Best Backpacking Tent Reviews 2017

Looking for the best backpacking tent? Make sure to check out our reviews before purchasing one.

We often get so caught up in our daily lives that we fail to appreciate the beauty of nature. We almost forget what it’d be like to live away from the chaos of a city. But when you think of it, it reminds you of the greens, serenity, and a sense of belonging to the nature.

It doesn’t really require you to do much if you’d like to have this calming experience every once in a while. Just plan a weekend trip with your loved ones and drive straight to the nearest woods or hills or lake. You might need the best backpacking tent for staying the night because hotel rooms are not always an option. While you plan out the other details, we’ll help you with every bit of information you need on the tents.

Read on to find out what some of the best backpacking tents available on the market are and what you must know about them before you buy.

Sundome 2 Person Tent

The most popular and top backpacking tents brand, Coleman, brings to you one of its top-class tents called the Sundome. This 2-person tent comes with a large door for your convenience. Being up to 33% more water-resistant than any other standard tent by Coleman, this tent also comes with the rainfly for increased weather protection. This makes it the perfect all-season backpacking tent that allows you to spend quality time in nature without worrying about the weather conditions.

It has 2 windows and mesh vents on the roof for ventilation, 4 ft. center height, 7 x 5 ft. footprint, and the 1000D polyethylene floor. The tent comes in two colors, Navy and Green and is backed by a one-year limited warranty.

Wenzel Alpine Tent 3-Person

This 3-person tent is brought to you by Wenzel, one of the best backpacking tent brands. This 3-pole tent comes with a shock-corded fiberglass which makes it extremely easy to set up as well as take down. The manufacturers have taken extra care to ensure the tent remains clean by introducing the integrated mud mat along with the drainage strip. This tent is built for all-weather protection.

The area of this single-room tent is 8 x 8.5 ft. and has a D-style front door with 2 mesh windows. Weighing only 8 pounds, it’s pretty convenient to carry it from one place to the other. This highly durable tent has weather armor polyester body with a polyurethane coating and can be considered as one of the best tents for backpacking.

Mountainsmith Morrison 2-Person 3-Season Tent

Here’s an award-winning tent that’s perhaps one of the best tent for backpacking you could find on the market. Brought to you by Mountainsmith, this 2-person tent is perfect for all three seasons. It comes with a bathtub floor which keeps the tent clean and dry at all times. It’s based on a two-pole design and has 35 sq. ft. of main floor space and 17 sq. ft. vestibule space. Featuring the color-coded fly attachment system, this tent uses breathable 185T polyester for rainfly and tent material with a 2000-millimeter polyurethane coating.

Additionally, there are storage sacks, mesh storage pockets, and a removable gear loft. The tent has the set up instructions printed on the stuff sack and a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

ALPS Mountaineering 5024617 Lynx 1-Person Tent

Alps Mountaineering brings this single-person tent which is a simple, yet highly functional and durable tent. Made from the polyester taffeta, this free-standing tent is based on a two-pole design. The tent is built for easy assembly and portability. It has the factory-sealed fly which works well in all weather conditions. The floor is made from 75D 185T Poly taffeta with a 2000 mm coating. Other interesting features of this tent include UV-resistant fly, vestibule for storage, and mesh storage pockets.

Increased ventilation is made possible by the half mesh walls. The tent comes with weather fly buckles for high level of adjustability. Weighing a little over 3 pounds, you can easily carry it from one place to another.

Suisse Sport Yosemite Tent

This Yosemite tent is brought to you by Suisse Sport. Being one of the most affordable tents out there, this 2-room Doom style tent is spacious enough for 5 people to sleep comfortably. Now, you do not have to worry about carrying 2-3 tents when going for a camp with a group of people.

What’s more? If you want to divide the tent into 2 rooms, you can easily split it using the removable divider. It features the double D-door for comfortable and easy entry/exit. This tent weights a little over 13 pounds and understandably so, as it’s larger than the standard tents. The 3 mesh zippered windows and the mesh ceiling ensure the tent is ventilated at all times.

Guide Gear 10×10 Teepee Tent

Guide Gear’s Teepee tent is one of the best ways to enjoy camping comfortably without shelling out a lot of money. The long-standing tradition of teepee tents is redefined to meet the modern needs of the buyers. Although, the tent looks rugged and old-fashioned, no one can argue about its functionality and features. Some of these include excellent weather protection, spacious interior, mesh windows for ventilation, and more.

The heavy-duty yet lightweight construction makes this one of the sturdiest and reliable tents out there. The waterproofed polyester wards off all the problems caused by weather such as wind and precipitation. The sewn-in floor and the steel pole support at the center provide added protection and sturdiness to the tent.

