Backpacking is becoming quite the trend. However, everyone knows that backpacking is better when you don’t have a 100-pound pack. To keep that weight down, it’s best to lighten the load with the best ultralight tent.
Regular tents can be cumbersome, but then again, their design isn’t for backpacking. There are tents, however, that are specifically meant for backpacking and are made of the lightest materials possible.
But even though they are lightweight, they are still more than capable of keeping you protected and, most of all, dry.
WHAT IS AN ULTRALIGHT TENT?
While you can probably guess what an ultralight tent is, there is no actual definition of the term “ultralight.” However, the idea of ultralight tents is that they have less, but more lightweight materials that have the design to lower your overall weight when backpacking.
The best ultralight tent allows you to stay safe and protected from the elements with less material. These lightweight tents come in all shapes and sizes, and some may be superior to standard tents as well.
With one of these tents, you can expect only to have to carry up to maybe 28 pounds, with the tent itself being ideally around 2 to 5 pounds.
Besides being there to lower your weight, they’re also meant to be more convenient. Regular camping tents can take a while to set up, especially if only one person is doing all the work. The best ultralight tent can quickly be set up with just one person.
ULTRALIGHT TENTS VS. CAMPING TENTS
If you’re wondering why you can
‘t just use a regular camping tent on your backpacking trip, the answer is you can. However, you’re going to be carrying a lot more weight if you go that route.
Camping tents are made from durable materials, which means they are much more substantial. And they are allowed to be because their design isn’t for backpacking. They’re for being carried out from your car to a camping ground and set up there.
For this reason, they are often called car camping tents.
These tents are not only heavier, but can also be bulkier than a backpacking tent. They’re designed with space and comfort in mind, whereas backpacking tents are designed with a priority on convenience.
If you’re a backpacker or an avid hiker, the best ultralight tent is going to be your best friend. These are small and extremely light. Most will only fit one person, maybe two, but it will be tight.
While you can go for a full-fledged ultralight tent, there are other options you could choose that can lower your weight even more. Just using a tarp can provide you with enough protection, while also keeping the weight down. Bivy sacks are a waterproof shell that slips over you, and that’s it.
The coolest option, and probably the most versatile choice is an ultralight hammock. These can be set up anywhere with trees in the vicinity and can include a rain fly or bug net.
Hammocks are quickly becoming a popular trend amongst backpackers.
Whatever you decide to lay your pillow, lighter is always the safer option. The last thing you want to happen is you getting burned out on the side of a mountain. Not to mention, if you are backpacking along narrow and somewhat dangerous paths, keeping your balance is essential.
A heavier pack can throw your entire body off-balance and send you falling and breaking something.
A lighter load means there’s less you have to worry about. However, don’t sacrifice the essentials to keep your pack light; instead, choose lighter options of the things you want to bring with you.
When going to the range, there are generally two types of people. The ones who take too much, and the ones who don’t take enough. Here is our recommended list of what to take with you. This way, you’ll know exactly how much storage you’ll need when choosing a range bag.
Before you take any of these items, check the rules at the range you’ll be going to. Different ranges have various rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot bring.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ULTRALIGHT TENT
Deciding you want an ultralight tent and going about finding the best ultralight tent are two very different stories. There are quite a few things that you should consider when you are shopping for such a shelter.
These tents can honestly be a bit expensive, so you have to be sure that you’re getting a quality tent and not one that will tear or break the first night out.
Of course, looking at the weight of an ultralight tent is vital because if it weighs too much, that defeats the whole purpose. You want to get one that is as light as possible, without losing its usefulness.
THE ISSUE OF COMFORT
However, you also want to be reasonably comfortable. After all, no one is going to perform well if they didn’t have a somewhat restful night’s sleep. But that all depends on how you find comfort.Some will be comfortable with just a tarp and a sleeping bag. Others need that full protection from the outside, and that’s fine. There are ultralight tents to fit whatever need.
Some tents feature a pyramid style but leave the ground bare. Others are just a tarp with a rope or pole. Then there are the full style tents that give you the most traditional protection. All of these you can find a lightweight option, even the full tent style.
Another thing to think about is how many people are coming on the trip and how many of them will need a tent. If there is one person without a tent or you are traveling together, it may be a better idea to pack just one tent. That can help balance the weight of both packs. If someone brings a slightly bigger tent, then the other can bring more food or materials for the trip. Win, win.
However, you also want to be reasonably comfortable. After all, no one is going to perform well if they didn’t have a somewhat restful night’s sleep. But that all depends on how you find comfort. Some will be comfortable with just a tarp and a sleeping bag. Others need that full protection from the outside, and that’s fine. There are ultralight tents to fit whatever need.
Some tents feature a pyramid style but leave the ground bare. Others are just a tarp with a rope or pole. Then there are the full style tents that give you the most traditional protection. All of these you can find a lightweight option, even the full tent style. Another thing to think about is how many people are coming on the trip and how many of them will need a tent.
If there is one person without a tent or you are traveling together, it may be a better idea to pack just one tent.That can help balance the weight of both packs. If someone brings a slightly bigger tent, then the other can bring more food or materials for the trip. Win, win.
HOW WE REVIEW
While we have not personally had the chance to test out every product on our best ultralight tent list, we can assure you that the information here is accurate and truthful.
Every product here is highly rated on Amazon, and the information we gather is taken from reputable sources and the brand pages as well.
Our goal with this best ultralight tent list is to both give you quality information and be transparent in our reviewing process.
BEST ULTRALIGHT TENT
Choosing the best ultralight tent can be confusing at times, especially with all of the information floating around out there. However, these products have the highest ratings on Amazon and can help start your search out on the right foot. Even if none of the best ultralight tents on our list fit your liking, you can compare other brands to these, to give you a control group. These products are in no particular order.
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent; 3 Person Backpacking Tent…
- STAY DRY: Waterproof rainfly…
- ROOM WITH A VIEW: Get away…
- EASY TO SET UP: Lightweight…
- PACKS UP EASILY: Hassle-free…
- TETON SPORTS PROMISE: Reach…
The TETON Mountain Ultra 3 is one of four ultralight tents that TETON has available. This one, in particular, gives you traditional protection with four walls and a floor mat to fully protect you. The walls are also made from micro-mesh which can fend off condensation and keep bugs out.
This tent also comes with an optional waterproof rain fly and footprint to keep the tent in perfect condition. The whole tent weighs between three to eight pounds and is very easy to set up, with durable aluminum poles. Not to mention, it can sleep up to four people.
Altogether, this tent has a 4.3 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon, making it a great contender for the best ultralight tent available.
Featherstone Outdoor UL Granite 2 Person Backpacking Tent…
- 2-PERSON: This backpacking…
- WEATHER PROTECTED: Seam Taped…
- EASY TO SET UP & FREESTANDING:…
- 3 SEASON: This tent is…
- WARRANTY & ACCESSORIES: Backed…
Indeed a versatile option, the Featherstone UL Granite 2P offers excellent durability and an easy lightweight set-up. This freestanding tent weighs a total of six pounds, which makes packing very easy. The tent includes a micro-mesh dome with an optional waterproof rain fly.
However, that rainfly can also act as a minimalistic tent option, for the ultralight backpacker. The full tent can fit up to two adults comfortably, making it great for convenient packing.
All in all, the Featherstone has a 4.6 out of 5.0 star rating with the badge for “Amazon’s Choice.”
MIER Ultralight Tent 3-Season Backpacking Tent for 1-Person…
- Ultralight & Portable Tent—-…
- Waterproof Tent—- The tent…
- Easy to Set Up—— You must…
- 2 Doors with Vestibules—-…
- Versatile Hiking Tent —- Can…
If you’re looking to get away from the traditional look of a tent, the MIER is what you want. This tent sports a more teepee style with a versatile optional nylon rainfly. The base tent features a micro-mesh top with a protective nylon floor. The MIER can fit up to two people, but there are other options for single person tents as well. However, because of the style, the tent does require guy lines to hold the tent up.
The whole tent with rain fly weighs a total of 2.8lbs, making this one of the lightest tents we have on our best ultralight tent list.This 2-person tent has a 4.2 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon.
The Kelty Salida is the original model of the late Start that Kelty also has available. This two-person tent features a complete water-proof mesh design, with an attachable rain fly. The entire tent is also freestanding, so there is no need for guy lines.
Two aluminum poles keep the tent standing and are pre-bent to create extra room inside the tent. In terms of weight, the 2-person version weighs in at 4.5 pounds, making it still very lightweight and perfect for packing.
This tent has a 4.7 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon, making it one of the highest scores we have on our best ultralight tent list.
Paria Outdoor Products Zion Lightweight Tent and Footprint -…
- LIGHTWEIGHT – The Zion 2P…
- FULLY-FEATURED – Where do we…
- FLEXIBLE – Use the included…
- DURABLE – We did not skimp on…
- LIFETIME WARRANTY – We’re a…
The Paria Zion is one of the lightest tents we have here, certainly making it one of the best ultralight tent options available. It weighs in at just over three pounds for the single person version. There’s also a two-person version available, which adds an extra pound to the total weight.
This freestanding tent features a unique pole design, meant to give you extra room inside without adding to the overall bulk or weight. This tent also comes with an optional rainfly, that can act on its own, for the lightest weight set-up.
The Paria Zion has a 4.4 out of 5.0 star review on Amazon.
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx tent features a freestanding design with a slightly roomy interior. Its 46-inch center height makes for a more traditional tent feel. But that doesn’t affect its weight, which is a total of 5.9 pounds.
The whole tent, including the rainfly, is waterproof polyester, which aids in the durability of the tent.
Overall, the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2-Person Tent has a 4.5 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon.
SET UP CAMP ANYWHERE
The best ultralight tent is one that doesn’t add to the overall weight of your bag. It’s also one that is easy to set-up and can withstand the elements enough to protect you and keep you dry.
While searching for the best ultralight tent can be difficult, once you find it, you’ll never regret buying one.
Do you have an ultralight tent? Show us some of your pictures and share your backpacking experiences in the comments below!
Paul Grove has been passionate about hunting for as long as he can remember. He recalls hunting squirrels with his dad’s trusty Winchester Model 63 as early as age 9. As he grew older, his hunting interests, tactics, and gear have refined. He was also fortunate enough to be born in Wisconsin, thus having unhindered access to some of the nation’s best whitetail deer hunting spots. When he’s not chasing deer or other large to massive game on public lands, he is field-testing various fishing gear in a never-ending quest to find that perfect fishing setup. Is his passion for hunting and fishing innate or acquired? Paul believes that it is more about passing down a family tradition.