Best Backpacking Tents 2024

When you’re logging miles on the trail by day, a backpacking tent is your priceless refuge by night. It’s the shelter that will keep you warm, dry and away from bugs, where you’ll snooze, change clothes, check your gear and, when the weather’s foul, just hang out, too. We ask a lot of our tents, and when we’re choosing the best backpacking tents, we ask them to provide that refuge, privacy and protection from weather while also being very lightweight and packable, too. From our top pick, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, to our ultralight backpacking tent of choice, the Zpacks Duplex, you’ll find that all of the backpacking tents on this list are light, durable and reliable.

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is our favorite backpacking tent overall for when you need to … [+] travel light and set up quickly.

Illustration: Forbes / Photo: Retailer


Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

Capacity: 2 people | Packed size: 19.5 x 6 inches | Trail weight: 2.69 pounds | Floor area: 29 square feet | Peak height: 40 inches | Freestanding: Semi


  • Superb blend of space, quality and weight
  • Secure, easy set-up
  • Dual vestibule awnings provide extra room and protection


  • Some users report that it’s a bit narrow
  • Delicate materials make it a little less durable than others

Although the Copper Spur may not be superlative in any one particular category (height, weight, price or durability), this well-designed sub-3-pound tent is packed with tons of features and does a lot very well. That’s why it perennially earns a spot on countless roundups. For example, its triple-function tent buckles serve to secure the pole tips, rainfly and stakeouts. And couples will love the fact that its two dual-zippered doors can be separately propped up as vestibule awnings (providing extra shade from direct sunlight and protection from light rain) or just as easily stashed away in special pockets. Speaking of which, lots of storage options and multiple interior loops for attaching accessories round out this fan favorite.


Kelty Discovery Trail 2 Tent

Capacity: 2 people | Packed size: 15 x 6 inches | Trail weight: 4.31 pounds | Floor area: 32.63 square feet | Peak height: 42 inches | Freestanding: Yes


  • Very affordable
  • Easy for beginners to set up
  • Roomy interior


  • Relatively heavy

The Discovery Trail 2 isn’t just the most affordable tent on this list—by a wide margin—it’s also a great tent for beginner backpackers. Features that include Quick Corners and pre-attached guy lines make it easier to set up (and more stable in windy conditions). And it offers other common features, such as internal storage pockets, lightweight aluminum poles, a rainfly, vestibule and handy carry bag. Really, everything you need to get started as you make the move from car to backpack-based camping.

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Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Tent

Capacity: 1 person | Packed size: 11 x 4.5 inches | Trail weight: 1.63 pounds | Floor area: 26.25 square feet | Peak height: 49 inches | Freestanding: No


  • Smallest packed size on this list
  • Super light, at less than two pounds
  • Highly affordable


  • Not freestanding
  • Takes a little practice to set up

If you’re used to setting up traditional freestanding tents, the Lunar Solo may take a little getting used to. But after a couple of times figuring out the order of tensioning all the guy outs, this single-pole tent looks like a cinch to set up. Given its space and durability, it’s very affordable. And the adjustability of the floating floor and canopy means you won’t have to sacrifice comfort in a wide range of conditions just because you’re solo.

Capacity: 2 people | Packed size: 12 x 6 inches | Trail weight: 1.16 pounds | Floor area: 28.1 square feet | Peak height: 48 inches | Freestanding: No


  • Lightest tent on this list, making it perfect for long-distance backpacking
  • Dyneema composite fabric and taped seams help keep out water
  • Four independently opening storm doors offer 360-degree protection


  • Expensive—and the price doesn’t include the poles or stakes
  • Sloped walls may make it feel less spacious
  • Can feel a little drafty in certain conditions

It’s no coincidence that one of the lightest tents on this list is also the most expensive. After all, they’ve pulled out all the stops—along with the two tent poles and six to eight stakes you’ll need to set it up. However, the Duplex offers a bunch of distinctive features, such as overlapping storm doors that close with a custom metal hook at the bottom and a loop fastener in the middle. This keeps you protected and avoids the kind of zipper failures you might expect after years of mixing dusty trails and rainy nights with cheap metals. Also, the overhead tarp extends past the floor by a few inches on each side, so you don’t have to worry about annoying drips when the storm doors are peeled back. Furthermore, a screen situated between the sewn-in 8-inch bathtub floor and walls is held up at an angle by an elastic band, thereby increasing ventilation while preventing flooding.