Mountain Trails Current Hiker 2 Person Tent

This highly inexpensive lightweight tent is brought to you by Mountain Trails. The USP of this tent is that it is built for easy portability and it doesn’t weight more than 3.5 pounds. This 2-person tent features a large D-style door for easy movement. There are 2 polyester mesh windows with inside flaps and two mesh roofs for heightened ventilation. Extremely stable floor made from welded polyethylene and easy set-up and take-down feature make this one of the most sought-after tents in the market today.

This tent also comes with an attached mud mat which keeps the floor clean. To make it easy for you to carry the tent, it comes with attached duffel which wraps around it.

Stansport Starlite II Mesh Backpack Tent

Stansport brings to you this affordable bright orange camping tent for two people. This is a lightweight backpacking pent which comes with a rainfly for weather protection. The tent has two shock-corded fiberglass poles which keep it steady and has a 2000 mm PU coated polyester floor. With an interior space of 41.25 sq. ft. and weight of over 5 pounds, the tent is the perfect size to sleep in as well as to carry.

It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. The biggest and the most important features of the tent include its lightweight construction, design, and the mesh body that allows you to take in the view of your natural surroundings without worrying about the weather outside.

Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent

A high-quality backpacking tent by an excellent and trusted brand, Wenzel. This 3-person tent is made from polyester with a sealed fly and a welded polyethylene floor that stays dry. The design is based on the shock-corded fiberglass poles having different sizes to support the tent in such a way that there’s maximum room. The tent features the Weather Armor fly which offers protection from all types of weather as also gives you UV protection.

The front and rear windows have fly which provides good ventilation. Plus, if you’re someone who needs to stay in touch with your laptops and other gadgets, it also comes with an E-port. This easy-to-setup tent comes with polyester fly which are tough and stretch-proof.

Weanas Waterproof Double Layer 2 3 4 Person 3 Season Backpacking Tent

This top quality 2-4 people backpacking tent is brought to you by Weanas. Made from the durable and strong polyester material, this tent sports a well-designed interior with a door that could be opened from both the sides. It also features brace type windows, two closeable ventilation skylight, making it one of the most comfortable tents for camping in the nature.

The outer door curtain is extremely easy to use in that it can be rolled up and fixed with a buckle. When the outer door is closed, it could be used as a storage space for your shoes and backpack. This strong yet lightweight tent offers wind and UV rays protection and can be easily setup by one person.

Eureka! Apex 2XT Two-Person Tent

Eureka! is proud to bring to you this sleek two-person tent which is among the top backpacking tents present on the market. Despite its lightweight frame, the tent doesn’t fail to protect you from all the different weather conditions. It features a double-coated StormShield polyester fly and a bathtub floor which keeps the floor dry and steady. The no-see-um mesh on one wall provides for good ventilation.

The door comes with twin track zippers that allow it to work as a window when required. The tent has two mesh gear pockets for internal storage, and also has a clothes line and flash line loops. The poles and stake bags also accompany this highly durable backpacking tent.

First Gear Cliff Hanger 1 person Camping Backpacking Tent

Texsport’s single-person tent is made to give you top-rated camping experience. With its polyurethane coated body, this lightweight tent is sturdy and durable. It can withstand all types of weather conditions and comes with a full rainfly. It’s covered with full ‘no-see-um”” mesh so you can have all the ventilation you want and still have your privacy. Additionally, there are 2 air vents for increased ventilation.

With this extra-ordinary backpacking tent, Texsport has made sure you face no difficulties whether it is assembling the tent, weather-safety, or accessories such as stakes and storage bag that come with it. Although priced a little higher, every need of a camper has been carefully addressed by this flame-retardant tent.

Mountain Trails Twin Peaks Tent – 3 Person

Mountain Trail’s swank and stylish 3-person tent is shaped as a dome. Made from polyester, the walls of this highly affordable tent are lightweight yet strong and durable. They come with shock-corded fiberglass frame and are supported with pole pockets making the setup process completely hassle-free and easy.

The ventilation is provided by large mesh windows and roofs. It comes with an additional hoop rain fly for increased protection from the rains. The door is D-style and quite large for easy entry/exit. The floor of this tent is built from welded polyethylene. It gives you an interior space of over 49 sq. feet and a central height of over 48 inches. Lightweight frame and strength are the USPs of this tent.

