Adventures Camping and tent under the pine forest near water outdoor in morning and sunset at Pang-ung, pine forest park , Mae Hong Son, North of Thailand, forest background. Concept Travel

Hiking Tents

What are Hiking Tents?

A hiking tent is a portable shelter designed specifically for backpacking trips and multi-day treks into the wilderness. These tents provide overnight accommodation along the trail and aim to balance weather protection, livability, and minimal weight. Hiking tents come in a range of capacities from ultralight 1-person models to more spacious 3-4-person options. But they share some common traits that differentiate them from larger family camping tents used at drive-up campsites. Key features of a hiking tent include ultralight fabrics like ripstop nylon to minimise packed weight. Many use breathable mesh for ventilation. Hiking tents have a compact take-down size of around 5 by 20 inches when stored in a sack. They allow quick and easy assembly using shock-corded poles and colour-coded clip connections. Hiking tents have waterproof and moisture-wicking "bathtub" style floors. Some use removable ground sheets for further protection. They utilise rainfly covers made of coated ripstop nylon to shield them from precipitation. Multiple vents and mesh walls promote airflow to minimise condensation. Durable yet flexible poles made of lightweight aluminium or carbon fibre are used. Hiking tents have interior gear loops, pockets and lantern hooks for organising equipment. They feature reinforced stitching on high-stress points for durability and longevity.


What to Look for in a Hiking Tent

When choosing a tent for hiking, there are several key factors to consider:



When selecting a backpacking tent, weight is a critical consideration. Ultralight hiking tents that weigh less than 3 pounds offer protection from the elements while remaining highly portable for extended trips. Heavier tents ranging from 5-7 pounds provide more durability and interior space but are more suited for shorter hikes and base camping. It's important to factor in the total weight of the entire system including the tent body, poles, stakes and storage bags when evaluating overall heft. Advanced ultra-lightweight tents utilise innovative materials like lightweight ripstop nylon, carbon fibre poles, and Dyneema composite fabrics to pare down grams without sacrificing structural integrity. For multi-day thru-hikes where every ounce counts, ultralight tent weights under 2 pounds are ideal to maximise mileage with minimal fatigue. For weekend warriors and recreational camping, tents in the 4-5 pound range offer a nice balance of packability and liveable space. As a general rule, focus your search on tents falling in the 1-5 pound packed weight range depending on intended distances and your fitness level.


Packed Size

Given limited backpack space when trekking miles into the wilderness, a tent's packed size is an important logistical consideration. Premium tents for hiking from reputable brands are engineered to pack down surprisingly small into an integrated storage sack or compression stuff sack. Look for tents with compact hubbed pole systems, thin yet rip-resistant canopy and rainfly fabrics, and minimal excess hardware to maximise compactness. The latest designs offer excellent weather protection and interior space rivalling larger tents while packing down to a tight bundle a little larger than a Nalgene bottle. A packed size of 5 by 20 inches or less will take up minimal room in your pack. It's helpful to unpack the tent in-store and practice packing it down to its smallest size to get a feel for how condensed it can get. While ultra-compact packing is ideal, be sure to balance capacity and liveability as well. With today's materials and ingenious designs, backpacking tents can offer the best of both worlds.


Weather Protection

The primary purpose of a hiking tent is to provide reliable protection from the elements, including rain, wind, changing temperatures, and even snow at higher altitudes. When researching tents, look for models that use high denier, rip-stop polyester or nylon for maximum water repellency. Many premium tents are coated with a durable water-resistant finish to further seal moisture out of vulnerable seams and fabric pores. Fully taped interior seams are key for preventing drips during downpours and storms. For wind resistance, aim for flexible yet sturdy poles of aluminium or carbon fibre, along with reinforced guy lines and tie-down points to add stability in gusty conditions. For use in colder temperatures, opt for a 4-season tent with steep side walls and extended fly configuration to ensure snow and frost stay out of the living space and off the roof. Carefully vet the tent's fabric denier rating, seam construction method, and pole quality to gauge its resilience in harsh conditions. With the right model, you'll stay cosy inside your tent when the weather turns nasty outside.


