10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents

10 Best UL Trekking Pole Tents

Ultralight trekking pole tents are a good option when you’re trying to reduce the weight of your backpacking gear because they eliminate the need to carry a set of tent poles that can only be used for a single purpose. Trekking pole tents have also become more popular in the past 10 years as more and more people have experienced the benefit of carrying lighter weight gear. Structurally, they’re quite strong and weather-resistant when made with quality fabrics that have high tear strengths and good waterproofing. Plus all of the trekking poles tents listed below can be set up in the rain without getting the inner tent wet.

Here are the 10 best ultralight trekking pole tents that we recommend for 2020.

Make / ModelPeopleTypeMaterialWeightPrice
Tarptent Notch Li1Double WallDyneema DCF18.7 oz$599
REI Flash Air 11Single WallSil/PU20 oz$249
Gossamer Gear "The One"1Single WallSil/PU20.6 oz$299
Tarptent Protrail1Single WallSilnylon26 oz$229
Six Moons Lunar Solo1Single WallSilpoly26 oz$230
Dan Durston X-Mid 11Double WallSilpoly28 oz$200
Sierra Designs High Route1Double WallSil/PeU28 oz$300
Zpacks Duplex2Single WallDyneema DCF19.4 oz$549
Tarptent Stratospire Li2Double WallDyneema DCF26 oz$689
Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline 2P2Single WallSilpoly35.3 oz$395

1. Tarptent Notch Li

The Tarptent Notch Li is a one-person, double-wall tent with two vestibules and two doors that weighs 18.7 oz. It’s a strong wind and weather worthy shelter that is made with an ultralight fabric called Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is highly waterproof and won’t sag at night or when it rains. 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.

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Tarptent

2. REI Flash 1 Air Tent

REI Flash 1 Air Tent

The REI Flash 1 Air Tent is a one-person, single-wall tent weighing 20 oz with a new and original design. It requires one trekking pole to set up but also comes with an optional aluminum pole that can be used instead. A unique brow pole and a short foot box pole are used to increase headroom and foot volume in its pyramid-like structure. The tent has a side mesh door with vestibule storage space that does not compromise entry. The interior is quite livable with enough room to change your clothes inside. Good airflow under the vestibule doors, two interior vents, and a ceiling vent help keep internal condensation at bay. The tent is fully seam-taped and comes well-outfitted with guylines, line locs, and cord tensioners. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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REI

3. 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 PU-coated silnylon, 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. The tent requires two poles to set up. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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Gossamer Gear

4. Tarptent Protrail

Tarptent Protrail

The Tarptent ProTrail is an ultralight one-person single-walled tent designed for three-season use. Weighing 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 flap. Livability is excellent, but its chief advantage is that it can be set up just about anywhere, even in the narrow spaces between trees along heavily forested trails. The ProTrail is made with a waterproof and durable 30d silnylon, but requires seam-sealing before wet-weather use. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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Tarptent

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 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.

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Six Moon Designs

6. Dan Durston/MassDrop X-Mid-1

X-Mid-1 UL Tent

The Dan Durston X-Mid 1P, sold by Drop (formerly MassDrop) 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. 

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Drop

7. Sierra Designs High Route FL 1

Sierra Designs High Route
The brainchild of wilderness explorer Andrew Skurka, the Sierra Designs High Route FL 1 is a double-wall trekking pole tent with a mesh inner tent. It’s similar in design to the Durston X-mid above, and the Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline below, though developed independently. The High Route has a spacious inner tent with one side door and one gear hatch so you can access gear stored in the far vestibule. Vertical sidewalls enhance livability, while the ability to porch the side doors to create awnings facilitates airflow even when it is raining. A recent redesign significantly reduced the tent weight to 28 ounces. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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Sierra Designs | Sunny Sports 

8. Zpacks Duplex Tent

Zpacks-duplex-top 10 tents

The Zpacks Duplex is a single-wall trekking pole tent that only weighs 19.4 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.

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Zpacks

9. Tarptent Stratospire Li

Tarptent Stratospire Li
The Tarptent Stratospire Li is a two-person trekking pole tent with two doors and two vestibules made with Dyneema DCF. The Stratospire Li, like the Notch Li listed above, is a strong and weather worthy shelter but sized for two people, instead of one. The two-pole, dual apex structure provides plenty of headroom and creates large vestibules which can be used to store wet gear or cook under in bad weather. The inner tent can be clipped into the rainfly after it’s set up or it can be packed away connected and erected simultaneously. Numerous ventilation options are provided from roll back doors and peak vents to head and foot portals that can be used to provide ventilation during storms. The tent’s unique shape means that it can handle stormy weather frm any direction, which is a definite plus if you encounter shifting wind directions on your adventures.

Check out the latest price at:
Tarptent 

10. Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline

YMG Swiftline
The Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline is a spacious two-person tent with two doors and two vestibules that’s ideal for tall hikers or couples who want more room to spread out. It’s a hybrid single-wall tent that’s sewn to the rain fly on top but has separate walls and mesh doors like a double-wall tent. Setup requires a little practice, but once you internalize Yama’s great instructions, it becomes second nature. The thing that really stands out about the tent, besides the fact that it packs up impossibly small, are the myriad ways to ventilate it and open it up for views. The quality of construction and the ingenuity of the design also shine through.

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Yama Mountain Gear 

Trekking Pole 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.

Trekking Pole 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 come 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 and Double-wall Tents

Trekking poles 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.

Headroom

Most trekking pole tents have a pyramid shape which can limit the amount of headroom and foot room under the sloping ceiling. Lying on your back and staring at a ceiling that’s 3 inches from your face can be unpleasantly claustrophobic. Trekking pole tents that require two poles to set up usually have two peaks, which can increase the amount of livable space inside, compared to one pole tents. 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.

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 trekking pole 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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