5 Best Travel Tents (MUST READ! • 2020 Buyer’s Guide)

BEST TRAVEL TENTS:  Buyer Guide  |  Overall Best  |  Best for Backpacking  |  Best Ultralight

Best Backpacking Tent

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You need to buy a travel tent!

Well… that was an absolute statement…

It was, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I’m of the (well-founded) opinion that every traveller should be adventuring with a backpacker tent. It’s a necessary piece of backpacking gear.

A backpacking tent is a home – a home for the homeless. Anywhere you go, be it parks in the urban sprawl or glorious remote vistas in the wilderness, you’ll have a home

Camping out in the woods, on the beach, or at the foot of some mighty mountain is a truly amazing way to reconnect with nature. I love to camp and have been lucky enough to camp out in over fifty different countries across five continents. I saved a lotta dough on accommodation costs in the process too…

So, how do you pick the best backpacking tent for hiking and camping adventures?

In this in-depth post, we’ll review the best tents for backpacking for all budgets and styles of travel – cheap tents, light tents, hiking tents, travel tents. It’s a goddamn tent city and we’re finding you a sweet crib!

Read on, let’s learn about your portable home!

A group of the best hiking tents at K2

Tent city population you!


Quick Answer: Best Backpacking Tents for 2020


The 5 Best Backpacking Tents of 2020

best tent for backpacking

These are the BEST tents on the market


#1 Overall Best Tent for Backpacking

MSR Hubba Hubba

MSR Mutha Hubba backpacking tent
  • Price: $449.95
  • Weight: 3 lb. 7 oz
  • Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 39 inches
  • Size when packed: 6 x 18 inches
Wow! $400…. shit. Never fear amigo, there are some cheaper options on here but I had to start with the MSR Hubba Hubba as this is hands down the best backpacking tent that money can buy. It’s one of the best lightweight tents for backpacking, designed for stormy conditions and is one of the most waterproof backpacking tents around… I’ve waited out many storms inside this tent.

The MSR Hubba Hubba is great for two people and is really quite spacious for a two-person tent; it is shaped to allow you to sit up throughout most of the tent. I’ve traveled with both the two-person and the three-person MSR Hubba Hubba and loved them both dearly. The two-person is one of the best couples backpacking tents – there’s room to roll around.

MSR is one of the most respected brands in the backpacking tent and gear industry and they have seriously decent customer support – when you buy an MSR tent it comes with a lifetime warranty so you can see it as an investment, it’ll be the last tent you ever have to buy!

MSR Hubba Hubba comes in three sizes…

I have not personally tested the MSR Hubba NX one person tent but I do have extensive experience with the NX 2 and NX 3 and they have both performed absolutely fantastically.

The only real drawback is that MSR gear is pricey, so if you don’t think you’ll be using your tent very often it probably isn’t worth the money. However, if you are planning on camping out a lot then I would recommend making the investment as this will be the last tent you ever need to buy.

I tore a whole in my NX 3 (was totally my fault) and sent it back to MSR, they quickly repaired and returned it – free of charge. I am a big fan of MSR and now tend to always recommend them for tents and camping stoves, the two things that they make really, really well.

  • Ultra Light Weight
  • Great weight to space ratio
  • Leading material in technology
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Expensive (but the lifetime warranty makes it worth it!)


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#2 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Nemo Hornet

the best budget backpacking tent Nemo Hornet 2P
  • Price: $329.95
  • Weight: 3lbs 7 oz
  • Dimensions: 86 x 52 x 40 in
  • Size when packed:  7 x 18 inches
Check out our epic full review of the Nemo Hornet here!

The award-winning Nemo Hornet is the best lightweight backpacking tent on the market; not only is it ultralight, leading in material technology and design for quick set up, but it is also acclaimed as one of the best waterproof backpacking tents available.

However, there have been reports of the external section not being optimized for protection of your stuff against the elements and some have even said that the materials are so thin that they are easily pierced by twigs.