Doors and Vestibules

For livability and useability, hiking tents typically have at least one door for easy access along with a vestibule or extended fly for protected storage space. Doors allow hassle-free entry and exit without lots of crawling, while vestibules enable you to stash muddy boots and wet gear outside the main tent floor. Look for tents with two doors and vestibules for even more versatility. On rainy days or during bug seasons, you can cook or hang out in the vestibule area without cramming into the tent interior with the whole crew. High-end models will include oversized rainfly vestibules to truly maximise livable space and covered storage. When shopping, prioritise tents offering vestibules sized to provide adequate protection based on the interior capacity and your intended group size.



Assessing a tent's livable space, interior height, ventilation and overall comfort is key to happily camping with it for multiple nights. Start by studying the floor dimensions and layout - more than one room is ideal for privacy and storage zone separation. Pay attention to the peak centre height, which should allow most occupants to sit up comfortably without hunching. Tall users over 6 feet will want to size up accordingly. Breathability and airflow are often overlooked but vital aspects of livability, especially in humid or rainy climates. Search out tents with large mesh panels, multiple vents, and removable rainfly options to prevent mugginess, condensation drips, and poor ventilation. Small details like interior pockets, media pockets, lantern hooks and embedded lighting also boost liveability and convenience. Don't underestimate the importance of a comfortable well-designed interior you can happily spend hours inside should bad weather roll in.


Ease of Setup

After a long day hiking with a heavy pack, the last thing you want is a complex tent setup process after arriving at camp. The best tent for hiking are engineered for quick, intuitive pitching using shock-corded poles and straightforward clip-in designs. Look for colour coding on the poles, clips and fabric to ensure fast matching of corresponding points. Practice setup at home to get set up smoothly in just a few minutes. Other ease-of-use aspects to look for include pole hubs and geometries that nearly assemble themselves, Jake's feet or other stand-alone pole corner systems, and creative slip-through fisheye-type grommets for hassle-free threading. Freestanding tents provide the flexibility to move locations without re-staking every time as well. While assembly time depends on the size of the tent, innovative design and hub systems allow even 4-person tents to pop up almost instantly after site selection.


Durability and Materials

Hiking tents must stand up to considerable wear and tear on the trail, including long-term UV exposure, rain events, wind stress, and friction from packing. Look for tents that use quality lightweight yet rugged materials to provide durability without adding excess ounces. Premium ultra-light nylons and polyesters are coated with protective finishes to increase lifespan and water repellency over years of use. Aluminium poles are trusted standbys that resist corrosion and provide strength at low weights. Fiberglass poles add beneficial flex. Sturdy yet lightweight clip systems outlast flimsy plastic joints, and oversized zippers hold up much longer as well. Pay attention to denier ratings on the floor and fly - the higher the number, the tougher and more abrasion-resistant the fabric. Well-constructed tents designed and built to last 5+ years in the field will reward you with years of trips to come.


Types of Tents for Hiking

Hiking tents fall into a few main categories based on capacity, seasonality and weight.



  • Solo tents are lightweight, compact person shelters ideal for thru-hikers and minimalist camping. Interiors are snug.

  • 2-person tents offer interior space for two plus gear storage. Most versatile size for couples or solo hikers.

  • 3-4-person tents are bigger and heavier but allow for camping with several people. Useful for base camping.

Season Rating

  • 3 season tents are built to handle spring, summer and fall weather. Well-ventilated and lighter in weight.

  • 4 season tents are built to handle harsh winter conditions with stronger frames, more durable materials and steep walls to shed snow.

  • Extended season tents bridge the gap between 3 and 4-season designs for added versatility.


  • Light hiking tents focus on keeping weight to a bare minimum, usually under 3 pounds. Smaller interiors and more compact when packed.

  • Lightweight hiking tents offer excellent weight savings without sacrificing livability. Range from 3-5 pounds.

  • Expedition tents prioritise maximum durability and liveability over weight savings, 5 pounds and up.

Now let's take a look at some of the top hiking tent models in different categories and capacities.