Wenzel Sun Valley Screen House

This 12 x 12 ft. tent, brought to you by Wenzel, is one of the coolest looking tents out there. With a massive floor area of about 140 sq. feet, this is quite a spacious tent and has 2 inverted T doors. It weighs around 20 pounds and is about 86 inches tall at the center. Sun Valley, as the tent is called by its manufacturers, is built to give you the experience of a porch, whether it is in your backyard or a campsite.

They have the welded polyethylene flooring which keeps the tent stable, clean, and strong. This tent is easy to setup as it has many pole intersections. Steel stakes and a carrying duffel accompany the tent.

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2-Person Tent

This 2-person tent by Alps is made from polyester taffeta. The tent is of the freestanding type meaning it doesn’t require too many stakes for setup. It features a two-pole design, supported by 2 sock-corded fiberglass poles. Don’t worry about the ventilation inside the tent as it’s well taken care of by large windows and doors that come with mesh panels.

They also feature factory-sealed fly for added weather protection. The 2 doors make it easy for the occupants to enter or exit the tent without causing inconvenience to others. The extra-large zippers are easy to operate and stand less risk of snapping or breaking. They also come with mesh storage pockets, gear loft, and 8-inch steel stakes.

Slumberjack Trail Tent 2

Slumberjack 2 Person Trail Tent

Slumberjack brings to you its green polyester freestanding tent with a capacity of 2 people. The highlights of this state-of-the-art tent include the full coverage rain fly, which makes it the best hiking tent not just for backpacking but also for fishing, or any other adventure trips you’re keen on taking. Another important use of the tent is the color-coded clip construction allowing you to setup the tent like a breeze.

The taped seams keep water at bay and the mesh wall panels provide good ventilation. They have noiseless zipper pulls which is great when you’re trying to move out of the tent without disturbing someone who might be sleeping inside. They come with internal storage pockets.

Kelty Salida 2 Tent

Kelty Salida’s 2-person backpacking tent is perfect for backpacking as it’s a lightweight and a freestanding tent. It comes with compact folding poles which makes it easy for carrying. The color-coded clip and fly attachments are best for easy setup. The mesh walls made from fabric provide good ventilation and the tent is accompanied with roll top cube carry bag.

This is a 3-season tent giving you complete weather protection during the moderate rains, light snow, and even winds. They have 1 door, 1 vestibule, and 2 poles that are required to hold the tent in its place. Additionally, the tent has factory-sealed taped seams allowing it to be water-repellant and also provides UV protection.

Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person 3 Season Tent

This is a 4-person 3-season tent brought to you by Mountainsmith. The tent features the two-door design and has 2 vestibules. Having the freestanding design, the tent is supported by a clip-pole attachment. This makes the tent lightweight and highly portable. The bathtub floor construction keeps the floor of the tent clean and dry, simultaneously allowing it to hold up the tent in its position.

The walls of the tent are built for increased breathability and they also feature the tent fly windows for ventilation. This Lotus blue tent have taped seams as well internal mesh storage for holding your personal important stuff. It has a floor area of about 56 sq. feet.

Ohuhu 3 Person Tent with Carry Bag

This easy to setup and takedown tent is manufactured by Ohuhu. The tent comes with 8 steel pegs and 4 ropes to make it stand straight and sturdy. The tent has additional features such as 2 interior pockets and a hook on the roof for hanging the lamp, cap, and other gear.

Featuring the two-door design, the tent is built not just for easy entry/exit but also for better ventilation. The mesh panel allows you to enjoy the view as well as be secure from all kinds of weather conditions. The tent fly offers UV protection and also has excellent waterproofing capability. It comes with a rainfly that can be used as an additional shield.

Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent

Snugpak brings to you this small and compact single-person tent that is also one of the most lightweight tents available out there. It weighs about 2 and a half pounds. With its low-profile design and single-entry door, this tent is ideal for a single person. The tent comes with the 5000mm polyurethane coating. The inner wall is lined with polyester mesh of 190t.

It features the lightweight DAC feather lite NSL poles that work together to hold the tent in its position. The tent comes with repair kit so you can make any repairs to the tent while on-the-move. This is one of the most durable and long-lasting single-person tents that you could lay your hands on.

What are Backpacking Tents?

Backpacking tents are the portable tents that you can setup almost on any flat surface. They provide you with the much-needed shelter, protection from the weather, the insect bites, and a place to rest during your trip. They come in innumerable designs, sizes, shapes, areas, and construction. They’re manufactured all over the world by different adventure sports companies. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the important features of the best backpacking tents, so you know exactly what they’re made of.

Important parts of a backpacking tent

Before you decide to buy a tent, it’s important that you understand its different features so you can make an informed choice when making the purchase. Here are some of the things that we’d like to walk you through.


