Best Backpacking Tents OF 2020: From Ultralight to Budget

The perfect backpacking camping tent is light-weight, roomy, and hard sufficient to deal with any harsh weather condition that you can toss at it. It’s a huge classification, however fortunately for backpackers is that camping tent innovation has actually come a long method even over the previous couple of years and there are a variety of terrific alternatives varying from ultralight to spending plan. Below are our choices for the very best backpacking camping tents of 2020. For more background details, see our backpacking tent comparison table and buying advice listed below the choices.

Finest General Backpacking Camping Tent

1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 ($450)

Packaged weight: 3 pounds. 1 oz.
Flooring location: 29 sq. ft.
Flooring denier: 20D
Capabilities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

  • What we like:  Strikes an excellent balance amongst weight, area, and functions. 
  • What we don’t: Thin products need more care than a lot of the non-ultralight camping tents listed below. 

For a backpacking camping tent that deftly stabilizes low weight, interior area, and functions, look no more than Huge Agnes’s Copper Spur. This camping tent assisted specify the ultralight classification and still is going strong lots of performances later on. All informed, you get 29 square feet of flooring area for the two-person variation, strong headroom with a hubbed pole style, and 2 doors, at simply 3 pounds 1 ounce.

It’s much lighter than completing designs like the MSR Hubba Hubba and Nemo Dagger listed below, and without the style compromises of Huge Agnes’ Tiger Wall and Fly Creek. And for 2 backpackers who desire a little additional space, the three-person variation of the Copper Stimulate deals a healthy 41 square feet of area at 3 pounds 14 ounces. 

For 2020, Huge Agnes has actually launched a brand-new variation of the Copper Stimulate HV UL2. Modifications consist of brand-new vestibule awnings that remains open utilizing your travelling poles, upgraded storage, and a somewhat greater weight at 3 pounds 2 ounces. We are taking the brand-new design to Patagonia for screening this January and eagerly anticipate getting it out in negative conditions, however the older variation presently is on sale while materials last, which is a huge factor we offer it approval here. With either design, bear in mind that the 20-denier flooring material is fairly thin, so make sure when setting it up and entering/exiting the camping tent. For a a lot more trimmed-down camping tent from Huge Agnes, see the 2-pound-8-ounce Tiger Wall listed below… Read in-depth review

Finest Spending Plan Backpacking Camping Tent

2. REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus ($229)

Packaged weight:  5 pounds. 5 oz.
Flooring location: 35.8 sq. ft.
Flooring denier:  70D
Capabilities:  1P, 2P, 3P, 4P (all “Plus”)
What we like:  A sturdy camping tent with great deals of space at an excellent rate. 
What we don’t: You definitely can go a lot lighter. 

If you’re searching for the best mix of rate and efficiency, REI has actually been making a few of the leading budget-oriented camping tents on the marketplace for many years. The Half Dome is downright renowned at this moment, using practically whatever that the majority of casual and starting backpackers require at an affordable rate. The camping tent is very simple to establish and remove, extremely long lasting with a 70-denier flooring, has vertical walls for additional headroom, and sports sufficient mesh for stargazing. Yes, you can conserve with the less expensive REI Path Hut listed below, however there are genuine compromises in regards to weight, interior area, and products. All informed, we believe the Half Dome is an excellent worth for what it is and ought to keep the majority of people pleased for many years of backpacking—it’s the camping tent we suggest most to friends and family.

It’s worth keeping in mind that a number of years earlier, REI moved the whole Half Dome line to the more roomy “Plus” variations (they utilized to use both routine and “Plus” for each capability). The fact is that we valued having the alternative of going non-Plus: the routine Half Dome was around $200 at that time and weighed less. It’s true that the 35.8 square feet of flooring area is rather comfy for 2 grownups, equipment, and even a furry good friend, however we hope REI revives the routine sizes in the future. If anything, it’s more option. This gripe aside, you won’t discover a higher-quality or more flexible camping tent in this rate variety…

 Read in-depth review

Finest Ultralight Backpacking Camping Tent

3. Zpacks Duplex ($599 + Stakes)

Zpacks Duplex Flex backpacking tent
Image credit: Switchback Travel

Weight: 1 pound. 3.4 oz. (travelling pole-supported) or 1 pound. 8 oz. (with Zpacks Straight Poles)
Flooring location: 28 sq. ft.
Flooring: 1.0 oz/sqyd (Dyneema)
Capabilities: 1P, 2P, 3P

What we like: Exceptionally light and remarkably great wet-weather defense.

