14 Best Ultralight Tents for 2024

We tested the best ultralight tents on the market for 2024 and this is how they performed.

Updated on January 8th, 2024
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We tested the best ultralight tents on the market for 2024. Read on to see how they performed, which is best for you, and get some valuable buying advice.

Best Ultralight Tents

The best ultralight tents are:

Note: The Slingfin Portal and MSR Hubba Hubba are not considered ultralight (they're over 3 pounds), but they are ultralight for the amount of weather proofing they provide. If you're going to encounter bad weather and want a more robust tent, these would be the lightest options that would be reliable in very windy or cold weather.

MODEL Capacity Free-standing Packed Weight Floor (ft²) Floor Denier PRICE Packed Size Score
1. GOSSAMER GEAR The One and The Two 1 or 2 N

1lb 1oz

1lb 5oz

19.55 ft²

26.25 ft²

10D Nylon w/ PU coating



10x5 in

11x5 in

2. ZPACKS Plexamid and Duplex 1 or 2 N


1lb 2oz

23.5 ft²

28.125 ft²

 1 oz DCF



12x6 in 9/10
3. TARPTENT ProTrail 1 N

1lb 5oz

2lbs 1oz

21 ft²

30.33 ft²

30D Silnylon


14×4×4 in

16×4×4 in

4. SIX MOON DESIGNS Lunar Solo & Duo 1 or 2 N

1 lb 6 oz

2 lbs 8 oz

26.3 ft²

34 ft²

40D Silnylon



11x4.5 in

15x6 in

5. NEMO Hornet 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs

2 lbs 6 oz

22.3 ft²

27.5 ft²

0D OSMO Ripstop



19.5x4.5 in

19.5x5.5 in

6. HYPERLITE MOUNTAIN GEAR Ultamid 2 2 N 1.17 lbs 63 ft² 1.3 oz DCF $825 8.5x6x5.5 in 8/10
7. SLINGFIN Portal 2 2 Y 3 lbs 5 oz 27.5 ft² 20D Nylon PE $540 14x5 in 8/10
8. MARMOT Tungsten UL 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs 2.2 oz

2 lbs 15.3 oz

19.4 ft²

30.1 ft²

30D Ripstop



21.1x4.1 in

22.0x4.5 in

9. MOUNTAIN LAUREL DESIGNS Solomid and Duomid 1 or 2 N 2 lb

44+ ft²

45+ ft²

20D Silnylon or 0.75 oz DCF



4x14 in 8/10
10. SIERRA DESIGNS High Route 1 FL 1 N 1 lbs 15 oz 16.6 ft² 20D Nylon $299.95 15x6 in 8/10
11. BIG AGNES FlyCreek HV UL Solution-Dyed 1 & 2 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs

2lbs 4 oz

20 ft²

28 ft²

15D Silnylon



5x18.5 in

6x19.5 in

12. BIG AGNES Tiger Wall UL 1 & 2 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs 2 oz

2 lbs 8 oz

19 ft²

28 ft²

15D Silnylon



17x5.5 in

5.5x18 in

13. SEA TO SUMMIT Alto TR 1 & 2 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs 7 oz

2 lbs 15.3 oz

19.5 ft²

27 ft²

115D Ripstop



4x18 in

5x21 in

14. MSR Hubba Hubba 1 & 2 1 or 2 Y

2 lbs 14 oz

3 lbs 13 oz

18 ft²

29 ft²

20D Silnylon



18x6 in 7/10

Best Overall Ultralight Tent:


Price: $255 | $320

GOSSAMER GEAR The One and The Two


✅ Lightest Silnylon tent

✅ Packs down small

✅ Smart design


❌ Less spacious

❌ Not as weather resistant as similar models


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1 lb 1 oz | 1 lb 5 oz
  • Floor: 19.55 ft² | 26.25 ft²
  • Floor Denier: 10D Nylon RipStop SIL/PU Fabric Waterproof to at least 1800mm
  • Space Dimensions: 117 x 103 x 45 in | 135 x 117 x 45 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: Nylon RipStop SIL/PU fabric waterproof to at least 1800mm
  • Packed Size: 10 x 5 in | 11 x 5 in

Cheers to Gossamer Gear for making these minimalist beauties. For us, the thing that makes The One and The Two stand out is how truly well-rounded they are. Compared to other models we tested, these tents are some of the lightest, they pack down super small, have large vestibules, average internal space, side entry, and come at a very competitive price point.

We especially recommend these tents for a user who is trying out their first non-freestanding tent.

While it was hard for us to find any major flaws, we recommend pitching in a sheltered spot if possible. These don’t perform super well in high winds. We also found we needed a decent-sized space to pitch these. The set-up overall is straightforward but does take a little fiddling to get the tension just right.