These two problems make it very hard to justify such a high price tag, but do note that these could be quite isolated issues. I have tried the Nemo Hornet out whilst hiking in Turkey and if you are on a long multi-day hike, the exceptionally low weight makes the Nemo Hornet stand out as the best ultralight tent.

  • Ultralight
  • Well designed
  • Two doors
  • Waterproofing has mixed reviews
  • So does it’s strength
  • No lifetime warranty


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#3 Best One Man Tent

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Backpacking Tent
  • Price: $329.95
  • Weight: 1 pound 11 ounces
  • Dimensions: 86 x 28 x 38 inches
  • Size when packed: 4 x 19 inches

The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 is one of the lightest free-standing tents on the market and if you’re on a solo adventure, this is a solid choice as the best one man tent that money can buy. The exceptional design, coupled with awesome fabrics makes it hard to beat in terms of efficiency.

If you’re looking for a tent with an easy set up, and an overall versatile tent, this one might be for you. The free-standing build makes it easy to pitch almost anywhere. And the guy line locations will ensure that this tent can get you through the gnarliest of storms.

Check out my buddy Mouse’s in-depth review of the Big Agnes Fly Creek here.

  • Super lightweight
  • Very durable
  • Packs down very compact
  • Center seam can tear
  • Pricey

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 #4 Best Camping Hammock Tent

Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge

lawson best backpacking tent
  • Price: $199
  • Weight: 4.25 pounds
  • Dimensions: 90 x 42 inches
  • Size when packed: 6 x 22 inches
Hammock camping tents are awesome… These bad boys are designed to be suspended taught so that they provide you with a flat surface to sleep on, rather than you sinking deep into a caccoon as you tend to do with traditional hammock designs.

Hammock tents are super versatile, well made and can be set up like a normal tent on the ground if needs be – this offers the best of both worlds.

If you are looking for a quality one man tent for backpacking but also want to hang out on the beach in a hammock during the day, the Lawson Hammock Tent offers incredible versatility and best of all these bad boys are tough and you can put them through hell.

This particular hammock tent comes with an integrated mosquito net to keep bugs out and a waterproof ripstop nylon rain fly to keep you dry.

  • Super lightweight
  • Best of two worlds
  • Seriously cool
  • Not cheap for a hammock
  • Not everyone likes hammocks

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How to pick the best backpacking tent for you?

Ten years ago, I hit the road with almost no money in my pocket, a battered tent and an old camping stove. I hitchhiked my way across Europe, thriving on a shoestring budget and having an incredible adventure. Since then, I’ve personally tried and tested dozens of backpacking tents in my travels.

If you’re a long-distance hiker, your needs will be pretty different to a backpacker traveling around the world. Weight is arguably the most important factor to look at when choosing both a travel or hiking tent and personally I would never carry a tent for that weighs more than 5 pounds – it’s just too heavy.

Personally, I opt to go for a light and compact tent which I can pitch quickly. All of the tents that I’m reviewing weigh under 5 pounds and are quick to set up but some of them are lighter, or faster to set up, than others.

My personal tent overlooking the Deosai Plains

And then you get views like this.

Price is obviously an important factor and if you’re on a budget, your choices are plentiful! Once upon a time, cheap backpacking tents were dogshit, falling apart and breaking before long. These days, however, many kickass companies have stepped up to the plate and offer some seriously good cheap tents; so much so that we have a roundup of the best budget backpacking tents!

Think carefully about what you need your personal tent for and how many people you envision sleeping in it. Most of the time, three-man backpacking tents only weigh a little bit more than two-man tents so if you will be camping with a buddy, it’s well worth picking a three-manner and taking the extra sleeping space.

Two-man backpacking tents can be pretty cramped, especially if you want to roll around a lot. 😉


Considerations to make about your backpacking tent.

