5 Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   7 Comments

By Michael Lanza

There are a lot of tents out there. How do you choose between them? Backpackers come in different sizes and have different needs and preferences in a tent. In testing scores of backcountry tents over the past two decades, for reviews in Backpacker Magazine and this blog, I’ve seen the best and the worst—and gotten a sense of what to look for in a tent and how to help people pick out one they like. Here are my five simple tips for finding a tent you’ll love.


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7 Responses to 5 Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

  1. Ken Hwan   |  September 27, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I really like your first tip to read a lot of reviews on the tent you’re thinking of buying. It’s a good idea to find out how it stands up to the weather like you mentioned. I think it’s also worthwhile to consider what tent accessories you’ll need to buy as well and if any of the reviews mention needing any.

    • MichaelALanza   |  September 27, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Thanks, Ken, good points to emphasize.

  2. arizonahikersguide   |  April 1, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Can I add ‘if you are going to get a multi-person tent make sure it has two doors’. I made this mistake and when I take my wife backpacking you have to crawl over the person closest to the door to get out. Very annoying.

    • michaellanza   |  April 1, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Good point, relevant to my tip no. 2 above. Many modern two-person tents have two doors and vestibules, which is vastly more convenient. Usually, a tent maker puts only one door on a tent when they’re trying to reduce its weight, so that’s the tradeoff for shaving some ounces.

  3. Dino Pereira   |  December 21, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Great article, thanks for all the great advise!

  4. Holly Pywell   |  November 13, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Your tips will help me for buying a backpacking tent. I got a clear view to which is more important for a backpacking tent. Tent weight is important when we go out for multi-day trips and I also remember other things you told. Nice blog…

    • michaellanza   |  November 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Thank you, Holly, I’m glad this was helpful.

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