10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents of 2022

10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents

Ultralight backpacking tents are a good option when you’re trying to reduce the weight of your backpacking gear but you’re unwilling to give up the comfort of a tent and sleep under a tarp without insect protection. The lightest weight ultralight backpacking tents are often made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics (DCF) and use trekking poles instead of tent poles to save weight. While many are single-wall tents and more prone to internal condensation, some are double-wall tents or a hybrid combination of the two. But don’t discount tents made with more conventional fabrics that are freestanding, more wind worthy, longer for tall people, or more spacious, especially for couples. There has never been a better time than now to buy a lightweight tent.

Here are the 10 best ultralight backpacking tents that we recommend.

Make / ModelPeopleTypeMaterialMin Weight
Zpacks Plex Solo1Single WallDCF13.9 oz / 395g
Tarptent Double Rainbow Li2Single WallDCF26.4 oz / 746g
Gossamer Gear "The One"1Single WallSil/PU Nylon17.7 oz / 503g
Durston X-Mid 11Double WallSil/PeU Poly28 oz / 795g
REI Quarter Dome SL 11Double WallPU Nylon31 oz / 879g
Zpacks Duplex2Single WallDCF19.0 oz / 539g
Tarptent Aeon Li1Single WallDCF17 oz / 490g
MSR Freelite 22Double WallSil/PU Nylon32 oz / 910g
Tarptent Notch Li1Double WallDCF19.9 oz / 562g
NEMO Hornet Elite 22Double WallSil/PeU Nylon27 oz/ 779g

See our advice at the bottom of the page for advice about how to choose between these different options.

1. Zpacks Plex Solo (1P)

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.

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Zpacks

2. Tarptent Double Rainbow Li (2P)

Tarptent Double Rainbow Li
The Tarptent Double Rainbow Li is a spacious Dyneema DCF tent that is not a trekking pole tent but includes a carbon fiber tent pole and strut. Weighing 28.6 oz, it’s a single-wall ultralight backpacking tent favored by couples that want more room to interior spread out. It has two doors and two vestibules for gear storage and can be set up on wooden tent platforms by attaching trekking poles to the corners of the tent. The interior tent walls have partial fabric sidewalls for enhanced wind and splash protection and an optional ceiling liner is available for additional privacy, separation from internal condensation, and winter temperature regulation.

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Tarptent

3. Gossamer Gear “The One” (1P)

GG The 2021 One tent

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. Read the SectionHiker “The One” review. The One is also available with a Dyneema DCF rain fly and weighs 15.3 oz.

Check out the latest price at:
Gossamer Gear

4. Durston X-Mid 1 (1P)

X-Mid-1 UL Tent

The 2022 Dan 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 guyout points for extreme conditions. Read the SectionHiker X-Mid 1P review.  An updated two-person X-Mid 2P (36 oz) model will be available in autumn, 2022 with even more internal space.

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Kasovo Outdoors

5. Tarptent Aeon Li (1P)

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 side door which makes it much easier to enter and exit. The Aeon Li is made with Dyneema DCF, 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 the SectionHiker review.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent

6.  REI Quarter Dome SL 1 (1P)

REI quarter Dome SL1
The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 is a one-person double-wall tent that weighs 31 oz. Despite its low weight, the interior is remarkably livable, with vertical sidewalls, numerous internal pockets to keep you organized, and a roof vent to help minimize internal condensation. A large vestibule provides plenty of extra gear storage, while the dual-zippered door makes it possible to vent the top while keeping the bottom sealed for wind protection and better privacy. Read the SectionHiker review.

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REI

7. Zpacks Duplex Tent (2P)

Zpacks Duplex

The Zpacks Duplex is a single-wall trekking pole tent made with Dyneema Composite Fabric 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 can be quite drafty however in cold weather and is best used for warmer and drier weather. It is also translucent, which can compromise your privacy when camping near others. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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Zpacks

8. MSR Freelite 2 (2P)

MSR Freelite 2
Updated for 2022, the MSR Freelite 2 is a 32 oz two-person tent with two doors and two vestibules. It still has the true rectangular floor, 50 inches wide, without a foot taper like most other two-person tents. A unified hub-and-pole system and symmetrical design make setup super quick. Inside, tech-friendly pockets feature cable ports at the corners for headphone and charging cords, while the overhead gear loft pockets are perfect for headlamps, sunglasses, and other quick-access items.

