The modern backpacking tent has evolved greatly over the decades. Back then, the simple A-frames and sturdy domes that dominated the scene were universally bulky and leaky, with heavy fiberglass poles, not-very-waterproof tarps, and untaped seams. But now, the best backpacking tents are available in a variety of strong yet lightweight designs. They’re stormproof, breathable, and available in a wide range of price points, sizes, and uses.
Not only are the best new backpacking tents easy to carry, simple to set up, and full of clever features, they’re also being built with sustainable, recycled materials and eco-conscious practices (i.e. dyeing fabrics with processes that use less water and energy). Another great thing about new backpacking tents is you can size up if you’re looking for more room to house a significant other or a few trail dogs, because springing for a three- or four-person tent doesn’t get you that much of a weight penalty, but you gain a lot of comfort.
Best Backpacking Tents That Are Easy to Carry and Set Up
1. Gossamer Gear The One
For those seeking something exceptionally lightweight, a tent (or technically a shelter as it has no poles) like this is a dream. The One clocks in at an astonishing 17.7 ounces—half the weight of a liter of water—but still boasts lots of features you’d find in actual tents, like fully taped seams and a bathtub floor; reflective guy lines; side wall tie outs; roomy interior head room; internal mesh pockets; a clothes line; and a large vestibule that covers 10 square feet. The One only needs six stakes to set up, and can be supported with either trekking poles or an optional aluminum pole set.