The construction, design, or as some people might call it the structure of the backpacking tent are essentially describing one and the same thing, the shape of the tent. Different shapes of tents could be hoops, domes, wedges, etc.

Design plays a significant role in determining how roomy or spacious your tent would be, how much of headspace is available, and whether it is a freestanding or a non-freestanding tent. A freestanding tent can be setup without the stakes as they come with a fixed pole. A non-freestanding, on the other hand, requires stakes. We’ll talk about the different structures of tents in a few minutes.


Different types of backpacking tents use different materials for the construction such as aluminum along with shock-corded, fabric such as nylon or polyester, water-proof fabric such as Gore-Tex, and more. The material defines whether the tent will provide you with enough protection from the rain and avoid condensation.

Most tents have mesh-patterns on some parts of their walls and roofs which make for good ventilation. So, the material used in the tent body holds a lot of credibility when it comes to providing you with a comfortable stay and weather protection.

Some tents have double walls so as to offer increased protection, for example, most of them have rainfly on their exterior wall.


A vestibule is a rather overlooked but vital part of a tent. Most tents have a vestibule, but there are some manufacturers that do not include it in their tents. A vestibule is basically an extended part of a rainfly which stretches beyond the doorway and reaches up to the ground level.

It helps you save a lot of space by acting as a storage area where you could keep your bags, shoes, and other gear. Also, it could be used as a platform for cooking on your stove preventing the smoke and fumes entering the living space of the tent.

Tent floor

The tent floor endures the most stress. You walk on it, sleep on it, slide your hiking gear on it, and it also has to bear the trouble of withstanding your shoes. A good tent floor is the one which does all of this and still maintains to keep itself dry and clean.Also, the external part of the floor should be strong enough to deal with the rocky ground, wet soil, or the sand underneath.

Stakes and poles

Poles and stakes make sure your tent stays intact in all types of weather. While there are freestanding tents that don’t require many stakes and just about 1 or 2 poles, you cannot trust them entirely during the rough or stormy weather conditions. It’s better to be safe than sorry and always use stakes and poles wherever possible.

In case of non-freestanding tents, this is not an option but a compulsion. It’s also important that the stakes and poles that accompany your tent or the ones you decide to buy separately are strong enough to hold the weight of the tent and help it remain in place. Poles made from aluminum, carbon fiber, and some special composite materials have proven to have decent strength and durability.

Tent doors and windows

One of the essentials parts of the tents- the doors and windows. They keep the tent ventilated and act as your entry/exit point in the tent. Some tents come with single door while some have multiple doors. The doors as well as the windows should have double-material and a mesh lining on the inside. That way, with the inner mesh-door and mesh-window closed, your tent can still be ventilated and you can still enjoy the view outside.

These are some of the important parts or features of a tent. They work together to make your stay in the nature as comfortable as possible. Let’s now talk about some additional features of the tents which might certainly help give you a clearer understanding of what a tent can offer!

Additional Features of Backpacking Tents

As an extension to the above section, there are some add-on features of a tent which can often prove to be the deciding factors that most people base their purchasing decision on. The components of the tents mentioned in the previous section were common to most tents present out there. However, the features we’ll talk about here clearly separate an average tent from a great one. So, what these features or characteristics are? Let’s find out right away.

Storage spaces

A good tent will have a few storage options such as internal mesh pockets on the side walls, gear loops for hanging your damp gear and clothes, and so on. The mesh pockets would be great to hold your diary, wallets, mobile phones, and other gadgets.

The loops, on the other hand, would be great for stowing your headlamps, hats, keys, and more. Often the space between the two walls on the double-walled tent also serves as a good storage space for your bags, hiking gear, shoes, and other materials.


When you’re out there in the nature, you cannot leave the door open especially during the night as there could be harmful insects and animals that might be sneaking around your camp site and the last thing you want is for them to enter your tent. So, you have to close the tent doors. That’s not really a choice!

But, don’t you stand the chance of being suffocated? Especially when the weather’s hot? Well, yes you do! That’s the reason why tents should come with mesh lining on the interior walls of their body. Make sure your tent has mesh along the side walls and the roof to provide enough ventilation for you and your friends inside.

Number of doors

While some tents have only one door, there are some that have their number of doors equal to the number of people it can accommodate. That way, every person can enter the tent through their own door without crawling over others who might be sleeping, during the night.


Footprints are spread underneath your tent so the base of your tent doesn’t directly come in contact with the ground. It’s a waterproof layer keeping the tent floor dry and clean. Most tents come with footprints. They go a long way in protecting your tent and ensuring it’s in perfect condition for the next use. It’ll be a good idea to check this when buying a backpacking tent.

