Find the right hiking tent for your adventures by knowing exactly what you should be looking for.
Whether you are a seasoned backpacker or starting out, choosing a hiking tent can be confusing. With the market expanding, you are inundated with choices. But with the right guide and a little background knowledge, you’ll be making the decision with a lot less fuss and confusion. So, whether you’re looking for ultralight tents perfect for long, hard treks or are planning a more relaxed seasonal trip, we’ve got you covered.
Backpacking Three-Season Tents
Not as light as an ultralight hiking tent, but still weight-efficient, the three-season tent is a great choice for backpackers that enjoy hiking in summer, spring and autumn. They are usually made with ventilation in mind in order to stay cooler during warmer months. But they also offer you good protection in rainy weather.
You could probably get away with using a three-season tent in mild winters, but you wouldn’t want to test them in extreme winter weather or alpine conditions. The three-season tent is one of the most popular categories of hiking tents because of its versatility.
The Agnes Copper Spur HV UL is a spacious option that is great for moderate weather conditions. It is the perfect pick for both long and short treks because of its versatility.
This three-season hiking tent features two huge doors with comfortable vestibules, perfect if you’re tall. It has a simple setup system and will hold up well against strong winds.
The Big Agnes is quite lightweight and easy to pack. The only downside to this hiking tent is that the fabric is not the most durable so you would have to consider the terrain you’ll be setting up camp in.
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While its doors are not as large as the Big Agnes Copper HV UL, the NEMO Dagger provides a lot of comfort and some other cool features. Both the vestibules and the inside are big enough for you to sleep comfortably and keep your gear near.
This hiking tent is also quite light, which considering the durability and space it provides, makes it a great choice for backpackers.
The NEMO Dagger is a great choice if you enjoy backcountry adventures. If you like this one you can also check out the 3P.
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If you are an experienced hiker that hits the trails often then this is a great choice. This hiking tent offers you solid protection, relative interior space and excellent durability.
However, if you are not used to the setup, this one could get a little tricky. The tent itself has a simple setup design but the rain fly has been known to be a little more complicated.
With its 3.8 pounds, the Hubba Hubba is just a little heavier than the Dagger and the Copper Spur, but can still be considered lightweight.
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If you are looking for an affordable hiking tent that still offers you comfort and space then the Kelty Dirt Motel 2 is the one for you.
The tent has great headroom and big doors in the tent and in the fly. On the downside though this is not the lightest tent as it weighs 4.8 pounds.
But you can expect great cover and ventilation, making it the perfect three-season hiking tent which won’t break the bank.
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If you are hiking in warmer weather and looking for a tent that offers you good ventilation then look no further. The TNF Stormbreak provides great ventilation, good headroom and large doors.
You’ll want to spend a couple of days around the campsite after setting this one up; this is the most livable hiking tent on this list.
However, if you are looking for a lightweight or ultralightweight tent, then this is definitely not it. The total weight of the Stormbreak comes in at 5.9 pounds making it heavy for modern standards.
The name speaks for itself with this hiking tent. Ultralight tents are the lightest on the market and are made for the fast-paced adventure that loves going the extra distance. The ultralight range is usually used for more temperate weather conditions as they are made out of much lighter materials. They often also do not come with their own poles and require trekking poles for set up. But since most hikers use trekking poles, this is a great way to minimize your pack weight, especially if you enjoy rougher trails.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall is not the lightest of the ultralight tents out there but it is roomy and offers you the comfort and protection that only a good quality 3-season hiking tent would.
This 2.56-pound tent is designed with two nice sized doors and good headroom. The interior is big enough to fit your gear too.
On the downside, though the fly is not the most reliable in wet weather. However, it is still a great choice if you are looking for an ultralight tent without sacrificing comfort.
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The NEMO Hornet has one of the easiest setups, especially with the easy to use poles. It also has two big doors and huge vestibules, so two people could camp in it quite comfortably.
Although it doesn’t offer much headroom, it is still one of the biggest lightweight tents you can find. But the extra space comes with extra weight too.
At 2.34 pounds, this is the second heaviest hiking tent in this category. One of the best things about this tent is its solid construction and its durability. You are guaranteed years of adventure even if you’re rough on it.
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This is one of the most minimalist tents on this list. It doesn’t come with a floor nor poles but you can buy a Bug Net separately.
This ultralight tent works with trekking poles. It is the perfect way to save space and weight while backpacking. Its 1.35 pounds, making it one of the lightest on this list. This hiking tent has an excellent balance between weight/space.
Despite not having any vestibules, you will find enough space for two people including your gear. With a good sleeping bag, you can even make this tent work during colder winters.
The Beta Light is not for everyone, but if you’re a tough experienced hiker counting every gram and looking for a spacious, adaptable, and affordable tent, this is a great option.
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The Haven is another spacious minimalist lightweight tent designed for fast paced hikers who like counting every gram.
This tent excels in offering protection and space for a very affordable price. The set-up is not as easy as the Beta Light since this one is not symmetrical, but it compensates with less weight and four-sided protection.
You will still need to carry those trekking poles though because this one doesn’t include poles. The Bug Net is optional, so if you choose not to use it you can use the fly instead.
This tent is not a great option for cold weather though so you want to stick to warmer climates with this hiking tent.
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With a weight of less than 2 pounds, the Black Diamond Distance is a minimalist and ultralight tent. This hiking tent requires trekking poles for setup.
