9 Best Tents For Backpacking And Camping In 2020 [Detailed Reviews]
Choosing a low-quality tent can affect your backpacking adventure. But with lots of options available, finding the best tent is not easy. So, we have written this buying guide to help you out in deciding which among the best tents for backpacking and camping you should buy. We have reviewed 9 popular and high-quality tents in the market today.
By the end of the article, you will be able to choose the right tent for your next camping journey. Our backpacking tent reviews include the different tent features, their specifications with pros and cons. However, if you would like to skip straight to the final verdict, here is a quick recap of our top picks.
- Top 9 Tents [Table Of Comparison]
- Best Tents For Backpacking and Camping Reviews
- 1. Big Agnes Blacktail 4 - Best 4 Person Tent for Camping
- 2. CORE Equipment 4 Person Tent - Best Tent for the Money
- 3. Nemo Hornet Ultralight - Best One Person Tent
- 4. Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch Dark Room Tent with Screen Room - The Best 6 Person Tents
- 5. OZARK Trail Family Cabin Tent - Best Tent for Family Camping
- 6. Hyke & Byke Yosemite - The Best 2 Person Tents for Backpacking
- 7. NTK Arizona GT- Best Tent for Rain
- 8. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian - Best Tent for Winter
- 9. Marmot Crane Creek 2-Person
- The Significance of Tents When Camping
- Buying Guides of Backpacking & Camping Tents
- The Proper Way of Taking Care of Your Tent
- Frequently Asked Questions
- FINAL VERDICT
Top 9 Tents [Table Of Comparison]
We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.
Big Agnes Blacktail 4
| 4 Persons|
1 Queen Airbed
| Dimension: 90 x 105 inches|
Floor Area: 66 sq-ft
Center Height: 55 inches
Weight: 8 lbs 2 oz
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
Design Type: Freestanding
Core Equipment 4-Person Instant Dome Tent
| 4 Persons|
1 Queen Airbed
| Floor Dimension: 9 x 7 ft|
Center Height: 54 inches
Weight: 12.1 lbs
No of Doors: 1 front D-style
Nemo Hornet 2P
| 2 Persons|| Floor Dimension: 85 x 51 X 43 inches|
Center Height: 40 inches
Weight: 2 lbs
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
Design Type: Semi-Freestanding
Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room
| 6 Persons|
2 Queen Airbeds
| Floor Dimension: 10 x 9 ft|
Screen Room: 10 x 5 ft
Center Height: 68 inches
Weight: 5.45 lbs
Other Features: Dark Room technology blocks 98.4% sunlight
Reduce up to 11.4% of heat
Illumiline reflective guy lines
Ozark Trail 10-Person Family Cabin Tent
| 10 Persons|
2 Queen Airbeds
Floor Dimension: 14 x 10 ft
Center Height: 86 inches
No of Doors: 2
No of Windows: 6
Type of Tent: Cabin
Hyke & Byke Yosemite 2-Person Tent
| 2 Persons|| Floor Dimension: 90.55 x 55.12 x 43.31 inches|
Center Height: 45 inches
Weight: 41 lbs (exclude footprint)
Stakes Material: 7000 series aluminum alloy stakes
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
No of Season: 3
NTK Arizona GT 10-Person Tent
| 10 Persons|
3 Queen Airbeds
| Floor Dimension: 6.73 x 8.04 x 17.39 inches|
Center Height: 74.4 inches
Weight: 26.45 lbs
No of Doors: 2
No of Windows: 2
No of Season: 3
Design Type: Freestanding
ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3-Person Tent
| 3 Persons|| Floor Dimension: 79 x 92 inches|
Floor Area: 43.5 square-feet
Center Height: 54 inches
Weight: 9 lbs 14 oz
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
No of Season: 4
Design Type: Freestanding
Marmot Crane Creek
| 2 Persons|| Floor Space: 32 square-foot|
Dimension: 50 x 88 inches
Weight: 4 lbs
Pole: 7000 series aluminum
Dual D-shaped doors + Dual overhead vestibule
Best Tents For Backpacking and Camping Reviews
1. Big Agnes Blacktail 4 - Best 4 Person Tent for Camping
Big Agnes Blacktail 4 is one of the best backpacking tent regarded and used by many backpackers because it is lightweight. Keeping their backpack as light as possible could be the main priority for most campers. Aside from being light, it has some great features that users would surely love.
