A Complete Guide to Choosing a Backpacking Tent

In this monotonous world, where every day we get up to earn some money and buy the things we want or need, the meaning of life is getting lame and thinner. Endless work shifts, tuition homework, and responsibilities. Sometimes, it’s good to get lost in the world without any worries, to get rid of that negative vibe and tiresome muscles. One of the best ways to refresh your mind is by going camping. Camping is the ultimate zenith of fun. You get to go places, without much in hand and live like a nomad, have fun and smile. Camping gives you a lot of health benefits. As you spend time in a natural environment you take a lot of healthy oxygen and air into your lungs. Your stress level reduces to a very large extent and you no longer feel a slave to unwanted thoughts. Camping will also make you exercise a lot, setting up camps is a physical process and it will make your muscles stronger and your brains sharper.

Therefore, camping is not only good for your mind and body but also serves as a recreational platform for you. The peace and tranquility and unwinding air of the outdoors will likewise diminish your mental anxiety. You will get a charge out of the quietness of nature that will make you feel invigorated and revived. So first let us start with the types of tents that are available. These are the basic types and styles of backpacking tents that are available in the market.

Types of Backpacking Tents


Bivy sack

Bivy sacks are ideal for solo camping. They are extremely lightweight and are made to sit out storms. They give a better deal of simplicity and don’t need much time to be set up. However, if you are claustrophobic Bivy is not the correct choice for you. Bivy is suitable for short, lone type of camping. You can also get an extra hood design in a Bivy for a few bucks, which makes it slightly more spacious. If you are looking for a lone lightweight backpack to go on an adventure, you should choose Bivy. If you intend to stay in it for a long time make sure it has some vent options, or you would be taking in a lot of carbon dioxide with no fresh air entering the tent. Bivy is very easily packable, so when you are choosing one to buy, choose one under two pounds or near that.


Ultralights are fully featured and light backpacking tents and are good for multi-day camping. When buying one, you must look for multiple pitch options. Another thing to look out for is the motive of the trip because ultralight tents can be bought with the body for calm weather conditions or even with just the footprint with poles which makes it very mobile. Most ultralight tents come with only one door as the engineers want it to be non-bulky and as lightweight as possible.

4 season

4 season backpacking tents are tents that are made to last the heavy weather conditions. If you are looking for an outing in heavy rain and snow conditions, 4 season will suit you the best. Things that you need to look for are that, it should be free standing and very sturdy to survive those nasty strong winds. The next thing you should look for is the dual or double wall that takes care of the condensation as most of these backpacking tents don’t come with dual or double wall which causes condensation problems.



Shelters or tarps are extremely lightweight, flexible and dynamic. They can be set up almost anywhere. These are great for true hiking purposes. If you are caught up in a hurry to set up a tent for a multi-person space, these would be your best choice. The things you need to keep in mind while buying a tarp or a shelter tent is the weight of it and multiple pitch options.


Backpacking tents

The standard backpacking tents are usually chosen for their more spacious design and availability of large storage space. These tents are very standard, reliable and versatile in nature. They are even great for car camping because of their spacious design. Standard backpacking tents are the do it all tents when it comes to camping.


These are the basic types of backpacking tents; however, there are even more varieties like 3 season tents, 1 person tents, 2 person tents, 3 person tents, dome, freestanding and non-freestanding and so on. However, basically, these types are a combined form or additional feature of the above-mentioned tents. To choose the right backpacking tent for you, first of all, you need to realize what your needs are, in what environment you will be camping and most importantly how big is your budget.

Factors That You Need To Consider

Though there are loads of brands (like Eureka, Kelty, Coleman, Cabela, Ozark and etc.) in the market offering a wide range of choices of tents, you just can't buy the first backpacking tent that you lay your eyes upon. A tent needs to be chosen with care; else it will fail to serve the purpose. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of the essential factors that one needs to check out while choosing an ideal backpacking tent:

Season Rating

Season rating

3 season safe houses are the most well-known sort of hiking tent and they are most suitable for a mediocre warmer climate condition and backcountry hiking. They are good for spring, summer, and fall trips where you'll have to keep terrible climate out while maintaining the inner ambiance. They have good air ventilation, and fresh air can go in and out all the time, keeping it cooler which the 4 season backpacking tents cannot.


A couple of ounces here and there don’t seem like a big deal, but when you are into a longer and harder camping environment, even a single pound can make a huge difference. Lightweight tent alternatives make climbing more fun, and that is what really matters to it. Your tent will be one of the heaviest things in your backpack, so you should try to keep its weight to a minimum for better overall outing experience.