What we don’t:  Drafty and and set-up can be difficult.

A variety of leading ultralight camping tents make use of Dyneema—the state-of-the-art material typically utilized in boat sails and applauded for its strength-to-weight ratio—and our leading choice is the Zpacks Duplex. With an all-in weight of simply 1 pounds 5 ounces (counting stakes and utilizing 2 travelling poles for assistance), it’s a remarkable 10 ounces lighter and about $200 less expensive than the Hyperlite Mountain Equipment Dirigo 2 listed below, yet still consists of a bath tub flooring for defense from the components. In practice, we discovered the Zpacks to feel decently spacious for this classification with a 48-inch peak height, and you can change the measurements relatively quickly depending upon the camping site and conditions. All in all, no ultralight camping tent is best, however the Duplex is a remarkable alternative that has actually been trusted by major thru-hikers for many years. 

What are the drawbacks of the Zpacks Duplex? We’ve had no issues with water entering the tent—even while camping in snow—but the open sides and thin materials definitely can make it feel drafty in certain conditions. Second, the Duplex technically is smaller than the Dirigo 2 in terms of floor area, and like many ultralight tents and shelters, it is a feasible but cramped option for two backpackers. Third, setting up the tent can be a bit more complicated than some single-pole designs, so we recommend practicing before heading out into the wilderness to make sure you know how to get a taut, even pitch… 

Read in-depth review

Best of the Rest

4. MSR Hubba Hubba NX ($450)

Packaged weight:  3 lbs. 14 oz.
Floor area: 29 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 30D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

  • What we like: All-around quality build with excellent weather protection.
  • What we don’t: A bit pricier and less roomy than competitors like the Nemo Dagger.

MSR’s Hubba Hubba NX has never been the absolute lightest on the market nor the most spacious, but it checks just about all of the boxes we look for in a backpacking tent. It’s lightweight at 3 pounds 14 ounces, yet unlike many true ultralight models, offers good livability with two doors and vestibules and near-vertical walls. In addition, compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur above, you get a relatively strong 30-denier floor that can take more use and abuse. Last but not least, weather resistance is excellent, and MSR honed in the design even further last year with an Easton Syclone hubbed pole that improves performance in windy conditions and a longer-lasting waterproof coating on the fly.

It was a really close call between the Hubba Hubba NX and Nemo Dagger below. To get down to the nitty gritty, the Nemo weighs the same but is slightly roomier with 31.3 square feet of floor space and costs $50 less. On the other hand, the Hubba Hubba has superior ventilation for summer backpacking (the Dagger only vents out the doors) and more complete rainfly coverage (the Nemo leaves small portions of the ends slightly exposed, which can result in some wetness along the interior in heavy moisture). The cherry on top for us: the MSR is extremely well-built and readily available, something Nemo struggles with year after year… 

Read in-depth review

See the MSR Hubba Hubba NX

5. REI Co-op Trail Hut 2 ($199)

Packaged weight: 5 lbs. 15 oz.
Floor area: 31.7 sq. ft.
Capacity:  2P
What we like: Inexpensive, easy to set up, and tough.
What we don’t: Getting up there in weight at nearly 6 pounds.  

The Half Dome above is REI’s best-selling backpacking tent, but you can go cheaper with the new-for-2020 Trail Hut. Here’s the good news: for under $200, you get a quality build with two doors, full-coverage rainfly, and ample storage. Notably, the Trail Hut 2 is replacing the old Passage, which was $159 without a footprint included (it’s debatable whether you need a footprint or not). Compared to the Passage, you get a modernized pole design for more headroom along with the option to roll up the sides on warm and clear nights, both of which are nice features. 

