October 30, 2021

7 Best Budget-Friendly Backpacking Tents

October 30, 2021

7 Best Budget-Friendly Backpacking Tents

The tough times don't easily break the will of determined outdoor goers. As for such, the existence of the best budget-friendly backpacking tents is truly a blessing. 

But then again, many would question if these entry-level backpacking tents can stand the challenge. Admittedly, not all affordable tents are worth your time. However, there are those that anyone would really want to seal the deal with. These tents are ergonomic, durable, and highly livable despite their meager price tags. 

If you want to get to know some of these tents, then check the list below!

7 Best Budget-Friendly Backpacking Tents

 SeasonalityCapacity
The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent 3-season2-person
Marmot Tungsten 1P Tent with Footprint 3-season1-person
REI Co-op Passage 2 3-season2-person
Black Diamond Distance Tent3-season2-person 
Kelty Late Start 2 Tent 3-season2-person
Mountain Summit Gear Northwood Series 3-season1-person
REI Co-op Trail Hut 2 Tent with Footprint 3-season2-person

1. The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent

REI PRODUCT LINK

The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent is our first choice for the top-rated, entry-level backpacking tent. The tent offers exceptional innovation in its design. It comes with two large doors for hassle-free access. It also has two multi-configuration vestibules that guarantee the safety of your gear and equipment. Interestingly, the doors can be stuffed into the nearby mesh pockets when you are not using them. 

The canopy's seams and floor are fully taped. Hence, you can expect that it can block the elements from entering the tent. With its efficient high-flow ventilation system, air circulates inside properly. It prevents internal condensation and searing heat! Furthermore, The North Face Stormbreak can be pitched quickly. And once erect, its interior provides sufficient headroom.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester taffeta
  • Floor fabric - Polyester with PU coating
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 2-person
  • Packed weight - 5.9 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 5.3 pounds
  • Floor area - 30.6 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 87 inches x 50 inches
  • Peak height - 3.5 inches

2. Marmot Tungsten 1P Tent with Footprint

REI PRODUCT LINK

Marmot is a reputable manufacturer of tents. And its Tungsten 1P Tent proves to be an excellent option for individuals who want to save money without having to sacrifice too much. The tent features the patented Zone Pre-Bend construction, which enabled the walls to be almost vertical. As a result, its interior can offer you more headroom and better sleeping space. With its free-standing design, you will be able to pitch it in just a matter of minutes.

The D-shaped door of the tent has an integrated vestibule for additional gear storage. The tent also includes a lampshade pocket that can quickly secure a headlamp, which, in turn, would illuminate its whole interior. There are also clips where you can affix some of your items. Meanwhile, the tent's full-coverage fly has integrated vents. It is capable of shielding you from the water while ensuring that you are receiving sufficient ventilation.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester taffeta/polyester no-see-um mesh
  • Floor fabric - Polyester taffeta
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1-person
  • Packed weight - 3.75 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 3.5 pounds
  • Floor area - 20 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 87 inches x 36 inches
  • Peak height - 3.17 feet

3. REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent with Footprint

REI PRODUCT LINK

At its core, the REI REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent is designed to be livable. This 3-season tent has a decent interior spacing; it fits two persons easily, together with some of their equipment. If you are going to use this in your solo backpacking trip, the tent becomes an extremely spacious cocoon! The tent also features an X-pole configuration that enables hassle-free setup and improves the tent's vertical spacing.

There are two vestibules installed in this tent, which provide ample coverage for your gear storage. You can also use the vestibules as a place where you hang out while the sun or rain is out. There are also innovative ceiling vents on this outdoor shelter. They help mitigate the effects of condensation by ventilating them outside. Its fly doors roll up to the roof to enhance the air circulation on its interior. With its gear loops and internal pockets, you will be able to organize your items easily.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester
  • Floor fabric - Polyester
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 2-person
  • Packed weight - 5.6 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 4.1 pounds
  • Floor area - 31 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 88 inches x 52 inches
  • Peak height - 3.33 inches

4. Black Diamond Distance Tent

REI PRODUCT LINK

The Black Diamond Distance Tent is designed for ultralight backcountry adventures. But at the same time, it still has a durable construction. For instance, its 30-denier polyester canopy has high tensile strength. It doesn't stretch even if it is wet. It can also use various trekking poles so that you can pitch it as quickly as possible. There are tension-adjustable stakeout points equipped in this tent so that you can pitch it securely on any surface. 

