Backpacking tents are best for people who like carrying all their camping gear in a rucksack. A backpacking tent also suits people who enjoy walking tour holidays. But there are some factors you should put into considerations before choosing a backpacking tent. Some of the factors include price, weight, space, weather, and more. It’s a different scenario from the car-to campsite, where you don’t bother about the tent’s weight and size.

On average, a tent should weigh 2 pounds per person. For a solo tent, sound quality should range between 1 and 2 kg while two-people tents can weigh up to 4kg. Remember, when backpacking for two people, you can split the weight to ensure you carry the exact weight required; divide the tent, rainfly, and poles. Weight is critical because a lighter tent may have delicate materials, whereas a heavier one may be durable but hectic to carry alone.

How to Choose a Backpacking Tent

A backpacking tent is one of your most crucial gear buying decisions you have to make. The shelter has a significant effect on both your budget and your pack weight. Again, the tent comes in a variety of designs, from minimalist to mansion-esque. To ease your burden on choosing the correct weight of a backpacking tent, consider the following factors;

  • Weather conditions likely to encounter- in summer, you need to have a lightweight material tent with more ventilation, but in winter, carry heavy material for more insulation.
  • Trip type- for a long trip with lots of elevation, you will have to carry a lightweight and compact backpacking tent to avoid excess fatigue.
  • Size and number of people you share with- if sharing a tent with friends, you will need a giant tent, especially for adults. A large tent will mean extra weight, but you can split the tent parts to ensure everyone is comfortable.

How heavy is too heavy for a backpacking tent? For one person backpacking tent, choose a lightweight tent that doesn’t weigh more than 2 lbs. In addition to the 2lbs per person, get a tent that doesn’t weigh more than 7lbs when hiking with friends. If heavier than this, it won’t be comfortable across various terrains until you reach your destination.

Tips for Lightening Backpacking Load

When considering having the lightest backpacking tent, you also have to cut down other camping gear’s weight. It will be insensible to carry a lightweight tent while the backpacking load is heavy. The base weight, which refers to the backpack’s weight, the gear inside and outside should be less than 10 kg. Therefore, apart from carrying a light tent, consider a lightweight pack, sleeping bag, and other gear.

To achieve the lightweight load, consider the following gear;

  • Sleeping bag-  the choice you make on the bad depends on the weather at the campsite. But as a rule, ensure you stay somewhere below 1.5 kg. Insulation mainly influences the weight of the sleeping bag because a warmer bag will weigh more.
  • Backpack – choose a light pack even if it’s costly. There are tents meant for ultralight hiking, like a 60-liter backpack that weighs under 1 kg; an example is Osprey 48L.

Other Lightweight tips

  • Choose a tent with carbon stakes as they are ultralight. You can consider using your trekking poles for support instead of carrying stakes. Other options to consider for light backpacking load are; ultralight hammocks, tarps, and bivy sacks.  
  • If hiking in a group, it’s best to distribute the shared gear evenly.
  • Ensure your tent is dry before packing, as it will add significant weight if wet.
  • If the tent is larger than the backpack, use a compression bag to become as tightly as possible.
  • If hiking alone, an ultralight shelter is the best as it’s compact and will easily fit in the bag.
  • Learn to pack your tent in the right way for you to have a comfortable hike.

Backpacking Tent Weight Comparison

A one-person tent is a definitive expression of going ultralight. For a simple model tent meant for the summer season, it’s the lightest compared to more than one-person tent capacity. For instance, the Yosemite weighs 3.26 for one person, while BFULL weighs 11.5 pounds for four persons. Therefore, the tent model, shape, and capacity affect the weight. To choose a lighter tent, ensure it has a simple design, one-person capacity unless you share it with friends.