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MSR

9. Tarptent Notch Li (1P)

The Tarptent Notch Li 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.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent

10. NEMO Hornet Elite 2 (2P)

Nemo Elite 2
The NEMO Hornet Elite 2 is a 27 oz, two-person double-wall tent made with ultralight fabrics with two doors and two extra-large vestibules for ease of access and gear storage. Clever design features increase interior headroom and floor space for added livability. A single hubbed tent pole makes setup very fast and easy, while black mesh doors turn virtually transparent at night for clear stargazing.

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REI | NEMO

Ultralight Backpacking Tent Selection Guide

The backpacking tent manufacturers who make trekking poles tents use a wide range of different materials and designs. When shopping for a tent, it’s important to understand the tradeoffs of the models you’re considering and how they can complement your adventures.

Ultralight Tent Materials and Price Points

Trekking poles tents are available in a variety of different materials and at different price points. Dyneema DCF is the lightest weight material and the most expensive, in part because it requires specialized manufacturing processes. Tents made with Silpoly, Silnylon, and PU coated silnylon are much less expensive than Dyneema because they can be sewn using conventional methods. They’re also roughly comparable in price. It’d be difficult to say which is the best fabric to make tents with because fabric quality varies widely depending on the manufacturer and specification to which it is made. That said, ultralight tentmakers are beginning to switch away from silnylon to silpoly because it has less stretch than silnylon and absorbs less water.

  • Tents made with Dyneema DCF are very expensive, but also very lightweight, waterproof, and strong. They are more prone to damage from sunlight over the long term, but that’s seldom an issue for most people. Dyneema tents must be folded when packed not stuffed, but can still be surprisingly bulky despite their low weight.
  • Tents made with siliconized polyester (silpoly) are an attractive alternative to Dyneema DCF because they don’t stretch much overnight or when they get wet from rain. They’re also far less expensive and some are seam-taped, so you can use them out of the box without any seam sealing.
  • Tents made with PU-coated silnylon are generally more waterproof than regular silnylon, but you need to compare their waterproofing specs to be sure. The chief benefit of the PU coating over regular silnylon is improved UV resistance and the fact that the material can be factory seam-taped.
  • Tents made with silnylon are still common because it’s an easy material for manufacturers to work with. While silnylon does stretch at night and when it gets wet, it’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be. Silnylon tents must be manually seam-sealed before they can be used in rainy weather. While you can do this yourself, my advice would be to pay the manufacturer to do it for you so you get a tent that’s ready to be used when it arrives.

Single-wall vs Double-wall Tents

Ultralight backpacking tents are available in single-wall and double-wall models, with separate inner tents. While both are susceptible to internal condensation, the advantage of a double-wall tent is the moisture collects on the underside of the rainfly and not on a wall that has contact with your sleeping bag, quilt, or other gear. The inner tent and rainfly on many double-wall tents can also be used independently from one another, for example as a standalone tarp or as a bug bivy, which can extend their utility. The advantage of a single wall tent over a double wall one is usually reduced weight.

If tent condensation ever becomes an issue for you, we recommend carrying a small absorbent face towel to wipe it away. Tent condensation is a small price to pay for reduced gear weight and it won’t kill you unless you’re a witch (wizard-0f-Oz reference).

Headroom

Many ultralight backpacking tents pole tents have a pyramid shape which can limit the amount of headroom and foot room available under the sloping ceiling. Lying on your back and staring at a ceiling that’s three inches from your face can be unpleasantly claustrophobic. Make sure you examine the length of the tents you’re considering, in addition to their peak heights.

Trekking pole tents that require two poles to set up usually have two peaks, which can increase the amount of livable space overhead, compared to a one-pole tent. Some tent manufacturers also reduce the slope of the ceiling to create more headroom. The best example of this is Tarptent’s use of carbon fiber end struts to increase the amount of room under the ceilings at the head and foot ends of their tents. The downside of these end struts is that it can make tents harder to pack horizontally in a backpack.

Vestibules

Vestibules are good for gear storage, especially wet gear storage, and for cooking under cover in windy or rainy weather. Most one-pole tents have a single vestibule, while two-pole tents generally have two. When buying a two-person tent, you’ll definitely want two doors and two vestibules so you can each have your own entrance and gear storage area. It can also be quite useful to have two doors and two vestibules on a one-person tent, especially if you anticipate stormy weather conditions where you might have to hunker down in your tent for a day. For that matter, many people use two-person tents as solo tents, something that’s feasible without a major weight penalty since most ultralight backpacking tents are quite lightweight.

Pole Length

When you choose a trekking pole tent, you want to make sure that it is compatible with the make and model of trekking pole you use if you have a preference. Fixed-length poles that are not adjustable can be difficult to use with trekking pole tents which have very specific height requirements. In addition, you want to make sure that your trekking pole handles are compatible if they have a non-standard grip.

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