Find the right hiking tent for your adventures by knowing exactly what you should be looking for.
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Whether you are a seasoned backpacker or starting, choosing a hiking tent can be confusing. There are so many choices – from 3-season to 4-season, to ultralight to heavier, but roomier camping tents if you’re using just using your tent as a base and not carrying this outdoor gear.
As someone who’s been hiking and camping for over 20 years, I’ve got you covered. You can learn from my experiences – like waking up in a tent while camping in the Canadian Rocky Mountains with wet snow dripping onto my face – in August! So that you don’t have to repeat them.
That’s why I’ve created this guide to the best hiking tents. Check it out:
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Backpacking Three-Season Tents
Not as light as an ultralight hiker tent but still have a reasonable weight, the three-season tent is a great choice for backpackers that enjoy hiking in summer, spring, and autumn. It’s my recommendation for most hikers.
They’re usually made with ventilation in mind to stay cooler during warmer months. But they also offer you good protection in inclement weather and windy conditions.
The three-season tent is one of the most popular categories of hiking tents because of its versatility, lightweight and durability.
The Agnes Copper Spur HV UL is a spacious option that is great for moderate weather conditions. It’s the perfect pick for both long and short treks because of its versatility. It offers a livable space and plenty of headroom.
This three-season hiking tent features two huge doors with comfortable vestibule space, perfect if you’re tall. It could also be used as a two-person tent. It has a simple setup system and a sturdier tent that 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 much comfort and some other cool features. Both the good-sized 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.
NEMO Dagger is a great 2-person backpacking tent 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 or is fond of rocky terrain, then this is a great choice. This hiking tent offers you solid protection, relative interior space, and excellent durability. It also offers excellent sun shelter.
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 is a little more complicated.
With its 3.8 lbs, the Hubba Hubba is just a little heavier than the Dagger and the Copper Spur but can still be considered a lightweight shelter.
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If you are looking for an affordable hiking double-walled 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 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 with this budget option, 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, look no further than this single-walled tent. 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. It’s a good option if you only have a short hike to your campsite.
However, if you are looking for a lightweight or ultralightweight tent, this is definitely not. The total weight of the Stormbreak comes in at 5.9 lbs making it heavy for a backpacking tent.
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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 options are usually used for more temperate weather conditions as they are made of lightweight materials.
They often also do not come with their own poles and require trekking poles for set up. But since most backpackers use trekking poles, this is a great way to minimize your packed weight, especially if you enjoy rougher trails.
The only thing lighter than an ultralight tent is a backpacking hammock. There are pros and cons to each, so it depends on the terrain and your personal preference.
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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. They also sell this fir a three-person tent and the interior is big enough to fit your gear too.
On the downside, though, the fly is not the most reliable in wet weather like the Agnes Fly Creek. However, it is still a great choice to look 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 vestibule space, 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 feet of floor 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 ultralight tent works with trekking poles. It is the perfect way to save extra space and weight while backpacking. It’s 1.35 pounds, making it one of the lightest on this list. This hiking tent has an excellent balance between weight and tent floor space.
Highly ventilated foor airflow and less condensation buildup. A two-person tent with ample space for gear storage and keep your gear dry. 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 tent with plenty of space, is 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. A tarp-style tent/Tarp-StyleA freestanding tent for that minimalist pitch option.
The tent body excels in offering protection and extra space for a very affordable tent price. The set-up is not as easy as the Beta Light since it is not symmetrical, but it compensates with less pack weight and four-sided protection made with thinner materials.
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. You can choose between a 2-person tent and 4P tent.
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Weighing less than 2 pounds, the Black Diamond Distance is a minimalist and ultralight tent. It requires trekking poles for setup.
This ultralight tent walls 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. It really is a one-person tent but overall, it is a great option, even with its limitations.
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This lightweight backpacking tent is the lightest on this list at a minimum trail weight of 1.1 pounds. It is also easy to pack. A popular backpacking tent 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 tent for hikers is perfect if you are a year-round adventurer. This tent for weather protection offers you much more protection than ultralight tents and three-season hiking tents.