When choosing the best backpacking tent for yourself, here’s what you should consider…

  • Size when packed
  • Size when open
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Pitching time
  • Season
  • Functionality
  • Durability and strength

Having a backpacking tent with you opens up a whole new world of possibilities – you can save a ton of money by camping and if you’re hitchhiking you really MUST have a tent as there is no way of knowing where you’ll end up sleeping!

a cheap backpacking tent in the heights of bhutan

An ancient Vango backpacking tent in front of Jomalhari: Bhutan’s second-highest peak.

If you are on a long-term budget adventure, having a tent for camping really is a necessity as it will save you so much cash and gives you so many more options. A backpacking tent not only saves you money in the long run but frees you up to stay in a place you otherwise could never have stayed in. Some of my most memorable travel experiences were only possible because I was camping.

Check out the comparison table and detailed tent reviews below so that you can choose the best backpacking tent for your needs.


The Top 5 Best Backpacking Tents for Backpackers in 2020!


  • Price > $$$$
  • Weight > 3.7 lbs.
  • Capacity > 2 Person
  • Free Standing > Yes
  • Price > $$$$
  • Weight > 3.7 lbs.
  • Capacity > 2 Person
  • Free Standing > Yes
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  • Price > $$$
  • Weight > 1.7 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1 Person
  • Free Standing > No
  • Price > $$$
  • Weight > 1.7 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1 Person
  • Free Standing > No
Check on REICheck on Amazon

  • Price > $$
  • Weight > 5.2 lbs.
  • Capacity > 2 Person
  • Free Standing > Yes
  • Price > $$
  • Weight > 5.2 lbs.
  • Capacity > 2 Person
  • Free Standing > Yes
Check on Amazon

  • Price > $$$
  • Weight > 2.5 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1 Person
  • Free Standing > No
  • Price > $$$
  • Weight > 2.5 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1 Person
  • Free Standing > No
Check on REICheck on Amazon
tbb-table__imageBEST CAMPING HAMMOCKBEST CAMPING HAMMOCKLawson Blue Ridge Camping Hammock

  • Price > $$
  • Weight > 4.25 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1-2 Person
  • Free Standing > No
  • Price > $$
  • Weight > 4.25 lbs.
  • Capacity > 1-2 Person
  • Free Standing > No
Check on Amazon


Thoughts on Camping Hammocks  

If you just don’t want to take a tent, at least take a hammock! Camping hammocks are compact, light and give you a ton of freedom.

If you’re travelling solo then I would suggest getting a hammock rather than a tent (depending on where you are travelling) or even getting both as a hammock opens up a whole new world of outdoor sleeping… Check out The 10 Best Camping Hammocks to find the best backpacking hammock tent for you or, if you’re feeling lazy – buy this one; it’s the best value camping hammock around (but it can’t be pitched on the ground like the Lawson Blue Ridge).

Also, if you ever want to step up your camping game to another level, check out our epic review of the best roof top tents.

the best tent for backpacking



So, what is the best tent for backpacking?

I decided to break down all the information you really need to pick the best tent for backpacking so hopefully you have found this post useful and can now pick out the best tent for your needs.

If I had to pick one overall epic tent for backpacking I would say go for the MSR Hubba Hubba.

But, this is The Broke Backpacker, and I get that this tent is expensive – the best budget tent on the market is hand’s down the Vango banshee and this is what I travelled with for years.

So pick up the best budget solo backpacking tent and head out there! Happy camping amigos!


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Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going. 


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Best Backpacking Tent


  • Avatar CW says:

    Hey there, Will. Thanks for this useful resource.

    Very curious about your take on the newly launched NEMO Firefly. Perhaps it’s too new for you to have any first-hand experience, but interested especially in how you feel it might stack up to the HHNX2.

    I know that’s your go-to (and mine), but I have to admit this Firefly has me intrigued. Thoughts?

    Looking for as in-depth as you’re capable of offering, in light of the fact I might consider purchasing one myself. Pros/cons/etc.


    • Hello, We do not yet have personal experience with the Nemo Firefly, but from all reports, it sounds like a good tent. If you end up buying one, let us know how you like it!

