Backpacker’s Guide To The Best Backpacking Tents 2019

backpacking tent
Tent on the grass, great for your design

Exploration is in your veins, and adventure is in your blood. You are an avid backpacker, someone who finds both adrenaline and tranquility in the trails and the wilderness. As you know, preparation is key when camping, and you have carefully selected everything you might need for your trip, from flashlight batteries to extra socks. But there is one vital piece of equipment you have yet to select – a tent.

The proper tent is, of course, incredibly important for the proper backpacker, so this decision counts. The trouble is, in the modern marketplace there are so many options to choose from, and each choice presents different pros and cons than the next. It would be exhausting to go through multiple products from multiple retailers and compare every aspect of them. Luckily, all you have to do is read this article to get briefed on everything you need to know about tents and to examine the list of the top ten backpacking tents.

FAQs

1. What Is a Backpacking Tent?

The idea of the tent has been around for thousands of years, ever since the first lean-tos and canopies were constructed by Iron Age humans. It’s simple enough, having a small structure to pitch up and take down with ease, but the development of the tent since the early days is astonishing when you think about it. Humans slowly transitioned from leaf and branch structures all the way to multiple-feature, weather-withstanding, ultra-lightweight tents within a few millennia, and advancements in just the last few decades have given campers a fantastic method of easy-to-use and easy-to-move tents. These advancements produced the backpacking tent, a compressible structure that can be carried on one’s back.

2. How Do They Work?

Backpacking tents are able to be compressed into such a tiny space because of its materials and design. The flexible and compact construction makes it possible to fold up a tent and transport it in a backpack, then unfold it and create an indoor environment more than four times the size of the bag it was just in. All tents on this list were made to be able to fold and pack easily, and the differences between each tent really only has to do with features, size, and price, as too much deviation from the common building materials and designs would result in a defective structure.

3. Where To Buy?

In the past ten years, the typical marketplace has changed drastically. Retail stores and specialty shops are still valid options, of course, but more and more products are being bought online. There are definitely benefits and drawbacks to both online shopping and physical firsthand experiences, and both methods are used by millions of people every day. Because of the greater accessibility of online retailers and sales from websites, the prices mentioned in this article refer to those displayed in the virtual marketplace. The price range for these products spans from $200 to $600, with the higher priced items often providing more features or greater room area.

Bias Guarantee

The purpose of this article is to inform you of the top ten backpacking tents on the market and what they each have to offer. This was written in a completely unbiased nature, and is only meant to present the pros and cons of various models, not to take a stance on brands or designs. That being said, here is a comprehensive list of the top ten best backpacking tents you can purchase.

Nemo Dagger 2P

Nemo Dagger 2P

Starting off the list is a great design from Nemo. This tent weighs 3 pounds 5 ounces and has a 42-inch height with a 31-square-foot area, so there is plenty of room inside, including ample storage space. The model’s floor is coated with 30 Denier nylon and polyurethane. Denier is a unit of measurement for fiber thickness and will be a factor that is taken into account for every item on the list. The Dagger 2P comes with a lifetime warranty, the ability to return for a refund, and a price tag of $400.

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Kelty TraiLogic TN2

Kelty TraiLogic TN2

Next on the list is this all around great tent by Kelty, with two doors and a 4-pound, 4-ounce weight. The interior is a bit smaller than the Dagger with a floor area of 27 square feet and a height of 42 inches, and a coating of 70D nylon, more than twice the thickness of the former. With mesh wall panels and noiseless zipper pulls, the TN2 is certainly accommodating and sells for just $250, a fantastic affordable option. There is a lifetime warranty from Kelty as well that protects the consumer from defective or unsatisfactory products.

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MSR Papa Hubba NX

MSR Papa Hubba NX

As much fun as it is to say the name of this tent, it is even more fun to own it. With a 53-square-foot interior and a 44-inch height, it is the largest tent so far by a long shot. It weighs 5 pounds 15 ounces and is coated with 30D nylon, a popular Denier measurement for many tents. A two door beauty, the size of the NX is fantastic for those who need a roomier sleeping area and yet can compress to backpack size in no time at all. It has rainfly vents and StayDry doors protecting you from the elements and comes with a three-year limited warranty. The price is a hefty $600, and will be the most expensive on the list, but is well worth the price when considering all it offers.

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Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Big Agnes is a deceiving brand name for this model, as it is one of the lightest backpacking tents available to buy. Weighing just 1 pound 15 ounces, the UL2 is incredibly easy to transport and will feel like nothing on your back. The 28-square-foot area and 39-inch height make this a relatively small tent, and the one door implies that this is best enjoyed by one person at a time. The floor has 20D nylon along with seams sealed with waterproof polyurethane tape, ensuring no rain will reach you inside. Selling for $310 and backed by a lifetime warranty, the UL2 is a superb choice for the adventurous soul.

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REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1

REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1

Like the UL2, the Quarter Dome 1 is built for one person to occupy comfortably, with a small floor area of 18.5 square feet, a height of 42 inches, and one door. It too has 20D nylon coating and has many impressive features, such as a roof vent with an internal zipper and reflective stake loops and guy lines to avoid tripping on your tent in the dark. REI offers a lifetime limited warranty and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so the risk is low for buying this tent, especially when considering the low price of $280.


