10 Best Backpacking Tents

10 Best Backpacking Tents

There are so many great one-person and two-person backpacking tents available today, that choosing between them has become one of the biggest challenges faced by many backpackers. For example, improved tent fabrics and lighter weight tent poles have reduced the weight of tents so much that many people purchase two-person tents for solo use because they want more room to spread out or to bring a canine companion. Whatever your preference, here are the 10 best one-person and two-person backpacking tents that we recommend to hikers based on weight, price, livability, durability, weather-worthiness, ease of use, and ventilation. Be sure to read our Tent Selection Advice at the bottom of this article for more insight on how to choose between these fabulous options.

Make / ModelPersonDoorsWeightPrice
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 22P22 lbs 3 oz$399
Zpacks.com Duplex2P21 lb 3 oz$599
MSR Hubba Hubba NX22P23 lbs 8 oz$450
Dan Durston/Drop X-Mid-11P21 lb 12 oz$200
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo1P11 lb 10 oz$230
NEMO Dragonfly1P12 lbs$360
Tarptent Double Rainbow2P22 lbs 10 oz$299
REI Quarter Dome SL11P11 lb 15 oz$299
Gossamer Gear "The One"1P11 lb 4 oz$299
Slingfin Portal 22P22 lbs 13 oz$485

1. Big Agnes Tiger Wall HV UL 2 Tent (2P)

Tiger Wall UL 2
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 ($399) is a spacious 2 lb 3 oz double-wall tent with an easy-to-setup hubbed pole architecture. Two large side doors and vestibules provide excellent access and ample covered gear storage. A large ceiling pocket and side pockets provide excellent storage space, while mesh sidewalls provide extra privacy. The Tiger Wall UL 2 is the lightest 2-door, 2-vestibule backcountry tent from Big Agnes.  Read the SectionHiker Review.

Check out the latest price at:
Backcountry | REI | Amazon

2. Zpacks.com Duplex Tent (2P)

Zpacks Duplex Tent

The Zpacks Duplex ($599) is a single-wall trekking pole tent that only weighs 19.0 ounces. It has ample space for one person plus gear to spread out, but can also fit two people comfortably. It has two doors, so you get good ventilation and vestibule space on both sides of the tent, plus you don’t have to climb over your partner at night to go for a nighttime walk. The Duplex has a full bathtub floor, seam taped seams, and mesh sidewalls for insect protection. Pitching the tent requires two trekking poles, but the dual apex structure is quite wind resistant provided it’s staked out securely. The Duplex is made with an ultralight fabric called Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is waterproof and won’t sag at night or when it rains. It is translucent, which can compromise your privacy when camping near others. Read the SectionHiker Review.

Check out the latest price at:
Zpacks

3. MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 Tent (2P)

MSR Hubba Hubba
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 ($450) is a great tent for two people. It’s incredibly easy to set up, lightweight and has two doors so you can come and go at night without disturbing your partner. Nearly freestanding, the pole configuration creates an interior space that has near-vertical walls, providing excellent interior space and livability. With a trail weight of 3 pounds and 8 ounces, the Hubba Hubba NX2 is lightweight enough for backpacking use when shared by two people, but on the heavy side if used by one. Still, MSR has done a fine job designing this tent which is spacious and comfortable. Read the SectionHiker review.

Check out the latest price at:
Backcountry | REI | Moosejaw | MSR

4. Dan Durston/Drop X-Mid-1 (1P)

X-Mid-1 UL Tent

The Dan Durston X-Mid 1P ($220) is a 28-ounce double-wall tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. It has two doors and requires trekking poles to pitch. All of the seams are taped and the inner tent is optional so you can just use the rainfly if desired. The X-mid can be set up fly first in the rain to keep the inner tent dry and has plenty of interior gear storage space. This mid-style tent is quite stormworthy and includes extra guyout points for extreme conditions. Read the SectionHiker review.  An excellent two-person version called the Dan Durston X-Mid 2P ($280) is also available.

Check out the latest price at:
Amazon

5. Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo (1P)

Six Moon Design Lunar Solo
The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo ($230) is an ultralight style, single-wall tent that’s pitched with a single trekking pole. Weighing 26 ounces, the Lunar Solo has a bathtub style floor to prevent flooding in the rain and a side door, making entry easy. The interior is quite roomy, with a hexagon-shaped floor, providing room to store your gear in the tent, and plenty of headroom to sit up inside. A large vestibule also provides gear storage and room to cook in bad weather. The Lunar Solo upper is made with a 20d silicone-coated polyester, reducing fabric stretch and packed volume, while the floor utilizes a durable 40D fabric. Read the SectionHiker Review.

Check out the latest price at:
Six Moon Designs

6. NEMO DragonFly 1

NEMO DragonFly 1

Weighing 32 oz, the NEMO DragonFly 1 is a lightweight double-wall tent with a side entrance and large vestibule for ample gear storage area The freestanding inner tent and hubbed pole architecture provides easy setup, with excellent ventilation between the inner tent and rainfly to help reduce tent condensation. Kick-stand vents encourage airflow, while the high bathtub floor prevents cold wind from chilling you inside. White mesh on the tent sides provides extra privacy, while black ceiling mesh is virtually transparent to provide bug-free star-gazing. The DragonFly has a 20d floor and 15d rainfly for increased durability and waterproofing.