Who should buy the REI Trail Hut 2? It’s a great option for those new to backpacking or who can only get out for a trip or two each summer. At $30 less than the Half Dome 2 Plus above with a footprint, the value is there but you do sacrifice in terms of weight, interior space, materials, and the amount of mesh (the Half Dome has more). And for those who want to spend even less, the Kelty Late Start 2 below is another viable budget option that costs only $160, although that tent only one has side door, which is suboptimal for two backpackers.
See the REI Co-op Trail Hut 2

6. Nemo Dagger 2P ($400)

Nemo Dagger 2P backpacking tent
Nemo Product

Packaged weight:  3 lbs. 14 oz.
Floor area: 31.3 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 30D
Capacities: 2P, 3P

  • What we like: Lightweight, roomy, and easy to set up.
  • What we don’t: Ventilation and protection could be better.

For weight-conscious backpackers who don’t want to compromise on livability and durability, the Nemo Dagger is a great option. At just 3 pounds 14 ounces for the two-person version, this tent is light, comfortable, and packed with features.

You get two large doors, two spacious vestibules for storing gear, and a roomy interior that saw a 10-percent boost in space last year thanks to the addition of pre-bent poles. Additionally, the floor of the Dagger is symmetrical as opposed to tapered toward the feet like some in its weight class, making it possible for two people to sleep in opposite directions (head to toe) for more shoulder room.

What’s not to like with the Nemo Dagger? As we touched on in the Hubba Hubba NX write-up above, the Dagger gets the edge in interior space but comes up a little short in wet-weather protection. Specifically, the rainfly is raised at each end of the tent, which leaves sections of the tent body vulnerable to blowing rain. And while the fabric is still technically waterproof, you can feel the wetness if you bump your head, hands, or feet up against the walls (granted this was in pretty rough conditions, but it’s something we didn’t experience with the Hubba Hubba on the same trip). Both are undeniably great designs, but the improved protection gives the MSR the advantage for us…

 Read in-depth review

See the Nemo Dagger 2P

7. Marmot Tungsten 2P ($199)

Marmot Tungsten 2P backpacking tent

Packaged weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz.
Floor area: 32 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 68D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P

  • What we like: A nice hybrid backpacking/car-camping option with a footprint included.
  • What we don’t: At this price point, we prefer the roomier Half Dome 2 Plus above.

REI’s Half Dome and Trail Hut above aren’t the only good values on the market. At a budget-friendly price of $199, the Marmot Tungsten has a similar 3-season build with durable fabrics and all the features that most weekend backpackers need. The tent has two doors and vestibules, weighs in at a respectable 5 pounds 4 ounces, and offers a roomy 32 square feet of floor space. We also like the mix of solid nylon and mesh on the tent body, which provides both good ventilation and privacy. And unlike the Half Dome, the Tungsten comes with a footprint (the Half Dome footprint is sold separately for $35).

All things considered, we like the Marmot Tungsten and it makes a nice hybrid backpacking and car-camping option. One downside is the tent’s packed size, which is large enough to make it difficult to squeeze into a backpack (it’s much easier to divide up the load between two people). And the REI Half Dome 2 Plus weighs only 1 ounce more than the Tungsten yet offers considerably more floor area and vestibule space. For families, the Tungsten 4 is a popular option and costs $339. Marmot also makes the tent in a lightweight version called the Tungsten UL, which uses substantially thinner materials to trim away about 1.5 pounds from the standard model.

See the Marmot Tungsten 2P

8. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 ($400)

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 backpacking tent

Packaged weight:  2 lbs. 8 oz.
Floor area: 28 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 15D
Capacities: 2P, 3P

  • What we like: Very light yet more livable than the Nemo Hornet.
  • What we don’t: Semi-freestanding build isn’t easy to pitch on rock

Big Agnes has a knack for mixing and matching designs to create a new product, which is exactly what they’ve done with the Tiger Wall UL2. This tent brings together the two-door-and-vestibule concept of the popular Copper Spur above, with the semi-freestanding layout of the Fly Creek below. The net result is a shelter with convenient access and gear storage for two people, while remaining extremely lightweight at 2 pounds 8 ounces. Not surprisingly, the price for the Tiger Wall UL2 also splits the Copper Spur ($450) and Fly Creek ($350) at $400.