Double Doors: The double door feature makes going in and out of the tent easy, particularly at night. With one door tent, you need to pass through your company before you could go out which is not so convenient for both of you.
Two Vestibules: Since you have two doors, you will also have two vestibules. These vestibules are of same size, and it will give you enough space to store your shoes and other small items. With this, you will have more interior space to move around.
Footprint: This is designed specifically for this tent. Its size makes it remain tucked under the tent floor, and will not funnel the water under the tent. It also helps in protecting against sharp objects. The weight of this tent is around 10 oz. only.
2. CORE Equipment 4 Person Tent - Best Tent for the Money
This 4-person instant dome tent can be set up under 30 seconds. The Core poles are already connected to the tent, all you need to do is to take it out, unfold and spread.
Core H20 Block Technology: This feature will keep water away with bead technology to runoff water faster with sealed seams and water-resistant door/window seals. During summer, you can remove the fully-taped rainfly for a panoramic view from the mesh ceiling and windows.
Advanced Venting System: This system uses adjustable air intake vent created to attract cool air from the ground as the mesh enables hot air to escape. Great in keeping the users comfortable all year round.
Zippered Panels: The Core 4-person tent has zippered panels on the windows and doors for more privacy. It also comes with a gear loft with lantern hook and pockets so you can keep your things organized.
3. Nemo Hornet Ultralight - Best One Person Tent
This is one of the best ultralight tent with two doors and weighs only 1 lb. 14.3 oz., excluding the tent stakes or stuff sacks. With this ultralight backpacking tent, you can enjoy the advantages of a double-walled tent without adding weight on it. Nemo Hornet is the best 1 person backpacking tent in the market today.
Semi-Freestanding Tent: It means the inner part of the tent hangs from an exoskeleton style hub. Setting this tent is fast and easy. Just spread out the inner tent, place the pole into the connectors attached to the floor, and stake out the corners. Hang the inner tent with the use of the plastic hooks.
Double Door Tent: This is designed this way, so you don't have to disturb your partner at night if you need to go out. The doors as well as the vestibules can be rolled up and secured open without the need of toggles. It adds a lot to its functionality without putting too much weight.
4. Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch Dark Room Tent with Screen Room - The Best 6 Person Tents
This 6 person tent can block 90% of sunlight to put the kids early to bed and those who still want to sleep at daytime.
WeatherTec System: This provides a separate room for bug-free lounging, more sleeping space on warm nights and extra ventilation. In case it rains, the tent will keep you dry because of its weathertec system. It has a tub floor with protected seams and patented corner welds to keep water away. It has extended awnings for better air circulation without letting the rain in.
Strong Frame: The Coleman Tent features a strong frame that can withstand 35+ mph winds and a thick fabric designed to last no matter what season it is. The tent is easy to set up with pre-attached. It has color-coded poles and hub for ease of assembling it and with a snag-free Insta-clip suspension.
Visibility: It has illumiline reflective guylines to make it more visible at night to prevent tripping if walking in the dark. The tent can accommodate 2 queen-size airbeds, can keep small items in mesh storage pockets attached in the walls. With its E-Port feature electricity is not a problem at all.
5. OZARK Trail Family Cabin Tent - Best Tent for Family Camping
This family cabin tent is sturdy and spacious. The Ozark Trail Family Cabin can accommodate 10-person, and it has 3 room XL family cabin tent. If you are looking for a comfortable tent for your family, this will surely provide the best.
