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Not all tents are created equal – they range from huge family designs with as much space inside as a small chalet to lightweight, portable one-person tents that can fit in a small backpack.
Backpacking tents are on the smaller end of the tent spectrum and, as the name suggests, are designed to be carried with you on your adventures – they are portable and compact enough to fit in travel bags. backpack or bike panniers, and are designed with hikers, wild campers, cyclists and anyone else covering long distances and setting up a new camp every night in mind.
What size should I choose?
You’ll see tents sold based on the number of people they can sleep – single-person tents only fit one, and you can always choose a two-person tent if you want more space and of comfort. Most two-person tents should hold two campers and their backpacks, and although those are heavier, they can usually be split to share the weight.
What is the ideal weight for a backpacking tent?
Weight is of the essence for hikes and quick adventures – after all, you need to take all of your camping gear with you. A single tent weighing less than two kilos or a two person tent weighing less than four kilos is your best bet, although there are tents that weigh as little as 700g in our roundup.
Please note: trekking tents are small
While it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, a backpacking tent isn’t designed to be roomy like family or festival tents – many have low ceilings and limited space, as they’re designed to be spacious. used only at night rather than as a living space.
We recommend choosing a tent that you can at least sit in, and tents with an outer sheet that can be pegged to create a porch are also useful, providing additional storage space for your boots and other kits.
Make sure it will stay dry
Waterproofing is your other priority. The model you choose should be a ‘twin’ (a tent with a ‘fly’ outer layer as well as an inner tent) and have a waterproof flysheet as well as a built-in nylon floor to keep water out. infiltrate. Earth.
You’ll see both rounder dome tents and narrower tunnel tents available – if you plan to sleep on the exposed mountain sides, a dome-style tent is a good choice for better wind resistance, and guy ropes will further help you secure the tent against high winds.
MSR Elixir 2 backpacking tent
Key specs – Capacity: Two people; Weight: 2.77 kg;
We’ve never come across an MSR tent that we don’t like – they stand out for their quality and are a great choice if you want a backpacking tent that’s built to last for years of camping to come.
It’s a few minutes’ work to put together the Elixir poles, and the inside of the tent is roomy enough for two people, with more than enough room to sit on and well-placed pockets for your personal effects. There are wide porches on the outside of the two doors, perfect for storing an extra kit.
On a hot night, you can even pitch the inner mesh tent on its own, which is great for stargazing. The outer fly is waterproof, but water does seep in on really stormy days.
An individual version is also available.
Kelty Dirt Motel
Key specs – Capacity: Two people; Weight: 2.19 kg;
Kelty’s Dirt Motel might sound playful, but it’s a perfect name for this lightweight tent – it really offers comfort and space even when camping in the wild.
The Dirt Motel is a simple tent to pitch, and once set up offers plenty of headroom as well as two wide doors and two porches, making it an easy tent to share as a duo.
A mesh inner tent can be used on its own in hot climates and provides protection from insects, or add the waterproof fly on top, which we found reliable against the elements even when we tested the tent in the wet and windy Welsh mountains.
Ideal for hiking and traditional camping trips.
Vango F10 Hydrogen Project
Key specs – Capacity: One person; Weight: 700g;
The impressive Project Hydrogen is one of the lightest trekking tents on the market at just 700g.
It shrinks down to the size of a loaf of bread and is a doddle to carry in smaller backpacks or bike saddlebags – you’ll barely notice you’ve got a tent on you, even if you walk, ride. bike or run over long distances.
Inside there is enough space to accommodate one person rather comfortably, but there is always room to sit and the porch can store an extra kit.
The Project Hydrogen is an “air” tent and its hollow poles are inflated using an included bicycle pump, which is quick and hassle-free, and well-placed guy ropes make the tent strong in stormy weather. An expensive option, but well worth it for dedicated ultralight explorers.
Decathlon Freestanding Trekking 3 Seasons
Key specs – Capacity: One person; Weight: 1.3 kg;
The most affordable backpacking tent in our selection is the rather nifty 3-season Trekking from Decathlon, which we believe is perfect if you’re looking for a one-person backpacking tent on a budget.
It weighs only 1.3kg, although it is not as small as other one person tents tested, so you will need a larger backpack to carry it around. The 3 Seasons Trekking is well sized for one person, with large storage pockets and a porch.
We have found it waterproof in testing and windproof enough to work in most camps outside of high mountain conditions, although it does need regular drying to prevent condensation from forming so it works. best in dry weather.
Key specs – Capacity: One person; Weight: 1.52 kg;
So small and compact is at the top of your tent shopping list, go for Snugpak’s tiny Ionosphere.
The Ionosphere sits low to the ground and feels like sleeping in a bivy bag with a little headroom – there’s little room to move around inside, but its design means it packs away in a compact package, sets up in minutes, and weighs just 1.5kg.
This tent was clearly designed for adventure runners, and its dark green colourway also makes it a subtle choice for low-key wilderness camping. You can sleep alone in the mesh inner tent in warmer weather or add the waterproof outer flysheet for wet conditions, and a repair kit is also included – ideal if you’re venturing off the beaten path.
Vango F10 Xenon UL 2
Key specs – Capacity: Two people; Weight: 1.9 kg;
Tunnel tents offer a great space-to-weight ratio, but tend to be on the narrow side and can look like a coffin to sleep on. This is not the case with the generously sized F10 Xenon UL 2 from Vango.
With decent headroom and a large sheltered porch perfect for storing the kit or sitting down while cooking, there’s plenty of room for two people to get comfortable, and at just under 2kg, this tent is still a heavy weight if you go alone. We like the large storage pockets that line the tent (most hiking tents offer rather limited storage).
The F10 Xenon also sets up in minutes, which is popular after a long day outdoors, and is windproof and waterproof enough to take with you wherever you walk.
OEX Jackal III
Key specifications – Capacity: three people; Weight: 3.37 kg;
Are you going on an adventure as a trio? The affordable OEX Jackal III offers an excellent space-to-weight ratio and can accommodate three people if you don’t mind being a little comfy inside, or two with plenty of room.
At 3.37kg, the Jackal III is as light as some two-person tents we’ve tested, and it also comes with two storage bags and is designed to be easily split between two backpacks for transport.
The waterproof flysheet and groundsheet are sturdy and weatherproof, although fitting is a bit tricky. There is also a spacious porch for storage.
In general, this is a well-designed tent for a very acceptable price.
Berghaus Grampian 2 tent
Key specs – Capacity: Two people; Weight: 4.24 kg;
A great all-rounder if you’re looking for a two-person tent, the spacious Berg Grampian 2 from Berghaus works well for traditional festivals and camping weekends as well as dedicated backpacking trips, and can easily be split into two packs so to share the load of 4.24 kg.
Two generous porches require additional hardware and the Grampian’s geodesic design leaves a good amount of living space inside and allows the tent to stand up very well in windy or stormy weather. Our only criticism would be that this bright red colourway isn’t exactly subtle – go for the green version if you like wild camping.
In stock at the end of March 2021, price to be confirmed.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-07 16:32:08