020.

Kelty Dirt Motel 2

When the weather hits, it’s time to batten down the hatches. When it’s nice out, the Kelty Dirty Motel 2 makes it easy to enjoy the clear weather. The fly rolls up from one end so you can star-gaze through the dark mesh. If the weather does roll in, then pop the clips and roll down the fly without leaving the tent. A cross pole at the top keeps the sides of the tent pushed out for more headroom inside. We’ve found more cheap camping tents like this one if you’re looking to save.

  • Weight: 4.25 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 28 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 8.9 x 8.9 square feet

Eureka Summer Pass 2

Sleeping under the stars after a long day hiking is supposed to be a relaxing, peaceful experience. However, many tents and sleeping pads can be louder than the traffic at home. The Eureka Summer Pass 2 has built-in Camp Comfort Sleep System compatibility. The mouthful of a name is a three-part system with a quiet but grippy layer on the tent floor to keep you in one spot all night. If you move, it will be quietly. No more nylon crackle to wake up the whole camp.

  • Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 29.3 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 12.5 x 7.6 square feet

REI Co-op Passage 2

The Passage 2 tent from REI is simple but pegs the necessities. Two doors and two vestibules give easy access to the tent for you and your tent mate. Roof vents keep the air flowing. Mesh wall and ceiling storage, as well as hang loops and tent stakes, keep all your gear organized. All this and color-coded clips on the fly for $159.

  • Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 31.1 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 9.4 x 9.4 square feet

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

The MSR Hubba Hubba is one of the most popular backpacking tents for a reason. With tons of livable space inside because of the cross-pole and steep walls, you won’t be crashing into your tent mates. Large doors and vestibules on either side make it easy to get into and out of while keeping gear dry. The 2019 version has been upgraded with Easton Syclone poles that bend instead of break and an Xtreme Sheild coating on the fly, making the waterproofing last three times longer than standard coatings. The Hubba Hubba NX is built for two people but it also comes in one-, three- and four-person models. You could easily fit an air mattress or a small camping cot in there for better sleep.

  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 29 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 8.75 + 8.75 square feet

Tarptent Double Rainbow

If you’re looking for a lightweight, two-person tent without the weight or price the Double Rainbow from Tarptent should be on your list. With 30.6 square feet of space inside, there’s plenty of room for two people and gear. Weight is kept down by only having one waterproof layer on top instead of both mesh and fly. A single rainbow-shaped top pole with cross-pole holds everything up. The corners need to be staked out but adding a trekking pole to hold out corners makes it freestanding for pitching on tent pads or other difficult-to-stake surfaces. The vestibules can be staked up with trekking poles for a covered-deck experience, sans the lounger and barbecue of course.

  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor Area: 30.6 square feet
  • Vestibule Area: 7.5 + 7.5 square feet

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3

Big tents usually mean a lot of weight. The Copper Spur HV UL 3 from Big Agnes steers clear of that problem. At only 3.4 pounds for a three-person tent, this tent is easy to split up with multiple people. The 41 square feet inside fits three people or is room to stretch for two. To help with storage, gear lofts are included inside. Media pockets above the head area hold our pocket computers for quick access to post the latest feet-hanging-out-of-tent photos. Feel good about the DAC Green Anodizing process the poles and stakes go through which re-uses the water used.

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 41 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 9 x 9 square feet

Marmot Limelight 3

Marmot does simple tents well and the Limelight 3-person is no exception. The bottom portion of the poles is vertical, lifting the walls out for more space inside. The main door is enormous and opens completely for easy access. The included footprint sits under the tent to protect the bottom from sharp rocks and sticks. When it’s time to hit the sack, Lamp Shade pockets hold your headlamp and diffuse the light for easy reading of the latest adventure story — or romance novel.

  • Weight: 6.3 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 42.5 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 11.3 x 7.5 square feet

Nemo Hornet Elite 2

Backpacking trips are more enjoyable when you’re not carrying the kitchen sink on your back. With the Nemo Hornet Elite 2P, there’s less than one pound for each person to carry. The ultra-thin 10 denier rainfly and DAC Featherlite poles keep weight low. Small struts in the feet corners keep the tent vertical away from your sleeping bag — but don’t worry, they’re carbon fiber. Lightweight plastic Flybar’s spread the top of the tent for more headroom.

  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Doors: 2
  • Floor area: 27.5 square feet
  • Vestibule area: 7.1 x 7.1 square feet

Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp and NetTent

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

  • Weight: 0.8 + 1.5 pounds
  • Doors: 1
  • Floor area: 15 square feet in NetTent
  • Vestibule area: 44 square feet (total under tarp)

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