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From our own experience, it can be tricky to pick a good backpacking tent to take on a hike. Many lightweight tents that are advertised as being good for backpacking are way too heavy to be carried around.
Here, we have compiled a list of the best backpacking tents that are popular and have many good reviews. Each of these is ultralight, and can be carried by most people over long distances.
First Gear Cliff Hanger 1 Person Tent
This polyurethane coated 1 person backpacking tent measures 6 feet 7 inches x 2 feet 5 inches x 43 inches high. We love this one because it is very affordable and has all very positive reviews.
The First Gear Cliffhanger tent is not made for hanging off of cliffs, as the name might suggest. At 3.5 pounds, this tent is made to be carried around in a rucksack on long distance walks.
One of the great things about the First Gear Cliff Hanger is that it has an all-around no-see-um mesh. No-see-ums are very tiny insects that have a tendency to fly through very small spaces and make camping an annoyance. This mesh will prevent all insects, large and small from getting through. Furthermore, the rainfly that we completely removed to reveal just the mesh. This is a great things for stargazers!
Customers have commented on the fact that it is completely waterproof. Some have slept in the rain for days and the tent has remained 100% dry. This is great considering that many tents have a tendency to leak. It is usually the more expensive tents that have the most water resistance, but there is no issue with leakage with this tent.
Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent
The Snugpak Ionosphere is one of the best 1 person tents available for its price. As you can see from the image, it is a camouflaged tent that can be used on a military expedition, or at just on any camping trip.
This tent has been reviewed by military leaders who use this for their platoon. They say that the tent holds up to extreme temperatures and heavy rains. It has a bit of a thicker material that will hold out the chilly winds. For their gear, there is extra room at the head or the feet for a person above 6 foot tall.
The Snugpak Ionosphere comes included with stakes that are surprisingly high quality compared to other tents on the market. The stakes are thoughtfully designed and have special cut ins for the ropes.
The bottom of the tent is tub shaped to prevent water from seeping into the tent. Also, like the above First Gear tent, is has an all around mesh that protects against no-see-ums.
This is a 1 person tent, so if you are camping with someone else with whom you’d like to sleep in the same tent, you would need to purchase a 2 person tent.
Eureka Midori Solo 1 Person Tent
The Eureka Midori Solo is more expensive than the First Gear Cliff Hanger, but it has a better quality design over all. Moreover, although the Midori is less expensive than the Snugpak Ionosphere, is its design allows the occupant to have more space at the top. This is due to Eureka’s V3 Enhanced Tent System, which maximizes the top area using the frame.
The Midori Solo has a gear pouch built into it, thus allowing more room for the feet or head. However, it you are looking for a solo tent that has plenty of room to store your gear, we would suggest the Snugpak Ionosphere, as it has more area.
As with the other 2 above, the Midori has a mesh that prevent insects from flying in. However, it comes with a hooded rainfly that protects against heavy rain when mounted to the tent.
The Midori measures 7’6″ x 2’8″, and has a 3′ center height. This will definitely not fit 2 people, but will accommodate for a very tall person.
Best 2 person backpacking tents
Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
Coleman has a line of Sundome tents that fit 2, 3 ,4 or 6 people. The one we are reviewing here is the 2 person Sundome tent. It measures 7 feet x 5 feet x 48 inches. You can’t stand up in this one, but there is plenty of room for a taller person to sit upright. There is plenty of room left over to store your gear.
This tent comes with a mesh at the top to allow for ventilation and sunlight to shine through. However, during periods of rain, you can put up the rainfly that comes with it and be fully protected. The rainfly also extends beyond the front door, which means that you will not experience those pesky after-rain droplets when going in and out of the tent.
The Sundome line is very affordable, and gives excellent bang for the buck. Most customer reviews are very positive for the Sundome.
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
The Mountain Morrison 2 person tent has been rated as a ‘Killer Deal’ in the 2011 Backpacker Gear Guide. At an affordable price, this tent has many of the luxuries of a higher priced tent.