We like the slightly offset high point of this tent. We were able to sit up and have our head at the high point without needing to scoot around to position ourselves. Because of the well-rounded nature and low price tags, the Gossamer Gear One and Two are our pick for the best overall ultralight tent. Read in-depth review.

Best Premium Ultralight Tent:

ZPACKS Plexamid and Duplex

Price: $549 | $699

ZPACKS Plexamid and Duplex


✅ Lightest tent on our list

✅ Durable

✅ Elegant design


❌ Expensive


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1 lb | 1 lb 2 oz
  • Floor: 23.5 ft² | 28.125 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Tent: 0.66 oz/sqyd Standard Dyneema Composite; Floor: 1 oz/sqyd Standard Dyneema Composite
  • Space Dimensions: 90 x 38 x 48 in | 90 x 45 x 48 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: No DWR
  • Packed Size: 6" diameter by 12" tall

If you know you like single-walled non-freestanding tents and are willing to spend for a premium product, the ZPacks Plexamid and Duplex are the best out there for anyone looking to get their pack weight down to an absolute minimum. The Zpacks Plexamid is just under a pound (and the 2-person Duplex is only 1 lb 2 oz). You read that right, these shelters weigh less than a water bottle.

Besides being the lightest tent on our list, it is a truly amazing shelter. It's durable, packs tiny, has high interior ceilings, and big side doors for easy access. The Dyneema fabric that makes this tent light also makes it waterproof and durable.

We found it to be a little more finicky to set up than other single-wall tents but once you get the hang of it you’re all good. You have to pony up the cash for this baby though. At $550 (Plexamid) and $700 (Duplex), these are the second most expensive on our list. But if you know what you want and are willing to pay for it, these are the best premium tents we tested.

Best Budget Ultralight Tent:


Price: $239

TARPTENT ProTrail and MoTrail


✅ Great budget option

✅ Lightweight

✅ Packs down small


❌ Front entry is less user friendly


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1 lb 5 oz | 2 lbs 1 oz
  • Floor: 21 ft² | 30.33 ft²
  • Floor Denier: 30D Silicone Coated
  • Space Dimensions: 84 x 42 x 45 in (L x W x H) | 84 x 52 x 47 in (L x W x H)
  • DWR Waterproofing: -
  • Packed Size: 14 × 4 × 4 in | 16 × 4 × 4 in

The ProTrail and MoTrail are ultralight bunkers. Using a thick 30D silnylon, we found these shelters to be extremely durable and hold up well in strong winds.

They are non-freestanding tents, we love that they pack down to the smallest volumes on our list. For a non-freestanding tent, we found the ProTrail is as easy as it gets to set up. It requires just 4 stake-down points.

With a ceiling height of 45 inches, they are also extremely spacious. These single-walled, ultralight backpacking tents have good ventilation too. We found them to have less condensation than similar models. The unique feature of the tent is the tensioned internal mesh screen that helps protect you and your gear from contact with the potentially wet wall.

Our biggest gripe would be the front entry, which isn’t as easy to get in and out of as a side entry. Especially on the two-person MoTrail. Both of these tents retail for well under $300 making them the least expensive on our list, and our pick for the best budget ultralight tent.

The Rainbow and StratoSpire are two other popular models from Tarptent worth checking out.

Most Durable SilNylon Tent:


Price: $260 | $395



✅ Most durable silnylon tent

✅ Spacious

✅ Inexpensive


❌ Larger packed size


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1 lb 6 oz | 2 lbs 8 oz
  • Floor: 26.3 ft² | 34 ft²
  • Floor Denier: 1P: Floor: 40D Silicone Coated Polyester; Canopy: 20D Silicone Coated Polyester | 2P: 30D Silicone Coated Nylon
  • Space Dimensions: 90 x 48 x 48 in (L x W x H)
  • DWR Waterproofing: 20D Silicone Polyester
  • Packed Size: 11 x 4.5 in | 15 x 6 in

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo and Lunar Duo are two of our favorite ultralight tents for several reasons. First, we love that it can be set up with just a single trekking pole. Second, the $250 price for the Solo is the second least expensive solo shelter on our list. Third, we could sit inside completely upright with several inches to spare, not to mention both versions of this tent have a larger-than-average footprint.

While the weight is light it runs slightly heavier than similar models. However, the added weight comes from added durability. Made of a mix of 40D and 30D SilNylon we found this to be the most durable SilNylon Tent we tested.