    • Hello, We do not yet have personal experience with the Neo Firefly, but from all reports, it sounds like a good tent. If you end up buying one, let us know how you like it!

  • Avatar Al Miller says:

    Hi Will,

    Recently read through the Broke Backpacker web site and see you make recommendations on various backpacking gear. I represent a manufacturer of light weight backpacks designed for a backpack and or motorcycle pannier. Would you be so kind as to let me know how I might be able to participate in your web site helping people become aware of the DL Adventure products.

    Thank You

  • Avatar Timmy Hussell says:

    So, after shopping around for tents and giving myself a headache from staring at the screen, I gave up and decided to purchase the Bearheard Emergency tube tent, a quick backup in case I couldn’t find a room to rent in a hostel or wanted as little set-up hassle as possible on camping grounds. (Plus, hey! Super lightweight, doesn’t take up much space in my pack, and will keep me dry and warm in harsh climates.)

    And now I’m in post-purchase regret because I have no clue how I’d secure myself and my backpack within this doorless/flapless tent, but buying another tent that’s going to break my bank and add too much weight to my pack just doesn’t seem like an option. I guess I’m thinking too much about this, but for anyone who’s reading:

    Any tips on keeping myself and my stuff safe in this humble thing? I have a retractable cable lock, if I can do anything with that.

  • Avatar Mizanur Rahman says:

    Is there is any tent that suits for hot weather ? I mean while travel in the summer which tent is perfect?

  • Avatar Dan says:

    Hi Will. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your site. I’m planning a trip in the summer of 2020 full of firsts (first backpacking, first solo, first SEA) and your insights have been extremely helpful. So I have a question about the need for a tent. I’m gonna be doing a modified banana pancake trip, but i’m really planning on hostel hopping. I have a travel hammock, but not one I’d sleep in without jerry-rigging a mosquito net. Is it worth me bringing a tent just in case or am I better served saving weight/space in my pack?

    • Art Art says:

      Hey Dan, and Hi from Chiang Mai! We’re on the pancake trail right now and you’ll do well in hostels on the pancake trail. You can bring a tent if you’re planning on camping up in the hills outside of civilization, but depending on your travel style, you’re likely to get invited into people’s homes more often than not if you’re off the beaten track, respectful, and like spicy food. If it comes down to it, you can pick up a mosquito net here. Happy adventuring!

  • Avatar Orango says:

    Couldn’t find the Vango Banshee for the listed price…
    Seems it has gone up to 240$ for the Banshee 300 Pro I see on Amazon.
    Is it still worth the price?

  • Avatar Ants says:

    Well done . Great review.
    Totally covered all I needed on Pakistan.
    Also one of my favourite countries to travel .
    I hitched from Calcutta to London way back in 1995 and Pakistan was the Jewel .
    Doing it all again and should be back there in a couple of weeks .I can’t wait .

  • Avatar Nicolas says:


    Do you have any negative experience with the MSR mutha hubba 3 person tent regarding waterproofness?
    Almost all the negative feedback state that the rainfly touches the inner tent during heavy rainfall.
    Is this a manufacturing default or just the result of a wrong set-up?



    • Avatar Chris Lininger says:

      Hi Nicolas,

      If tensioned properly, the rainfly should NOT touch the inner tent body during heavy rain. That said, if many people are reporting the issue, it could be a design flaw that MSR may well have addressed for their upcoming release of the updated 2019 MSR Hubba Hubba tent series. I have personally never encountered such an issue with the rainfly (I have an older Hubba Hubba tent as well as the 2019 updated version), but that is not to say that it can’t happen. I have always been 100% dry in my Hubba Hubba, and I have spent weeks sleeping in it. If you follow the steps to tension the rain fly properly using all the grommet straps and guy lines you should be enjoying night after night of (dry) sleeping in the tent. Hope that helped! Good luck!

