The quality of a backpacking tent is not the best place to cut corners if you want to enjoy your camping trips.
The tent is a telling factor that determines your comfort, experience, and safety and having the best quality plays an important role in this.
While experienced backpackers will feel the need to spend more on top performing backpacking tents, this rule does not apply to everyone.
This product review puts together a solid list of budget tents that strike a good balance between cost, weight, weather protection, and durability.
While these are not the leading quality, you can be sure that they are high performing and within your budget. These backpacking tents have excellent cost to value ratio and are very user-friendly.
We reviewed our top five recommendations for the best budget backpacking tents.
Our Top 5 Budget Backpacking Tents
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking tent|
84 x 50 x 39 inches
3 lbs. 7 oz
|Vango Banshee 200 Backpacking tent|
110 x 87 x 42 inches
|Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Backpacking tent|
92 x 56 x 43 inches
|The North Face Unisex Stormbreak 2 Backpacking tent|
87 x 52 x 43 inches
5 lbs. 14 oz
|Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 Backpacking tent|
192 x 56 x 43 inches
1. MSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking Tent – Best Overall Budget Tent
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX backpacking tent is no doubt one of the best tents money can buy. Not only is it lightweight but also waterproof and can be used even in stormy conditions. The MSR Hubba is a great two-man tent and is quite spacious.
The tent has a good design that allows the inhabitants to sit up throughout most of the tent. The Hubba Hubba comes in three sizes. A 1-man, 2-person, and a 3-person tent. The 2-person is best for couples as it is spacious enough and there’s enough room to roll around.
Being one of the most respected brands in the backpacking tent industry, MSR has a track record of excellent customer support. You will be happy to know that buying an MSR tent also comes with a lifetime warranty ensuring that it’s the last tent you will ever buy.
While it has everything going for it, the MSR Hubba Hubba is a pricey budget tent. Not to worry though, if you plan to camp a lot this quality tent is durable.
2. Vango Banshee 200 Backpacking Tent – A Reliable Tent
It’s cheap, tough and very reliable. The Vango Company makes some of the best affordable tents, and the Vango Banshee is no exception.
Although it can be a bit heavy and small for a three-man tent, it has an enviable compact nature that makes it both tough and durable.
While it’s technically a three-man tent, the Vango Banshee 300 would be crowded for three people. We recommend that you use this tent as a spacious two-man tent instead.
For the money saved, you are not going to compromise too much with this tent. The biggest disadvantage for this backpack tent is the weight. The Banshee 300 is very bulky and if you are a long distance hiker, then the extra weight can be difficult.
3. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Backpacking Tent – A Great Value Tent
The Morrison 2 harbors comfort and an exquisite design. The tent is a cinch to set up, and you will enjoy spending time within its spacious interior.
The low price of the Morrison, however, does come with a few disadvantages. The tent does not utilize the high-quality poles, fabrics, and stakes. However, it has great features such as mesh and nylon panels, but these add to the tents heft.
Mountainsmith created a very livable tent in the Morrison 2. The tent has a spacious floor and a comfortable two-door design. The doors can be zipped-off almost completely creating an open-air feel and great visibility for the outdoors.
The interior design of the Morrison is quite interesting and Mountainsmith thought it was wise to put pockets at either end of the opposite sides. This means that the company encourages people to sleep head-to-toe in this tent. This is great if you plan to sleep head-to-toe but can be quite confusing if you have a spouse or you are all by yourself.
The Morrison 2 is one of the easiest tents to set up thanks to its color-coded design with master hooks on top. The tent holds up to rain relatively well because of its burly fly and floor materials.
4. The North Face Unisex Stormbreak 2 – Best Headroom Tent
Standing in at 43 inches, the North Face Stormbreak 2 is one the tallest peak height tents we have tested. The tent has enormous headroom for sitting up or even crouching. This contender also features a large entrance and a vestibule door that requires two stakes.
There are two pockets in the inside that you can use to stash your belongings. Unfortunately, for the Stormbreak 2, it won’t be able to withstand a storm. The thin diameter poles are not capable of standing up to strong winds, and the extra height also means that it’s quite unstable in extreme weather.
This tent is one of the very heavy ones weighing in at 94.2 ounces, with a very poor weight to space ratio. To give you a picture, the lightest ones out there can be as light as 37.6 ounces.
