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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.  Taking these different priorities into consideration, here are our picks for the top 10 one-person tents of 2018.

1. NEMO Hornet 1

NEMO Hornet 1

Weighing just 27 oz, the Hornet 1 is a lightweight double-wall tent with a side entrance and vestibule that makes it easy to get in and out of. Semi-freestanding, it’s easy to set up, with excellent ventilation between the inner tent and rain fly to help reduce tent condensation. Aerodynamic vents encourage airflow, while the high bathtub floor prevents cold wind from chilling you inside. When the rain fly is not needed, you can use the inner tent like a bivy sack to watch the stars.

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REI | Campsaver

2. MSR Hubba NX Solo

MSR Hubba NX Solo
The MSR Hubba NX Solo 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 side walls to increase livability. The same pole structure provides excellent stability in wind conditions, while rain fly vents help prevent internal condensation.

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REI | Campsaver

3. REI Quarter Dome

REI Quarter Dome 1
The REI Quarter Dome 1 is a highly livable 39 oz double wall tent with vertical side walls and plenty of head and shoulder room. The hubbed and shock-corded pole assembly is color coded to simplify setup, while adjustable stakeout 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.

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4. Eureka Spitfire 1

Eureka Spitfire 1

The Eureka Spitfire 1 is a 44 oz double-wall tent loaded with mesh for great ventilation with ample headroom and interior living space. A deep bathtub floor with taped seams protects against splashing rain while internal pockets provide gear storage. The tent’s hoop-style aluminum poles lock into corner grommets making set up fast and easy while requiring just 2 stakes to secure the inner tent. A large side entry door provides easy access, while the rain vestibule provides gear storage.

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Campsaver | Amazon

5. The North Face Mica FL 1

The North Face Mica 1

The North Face Mica FL 1 is a one person double-wall tent that weighs 32.5 ounces. The inner tent is freestanding, making it very easy to set up and the rain fly only requires an additional 2 stakes to pitch. Steep side walls and the curved pole architecture provide plenty of head room, while an inner tent length of 85″ gives tall people plenty of room to stretch out. The tent also comes bundled with an optional footprint (not shown) which is unusual, since most tent manufacturers charge people extra for them.

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Moosejaw | Amazon

6. Yama Mountain Cirriform SW Dyneema

Yama Cirriform SW DCF

The Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform SW is a 21.4 oz single-wall tarp tent with a front vestibule and a deep bathtub floor. The Cirriform is a great for squeezing into tight spots in dense forest, but doesn’t sacrifice wind or rain protection like an open tarp. It requires two trekking poles to set up, although you can also use a short tree branch for the rear pole support if that’s all you have available. The Cirriform SW is made with Dyneema DCF (formerly called cuben fiber) making it tough, ultralight, and waterproof. Less expensive, but heavier versions are also available in a number of fabrics and fabric combinations.

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Yama Mountain Gear

7. ZPacks Plexamid

Zpacks Plexamid
The ZPacks Plexamid is a hybrid, single-wall, double-wall tarp tent with a floating bathtub style floor and mesh front wall. Weighing 17.9 ounces, the Plexamid is sized for one person plus their gear. It requires one trekking pole or tent pole (optional) to pitch and has a front vestibule which can tied open in good weather. The Plexamid, like all of ZPacks shelters is made with DCF (formerly called cuben fiber), which is a very lightweight and waterproof laminate that is taped together rather than sewn. 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.

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8. Gossamer Gear “The One”

Gossamer Gear The One

Gossamer Gear’s “The One” is an ultralight, single-walled trekking-pole tent that weighs 22.4 oz. It has a spacious interior that’s a palace for one, with excellent ventilation to help prevent internal condensation. Factory seam-taped, there’s no need to seam seal The One which is made with an ultralight silpoly instead of cuben fiber to help keep its price competitive. 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 one of the doors and get in and out through the other.

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Gossamer Gear

9. Tarptent Notch 1

Tarptent Notch

The Tarptent Notch is a 27 oz, one-person double-wall tent that can be pitched as a standalone fly or as a complete double wall tent, making it a cost-effective option for many kinds of trips ranging from UL fast packs to car camping. The Notch is a trekking pole tent with two peaks and two vestibules that provide excellent storage for gear and make it easy to get in and out of the tent. Internal ventilation is excellent and the tent is strong and windworthy in stormy weather. The inner tent is available in an all-mesh version or with solid walls for cold weather use. Made of silnylon, the Notch must be seam-sealed. A fully waterproof DCF version is also available.

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10. 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 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 head room to sit up inside. A large vestibule also provides gear storage and room to cook in bad weather.

Check out the latest price at:
Six Moon Designs

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.

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