It is better out than in; most adventurers say when asked about what a perfect vacation, holiday break or getaway would be. Because backpacking tents serve as a home away from home, you may want to consider features that will best suit your needs, simply choosing the best backpacking tent. Critical tent considerations include seasonality, capacity, weight, and the comfort and convenience based on the features of the tent. The ideal backpacking tent is one which is lightweight, less in size when packed, and durable enough to withstand rough weather. That’s where tent technology comes in. Over the years, innovations were introduced.
Backpacking tents were made available in various sizes that may fit in one, two, three or even four persons. There are also several choices with regards to the weather condition that a tent may withstand, ranging from two, three, four, and five-season tents. The tent’s weight varies according to what features are made for the tent to have. Tents that are ultralight often come with thin materials; thus, permanent tents most likely tend to become heavy. Materials used also became even more sophisticated to provide protection to campers. In the markets, the best backpacking tents are made of nylon, polyester, and Dyneema may be found. Dyneema is a special material that makes a tent waterproof. Those made of nylon and polyester may also be waterproof when coated. To have a better view of what to consider when buying a backpacking tent, or deciding what to bring during your next camp out, following finally are critical considerations that may just give you a glimpse of your would-be home.
One thing to consider on what backpacking tent to bring with you during your camp outs is one who has superior seasonality. This is the best indicator of a tent’s durability. Backpacking tents may be two, three, four, or five-season tents. Two-season tents are designed for handling the fine weather, sunnier times of the year. Since it is built for only fair weather, it can withstand only mild rain and wind. Thus, when weather conditions tend to be a little bit heavy, two-season tents may most likely collapse.
By far, the most popular choice is the three-season tents. Three-season tents are the best backpacking tents available to buy, are incredibly lightweight and are made for relatively temperate weather conditions of spring, summer, and fall. These are made with tight rainfly and can manage rain and minor snow, but not fierce winds, large downpour or heavy snow. They are also usually made of breathable material, thus providing for excellent ventilation. Four-season backpacking tents are winter tents made to withstand violent winds and significant snow. They usually come with dome shape design that will allow it to handle high winds. Also, this design prevents the settling of a large amount of snow on top of the tent. Unlike three-season tents, however, the four-season tents provide less ventilation since its features are meant to provide protection against harsh elements rather than give comfort during warmer climates. Five-season backpacking tents are rare as they are specifically and specially designed to withstand the harshness of Arctic-like climate. Seemingly, it is an extended version of four-season tents, made more durable to handle heavier winds and snowfalls.
Another feature that you have to consider is whether the backpacking tent you intend to buy fits with the weight and capacity needs. Backpacking tent capacity may vary from 1 to 4-person models. There is no standard defining the clear-cut dimensions per person. Commonly, a one-person tent provides a total floor space ranging from 15 to 25 square feet. A two-person tent obviously would provide larger total floor space, although giving each person less space. Approximately, this type of backpacking tent provides anywhere between 26 to 36 square feet in total. On matters of tent weight, it is logical to consider that heavier tents are also stronger; however, ultralight materials and designs can also be strong, although not stronger. There are various tent weight specifications, which include the minimum trail weight, package weight, and the packed size. Minimum trail weight is the total weight of the tent’s body, rainfly, and poles. Necessarily, you will still pack footprint or tent stakes because these are not included in the minimum trail weight of a tent. This, however, is the best spec to use when comparing weights of tents you intend to bring. The packed weight includes everything that comes with the tent as you purchase it, which include the body, rainfly, poles, pole sack, stakes, stuff sack, instructions and more. The weight that you will be carrying will be anywhere in between the two specs. Packed size is the space that the tent occupies in a pack, which relates to how easy it would be to carry the tent. To reduce space, however, you may split up the components by having your companions carry some, while you carry the rest. Ultralight tents are results of the efforts of designers to balance the characteristics that backpacking tents should have. They are made for purposes of convenience and to provide ease in carrying, but may mean sacrificing other features that may make these tents less spacious and less sturdy.
The backpacking tent’s liveability is also one key consideration to be kept in mind when choosing the tent you will use. The tent’s liveability spells the comfort and convenience you get from the design and features of your tent. Traditional backpacking tents of the past had designs that had lower headroom and narrow foot spaces that reduced the tent’s weight but compromised comfort. Modern tent designs are geared towards providing openings without additional and unnecessary weight. Other indicators of the tent’s livability include ventilation, peak height, wall shape, vestibules, doors, rainfly color, and the floor area. Tents with excellent ventilation prevent condensation build-up, especially during sleeping hours when exhalation creates moisture. Also, some tents provide rainfly adjustability that improves ventilation and enables gazing at stars or witnessing the sunrise. A tent that has a peak that is greater in height provides a spacious interior. Another indicator, the wall shape, speaks even better of the liveability of a tent. A backpacking tent whose walls are more vertical is said to be more “liveable” regarding space inside the tent. Vestibules are rainfly extensions that provide storage to shelter boots and other gears. Some tents come with an oversized floor area which is meant for the same purpose as that of vestibules, but also tend to be heavier. Doors also affect the liveability of backpacking tents.
Most tent designers focus more on the shape, zippers or shape of the door. However, the more important consideration regarding this component is the number. A tent with a door for every sleeper is said to be better, although it tends to weigh more and cost more than a tent with only a single door despite being inhabited by several sleepers. Liveability is also increased when the rainfly colors are light and bright because it enables light to be transmitted to the inside of the tent. This feature makes the tent more expansive and a more pleasing place to stay in. Lastly, the tent’s floor area may also be indicative of how liveable your tent is. It indicates the total square footage of the floor-level space. The number may be helpful in comparing which tent to use, although it does not conclusively determine the efficiency of the space.
The features mentioned in the above paragraphs are only a few of the many factors that you might want to consider in choosing which backpacking tent you would like to use as home while you’re away having adventures. The market offers a wide variety of choices regarding each of the factors.
The best backpacking tent for specific needs
The best winter backpacking tent is a Hilleberg Nammatj 2 Person Tent. For seasonability, the most likely that will give you quite a guarantee of durability even during harsh conditions. While this backpacking tent might be the heaviest, it also is one most the most durable. It can perform great at adventures with heavy snow and violent winds.
Regarding weight, you can choose between NEMO Blaze 2P Ultralight which only weighs about 2.48 lbs. Or you can go with Tarptent Double Rainbow that weighs a little more than NEMO at 2.63 lbs. However, as previously discussed, having ultralight tents may mean sacrificing other features such as the not so durable materials used for the purpose of achieving its light weight.
As to capacity, top choices for 1-person backpacking tents are the North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent and REI Coop Passage 1 Tent.
For 2-person backpacking tents, you may choose among REI Coop Passage 2 Tent, Marmot Catalyst 2P Tent, REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent and Cabela’s Orion 2-Person Backpacker Tent.
For 3-person backpacking tents, listed as top picks are the North Face Stormbreak 3 Tent, Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent, Marmot Ajax 3 and Cabela’s Orion 3-Person Backpacker Tent.
The 4-person best backpacking tent, a top pick for most people is the REI Camp Dome 4.
As to liveability, the backpacking tent which offers the most liveable and comfortable features is REI Half Dome 2 Plus. It has spacious interiors and made with fair consideration to people with great height and those with pets and other baggage.
For the overall best backpacking tent, users have rated the perfect Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 highly. Weighing only 2.75 lbs., it is best for general hiking and ultralight adventures. It is easy and fast to set up and gives a spacious interior. However, because it is lightweight, it has thin materials and thus needs to be handled with extra care.
Moreover, tent technology and tent designers have generously provided numerous choices that may suit your needs, and may bring to your next adventure added fun and memorable.