10 Best One-Person Backpacking Tents

10 Best One-Person Backpacking Tents

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.

Make / ModelTypeWeightPrice
Dan Durston X-Mid 1Double Wall27.9 oz$200
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1Double Wall30 oz$350
MSR Hubba NX 1Double Wall39 oz$380
Gossamer Gear The OneSingle Wall20.6 oz$299
Six Moon Designs Lunar SoloSingle Wall26 oz$230
REI Quarter Dome SL 1Double Wall31 oz$290
MSR Carbon Reflex 1Double Wall23 oz$450
Tarptent Aeon LiSingle Wall15.8 oz$535
NEMO Dragonfly 1Double Wall32 oz$360
Tarptent ProtrailSingle Wall26 oz$229

Taking these different priorities into consideration, here are our picks for the top 10 one-person tents of 2020.

1. Dan Durston/Drop X-Mid 1

X-Mid-1 UL Tent

The Dan Durston X-Mid 1P, sold by Drop (formerly MassDrop) is a 27.9-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 our review. 

Check out the latest price at:
Drop (frequently out of stock because it is so popular)

2. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 1

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.

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

3. MSR Hubba NX 1 Tent

MSR Hubba NX 1
The MSR Hubba NX 1 is a 39 oz double wall tent with a side entrance and vestibule so you can store your extra gear under cover 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.

Check out the latest price at:
REI | MSR 

4. Gossamer Gear “The One”

Gossamer Gear The One Tent

Gossamer Gear’s “The One” 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 siliconized polyester (silpoly), 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. The tent body and floor are made with 15d fabric. Read our review.

Check out the latest price at:
Gossamer Gear

5. Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Six Moon Design Lunar Solo
The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is an ultralight style, single-wall tent that’s pitched with a single trekking pole. Weighing just 26 ounces, the Lunar Solo is quite lightweight and easy to set up. It 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 more durable 40D weave. Read our review.

Check out the latest price at:
Six Moon Designs | Amazon Prime | Garage Grown Gear

6. REI Quarter Dome SL 1 Tent

REI Quarter Dome 1 SL
The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 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.

Check out the latest price at:
REI

7. The MSR Carbon Reflex 1

MSR Carbon Reflex 1 Tent

The MSR Carbon Reflex 1 tent offers the full protection, durability and simple setup of a double-wall tent with the ultralight weight and packed size of a tarp shelter. Weighing just 23 oz, it packs up small and sets up quick, conveniently fitting into narrow tent spaces with ease. The tent’s carbon fiber poles are exceptionally lightweight and strong, providing excellent wind resistance while eliminating the need for a bulky multi-way hub or awkwardly pre-curved poles. Read our review.

Check out the latest price at:
REI | Moosejaw | Sunny Sports | Amazon

8. Tarptent Aeon Li

The Tarptent Aeon Li single-wall tarp tent has a floating bathtub style floor and mesh front wall. Weighing 15.8 ounces, the Aeon Li is sized for one person plus their gear. It requires one trekking pole to pitch and has a front vestibule that can be fastened open in good weather. The Aeon Li is made with Dyneema DCF (formerly called cuben fiber), which is a very lightweight and waterproof laminate that is taped and sewn together. Dyneema DCF can be rather noisy in heavy rain and provides limited privacy since it’s translucent, but it is puncture resistant and easy to repair with Tyvek tape. Read our review.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent.com

9. 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:
REI | Moosejaw | Sunny SportsAmazon

10. Tarptent Protrail

Tarptent Protrail

The Tarptent ProTrail is an ultralight one-person single-walled tent designed for three-season use. Weighing just 26 ounces, the ProTrail is generously sized for one person. Setup requires two trekking poles although conventional poles can also be purchased from the manufacturer if you don’t use them. The ProTrail has a front door and vestibule that can be closed in the event of rain, as well as a rear window. The ProTrail is made with a waterproof and durable 30d silnylon, but requires seam-sealing before wet-weather use. Read our Review.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent.com

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 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.

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 tentsite 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.

Check Out All of SectionHiker's Gear Guides!

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.

Most Popular Searches

  • best one person tent
  • best 1 person tent
  • 1 person backpacking tent

27 comments

  1. I have never used a Lunar Solo, though I have been in one to check it out. But I have used a SMD Skyscape Trekker. For $20 and two ounces more, the Trekker fits my criteria much better than the Lunar Solo. There is more head room, two doors, and two vestibules. The fascination with the Lunar Solo mystifies me. Lunar Solo users, what is it about this tent that checks your boxes?

  2. I had a Naturehike Cloud 2 UP one of the original ones. I had it modified to put extra guys on the side walls. Unfortunately it blew completely flat in a storm which had changed direction in less than 15 mins.. So I am thinking that stability needs to be an important factor.

    • You’ll find that trekking pole tents, especially those with two poles are exceptionally wind-worthy. The X-Mid listed here is an excellent choice in that regard, but you might also want to check out the Tarptent Notch or the Tarptent Stratospire 1.