But they are also slightly heavier tents depending on the model. They are the perfect choice for alpine and mountaineering adventures. Many of them also include great livable space and ventilation so that they would work perfectly in warm conditions.
Having said that, in my opinion, for most backpackers, a three-season tent is usually enough unless you’re hard-core.
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This excellent design from MSR excels in versatility and moisture management while succeeding in staying relatively lightweight. This four-season hiking tent made with a mesh canopy 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 setup is a little tricky for the beginner, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you are a seasoned hiker.
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The Black Diamond El Dorado is specifically designed for tackling rugged alpine terrain under harsh weather conditions.
This traditional tent is designed for those who 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 wet conditions and dry conditions. This hiking tent doesn’t come with rainfly zippers though, so you won’t have roomy vestibules.
But, if the camping livable space is limited as it usually is in alpine environments, its reduced feet of floor space is definitely an asset. This is also a great option for backpacking missions.
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With the Nemo Tenshi, you will have both the Black Diamond El Dorado’s easy set-up and added extra space. A 4-season backpacking tent is good for up to 6 people. with an awning-style vestibule.
This hiking tent is not the most comfortable for long-term stays, but this model offers you excellent ventilation, and it is incredibly versatile. On the downside, though, it is an expensive tent 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 single-wall 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 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 winter 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 double-wall 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.
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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 hiking and mountain gear you would need.
These tents are all about livability and comfort and are exactly what you need if you’re driving to your campsite and plan to set up a basecamp to explore your surroundings. Or if you you have a short walk to your campsite.
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 straightforward 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 dry climates. While it won’t protect against bad weather, its space and ventilation more than make up for that. Especially since the lack of ventilation can cause so many problems when outdoors in harsh conditions.
This single-wall shelter offers a small affordable cabin with huge doors, perfect for a country trip with your friends or family. The small rainfly gutter can stand a certain amount of rain, but not in harsh weather.
However, the poles are very sturdy and solid, which makes the tent capable of withstanding strong winds.
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The Coleman Cabin is a firm favorite in this category, especially because of its fast and easy setup. A non-freestanding tent that provides you with comfort and affordability.
If you are a tall person, this won’t be the most comfortable option for you as it does not offer the best ceiling height. 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 plan a trip to your favorite campsite, this is a great option for space and comfort. Although not the cheapest option on the list, it does offer you great value at a reasonable price 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 so you can add-on vestibule if you’d like.
The livable space in this tent is great, but it isn’t easy 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 base camp.
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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. Measures 16 x 7 square feet with 6-foot 2-inch center height.
It offers you ample 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 to plan a trip to your favorite national park to explore the hiking trails.
The fly creek 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 for an entry-level tent.
Top 5 Tips for Choosing a Backpacking Tent
Unpacking the Essentials: Your Backpacking Tent Guide
Embarking on a backpacking adventure soon? Ensure you have the perfect shelter. Here are our top 5 tips to choose the ideal backpacking tent! 🏕️🌲
Tip 1: Go Lightweight
Opt for a tent that is light in weight but doesn’t compromise on durability. The lighter your pack, the further you can go! 🎒🗺️
Tip 2: Size it Right
Consider the tent’s capacity. Solo journey? A 1-person tent will do. But for group adventures, consider a larger tent for everyone’s comfort. 🚶♂️👭🏕️
Tip 3: Think Seasons
Where and when you’re backpacking matters. For all-weather trips, consider a 3-season tent that can handle spring, summer, and fall. ⛈️☀️🍂
Tip 4: Quick and Easy Setup
After a long trek, you’ll want a tent that sets up quickly. Look for those with fewer poles and intuitive designs. 🏕️⏱️
Tip 5: Balance Price and Quality
Don’t skimp on quality for price. A good tent is an investment that should keep you safe, dry, and comfortable in the outdoors. 🌲💲