Best Freestanding Ultralight Tent:


Price: $399.99 | $429.99

NEMO Hornet


✅ Lightest semi-freestanding tent

✅ Easy setup

✅ Well-thought-out design


❌ Bulky

❌ Small vestibule


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs | 2 lbs 6 oz
  • Floor: 22.3 ft² | 27.5 ft²
  • Floor Denier: OSMO Poly-Nylon RipStop
  • Space Dimensions: 87 x 43/31 in | 85 x 51/43 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: 4x longer water repellency and 3x less stretch when wet
  • Packed Size: 19.5 x 4.5 in dia | 19.5 x 5.5 in dia

The NEMO Hornet is the lightest semi-freestanding tent on our list. While it has a center pole, it’s a semi-freestanding tent because the corners need to be staked out to hold it up. We love the design of this tent, especially the side doors. They are much easier and more practical to get in and out of than a front door. You can almost just roll out of the Hornet.

We like that the fly almost touches the ground in the Hornet as well. This means it has strong weather resistance to help block out any frigid breezes. The 15D fabric is on the thinner side, we didn’t notice any durability issues when testing but it pays to treat with care.

We found the vestibule is skinny, leaving only enough room to stand a pack upright vertically and the side door could open up a bit wider. Not a huge complaint, but could use a little more gear storage and ventilation.

From the zippers to the stuff sack, all aspects of this lightweight tent just feel quality. Yes... we really love the stuff sack. Simply put, this tent is awesome and our pick for the best freestanding tent.

Most Spacious & Weatherproof Ultralight Tent:


Price: $699



✅ Ultralight

✅ Lots of space

✅ Extra durable and weather resistant


❌ Very expensive

❌ Fussy to pitch


  • Capacity: 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1.17 lbs
  • Floor: 63 ft²
  • Floor Denier: DCF8
  • Space Dimensions: 107 x 83 x 64 in (L x W x H)
  • DWR Waterproofing: 100% waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabrics
  • Packed Size: 8.5 x 6 x 5.5 in

Hyperlite Mountain Gear took the most premium materials available and made a bomber shelter that can handle storms all year round. The pyramid design does require more space to pitch than many other tents, requires 2 poles, and some practice, but once it’s up it’s a safe haven no matter what the conditions.

With a height of 64” and a huge 63 sq ft of floor space, this is the most spacious tent on our list. We did find that the sloping sides made some of this space less usable though.

We love the ultralight weight of this tent, it’s one of the lightest we tested. The Dyneema fabric doesn’t pack down as small as silnylon so we had to allot a bit of extra space in our packs.

We’re not going to lie, the $825 price tag is a tough pill to swallow. Especially since that doesn’t include the interior mesh. But for those wanting a 4-season tent that can handle the most rugged conditions, the Hyperlight Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 is our top pick.

Best 4-season Ultralight Tent:


Price: $560



✅ Great 4-season design

✅ Extremely durable and weather resistant

✅ Easy setup


❌ Heavy

❌ Expensive


  • Capacity: 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 3 lbs 5 oz
  • Floor: 27.5 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Body: 15D Nylon No-See-Um Mesh; Floor: 20D Nylon RipStop PE 1800mm; Fly: 10D Nylon 66 RipStop Sil/Sil 1200mm
  • Space Dimensions: 85 x 51 in (head) x 42 in (foot)
  • DWR Waterproofing: 2-Side silicone impregnated flysheet and PE floor fabric
  • Packed Size: 14 x 5 in

The Portal 2 is a high-quality and rather luxurious ultralight tent for 2 persons - 2 wide-open side doors, breathable double walls, and a completely freestanding design.

Our favorite thing about it is the attention to detail. It really comes with all the bells and whistles. Pockets all over the interior for convenient storage, spacious ceiling, easy minimalist hooks for the rainfly, etc. The zipper tags along the doors even have different colors for you to easily differentiate the interior zip (black) versus the exterior zip (red).

We found that Portal 2 really stands out for its strength and stability. There are several additional features to help the Portal withstand the elements (heavy winds, snow, etc) too. We especially like the Velcro "outrigger" mechanism that allows you to attach your trekking poles for even more support.

This tent is one of the costlier tents on our list and it’s also the second heaviest we tested. Overall, this is our pick for the best 4-season ultralight tent.

Easiest Ultralight Tent to Setup:


Price: $348.95 | $379

MARMOT Tungsten UL


✅ Easiest tent to set up

✅ Inexpensive


❌ Bulky packed size

❌ Heavier


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs 2.2 oz | 2 lbs 15.3 oz
  • Floor: 19.4 ft² | 30.1 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Floor: 100% Nylon Ripstop; Fly: 100% Polyester RipStop
  • Space Dimensions: 84.3 x 37.8/29.1 (L x W head/foot) in | 88 x 54/46 (L x W head/foot) in
  • DWR Waterproofing: -
  • Packed Size: 21.1 x 4.1 in | 22.0 x 4.5 in

The Marmot Tungsten 2P is another quality built tent that emphasizes durability over pack weight. We like that the two vertical interior walls make this tent feel roomier than the interior measurements imply. It's on the heavy side, but for $349 (1 person), it's the cheapest freestanding tent we tested.