First, the Morrison is very waterproof. Its high quality 185T polyester rainfly will protect it nicely against heavy rains. The floor comes in a bathtub shape, which means that if water accumulated on the ground, it will not seep into the tent.
Due to the careful design of this tent, you can store your gear on its detachable ceiling loft, or its mesh storage pockets.
Although it is a 2 person tent, it only weighs about 5 pounds. You can carry this on your backpacking trips with the family.
This tent measures 56 by 43 by 92 inches (W x H x D).
Kelty Salida 2 Person Tent
The Salida tent is an excellent choice if you are looking for a 2 person tent with a standard design with no major flaws at an affordable price. It has very good reviews, so we thought this would be a no-brainer.
This tent measures 16” wide and 5” high. Although you cannot stand in it, the tent is lightweight enough that you can carry it with your rucksack, at less than 4.5 pounds. It comes with a roll top cube carry case that is compact.
The Salida is a standalone tent, so even when not staked to the ground, it will still hold up nicely as the frame is designed that way.
Although it is not as big as some other 2 person tents, you can use this one as a 1 person backpacking tent if you need more space for your gear.
Best 3 person backpacking tents
Sundome 3 Person Tent
As mentioned above, Coleman’s Sundome tents are a line of affordable tents that comes at a higher quality than others for its price. Coleman is best known for its camping gear, and has been around for the past 100 years. Every year, they iterate on newer models that have value added design features.
The Sundome 3 person tent is an all around good quality affordable tent. Like its 2 person counterpart, it has a standalone design. It comes with a rainfly that extends beyond the front door, thus preventing rain droplets from hitting your head when entering or leaving the tent.
The main difference between this tent and the 2 person version is, of course, the size. While the 2 person Sundome tent measures 7 feet x 5 feet x 48 inches, the 3 person Sundome tent measures 7 feet x 7 feet x 4 feet 4 inches (in height). This means that 3 tall people can sleep in this tent with some room left over for gear at their feet.
This tent has a mesh at the top that allows for ventilation and airflow, thus preventing condensation. When the included rainfly is added to the tent, it provides 33% more rain protection than most standard Coleman tents.
As you will see, the customer reviews are mostly very positive.
Coleman Hooligan 3 Person Tent
Coleman’s Hooligan line of tents has models for 2, 3 or 4 people. The 3 person Hooligan tent is the most popular of the Hooligan line. With 3 person tents, you can set up the tent for 2 people to sleep in, and have plenty of space left over for storing your gear.
Since this is a backpacking tent, it is smaller than Coleman’s standard 3 person tents. It weighs around 8 pounds, so it can be carried in a rucksack. However, most 3 person tents are heavier than their 1 or 2 person counterparts, you must be fit enough to carry this long distances. However, it is ideal for car camping, as you can easily carry it from your car and set it up by yourself in under 10 minutes.
As with most tents, you will want to spray it with Rainguard before first use in order to create a protective, water resistant shield.
The Hooligan’s rainfly can be completed removed to reveal the all around mesh. This mesh will protect against bugs and provide a slight barrier against the wind.
Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent
Wenzel is another popular camping gear company that has very positive customer reviews. The Wenzel Ridgeline is a lightweight 3 person tent that is considered a backpacking tent. Keep in mind that most 3 person backpacking tents can get pretty heavy to carry around for long distances. However, at least the ridgeline weighs a bit less than the others at 7 pounds 4 ounces.
One of the great things about Wenzel is its excellent customer service. Customers have reported that Wenzel’s customer service was very helpful in getting them replacements parts once they broke or went missing.
The Ridgeline has a nice tub like floor that prevents water from seeping in at the bottom after a rainy day.
As an added benefit, the Ridgeline only weighs 6.25 pounds, which makes it the lightest 3 person backpacking tent we have reviewed.