Check out the latest price at:
NEMO | REIAmazon

7. Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent (2P)

Tarptent Double Rainbow
The Tarptent Double Rainbow ($299) is a single wall, two-person tent that weighs 2 lbs 10 oz. It has two side doors and two large vestibules for gear storage. Constructed as a single unit, the tent requires a single tent pole, which is inserted into a long-sleeve sewn onto the top of the tent. Trekking poles can also be used in lieu of tent stakes, to stretch out the tent corners and make the tent freestanding, for use on wooden platforms or rock ledge. 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 lightweight backpackers and provides excellent value for the price.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent

8. REI Quarter Dome SL 1 Tent (1P)

REI Quarter Dome 1 SL
The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 ($299) is a highly livable 31 oz double wall tent with vertical sidewalls and plenty of head and shoulder room. The hubbed and shock-corded pole assembly is color-coded to simplify setup, while adjustable stake out points make stake placement easy and allow for quick vestibule tensioning. Abundant mesh and a roof vent help prevent internal condensation while a variety of pockets and hang loops help organize the interior. This tent is surprisingly affordable and quite a good value. Be sure to check out the REI Quarter Dome SL2 ($349) which is also a great tent for two. Read our SL1 Review

Check out the latest price at:
REI

9. Gossamer Gear “The One” (1P)

Gossamer Gear The One Tent

Gossamer Gear’s “The One” ($299) is an ultralight, single-walled trekking-pole tent that weighs 20.6 oz. It has a spacious interior that’s a palace for one, with excellent ventilation to help prevent internal condensation. Made with PU coated sinylon, the One is factory seam-taped so you can use it without seam-sealing. The front vestibule is quite large with a zippered center opening which can be closed shut in inclement weather, or rolled back for views and ventilation. The vestibule is also large enough to store your pack under half the vestibule and get in and out through the other.  Read the SectionHiker review.

Check out the latest price at:
Gossamer Gear

10. SlingFin Portal 2 (2P)

Slingfin Portal tent

The Slingfin Portal ($485) is a lightweight two-person tent that can be used year-round in more extreme weather. Weighing just 2 lbs 13 oz, it has a unique internal guyline system that adds superb wind-resistance without additional weight. Two large vestibules and numerous internal pockets provide best-in-class livability, while its dome-shaped exoskeleton provides impressive livability. Kickstand door vents provide unrestricted cross-tent airflow for excellent condensation management without sacrificing weather protection. Read the SectionHiker  SlingFin Portal Review.

Check for the latest price at:
SlingFin

Tent Selection Advice

Here are the most important variables to consider when buying a backpacking or camping tent.

WEIGHT/TRAIL WEIGHT

The total weight of a tent usually measures the tent and all of its packaging, while the trail weight is the weight of its poles, inner tent, outer rain fly, minus any tent stakes. Why the difference? Most people replace the tent stakes that come with a tent with lighter weight or stronger ones and leave all the extra stuff sacks and packaging at home rather than carry it.

TENT POLES

Tent poles are made using fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the most durable of the three, while carbon fiber is normally only used in very high-end tents where the focus is on light weight. Fiberglass poles are the least durable tent poles and break frequently.  So much so, that we recommend avoiding any tent with fiberglass poles. All the ones above have aluminum poles or use trekking poles. Most manufacturers who sell trekking pole tents offer regular tent poles as an add-on purchase.

Trekking poles tents are quite strong and wind-resistant as long as your trekking poles are in good working order. They’re a good option if gear weight is your chief concern.

DURABILITY

The floor of a tent is the part of a tent most likely to be punctured or torn as a result of ground abrasion. While using a footprint on floors that are 20 denier thick or less is always recommended, it’s far less necessary on 30 denier or higher floors, except on highly abrasive or rough terrain.

DOORS

Tents with two side doors are often preferable when purchasing a tent for two because it means each occupant can each get in and out without disturbing one another. One person tents with two doors are also quite convenient, especially in bad weather, since you can cook under one vestibule and store gear in the second.

INTERIOR STORAGE

Interior pockets and storage organization is a plus in a multi-person tent. Look for internal pockets and gear loops to hang gear from the ceiling. A gear loft is an added bonus. Vestibule space is always a plus as well, but especially if there are multiple doors so that gear storage does not block entry and exit.

VENTILATION

All tents experience tent condensation, but good tent site selection and ventilation are the best ways to avoid it. Look for tents that have lots of mesh netting to facilitate airflow, top vents to release moist air, and door tie-backs to roll up tent doors and keep them open at night.

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19 comments

  1. Love my xmid-1. It sets up so easy and live the two doors.

    I like the weight savings of a single wall but just not ready to go there yet. Perhaps with more experience.

    For now the xmid seems a good balance for me.