Wider Floor Area: Its 20 ft. X 10 ft. floor area is big enough for two removable room dividers to produce three rooms. At the center of the tent is a wide space that measures 78 inches. You can move around freely in this area. The two rooms are designed for storage, changing and sleeping area. Children can move around in these areas while adults need to bend down.
Two Side Doors and Six Windows: The tent has two doors and enough windows for proper ventilation. This will keep the air flow into the tent for maximum comfort. All the doors and windows are screened to keep the bugs and other insects away.
Weather Resistant: This tent has rainfly, a tub floor and has taped fly seams to make sure water will not enter the tent during rainy weather. You can seal the rainfly seams again to ensure that not even a small amount of water will seep in. It can also withstand wind gusts up to 60 mph. Just make sure you assemble it correctly.
6. Hyke & Byke Yosemite - The Best 2 Person Tents for Backpacking
If you are looking for a 2 person ultralight tent that can provide comfort, reliability, and convenience, the Hyke & Byke is perhaps the best backpacking tent available. This tent is very light, and it weighs only around 3 lbs.
Excellent Ventilation: The Yosemite has lightweight no-see-um mesh walls for proper ventilation during warm months. It can also reduce condensation in colder weather. Its rainfly is PU 2000 mm to provide enough protection from rain, and comes with a bathtub-style flooring to keep the ground dry. To prevent leaking the seams are taped.
Lightweight: This tent only weighs around 5.6 lbs. Thus, it is recommended if you want to have an ultralight backpacking experience. If you want to make it even lighter, you can take the rainfly and poles with you. The combined weight of these parts is 2 lbs. and 10 oz.
Other Features: The Hyke & Byke Yosemite tent has a removable gear loft storage pocket. It also has 5000 MM waterproof footprint, two corner pocket, extra ultralight aluminum stakes, a proprietary stake presser and four guy lines with reflective packaging.
7. NTK Arizona GT- Best Tent for Rain
This tent is recommended if you are going to a place where it is most likely to rain. The NTK Arizona GT Tent is designed to last long. It is chosen in 2016 in the USA as one of the best family tents for bad weather. The recognition was given because of its impressive construction and ergonomic design.
Spacious and Comfortable: The tent is big enough to prevent any cluttering. It has two rooms, three windows and two doors for maximum space utilization. Your kids can easily move around the tent. The tent comes with the divider so you can easily divide the area for you and your kids.
Color-Coded Poles: Assembling this tent is easy, thanks to its color-coded poles. It comes with three colored poles, and all you need to do is to get the large tent aloft. Then put your poles together and slip them through the tent seams and tie them down with stakes and you have a durable shelter. It is also easy to dismantle.
Rainfly: The tent includes a rainfly, so you are fully protected against the rain and moisture. It is very durable and made from 190T polyester with polyurethane lamination. You will also be protected from UV rays and other weather elements.
8. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian - Best Tent for Winter
The ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian is a 4 season tent with lots of features you will surely enjoy. It uses 7000 series aluminum poles. The tent has a full-coverage fly having two vestibules to keep your gear organized. Because of its additional pole on the fly, it makes a large vestibule on the front for additional storage.
Simple Design and Easy to Assemble: The Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian is simple to pitch. The tent design comes with plastic cups and hubbed poles to keep them in place together. This is considered as one of the easier models to set up.
Two Pole Design: The Tasmanian has unique two poles, the first pole is for the length of the tent, and it is positioned at both ends with the use of plastic hubs. For structural support, it has a second pole that runs width-wise across the tent.
Comfort and Livability: This comfortable tent measures 4.5 sq. Ft. in the inside. This is a bit higher as compared to average tents. It also has a longer length that is ideal for taller users. Although it has sharply peaked design, it does not have enough headroom.
