Best Hiking Tents – Reviews and Guide 2020

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Last Update: 13.Feb.2020

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MSR Hubba Hubba NX

This tent from MSR is undoubtedly the best waterproof tent available in the market. It’s incredibly popular because it is spacious, lightweight and has a large floorplan that enables all tent occupants to access the doors and any stored gear easily. The superlight (3lb 7oz trail weight) MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person 3-Season Tent keeps your pack weight low, packs down to next to nothing, breathes deeper than your yogi, and still stands up to years of camping adventures. Light in your pack but tough on the ground, the 30D nylon ripstop bathtub floor rises up to protect your slumbering body from splashes and spits when it starts to rain. Water stays on the outside due to a combination of DWR and 3000mm Xtreme Shield PU coatings. Vents on all four sides let the crosswinds blow to keep the air inside fresh. The nylon ripstop rainfly uses a 1200mm Xtreme Shield PU and silicone coating to keep the water from creeping inside.
Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Building off the success of the original Copper Spur, Big Agnes gave this high-volume version of the tent a four-way hub design that increases the strength of the tent by 25% and livable space by 20% from the original Copper Spur, so you can sleep easy when you're camped on a high-elevation pass and wind starts to push the walls of the tent sideways—well, as easily as you can. When the winds do let up and you muster up the willpower to take a leak, the two large doors will make it easy to slip outside before your tent mate thinks the wind blew you away.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 13.Feb.2020

On your next hiking increase your comfort by having a good quality tent. It will not only enhance your comfort but your enjoyment and takeafety as well. 

There are vast varieties of tents available. Some of them are lightweight while others are budget-friendly. Manufacturers use a host of different technologies and materials in the development of these shelters.

In this post, we will guide you in finding the right kind of tent that will make your next backcountry trip a whole lot of fun. So without further ado!

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

The full-featured Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 tent is designed with a high volume hub to maximize strength and increase living space without adding weight.
Building off the success of the original Copper Spur, Big Agnes gave this high-volume version of the tent a four-way hub design that increases the strength of the tent by 25% and livable space by 20% from the original Copper Spur, so you can sleep easy when you're camped on a high-elevation pass and wind starts to push the walls of the tent sideways—well, as easily as you can. When the winds do let up and you muster up the willpower to take a leak, the two large doors will make it easy to slip outside before your tent mate thinks the wind blew you away.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Seasons

3-season

Sleeping Capacity

2-person

Minimum Trail Weight

2 lbs. 12 oz.

Fly / Footprint Pitch Weight

2 lbs. 2 oz.

Packaged Weight

3 lbs. 1 oz.

Packed Size

4 x 19.5 inches

Floor Dimensions

88 x 52/42 (L x W head/foot) inches

Floor Area

29 square feet

Vestibule Area

9 + 9 square feet

Peak Height

40 inches

Number of Doors

2 doors

Number of Poles

1

Pole Material

DAC Featherlite NFL and NSL

Canopy Fabric

Patterned double ripstop nylon/polyester mesh

Floor Fabric

Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating

Rainfly Fabric

Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating

Footprint Included

No

Design Type

Freestanding

Pros

Proprietary double ripstop pattern nylon is 20% stronger than regular nylon

All seams are taped with waterproof

Good headroom

Excellent balance of space and weight

Cons

Delicate fabrics require special treatment

NEMO Dragonfly 2 Tents

The NEMO Dragonfly 2 tent is an ultralight, freestanding tent that offers plenty of livability for 2 backpackers, thanks to its 2 large doors, trapezoidal vestibules and a 40 in. peak height.
The Dragonfly Tent might not be the lightest shelter in Nemo's collection of backpacking tents, but it is one of the most spacious for comfier camping. Its three-season versatility pairs a full mesh canopy with a removable rain fly to accommodate warm, summer evenings or cold, rainy, shoulder season weather. The rain fly creates two large vestibules in front of the two zippered doors. The single, hubbed DAC Featherlite NFL pole makes for a quick-and-easy setup.
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  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Seasons

3-season

Sleeping Capacity

2-person

Minimum Trail Weight

2 lbs. 9 oz.

Fly / Footprint Pitch Weight

1 lb. 12 oz.

Packaged Weight

3 lbs. 1 oz.