      • I’ve had a Stratospire 1 since 2012 or 2013. Two doors and two vestibules are great. I got it with half screened doors AND with the optional full sil nylon covered doors. I’ve never used the full doors yet, I love the half screened doors so much. I bought the ProTrail a year ago for its design and low weight, but due to retirement and moving an hour away from my other home of 25 years, have still never had time to set it up. Even used my hammock this last weekend on a 4 day/3 nighter.

  3. Is the “one” now made in silpoly on the fly? Your description mentions both silpoly and silnylon. Also keen to hear about the new REI Flash trekking pole tent – they get one in your hands yet?

  4. Is there anything about the MSR Hubba that sets it apart from the REI Quarter Dome 1P? It looks like the Quarter Dome has a slightly larger floor plan, vestibule area, and height while also being a half pound lighter and nearly $100 cheaper.

    Everyone I talked to on the AT that had either the Hubba or Hubba Hubba loved it and I have been thinking about adding the Hubba for solo trips. It weighs the same as my Tarpent Saddle 2 but would like a smaller footprint and easier setup on solo trips.

    Thank you.

    • The biggest difference is how the end poles are shaped (in a Y) that adds a lot of interior space and stability to the tent. MSR tents really rock and the Hubba and Hubba Hubba are great options, but more expensive than the REI house brand.

  5. Hello

    Why did you not include the (extremely costly) Zpacks Plexamid Tent in your overview?

    • Two reasons. 1) After last years ghastly quality blunder (the Zpacks apex pole kept snapping on users), I’m not in any rush to tell people to rush out and buy one. If you do want a Zpacks tent for solo use, I’d recommend getting a Duplex instead. It’s much more spacious and much easier to set up. 2) After using the Plexamid and a Hexmid Tent last year, which is very similar, I’m just not that thrilled about the tent design. It’s kind of cramped for what it is. It incorporates a lot of good design ideas, but they don’t really come together into a tent that’s fun to use.

  6. Phil, I’d add the Tarptent Notch Li for its double wall at only 3 oz. more than the AEON Li. (“Li” is Tarptent-speak for Dyneema)
    The Notch can handle worse weather conditions than the AEON Li, like blowing dust (southern Utah!) and spindrift snow in case you get caught out in an unseasonal snowstorm.

  7. Phil, why do you ignore the Lightheart Gear tents. Lightweight, roomy, and stormworthy. I speak from experience having used a Solo Awning for many years (in some heavy storms) and now have the Firefly Awning. Small footprints, no or very little condensation, and masses of room inside for gear. Also, with respect to the Plexamid, I also have one of these and find it very easy to set up and there is plenty of room for one person and all their gear inside the tent. ZPacks seems to have solved the problem with the struts and, of course, you just can’t beat the weight! In addition, you take no note of MLD tents – in particular, the Cricket Tarp with an inner net which I am also considering. Lightweight, no zippers to break and stormworthy. In my opinion you have left out several wonderful one-person backpacking tents that have several advantages over some of those that have made your list. For instance, the X-Mid is a great tent but has a huge footprint for a one-person tent. This is particularly a problem when you are backpacking in the North East. I was excited to get one but sold it when I realized how hard it would be to fit into small spaces. The reviews for The One and for the Lunar Solo mention significant condensation problems and the Nemo tents have problems with the section barely covered by the rainfly wetting out. In contrast, I barely notice condensation in the Plexamid and have never got wet inside. I know all of this because of doing lots of research to find the best tent for myself. I respect your opinions but feel you are missing out on some great tents.

    • Mountain Laurel designs doesn’t make any tents. They make tarps. I’ve owned several of them and used them quite extensively.

      You of all people should know that condensation has more to do with tent placement than design. It’s caused by a temperature differential for crying out loud. In defense of NEMO, they started steering away from overly thin rain flys and floors. You’re out of date.
      See also: https://sectionhiker.com/backpacking-how-to-prevent-tent-condensation/

      There are 10 recommendations here. You don’t have to like all of them and they’re not all exclusively for New England Use. Different people have different needs. Why in god’s name would you consider an MLD cricket when you have a Plexamid already. THAT doesn’t make any sense!

      My best – Philip

  8. Well if its a tarp with an inner net, then it qualifies as a tent I would think. It works as a mesh tent with a rainfly. Yes, condensation has to to with tent placement but it also has to do with whether its a double or single-wall tent. If your placement isn’t the greatest (and sometimes you have no choice), you will stay drier in a double-wall (or hybrid ) tent than in a single-wall tent.

    I am thinking of a Cricket (with an inner) because I like its simple design and the fact that you can keep the front open when it’s raining – I thought I would try one out and if I like it better than the Plexamid then I would sell the Plexamid. For the same reason, I like the Lighthear Gear awning tents, you don’t have to close them up when it’s raining but you stay dry. I am just like everyone else, continually searching for the perfect tent that suits what I like! And, I do appreciate that not everyone thinks the same way.

