If your regular tent is weighing you down, it’s time to lighten the load. There’s a certain class of tent that offers less weight and more chance to get to longer hikes with faster set-ups. When ounces matter, it’s time to start looking at the world of ultralight tents.
Ultralight tents sacrifice some standard tent functionality while giving you space in your pack and more room for other necessary pack items. They use light fabrics and interesting frames (or no frames at all) to achieve the near impossible.
If you aren’t sure how to choose an ultralight tent, we’ve reviewed ten of the best ultralight tents to help you choose something suitable for your needs.
Hilleberg specializes in expedition style tents made for trekkers who aren’t just fair-weather camping near their cars. The Jannu uses Hilleberg’s Kerlon fabric for a light, yet durable four-season tent.
This ultralight tent has a frame with 9mm aluminum poles. It’s low lying with a full zip fly and vestibule space. It uses a double wall construction that can handle a snow load with minimal interior condensation. It has only a single door, but it’s wide, and there are 13 square feet of vestibule space for staging and storing wet gear. The true bathtub floor is ultra water and weatherproof. It weighs just under seven pounds, which is excellent for a true four-season tent.
Big Agnes is a classic ultralight tent that’s bright and airy. It uses a four-way hub with DAC Featherlite poles to increase living space by pulling the sides nearly vertical. The fly and floor fabric use silicon treated nylon with 1200 mm waterproofing. The material pattern is a unique ripstop weave with high tenacity yarn. It’s lightweight but still withstands quite a bit of abuse. All the seams are factory sealed with solvent-free polyurethane tape that has no VOCs or off-gassing. It has a full zip fly and two doors and vestibules for better organization. There are plenty of interior pockets for gear. It doesn’t come with a footprint, so you may want to invest in a separate footprint to protect the floor fabric.
The Hubba Hubba is a two-person tent with a dome frame that increases living space while setting up quickly. The combination of mesh and solid panels helps ventilation but provides insulation for colder nights. The fly fully zips. Two doors and two vestibules create an organized living space with room to store gear. The rain fly rolls up to allow full breathability and excellent views on nicer evenings. It uses DAC Featherlite poles for durability and increased strength. The floor uses 30 denier nylon ripstop, which is light but may tear under duress. The footprint adds weight and isn’t included. Also, the rainfly doesn’t extend far enough to the ground to keep out heavy winds, which can also blow moisture into the tent if your guy lines aren’t correctly installed.
The Nemo Dagger has a trapezoidal design that increases vestibule space, and the full mesh top gives you incredible views on pleasant nights. A hub design increases living area by pulling the walls nearly vertical, eliminating sweet spots, and the flashlight pocket diffuses light throughout the tent.
It has two doors and two vestibules for excellent gear storage and staging area. Interior pockets keep everything organized. Floor space is evenly distributed so you can sleep feet to head with two people. It comes with a divvy sack for dividing up weight between two packs.
The frame uses DAC Featherlite prebent poles for durability and better ceiling heights. Floor fabric is 30 denier nylon, waterproof but will probably require a footprint, which isn’t included. The rainfly is just 15 denier nylon, so be careful when pitching it.
The Paria weighs just under three pounds for fast pack enthusiasts. It features a large, asymmetrical front door and vestibule space, so part of the door can be completely out of the rain. It’s bright yellow, which is easy to spot. The tent floor has a 5000 mm waterproof coating, one of the highest on our list, and it includes a footprint for better durability. 7000 series aluminum poles are durable enough to withstand moderate winds and weather. It’s a budget option for fast pack tents. It’s easy to set up with just the footprint and rainfly for a minimalist shelter or to set up the tent in the rain, so you don’t get the interior wet in the process. It has three different stuff sacks, so you can divide the weight easily among two packs. The bathtub style floor is convenient, but it could be a little higher to withstand more substantial amounts of water when the footprint is in place.
Outdoor Vitals is another excellent budget option. The Dominion uses a 20-denier polyester fabric with a 40-denier bathtub style floor. It has a 3000 mm waterproof coating and a siliconized exterior for better weather resistance. Double walls allow the tent to withstand greater weather pressure while reducing interior condensation. A rain gutter pushes water away from the door even when you unzip the fly, so you can get in and out of your vestibule space without tracking water in. There’s a removable gear loft and plenty of storage pockets. It uses five-millimeter aluminum poles, which are light but not the most durable on the market. It’s good for fair weather or rain, but heavy winds might collapse the frame onto itself. However, it does get the job done if you need a budget ultralight tent with fast pitch options.
A budget, four-season tent is hard to find, but Naturehike Cloud is a good option. It comes with a full zip rainfly and snow skirt plus all appropriate guy lines for creating a bomb-proof shelter. You can use the inner layer tent for summer camping for ventilation or the double layer for better insulation. 20 denier nylon is lightweight, but the 3000 mm waterproof coating helps keep moisture out. Poles are 7000 series aluminum, which are durable and help maintain shape. It comes with a footprint for fast pitch options and to protect the floor. There’s only one front door, but the vestibule space is large enough to store wet gear and to create a staging area. The front door is all mesh, which can cause issues in cold wind. We’d like to see panels at least as high as the walls for when you’re sleeping. The temperature inside your tent can drop significantly if you don’t get the guy lines right.
The 780G is a one man, ultralight tent made for extreme light packing. It’s not free standing, but it reduces weight by using a trekking pole to provide the primary support. It will require a working knowledge of staking out guylines to get the structure right, so make sure you practice before you leave.
The bathtub style floor uses 150 denier oxford fabric with a 3000 mm waterproof coating. The outer tent comes off for better ventilation in warm weather. It uses a double wall design that overlaps for better insulation but provides proper ventilation and condensation control.
If you don’t have a trekking pole, you can buy Andake’s separately. The buckle system is intuitive and easy to master when pitching. It’s not quite a four-season tent, but it will shed dry snow well. If you can master the setup, you should be protected from any unexpected inclement weather.
If you want some structure to your tent, but don’t want the weight, a one-person bivy style may be the right type for you. This one has a simple set up and doesn’t require you to carry (or use) your trekking pole for structure. It has a shock cord, aluminum pole, and stakes for a two-minute set up. You can leave the vent open for views of the stars, or you can close it to help with insulation. It has extra wide shoulder room and length. Batwing stiffeners help to elevate the foot area to help with ventilation, but the condensation can still get bad (which is common for bivys). The body uses a 70-denier nylon ripstop material with a full 10,000 mm waterproof coating. Heat taped seams prevent leaks. Even sleeping on the ground, you should have excellent weather resistance and no splash back or leakage.
The Lynx is a one-person, free standing tent with a simple set up. It has a single door and vestibule space for storing wet gear and keeping things out of the living space. The polyester fly is 75 denier with taped seams and 2000 mm waterproofing. The floor is also 75 denier with the same waterproofing. The dual pole structure is aluminum to cut down on weight, but it does reduce the tent’s ability to withstand heavier winds. Pitching is quick and easy with good floor space and excellent height. The tent structure pulls the walls up nearly vertical, so you don’t have an obvious sweet spot in the ceiling. It’s also one of the best budget options on the list for a one-person tent.