Tent Seams

A well-constructed tent will have strongly sealed seams. The high-floor seams around the edges where the floor of the tent meets the wall should be well-taped so that there’s no seepage of water.


It’s better to have poles color-coded which helps immensely during the time of setup. A very small feature but could be highly advantageous when you try to get the tent up in the quickest time possible, which is often the case with campers.

The following section discusses the things that you must look for before buying a tent that you’ll absolutely love living in!

Things to consider when buying a backpacking tent

These are some factors that will help you when you’re confused about the tent you should be buying. Most of these factors are personal and might be unique to you, which means a tent that’s best for you might not be the right choice for another person.

Therefore, always go for tents that suit your requirements and not what the popular choice is. Here are the factors to help you with this.

Number of people

The backpacking tent capacity is one of the most basic and important factors to be considered when deciding on a tent for purchase. Now, we know that most of you might go for different trips with different number of people but it’s always best to average out on a number that’s most likely to repeat. You generally get to select from among 1-person, 2-person, 3-person, as well as 4-person tents.

If either you or one of your group members needs more space than usual, then you can always go for the tents that accommodate one person more than your designated group members. You could also go for the plus-size tents that come in extra length and width.

If you’re a group of 4-5 people, and if two people own tents, you can easily share 1 two-person and 1 three-person tent among the group. Another fact to be considered here is that more space implies heavier tent. So, if you are just two people, it’s best to avoid 4-person tents and stick with 2- to 3-person ones.

Weather protection

When it comes to seasons, tents come in two types usually 3-seasons and 4-seasons.

3-season tents

3-season tents are good enough to provide you protection in most climates including summer, spring, and fall. They can also withstand light snow and rainfall. However, they might not be able to hold up against storms or violent winds.

They come with the double-walled construction with a mesh lining on the interior wall. The mesh makes the tent lightweight and ventilated. Often, the 3-season tents have gear loops, storage pockets, loops, and more than one door.

4-season tents

The 4-season tent, also called the extended season tent, are great in spring and summer, but they also work extremely well in late fall when there’s snowing moderately. These tents often have two poles, fewer areas of walls covered with mesh to retain the warmth inside, etc. The 4-season backpacking tents are best for you if you prefer to go to high-altitude destinations or hikes during the harsh winters. They are most suited for cold and dry weather conditions.

Weight of the tent

The weight of the tent is the weight of all the components of the tent combined, including the poles, stakes, rainfly, body, sacks that come for storage, etc. Its weight makes a severe impact on the overall weight you’re carrying for a hike or a trip. A lightweight tent can bring down your total weight considerably and vice versa.

Initially, if you wanted your tents to be sturdier and strong, you had to buy heavier tents. But, now most of the modern tents are lightweight and yet strong and sturdy. On an average, a single-person tent weighs approximately 3 pounds and its weight increases from there on depending on the tent’s capacity to accommodate people. When climbing up a hill, you can often split the tent components among your group to make carrying it easy.

Level of comfort

Initially, most backpacking tents had nominal areas with lower headspace and walls having slopes, allowing them to weigh less. Although these tents were lightweight, the occupants often felt discomfort. As mentioned above, the state-of-the-art tent designs used by the backpacking tent manufacturers nowadays have made it possible for them to design spacious and lightweight tents.

This comes as a huge boon for travelers and backpackers across the world because these tents are easy to carry and even more comfortable to live in.

What factors determine the comfort level of a backpacking tent?

A generic idea of the volume can be gauged by the design of the tent. The tents having steep walls have less space on the side with low headroom. Some of the ways to estimate the volume are to assess the following:

  • Dimensions of the floor – This is fundamentally the length x width dimensions of the tent you’re looking to buy. You’ll get a fair idea of the floor area that your tent provides. Please note that most tents do not have perfect rectangular floors.
  • Central height of the tent – The central height, often called the peak height, is indicative of the headroom. A larger peak height could imply that the tent is more comfortable allowing the occupants to have more headspace.
  • The shape of the wall – While peak height only gives you an idea about the headspace, the shape of the wall or the structure of the tent gives you a clear picture of how spacious or roomy your tent’s going to be. Vertical walls are always preferred over the sloping ones.

The price factor

A few factors to determine your budget for buying a backpacking tent are the frequency of the backpacking trips you take and the number of people who’d be sharing the tent with you. If you’re someone who goes on frequent trips, then it’d be a very good decision to invest some money in a superior quality premium tent. This is because the tent will last longer eventually proving to be a money-saver. If you don’t go on trips that often, for example 1-2 times a year, then you can definitely settle for a less expensive backpacking tent.