Tent NameTent Person CapacityTent Weight 
MIS MOUNTAIN INN13.96 lbsCheck Price
Clostnature25.4 lbsCheck Price
KIKILIVE22 poundsCheck Price
ColemanSeven or more26.68 poundsCheck Price
AYAMAYA25.7 poundsCheck Price
BFULL Pop-up411.5 poundsCheck Price
Yosemite13.26 poundsCheck Price
Pandaman21.5 kgsCheck Price
Ubon23.45 lbsCheck Price
KL KLB Sport33.7 poundsCheck Price

How to Balance Between Tent Weight and Capabilities When Backpacking

While weight becomes the primary determinant in choosing a backpacking tent, you should not compromise other capabilities.  Remember, there are critical features of a tent that you shouldn’t compromise as much as you need a light tent. These features include;

  • Seasonality – the primary choice is between a 3-season and 4-season tent. The difference comes in terms of how best they can protect you from weather conditions. For a 3-tent season, even though light can only withstand downpours, light snow but not strong for harsh storms. The four-tent season sustains wind, heavy snow, and heavy rainfall. Therefore, it’s best to choose a tent according to the worst-case scenario you will find at the campsite.
  • Tent capacity – you have first to consider the number of people sharing the tent for enough resting space. There is no way to buy a small-space tent for lightweight.  Other features to consider are; durability, storage like the vestibules, and more.

Simple Tips to Pack Your Backpacking Tent Better

While packing your backpack, you should strive to achieve comfort and convenience. Pack your gear well to avoid interfering with the center of your gravity. Pack all items conveniently in that you can easily remove any item without emptying the pack. The following tips will guide you;

  • To maintain the center of gravity, pack the heaviest gear as close to the back as you can. Others like the food, cooking gear should be at the top or between shoulder blades where they can’t swing. Please keep them in a place with less dense items like clothes.
  • For convenience, avoid the dreaded junk show by layering gear with the frequency of use. For instance, the sleeping bag should sit at the bottom of the pack because you don’t need it along the journey. Clothing like a jacket may be necessary if the weather changes, so keep it at the top of your bag.
  • Try to distribute the weight of items for balance inside the pack.
  • Roll your things up tightly, so they take a little space as possible.

What is the Difference Between Packaged Weight and Trail Weight?

Packed weight means how much the entire tent package weighs when buying, and this includes tent parts like the body, fly, poles, props, guy lines, stuff sacks, and other equipment such as pole repair sleeves or patch kits. While trail weight usually refers to only the tent body, rainfly, and poles, it is sometimes called minimal load. The variation between packed weight and trail weight typically hovers somewhere between 5 and 8 ounces.

Check this too: Best Backpacking Tent Under $100

What Do You Lose or Gain When Using a Light Tent?

Lightweight tents have their pros and cons when you use them for camping. The losses seem to be more than the gains compromising on the tent’s capabilities. The most significant compromise is durability; with thinner fabrics, the tent can easily tear or develop holes.  The other gains and losses include;

Gains

  • They have porches near the door, which you can use for storage.
  • Light tents have a mesh layer attached which ensures there is proper aeration inside.
  • Less load when trekking

Loses

  • Condensation can be an issue in a lightweight tent containing synthetic materials.
  • Most tents come in a one-door design.
  • Some have a more complicated setup.
  • Most lightweight tents are more expensive.

What Do You Lose or Gain When Using a Heavier Tent?

The heavy tents, on the other hand, have their pitfalls and strengths as well. But comparing with the light tents, they have more gains while using. They are as follows;

Gains

  • They are spacious.
  • They are more durable than light tents since they have coated denier canvas material.
  • They offer comfort due to many features like windows and doors for proper ventilation, sky viewing, extra light, and more.
  • It’s breathable and weather-resistant, thus suitable for family and pets.

Losses

  • It takes longer to heat up since most are spacious.
  • It’s challenging and takes longer to set up.
  • Hectic to carry while trekking

Conclusion

A light tent is best if you are camping alone and the weather conditions are mild. You will enjoy carrying it along the journey, and it will be of protection to you.  But if you are hiking in a group or with your family, the weight will not be a priority.  Choose a tent that will protect from all-weather, spacious, durable, ventilation, and more comfortability features.