Photo: Grusho Anna/Shutterstock

5 Lightweight Backpacking and Camping Tents Our Gear Editors Prefer

Technology + Gear Camping
by Matador Creators Apr 22, 2024

Heading into the wilderness is always more enjoyable when you know you’ll sleep comfortably. Having a lightweight backpacking tent is essential, as tents not only take up a good amount of space in your pack but many standard options also weigh five pounds or more. However, it’s possible to cut that weight at least in half, and if you’re backpacking with a partner or friend, you can do so while still only carrying one tent. That’s why most of these lightweight backpacking tent options are two- or three-person tents – as Matador’s outdoor and gear editors have learned, few things cut down pack weight like doubling an item’s productivity.

Building your outdoor gear setup? Check out Matador’s guides to everything you need to thrive outside:

We hope you love the lightweight backpacking tent options we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to make a purchase.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Photo: REI
Photo: REI

The three-season Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 tent isn’t your average squeeze-box shelter. Think spacious living room with a view (of pine trees, most likely), thanks to the high volume hub design. Two doors mean no more awkward partner acrobatics, and the DAC Featherlite NSL poles ensure you’ll be stargazing, not swearing at tangled poles, come nightfall. Water-resistant materials and a bathtub floor mean you’ll stay dry even when Mother Nature throws a tantrum.

Now, for the not-so-rosy bits. The zippers can be a bit finicky, and the price tag might sting a bit. Plus, the tapered foot end isn’t ideal for tall folks who dream of sleeping spread-eagle. But hey, all things considered, the Copper Spur HV UL2 is a solid option for weight-conscious backpackers who value a little comfort under the stars.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 specs:

  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Weight: around 2 lbs 12 oz (1.2 kg)
  • Packed size: 20 x 6 inches (51 x 15 cm)
  • Floor area: 26 square feet (2.4 m²)
  • Stakes: DAC Featherlite NSL poles
  • Fly and floor: Silicone-treated proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating
  • Tent body: Breathable proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon featuring a solution-dyed ripstop grid and polyester mesh
  • Doors: 2 with awning-style vestibules

Price: $529.95

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Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo 2P

Photo: REI
Photo: REI

The Nemo Hornet OSMO Ultralight 2P Tent prioritizes a balance between weight, livability, and comfort for backpackers. This freestanding, three-season tent offers a surprising amount of interior space for two people, thanks to its near-freestanding design that maximizes headroom and usable area compared to trekking pole tents.

The Nemo Hornet OSMO boasts features that enhance livability without sacrificing significantly on weight. Dual doors and vestibules provide convenient gear storage and access, while the innovative Nightlight Pocket allows tent illumination without a headlamp. A Divvy Cube stuff sack simplifies packing and organization.

It’s important to note that the Nemo Hornet OSMO’s freestanding design and additional features contribute to a slightly higher weight (around 2 lbs 8 oz) compared to some ultralight backpacking tents. Additionally, the price point may be less attractive for budget-conscious backpackers.

Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo 2P specs:

  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz (0.9 kg)
  • Packed size: Not specified by Nemo, but likely similar to the standard Hornet Osmo at around 18″ x 6″ (46 x 15 cm)
  • Floor area: 28 square feet (2.6 m²)
  • Stakes: DAC Featherlite® NFL poles
  • Fly and floor: OSMO™ poly-nylon ripstop fabric with 4x longer-lasting water repellency and 3x less stretch compared to previous Hornet models. Fabric is 100% recycled, PFC-free, and meets flame retardancy standards without added chemicals.
  • Tent body: Breathable 100% recycled polyester mesh with no-see-um netting on doors
  • Doors: 2 with generous vestibules and Gatekeeper door tie-backs
  • Special features: Patent-pending Flybar™ volumizing pole clip for extra headroom and even fly tension, Nightlight Pockets for diffused tent illumination, Triangulated corner guyouts for increased usable space and condensation protection

Price: $429.95

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Sea to Summit Telos TR2

Photo: REI
Photo: REI

The Sea to Summit Telos TR2 offers a compelling blend of livability, weight, and versatility for backpackers prioritizing a well-rounded shelter. This 2-person, 3-season tent utilizes a unique Tension Ridge design that creates a surprisingly spacious interior with ample headroom. This design also allows the Telos TR2 to be configured as a single-wall tarp or a shade canopy, making it adaptable to various weather conditions and camping styles.