Moreover, the tent features rugged, reflective guylines, which are quite useful during the night and low-visibility settings. These guylines have polyester sheaths so that they don't stretch too much even under stress. Interestingly, the entire architecture of the tent is compliant with the CPAI-84 fire-retardant regulation. Even if you set it close to a campfire, embers won't be able to raze it. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester
  • Floor fabric - None
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 2-person
  • Packed weight - Unspecified
  • Minimum trail weight - 1.6 pounds
  • Floor area - 26 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 58 inches x 95 inches
  • Peak height - 3.41 feet

5. Kelty Late Start 2 Tent

REI PRODUCT LINK

One of the selling points of the Kelty Late Start is its hassle-free setup. It will save you from the cumbersome pitching process that other entry-level backpacking tents are usually known for. In fact, you can establish the tent in low-light conditions in just a matter of minutes. Hence, it is perfect for those who arrived late at their campsite and for those who simply don't want to deal with quirky tent installations. 

Unlike other tents here, the Kelty Late Star only has one door and one vestibule. Hence, users have to pass through a single point for their entry and exit. But still, the door has a large construction so that it doesn't feel restricting. Moreover, this tent features a waterproof rainfly that protects you from light rain and scorching heat. Noticeably, it comes with pre-bent poles that maximize its interior space!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester
  • Floor fabric - Polyester
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 2-person
  • Packed weight - 4.5 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 4 pounds
  • Floor area - 29.5 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 85 inches x 54 inches
  • Peak height - 3.33 inches

6. Mountain Summit Gear Northwood Series II 1-Person Backpacking Tent

REI PRODUCT LINK

This 1-person tent is the only cocoon that you need for every solo backpacking trip that you have! The super lightweight Mountain Summit Gear Northwood Series II is an excellent shelter for backpacking trips. It provides impressive ventilation that is quite useful during hot days. It also has a convenient setup, which allows first-timers to pitch it without a fuss. With its durable tent fabric, you can expect that it can withstand constant use. 

The Mountain Summit Gear Northwood Series II also showcases superb weather-proofing. Its canopy is seemingly impervious to UV rays and has been treated with a water-resistant coating. The bathtub floor style of the tent guarantees the groundwater and moisture won't catch you off guard. Even its rainfly is reliable enough to protect you against external elements. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester/polyester no-see-um mesh
  • Floor fabric - Polyester
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1-person
  • Packed weight - 4 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 3 pounds
  • Floor area - 22.44 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 79 inches x 36 inches
  • Peak height - 3.33 feet

7. REI Co-op Trail Hut 2 Tent with Footprint

REI PRODUCT LINK

With the REI Co-op Trail Hut 2, you have a guaranteed home in the trail. This dome-shaped tent offers the perfect balance between affordability and comfort. It has an easy setup and provides sufficient storage for you and your gear. It is a 2-person tent but offers ample space for its users to move around. It comes with two large D-shaped doors for quick entry and exit. 

Furthermore, the tent includes two vestibules (one in each door) so that your other gear will be protected against the elements. You can also roll the doors up so that you can have a better view of your surroundings. Of course, it also improves the air circulation in the tent, which, in turn, decreases the chances of condensation. Inside the tent, you'll find loops and pockets where you can organize your small essentials. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Canopy fabric - Polyester/nylon
  • Floor fabric - Polyester
  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 2-person
  • Packed weight - 5.9 pounds
  • Minimum trail weight - 4.87 pounds
  • Floor area - 31.7 square feet
  • Floor dimensions - 88 inches x 52 inches
  • Peak height - 3.33 inches

How To Choose The Best Budget Backpacking Tents

In choosing a backpacking tent, price is not the only consideration you have to consider. After all, what you would want from a tent is its overall performance and ability to shield you from the elements. 

Here are some of the crucial considerations in choosing a backpacking tent. You shouldn't ignore one of them. 

