by Diane Spicer
You came to this page because you want me to name the best backpacking tents, right?
Hop down to the bottom of the page to see my recommendations.
Or stick with me here while I outline why you want to carry the best backpacking tent possible.
In exchange for your hard earned cash, the best tents:
Finding the best backpacking tents can be daunting, if you think of a backpacking tent purchase as a major ordeal.
I won't sing the praises of a fully loaded tent with all of the bells and whistles - that would waste your time (and probably annoy you).
Instead, my advice for zeroing in on the best backpacking tents will be broken down into categories.
Profound trail wisdom:
There is no "one tent fits all backpackers".
A pricey habit, but completely justifiable, in my mind!
And of course you must also consider these common sense variables: "need" -versus- "want" -versus- "can afford" -versus- "can carry for days at a time."
Whew! That's a lot of stuff to consider!
Can't we break it down to the essentials?
Here's the bottom line when considering best backpacking tents:
Every tent must keep your body and your gear safe, regardless of weather conditions.
In order to perform well for you, your shelter needs well designed functional construction:
That link covers all of them!
So in your purchase decision, you must
balance not only the tent's price, but what your money is buying in
terms of quality, smart design features, weight, ease of use, and
Let's take a brief look at some of these essential features so you're armed with knowledge as you go in search of the best backpacking tents.
Which footprint will give you maximum room for your plans?
How many times each year, and where, will you be using this as your home away from home?
If you're just starting out as a hiker, you don't need a tent which is designed for the rigors of Mt. Everest.
Likewise, if you're going to be out in all kinds of weather for weeks on end, you don't want fancy bells and whistles, you want SHELTER!!
One of the first pieces of data you should focus on: weight.
So be prepared to answer those questions (how many times, when and where) whenever you go into a gear store and start looking at tents.
And be suspicious if the salesperson doesn't ask you how many seasons you'll be using this tent, and for which type of hiking and camping!
You owe it to your trail comfort and safety to spend some time answering another question:
"What makes this particular shelter a candidate for my essential gear list?"
Check out all of the variables I've outlined above.
Hikers ask this question, so I'll share the answer to which tents I use for my backpacking needs.
Want to do your own due diligence?
Here's where spreadsheets come into their own.
Maybe it's because of my science background, but I just love to set up a table and enter the data whenever I'm considering a major gear purchase.
Make a list of my "essential features" down the left hand side, and list at least 3 candidate tents across the top.
I'll get you started with three worthy recommendations for a two person tent, including my fave, the Hubba x 2.
Fill in the info as you research each tent, and Voila! You have a great little decision making tool.
Of course, if that seems a little geeky, you can always hold that garage sale for any "clunker" tents you purchase.
But I find that a supremely unsatisfying back up plan.
Your pre-purchase thoroughness will eliminate the need to stand on your lawn with a "For Sale" sign, when you could be backpacking instead!
And before you go off to buy a tent, more backpacking tips for you!
Best Backpacking Tents
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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