Also, if you have a fixed group of people who take the trips with you, the cost of the tent could be shared among you reducing the contributions required to be made by individual members.

Different structures of backpacking tents

During the early days of backpacking tents, most manufacturers stuck with standard designs without deviating much from the basic construction. This is the thing of the past now. More and more companies are looking to innovate with respect to the designs of the tents and trying to make them more convenient and comfortable for their customers.

Let’s now take a look at some of the types of backpacking tent designs or structures:

Hoop-shaped tents

Supported by flexible poles, the hoop tents have a slightly curved frame as opposed to the standard tents with A-shaped designs. This structure gives the tent a larger area and a greater volume with more headroom.

The hoop tents are generally designed for one or two persons and very rarely do they have a capacity of more than that. These can prove to be very strong tents provided they are supported by strong and flexible poles and are properly staked.

During strong winds, one might have to re-align the position of the hoop tent so as to make sure it is not positioned directly against the harsh wind. Hoop tents are one of the most popular choices of tents especially if buying for one or two people.

Dome-shaped tents

Dome tents are definitely one of the strongly-constructed tents as they’re sturdier and stronger than most of their counterparts. The high strength is due to a larger number of poles which provide support to these tents.

However, here the tradeoff is weight. Their structure essentially has sloped walls which are perfect to allow moisture, water, or snow to slide off along the walls leaving you with clean and dry walls. The structure gives lots of headroom in the centermost area of the tent and slightly less headspace along the edges.

Wedge-shaped tents

These are extremely lightweight tents because even with a minimum number of materials they could provide you with spacious and voluminous interiors. All you have to do is skate them really well and they’ll be all set to protect you from wind as well as the rains.

Wedge-shaped tents are less expensive than the hoop or dome-shaped tents that are available on the market due to the less use of materials and supplies.

How to setup a backpacking tent?

Once you have a tent and are all set to camp, we don’t want you to be struggling to setup the tent. That’s why, in this section, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up a backpacking tent.

Select a location

Once you’ve reached your camp site and have had some time to relax, your next step should be to find a spot for your tent. Look for a flat ground which doesn’t have large rocks, fallen branches, or anything that might be difficult for you to move.

Remove other things such as small rocks, gravels, twigs, etc. so you’re left with an even stretch of land. Additionally, if you’re expecting sunlight to reach your camping area, looking for a place which falls under the shelter of trees would be a great idea.

Lay your tent on the tarp

Unpack your tent, its components, and the tarp from your bag. Unfold the tarp and spread it on the ground. Now, spread your tent on top of the tarp in a flat position. This is to get the tent ready for the poles to be inserted within.

At this stage, you need not worry about the shape of the tent or placing the doors in the correct direction, as you could easily adjust them once the poles are set in.

Working with the poles

Now, take the poles out of the pack and start attaching them to the tent. Usually, tents come with some fabric tubes or grommets where the poles are meant to be attached.

Lift up the tent

Once your poles are inserted in their positions, starting from one pole at one end, lift the tent up and bend the pole till you can successfully connect the open corner of the pole to the corresponding corner of the tent. Repeat this step for each of the poles in the tent and by the last pole, your tent would be all ready.

Time to put on the rain fly

If you’re expecting rain anytime during your camp, it’s best to be prepared. If not, you risk your tent becoming damp rendering it useless for the whole trip. So, as soon as you set up your tent, put the rainfly on it. Most tents come with rainfly while for others you’ve got to purchase them separately.

Now, you’d be all ready to have some amazing time with your loved ones amidst the beauty and calmness of nature!

How to take care of your backpacking tent?

Like all things, when you take care of your backpacking tents, they’d always last longer than you thought they would. However, the reverse is also true. If you don’t take the time and efforts to make sure your tent is well-maintained or handled carefully, then no amount of care in the later stages will minimize the damage done to them earlier.

But, how will you take care of your tents? That’s exactly what we’ll show you in this section.

The standard rules

Here are some of the rules that you must follow if you’d like to use your backpacking tents for years to come.

  • Always read the instructions and follow the directions –Every tent is different and almost all of them come with the specific directions of setting up, handling, etc. Never fail to read the instruction manual that your manufacturer has provided with your tent. After all, they’re there for a purpose, right?
  • Never hurry, be gentle –We know that sometimes you have to setup your tents late in the evening because you reached your campsite quite late. But, let that not be an excuse for you to handle the tent and its components in a haphazard manner. Always be gentle especially with the zippers, poles, and stakes.
  • Cleaning is not a choice –Your tent must be kept clean when not in use. If you want it to last long, don’t ever miss out on this. You can follow the instructions in the next section that details the cleaning process of tents.
  • When storing, always make sure your tent’s dry –Dampness can bring problems such as mildew, fungus, etc. and damage your tent forever. We’ll see this in a bit. So, before you pack your tent for storage, be 100% sure that it’s completely dry.