Seasonality

You can never really pick the right tent if you don't understand the concept of seasonality. Seasonality is the term used to describe what kinds of seasons a tent can endure. 

In the market today, you'll see mostly 3-season tents; they can be used in summer, spring, and fall. These tents are ideal for those who prefer to go to established campsites and destinations during fair weather conditions. As long as you don't need to deal with the inclement weather, these 3-season tents are the best choice for you. 

However, if you are heading to the high altitudes or snowy alpines, these 3-season tents won't be up for the task. Hence, they either choose 3-4-season tents or full 4-season tents. But if you want rigidity and weather protection, pick a 4-season tent right from the get-go. 

Type Of Backpacking

Backpacking can be divided into two: casual (leisure) or serious. For casual backpacking, people tend to cover only short distances within a limited time frame. Here, the ideal tent should possess the following traits: durable construction, hassle-free setup, and convenience in livability. 

But as the trips get more prolonged and more arduous, factors like packed size and weight come into the equation. For long-distance backpacking and thru-hiking, they no longer prioritize the overall comfort of the tent. Instead, they go for those that have fewer features but provide streamlined weight. Again, not all backpackers have the same destination. It's really up to you where you want to go. You just have to make sure that you bring the correct tent with you. 

Weight Of The Tent

A lot of backpackers prioritize the weight of their tent. In fact, many consider this as the prime consideration in choosing an outdoor shelter. 

Most of those budget-friendly tents (such as the ones we featured here) used minimal materials on their construction. But at the same time, these materials aren't as ergonomic and innovative as other high-end tents. Because of this particular nuance, entry-level tents tend to become heavier. Surprisingly, that's the truth. That's the very reason why you can see cheap two-person tents that weigh around 5 pounds. 

If you want a lightweight model, you have to spend a little higher. Costly tents can weigh as low as 2 pounds! 

But at the same time, you have to remember that lightweight tents have compromised a lot of features that you might need. As I've said, lightweight tents have stripped many components to make them bearable to carry on long distances. Their durability has deteriorated, and the space they provide has decreased, too. Sometimes, they do get complicated setups. 

Here, you'll realize that you still have to identify the type of backpacking pursuit that you want to embark on. If your journey is not that exhausting, then not-so-lightweight tents are alright companions. But if you are going on a multi-day backpacking trip, ultralight tents are essential. 

Capacity

Most backpacking tents range from 1-person to 4-person models. The most common one is definitely the 2-person models, and they are capable of fitting regular-size sleeping pads placed together. If you want to save space and weight, go with a 1-person tent. But even solo backpackers would jump to a 2-person tent since it allows them to store their gear inside. 

Meanwhile, a 3-person tent provides extra space for small families (or two people with one pet) or those people who want extra space for their equipment. Of course, the more spacious your tent is, the larger your sleeping area becomes. Needless to say, always be reminded that large tents tend to be heavier than small-capacity tents. 

When it comes to livability, you have to identify the floor dimensions of the tent. It will help you have a good grasp as to whether or not the tent can fit items like wide and long sleeping pads. Moreover, you should check the peak height, too. If you don't want to crawl, you need a tent that has a decent peak height--which is usually measured in the tent's center. 

Weather Protection

Of course, just because you are trying to save money doesn't mean that you have to pick a shabby tent. By all means, the tent should be able to protect you from the elements. Otherwise, it is pretty useless to bring it to your tent. 

Fortunately, many backpacking tents today--even 3-season tents--can already deal with light rain! They possess features like coated fabrics and full-coverage, waterproof rainflies. Welded and taped seams are also useful in preventing the entry of moisture and water. 

Also, it has to be emphasized that expensive tents provide more weather protection than their cheaper counterparts. Hence, you should be careful where you are going to take these budget-friendly backpacking tents. 

In Summary

The best budget-friendly backpacking tent is a necessity for frugal enthusiasts who want to explore the outdoors. These tents provide ergonomic features that make them extra livable without spending big. However, let me remind you that you need to be extra cautious in choosing cheap tents. In this way, you will not end up having a shabby model.

If you don't want to take this risk, you should follow the guidelines I've mentioned. Furthermore, you should consider checking the tents I've featured here. 

That's it for now. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below!

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