What are the best backpacking tents recommended by backpackers? We surveyed 600 backpackers to find out what tents they use and their top picks include the Big Agnes Copper Spur, the Big Agnes Fly Creek, the MSR Hubba Hubba, the REI Quarter Dome, and the REI Half Dome, among others. We found also that the majority of backpackers purchase two person tents so they can bring company or enjoy more interior space, even if their tents weigh more.
1. Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2
Big Agnes also has several new and updated Copper Spur UL 2 models to choose from including: the Copper Spur UL 2 mtnGLO, Copper Spur HV UL 2, Copper Spur HV UL 2 mtnGLO, Copper Spur 2 Platinum Tent, and the Copper Spur Hotel HV UL2.
2. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2
See the SectionHiker review of the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2.
3. MSR Hubba Hubba
With a trail weight of 3 pounds and 8 ounces, the updated Hubba Hubba NX is lightweight enough for backpacking use when share by two people, but on the heavy if used by one. Still, MSR has done a fine job designing this tent which is a spacious and comfortable. Click for specs and customer reviews.
See the SectionHiker review of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
4. REI Quarter Dome 2
The fly is made with a 15 denier ripstop nylon to minimize weight while the floor and walls are made with a slightly more robust 20 denier ripstop. Gear weight without stakes in 3 pounds, 5 ounces, slightly lower weight than the MSR Hubba Hubba, but the Quarter Dome’s setup is not as straightforward. Click for specs and customer reviews.
5. REI Half Dome 2
The Half Dome 2 is very easy to pitch with a hubbed pole assembly that simplifies set up. Two side doors make this a very comfortable tent when shared with a partner, with separate side vestibules for external gear storage. The tent comes with mesh pockets and a gear loft for storing personal effects and features roof vents for enhanced ventilation.More durable fabrics and excellent waterproofing seal the deal. Click for specs and customer reviews.
6. Zpacks.com Duplex
The Duplex is made with an ultralight fabric called cuben fiber (see cuben fiber FAQ), which is waterproof and won’t sag at night or when it rains. It is translucent however, which can compromise your privacy when camping in a group. The Duplex is also available in more opaque colors for an extra customization fee. Click for specs and customer reviews.
7. Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
Weighing just 24 ounces, the Lunar Solo is quite lightweight and easy to set up. It has a bathtub style floor to prevent flooding in rain and a side door, making entry easy. The interior is quite roomy, with a pentagon shaped floor, providing room to store your gear in the tent, and plenty of head room to sit up inside. A large vestibule also provides gear storage and room to cook in bad weather. Click for specs and customer reviews.
See the SectionHiker Review of the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo.
8. Tarptent Double Rainbow
The tent has a bathtub floor to prevent rain from entering the tent as well as large mesh sidewalls. Roof vents also help vent moisture and prevent internal condensation. This tent is very popular with ultralight backpackers and provides excellent value for the price. Click for specs.
9. NEMO Hornet 2P
See the SectionHiker Review of the NEMO Hornet 2P Tent.
10. Kelty Salida 2
The inner tent is freestanding, making setup easy. Ample vestibule space and high sidewall protection provide privacy. Made with durable materials and aluminum poles, the Salida 2 is a bombproof tent good for beginner backpackers, scouts, and families who want a reliable waterproof tent that’s easy to use.
About This Survey
This survey was conducted on the SectionHiker.com website which has over 300,000 unique readers per month, so a large pool of potential respondents. Readers were incented to participate in the survey in exchange for a chance to win a raffle for a piece of backpacking gear.
While we’re confident that the results are fairly representative of the general backpacking population based on the size of the survey results where n=600 people, we can’t claim that the results are statistically significant.
There are also a number of ways in which the results could be biased including: backpackers who read SectionHiker.com might not be representative of all backpackers, backpacker who read Internet content might not be representative of all backpackers, backpackers who respond to raffle incentives might not be representative of all backpackers, our methods for recording responses might have been unconsciously biased, and so on.
The author is an expert in statistical analysis, survey, and experimental design and is sensitive to these issues. However, given the size of the respondent pool and the very strong consensus among user responses, we believe that the survey results published here will be useful to backpackers who are interested in learning about the popularity of different backpacking tents.
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