It’s also extremely easy to pitch. The easiest of any tents we tested. This is thanks to the color-coded clips and poles. Once it is set up, this tent will weather any storm.

It has a bit more mesh than a four-season tent, but its solid structure still will handle unexpected snowfall. It is a bit bulkier than average. Be sure to save space in your pack when using this tent.

Best Tarp Only Ultralight Tent:


Price: $275 ($530.00 incl. net & floor) | $280 ($565.00 incl. net & floor)



✅ Tons of space

✅ Packs down small

✅ Great fly-only option


❌ Tricky to pitch

❌ Expensive (if buying mesh and floor)


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 2 lb
  • Floor: 44+ ft² | 45+ ft²
  • Floor Denier: 20D Pro SilNylon
  • Space Dimensions: 110 x 54 x 55 in | 110 x 68 x 55 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: -
  • Packed Size: 4 x 14 in

The Solomid and Duomid are two trekking pole tents from cottage-manufacturer Mountain Laurel Designs. The most notable features of these tents are their spaciousness. The single-person Solomid has over 35 square feet of living space and the two-person Duomid has a roomy 45 square feet. The sloping sides limit how much of that space is usable and you can only sit up in the center of the tent. But don’t be fooled, we still found this to be one of the most spacious tents we tested.

The tarp is one of the lightest we tested, making this our top pick for tarp-only camping. When you add the mesh interior and floor it adds weight but is still very light with a great space-to-weight ratio.

We did find these tents to be tricky to pitch. If you don’t get the tension right on all sides of the tent it is prone to collapsing.

We like that the big screen doors keep the condensation down. The cost of just the tarp is quite low but we did find when adding the mesh and floor the price can add up quickly.

The Other Noteworthy Models


Price: $299.95



✅ Durable

✅ Inexpensive

✅ Well-designed


❌ Small interior space

❌ Large packed size

❌ Tricky setup


  • Capacity: 1
  • Freestanding?: No
  • Packed Weight: 1 lbs 15 oz
  • Floor: 16.6 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Fly: 20D Nylon RipStop, Silicone/1200mm PeU; Floor: 20D Nylon RipStop, DWR/1200mm PeU; Body: 15D Nylon No-See-Um Mesh
  • Space Dimensions: 102 in x 42 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: DWR
  • Packed Size: 15 x 6 in

The High Route 1 FL is a double-wall non-freestanding tent that requires two trekking poles to set up. What we like best about this tent is the offset pole construction. This gives the tent two vertical walls making the small footprint feel much more usable. It also gives the High Route one of the largest areas with a high ceiling. This taller design does make this tent vulnerable to strong winds.

We like that you can set up the High Route from the outside in, meaning the interior will remain dry and cozy even when you have to pitch it up under pouring rain. However, the configuration is unconventional and tricky to set up. We recommend you use it in your backyard a few times before bringing it out on the trail.

Another unique feature of this tent is the "gear closet" accessed through a small half-door located opposite the main entrance. It allows you to conveniently reach your pack without having to leave the tent. This tent is also very durable compared to the other models we tested and comes at an inexpensive price point.

BIG AGNES FlyCreek HV UL Solution-Dyed 1 & 2

Price: $365 | $399.95

BIG AGNES FlyCreek HV UL Solution-Dyed 1 & 2


✅ Lightweight

✅ Easy to set up


❌ Small size

❌ Front entry


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs | 2lbs 4 oz
  • Floor: 20 ft² | 28 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Solution-dyed Nylon RipStop with 1200mm Water-Resistant
  • Space Dimensions: 86 x 38/28 (L x W head/foot) in| 86 x 52/42 (L x W head/foot) in
  • DWR Waterproofing: Waterproof, solvent-free Polyurethane taped seams (No PVC or VOCs)
  • Packed Size: 5 x 18.5 in | 6 x 19.5 in

When it comes to ultralight freestanding tents, Big Agnes is the gold standard. Their tents are durable and light enough to compete with non-freestanding tents. At 2 pounds for the 1-person Fly Creek this tent only weighs a few ounces more than non-freestanding models. It’s a great pick if you’re a hiker who doesn’t use trekking poles.

We love the double wall design. It’s superior at weatherproofing to single-wall designs. We found the mesh to be breathable too, nice for warmer weather camping. And like all the freestanding models we tested, the setup is a piece of cake. We found the front vestibule to be large, which makes up for the fact that the Fly Creek has a smaller interior.

This is a front entry tent, which isn’t our favorite. We also found the overhead pocket to be insecure. The 15D ripstop nylon fabric is on the thinner end of the models we tested.