The Telos TR2 falls within the ultralight backpacking range at around 3 lbs 8 oz. Sea to Summit employs high-quality, water-resistant materials and a bathtub floor for reliable weather protection. Additionally, the color-coded poles and clip system facilitate a quick and user-friendly setup, ideal for tired hikers seeking a streamlined pitching experience. It’s worth noting that while the Telos TR2 offers multi-mode functionality, some backpackers prioritizing strictly single-wall use might prefer a lighter option. The price point might also be a consideration.

Sea to Summit telos TR2 specs:

  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Weight: 3 lbs 8 oz (1.6 kg)
  • Packed size: 6″ x 19 inches (15 x 48 cm)
  • Floor area: 28 sq ft (2.6 m²)
  • Stakes: DAC NSL poles (color-coded for easy setup)
  • Fly: 15D silicone / polyurethane-coated nylon with 1200mm hydrostatic head rating
  • Floor: 20D nylon bathtub floor with 2500mm hydrostatic head rating
  • Mesh: Ultra-lightweight 15D polyester mesh for breathabilityDoors: 2 with vestibules
  • Special features: Tension Ridge design for improved headroom and livability, FairShare storage system (tent packs into 3 stuff sacks that convert to gear pockets), Hangout Mode (converts fly into a semi-open shelter with trekking poles)

Price: $449

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Naturehike Cloud Up 3 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent

naturehike lightweight backpacking tent

Photo: Amazon

If you want an affordable lightweight backpacking tent, the Naturehike Cloud Up 3 is the route to go. It’s available on Amazon, meaning Prime members also get the bonus of free shipping. The “3-person” label here might be a bit optimistic. While it can technically fit three people, things could get cozy, especially on longer trips. You might be better off considering it a comfortable 2-person tent with some wiggle room for gear, or a snug 3-person option for very close companions (think best friends or thruples who don’t mind sharing a sleeping bag).

However, the Cloud Up 3 Person boasts a few key features that make it a solid choice. First and foremost, it’s lightweight, clocking in at around 4.4 lbs (2.0 kg) – while too much for one person, considering you can squeeze three in here, this tent will actually save you weight vs. three people carrying 1- or 2-person tents. Second, the dome-style design with a double Y-shaped structure and 7001 aluminum poles are quick to setup. The 210T polyester fabric with a PU3000mm waterproof rating and a bathtub floor will keep you protected from moderate rain and ground moisture.

Naturehike Cloud Up 3 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent specs:

  • Capacity: 3 person (better suited for 2 people with extra gear storage space or 3 very close companions)
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs (2.0 kg)
  • Packed size: Not specified by Naturehike, but likely around 18″ x 6″ (46 x 15 cm) based on similar tents
  • Floor area: Not specified by Naturehike, but estimated to be around 30-35 square feet (2.8-3.3 m²) based on similar tents
  • Stakes: 7001 aluminum poles with double Y-shaped structure
  • Fly: 210T polyester fabric with PU3000mm waterproof rating
  • Floor: 210T polyester bathtub floor
  • Mesh: Mesh panels on doors for ventilation
  • Doors: 1 door with vestibule

Price: $219

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Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 3 Solution-Dyed Tent

Photo: Amazon
Photo: Amazon

This 3-person shelter prioritizes shedding weight without sacrificing essential comfort for backpackers who value efficiency. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 3 Solution-Dyed Tent is the best lightweight backpacking tent for serious trekkers that spend multiple nights in the wilderness at at time, and who need efficiency and performance to match up equally.

The Tiger Wall UL 3 is an ultralight champion, tipping the scales at a mere 2 lbs 15 oz. Every gram counts on thru-hikes, and this tent keeps your pack feeling light and nimble. As is the case with other light backpacking tents, three people might find themselves getting cozy, so bring your noise-canceling headphones. A single DAC Featherlite pole makes setting up camp a breeze, so you can focus on enjoying the view instead of wrestling with complicated structures. Solution-dyed nylon ripstop with a 1200mm waterproof rating keeps moderate rain at bay, and the bathtub floor protects you from ground moisture.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 3 Solution-Dyed Tent specs:

  • Capacity: 3 person
  • Weight: 2 lbs 13 oz (1.28 kg)
  • Packed size: 13″ x 7″ (33 x 18 cm)
  • Floor area: 38 square feet (3.5 m²)
  • Stakes: DAC Featherlite single-pole design
  • Fly and floor: Solution-dyed nylon ripstop with 1200mm PU coating
  • Mesh: Mesh panels for ventilation
  • Doors: 2 doors with storm flap vestibules

Price: $499.95

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