You are here

Jesse Weber | 09.17.2018

As a backpacker, you want to go far. You hike long miles to reach peaceful nights in the woods or under the stars, then get up to go even farther. To ensure a comfortable sleep and rest up for the next day, the proper tent is crucial.

To take on trip after trip, you want a tent that's comfortable and durable in a variety of terrain and weather but also light and versatile enough to carry and set up anywhere. We suggest a freestanding, two-person, three-season tent for easy set up and go-anywhere functionality. There are, of course, many variations of this staple shelter to choose from. That's why we tested out some of this year's most popular models to find the five all-around best.

We recommend any of these tents for the casual to serious backpacker, but we've compared them all to help you choose to one that's perfect for you. Check out our list of the five best backpacking tents on the market right now.

These are listed in order of lightest to heaviest total weight (everything that comes with the tent purchase), not in order of any overall rankings. Remember that there are lots of factors to consider in tent design, and lighter is not necessarily better, so take time to look at all the specs and individual reviews of each to decide what fits your adventure.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Photo by Jesse Weber.

The Copper Spur HV delivers lots of interior room for how light the tent is, and the tent makes the most of it with extra headroom and overhead mesh pockets. All components are made of very durable materials that are put together well, making for very easy setup. The rain fly has storm flaps over the zippers, which is very nice in bad weather, but it has only one vent, which is not so nice for releasing condensation. The tent comes with quick-tensioning guylines and an emergency repair pole splint. It does not come with a footprint, however, which would make the tent a better buy for its hefty price tag. Click here for the full story.

Marmot Tungsten UL 2P

Photo by Jesse Weber.

This tent gets the job done with no extra frills. It has a roomy interior, lightweight but sturdy materials, and a quick clips on the rain fly corners instead of buckles. It has a familiar two-pole design, but with an added feature of poles that are pre-bent near the ends for added volume near the tent floor. This makes a difference you can feel when stretching out inside. Though it has fewer features than some other tents and it does not come with a footprint or guylines, the Tungsten UL still one of the best deals for the money on an ultralight tent. Click here for the full story. 

The North Face Fusion 2

Photo by Jesse Weber.

This tent stands out because of its flashy solid-to-mesh design on the tent body. A modern interconnected pole design and color coding makes set up pretty easy, but a few little design quirks keep it from being as easy as it could be. The tent is super lightweight, but it offers less interior room and fewer features than some others. A major bonus, however, is that it does come with its own footprint. Click here for the full story.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

Photo by Jesse Weber.

The Hubba Hubba is an all-around good tent with symmetrical design, which is unique for most tents in its weight class. This makes set up extra easy because it doesn't matter which ends of the interconnected poles go on which end of the tent body, and your head can rest comfortably at either end. This creates extra interior space, and the vestibules under the fly maximize space as well with a side-zip design. The stakes that come with the tent are awesome, but it would be nice if it came with a footprint in to ensure a longer lifespan of the tent floor seams. Click here for the full story.

Mountainsmith Vasquez Peak 2

Photo by Jesse Weber.

This tent's rugged and durable construction and extra roomy design adds some extra weight, but it's built to endure in all kinds of weather. Set up is easy, and the tent comes with a footprint and guylines to make it even sturdier and last longer. It's not likely to turn any heads with its rather drab design, but it gets the job done. The Vasquez Peak 2 is a great buy that should last you a long time. Click here for the full story.


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.