Packed Size

19.5 x 4.5 inches

Floor Dimensions

88 x 50/45 (L x W head/foot) inches

Floor Area

29 square feet

Vestibule Area

10 + 10 square feet

Peak Height

40 inches

Number of Doors

2 doors

Number of Poles

1

Pole Material

Aluminum DAC Featherlite

Pole Diameter

8.7 millimeters

Footprint Included

No

Ultralight

Yes

Design Type

Freestanding

Pros

3-season

Excellent balance between weight and features

Lightweight backpacking tent

Large doors and trapezoidal vestibules with multiple roll-back points

Cons

Tapered foot

Pockets are high up

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

The updated MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent is a sturdy, roomy home base for you and a pal—2- or 4-legged—to enjoy the outdoors, whether you're car camping or trekking through the backcountry.
This tent from MSR is undoubtedly the best waterproof tent available in the market. It’s incredibly popular because it is spacious, lightweight and has a large floorplan that enables all tent occupants to access the doors and any stored gear easily. The superlight (3lb 7oz trail weight) MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person 3-Season Tent keeps your pack weight low, packs down to next to nothing, breathes deeper than your yogi, and still stands up to years of camping adventures. Light in your pack but tough on the ground, the 30D nylon ripstop bathtub floor rises up to protect your slumbering body from splashes and spits when it starts to rain. Water stays on the outside due to a combination of DWR and 3000mm Xtreme Shield PU coatings. Vents on all four sides let the crosswinds blow to keep the air inside fresh. The nylon ripstop rainfly uses a 1200mm Xtreme Shield PU and silicone coating to keep the water from creeping inside.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Material

[fly] 20D ripstop nylon, Xtreme Shield (1200mm) [floor] 30D ripstop nylon, Xtreme Shield (3000mm) [canopy] 20D ripstop nylon, DWR

Capacity

2

Season

3

Wall Type

double

Freestanding

yes

Poles

1 Easton Syclone

Pole Attachment

hub-and-pole system (guy-outs

Number of Doors

2

Number of Vestibules

2

Ventilation

mesh canopy, rain fly kickstand

Interior Height

39in

Floor Space

29sq ft

Packed Size

18 x 6in

Fast-pitch Weigh

3lb

Trail Weight

3lb 8oz

Packed Weight

3lb 14oz

Recommended Use

backpacking, ultralight backpacking, weekend camping

Pros

Ultralight tent

2 (3) -season

Fast & Light reaches a minimum weight of three pounds

Durable and strong construction

Cons

Expensive

Small fly doors

 It considerably costly; not your best choice if you are looking for cheap waterproof tents

Benefits

But overall a backpacking tent is very useful for a plethora of reasons. These shelters allow you to make your bedroom at night out in the wilderness and you can get some shuteye almost anywhere you like. These camps also enable you to take some rest from your trip and regain your energy. You can cook food, have a nice cup of coffee or even set it as your base to return to after a long trip of hiking the trials.

There are different models available that are extremely easy to set up and you don’t have to go through any technicalities for installation. These tents can provide you shelter from various elements in the outdoors. For instance, if it is raining or snowing hard, you can set up a camp/tent and call it a day. 

Backpacking camps or tents are effortless in pitching because there are no complications involved in the setup. A simplistic design also eradicates any hardship in this process. They are lightweight and compact and you can carry them as long as you can without much fuzz. These types of outdoor tent fly can withstand high winds and heavy rain.

Buyer’s guide

There are various aspects that you must keep in mind before buying a good quality tent for your next backcountry trip. As there are different types available, making the right decisions become a tad bit difficult. Therefore, we have developed this buying guide to help you out what features to consider to make an informed decision. 

Packaged Weight vs. Minimum Weight

There is a difference between the minimum weight of a tent and its packaged weight. Minimum weight is the trail weight and it includes the poles, rainfly and body. On the other hand, packaged weight includes everything from the manufacturer. 

This specification covers the rainfly, body, stakes, poles, repair sleeve, guylines, stake bags and the tent itself. For a two-person camp, on average the difference between these two specs ranges between five to seven ounces. 

However, none of these two specs correctly represent what a backpacker packs for the trip. Though minimum weight doesn’t include stakes and it is an integral component to secure the tent on the ground. On the other hand, packaged weight also includes a number of guylines which you won’t even use on your trip. 

Additionally, most of us don’t want to take the bag for that tent pole either because we can strap the poles to our backpack. So the rule of thumb here is to consider both these specs because the weight you need is going to fall right in the middle somewhere. 

Interior Space

Inner space is going to count a lot towards your overall comfort. To scan for the right options you need to consider a couple of specifications closely. 

Number one is floor dimensions i.e. that length and width, also known as the area of the tent in square footage and the second one is the peak height, which is the tallest point inside. 

Both these numbers will enable you to determine what comfort you can get. But you need to be careful here with the footprint of a camp. Measurements are only available for the floor area right at the base. If the walls are sloped, there is a lot less useable area available inside the tent. 

Additionally, the peak height only for the highest point in the tent and again due to the sloped walls you don’t know how much ceiling is available. But most of the recent models are more focus on both these discrepancies and for that, you will find vertically walls more commonly as compared to the sloped walls these days.

Weight

Surely, you will scrutinize a tent for weight if you are going to use it for backpacking. For the 2-person models, many cheap products weigh around five pounds. For most premium quality models, the weight is going to be around four pounds. Nevertheless, if you are going for the best quality then you can also find ultralight tents that will only weigh slightly over one pound. 