9. Marmot Crane Creek 2-Person
Marmont Crane Creek is the best 2 person backpacking tent which can accommodate up to 3 people. It is versatile and compact and made with good quality. With all these, this particulat piece is also known as the best hiking tent.
Freestanding Dome Design: This means you can pitch it on any terrain and rotate it, but make sure to stake it down. The tent is a two-layer type, a full coverage fly and an inner tent. This is a two-season tent, best used in late spring, early autumn and summer.
Construction: The tent has two mesh doors with long zippers, and you can roll them to the side. The two vestibules have central zippers for easy rolling to the sides. You can also roll one flap on a vestibule and use the other as a windbreaker.
Three Poles: The poles are made of aluminum 7000 series. The two poles can make the X-shape self-supporting dome structures. Then a brow pole crosses them, and you connect the inner tent, so the doors become vertical. It also adds lots of headroom.
The Significance of Tents When Camping
One of the most enjoyable outdoor activity is camping. It is done in a place where no proper accommodation is present. It can be done in an uninhabited island, mountain or forested areas. And camping can be a fun and romantic activity for couple to improve their relationship goal.
Camping is not only for those who are willing to move out of their comfort zone. For those who are into camping, they don’t just go on in this activity without preparing beforehand, such as understanding the possible dangers. Other than that, it is important that they are equipped with the right equipment and one of the things they would not forget to take with them is a tent.
Tents are portable shelter and are made of sheets of canvas and are supported by a framework of poles. There are different types of tents that you can choose from. The most common type of tents is the one that is made of fabric and is stretched out using ropes.
Not giving importance to tents could ruin your camping adventure. Who would want to sleep out in the open for the rest of the night? You could freeze out in the cold weather and will not be able to sleep comfortably.
Therefore, it is a must to bring your best tent for camping in an isolated place. Make sure that it is big and comfortable enough to accommodate as many people as possible. It is also important that the tents are made of high-quality material to keep you protected from any problem.
Buying Guides of Backpacking & Camping Tents
Buying a product you find online is not always a good idea. It does not mean that if you see a tent on top of the search results, it’s the best. There are some essential factors you need to look out first before choosing.
Budget often plays an important factor in determining what kind of backpacking tents you are looking for. The price of tents may range from less than $100 to as expensive as $1000. Of course, brands, features and materials of a tent are those determine their price tag.
Some tents are built durable enough to withstand harsh winter, strong winds, extreme heat, usually these tents come in higher price tag. On the contrary, cheaper-priced tents can be used for certain seasons such as early spring which usually doesn't require more features. Cheaper tents may not last you long but at least they can provide temporary solutions to your needs.
Number of People
When investing the best backpacking tent, you need to know whether you are going with your family, friends or alone. You would not want to ruin the adventure because you have bought the wrong tent. Backpacking tents are usually designed to accommodate 1-3 people. However, there are some big tent that can house up to 10 persons.
In my opinion, it is better to buy larger backpacking tents compared to getting smaller tents because it will save your time to set up more tents . There are instances where the tent locations are small and can accommodate only one or two people. If you don’t mind carrying a heavy load and want a bigger interior space for you to move around, you can opt for the 2-3 person tent.
After determining the number of people, you can now decide how spacious you want the tent to be. A smaller tent can be a bit crowded for 2 individuals but should be comfortable enough if you are alone. Also, the amount of gears like sleeping pads and the proximity with your companion will also affect the interior space needed.
For taller campers, you will need a tall and larger backpacking tent. Also, you might need more room if you anticipate bad weather or you may need to bring a lot of gears for camping. As a benchmark for single camper, you need around 14 to 24 square-feet tent. For 2 people, you might need roughly 26 to 35 square-feet tent.
Backpacking tents are rated according to the season to specify the features included. Those with thicker fabric and having more poles are more resistant to weather and are stronger. They are also a bit heavier and bulkier. The ideal backpacking tent is the one that can withstand any weather. Some of the season ratings are as follows:
Before buying, consider the weather in the area you will be backpacking and choose a tent appropriate for that.