We love that solution-dyed fabric protects the tent from UV fade and is more sustainable to manufacture. A win-win. Note the HV is not 100% freestanding—the footbed needs to be staked out.

BIG AGNES Tiger Wall UL 1 & 2

Price: $395.95 | $449.95

BIG AGNES Tiger Wall UL 1 & 2


✅ Easy setup

✅ Vertical sidewalls add usable space

✅ Generous vestibule size


❌ Small floor space

❌ Less durable


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs 2 oz | 2 lbs 8 oz
  • Floor: 19 ft² | 28 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Solution-dyed Nylon RipsSop with 1200mm Water-Resistant
  • Space Dimensions: 86 x 38/28 (L x W head/foot) inches | 86 x 52/42 (L x W head/foot) inches
  • DWR Waterproofing: Waterproof, solvent-free Polyurethane taped seams (No PVC or VOCs)
  • Packed Size: 17 x 5.5 in | 5.5 x 18 in

Although slightly heavier than its older cousin, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall has some undeniable advantages over the Fly Creek, namely its side doors and vestibules. The side-entry doors make getting in and out of the tent a breeze. If you're sharing the tent with another person, you'll enjoy the two-door configuration of the Tiger Wall UL2. We also found that the side doors resulted in better ventilation and minimized condensation.

Although the interior space is a bit tight, we appreciate the extra inch of headroom the Tiger Wall provides over the Fly Creek. We also found the near vertical sidewalls make the space feel roomier. The Tiger Wall's vestibule is 3 square feet larger than the Fly Creek. Note the UL2 comes with two side vestibules.

Being a freestanding tent the Tiger wall sets up easily too. We found the 15D fabric to be pretty thin, treat this tent with care when using it.

Also check out the Copper Spur HV UL tents. They are slightly heavier but offer more space and come with side doors as well.


Price: $499 | $549



✅ Easy setup

✅ Thoughtful design


❌ Small space

❌ Heavy


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs 7 oz | 2 lbs 15.3 oz
  • Floor: 19.5 ft² | 27 ft²
  • Floor Denier: 15D RipStop Nylon
  • Space Dimensions: 84.5 x 42 x 24 in | 84.5 x 53 x 38 in
  • DWR Waterproofing: Silicone / Polyether Polyurethane coated 15D Nylon Rainfly fabric
  • Packed Size:

Sea to Summit’s semi-freestanding 3-season Alto tent is well-designed and easy to set up. This tent looks a lot like a non-freestanding tent but has the structural strength of a freestanding tent thanks to the tension ridge pole system. We found this system also improved ventilation and created a roomier interior for the smaller-than-average interior size.

We love that the tent is adaptable to humidity and various climates thanks to its one-of-a-kind adjustable cross-ventilation system. We found that this tent is heavier than similar tents we tested. It runs about average in packed size, durability, and price compared to other models we tested.

If you're looking for a freestanding 2- or 3-person tent, check out Sea to Summit's other brand new tent, the Telos.

MSR Hubba Hubba 1 & 2

Price: $469.95 | $549.95

MSR Hubba Hubba 1 & 2


✅ Most durable freestanding tent

✅ Easy to set up


❌ Heavy

❌ Small interior space

❌ Bulky to pack


  • Capacity: 1 or 2
  • Freestanding?: Yes
  • Packed Weight: 2 lbs 14 oz | 3 lbs 13 oz
  • Floor: 18 ft² | 29 ft²
  • Floor Denier: Floor: 30D RipStop Nylon 3000mm DuraShield Polyurethane & DWR; Rainfly: 20D RipStop Nylon 1200mm Durashield™ Polyurethane & Silicone; Canopy: 20D RipStop Nylon
  • Space Dimensions: 85 x 30 x 36 in (L x W x H) | 84 x 50 x 39 in (L x W x H)
  • DWR Waterproofing: DWR
  • Packed Size: 18 x 6 in

The MSR Hubba Hubba is a bombproof shelter for four-season backpacking. It’s the heaviest tent on our list, but it is the most durable freestanding tent we tested. It is one of the lightest options available that offer this amount of reliable durability and weather protection (however, the Slingfin is the lighter).

While the weight is high for an ultralight tent, if you expect bad weather the just under 3 lb weight (1-person model) is still extremely light for a tent. We love that the Hubba Hubba sets up easy too. No need to find the perfect spot, you can pitch this just about anywhere.

Its rugged design makes it suitable not only for summer but also for shoulder seasons where you could get some light snow. We found the mesh sides allow for airflow and protect you from bugs. We especially like the high fabric sides which block the wind and give you some privacy as well.

