Car campers could care less about the weight of their tent, because all they have to do is carry the tent from the car to the campsite. But if you’re backpacking all day to reach that campsite, it’s a smart idea to look at ultralight tents. With a smaller, lighter tent your legs and back will feel far better than they otherwise would at the end of the day. You might have to spend a bit more for an ultralight tent, but most people find that the investment is more than worth it.
Ultralight TentsWhat to look for when you want an ultralight tent.
- Single Wall – One of the more obvious features to look for when buying an ultralight tent is a single wall design. Provided that you have enough ventilation there’s no reason to not just have one waterproof tent wall, and when you cut the amount of fabric you’re using in half, you save quite a bit of weight.
- Accessories – The tent itself has a weight, but so does all of the other stuff that goes with it. Getting a tent that will allow you to use trekking poles as the supports, for instance, eliminates the need to take along separate tent poles. And you would be surprised at how much weight difference there can be between two different tent pegs.
Best Ultralight TentsSome of the very best ultralight tents for you take in to the outdoors.
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 - If you want an ultralight, free standing tent then there aren't too many choices better than the Fly Creek. It won the 2010 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and part of the reason for that was the very impressive weight of 2 pounds 2 ounces, or 963 grams. It comes with 28 square feet of floor space, which isn't a ton, but enough for two people, and there is also a 1 man, 3 man and 4 man version available, if a 2 man tent isn't what you're looking for. So an excellent ultralight dome tent.
- MSR Twin Sisters - If you need something for 4 season camping or backpacking but don't want to have to carry a big, heavy 4 season tent, then a 4 season tarp might be a better option. This tarp works with trekking poles, or the included lightweight tent poles, so you can set two trekking poles up inside, which act as the support structure for the tarp. Being intended for four season use it has 2 doors plus plenty of roof ventilation, is a single wall design of course, and flaps around the base that will keep out wind and snow. At 3 pounds 4 ounces, or 1.47 kilograms it's not an ultralight tarp, but it is a very ultralight 4 season option.
- Tarptent Contrail - The Contrail is another ultralight shelter intended to work with trekking poles, if you carry them. It's not a tarp, however, because you are fully enclosed inside, should you want to be. It's a single wall design, which definitely helps to save on weight, and at 24.5 ounces, or 700 grams it's a fantastically ultralight tent option. It has 21 square feet of interior floor space, which makes it roomy for just one person, and is also made right in the USA. It helps that it's also by far the cheapest option on this list.