Like most backpack tents, the Stormbreak 2 is easy to set up due to its two cross poles and the extra two horizontal poles. The stakes are not the best and are very ineffective. During our testing, they were quickly bent when we tried to drive them into the ground.
Crafted from coated polyester fabric, the material is quite durable on the short term. The coated fabrics will definitely degrade over time especially when not cared for appropriately. The 8.5mm aluminum poles are also flimsy.
5. Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 Person Tent – Easy Set Up
What we love most about the tent is that is very easy to assemble. The tent employs the use of aluminum poles and lightweight poles clips that make the set-up exercise effortless.
The Lynx2 is an all-weather tent that will protect during rain or sunshine. The polyester tent-fly material brings together strength and quality, as it is both water-resistant and resists UV damage.
The Morrison 2 leans a bit to the heavy side. It’s a good thing that the extra weight is compensated with an increase in interior space. The tent, however, lacks a top crossbar for vertical sidewalls.
The tent has some extra strong zippers and vestibules for extra storage space that you always need when hiking. Other features include a gear loft, large enough doorways, and storage pockets.
The quick assembly and lesser setup hustle make this the perfect tent for solo backpackers. The tent also comes in a 4-persons model if you love camping in groups.
Things You Must Know Before Buying Budget Backpacking Tents
There is a good variety of quality backpacking tents in the market. Your ideal one will depend on the usage.
Whether you are a long-distance hiker or a backyard camping person, this guide will help you find the backpack tent that will best serve your needs.
Doors and Vestibules
If you are sharing your tent, it will be more comfortable if you have two or more doors and vestibules. This ensures that you don’t have to climb over each other every time one wants to exit or enter the tent.
Durability and Versatility
Ultra-light tents are known to make the durability tradeoff by using thin and light materials in place of heavy-duty shelter. That said, it’s important to note that even lightweight tents can last quite a while if treated with proper care.
On one night, you might need protection from rain, on another maybe from windy conditions. And on another night maybe bug protection. It’s good to get a tent that can protect you from a variety of elements. Flat tarps are the most adaptable followed by the versatile A-frame and pyramid tents.
Arguably one of the most important factors to consider when buying a backpacking tent, because a few ounces here and there can go a long way. It’s always recommended that you keep the weight as low as possible in order to enjoy your hikes.
As much as budget-backpacking tents tend to be on the heavier side, there as some featherweight options such as the MSR Hubba Hubba.
Backpacking tents nowadays don’t come with footprint because they are viewed as an unnecessary and also add to the weight of the tent. One big advantage of footprints, however, is that they add much-needed strength and durability to the floor of the tent.
A footprint will protect your tent from abrasion so that it serves you for longer. If you don’t mind the extra weight, you can always purchase a footprint that is designed specifically for your tent.
Backpacking tents can either be single-walled or double-walled. Double walled tents comprise of three parts. An inner waterproof floor and non-waterproof roof, a waterproof rain fly, and poles.
The rain fly is made out of mesh material, which acts as a barrier from condensation. Single-walled tents have the benefit of reduced weight, but you will have to make do with condensation when camping in wet or cold conditions. This will result in a wet tent interior, which can be annoying.
Double wall tents are unfortunately the heaviest types of tents, but in return offer comfortability, complete protection and are extremely easy to pitch.
A good backpacking tent should be able to protect you from most if not all-weather elements. In our testing, we found out that, double walled tents fair best in harsh weather conditions. These tents provide excellent protection from weather elements but unfortunately come short in durability, unlike their counterparts.
Backpacking tents normally have a tendency of limiting interior space in order to keep the weight to a minimum. The interior space of a tent is normally a compromising balance of weight and comfort.
If you prefer light hiking, then you are better off with a 2-person tent for two hikers. If weight is a non-issue, the general rule of thumb is that you should buy always step up one size more in capacity. For instance, buy a 3-person tent to accommodate two hikers.
Our Final Review for Budget Backpacking Tents
If you are looking to spend money on a budget tent that is to last you a season or two, at least spend on a quality tent. Budget backpacking tents do not necessarily mean that you compromise on performance.
Weight is often a priority for many, and this will depend on whether you are a car camper or a long distance hiker.
On one hand, you will have hefty tents that offer comfort and versatility and on the other, lightweight options that are simple and can still keep you dry.
Whichever route you choose, go through the factors above to help you find a suitable tent for your next camping trip.