We found the Xtreme Shield waterproofing to be effective, with one complaint. The seam sealing is not waterproof enough in heavy rains. We recommend seam sealing the tent body and fly before heading out on a long trip.

We also felt a bit squeezed by the smaller interior size of this tent. And the packed size was on the higher side of the tents we tested. Read in-depth review.

Key Factors To Consider When Choosing


Your tent is one of the largest items in your pack and therefore, one of the best opportunities to save weight. A good ultralight tent weight is under 2 pounds for a 1-person tent and under 3 pounds for a 2-person tent. The most ultralight tent we tested is the Zpacks Plexamid. Over the last decade, the small cottage brands have grown into industry leaders making ultralight tents much more accessible.

The best ultralight backpacking tents:


A tent is one of your most important pieces of gear. If you can spend a little extra on a gear item, a tent is a good place to do so. An ultralight tent can cost as little as $250 and as much as $800+.

Best value-for-money ultralight tents:

Most affordable ultralight tents:

High-end ultralight tents:

Space & Design

Space is a mix of interior floor space, vestibule size, headroom, and design. For a 6-foot person, we recommend a tent that is at least 78 inches long and 36 inches high. If your tent has large vestibules you can get away with a little less interior space because you can store most of your gear outside the tent. Look for design features like straight side walls to increase how usable your interior space is.

A clean, stable design is optimal. It allows you to set up your tent fast and to hold up in poor weather. Look for tents that don’t have poles in the middle of them or blocking the door. These limit how usable and easy it is to enter and exit the tent. Inside the tent look for study, usable pockets. We recommend an overhead pocket or hook for a headlamp and a side pocket for glasses, a phone, etc. We’ll cover more design features in more detail later in this article.

The most spacious ultralight tents:

Ultralight tents with the best design:

Other Things to Consider


The smaller the packed size, the less room a tent takes up in your pack. Non-freestanding tents don’t have poles and pack down tiny. Along with the extra poles to pack, freestanding tents take up more space because they are often double-walled with a rainfly and an inner mesh.

Ultralight tents that pack down the smallest:

folding tent


How easy a tent is to set up shouldn’t be overlooked. If it’s cold or you’re caught in a downpour, you want to be able to set the tent up ASAP. Freestanding tents, tents with poles, are the easiest and fastest to set up. Non-freestanding tents pitch with tension, which can be fussy to get just right.

Ultralight tents that are easiest to set up:

inserting tent stakes into ground

Inserting tent stakes into the ground


Weather resistance is a mix of material and design of your tent. Double-walled tents offer an extra layer of protection. Tents made of Dyneema have superior water-resistant capabilities versus tents made of nylon. Dyneema is a super strong material, tents made of Dyneema are the most durable. Nylon tents with a high denier (fabric thickness), like the Tarptent ProTrail, are also very durable.

The most weather-resistant ultralight tents:

The most durable ultralight tents:

adjusting tent


Ultralight 1-person tents are ideal for long-distance backpacking where shaving every little ounce counts. Most thru-hikers choose a one-person tent to save weight and money, but these tents can be very small. Some single long-distance hikers opt for a two-person tent for extra space to stretch out and to keep gear inside the tent.

If you're hiking with a partner, you need a 2-person tent. Although 2-person tents run heavier, by splitting the weight between two people they are effectively lighter. Bear in mind that many ultralight two-person tents have a slim cut that allows you to fit two standard sleeping pads and sleeping bags with room for little else. Be sure the tent has large enough vestibules for your shoes and pack.

If you’re on the fence about which size tent to choose, remember that a 2-person tent is more versatile and can be used for 1 or 2 people. A 1-person tent is only good for 1-person.

Our two favorite 1-person tents are the Gossamer Gear The One and the ZPacks Plexamid. We feel both of these have a great balance of our testing criteria. The Gossamer Gear is a great entry/budget option while the ZPacks is an excellent premium ultralight tent.

1-person vs 2-person tents

1-person (left) vs 2-person tent (right)


Freestanding tents are the more traditional design. They come with a framework of poles specifically designed for that model of tent. These help the tent stand 100% (or mostly) upright—or be "freestanding". They still use stakes and guylines for stability, but are not reliant on them to stand.

hiker holding tent stakes

The advantages:

✔️ Setup Anywhere. Soft surfaces (ex: a loose, sandy beach) or on hard surfaces (ex: a rocky summit) where stakes are ineffective.

✔️ Very Stable. More metal means more stability against strong wind, heavy snow, etc.

✔️ Easy and Fast Setup. The metal frame is usually very fast and easy to setup. They do not require intricate webbings of guylines to adjust nor numerous stakes to tie down.

