Here is my selection the best backpacking tents for 2018 which I would consider buying for my next hiking or backpacking trip.

I have tested already a couple of tents on our trips in Europe, Scandinavia or Japan and realized that the best solution would be to have a tent for different seasons and environments.

Here you can also see which sleeping pads I would take with me on my next outdoor adventure.

Also, have a look at our FAQ on tents or our handy price comparison tool.

Best backpacking tents of 2018

Weight comparison table

TentWeight
Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 21 lbs. 1 oz. / 499 grams
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL12 lbs. 9 oz. / 0.93 kg
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 12 lbs. 3 oz. / 0.98 kg
Hilleberg Enan2 lbs. 6 oz. / 1.1 kg
MSR Hubba NX2 lbs. 14 oz. / 1.3 kg
Marmot Force 1P2 lbs. 14 oz. / 1.3 kg
MSR Access 13 lbs. 8 oz. / 1.6 kg
Hilleberg Akto3 lbs. 11 oz. / 1.7 kg
Hilleberg Niak3 lbs. 11 oz. / 1.7 kg
Hilleberg Unna4 lbs. 13 oz. / 2.2 kg
Hilleberg Soulo5 lbs. 4 oz. / 2.4 kg
Hilleberg Nallo5 lbs. 4 oz. / 2.4 kg

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1

Height: 37 inches / 94 cm
Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz. / 0.98 kg
Floor Area: 22 ft² / 2.04 m²
Vestibule Area: 10 ft² / 0.9 m²
Fabric: 30D

The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 Tent is an ultralight 3-season tent for 1-person. It comes with Aluminium DAC Featherlite NSL poles and is free-standing.

The tent has one entrance and storm flaps over the zippers. Moreover, the tent comes with crossover poles offering roominess up high.

On nice weather, you can just sleep inside the mesh body and leave the outer tent at home.

The ventilation of this tent consists of the inner mesh tent and a roof vent.


Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1

Fly Creek HV UL1

Height: 38.2 inches / 97 cm
Weight: 2 lbs. 9 oz. / 0.93 kg
Floor Area: 19.3 ft² / 1.8 m²
Vestibule Area: 4.8 ft² / 0.45 m²
Fabric: 30D

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 is a freestanding ultralight 3-season tent which offers lots of space due to its steep wall architecture and vertical door.

The tent comes with a DAC Featherlite NFL pole and 11 aluminum J stakes.

Further, there are three interior mesh pockets and storm flaps on the vestibule zipper.

The height of the tent also allows you to sit in it over an extended period.


Hilleberg Akto

Hilleberg Akto

Height: 36.6 inches / 93 cm
Weight: 3 lbs. 11 oz. / 1.7 kg
Floor Area: 18.2 ft² / 1.7 m²
Vestibule Area: 8.6 ft² / 0.8 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 1200

The Hilleberg Akto is the 4-season version of the Hilleberg Enan and more suitable for harsh weather conditions.

The Akto is a bit longer than the Hilleberg Enan and weighs about 600 grams more than the Enan.

However, condensation might be an issue with this tent which is, of course, not such a good solution if you plan a longer tour with a down sleeping bag.

If you are tall, then a longer tent would be a better option. The issue with shorter tents is that your sleeping bag might touch the tent walls during the night and gets wet and results in less down insulation.


Hilleberg Enan

Hilleberg Enan

Height: 37.4 inches / 95 cm
Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz. / 1.1 kg
Floor Area: 18.2 ft² / 1.7 m²
Vestibule Area: 8.6 ft² / 0.8 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 600

The Hilleberg Enan is the ultralight model of the Akto. If you don’t require much space and use your tent only during the warmer months (3-season), then the Hilleberg Enan might be a good option.

This type of tent is suitable for a fast pack and go. If you are more into base camping, are very tall or want to have more space, e.g., during a longer period of rain, the Hilleberg Nallo would be a better choice.

The Enan has a mesh on one end which should provide excellent ventilation if pitched in wind direction.


Hilleberg Nallo

Height: 39.4 inches / 100 cm
Weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz. / 2.4 kg
Floor Area: 30 ft² / 2.8 m²
Vestibule Area: 13.9 ft² / 1.3 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 1200

The Hilleberg Nallo is probably the best choice if you want a lightweight freestanding 4-season tent which offers the most space and a vestibule for the least weight.

Even so the Nallo is advertised as a two person tent I would rather use it as a spacious one person tent. The tent comes with DAC NSL 9mm poles requires four pegs for pitching.

The tent walls extent to the ground and the lower portion of th rear outer wall can be rolled up for additional venting. You can replace the inner tent with the Mesh Inner tent for even better air circulation.