This ultralight tent holds up well in windy and cold conditions but you may find it a little uncomfortable to use in warmer weather. It doesn’t have much ventilation which may cause condensation to build up inside.
Space is also limited so unless you don’t mind squeezing in with your partner, you probably want to use this one just for yourself. Overall it is a great option, even with its limitations.
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This ultralight tent is the lightest on this list at 1.1 pounds. It is also easy to pack and is great for backpacking in warmer months.
This hiking tent won’t withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy rains. Although made of waterproof material, it will only withstand light rain. Too much water will cause the tent to collapse.
The setup is easy and you can use your trekking poles instead of lugging around extra tent poles.
This is the perfect hiking tent for the avid adventurer whether you love long treks or trail running. It’s light enough to take almost anywhere.
Four Season Tents
Four season hiking tents are perfect if you are a year-round adventurer. They offer you much more protection than ultralight tents and three-season hiking tents. But they are also slightly heavier depending on the model. They are the perfect choice for alpine and mountaineering adventures. Many of them also include great space and ventilation so they would work perfectly in warm conditions too.
This excellent design from MSR excels in versatility and moisture management while succeeding in staying relatively lightweight. This four-season hiking tent is great for most outdoor adventures and holds up well in most weather conditions.
This may not be an ultralight tent, but it is easy to pack and is reliable even under the worst elements. The set up is a little tricky for the beginner but if you are a seasoned hiker it shouldn’t be a problem.
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The Black Diamond El Dorado is specifically designed for tackling rugged alpine terrain under harsh weather conditions.
This is the hiking tent you want to pack for mountaineering expeditions. If you enjoy shorter backpacking adventures then this is a great buy. But don’t expect too much comfort for long stays.
Although not ultralight, this tent offers you the ultimate weather protection in any conditions. This hiking tent doesn’t come with a fly though so you won’t have separate vestibules.
But, if the camping space is limited as it usually is in alpine environments, it’s reduced space is definitely an asset.
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With the Nemo Tenshi, you will have both the easy set-up of the Black Diamond El Dorado and added space.
This hiking tent is not the most comfortable for long term stays, but this model offers you great ventilation and it is incredibly versatile. On the downside though, this tent is more expensive and heavier than most of the other options in this category.
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Lightweight mountaineers and fast-paced hikers will fall in love with this hiking tent. The setup couldn’t be easier and can be done in any weather conditions, no matter how extreme.
It is small and easy to pack, but this doesn’t mean you won’t have enough room on the inside for a comfortable stay.
When it comes to weather, this is a hiking tent built for colder temperatures. Because of its lack of ventilation, warmer weather is not ideal for this tent.
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If you enjoy winter backpacking but don’t usually visit places with extreme weather, then this hiking tent is perfect for you.
This tent has great livability so you can enjoy longer stays and you will be warm and comfortable. You can enjoy a large vestibule with two doors. This hiking tent also offers you great ventilation so no pesky condensation.
On the downside, this tent is not exactly light, so be prepared for the extra weight. But it is great in warmer months too and is big enough for two people.
Camping tents are not exactly hiking tents because of their size and weight. But they are great for extended stays and are often big enough for multiple people and all the gear you would need. These tents are all about livability and comfort and are exactly what you need if you are planning on setting up a basecamp to explore your surroundings.
The Limestone looks very similar to your regular 3-season tent but it’s much more spacious and taller. Despite not being as roomy as other tents in this category, this one is very easy to set up and offers you great resistance to intense weather.
The Limestone weighs around 11.3 pounds, so you wouldn’t be able to carry it on a backpacking trip. But it works great for camping trips. With its reliable and sturdy built, you’ll be protected from the elements and comfortable.
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This tent was made for summer. While it won’t protect against bad weather, its space and ventilation more than make up for that.
The Copper Canyon offers a small affordable cabin with huge doors, perfect for a country trip with your friends or family. The small fly can stand a certain amount of rain, but not in harsh weather.
The poles, however, are very sturdy and solid; which makes the tent capable of withstanding strong winds.
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The Coleman Cabin is a firm favourite in this category, especially because of its fast and easy set up. This tent provides you with comfort and affordability.
If you are a tall person, then this won’t be the most comfortable option for you as it does not offer the greatest headroom. It also hasn’t been designed for harsh weather.
But if you are looking for comfort, simplicity and a great tent for your summer hiking trips, this is a great investment.
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If you are planning a trip to your favourite campsite, this is a great option for space and comfort. Although not the cheapest option on the list, it does offer you great value if you are an avid camper that loves long trips.
It even stands up well in most weather conditions. The tent weighs about 20 pounds and can fit up to four people quite comfortably. However it does not have a separate vestibule for your gear.
The space in this tent is great but it is difficult to set up so it isn’t perfect for short stays where you will be setting up and breaking it down daily. Technically you could use this as a hiking tent, but it is always better to use a tent such as this if you are hiking from a basecamp.
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The Coleman Red Canyon is a great tent. It is easy to set up, is really spacious and can even be divided into three different rooms for extra privacy. This tent can fit up to eight people, making it great for family trips.
It offers you great headroom and is big enough to fit a few camping cots in as well. Although not a tent you can backpack with, it is great if you are planning a trip to your favourite national park to explore the hiking trails.
The fly will do well enough in rainy weather, but won’t be enough to withstand a storm. I wouldn’t consider this tent the best quality, but you get what you pay for and for the seasonal camping trip this is a great choice.