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Carrying everything you need to camp on your back while backpacking is a liberating experience. However, you do need to be mindful of the compounded effect of carrying a lot of weight on your back for days at a time.
As a result, you will want to make sure your tent is lightweight, and you are only carrying essentials with you.
A good rule of thumb for the best backpacking tent weight is around 4 pounds (1.8kg) per person. The absolute max should be 7 pounds (3kg). You should aim to get a tent that is as light and compact as possible, within your means.
|Lightest Weight||River Country Trekker Tent||2.8 pounds|
|Best Value||BISINNA 2 Person Camping Tent||4.72 pounds|
|Best Quality 1 Person||Co-op Passage 1 Tent||3lb, 11oz|
|Best Quality 2 Person||Co-op Half Dome SL 2+||3lb, 15oz|
Weight depends on what you need and want
You should be able to get a high enough quality solo one person tent at around 2.2 pounds (1kg). This gives you a little extra space and room to carry some extra gear.
You can get ultralight backpacking tents that come in less than 0.6 pounds (0.272 grams), which is incredible. However, you will have to pay a lot of money for a backpacking tent this light. Keep in mind, the less weight you have for your tent, the more likely you can take a coffee maker!
Unless you are trekking over some challenging terrain with some serious altitude and money is no object, a tent that light is just overkill.
Another great thing to keep in mind when shopping for your tent, is what it is made of! Different materials have different weights.
How to lighten the weight?
The easiest way to lighten the weight in your pack, is to spread the weight of the tent between multiple people!
Basically, use a larger tent, but give each person in the party a portion of the tent, so that no one person is taking the most weight.
If you are on your own, then buying the lightest weight pack you can find is going to be your best bet.
Examples of Lightweight Backpacking Tent
Thankfully, the industry has come forward and given some awesome options for lightweight tents meant for backpacking! All of these fall well within the standard we talked about earlier.
1. REI Co-op Passage 1 Tent with Footprint
This mid-range tent made by REI in their in-house Co-op brands is a great value! It includes everything you would expect out of a normal tent, like pockets, footprint, stuff sack, stakes and guylines with tighteners.
However is able to do it all in a lightweight package of 3 pounds, 11 ounces, making it an awesome option for hiking, and backpacking.
2. REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint
If you need a bit more room than the single person version above, this 2+ person tent is going to be an awesome option as well!
With tons of innovative materials, and use of product, this larger tent doesn’t pack on much weight, with it only being 3 pounds, 11 ounces.
3. BISINNA 2 Person Camping Tent
Looking for something a bit cheaper than the other options we have talked about? This one is cheaper by over half, however it isn’t quite as lightweight with a weight of about 4.72 pounds.
However it makes up for that extra weight with a really cool design, and an awesome oranger color.
4. River Country Products Trekker Tent 2
You remember those camp tents you would always see in the western movies? This is that tent, but just lightweight, and inexpensive!
At 2.8 pounds and under $60 the tent offers an awesome value!
The most unique thing about it, is that it uses the trekking poles that you already currently own to stay upright. Meaning you don’t have to take extra weight with you for the sake of weight.
Only downside, is if you don’t have trekking poles already, then this isn’t a great option for you.
Cost of a lightweight tent
The lightest backpacking tents are a lot more expensive, and if you are only planning to use it once or twice a year is a complete waste of money. However, do not just buy the cheapest dome tent you come across.
It will be heavy, and although the extra space inside seems great, you will not notice while you are sleeping, but all day you will feel the excess weight.
Keep to a budget
You are better off choosing a backpacking tent within your budget and a design with all the space you need that weighs 2.2 pounds (1kg), rather than breaking the bank to save 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) on the weight of your tent.
Focus on features such as whether it fits in your backpack and ensuring that the bag is not super tight (it is much better to get a backpacking tent with a roomy bag with straps to tighten once the rolled up tent is inside).
A good weight for a backpacking tent is whatever you can afford. You can get plenty of quality backpacking tents that come in under 4 pounds (1.8kg) per person and do not cost an arm and a leg.
Focus on portability and functionality rather than obsess about saving every gram and wasting money.