Slingfin Portal 2 - A personal favorite freestanding tent

Non-freestanding tents (or "trekking pole tents") are growing in popularity. They strive to be ultralight by ditching the tent poles and assume you will use your trekking poles to support the tent body. As a result, these trekking pole tents tend to be more rectangular instead of dome-shaped. Tension is provided by guylines and stakes are required for it to stand.

sliding tent stakes into loops

Sliding tent stakes into loops

The advantages:

✔️ Lightweight. Without tent poles, these puppies can almost get down to a scant pound.

✔️ Compact. Again, without tent poles, you will have more space in your pack.

✔️ Affordable. Non-freestanding tents usually cost less. After all, those poles cost money, honey.

hyperlite mountain gear echo ii ultralight tent

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II

Semi-Freestanding tents are another common type of tent. These tents use poles that hold up part of the tent, but need to be staked down to secure the entire tent. The Hornet 2P from Nemo is an excellent example of a semi-freestanding tent. Fewer poles translate into less weight as long as you don't mind having to find a soft surface or some rocks to stake out the footbed of the tent.

The best non-freestanding ultralight tents are GOSSAMER GEAR The One & The Two and ZPACKS Plexamid & Duplex.

The best freestanding ultralight tents are SLINGFIN Portal 2 and BIG AGNES Tiger Wall UL 1 & 2.

seatosummit freestanding tent

Sea to Summit's new 2-person Telos tent


3-season tents are the most common type of tent and are best for spring, summer, and fall backpacking. They offer breathability along with adequate weather protection.

4-season tents are designed to be tough to hold up to frigid winter conditions, snow, and high winds. They are designed to insulate and are less breathable than 3-season tents. Because of this, they are best in cold conditions. They also tend to be heavier due to the more robust design. This also makes them more expensive than 3-season tents.

Our top picks for 3-season tents are GOSSAMER GEAR The One & The Two and ZPACKS Plexamid & Duplex.

Our top picks for 4-season tents are HYPERLITE MOUNTAIN GEAR Ultamid 2 and SLINGFIN Portal 2.

Ultralight tent high vent

A vent helps to remove excess moisture build up (SMD Lunar Solo)



Single-walled tents are ultralight and compact. As the name implies they have only a single wall. Usually, this is a tarp on the top for weather protection and mesh on the sides for ventilation. The drawback to this design is condensation build-up on the inside of the tent, especially when you leave the vestibules closed overnight.

Double-walled shelters have a separate mesh body and a separate tarp-like rainfly. This combo allows for more breathability and less, often zero, condensation build-up. Because they are two walls, not just one, they are heavier.

Our favorite single-walled ultralight tents are the GOSSAMER GEAR The One & The Two and ZPACKS Plexamid & Duplex.

Our favorite double-walled ultralight tents are the NEMO Hornet and the MARMOT Tungsten UL.

adjusting tent



Packed weight is the weight when purchased from the manufacturer. It includes stuff sacks, repair kits, tie-downs, and stakes. Trail weight (sometimes called minimum weight) consists of essential components like the tent body, rainfly, and poles. Most people ditch the extra items like the stuff sacks and therefore trail weight is a better approximation of the real weight you will end up carrying.

Tents with the lowest trail weight ZPACKS Plexamid and Gossamer Gear The One.

packing tent



A tent with a clean design is simple to set up and easy to use. When assessing a clean design look for minimal guylines and stakes and a stable layout. A complex design means more poles and guylines, more things to manage, and more things with the potential to break.

Non-freestanding tents are notorious for requiring many guylines to set up. Simple designs are not only faster and easier to set up but are generally more durable. The more awkward and less aerodynamic your ultralight tent is, the less likely it is to handle a heavy storm or fast winds.

hiker setting up tent

Tarptent Protrail



It may sound obvious but you want a tent that is easy to get in and out of. We find door location is the most important feature for easy entry and exit. Side doors are best. If you’re sharing your tent make sure you have two doors to allow you to get out without disturbing your tent partner. Watch out for front-door tents that require you to crawl out and shimmy into. If using a front entry tent with two people they require you to crawl over your tent mate on that midnight bathroom run.

The tents with the easiest entry and exit are the BIG AGNES Tiger Wall UL 1 & 2 and the ZPACKS Plexamid & Duplex.

SMD 1-person ultralight tent

The 1-person Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent



You don’t need a luxurious palace, but you do want enough space to be comfortable, especially if you have to wait for an all-day storm to pass. Make sure your tent is large enough to comfortably lay down in plus a few inches above your head and below your feet. A spreader bar in the ceiling expands the headroom area to allow you to sit up without touching the tent.