There is no rule of thumb regarding what is the right weight for a tent to be a lightweight or ultralight. Usually, you will have to compromise on available interior space, if a tent goes down on weight. You will also have to forget about some other features like weatherproofing, durability and of course price. 

Ultralights focus on trimming down weight and durability is not their concern. They suitable for experienced hikers and not for causal crown or novices. 

Doors

Backpackers like two-person tent because this is the most common capacity on the market. Therefore, you need to consider a two door design, preferably on either side. This many doors will make it easy for you to get in and out of the tent. Many of them come with a vestibule on the outside and you can use this space as extra storage.

Nevertheless, one door on a tent’s head end is a lot easier to access as compared to a tent design that features one door on the side. The single door on one side will make you crawl over your tent mate for getting out. If you are hiking alone then you won’t need two doors but this becomes a must-have if you have a hiking partner with you. 

Storage

Generally, there are two categories of storage. On the outside, there are gear closets and vestibules, and on the inside there are pockets. The inside pockets are smaller and they are for smaller items that you will need at hand. 

A conventional vestibule is going to cover the entrance and it is good enough for storing a couple of backpacks as well as footwear. This way you won’t have to bring your wet gear inside and you will give it enough cover on the outside for soaking. 

There must be enough internal space for you to place your gear like GPS, headlamp or similar other items. The best place for you to place them is in a packet near your head. It just needs to be a mesh pocket. Some models also come with pockets on the ceiling or some hang loops for you to hand your light. 

Ease of setting up and taking down

Modern camps and tents are effortless install and takedown. The fabric sleeves of the conventional models were frustrating and time-consuming. 

Now, these tents use simple clips that will not take much time for attaching. Poles have also become streamlined. You just need to lay out the footprint of your tent, stake the corners out and attach the poles them and then clips everything together. Ultralights can be a bit tricky to set up and you need a lot of practice to handle them. 

Durability

This is where you will see a lot of denier ratings for the fabrics that manufacturers use for their tents. This is the weight of fabric yarn and if it is on the low side then the fabric is going to be thinner as well as low in quality. Mostly, the ratings are available for rainfly, canopy and tent floor. However, the most vulnerable area for tears and punctures is the floor so the denier rating is more practically useful here.

Ventilation

There are two factors involved here. First, see how much mesh is there in a tent. In a double-walled tent where the rainfly and tent body are two separate pieces of fabric, the liberal mesh should be there to keep breathability inside the tent fairly high. If you leave the rainfly then you will feel very comfortable inside the tent at a warm temperature. Just make sure that the sun is not hitting you directly.  

Weather Protection

Rainfly is your first line of defense in case of bad weather. It covers that exposed region of your tent and will keep the inside of your tent safe from external elements. Ultralight shelters also come with a water-resistant coating and they can easily withstand long hour downpours. It is better for you to go for a full cover rainfly to keep the inside of the tent safe from external elements. 

Footprints and Tent Care

For extra tent care, you can use a tent tarp and footprint is optional. These tarps will add that extra protective layer for your tent but you need to make sure that pooling on the roof doesn’t happen due to any reason. These tarps will also add a bit to weight and most of the footprints will range between five to 10 ounces. 

Stakes & Poles

Almost all good quality camps and tents come with stakes and poles made of aluminum. Some carbon fiber rods are also available but they are expensive too. Aluminum is affordable and lightweight. Most two persons shelters come with six poles. 

There are two poles for each of the sides of the tent and four poles for each of the corners. In mild conditions, this setup is not a problem. However, to take care of bad weather you will need guylines. Therefore, you will need some e additional stakes as well. Most of the factory stakes are not of good quality so you will need to replace them as well. 

Our recommendations

To ease up things for you a little bit further here are some of our recommendations for specific weather conditions. 

Best for winter

The Trango 2 by Mountain Hardware is suitable for winter. It is a two-person tent and you can use it confidently in winter. This tent has a base-camp like constructions and has double-walled designed. It boasts a high-quality denier with waterproof nylon. The poles that come with the tent are lightweight as well. 

Best for summer

The Copper Spur Big Agnes is good for summer. It has a lightweight construction and is best for two people, though you can find bigger models as well. It has a roomy interior and is effortless to set up and takedown. There are large doors as well as vestibules and it is wider at the top. 

Best for all season

The NX Hubba-Hubba by MSR is a good choice for summers. It is available in different capacities ranging from one person to four persons. It provides you with excellent weather protection and has a very lightweight design. Only weighing just over three pounds, this is great for hot temperatures.  

Conclusion

You’ll find many types of camps and tents, and each one has its own specialty. To find the right one for your next trip, you must understand your needs and demands.  For instance, if you are going for long hikes then you will need an ultralight option. For harsh contortions, you will need s double-walled tent. Just look for the right kind of tent for your trip and it will add a lot of comfort to your trip.

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