Single or Double Wall
You can also choose between a single or double wall. The most popular is the double wall as it has an inner layer with fabric sections, mesh and waterproof outer layer and bottom known as rainfly.
The single wall tents have one waterproof layer. Most of the single wall is made of breathable fabric and have vents to reduce condensation.
Majority of the best backpacking tents are double walled because it is easy to use and are less expensive. You have the option to set it up without they rainfly or only the rainfly and poles to lessen the weight.
One of the most important factors when buying your best backpacking tent is the weight. Make sure that you choose a tent that is not too heavy for you to carry on your back. Keep in mind that you might need to carry them for several miles.
It is important that you balance weight and comfort. Most of the time, lighter tents have smaller interior space. You can check the tent before buying by spending some time inside the tent to see how tall and wide it is. Some tent can be very lightweight but it may be too small for you.
Backpacking tents are shaped differently to suit the needs of every user.
1. Dome Tent
This type is by far the most popular tent. It has a simple design, assembling is effortless and lots of room inside. Poles are positioned on the sides, and the tent is hung on the poles with the rainfly outside.
You will find some of the dome tent is freestanding-style and others do not require stakes to hold it in position. Because of its round shape, it is ideal in higher winds as long as they are staked down. In case the wind change direction, you don't have to worry because it is aerodynamic from all sides.
2. Geodesic Tent
The bigger version of dome tents is the geodesic tents. This type of tent uses more poles that crisscross to produce a robust structure. You usually see them in winter expeditions because of their high wind resistance and strength.
3. Tunnel Tent
This is the most popular shape of backpacking tent. It is easy to set up; and is made up of 2-3 u-shape poles. It requires to be tied down at both ends in order to stand up.
You might encounter some problems when the wind hit the side of the tent because of its vertical surface. To solve this, you need to look for the cover of a pitch or hill with one end pointing into the wind.
4. A-Frame Tent
You seldom see this type of tent. Some tarp tents are referred to as A-frame tents. Easy to assemble, it only requires a pole at both ends and a tarp over the top to create A-shape or triangle. This type of tent can shed snow well but can be pushed by wind from the side.
For more information on how to setup a tarp, check out this page.
Freestanding or Staked
To make tents even lighter, manufacturers have removed everything that makes them heavy. It includes poles and straps which make the tent stand on its own. The freestanding or staked tent is recommended if you are looking for a lighter tent.
The tent flooring is waterproof and durable but may wear down after several uses. If it starts to tear or leak, it means it’s time for a replacement. You can use a footprint to make the floor last longer.
Footprints are a piece of fabric added and placed on the ground before setting up the tent down. Some may use a light piece of plastic as protection at the bottom, but footprints have the same size as the tent bottom and connect to the poles similar to the fly and body.
Fast & Light
The rainfly, footprint and the body of a tent can occupy a lot of space in your pack. You can lighten your load by bringing only the rainfly and footprint using the Fast and Light configuration method. Other companies call it Fast and Light pitching.
To do this, place the footprint on the ground, then pitch the poles like normal and put the rainfly over the top, skip the body part which leaves out the mesh of the body and the bathtub bottom. This means you carry less and you don't get the water and insect proofing it provides.
The waterproof lining on the bottom of the tent is referred to as the bathtub floors. This makes the bathtub or bucket for you to sleep in. Water will not enter the tent if you pitch the tent in a water-collecting low spot or if it is raining so hard it will seep in underneath the rainfly. With the use of a footprint, you will be able to extend the bathtub life.
During bad weather, some tents will not keep you dry. When it's going sideways, the rainfly keep the rain out. A properly waterproofed floor will keep the water out even if you have pitched the tent. Most of the tents are not sealed, so you have to do it on your own. Make sure that your tent is sealed before buying. It is best to buy a waterproofed tent.
