To see more of the best tents ranked by weight and other characteristics check out the Lightweight Tents List.
Best TentsSelecting the tents that are best for backpacking is tricky idea, but with this list I've decided that best is a combination of a few things including weight, reputation, reviews, and features. I've also divided the selected tents up in to a few categories to make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for.
Best 1 Person Tents
- Gossamer Gear The One - The One lives up to its name. It's unique and extremely lightweight design puts it at #2 in terms of weight on the lightweight tents list, making it one of the better tents on the market. It's also a trekking pole tent, so it works best if you're one of those people who carry trekking poles. Otherwise you have to bring your own pole.
- Tarp Tent Contrail - The Contrail is one of many tents from Tarp Tent designer Henry Shires. The Contrail and all the rest of Shires' tents are very popular with the lightweight backpacking community, and just about any of his tents are serious contenders for the title of top tent. The Contrail is a single wall tent and features the venting around the bottom that is common to much of the Tarp Tent product line.
- Terra Nova Equipment Laser Photon 1 - Terra Nova is a less well known lightweight backpacking manufacturer from the U.K. They make some very lightweight products though, and unlike the other two tents on this list the Laser Photon 1 is a two wall rather than a single wall tent. Despite this the weight remains extremely low due to the excellent design and this tent definitely deserves consideration as one of the best possible tents for one.
Best 2 Person Tents
- Tarp Tent Squall 2 - Another tent from the very popular manufacturer Tarp Tent, the Squall 2 is basically the same very innovative single wall design as the Contrail but with room for two. It also uses two trekking poles for support, but remains very lightweight.
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 - The Fly Creek UL 2 is much more of a traditional tent design than the other two tents on this list. Despite that it manages to remain very lightweight and be a popular choice for lightweight backpacking enthusiasts, making it a contender for top tents.
- Terra Nova Equipment Laser Tent - Another tent from the UK manufacturer. This is the same basic design as the Laser Photon 1 from the list above, but with room for 2. It also manages to remain extremely lightweight despite being a two wall tent.
Best 4 Person Tents
- Hogan Ultralight Argon - The Argon is a small, compact tent that uses a low profile to make itself as storm proof as possible. This also cuts down on weight, making it a very lightweight four season tent. If weight is a big factor in your idea of the good tent then definitely consider the Argon.
- HIlleberg Akto - Hilleberg has a well earned reputation for strength and durability. The Akto is one of their lighter tents but is robust enough to be ranked as a four season tent.
- MSR Dragontail - The Dragontail is more of a traditional four season tent in that it's big and robust. It sleeps two and provides plenty of room inside. The single wall design means that despite its size it still manages to be lightweight, and if your best tent is something roomy that will still protect you no matter what the weather outside is then consider the Dragontail.