Hilleberg Niak 1.5

Hilleberg Niak 1.5

Height: 39.3 inches / 100 cm
Weight: 3 lbs. 11 oz. / 1.7 kg
Floor Area: 27.9 ft² / 2.6 m²
Vestibule Area: 8.1 ft² / 0.75 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 600

The Hilleberg Niak 1.5 is the latest yellow label tent from Hilleberg.

If you need more space than in the Hilleberg Enan, e.g., if there is an extended rain period where you have to sit in the tent or if you want to take your dog with you.

The Hilleberg Niak 1.5 is more a 1-person rather than a 2-person tent and comes with a vestibule to store your gear and with DAC NSL 9mm poles as used in Red label models which can handle even harsher conditions.

If you need a spacious, lightweight 3-season tent, then the Hilleberg Niak could be the right choice.


Hilleberg Soulo

Hilleberg Soulo

Height: 37.4 inches / 95 cm
Weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz. / 2.4 kg
Floor Area: 21.5 ft² / 2 m²
Vestibule Area: 6.45 ft² / 0.6 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 1200

The Hilleberg Soulo is a solo expedition tent which works well under very harsh condition.

It’s stronger than the Hilleberg Unna and has a designated vestibule. However, the inner tent offers less space than the Unna.

This tent could be, like the Unna, useful for sea kayaking or mountaineering as it is entirely freestanding.

It’s a bit heavier and shorter than the Unna. I am 71 inches (180 cm) tall and chose the Unna over the Soulo since I felt that it was too short.


Hilleberg Unna

Height: 39.3 inches / 100 cm
Weight: 4 lbs. 13 oz. / 2.2 kg
Floor Area: 26.9 ft² / 2.5 m²
Vestibule Area: 0 ft² / 0 m²
Fabric: Kerlon 1200

The Hilleberg Unna is a 4-season freestanding solo tent. It does not have a dedicated vestibule but offers the possibility to create one.

If you are taller or if you want more space, then the Hilleberg Unna is probably a better choice than the Soulo.

One of the great features of this tent is it’s big panorama window.

During the warmer months you can also replace the standard inner tent with the Unna Inner Mesh which offers better ventilation.


Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Tent HMG & Ultamid Tarp - Best 1-person tent

Height: 64 inches / 162.6 cm
Floor Area: 63 ft² / 5.85 m²
Weight: 1 lbs. 1 oz. / 499 grams
Fabric: Dyneema® (Cuben Fiber)

If you are looking for a fast and light tent which also protects you from bugs then the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 could be your choice.

The UltaMid 2 is an ultralight tent which is supposed to work well in bad weather. I took the picture above of the UltaMid 2 tent on the packrafting round-up in Sweden.

There were 2 of those Ultra-Mids on this event. The only issue I have with the white cuben fiber fabric is that it might lose its shiny white color after a while. That’s the reason why I ordered my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 4400 backpack a few years ago in black.

See the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2


Marmot Force 1P

Height: 36 inches / 91 cm
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz. / 1.3 kg
Floor Area: 21 ft² / 1.9 m²
Vestibule Area: 3 ft² 0.28 m²
Fly Fabric: 20d 100% Polyester RS
Floor Fabric: 30d 100% Nylon

The Marmot Force 1P is a freestanding 3-season tent which offers a great weight to room ratio and has been designed to provide an optimum structure. The tent has a twin tip floor design which increases durability. There is also a pocket in the tent to store small items.

The tent comes with DAC NFL poles, and it’s height makes it also possible to sit in it.


MSR Access 1

Height: 40 inches / 101.6 cm
Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz. / 1.6 kg
Floor Area: 19 ft² / 1.76 m²
Vestibule Area: 9 ft² / 0.23 m²
Fly Fabric:20D ripstop nylon
Floor Fabric: 30D ripstop nylon

The MSR Access 1 is an ultralight four-season freestanding tent which could be an excellent choice for ski touring and snowboarding as well as for split boarders backcountry skiers and hikers.

The tent has one door comes with new developed Easton® Syclone poles (2 pieces).

The tent is advertised as being warmer than a 3-season tent even so it is lighter than a mountaineering tent.

The tent offers lots of space which can also accommodate your bulky gear.


MSR Hubba NX

MSR Hubba NX

Height: 35.82 inches / 91 cm
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz. / 1.3 kg
Floor Area: 17.9 ft² / 1.67 m²
Vestibule Area: 9 ft² / 0.84 m²
Fly Fabric:20D ripstop nylon
Floor Fabric: 30D ripstop nylon

The MSR Hubba NX is a lightweight, freestanding 3-season tent and costs much less than Hilleberg tents. The tent comes with a DAC Featherlite NFL pole.