No of Doors
Most of the backpacking tents have one or two doors. The one-door tent is lightweight, but you may have difficulty going in and out particularly at night when another person is lying near the door. Those with a single door at the end of the tent is more convenient. Each door has a vestibule with rainfly to store gear under.
The vestibules are the parts covered by the rainfly outside the doors of the tent for getting boots, cooking during bad weather and storing gear. Big vestibules cover bigger space, but it will make the tent a bit heavier. Their square footage measures the vestibules. It ranges from 6 sq. Ft. up to 10 sq. Ft. for each vestibule.
The Proper Way of Taking Care of Your Tent
Backpacking tents can be costly. You want them to last longer. If you apply the proper care to your tent, it will surely last for many years. Here are tips on how to take care of your tent:
Tips on Washing
Your tent may become dirty after camping. Mud, dust, and salt can damage the fabrics, poles, and coating over time. You can use a garden hose to clean the tent. In case you need more than just light cleaning, you can use a mild soap and a soft sponge. Machine washing is not recommended though, as they can be too rough for the fabrics. Before storing, dry the fabric completely.
Tips on Storing
Mildew may start to grow on wet tent thus it is very important that you store the tent only when it is completely dry. The moisture can damage the fabrics, and waterproof coatings can make your tent peel. Hang your tent to dry it completely. Do not leave in the sun for long as the sun rays can break down the rainfly.
After drying, roll or stuff it on a loose bag or mesh duffel and keep it in a cool, dry place. Avoid folding the tent on the same fold lines again and again. It will increase the tear and wear on those areas.
Tips on Sealing
The floors and rainfly of tents will be waterproof. As time goes by, you will notice the coatings to wear out and may create some leaks. You can use spray or paint-on sealers to seal the leaks. Some tents are waterproofed with silicone and polyurethane, so make sure the patches or sealant work with your tent's fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the ideal weight of a tent for backpacking?
If you want a lighter tent, don’t expect that it will last longer. Most lightweight tents are made of low-quality material, while the heavier tent is more durable. Generally, a tent should weigh around 2.5 lbs. per person.
2. What is the meaning of a 3-season tent?
A 3-season tent means you can use it in spring, fall and summer. These tents are lightweight and are designed to protect you from wind and rain. The structure is designed to provide better ventilation as possible.
3. What is the purpose of a tent footprint?
Footprints are used to provide additional protection against elements from entering the tent. They are used as ground clothes at the bottom of camping tents. Footprints can extend the life of a tent by preventing the wear and tear against the ground.
4. How frequent can I use my tent before it breaks down due to the friction between the tent and the ground?
Some people use their tents several times a year, and it still could last several years with proper maintenance and cleaning. But some do not use their tents that much. So it pretty much depends on how frequent you use it, and also under which kind of condition.
5. What is the meaning of freestanding tent?
The freestanding tent is perfect because they stand up on their own without the need for tent stakes. Assembling them is easy and are spacious because it has a dome-shape interior that maximizes interior space.
6. Can you use an electric heater inside the tent?
You can use a small electric fan heater to keep you warm, but it should be something that will work using the power supply you have in the campsite. It means much lesser as compared to the one you use at home.
However, you can always bring a portable heater which runs on disposable liquid propane cylinder or battery-powered to combat the chills.
For our top pick, the Big Agnes Blacktail 4P is the clear winer due to its top notch quality. It is also spacious enough to fit in 4 persons with a queen-sized airbed.
For 1 to 2 persons tent, we recommend the Nemo Hornet, Hyke & Byke Yosemite, and Marmot Crane Creek. These 3 tents will be able to fit in up to 2 persons and offers a spacious interior space even if you are solo camping. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian on the other hand is a great tent for up to 3 person.
We hope you enjoyed our review. Our best tents for backpacking and camping review features 9 of the best in the market today. Each tent has their own unique qualities and you should choose based on the number of campers.