Best Lightweight Backpacking Tents for 1-2 People

When tackling trails for overnight trips or weekends in the backcountry, you need a sturdy yet portable tent designed for two people or cosy solo use. These lightweight backpacking tents offer an excellent blend of weather protection, space and ease of carrying. Look for models ranging from 1-3 kg packed weight. Here are some top choices from reputable British brands:


Vango Nevis 200 Tent 

The Vango Nevis 200 tent is a lightweight champion that's simple to pitch and intensely weatherproof, yet weighs only 1.8 kg. This versatile backpacking tent handles everything the trails throw at it while remaining featherweight for effortless carrying. Built to withstand harsh UK conditions, the Nevis 200 incorporates Vango's trusted TBS® System, which uses a pole at each corner for rock-solid stability even when the winds howl. The pre-angled poles pop into place quickly using a simple clip-in design, allowing hassle-free setup after a tiring day on the trail. StormGuard protection ensures waterproof seams, while the 70D nylon outer tent fabric shrugs off heavy rainfall. An adjustable Inline Venting system provides fine-tuned airflow control to keep condensation at bay and the space ventilated, even in rainy conditions. Inside, a roomy porch area provides protected storage space for muddy boots and wet jackets. Two generous entrances ensure easy entry and exit. The interior nestles a comfortable sleeping area large enough to sleep two campers or provide extra room for one. Looped toggles allow for customised hanging of gear, and the reflective guylines aid visibility at night. Weighing less than 2kg, the Nevis 200 won't weigh down your pack on longer treks. Yet its robust weatherproofing and versatile storage make it an ideal tent for multi-day hiking trips through the temperamental British elements. With top value for money, the Nevis 200 provides an outstanding balance of featherweight portability and heavy-duty performance.


The MSR Elixir 2 Backpacking Tent 

The MSR Elixir 2 backpacking tent is built to handle whatever weather the trails may bring while keeping total weight to just over 2 kg. This 3-season tent utilises an innovative Airflow 2 tent body to maximise interior space and create a cavernous feel that belies its ultralight-packed size. The Elixir 2 tent body suspends the inner walls between two crossed poles, opening up a livable room and enhancing airflow. The vertical side walls and high peak height allow two occupants to sit up fully and move around inside the tent without crouching. Two generous D-shaped doors make entry and exit a breeze while providing flexibility in opening just one or both sides as needed. The rain fly provides 360-degree coverage with an extended vestibule area for protected storage of packs, boots, and wet outer layers outside the mesh inner tent. Factory-sealed seams, adjustable venting, and durable 70D 185T polyester fabrics make the Elixir 2 well-prepared to handle rainy and windy conditions on the trail. Despite its robust weather protection and fully freestanding design, the Elixir 2 tent weighs just 2.2 kg. Easy to pitch in minutes, the innovative cross-pole architecture and colour-coded clips allow swift assembly after a long day of hiking. MSR's expertise brings an excellent balance of minimal packed weight while retaining uncompromising liveability. The cavernous interior and vestibule have plenty of room for two occupants plus gear for weekends or longer escapes.


Best Ultralight Solo Hiking Tents

For solo hikers concerned with every gram, ultralight one-person tents trim weight down to barely over 1 kg while still providing essential shelter on long treks. These streamlined solo shelters make miles fly by and lighten the load. Here are some stellar options for UK backpackers:


MSR Carbon Reflex 1 Tent

The MSR Carbon Reflex 1 tent incorporates ultra-strong carbon fibre poles to pare down weight to barely over 1 kg while withstanding substantial wind and weather. This technical hiking tent 1-person provides impressive strength and storm resistance despite its feathery carrying weight. The Reflex 1 tent optimised weight savings through robust yet lightweight 7000 series aluminium poles at the corners, coupled with two supple carbon fibre cross-poles that flex and buckle-restrain in high winds. The poles assemble with a simple hubbed clip-in design for fast setup. Dyneema composite fabrics on the canopy and bathtub-style floor enhance rip resistance and waterproofness while weighing next to nothing. A spacious interior provides ample room for one occupant, their gear, and lengthy storm waits if needed. Factory-taped seams prevent drips, while the adjustable vents allow custom airflow control. The mesh walls and canopy promote cooling breezes on muggy nights. An integrated gear loft and pockets allow smart organisation. Weighing in at just 1.2 kg packed weight, the MSR Carbon Reflex 1 tent punches far above its class for weather protection and livability. The robust fabrics and worry-free storm handling allow comfortable solo camping with the barest of loads. Night after night, it provides reliable refuge along the unpredictable trail.