We took the Tiger Wall out on a multi-day backpacking trip and were happy to find that it’s yet another quality build from Big Agnes. The large ridge pole across the center of the tent makes it more spacious than the Nemo Hornet below, and the silicone-coated nylon is impressively strong (but it’s still thin and requires gentle treatment). The semi-freestanding design, however, isn’t for everyone. It was hard to get a taut pitch when we camped on rock, and it isn’t as weather-worthy or roomy as the Copper Spur. In the end, there’s a lot to like with the Tiger Wall, but the Copper Spur is the more livable option for two people… 

Read in-depth review

See the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

9. Hilleberg Anjan GT ($860)

Hilleberg Anjan GT backpacking tent

Packaged weight:  4 lbs. 10 oz.
Floor area: 28 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 50D
Capacities:  2P, 3P
What we like: Premium build and the biggest vestibule on this list by far.
What we don’t: Pricey and long (you’ll need a campsite with a decent amount of space).

Hilleberg is a legendary Swedish brand known for making the finest tents on the planet. Here at Switchback Travel, we have actually tested many of their models and constantly debate which should be included in this round-up. Over the years, the Nallo, Niak, and Anjan have been represented, and all are worthy in their own right. But if we were to choose one for backpacking (there are more Hillebergs in our 4-season tents article), it would be the Anjan GT. The tunnel shape is the best for wind management, and the vestibule is so impressive that it feels like a separate room (people use the Anjan GT for bikepacking, which says a lot). The truth is that almost all Hillebergs are great and have their purposes—the company is like the Arc’teryx of tents—but the Anjan is the 3-season standout for us.

If you’re considering a Hilleberg, here are some key things to know. 1) They’re expensive but worth it in our opinion. If you sleep outdoors a ton, a Hilleberg can be your home away from home. 2) They aren’t great breathers in warm conditions. These tents work best in places like Scandinavia, Alaska, Patagonia, and true alpine conditions in the Lower 48. If you’re camping in 85-degree summer weather, condensation may be an issue. 3) The wind protection is incredible. Most tents bow and howl in strong winds, but with guylines tightened down, a Hilleberg is as stable a camping tent as you’ll find. For extended trips in tough conditions, that sure can have a lot of value.
See the Hilleberg Anjan GT

10. REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 ($299)

REI Quarter Dome 1 backpacking tent

Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz.
Floor area: 18.9 sq. ft.
Floor denier: 20D
Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P
What we like:  Good headroom and a very large vestibule.
What we don’t: Materials are on the thin side.

The Half Dome above may be REI’s most popular backpacking tent, however we like the ultralight Quarter Dome too, and particularly the one-person version. At 2 pounds 14 ounces, this tent is all that most solo backpackers need while still coming in at a reasonable $299. REI redesigned the Quarter Dome a couple years ago by adding more headroom and a much larger vestibule, which now offers ample space for protecting you and your pack from the elements. All in all, it’s a comfortable and well-designed one-person tent for everything from fast-and-light backcountry trips to bike touring.

Similar to the Big Agnes Copper Spur above, the Quarter Dome uses a 20-denier nylon flooring, which cuts weight however also impacts durability (take care when setting up the tent and avoid sharp rocks). For those shopping for the 2-person variety, that version of the Quarter Dome comes in at 3 pounds 12 ounces, but is more tapered than we prefer and strangely comes with only nine stakes while 10 are required for a basic set-up. For these reasons, we like the one-person model best. REI also released the Quarter Dome SL last year, which has more mesh in the camping tent body and a simplified pole style that cuts the packaged weight to 2 pounds 6 ounces

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