backpacking tent reviews

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

The 10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2022

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 article will help make that choice easy for you.

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A backpacker at Evolution Lake on the John Muir Trail in Evolution Basin, Kings Canyon National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

By Michael Lanza

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. Glacier National Park. Yellowstone. The North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. 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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Slingfin 2Lite ultralight backpacking tent.

Review: Slingfin 2Lite Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Slingfin 2Lite
$505 (includes seam sealing; $30 less to order without seam sealing and do that yourself)
2 lbs. 10 oz. for the 2Lite, 2 lbs. 6 oz. for the 2Lite Trek
slingfin.com

Backpackers seeking an ultralight, two-person tent with decent space and solid performance in a range of backcountry circumstances actually have several good choices these days—including six of my 10 picks for the best backpacking tents. And yet, there are many reasons they should consider the 2Lite from Slingfin, as I concluded by the first night of a long hike through the High Sierra in August, when strong gusts pounded our camp at nearly 10,000 feet all night.

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

Review: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Solution Dye Ultralight Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Solution Dye
$450, 2 lbs. 3 oz.
moosejaw.com

If you’re shopping for an ultralight tent with two doors that doesn’t require an engineering degree to pitch, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 has long had much to recommend it—including a weight of 18 ounces per occupant. Now, B.A. has made the latest update of this laudable shelter even more appealing to weight-conscious backpackers, with fabric that’s highly resistant to UV degradation and comes with substantial green cred, thanks to a production process that uses radically less water, energy, and chemicals.

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The Slingfin SplitWing Shelter Bundle.

Review: Slingfin SplitWing Ultralight Backpacking Shelter

Ultralight Backpacking Shelter
Slingfin SplitWing Shelter Bundle
$335, 1 lb. 5 oz. (entire bundle, including six DAC stakes weighing 2.4 oz.)
slingfin.com

Over nearly three decades of testing and reviewing backpacking gear, I’d say the category that has seen the most technological advances is backpacking tents. Still, a radically different tent comes along only rarely—and the latest is Slingfin’s SplitWing Shelter Bundle, a package of three modular ultralight shelter components that constitutes one of the lightest and most versatile, three-season backpacking shelters available today.

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