MSR Hubba Hubba NX

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Another fun sounding tent, another great design by MSR. This one is lighter and smaller than its counterpart, weighing 3 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 29 square feet in area and 39 inches in height. Like the Papa Hubba, it is a two-door tent and can be put into an ultra-compact compression sack to then carry in your backpack. 30D nylon coats the floor, and there are two storage vestibules included for any number of items you might have with you. MSR gives their three-year limited warranty for this product and sells the Hubba Hubba NX for $400.


Tarptent Double Rainbow

Tarptent Double Rainbow

Weighing 2 pounds 10 ounces this is the third lightest tent on the list after the UL2 and the Quarter Dome 1 respectively. It is super easy to transport and super easy to set up, as Tarptent boasts a two minute required setup time. The 30.5-square-foot area and 43-inch height provide great room for multiple people, and the 30D nylon gives great durability to the material. It has reflective guy lines to ensure the safety of the camper, and its two doors are fully bug proof as an added bonus. The Double rainbow costs $290 and comes with a lifetime warranty.


Nemo Kunai 2P

Nemo Kunai 2P

This model is fairly average in terms of dimensions and measurements, with a 27-square-foot area, a 42-inch height, a 4-pound weight, and a 30D coating. It is far from average, however, when it comes to construction and performance. The one door has reinforced seams, and there is double-wall construction to keep you safe inside. In fact, the Kunai 2P prides itself on its endurance in all kinds of weather, protecting against strong wind, rain, and snow. It sells for $500 and the Nemo lifetime warranty is fully intact.

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Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3

Big Agnes

This Big Agnes model is in fact quite large, unlike the UL2. The Copper Spur HV UL3 weighs 3 pounds 7 ounces and provides plenty of room with 41 square feet in area and 43 inches in height. The two doors are protected by waterproof taped seams, and the interior is accommodating to the camper’s comfort, with five mesh pockets and loft loops for light supplies. It has 20D coating and costs $500, and is of course backed by a warranty, the same Big Agnes lifetime warranty mentioned earlier.


REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

The last entry is definitely not the least impressive. The Half Dome 2 Plus weighs 4 pounds 14 ounces and has a roomy interior with a 35.8 square foot area and a 44-inch height. It is coated with 70D, more than twice that of the average Denier reading for tents, and has two doors and four ceiling vents for optimal ventilation. The poles are even color-coded, so quick and easy setup and take down is guaranteed, and included in this guarantee is REIs lifetime limited warranty. Perhaps best of all, this tent costs $230, making it the cheapest option on this list, and quite possibly the cheapest quality tent you’ll find.


Product

Image

Details

Rating

Price

Nemo Dagger 2P

Nemo Dagger 2P

Area:

31 sq ft


Height

42-inch


Weight

3 lbs 5 oz


Coating:

30D

Kelty TraiLogic TN2

Kelty TraiLogic TN2

Area:

27 sq ft


Height

42-inch


Weight

4 lbs 4 oz


Coating:

70D

MSR Papa Hubba NX

MSR Papa Hubba NX

Area:

53 sq ft


Height

44-inch


Weight

5 lbs 15 oz


Coating:

30D

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Area:

28 sq ft


Height

39-inch


Weight

1 lb 15 oz


Coating:

20D

REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1

REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1

Area:

18.5 sq ft


Height

42-inch


Weight

2 lbs 7 oz


Coating:

20D

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Area:

29 sq ft


Height

39-inch


Weight

3 lbs 7 oz


Coating:

30D

Tarptent Double Rainbow

Tarptent Double Rainbow

Area:

30.5 sq ft


Height

43-inch


Weight

2 lbs 10 oz


Coating:

30D

Nemo Kunai 2P

Nemo Kunai 2P

Area:

27 sq ft


Height

42-inch


Weight

4 lbs


Coating:

30D

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3

Big Agnes

Area:

41 sq ft


Height

43-inch


Weight

3 lbs 7 oz


Coating:

20D

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

Area:

35.8 sq ft


Height

44-inch


Weight

4 lbs 14 oz


Coating:

70D

Verdict

After close examination and careful comparison between the ten best backpacking tents, the winner of the number one spot has to have it all – a roomy interior, quality flooring, unique features, a tight warranty, and a fair price. This tent is none other than the fabulous REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus. The 35.8-square-foot area gives plenty of floor space, and the 44-inch height ties with the MSR Pappa Hubba NX for the tallest tent on the list.

The Half Dome 2 Plus has 70D coating, providing great, thick padding that is element resistant. Furthermore, it offers great ventilation, color-coded poles for the easiest assembly possible, and a lifetime warranty to keep the consumer covered. The price for this amazing, all encompassing tent? At just $230, it’s the cheapest tent on the list, and yet the best quality in overall construction and performance. If you pick up an REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus, you can start enjoying the best backpacking tent there is to own.

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