Best Backpacking Tent of 2020 | Expert Advice

If you quickly want to find out which is the best backpacking tent, I’d recommend the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.

So you are all set for your next backpacking adventure and super excited for it.

You’ve got everything but your tent, you pushed it to the last moment because you are clearly overwhelmed by the list of choices and brands and options you have to wade through to buy your perfect tent.

You also know finding a perfect backpacking tent can make or break your trip.

Don’t worry, we got you covered. You have come to the right place. And hopefully you would have a few good choices by the end of this compact guide.

Our Top 5 Backpacking Tents of 2020

Product

Weight

Highlights

Price

#1 MSR Hubba Hubba NX

3.8 lbs

- Spacious room space & good head room

- Good ventilation

-  Two extra vestibules for gear storage

#2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

3.1 lbs

- Lightweight

- Heavy duty tent

- Great for harsh weathers

#3 NEMO Dagger 2P MIN

3.7 lbs

- Easy to setup

- Best value in this price range

-  Comes with a dual storage stuff sack to split weight

#4 Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2

4 lbs

- Cheapest of the five

- Excellent ventilation

- Stands rain and has a high walled bathtub floor

#5 Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL Backpacking Tent

2.56 lbs

- Lightest of all

- Chosen for comfort and room space

- Easy setup and takedown  

What to consider for your perfect backpacking tent?

Price

Obviously, you have a budget for buying your tent. It depends on how much you backpack.

If you regularly backpack, consider investing in a quality product because it makes sense to buy something good that can last for years.

If you just backpack when the weather is good, buy anything cheap that will last for a while but cheap tents tend to be heavy and are also made of much lower quality materials.

We have researched a variety of options in different price points and you should be able to pick one that you are comfortable with.

Weight

The weight of the tents mostly tend to vary only by a few ounces but it makes all the difference.

Tents are one of the four heaviest items that you carry with you along with sleeping bags, Sleeping pads and backpacks. Those few ounces matter.

You want to buy something as light as possible without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Each of the products reviewed here have taken weight into consideration.

There is a whole another option of Ultralight tents that you might consider if you are ready to shell out some extra cash.

But you’ll be happy with the decision you made.

Protection

Don’t buy the cheapest tents you can find as they tend to provide little to no protection.

You want to buy something that offers decent protection from Storms and harsh weather conditions.

Tents that give away at the slightest whim & offers no protection might even be dangerous.

We have picked you some great options that offer a good combination of safety, dryness and warmth.

Interior Space

Backpacking tents are meant to be lightweight by limiting the interior space.

Most two person tents are comfy only for two persons, some backpacks and some other gear stored in the vestibules.

If you want a little extra space you want to try to go a size higher. Choosing a size higher will give you much more leg room to spread your legs and also gives you more room to keep your backpacking gear. But conversely they tend to be little heavier.

That’s the trade off you have to make. If you care about hiking a lot, just choose something just right and not too heavy.

The inside of a tent

Capacity

1 person tents are perfect for solo travellers and moving light. You should absolutely avoid buying a bigger tent if you travel solo.

2 person tents are the happy middle if you have a partner or more. If you can live with it, just buy a two person tent even if you are 3 but don’t expect magnificent space. You will feel a bit cramped.

If you are ready to sacrifice a bit in weight and are more than 3 try getting a 3 person or 4 person tent.

Season Rating

Definitely look for a season rating before you buy.

3 season tents are quite popular with backpackers. It offers good protection for Spring, Summer and Fall backpacking.

But if you are looking to backpack just for one season, go with a one season rating as they tend to give much deeper protection and are made just for that season. For Eg: A 3-Season tent isn’t geared up for heavy snowing.

Design

It is a pet peeve of mine. I like tents which are simple, well made and serves both form and function.

Look for a comfortable balance between the features and simplicity in design without over complicating much.

Durability

Keep in mind Ultralight tents and Lightweight tents tend to be made from lighter materials and tend to go through wear and tear faster than the heavier tents. It should last a good 1000 miles where the heavier tents can last more than 3000 miles.

When it’s made ultralight, any sharp stick or rock will puncture any kind of tent fabric.

If you want a durable one go with a heavier variants and if it just for personal use buy a lightweight tent.

Top 5 Best backpacking tents

1. MSR Hubba Hubba NX


Weight – 3.81 lbs

No. of Poles – 2, freestanding

Capacity – 2

Doors – 2

Season Rating – 3 season tent

Short Review

A well designed tent, lightweight, with a roomy tent space, which can be convenient for people who like some extra space in the tent, apart from 2 adults.

It has two doors with meshes that allow for good ventilation. Another good feature is the huge vestibules that come handy to store your gear and pack. It has a good headroom as well.

This product has fast pitch and light pitch options, that might be useful for users who are looking for versatility.

The setup & packup has been reported as very easy by users, in addition to a remarkable pack up size. It comes with stakes but not with footprints so you might want to consider buying one separately.

One shortcoming of the tent might be the lack of storage pockets that’s quite common in any other tent these days. That would have been really useful.

Bottomline

If you’re looking to invest in a high quality backpacking tent which is spacious, ultralight and properly ventilated, go for it.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

2. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Weight – 3.1 lbs

No. of Poles – 2, freestanding

Capacity – 1/2/3/4

Doors – 2

Season Rating – 4 season tent

Short Review

With an easy clip on setup system, it has two doors and stands tall on the sides to accommodate two people very easily. The fly and the floor are made of very lightweight and delicate nylon with a waterproof coating.

What customers have loved about the product is the spacious tent room. Two adults can comfortably sit without their heads bumping to the ceiling of the tent. There’s ample leg room as well, and has handy pockets inside for small things.

It does great in harsh weathers, fighting the rains outside it.

One drawback of the tent is that, it does not come with a footprint, so you might consider buying one along with the tent. This footprint is made specifically for this tent – Big Agnes Footprints for Copper Spur Series Tents.

Bottomline

If you’re looking for room space, comfort, ultralight and portability all in one tent, go ahead and buy this. You won’t be disappointed.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

3. NEMO Dagger 2P MIN


Weight – 3.7 lbs

No. of Poles – 2, freestanding

Capacity – 2

Doors – 2

Season Rating – 3 season tent

Short Review

An easy-to-setup tent, with perfectly balanced features. It offers the best combination of spaciousness, packed size, comfort and protection from the weather.

People were very impressed with the broad floor space which is convenient enough for 2 people. The tent has two doors and two vestibules, that is quite accommodative of your camping gear.

It offers the best area as compared to other tents in this price range and weight.

It’s made of high quality 15D Nylon that provide ample airflow and temperature control. Many users have also found this durable because of the weave. But not to forget, these are ultralight materials designed to cut pack weight, and hence are delicate. To prolong the life of the tent floor, many users have opted for a footprint. Here’s the LINK to buy footprint.

It has a dual storage stuff sack that allows you to split the weight with your hiking partner.

What customers didn’t like is the space you get to crawl through to get to the door. It could have a larger opening to make it easy to crawl out. Also, the stakes that come with the tent have been found to be inadequate by some users. They had to get theirs to setup the tent.

The tent also comes on the pricey end of the spectrum.

Bottomline

A sturdy tent that’s light enough for backpacking, roomy enough to comfortably enjoy the wilderness.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

4. Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2


Weight – 3.8 lbs

No. of Poles – 2

Capacity – 2

Doors – 1

Season Rating – 3 Seasons

Short Review

A solid tent for backpackers in the under $200 price range. Being the cheapest among all the products reviewed here, it represents an excellent value for money.

It comes with one mesh door, has a spacious room with a good head room and vestibules to keep your gear & other camping stuff. The tent also proves to be leak free during rains. What customers loved about this tent is the ventilation it provides.

It has a high walled bathtub floor that prevents water from entering the tent.

One factor the users are willing to look upon in this tent, is the weight. It can get bulky for a single person, but customers have sorted this out by splitting the weight between two people.

Some people feel that the vestibule sags when it rains thus making it muddy. Also, the tent does not have free standing poles, so you’d have to pitch it & stake it yourself.

Bottomline

As the lowest priced of those reviewed in this article, this tent represents a solid purchase for summer backpacking and car camping.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

5. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL Backpacking Tent


Weight – 2.56 lbs

No. of Poles – 3, semi freestanding

Capacity – 2

Doors – 2

Short Review

Users whose primary concern is to cut down pack weight, you’ve arrived at your decision.

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL Backpacking Tent weighs only 2.56 lbs, making it the lightest of the tents reviewed in this article.

It has two doors for easy entry & exit, two vestibules that come with storm flaps on the vestibule zippers. The setup and take down is easy since it is a single pole design.

Many customers have loved the comfort this tent provides, and the excellent head room owing to its tall standing wall. It has more livable space than the other lightweight tents.

What users feel could have been better is that the pole design. It is semi-freestanding and this makes the tent setup on rocky mountains difficult. The interior space also can feel a little packed for 2 persons. If you like some extra space in the tent, it’s a wise choice to go for the 3P version of the tent.

Bottomline

For those who are looking at a tent that’s a good balance of price, weight and comfort, this would be a perfect buy.

>> Check Prize on Amazon <<

Conclusion

There you have it. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose a right tent for your next backpacking trip. As always it comes to personal preference. If you like something, just read the reviews and go for it.

Our pick for the best backpacking tent would be this well-designed & spacious tent – the MSR Hubba Hubba NX . It has a good head room, floor space and a large vestibule space to store your camp gear.

It’s a 3 season tent with fast and light pitch options for easy set up, which is one of the reasons we recommend this tent. It’s reasonably priced and properly ventilated as well.

Mark Bennett
 

I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I've learnt over these years.