  2. When you click on the link for the REI Quarter Dome SL1 it says the tent is no longer available. However, the SL 2 version is in stock and on sale until September 7.

  3. Hi Phillip, I’m looking for a 2P 3 season tent that has to withstand occasional high winds and torrential rain. i have your Nemo Hornet 2 review bookmarked, and it was my first option. Is htere a reason you havent included it here – your review was very positive?
    Thanks, Neil.
    PS: I purchased a Granite Gear Crown 2 on your advice (over a Gossamer Gear Gorilla I was looking at). Very happy with it. Thanks!

    • There’s no huge difference between the Hornet and the DragonFly. We prefer the DragonFly slightly because it’s a newer model that benefits from Nemo’s experiences with the Hornet over a period of several years. But the problem with any freestanding or semi Freestanding tent in torrential rain is that the inner will get soaked in rain when you put it up. If you have to pitch a tent in such circumstances and high winds (above 25 mph) are a concern, I’d really recommend you go with the X-Mid. The Rainbow would be my first choice if you don’t use trekking poles.

  4. Tried out the XP 1P this year and love it no tent poles so it fit great into my pack. Easy to set up great storage outside the inner tent for sleeping, the vestibule on both sides. Kept out the rain. Easy to get in and out of the tent and rainfly and two doors and 2 rainfly doors. Lightweight and a great color that matches the outdoors where I went. Once the walking poles are up I take the fishing poles instead to different lakes and fish. I also have the XP 2P. The price was great for these tents too.

  5. I have used the NEMO Dragonfly for a few years. One key strength is the fly attaches to the poles with velcro bands and provides guy anchors at those points. This means the tent can handle windy conditions that many lightweight tents cannot. I have used the tent for a late summer ascent of Glacier Peak with a lot of wind and with thoughtful preparations it handled it (this was clearly beyond the intention of this tent and the mesh provides minimal protection and only sifts large particles into small particles to cover everything with fine dust). The point is most lightweight tents cannot stand much wind and this one can.

    • All double wall tents have velcro or some other fastener to attach the fly to the poles.thats not unique. Most people don’t bother doing it because it’s not really necessary except in windy conditions.

  6. Philip, BIG ASK here – BUT, given your personal experience with so much gear makes you uniquely qualified (& my torso is 19 as well), what would be your solo tent & backpack choices under the following circumstances? 1) primary use location: Appalachian Mtns, Pisgah, Smokies, AT; 2) mostly 2 – 4 night trips; 3) sub-20 lb base weight goal (maybe sub-15), with rare max load capability around 35-40 lb; 3) 3+ season capability, storm-worthy – dabble with pushing into winter a bit; 4) small inner experience ok if nec.; & 5) again, weight is key; 6) Bear canister almost always.

    I’ve been devouring your content & am currently fond of SO Flight One, EH Kalais XT & ULA Circuit packs (would like some frame set & maybe load lifters) & TT DCF trekking pole tents (Notch Li, Aeon Li, SS Li) but objectively trying to guard against infatuation with trekking pole tent over free-standing. I like everything about the SS Li but have some reservations about how much space it takes up (perhaps it’s not untenable?) Not a fan of sub-2000 hydrostatic head rating or 7D/15D walls, but have had no experience with them (so not speaking from authority). Tent bulk or vertical packing requirements are less important to me than weight.

    Assuming price is not a factor (it is, but a truly lightweight kit is paramount to me reintroducing backpacking to my hiking lifestyle… my kit as a younger man in the 80’s was crazy heavy – Moss dome tent, Dana & ArcTeryx packs & tons of stuff- & frankly it was unpleasant even then). When you have the time, could you help?

    I sincerely appreciate it. And your commitment to unbiased, highly useful content. Steve H

    • My preference is to use a hammock on the AT for privacy, peace and quiet, and flexibility, although not during snake seasons down south. For ground use, I’d go with a TT protrail (li or sil) for 3 season weather. For a pack, I just use a HMG 3400 or a GG Crown2 60.

      • Mr. Werner, could you explain the reason for NOT using a hammock during snake season? Thanks.

      • Sure. I don’t particularly like camping where there other people, especially along crowded trails like the AT. That means I camp off-trail by walking into the woods (bushwhacking) where there are likely to be more snakes hiding in ground cover. Since I don’t particularly like copperheads and rattlesnakes, and fear them, I won’t use a hammock down south in warmer weather. Up north in New Hampshire, I do all the time. But we have no poisonous snakes.

      • Ah! Got it. It isn’t the hammock as much as it is the bushwhacking. Thanks.

    • I do love that sleeping pad. I already responded to your other request.

      • Thanks Philip, I saw your response. Protrail has great space & weight – not sure about it for camping on exposed balds nor crawling around on my knees. But worth a second look. Re HMG 3400, interesting. I recall you preferring SO Flight One over the HMG for Scotland. Again- really appreciate it.

  7. Curious why MLD Doumid never makes these lists.
    I own a few of the tents in the list and believe MLD Doumid is a more flexible option. Bonus: it is 4 season tent.

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