Vango Banshee 200 Tent

The Vango Banshee 200 tent packs impressive weather protection into an ultralight one-person design weighing just 1.4 kg. This performance-oriented solo tent holds its own in challenging conditions despite its barely-there-packed weight. The Banshee 200’s lightweight and compact nature belies its serious weather readiness. The TBS® tension band system provides rock-solid stability in high winds by pre-tensioning the Sentinel FR fabric before it’s pitched. Laser-cut guy lines have accurately profiled widths for greater tensile strengths. Protex® 70D fabric shields from rainfall while the 5000mm hydrostatic head polyester fly ensures full waterproofing. The single-hooped tunnel design creates ample interior space for one occupant. A twin-track zippered porch door allows easy entry and exit while protecting gear storage space. Wind-diffuser vents enhance airflow to minimise interior condensation. Surprisingly robust given its scant 1.4 kg packed weight, the Banshee 200 tent punches far above its class in terms of weather readiness. Ultralight enthusiasts can camp serenely knowing this tent will hold up when the winds howl and the skies unleash.


Best Expedition Tents for Comfort on Extended Trips

When embarking on camping holidays lasting several days or weeks, larger expedition tents provide extra interior space to unpack and get comfy. Their cavernous dimensions and heavy-duty construction ensure you stay happy and well-protected no matter the conditions. Here are some top spacious options:


Coleman Meadowood 4L Blackout Tent

The Coleman Meadowood 4L Blackout Tent provides ample sleeping and storage space in a robust design built to block out early morning sunlight so you can sleep in. With room for 4 campers and generous head height, this tent creates a comfortable mobile bedroom ideal for weekends away with the family or friends. The Meadowood 4 tent uses Coleman’s BlackOut Bedrooms which seamlessly integrate ultra-dark fabrics into the rear sleeping area. This blocks 100% of external light for post-sunrise slumbering when normal tents turn bright and hot. Two roomy bedrooms promote privacy and minimise midnight disturbances from tentmates. The living area offers ample floor space for relaxing, playing games and storing luggage and gear. A heavy-duty polyethene groundsheet keeps floor moisture at bay, while the polyester outer stands up to rain and wind gusts. Two large PVC windows provide views out and ventilation. Assembling the structure is quick and straightforward using the pre-attached poles and InstaClip system. Weighing in at 10.2 kg, the Meadowood 4L tent provides a cosy home away from home for longer camping trips with its blacked-out sleeping area, fully sealed seams, ample headroom of 196 cm, and spacious interior for four. Easy to transport and set up for a comfortable night's sleep.


Robens Klondike 6 Person Tent

The Robens Klondike 6-person tent is like bringing your base camp – its cavernous 100 m2 floor space and 200 cm peak height allow full standing room and palatial dimensions for large groups. While tipping the scales at 21 kg, the Klondike creates a sheltered living space ideal for lengthy camping holidays. The Klondike’s innovative dome structure is self-supporting, using a single central pole for quick and easy pitching. Six near-vertical walls provide a spacious interior that can be fully utilised. The porch area alone is 12 m2, giving substantial covered space for cooking, storage and lounging protected from the elements. Dual entrance doors allow easy access, while PVC windows have rainproof covers that roll up for refreshing airflow and views. A detachable inner divider can section the generous interior into separate sleeping compartments. Looped toggles and Mesh pockets allow smart organisation and hanging of lanterns and gear. Built from hard-wearing 190T PU coated polyester and sturdy poles, the Klondike 6 tent will withstand years of heavy use while providing a true home-away-from-home for gatherings large and small. Its palatial dimensions and spacious porch area create an ideal basecamp for lengthy camping holidays in any weather.

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