    As for NEMO, the problem is not the thickness of the rain fly but the fact that it doesn’t shield the rear of the tent from getting wet unless the rain is just coming straight down. I quote one recent review: “I bought the Hornet 2p for a PCT thru hike. I really enjoyed living in the tent, it was plenty of room for 1 person, for 2 it would definitely be cramped. I didn’t find it difficult to set up. I was really disappointed in the design of the fly. The “cutaway fly” just makes it really easy for rain to get into the tent. I experienced a lot of rain and no matter what changes I made to the set up, I had this issue. If the fly was longer and covered the entire tent, the issue would be resolved. Otherwise it’s a great tent, but it’s a pretty major flaw. The fly works amazing in terms of never dripping or leaking, but the part of the tent that is exposed will get wet unless the rain is only falling straight down with no wind. I wish there wasn’t this design flaw.”

    BTW I read your review of the StoS Etherlight and bought one for my recent thru hike of the (wet but beautiful) Ocean to Lake Trail in Florida. I bought the women’s large and absolutely love the comfort of it. My only complaint is that with the stuff sack it weighs 1 lb 6.2 oz. on my scale.

    Regards and keep up the good work.

    Christine

    • They’re not tents. And really, it doesn’t matter if you have a single wall tent or a double-wall tent. They both suffer from internal condensation if there is a temperature differential between the outer and interior surface. But I know you get that. I’d just be cautious whenever you read a customer review complaining about tent condensation because it’s often lack of experience in tentsite selection talking rather than tent design.

      I’ve looked at the Cricket myself, but never purchased it because it doesn’t provide enough wind protection in my view. As for opening doors, I only ever shut them if the weather is horrible outside. Doesn’t matter the tent, tarp, or whatever. I like sleeping next to an open entrance.

      Regarding the NEMO – that’s not the Hornet. You’ll find that you get a much better pitch with the DragonFly that addresses the leaking issue because of the tent has a much heavier and sturdier internal freestanding pole structure.

      No idea why your pad weighs so much more than mine (which weighs 15 oz).

      • Maybe because the women’s has an extra layer of insulation (I sleep cold) and also because I got the 25″ wide one.

    • Hi Christine (and Philip),

      The cut out on the head end of the Nemo Hornet 1P (2019 version) is much smaller than on the 2P. If you use the stake out point in the middle of the cutout, raindrops, are not falling directly on the tent body (at least not like they do on the 2P). Why didn’t the Hornet 1P make the list? Just curious.

      Thanks,

      Mat

      PS Love this site. So many great articles.

  9. On my phone the picture for this article , if not mistaken, is of a Single Rainbow by Tarptent?
    But the Single Rainbow is not included as one of your 10 best single person tents.
    I am about to buy the new 2019 version of Single Rainbow, but wondering why the picture, but not the credit as one of your 10 best single person backpacking tents.

    • Afraid the Plexamid is cursed. After last year’s quality debacle, we’ll wait to see if the latest model survives or fails again from quality issues. Given how finicky the plexamid is to pitch, we think you’d be much better off buying a duplex. More space. Just slightly more expensive. Much easier to set up and really an awesome tent.

    • I have a knee problem, so non-dcf ents and the duplex are too heavy. The plexamid is the perfect balance of weight and size for me, and they replaced the struts. Love it.

  10. Another Gear Nerd

    Nice list of ”safe” and solid choices. Were also preparing a top 10 list and decided to leave out the plexamid for all the reasons you cite. I’m always amazed by the vocalness of the ZPacks fan club and it’s a brave man who stands up to them. A lot of people trust your gear recommendations because they take into account the needs of many different user groups and not just thru hikers. Nice post.

  11. Personally I think a two person tent is the best one person tent!

    My choice was between the Copper Spur UL1 and the Tiger Wall UL2 which are about the same weight, packed size and at the time due to sales were about the same price. I set both up in the store and I found the Tiger Wall UL2 was just more livable. I am ~6ft and if I was taller the CS UL1 might have one out since it is longer. The tent it replaced is an original Copper Spur UL2 which I also got with solo carry in mind. I considered a new and improved CS UL2 but preferred the 8oz weight savings of the TW.

    I did modify the fixed guylines with line locs removing some of the TW’s semi-freestanding annoyance I was going to make a cryo foot print but in the end was too lazy and just got the stock one on sale. When camping on rock I wanted to minimize abrasions. I have seen reports that using a cryo foot print is better if it is really wet as the thin stock foot print and tent floor are not as impermeable as one would hope. I have endured rain and wet ground but only for a couple of nights so I haven’t experienced that personally.

    The only big advantage I see with 1P tents is the smaller ground foot print which can provide more flexibility on camp site choice but so far that hasn’t been an issue for me. Generally I have found I can squeeze the tent in so the area I sleep on is flat enough even if the site would be less than comfortable for 2. I had it in a snow hole next to a tree and on a rock ledge where this was the case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *