One person, solo backpacking tents are ideal if you’re thru-hiking, fast-packing, or backpacking big miles and want to trim your gear weight as low as possible. More livable than bivy sacks, one-person tents are designed for sleeping and bad weather protection. While some solo tents are more plush and spacious than others, you almost always have to choose between competing priorities including weight, ease of use, durability, and cost when selecting one. This can make it tough to choose between tents, especially since few stores have display models anymore.
Taking these different priorities into consideration, here are our picks for the top 10 one-person tents of 2023.
1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1
is a spacious, freestanding double-wall tent that’s easy to set up and has a trail weight of just 34 oz. With a “porchable” side door, a high vent, and two-way door zips, the Copper Spur has lots of options to vent extra moisture, increase airflow, and reduce internal condensation. The side door makes getting in and out easy and the large front vestibule lets you store gear without blocking access. A ceiling pocket, media pockets, and internal hang points help keep your gear organized and tucked out of the way. A longtime backpacker favorite, the well-appointed Copper Spur strikes an excellent balance between luxury and low weight.
2. NEMO Hornet OSMO Ultralight 1P
The NEMO Hornet OSMO Ultralight 1P
is a 29 oz ultralight semi-free-standing double wall tent made with a nylon/polyester rain fly that won’t sag in the rain. It has a single side door with lots of mesh for ventilation and to help prevent internal condensation transfer. The side vestibule over the door provides plenty of gear storage without interfering with entry or exit. But the thing that sets his tent apart from others is the poles, which when collapsed are only 12.5″ long, making it possible to pack horizontally in almost any backpack! An even lighter weight, but more expensive version is available called the NEMO Hornet Elite OSMO 1P
which only weighs 23 oz, or for more interior space, the NEMO Hornet Elite OSMO 2P
which weighs 27 ounces.
3. Zpacks Plex Solo
The 13.9 oz Zpacks Plex Solo
is a single wall trekking pole tent made with Dyneema DCF which doesn’t stretch or sag at night and is extremely waterproof. It has a deep bathtub floor to keep you dry, steep walls to shed strong wind and snow, and a rainbow zipper that makes it easy to get in and out from either side of the front vestibule. Setup requires one trekking pole. If you’re a taller hiker or you want even more headroom, we recommend sizing up to the Zpacks AltaPlex Tent
, which is virtually identical but has a longer bathtub floor. Read our review.
4. Gossamer Gear “The One”
Gossamer Gear’s “The One”
is an ultralight, single-walled trekking-pole tent that weighs 17.7 oz. It has a spacious interior that’s a palace for one, with excellent ventilation to help prevent internal condensation. Made with 10d Sil/PU ripstop nylon, 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 our review
5. Durston X-Mid 1
The 2022 Durston X-Mid 1P
is a 28-ounce double-wall trekking pole tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. This 2-door tent is made of 20D polyester with a 2500mm sil/PEU coating 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 guy-out points for extreme conditions. Read the SectionHiker X-Mid 1P (V2) review
6. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1
is a spacious 30 oz high-volume, double-wall tent with an easy-to-setup hubbed pole architecture (tent pole included). The large, dual-zipper door makes entry and exit easy and creates a large vestibule for ample gear storage. A large ceiling pocket and side pockets provide excellent storage space, while mesh sidewalls provide extra privacy. The high quality of the Tiger Wall and its durable construction have made it a backpacker favorite.
7. MSR Hubba Hubba 1
The MSR Hubba Hubba
1 is a freestanding 34 oz double wall tent with a side entrance and vestibule so you can store your extra gear undercover and still get in and out of the tent easily. The tent is easy to set up with a dual hub pole structure that provides excellent head and foot room, in addition to an overhead eyebrow pole that creates vertical sidewalls to increase livability. The carbon fiber pole structure provides excellent stability in wind conditions, while the rain fly vents help prevent internal condensation.
8. Tarptent Notch Li
The Tarptent Notch L
i is a one-person, double-wall tent with two vestibules and two doors that weighs 21.5 oz. It’s a strong wind and weather-worthy shelter that is made with Dyneema Composite Fabric. Internal livability is excellent with plenty of headroom, space to accommodate a wide 25″ sleeping pad, and large vestibule spaces for gear storage, cooking in the rain, or a canine companion. Peak and end vents help maintain ventilation even in crappy weather. The inner tent can be set up by itself with trekking poles in dry weather and a solid inner tent is also available to extend the tent’s range in colder winter weather. Read the SectionHiker Notch Review
9. Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 1
The Nimbus UL 1
is a 27.8 oz semi-freestanding double-wall tent with a front door and vestibule. It packs up small and is very straightforward to pitch. The inner tent is 3/4 mesh with a high bathtub floor to keep pooling water out of the tent and provide enhanced dust and wind protection. The silicone-impregnated nylon fly is made without any fabric dye, significantly reducing the use of water and chemicals in the manufacturing process. The tent comes with Featherlite DAC aluminum poles which are pre-bent and connected by hubs to increase interior headroom and make the tent easy to set up. The beauty of a tent like this (without side doors) is that it’s much easier to find unprepared tent sites for it, especially in forested terrain.
10. Tarptent Dipole 1 Li
Weighing 20.8 oz, the Tarptent Dipole 1 Li
is an ultralight Dyneema trekking pole tent with two doors and two vestibules. The tent has a rectangular footprint and requires two trekking poles to set up and 6 to 8 stakes depending on the degree of stability you prefer. It includes two carbon fiber struts that are used to increase the headroom at the ends and form covered awnings that can be sealed closed in high wind. The struts are collapsible so that the entire tent can be rolled up and packed horizontally in any backpack that’s at least 13″ wide (which is most backpacks).
Tent Selection Criteria
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 low 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.
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.
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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