  • Avatar Nicolas says:

    Hi Will,

    In the reviews online I’ve read on the MSR Mutha hubba NX 3-person tent, there seems to be a recurrent problem with condensation/leaks, specifically the fact that the rain fly touches the inner tent. Do you know if, for the 2019 version, this problem has been taken care of? Is this, in your expertise, a real problem or just a consequence of a bad set-up? I am going backpacking in a very wet country for 3 months so this concerns me a bit. I am torn between the Big Agnes copper spur HV UL 3 and the MSR Mutha hubba NX 3 person tent, so I’d like to get an experts opinion!

    Kind regards,


  • Avatar Muawiyah Khan says:

    Brilliant review, thank you.
    It says the MSR Hubba Hubba is a 3 season tent, does that mean its no good for winter?

    • This definitely depends, but it is not built to handle intense winter/mountaineering camping and snow, nor extremely low temperatures, so I guess it depends how harsh your winter is.

  • Avatar Josh says:

    I love your articles and I’m going to follow your advice for haggling in Vietnam and Thailand in my near future. Just wondering if you’ve ever tried a bivy sack or a sleeping pad/air bed and could you comment on it?

  • Avatar Nick says:

    I will choose the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 all the way. It might be expensive but it’s totally worth it!

  • Avatar aksel says:

    Thank you very for your great review.

    For a travel of several months in Latin America, I would like to take an MSR Hubba NX tent. I will hiking with my tent several times and will volunteer in places where I will have to stay in my tent. I think that MSR Hubba NX tent is good alternative for this travel, but I hesitate between solo or two person tent. Taking into consideration that I will stay a lot of days in the tent, I would like to be able to move a little in the tent (I am 1.80 tall), perhaps to store my backpack, but I am hesitating for the extra weight (1/2 kg) /place that I will have to carry.

    Do you think that it will worth taking the NX2, for the extra room that it will provide? I will not always be in camp and will carry this tent in cities, buses, etc. when I am not using it..

    • Personally, if I am camping a lot – I always opt for more room, however if I am going to be carrying that over a multi-day trek, I would sacrifice comfort for weight. It’s really a matter of personal preference and what kind of activities you will be doing 🙂

  • Avatar Paul Tarrant says:

    Really useful comments, thanks
    Confused on the name of the 3 man MSR Hubba Hubba. The link takes you to the MSR Mutha Hubba NX. Is it the same thing or am I missing something.

  • Avatar Sky says:

    Really useful review!
    Can I ask what your thoughts on the MSR Elixsr – seems similar to the Hubba Hubba, but a little heavier and bigger to pack down, but quite a lot cheaper (£200 vs £360). Or would you say the Vango Banshee is better than the Elixsr? Seems like there’s more livable space and vestibule space with the Elixsr…

    • The MSR Elixsr is definitely superior to the Vango Banshee but obviously it’s twice the price… I genuinely think that the Vango Banshee is the best value backpacking tent around but if you have more money to spend, and want to splash out on a tent that will last a lifetime, MSR simply make the best tents in the world. Really though it depends on how many people, and how much stuff, you need to get into your tent… The Vango Banshee 300 is good for two people, not the advertised three people that Vango say you can comfortably fit inside.

  • Avatar Toby Kroner says:

    Sorry dude, but the vango banshe is a piece of shit… barely no ventillation, not enough screens, useless in a tropical climate and fire retardent, pigs arse, half the fly burnt down on mine I informed vango and they told me bad luck, as I needed another fly, they told me to buy another tent….wankers !!! Also its a pain to put up the way the inner bag attaches to the fly, stupid design. Rant over.

    • I respectfully disagree dude… I traveled with a Vango for years and it was a trusty workhorse, it ain’t as light or as tough as some of the other tents out there but for what you pay – it’s a great backpacking tent! Probably shouldn’t have been cooking in your tent porch if you didn’t want it to burn 😛

  • Avatar annette says:

    can you name the tent on the first picture? The triangle-ish one (doesn’t look like the Vango..?!).

    Thank you

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