During the setup

Here are the things you can do at the time of setting up your tent, that’ll make sure your tent stays new and perfect for years and years to come.

  • Look for a used campsite –When looking for a place for your tent, we highly recommend you to find a place where people have camped before. This way, you can be sure about the safety of the place and also make sure that your tent won’t suffer any damage.
  • Always use a footprint –In one of the sections above, we saw the benefits of footprints. They play a very vital role in keeping the base of your tent intact and free from abrasions, cracks, or scratches. Use the footprint every time you set up your tent.
  • Avoid direct sunlight for longer time duration –We’ve suggested that you look for a shady place for setting up your tent. Well, it not only makes your stay comfortable but it also keeps your tent away from the harmful UV rays. The tent fly is usually UV-resistant which means you can leave them on when the sun God decides to smile on you. But, as a good practice, try and avoid sun rays entirely whenever possible.
  • Handle the poles with care –Tent poles might break easily when bent abruptly even if they’re strong poles. Handle them with extreme care during the setup time. Once the poles break, there’s really not much you can do.

During the use

How long your tent will last also depends a lot on how you handle it when in use. These are some of the things that’d help you.

  • Be easy on the zippers –The tent zippers are strong, but they might snap when pulled strongly or in the wrong direction. So, every time you use the zippers, do not go harsh on them. Use them as gently as you can.
  • Let your boots stay out –The tent is for you to stay and your boots can definitely manage outside, on their own. When the boots are brought inside, they bring with them the soil, small gravels, other dirt, etc. which will be difficult for you to clean and might have to end up rolling out your sleeping bag on them. Why go through all that when you can simply leave your boots out before entering the tent?
  • Keep your food sealed –Never leave your food in open containers inside the tent. Animals could smell them and try to enter the tent by chewing the fabric trying to make a hold in it. Always use air-tight contained which is well sealed. Also, if you plan on taking your pet with you for the trip, just make sure you don’t leave them unsupervised inside the tent. No matter how well-trained your pet is, be with them when they’re inside the tent.

When taking down the tent

At the time of dismantling the tent, you’re in the most hurry as we want to wrap everything up and get going. However, you need to relax and make sure everything is done in the correct manner so that during the setup next time, you’ll find everything in place and just ready to use.

  • Shake off the tent –Before you fold the tent, don’t forget to shake it out so that all the loose dirt, soil, stones, rocks, etc. are eliminated right there. Remove trash before you remove the poles.
  • Break the poles in the middle –When folding the poles, start at the middle. This allows for the even distribution of tension along the length of the rod.
  • Dry it as much as you can –Even if your tent provides enough ventilation, condensation is not completely avoidable and it will be there on most tents. As much as you can, dry the tent before you fold it.
  • Roll it up –When you pack your tent, it’d be a good idea to roll it up as opposed to folding or bundling it randomly.

During the storage at home

As soon as you’re back home from the trip, it’s time for you to store your backpacking tent. But, wait a minute. Have you done the things you should be doing before storing? Here’s what they are.

  • Cleaning the tent –A clean tent will be free from the dirt, dust, and the small rocks stuck on the surface when it was being used. If you have a week-long hiking trip, every time you pack the tent before you begin you begin your hike, make sure you clean the tent so that nothing is attached on the surface of the tent, whether it is on the walls or under the floor.
    First of all, shake it off once again to allow the remaining loose dirt to slide off and wipe clean the floor as well as the fly. Use some water and sponge for this.
  • Make sure it’s dry –Before, you pack it away ensure it’s completely dry. You know that dampness can result in mildew and that’s the last thing you’d want on your tent body. Moisture can also end up damaging the coating making your tent less waterproof and UV-resistant.
  • Select a spacious and dry place –When the tent is clean and dry, store it in a place where they’ll be ample space for the tent to be packed loosely. Do not stretch the material too much when you’re packing; the tent should be as loose as possible. And finally, check that the storage place is dry and clean as well. It’ best to avoid hot places in the houses such as the attic or basement.

How to clean your tent

We’ve mentioned so many times above that cleaning your tent is not an option, it’s a rule or a compulsion that must be followed if you want to be able to use your tent for years! After every long trip, make sure you clean your tent because a lot of times they come in contact with sand, tree residue, bird droppings, and even fine dust.