The Duplex comes in different weights, depending on the fabric you choose—though the “heavier” ones only add a couple of ounces. Zpacks offers an optional kit to make the Duplex freestanding, an XL version that adds 6 inches to the floor length and a Triplex version if you want to add another person or pet (or just prefer more space).


Gossamer Gear

Gossamer Gear The One Tent

Capacity: 1 person | Packed size: 10 x 5 inches | Trail weight: 1.1 pounds | Floor area: 17.75 square feet | Peak height: 45 inches | Freestanding: No


  • Extremely small and lightweight
  • Easy setup
  • Relatively roomy interior for a small person


  • Limited floorspace
  • Not freestanding—requires a trekking pole

According to Pratt, Gossamer Gear’s The One is “a no fuss, easy to set up tent that can feel rather palatial, especially for a one-person shelter.” He continues, “It’s also a great tent to get if you’re not sure about non-freestanding tents, as it has many similarities to traditional tents while still using the trekking pole and stake design.” Pratt used it on his 2018 thru-hike of the PCT and gives it high marks for simplicity, internal volume and ease of setup.

Capacity: 2 people | Packed size: 7 x 20 inches | Trail weight: 6.7 pounds | Floor area: 33 square feet | Peak height: 44 inches | Freestanding: Yes


  • Sturdy and stable
  • Weatherproof, pull-through hooded guy lines
  • Decent balance of weight and price, given its versatility


  • Not the best choice for really high temperatures
  • On the heavier side for a backpacking tent

If you’re planning to camp in a variety of landscapes and conditions at different times of the year, this is a fantastic choice. Although zippered mesh windows and a strut flap help improve circulation, the ventilation on super hot summer nights isn’t stellar—as tends to be the case with all-season tents made to survive frigid temps. In fact, the Remote 2 would be more at home near an isolated treeline or in alpine locales in wintertime. Its tapered shape and ripstop polyester rainfly make it virtually impervious to wind, rain and snow. So the bottom line is: The Remote 2 is great if you don’t want the calendar or climate to dictate when or where you camp.

Sea to Summit

Sea To Summit Alto TR1 Tent

Capacity: 1 person | Packed size: 18 x 4 inches | Trail weight: 2.06 pounds | Floor area: 19.5 square feet | Peak height: 42.5 inches | Freestanding: Semi


  • Proprietary tension rod system maximizes interior space
  • Tall doors and high canopy
  • Rainfly can be configured fully, partially or even as its own shelter


  • A little more complex than other models for one camper to set up

As opposed to Sea to Summit’s Telos model, a freestanding tent available in 2- and 3-person versions, the Alto is a semi-freestanding tent that’s available in 1- and 2-person iterations. It uses their proprietary tension rod (ergo the “TR” in its name) to create a higher canopy and vertical walls. It stuffs into three sacks, which helps distribute the already light weight (assuming you’re not solo). And coolest of all, the rainfly can be pulled back all the way for stargazing on breezy nights, configured partially or even set up independently as its own shelter for weathering a quick downpour before you reach basecamp.


SlingFin SplitWing Shelter Bundle

Capacity: 1 to 2 people | Packed size: 11 x 5 x 5 inches | Trail weight: 1.31 pounds | Floor area: 24.8 square feet | Peak height: 47 inches | Freestanding: No


  • Highly versatile modular design
  • Very light
  • Vestibule adds 6.8 square feet


  • Requires two trekking poles (not included)
  • The removable floor is sold separately

When you’re planning a trek that’ll last hundreds of miles over a period of months—and/or you’re shooting for your FKT—you’ll want to pack a tent that’s both light and versatile. Case in point, the tarp, mesh body and removable vestibule for SlingFin’s SplitWing can each be purchased separately, but are all included in the above bundle. So you can set up your shelter based on whether you’re on your own or with a partner, in good or inclement weather and overnight or just out for a quick respite. Just make sure to order the complementary removable floor for your rig, so you don’t sacrifice an ounce of comfort or protection.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

The author of this piece, Steven John, owns seven different tents, including two ultralight tents he uses for backpacking trips. Gear editor Cam Vigliotta was also a major contributor to this article, and has spent years covering all things camping and hiking. Beyond overseeing this guide, Vigliotta has authored several related guides on outdoor essentials like the best pocket knives and trail cameras.

To go beyond our collective experience, we spoke to Dahn Pratt, an onX Backcountry strategic analyst who’s logged over 20,000 miles thru-hiking various trails, including those that constitute the Triple Crown.

How We Chose The Best Backpacking Tents

Nowadays, investing in a backpacking tent feels akin to buying a car. Fabrics, dimensions, weights, heights, designs—this is about as technical as a tent gets. Here at Forbes Vetted, we understand how overwhelming it can be to shop for a new backpacking tent, which is why we did the heavy lifting for you.

When selecting the best backpacking tents, we first considered the features backpackers care about most, such as capacity, trail weight, dimensions, durability and budget. We then tested a number of these tents in the real world to better understand how they perform, and who they stand to serve. When we couldn’t get our hands on a tent, we consulted backpacking forums and online reviews for additional insights. We also spoke with experts like Pratt who use backpacking tents day in and day out for months at a time.

The nine found here illustrate the best of the current backpacking tents class. Whether you’re a serious thru-hiker or a casual camper trekking a few miles to your site, there’s a tent on this list that’s designed to support you and your needs.

What To Consider When Buying A Backpacking Tent

Backpacking tents are incredibly technical, and finding the “right” one can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a list of considerations to keep in mind when buying a backpacking tent:


Determine how many people will be using the tent. Based on that number, choose a size that comfortably accommodates the intended number of occupants and provides space for gear. Keep in mind that many backpacking tents have vestibules—sheltered areas along the sides or front of your tent that offer additional protection—that store your gear, or sleep another occupant in a pinch.


Vestibules are covered areas outside the tent’s entrance where you can store gear, sleep or cook in inclement weather (just don’t burn your tent down). Consider the size and number of vestibules based on your storage needs.


Consider the weight of the tent, especially if you’re planning to trek over the course of days, weeks or months. Lighter tents are easier to carry, but they sacrifice some durability and comfort. Heavier tents, on the other hand, are harder to carry, but offer a bit more protection and durability.

Double-Wall Vs. Single-Wall

Decide whether you prefer a tent with separate inner and outer layers (double-wall) or a single layer that combines both (single-wall). Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but most backpackers who aren’t attempting to eliminate every unwanted ounce prefer double-wall tents for their superior ventilation and reduced condensation.


Decide which seasons you’ll be camping in. Most of the tents on this list are three-season tents, which are suitable for spring, summer and fall, while four-season tents are designed for winter and alpine conditions.


Look for quality materials and construction to ensure your tent withstands wear and tear from rough terrain, wind and UV exposure. Every type of fabric and material comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, which is why we recommend reading up on the differences between each one.


Consider whether you prefer a freestanding or non-freestanding design. Freestanding tents are easier to set up and can be placed on various terrains, while non-freestanding tents may require more stakes and guy lines.

Interior Space

Evaluate the tent’s dimensions and design. Vertical walls provide more livable space and headroom, making the tent more comfortable for longer stays, but this adds a bit of weight. Angled walls, on the other hand, offer a bit less livable space, but they shed weight and are better-suited for inclement weather.


Good ventilation reduces condensation inside the tent, which keeps you and your equipment dry. It also reduces the risk of mold buildup, and means you won’t have to air your tent out every single day. Look for mesh panels, adjustable vents and multiple openings, all of which promote airflow.

Packed Size

Consider the packed size of the tent, especially if you have limited space in your pack. Some tents come with compression sacks to minimize their size, while others utilize different bags for different components (such as the tarp, tent body and poles) to spread the weight more evenly among a group.


Set a budget and explore tents within that range, and remember that quality and features often correlate with price. Backpacking tents can cost a pretty penny, but a number of budget-friendly options exist that will supply you with what you need if you’re willing to compromise.

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