Our rules of thumb for space:

  • Length: A 6-foot person (72 inches) needs at least 78 inches.
  • Height: Nothing below 30 inches. Ideally above 36 inches.
illustration of required ultralight tent interior space



As mentioned before, your tent will have two types of fabrics: a tarp-like fabric used to repel water and a mesh-like fabric used to block out bugs and enable ventilation. A bathtub floor means the tarp-like fabric lines the floor and is at least a few inches above the ground before it meets the mesh walls. This mini tarp-like ‘bathtub’ can be helpful to prevent heavy rains from pouring in. Fortunately, bathtub floors have become standard in the best lightweight tents.

MSR Hubba Hubba ultralight 2-door tent

MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 with two side doors for easy entry and exit



Silnylon and Dyneema (formerly 'Cuben Fiber') are the most common types of materials used for ultralight backpacking tent fabrics. Both are great for their intended function—repelling the elements. There are some differences to note though.

  • Dyneema (Cuben Fiber) is a high-tech fabric that looks (and feels) like it was meant for space exploration. It is great for its strength-to-weight ratio. It will weigh less and be a little stronger than its silnylon rival.
  • Silnylon is much, MUCH more affordable. Generally, a rip-stop nylon tent will cost half as much as a Dyneema tent. To get into the ultralight category, manufacturers often use 10-denier (aka '10D') nylon in their tents. This material needs to be treated carefully so you don't rip them.
Silnylon vs Dyneema

SilNylon (left) and Dyneema (right)


Do I need a tent footprint?

Yes, you do need a tent footprint if you want to protect the bottom of your tent. Footprints protect the bottom of the tent from moisture and damage when you are sleeping on rough surfaces. They are helpful but not always necessary, depending on where you are backpacking. If you choose to go without one, you do have to be more careful where you pitch your tent. Avoid rough rocky areas or sharp twigs and roots. See more on tent footprints.

Can I use a tarp as a tent footprint?

Yes, you can use a tarp as a tent footprint, but a traditional tarp will be heavy to carry and bulky in your pack. Most people choose to carry Painter's Tarp of Tyvek instead. Tyvek is used in construction and easy to find. It's cheap, lightweight, and packable.

You also can purchase a manufacturer's footprint. These official footprints contain grommets that attach to the poles making it easier to pitch your tent. Some tents even allow you to leave your tent body at home and pitch your fly with the footprint. This combination is a lightweight option when bugs are not an issue.

Tyvek tarp as tent footprint

Tent set up on a Tyvek painter's tarp

Should you put a tarp under or above a tent?

You can put a tarp under or above a tent. If you bring a tarp, you can use it under your tent to protect the bottom of the tent from a rough surface. You can also suspend it above the tent to protect it from the rain.

Where can I pitch a tent?

You can pitch a tent anywhere you have enough room to spread out the bottom and insert the poles without obstruction. You'll want to look first for hazards such as widow-makers (which are dead or fallen trees that are at risk of falling on your tent) as well as any heavily exposed areas (like a windy ridgeline).

You'll also want as flat of a surface as possible. If you must sleep on an incline, put your head higher than your feet. Avoid roots and rocks for comfort. Lastly, pick an area that isn't wet and won't develop puddles if it were to rain. Ensure the ground is suitable for stakes as well.

adjusting tent

How to pack a tent for backpacking?

Fold the tent into thirds lengthwise so the floor is the only part of the tent that is exposed and then roll it up. Rolling it up like this will protect the thinner material walls and mesh. Avoid stuffing your tent as it can stretch or tear.

How to pack a tent in a backpack?

If you have a freestanding tent, carry it under the lid of your pack, or stash the poles separately on the side of your bag. With the tent body rolled up, store it in the main compartment. Right at the top is a good spot so you can quickly set it up if you need to.

adjusting tent

Do you need a tent when backpacking?

Yes, you do need a tent when backpacking. A shelter is absolutely necessary for backpacking. Weather happens, even if the forecast doesn’t call for it. Having a safe, dry space to hunker down during a storm can literally save your life. Also, in areas with wildlife, tents let the animals see you so there aren’t any surprises.

Where do you put the gear in a 1-person tent?

You put your gear in the vestibule of a 1-person tent. 1-person tents can be tight, but nearly all of them come with a vestibule. In reality, a lot of things can get wet so if you are tight on space just keep the things that need to stay dry in your tent: clothing, lighter, stove, electronics. Your pack and shoes can be put in the vestibule and will usually stay pretty dry with the exception of a little splashing. Also, keep your backpack straps towards you to keep them dry.

hiker placing tent

📷 Some of the photos in this post were taken by Ross Enlow (@rossaenlow) and Jonathan Davis (@meowhikes)

Justin Sprecher photo

About Justin Sprecher

Justin is a thru-hiker and writer with a passion for wild backcountry. He's thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail, LASHed the Great Divide Trail and Arizona Trail, and clocked up 1,000s of miles on long-distance trails around the world.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Stoveless Backpacking Meals
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  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning