The Best Backpacking Tents for Adventure in 2019

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, the best backpacking tents was a hot topic. However, it was also clear that every thruhiker has a slightly different taste. Many outdoor suppliers have entered the fray in recent years which means there is even more variety but at the same time, variety can make things complicated, right? And this is precisely why I put together this list of the best backpacking tents for 2019. As you will see, many characteristics are taken into account such as the cost, weight, interior space, weather protection and durability.

Either way, I hope this post can help you decide among the top backpacking tents and choose whatever seems the most approapriate for you next adventure.


Quick Answer – No Time to Read On?

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Zpacks Duplex 2 Person Tent

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek UL2


Things to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Tent

SIZE – Most tents exagerrate when it comes to sizing. In other words, if you see a “four person tent”, it will likely fit two or three people at most. There is no set scale in the industry so think of it this way; the capacity of a tent is often the number of sleeping bags you can fit side by side.

WEIGHT – Are you an ultralight backpacker? maybe a mountaineer? The weight of your pack matters and this obviously includes whatever tent you decide upon. However, ultralight comes at a premium in terms of price – so be warned.

DURABILITY – Unfortunately, choosing a lighweight tent is going to mean sacrificing the durability somwehat. For this reason, remember that backpacking tents are not designed for extreme environments.

WEATHER – Most backpacking tents are three season which should keep out the wind and rain. However, they are not suitable for heavy snow conditions or storm force winds high up in the Andes. In warm weather, you might want a tent with extra ventilation. However, if you need something to withstand the winter, you should be looking at a four season tent.

PRICE – The best backpacking tents are most often not the cheapest. However, if you plan to use this shelter more than once or on a long distance adventure, price should not dictate the quality of your new home.


Important Features of the Best Backpacking Tents

SETTING UP – Most backpacking tents are especially east to set up. At the same time, some brands use colour coding to make the set up process even more straight forward. Also, the larger the tent, the longer it usually takes to set up.

DOORS – Sharing a tent can be quite a challenge and this is certainly true if there is only one door. The best two person backpacking tents have at least two doors but this is also optional – so long as there is enough space inside.

VESTIBULES – As with the doors above, vestibules can play an important role for a backpacking tent. Afterall, this is your storage space and something to leave your backpack, shoes or maybe wet rain gear. Most tents will have a vestibule but choosing a backpacking tent without one is a risky decision.

DESIGN – Price is not always a good indicator as to the reliability of a tent but choosing the cheapest option available is likely to end badly. Afterall, if subjected to unexpected weather, price is a small sacrifice to pay for your safety.

SPACE – Interior space is hugely important on a long distance adventure. Of course, preference is different for every individual but as a rule, the more space in a tent, the more comfortable you are likely to feel.


THE BEST BACKPACKING TENTS FOR 2019

 

 

Big Agnes Tent in Ireland

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Trail Weight: 2lb 12oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 88 x 52/42 x 40in

Size: 2 Person

Okay, this is my tent but please know that I was not paid for this review. I cannot tell you the number of times when other hikers have complimented my Copper Spur UL2. The shelter is extremely lightweight and spacious inside which are just two reasons why this is probably the best backpacking tent for 2019. Although the bright colors are not for everyone, they brighten up the mornings.

What I Really Like: Bright and cheerful colours. Spacious, light and packs down to a small size.

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Big Agnes Flycreek

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek HV UL2

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 86 x 38/28

Size: 1 Person

What I Really Like: The Flycreek is super cheap and packs down to such a small size.

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Nemo Hornet

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W): 87 x 40/31

Size: 1 person

Large side door offers more vestibule space and easier access in and out of the tent

Extremely fast and easy setup, thanks to a single hubbed pole with ball-and-socket end tipsTriangulated guyouts increase interior spaceTrue tub floor construction reduces seam construction and seam tape, increasing the longevity of the tentState-of-the-art fabrics and premium hardware create an ultralight, yet highly livable backpacking tentDurable, advanced DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles weigh less than nearly any other poles on the market

What I Really Like: The Nemo Hornet 1P is slim and lightweight. However, the material is a slight upgrade from similar tents in the same category.

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MSR Hubba Tent

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

Trail Weight: 3lb 7oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 84 x 50 x 39in

Size: 2 Person

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX has a slightly more durable physique next to many alternatives of the same weight. It also has two vestbules and two separate doors which make it an ideal tent for couples. When it comes to compact two person tents, there is often a shortage of room but the Hubba Hubba NX has a lot more height and room to manouver than most. Finally, this offering from MSR is also known to be watertight and reliable in heavy rain or wind.

What I Really Like: Lightweight tent with durable material. Compact and reliable in all sorts of weather.

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Backpacking tent for Microadventures

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Z Packs Duplex 2 Person Tent

Trail Weight: 1lb 3oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 100 x 45 x 48in

Size: 1 – 2 Person

Z-Packs was one of the most popular tents on the Pacific Crest Trail this year and with so little weight, it’s easy to understand why. However, this is not a freestanding tent which means you will need two trekking poles to set it up. I must also admit that this is quicker to pitch than my trusty Big Agnes and it features an extremely watertight design.

What I Really Like: Ultralight and extremely quick to set up.

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Have I missed anything? Do you know of any other top backpacking tents? Please let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these tents and I purchased my own tents. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Why I Will Not Be Using My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

I genuinely love this tent but allow me to explain why I will not be using my Vango Banshee tent for th Pacific Crest Trail.

You see, I am a sucker when it comes to romanticizing over my outdoor gear. For example, I bought my Vango Banshee 200 several years ago for one reason – it was cheap. As you might expect from the pictures, it was also quite small for carrying around which also appealed but honestly, I bought the tent because it was one of the cheapest I could find.

Storms and Wild Camping in Africa

Serengeti Tours

Since then, I have taken the tent into many wilderness areas but most notably, I have used this backpacking tent in the wilds of Africa. Why is this important? Well, you come face to face with every terrain and logistical matter when you go camping in places like the Serengeti. Terrain is rugged and unspoiled in these areas but the weather is also particularly unpredictable.

On one occasion, I was stood in the middle of a rain storm holding the corner or two tents in each hand while the occupants took shelter under a nearby tree. Seriously, I was pretty much flying two kites as the weather attempted to claim these two tents and send them flying into the wilderness. In case you might be asking yourself, I was leading an adventure tour at that time and fully responsible for the safety of my clients. In hindsight, this was an extremely dangerous as the Serengeti is home to some of the most spectacular lightning storms you are likely to encounter.

Anyway, throughout this episode, my Vango Banshee sat quietly in the corner and let out little more than a whimper as a storm raged around us. In fact, I remember looking back to see how it was doing and laughing at the resilience of my “cheap tent”. After all, the two tents I was holding had a combined value of more than $1500.

Why I Cannot Use My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

Best Tents for Microadventures

You see, I am very attached to my outdoor gear and eventually, each piece becomes what seems like an important part of a story. From wildlife corridors and immense volcanoes to deserts, mountains and abandoned buildings; the Vango Banshee was with me for so many outdoor adventures and never let me down.

Alas, I am taking a long distance trek next month from Mexico to Canada and as you will probably see on my Pacific Crest Trail Blog, the weight and size of every item counts. In the case of the tent, my Vango weighs almost 2lb more than the one I have my eye on and this is quite a lot on a long distance hike. In fact, as far as weight goes, this would be considered quite a heavy backpacking tent for the Pacific Crest Trail.

More importantly, the inside of a Vango Banshee is very compact and confined. If you are looking for the best tent for microadventures, this is definitely a good shout in my option, and cheap too. However, while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018, there are likely to be times when I will need to wait out storms or rest up for the day in the tent and simply put, this is when space will matter.

For this reason, I will be leaving my Vango Banshee somewhere safe and purchasing a new home made of fabric. No mortgages here, my friends.

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Do you have a favorite backpacking tent? Let me know in the comments – I love to hear about other peoples experiences with their outdoor gear!