backpacking tent reviews

Backpackers camped in the backcountry of Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The 10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2024

By Michael Lanza

A good backpacking tent not only makes your trips more comfortable by keeping you warm and dry in foul weather—it’s critical safety gear and one of the heaviest and most expensive items you’ll carry. Those facts alone are motivation enough to find the right tent for your style of backpacking. But how do you choose from the many models out there, which come in a huge range of designs, weights, and prices? Whether you’re shopping for your first backpacking shelter or looking to replace an old one, this review will help make that choice easy for you.

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A campsite at night by the Colorado River at Hance Rapids in the Grand Canyon.

Ultralight Backpacking Tents: How to Choose One

By Michael Lanza

Switching from a standard backpacking tent to an ultralight tent can shave pounds from your total pack weight—which for many backpackers will be the biggest step they can take toward a lighter pack. But it can be confusing to sort through the various ultralight tents out there, and the specs on them can look like a big pot of numeral soup, leaving you wondering: How are they different? And ultimately, which one is best for you?

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A campsite at Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park.

5 Expert Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

By Michael Lanza

The choices in tents for backpacking seem to get better every year, with lightweight models continually getting lighter and other advances that make tents sturdier and more livable without adding weight. But with all the options out there, how do you choose? The answer is simpler than you might think: It comes down to understanding the key differences that distinguish tents from one another—which will help you understand what you need.

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Backpackers hiking past a tarn off the Highline Trail (CDT) in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2024

By Michael Lanza

Glacier National Park. The Wind River Range. The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. Iceland. The John Muir Trail, Wonderland Trail, and Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Yellowstone. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. Southern Utah’s Escalante canyons. The North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear and apparel reviewed at The Big Outside—so that I can give you honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you find the best gear for your adventures.

And that’s exactly how I came up with these picks for today’s best backpacking gear.

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The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 ultralight solo backpacking tent.

Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 Ultralight Solo Tent

Ultralight Solo Backpacking Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1
$599, 16.8 oz./476.3g
hyperlitemountaingear.com

After crossing Texas Pass, at around 11,460 feet, a friend and I descended into the incomparable Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, reaching the shore of Lonesome Lake—where the sky suddenly darkened, soon followed by thunder and lightning. We hustled to pitch the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 as a temporary shelter and both dove inside just as the full force of that thunderstorm walloped us with pounding wind and rain, even spawning a new, little stream that flowed under one end of the tent. But we stayed warm and dry inside it while waiting 30 minutes or more for the storm to pass. And that’s just one tale of the weather the Mid-1 endured, demonstrating its value as one of the very best ultralight solo backpacking tents available today.

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