If you’re a regular traveler, you might want to clean your tent thoroughly at least once every season. Trust us when we say this, cleaning a tent is not as difficult as it might sound. Here are the detailed steps of how you should clean your backpacking tent.

Machine-washing is not for your tents

Before you land yourself and your tent in trouble, let’s make this clear once and for all – never use machines for washing or drying your tent. Machines could make your tent stretch and even tear. Plus, dryers are capable of generating a lot of heat due to the spinning action, which might damage the tent irreparably.

Begin with easy cleaning

This is essentially the first step of clean where you use a soft sponge and cold-water to scrub the areas that are soiled or dirty. You can use a non-detergent soap if you want. Be sure to be extremely easy on the areas that are coated and on the fly.

Any other type of cleaners such as dishwashing liquid, bleach, stain removers, etc. should be avoided at any cost as they all contain chemicals in them which may not be very good for your tents. Additionally, most of these detergents or soaps are perfumed. Insects and rodents could be attracted to them damaging the tent material and the coating. The detergents, themselves, could weaken the waterproofing capability of the coating on the tent material.

Keep your tent away from mildew

Dampness causes mildew. Mildew will thrive on the dirt and soil carried by the tent by using them as nutrients. The fungus enters the urethane coating of the tent and ends up removing the coating which is primarily responsible for waterproofing capability of a tent.

If mildew grows on your tent, immediately wash the tent with 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 cup of salt, mixed in a hot gallon of water. This solution will kill the mildew giving you your clean and dry tent back. However, this process might not help remove the mildew marks but it will definitely stop the mold and mildew growth.

There are special gear-care products available that help clean the mold and mildew from your tents. Some of them require submerging of the tents.

Keep a check on the time with cleaners that require submerging

When using the products that require you to submerge the tent in them, always make sure you take the tent out in the specified time. The prolonged exposure to these detergents and solutions might end up doing more harm than good, for your backpacking tents.

Cleaning the pine sap

Saps from pine could be stubborn and difficult to clean. And needless to say, cleaning them is a messy job. But, a simple method of cleaning them is to dry them off first and spot cleaning with mineral oil or alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizers or wet wipes. You could dry them by applying unscented powder and scrub with the mineral oil.

Clean the zippers and poles

Just clean out the zippers and poles with a damp rag, but make sure they’re dry before storing. You could also use a lubricant on the zipper tracks and pole ends so there’s no friction when you take the tent out for your next use.

Backpacking tents – Tips

While a seasoned camper might be well aware of all the backpacking tent hacks, someone who’s fairly new to hiking or camping, will definitely benefit from these tips that are related to tents.

  • Always practice setting up a tent at least once –Before you go for a trip or a hike, make sure you have practiced setting up your backpacking tent on a flat floor preferably at home. This is because, when setting up a tent for the first time, you might end up spending a lot of time understanding where the poles, stakes, and other components go. It’s better to try and set it up once before you do it on the site.
  • Find the most flat stretch of land for camping –The land you select for setting up the tent should be as flat as possible. If you’re hiking on a hill and have to camp on a slope, sleep parallel with the slope, with your head resting on the higher end of the slope.
  • Take all the sharp objects out of your way –Before you setup your tent, watch out for any sharp objects in the area and in the surrounding areas. There could be pieces of glasses or other pointed objects left behind by the campers who might have camped there before you.
  • Stay close to water, but not very close –It’s quite exciting for us city dwellers to live by the lakeside and this is also something we encourage as you’d never be short of water when you’re near a fresh-water resource. But, just make sure you’re far enough to be safe from flooding. It’s best to take some time to know about the place well before you go there, so you can be prepared in the best possible way.
  • Select a select with good natural drainage –Rain or snow fall can happen and you can’t do anything about them as a camper. But, you can always minimize their effects on your trip. Select a spot that will help draining the water in the wake of a rainfall.
  • Keep fire away from your tent –Do not cook or light a candle inside your tent. A campfire and everything related to fire should be left outside. Most tents are not fire-proof.
  • Do not store your tent in a plastic bag or in a confined space –Make sure your tent is loosely folded and stored in a dry place which is not too hot. Also, avoid storing them in plastic bags or any other air-tight bag.


In this guide, we’ve tried to provide you almost every bit of information you’d want to know before and after buying the best backpacking tent. We included backpacking tent reviews of some of the best selling tents in the market. You know different features or components of a tent, you’re aware of the factors that you should consider when selecting a tent, different types of tents, and also additional tips and tricks that’ll help you maintain your backpacking tent.

Whether you’re buying a tent for yourself, as a gift for your friends, or for your children, you’re now in the best position to figure out what type of tent is perfect for you to purchase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *