The Best Backpacking Tent for Sleeping Comfortably and Safely Outdoors
A new backbacking tent is a great way to spend more time outside. Especially important with the pandemic.
We’ve put together our top three picks for the best backpacking tent and then detailed what to look out for when buying a new tent.
Table of Contents
Best Backpacking Tent: Nemo Dagger 2P
The Nemo Dagger 2P has everything you could need for a safe and comfortable outdoor experience. This two-person backpacking tent is compact, lightweight, and durable. We only had one minor problem with it, but that was by no means a deal-breaker, especially considering all the things this model gets right.
So, what makes this the best tent for backpackers? Let’s take a detailed look at the pros and cons.
- Very Spacious and Livable
At 50 inches (4 ft. 2 inches), the base of this tent is a bit on the narrow side. But combined with the width of 90 inches (7 ft. 6 inches), it gives you a very spacious floor area of about 31 square feet. What’s more, the height goes up to 42 inches (3 ft. 6 inches), which makes this one of the tallest backpacking tents on this list.
- Surprisingly Lightweight for Its Size
Folded and packed, this two-person tent weighs only about 3.3 pounds (about the weight of a grocery store bag of apples). It also comes with an extensive setup kit that adds another 0.4 pounds to the weight. So, it weighs about 3.7 pounds total, which is surprisingly light considering its size.
- Saves Space in Your Backpack
When folded, this tent is just 19 inches long and 5 inches wide. It will thus fit easily inside your backpack, even with all the accessories right next to it. What’s more, the Dagger 2P will also free up space for other essentials you need to carry on your hiking trip.
- Storage Space Galore
Unlike some other two-person models, this one has two doors, one on either side of the tent. Each door also has a large trapeze-shaped vestibule, giving you extra storage space of about 23 square feet total. This, in turn, allows you to store your backpack and other items safely without taking up space inside the tent.
- Comfortable Design
The sidewalls of this tent are very high, thus allowing you extra headroom. If you choose to camp with your tent open, you’ll have a great view of the surrounding area. At the same time, if you need more privacy from the outside world, all you have to do is to pull down the built-in privacy panel.
To see how comfortable and livable the tent is, take a look at this video: https://youtu.be/lO6_9t6rDMw.
- Built for All Types of Weather
The high sidewalls will keep the inside of the tent protected from wind and rain in even the most severe weather conditions. There’s also the mesh ceiling that you can open up to allow optimum airflow. On top of that, there are two overhead light pockets that diffuse sunlight across the tent, thus preventing the dreaded “headlamp” effect.
- Comes with Accessories
This backpacking tent comes with all the accessories you need to set it up and maintain it. They include the essentials like the fly, the poles, and the metal stakes. You’ll also get a stuff sack with drawstring for easier storage and a repair kit for on-the-go maintenance.
- Easy to Set Up
With its simple single-pole structure, this tent is very easy to set up. As a rule, it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to get everything up and running.
- Ventilation Could Be Better
If there’s one area where this tent could do better, it’s the ventilation. That’s because the walls might get a bit “sweaty” in very warm weather due to condensation. But this is just a minor gripe with this otherwise great backpacking tent and is by no means a deal-breaker.
- A Bit Pricey
The Nemo Dagger 2P is on the higher end of the price spectrum and might not be the best choice if you’re just an occasional camper. Still, it provides the quality and the features you would expect to find at this price point.
This tent is made from 20-denier nylon and uses a sturdy aluminum pole to ensure stability and durability. The floor uses a thicker, 30-denier nylon material, which protects it from dents and scratches. This is particularly important if you decide to bring your dog to your camping trip.
Who It’s Best For:
The Nemo Dagger 2P isn’t only great for backpackers but also for car campers who like to explore the backcountry. Due to its spacious design and ample storage room, it is great for camping couples. And because it’s so easy to set up, even a single person can use it, especially if they like to have some extra room inside the tent.
Click the link below to learn more about this excellent backpacking tent.
Best Affordable Backpacking Tent: Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2
If you’re on a limited budget and want to find a great tent for your backpacking adventure, you can’t go wrong with the Lynx 2 from Alps Mountaineering. While not without its downsides, this affordable backpacking tent provides a lot of value for your money. What’s more, it even manages to beat our top pick in certain areas.
Let’s examine the positives and the negatives of this budget-friendly model from Alps Mountaineering.
- Very Roomy and Cozy
The Lynx 2 is by far one of the most spacious backpacking tents out there. With a base that measures 90×60 inches, it has a floor area of 37 square feet. This allows you to comfortably put two sleeping bags inside the tent and still have enough breathing room left.
- Plenty of Headroom
Not only is the floor area surprisingly large but this is also the tallest of all our picks. It has a peak height of 46 inches, which is four inches taller than our top backpacking tent. This will give you plenty of headroom and allow easier movement inside the tent.
- Good in Most Weather Conditions
This tent does a very fine job of protecting you from the outside moisture. It also has large mesh windows that ensure proper ventilation. The only thing we’re concerned about is that it might not handle heavy winds that well due to its impressive height.
- Two-Door/Two-Vestibule Design
Like the Dagger 2P, the Lynx 2 also utilizes a two-door/two-vestibule design, which is a great feature two have in a two-person tent. Each of the two doors comes with its own vestibule. The two vestibules provide a total storage space of 20 square feet, quite enough to fit your backpack or do some cooking.
- Easy to Pitch
Even if you’ve never had a first-hand experience with tents before, you’ll have no problem setting up this one. There are two 8.5mm aluminum poles that ensure its stability. You just have to clip the tent body to one of the poles and you’re good to go.
- Equipment Included
The packaging includes all the equipment you’ll need to set up the tent. You get two poles, four sturdy guy lines, and a set of hook-shaped stakes. However, you may need to pack a few spare pieces of guy line to ensure maximum stability of the tent.
- Somewhat Heavy for Its Size
The main shortcoming of this backpacking tent is that it’s a bit heavy for its size. With all the equipment packed next to it, it weighs about 5.85 pounds. Even without the extra gear, it still weighs 5.25 pounds, which is almost two pounds more than our top pick.
- Doesn’t Allow Much Privacy
If you need a lot of privacy on your camping trip, you might want to look at some other models. That’s because the mesh windows on the sides are very large. While this provides a better overview of the surrounding area, it also lets others see what’s going on inside the tent.
The only way around this issue would be to put the rain fly on top of the tent. But that might not be the best option, as it would surely disrupt the ventilation.
- The Floor Material Is a Bit Noisy
Instead of nylon, the makers of this tent used a 75-denier polyester fabric to construct it. Not only does this fabric choice give the floor a bit of a crinkly look, but it also tends to be somewhat noisy. As such, this might not be the best choice for light sleepers or those who want a very peaceful setting.
As we have already said, this tent is made from 75-denier polyester instead of the standard nylon. And while it may be a bit noisy, the thick fabric also protects the tent from scratches, dents, and punctures. This helps ensure maximum durability, which is quite surprising considering the low price of this model.
Who It’s Best For:
Despite its flaws, the Lynx 2 is a great backpacking tent for occasional campers and outdoor enthusiasts on a tight budget. This model is best for people who don’t need a lot of privacy to camp in moderate weather conditions. It’s also very durable, so if you handle it properly, you’ll be able to use it repeatedly for years to come.
To find out more about this freestanding backpacking tent, click on the link below.
Best Tent for Windy Conditions: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Are you looking for a tent that will remain stable in very windy conditions? If so, the Copper Spur HV UL2 from Big Agnes might be just what you need. This lightweight two-person tent packs a lot of comfort and stability, which makes it a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
Let’s look at the key features of this freestanding backpacking tent.
- Impressive Stability in Windy Conditions
This tent sports a unique geometric design that isn’t only eye-catching but also enhances its functionality. There are four guy points – one at the base and three more at the top. All this ensures that the tent will remain stable even in strong winds and rainstorms.
- Excellent Ventilation
There is a large vent on the sidewall of the tent that allows for great ventilation. Placed just above the head area, it ensures optimum airflow, which is particularly important while you sleep at night. This also helps eliminate condensation, so you won’t have to deal with the “wall sweat” in extremely warm conditions.
- Sizeable Floor Area
The floor of this tent is 52 inches wide and 90 inches long, giving you a total floor area of 29 square feet. While it doesn’t measure up to either of our top two picks, the difference is very small. You’ll still have plenty of room to fit in two sleeping bags or mattresses.
- Very Tall
This model has a peak height of 40 inches, which puts it among the tallest backpacking tents available on the market. What’s more, the construction is so sturdy that there’s hardly any tapering down on the sides of the tent. This means that the height is the same in all parts of the tent and not just above the center.
- Two-Door Design
Like our other two top picks, the Copper Spur HV UL2 has two doors, one on either side of the tent. This gives each camper their own entrance to the tent, thus providing extra convenience.
- Plenty of Storage Space
Each of the two doors comes with its own vestibules. These vestibules provide a total storage space of 18 square feet. There are four mesh pockets inside the tent, as well as media pockets above the head area where you can store earbuds and charging cables.
- Surprisingly Lightweight
Another great thing about this two-person tent is its weight. Folded and packed, it weighs only about 2.75 pounds, which makes it the lightest model on our list. This is especially surprising considering how spacious and sturdy the tent is when pitched.
- Simple Setup
Despite its seemingly complex structure, this tent is very easy to set up. There are two aluminum poles that ensure stability, as well as colored fly connectors that make the process a lot simpler. The packaging also includes guy lines and stakes, so you won’t have to buy any additional gear.
- Might Not Be Very Durable
The makers of this tent have had to make some compromises to bring its weight down. As such, they opted to use lightweight materials, which might not be as resistant to wear and tear as some heavier alternatives. To extend the lifespan of your tent, you’ll need to take good care of it and ensure that it’s always set up properly.
- Not Budget-Friendly
This model is the costliest of our top three picks. Of course, this tent’s great features and excellent performance certainly justify its cost. But if you’re a budget-conscious camper, you might want to look around for more affordable alternatives.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 is made from coated rip-stop nylon. Because this material is lighter than regular nylon, it helped bring down the total weight of the tent. As we have already said, this might make it more prone to wear and tear, but there’s nothing to worry about as long as you handle it with care.
Who It’s Best For:
This tent is a great choice for a pair of backpackers no matter where they are heading off. Whether you’re going to the seaside or conquering mountain peaks, the Copper Spur HV UL2 will help you rest safely and comfortably. And because it provides optimum protection in all types of weather, you can use it all year round.
Visit the link below to learn more about this great backpacking tent.
5 Great Backpacking Tents That Didn’t Make the Cut
While researching for this article, we’ve come across several excellent backpacking tents in different price ranges. Although they barely missed the top three, they each have a lot going for them.
To give you more options to choose from, we’ll list our five honorable mentions below. We’ll also briefly discuss their key features and highlight their main qualities.
REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus
REI has long been among the top manufacturers of camping equipment. The two-person Half Dome 2 Plus is one of their most popular models. Made from 70-denier nylon, this is a very durable model that comes at a fairly affordable price.
The “Plus” in its name denotes that even with two sleeping bags in place you’ll still have plenty of spare room left. It is thus no wonder that this tent sports a large floor area of almost 36 square feet. This two-door model also has excellent ventilation with a total of four vents instead of the standard two.
Now, even though this model is fairly stable, it might not do so well in windy conditions. Still, with 22.5 inches of vestibule space and eight pockets inside the tent, there’s ample storage room for all your belongings. And thanks to the single-pole design it sports, it’s also very easy to set up and take down.
To learn more about the Half Dome 2 Plus, click the link below.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX
The Hubba Hubba NX is an excellent two-door backpacking tent from MSR. Like all our main picks, it has two vestibules that provide 17.5 square feet of outer storage space. And while the floor area of 29 square feet isn’t anywhere near the Half Dome 2 Plus, it’s still more than enough for a pair of sleeping mattresses.
This two-person backpacking tent is made of 30-denier nylon, which helps keep the floor protected from scratches and dents. The ventilation is outstanding thanks to the mesh windows on the sides of the tent, as well as on the roof. This mesh roof cover is a particularly nice addition if you enjoy gazing at the starry sky on a clear night.
Like all other tents on this list, the Hubba Hubba NX isn’t without its downsides. The fact that it weighs close to four pounds might be a deal-breaker to some, especially as there are many comparable models with a better weight-to-size ratio. But the symmetrical design and the single-pole construction make this tent incredibly easy to set up, which is just an added bonus.
Find out more about this great two-person tent by clicking the link below.
Marmot Catalyst 2P
The Marmot Catalyst 2P is a very good two-person backpacking tent that packs all the features you’d expect to find in a product like this. The 32.5-square-foot floor area makes it a rather livable tent. Furthermore, with a height of 44 inches, there’s ample headroom for a more comfortable camping experience.
This is a two-door model with two vestibules. But unlike the previously highlighted tents, the vestibules differ in size. You will have a total of 16.2 square feet of storage room – 9.5 at the front entrance and another 6.7 at the back entrance.
The Catalyst 2P is a sturdy and stable tent that works particularly well in rainy weather. The ventilation is up to par due to the addition of polyester mesh windows. But the polyester also adds some weight to the tent, which is rather heavy at 5.2 pounds.
Click the link below to discover more information about the Marmot Catalyst 2P.
Nemo Hornet Elite 2P
The Hornet Elite 2P is another great model from Nemo, the company behind our pick for the best tent for backpackers. At just over 2 pounds, it is surprisingly lightweight, especially for a freestanding, single-pole tent. The use of silicone-enhanced rip-stop nylon also ensures high durability, which is expected considering its high price.
So why didn’t this tent make the cut? It’s because of its dimensions.
The floor is 51 inches wide and just 85 inches long, which is considerably shorter than other models in this list. At 28 square feet of floor space, this tent is on par with the rest of our picks. Yet the two vestibules provide storage space of only 12 square feet, which is just enough to squeeze in a smaller backpack and perhaps a pair of trekking shoes.
Despite the lack of space, this tent adapts well to all weather conditions. And even though the mesh windows are rather large, the rain fly goes all the way down to the ground, thus preventing the rain from getting inside the tent. On top of that, it’s very easy to set up even if you’ve never done it before.
Read more about the Nemo Hornet Elite 2P by visiting the link below.
Eureka Midori 2
The Eureka Midori 2 backpacking is the only one-door/one-vestibule model we’ve included in this list. The main reason is its price, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. But even though this is a budget-friendly option, it comes with surprisingly stellar ventilation and ample space.
The floor area of this tent measures 32.6 square feet, which is considerably more spacious than some of our other picks. In addition to this, there’s also a single vestibule with almost 10 inches of extra storage space. What’s more, at 43 inches, this is a rather tall tent that provides plenty of headroom.
Made from 75-denier rip-stop polyester, this easy-to-pitch tent weighs about 4.5 pounds. While it might appear too heavy to most campers, it’s lighter than most similarly priced models. The Eureka Midori 2 will serve you well in most weather conditions, but you can expect some wetting on the seams in heavy rain.
Click the link below for more information on this excellent single-door tent.
What to Look For in a Backpacking Tent
If you’ve read this article carefully, you could see that we’ve based our ratings on certain key metrics. In this section, we’ll list some of the main things to consider when buying a backpacking tent. We’ll also explain why each of them should factor into your final decision.
As a backpacker, you’ll be carrying your tent around in your backpack during your hiking trip. It is thus important to find the lightest option that won’t weigh you down. The standard weight of a two-person tent ranges from two pounds all the way up to five or six pounds in some cases.
The main reason why you need a tent is to have a safe and sheltered area to sleep in during your backpacking adventure. But the tent you choose should also provide great comfort and enough space for two sleeping bags or mattresses to fit in. As a rule, a two-person tent should have a floor area of about 30 square feet, which is the condition most of our picks meet.
It is also important to consider the peak height of the tent. Obviously, because backpacking tents are small and lightweight, you can’t expect to be able to stand up straight in them. Still, you should look for a tent that provides enough headroom to sit up straight in it.
The standard sitting tent height is about 36 inches. Most of our picks exceed this by up to 10 inches, which makes them highly livable.
When you set up a tent, you need room to store some of your belongings safely for easier access. That’s why the model you opt for needs to have inside pockets, as well as extra storage space outside. We have thus made sure to include only those models that have vestibules that provide enough room to store your backpack, your shoes, and some other essentials.
Ease of Set Up
Freestanding tents are very simple to set up. All our choices come with accessories that will make the process a lot easier and faster. Some of them – like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 – simplify the process even further by featuring colored connectors.
If you’ve never set up a tent before, it might be best to learn the basics ahead of your trip. Click here for an illustrated step-by-step guide on how to pitch a tent. Also, take a look at this 6-minute instructional video made by REI, one of the top manufacturers of camping equipment.
Materials and Durability
Depending on their quality and added features, some backpacking tents can be rather pricey. So how can you make sure that your investment will pay off in the long run? The easiest way to do it is to look at the materials used to make the tent.
Most tents on this list utilize highly durable nylon. But because it’s a bit heavy, some manufacturers have opted to use polyester or some other mesh material to drive the weight down. Even though these tend to be more fragile, if you handle them with care, they can still serve you well for a long time to come.
When searching for the perfect backpacking tent, quality should ideally trump the price. But that’s rarely the case, seeing as most campers tend to have limited budgets. For this reason, we have aimed to include models in different price ranges.
But just because a tent is more affordable doesn’t mean that you’re getting an inferior product. Our picks demonstrate that you can still get a high-quality tent at an excellent price.
The Final Word
In this article, we have focused on two-person backpacking tents. Most of these models are also available in three-person versions, while some also have one- and four-person variants. Keep in mind that the price tends to go up with the size of the tent.
If you’re looking for an excellent backpacking tent, any of our eight picks would make a great choice.
But if you want just the best, the Nemo Dagger 3P is our top choice. This highly durable model provides you with a lot of room both inside and outside of the tent. Compact and lightweight, it will give you great ventilation and keep you safe and comfortable in different weather conditions.
Click the link below and order this excellent backpacking tent now.