The use of a hiking tent that doesn't insure against the commonest of outdoor problems like mosquitoes, snakes, etc. is perilous. Your tent is supposed to be your safe abode while you are on your hiking or camping trip. So spend some extra bucks and buy a better backpacking tent rather than save some pennies and end up in a situation where you keep cursing God for the situation you got into because of the cheap tent and your poor decision. If you are in no hurry maybe a sale at Amazon or some pro shop is a good option?

Inside Space

Inside space

Interior tent space is frequently a tradeoff for solace and weight, so it's critical to strike a decent adjust. So, choose one with a good inside space while keeping the weight to the minimum. If you are going for a group outing you would certainly not want less inside space in your backpacking tent, and if you are traveling solo or with your partner, too much space can add to the weight that you carry.

Outline Elements

Air vent

The elements of the tent also plays an important role when you are looking to buy one. For an enjoyable stay, you need a variety of components: tent that comes with proper entryways, loads of headroom, air vents to decrease condensation buildup, and inside pockets for keeping stuff. You wouldn’t surely like to duck in low every time you have to enter or leave your backpacking tent or have your gear crashing down on you every time you try to move a muscle. So, the backpacking tent that you choose must have all of the necessary components that will help make your stay comfortable, even in the rough outdoors.

Setup Style


Freestanding tents are by far the most preferred because of the fact that they're less demanding and faster to set up. They come with a framework that can be pitched anywhere. However, setting up a non-attached tent on the hard ground may take additional time and effort. If you are looking for a tent that is easy to set up - go for an instant tent, it pops out in seconds but are a little heavier. It all depends on the type of venture you are on and your needs.

Floor Pad

Most backpacking tents don't come with a floor pad nowadays, and numerous lightweight explorers see them as a burden. However, the primary advantage of a floor pad is adding sturdiness to the floor of your tent. It will help protect the tent against the rough ground; so it will last more and need fewer repairs. In case you're willing to carry some additional weight to enhance the life of your tent, consider getting a floor pad for your tent. It gives it more docility and stability and a few extra bucks can give your tent some extra life in terms of durability.

Condensation Buildup

Condensation will form on the inside of your tent when outside temperatures drop and often a damp conditions will develop. In case that you are typically hiking or backpacking in warm and dry climates (Middle East), you likely won't need to stress a lot of these inside buildups. If you tend to hike in lavish woods and mountains (Pacific Northwest), then a twofold divider tent will most likely be an ideal decision for full insurance. In case your tent comes with just a single divider to diminish weight, you ought to try and avoid areas that are very close to the water (think waterway valleys) to help lessen condensation.



2 Person tents are known to be the most famous models, all things considered. A lightweight 2 man tent can be utilized for solo climbs or with a partner. 1 Person tents are additionally an awesome choice for a backpacker who is hoping to climb quick and light. Bigger backpacking tents that offer more space are undoubtedly good if you often go on nature trips with your family or usually hike in groups. Also you can use the extra space to put your gear or other goods.

Entryways And Vestibules

If you will be camping not alone it is best that the tent that you choose has multiple doorways. This will ensure that everyone doesn’t have to clamber to the same space to get in or out. Also, there will be no need to disturb your partner when he/she is resting or napping, just because you want to take a stroll or soak in the sun.

Price factor

While you shouldn’t be a miser while choosing the right tent for yourself, you shouldn't spend a fortune either to get an incredible backpacking tent. There are numerous well-known brands in the market and you need to choose one that offers the maximum value for your money, thus helping you get a tent that comes with all of the necessary features but at an affordable price.



If you are looking for extremely lightweight tents, you may have to trade off for durability as very lightweight tents tend to be more fragile and prone to wear and tear than the heavy-built ones. The reason for that is pretty obvious. So, when you are deciding on a tent for your backpacking tours, you ought to strike a balance between the weight and the durability. Also you need to take into consideration the purpose of the trip: light backcountry walk or hard mountain trail strive? This will help you get a tent that’s comparatively light as well as long lasting.

All said and done, only you can be the best judge of what type of tent will be the best for your needs. Needs vary from person to person and so do the features that they would want in a particular tent during a trip. So, if you are planning to spend some time outdoors with your friends, family or even solo, take a paper and start writing every factor mentioned here, and decide what your needs are. Cross check them with essentials provided in here and see if it fits your budget. Always feel free to implement your own ideas and thoughts and find out what should suit you the best. So, grab a backpacking tent and start your adventure now under the stars and the romantic moon and get rid of all the extra stress and pain. An outdoors outing may be exactly what you require.