Getting into a new outdoor activity isn’t cheap. If you’re new to backpacking you’ll need a reliable tent, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a backpack to carry it all. Add in a stove and trekking poles and it can add up. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best budget backpacking tents to help you get out on the trail and have fun without breaking the bank. Each of these camping tents retails for under $300 and they range from 1-person to 4-person tents.
Just because they’re budget tents doesn’t mean they’re not high quality. Tents from the best outdoor camping brands such as Big Agnes, Nemo, REI, and Marmot all appear on this list. When choosing the best tent to buy, spending less often means carrying more weight when it comes to backpacking gear, if that’s a concern you might want to go with our best lightweight budget backpacking tent. But all of these tents are sure to get you outdoors and protect you from the elements. If you want more info on backpacking in general, you might also check out our beginner’s ultimate guide to backpacking. But without further ado, here are our suggestions for the best budget backpacking tents.
The REI Passage 2 tent is a great entry into the backpacking tent world. This 3-season tent has 31 sq ft of interior space, plenty of room for two people. With two doors, and two vestibules, you’ll have room to store your backpack, shoes, and other gear out of the rain and wind. On clear nights, roll the doors up for a nice view of the stars. Coming in at $159 (and that includes the footprint) this tent is a steal. And if you’re backpacking solo check out the Passage 1.
Marmot has done some smart things with the design of this tent to help it feel more roomy. Vertical walls, strategic clip placement, and catenary cut floors provide more floor space and head room. Despite being a budget tent this one weighs in at 3 lbs 12 oz and packs down to 6 x 20 inches, leaving plenty of room for all your other gear in your pack. Some other benefits are an included footprint, color coded clips for easy setup, and interior pockets to keep your gear organized.
You don’t often see 1.5-person tents. But 1-person tents can be kind of cramped sometimes, especially if you have a lot of gear or a dog along for the hike. The Mystique is a great option for backpackers wanting a little more space without carrying the weight of a 2-person tent. Other benefits of this tent is a taffeta rainfly that resists UV damage and can vent to adjust the temperature.
The Lyra 2 weighs in a little over 4 lbs and packs down to around 21 x 8 inches leaving room for plenty of other gear in your pack. Exped has included a lot of thoughtful design elements in this tent like glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and an adaptable rainfly that ranges from stargazer to privacy mode. Maybe best of all is its 47.2-inch head height, giving lots of room to sit up and hang out inside.
The Nemo Aurora has a packed size of 23 x 7.5 inches which is not too much bigger than the Exped 2. Not bad considering this is a 3-person tent. Where the Aurora scores big points though is its interior space. Floor dimensions of 88 x 72 inches provide 44 sq ft of space with a head height of 44 inches. With two doors and two vestibules you’ll be able to enter and exit this tent easily and store your gear out of the elements.
As a kid we had all sorts of Coleman camping gear, including a 4-person tent. It was the right amount of space for the family to hang out in and came with the reliability of the Coleman brand. Coleman is a classic name in the outdoor industry and their Sundome is tried and true. Large windows make this a great tent for those warmer summer trips when you want a little breeze. A center height of 4 ft 11 inches means you’ll have lots of space to move around, change clothes, or hang out. Best of all this tent is only $99.
It’s hard to find an ultralight tent for under $300 but Six Moons has done it. Weighing in at 1.6 lbs and packing down to 11 x 4.5 inches you’ll hardly notice you’re carrying this tent. With a unique hexagonal shape and 49 inches of head room, Six Moons has optimized the interior space giving you room to sleep in comfort. 40D nylon makes for a rugged floor and mesh lining provides ventilation. This tent does require one trekking pole to set up and has won a ton of awards so its certainly worth checking out.
Not for everybody or every situation, the Marmot Agate 2 Person Tent is perfect for the minimalist backpacker anticipating great weather. This tent can be pitched with an included pole, or with your trekking poles meaning you’ll carry less weight overall. Weighing in at 1 lb 6.5 oz this tent won’t slow you down and packs to 6 x 23.5 inches leaving plenty of space to carry your other gear. And with a 42-inch center height, you’ll have room to sit up and move about. For those backpackers looking to shave off some serious weight, this is the tent for you.
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