Compare Lightweight Tents by features and specifications to find the right lightweight tent for you.
Lightweight SheltersAll it takes is one trip lugging around a 5 pound shelter to convince most people that there has got to be a better way. And there is, it's called a lightweight shelter. If you take the time to do a little research you can find shelters with innovative designs, lightweight fabrics and minimalist features that weigh only a fraction of a shelter with the same capacity. So why take the heavy shelter when you could take the lightweight shelter instead?
Common Features of Lightweight SheltersA shelter is a simple enough piece of gear, but there is a surprising amount of variety within the shelter market. Which is good, because that means there's also a big difference in weights. Here are a few features common to most lightweight shelters.
- Lightweight Fabrics - The choice of fabric will often be one of the biggest factors in the overall weight of the tent, just because that's mostly what a tent is, it's all fabric. UK manufacturer Terra Nova, for example, developed their very own lightweight fabric, which they call ULTRA, and use it on their Laser Ultra 1, which is currently the lightest 2-wall tent on the market, according to the lightweight tents list. Another excellent fabric is silnylon, of which the Laser Photon 1, also from UK manufacturer Terra Nova, is an excellent example. The Laser Photon 1 weighs only 670 grams, or 1.47 pounds, and is a good example of using advanced fabrics to save weight.
- Single Wall Shelters - Another obvious way to create a lightweight shelter is to leave half of the material out of the design process, and create a shelter that has only a single wall, rather than the traditional inner tent with a fly. The MSR Fast Stash is a great example of an innovative, single-wall design, lightweight shelter, as is the Black Diamond Hilight.
- Trekking Pole Supports - Why take poles when you can use your trekking poles instead? A few carbon fiber poles may not weigh much, but no carbon fiber poles weighs even less, and some tents give you the option of using your trekking poles as tent poles. The Tarptent Contrail is a great example of just this kind of lightweight shelter.
- Small Lightweight Shelters - Another feature often employed by shelter manufacturers to make their shelters lighter is to make the shelter itself as small as possible. This may not leave you with a lot of head room, but it will help relieve your sore back, since you wont have to carry as much weight. The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 is a great example of such a tent. It's a very popular shelter, as all the positive reviews attest to, but is not the roomiest shelter either. It also comes in a few different sizes, including 2, 3 and 4 person capacities.