One advantage of this tent is that it’s also possible to sit in it. You probably won’t feel that constrained as you would do with other ultralight solo tents.


The North Face Stormbreak 1 Tent

Height: 34 inches / 86.4 cm
Weight: 3 lbs. 7 oz. / 1.56 kg
Floor Area: 18.13 ft² / 1.68 m²
Vestibule Area: 3.02 ft² (0.28 m²) / 6.04 ft² (0.56 m²)
Fly Fabric: 68D lightweight polyester taffeta
Floor Fabric: 68D polyester taffeta

The North Face Stormbreak 1 is an affordable easy-pitch 3-season tent which features and fully seam-taped canopy and floow and a high / low ventilation.


Accessories

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor - Inflatable Solar Light

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor

The MPOWERD Luci Outdoor is probably one of the best products you can take on your camping trip.

You charge the lamp during your hike. Once it gets dark, you inflate Luci, and you have plenty of light. Read also our review.


MSR Carbon Stake Kit

MSR Carbon Stake Kit

The MSR Carbon Stake Kit is one of my favorite accessories. You can save quite some weight with those pegs as each of them weights only 6 grams.


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil eVent Compression Dry Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil eVENT Compression Dry Sack

Usually, I stuff my tent into a compression sack to get more space in my backpack and keep the poles and pegs separated.

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil eVENT Compression Dry Sack is currently my favorite compression sack.


FAQ on tents

Best self-standing 1-person tent for exposed and harsh environments

The Hilleberg Soulo seems to be the toughest 1-person tent for stormy weather and winter camping.

Which tent pegs to use?

You can use wooden tent pegs if you are planning to camp nearby a forest. So there is no need to carry pegs with you. Wooden tent pegs are usually suitable if the ground is soft. One disadvantage of them, however, is that they can break easily.

Then there are steel and aluminum tents which are usually sold together with a tent. They are more durable than wooden pegs and are better suited for harder grounds, e.g., stones and rocks. Steel, however, tend to rust over the time compared to aluminum and is also somewhat heavier.

Which tent for cycle touring?

If you are planning to make a bicycle trip, then you can take a tent with you which weights a bit more. The additional weight could be for example a tent which offers more space. You can also take an additional tent footprint with you to protect your tent floor.

Are tent footprints worth it?

Tent footprints might be worth an investment to protect your tent floor. They are in particular useful if you are planning to go on a longer trip. One disadvantage of footprints is however that you have to carry additional weight with you.

Are tent footprints waterproof?

Tent footprints are usually waterproof.

What tent size do I need?

If you don’t need much room, then you can get the smallest tent which is available. However, I prefer to have some additional space to sit or to take gear with me into the tent.

A bigger tent is also nice to have if you are exposed to longer rain periods and have to spend more time in your tent. A bigger tent might also be a better choice if you plan to camp at the same spot for several days.

Why should a tent have a vestibule?

A vestibule is nice to have to store your gear or to cook in it if it’s raining.

Why is there condensation in a tent?

Condensation forms when you are breathing or if moisture evaporates from your body or wet clothes. Condensation can also form if the air circulation of the tent is bad.


Final word

The Hilleberg Soulo is self-standing 4-season tent which you can pitch on steep terrain. Many backpackers also use this tent as a 3-season tent.

If you are looking for a better air ventilation in your tent, then you could have a look at the Hilleberg Inner Mesh tents which can replace the standard inner tents.

The Unna offers more space than the Soulo and would be my first choice since I am taller.

If I were to choose an ultralight 3-season tent then I would probably go for the Hilleberg Niak or the Hilleberg Enan (smaller than the Hilleberg Niak) or if I were on a budget then the MSR Hubba NX and the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 Tent.

Finally, if you are into sea kayaking a free standing durable tent - like the Hilleberg Soulo or Unna - which can handle high winds - is probably a better option than an ultralight tent. Weight is obviously not such a big issue when you are traveling with your kayak of packraft.

Here is also an article about our packrafting trip in the Swedish mountains where we were camping in our MSR Hubba Hubba NX.

After one year we only got a small hole in the floor, but otherwise, we were quite happy with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX as a 3-season tent.


My gear

Currently, my go-to tent is the Hilleberg Unna in combination with the Unna Inner Mesh tent and the Tarp 10 UL.

I chose the Unna since it’s quite versatile, offers plenty of space and has a big panorama window.

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