Keeping The Pack Weight Down: 5 Of The Best Ultralight Tents In The Market

Minimalist backpacking shelters commonly known as “ultralight tents” have taken the camping industry by storm.

These terrific tents are the product of innovative manufacturers (and the constant ranting of campers who hate domed tents) aimed at making our outdoor life comfortable and more secure. In all honesty, you really don’t need that complex tent with dangling poles, elastic cords, and numerous stakes (which will make assembling impossible if you lose just one!).

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You really don’t need these!

We must accept the fact that all that extra stuff is truly unnecessary – your temporary shelter can be simple and still give you the security. The best ultralight tents can protect you, keep you dry, and they do not take up 75% of your pack weight (and space).

The best part is.. these tents usually weight about 2.5 kg/5 lbs! But of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect shelter. Ultralight tents have downsides as well, as with any gear or tools (more on this later).

For now, let’s look at some consideration you should take into account when choosing an ultralight tent.

The Ultimate Ultralight Tent Buying Guide

Should I get a freestanding or non-freestanding tent?

Freestanding tents stand upright with the use of a framework of poles. They may also use a few guylines and stakes for stability.

Some of the freestanding tent’s advantages include stability, fast and easy setup (no guyline webbings or numerous stakes), and you can set it up anywhere you prefer, whether it be on a sandy beach or a rocky summit.

Conversely, non-freestanding tents require the use of stakes and guylines, plus your trekking poles. This ultralight tent type is lightweight, compact, and costs less.

Material

Ultralight tent fabrics are commonly made of either Silnylon or Dyneema. Both are great in repelling the outdoor elements but they differ in terms of durability, weight, and cost.

Typically, Dyneema is more durable and weigh less because of its high-tech fabric compared to Silinylon. Though Silinylon does not compare to the durability of Dyneema, it’s nonetheless resilient and costs way lesser.

Fabrics

Ideally, the ultralight tent of your choice should feature a wall fabric such as a tent tarp to line the floor, repelling potential running water that might come from rains, overflowing nearby river, etc. This fabric helps to prevent water from infiltrating the interiors.

Also, a mesh-like fabric enclosure to block out bugs and allow ventilation would be a great addition.

Single vs. double-walled tents

Single-walled tents are made of just one fabric

As mentioned earlier, wall fabrics can either be a tent tarp or a mesh-like wall. A single-walled tent features only the tarp-like wall whereas the double walled shelter flashes the combination of both.

Double-walled tents feature both a tent tarp and a mesh wall

So, what’s the best choice? Again, it’s a matter of personal preference. Single-walled tents are lighter and more compact, thus they’re convenient to bring anywhere

On the other hand, double-walled tents may be quite heavy but they offer utmost protection and dryness as the extra wall shields condensed water from dripping inside the tent.

Weight

Apparently, ultralight tents are called as such because of how compact and light they are. The term "ultralight" may sound new to first-time backpackers and might seem like the extreme end of the spectrum; but in reality, it’s becoming the new standard for a majority of backpackers.

You won’t have a hard time looking for this kind of tent because we’re pretty sure camping brands offer a variety of these. As a rule of thumb, 1-person tents should weigh about a pound and a 2-3 person tent should weigh below 3 pounds.

Interior space

Ultralight tents keep weight to a minimum by making the interior space lesser through incorporating fewer materials.

Since you’ll be going out and about when camping, don't stress too much about getting a palace. However, no one wants to sleep in a coffin-like tent with the roofing laying a few inches from your nose.

You’ll naturally want a tent large enough to accommodate you and your things and sit up inside, with a few inches above the head and below the feet. We recommend looking for an ultralight tent with at least 36 inches ceiling height and 78 inches length.

Entry and exit

Not all ultralight tents are created equally. Some are shaped like a pyramid or prism and some resemble an igloo. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference though.

Personally, we prefer tents with side panel doors because it’s a breeze to roll in and out compared to front panel doors. Also, we warn you against tent designs that frame the poles in a way that it’s sticking straight up in the middle of the tent.

Side panel doors provide convenience and more air to pass through

An Overview Of The Best Ultralight Tents Of 2017

**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Ultralight Tents

#1 Bryce 2-Person Ultralight Tent and Footprint

Securing the top spot in our little list of the best ultralight tents is the super lightweight Byce 2-person Ultralight Tent and Footprint. At just 3 pounds, this shelter can house two persons comfortably.

This terrific tent’s features are basically the ones you’ll find at high-end tents -- two-way zippers for convenient front closure, pole repair splint, Dyneema guylines, back vent with a kickstand, and silicon waterproofing.

You can also opt to just use the durable footprint, poles, and fly for a minimalist shelter -- you know that triangular-looking shelter made of just a tarp and flooring like we see in movies wherein the characters get lost somewhere? Something like that. It’s a perfect weight-saving alternative!

What we loved most about this product is its use of high-quality durable materials that will surely last for years of adventure. The fly is made of ripstop Silynylon, a polyester-based floor and footprint, fine mesh material (no-see type), and aluminum alloy poles and stakes.

This is a raved-about product in the camping world, mind you. So we tried this out and spent last weekend backpacking in the cold wilderness. The Bryce 2P Tent was the perfect shelter for the trip!

We’re impressed by the build quality, how spacious the interior is, excellent ventilation (we’ve experienced no condensation even when me, my husband, our son, and our dog were sleeping inside), and the weight.

Pros

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Durable materials
  • Spacious interior
  • Easy to set-up pole system
  • Has gear pouches, lamp rings, and reflective accents

Cons

  • The rain cover could be wider

#2 Yodo Lightweight 2-Person Camping Tent

Best Ultralight Tents

via Amazon.com

This reliable tent weighs around 3.3 pounds, accommodates two people, and is suitable for use in a variety of environments, except during the coldest times of the year.

For the features, it has a rainfly vented roof, two glass fiber poles, mesh ventilators, waterproof tent floor, one cover door, and a top wall vent for added ventilation and.. stargazing at night.

What’s great about this tent is it sets up in minutes and is completely waterproof – rarely would you find a tent that will not permit a single drop of water from trailing the interior roofing or seams.

You might be wondering how can we say so. So here’s the story: We used this tent several months ago for our family trip. We actually tested the tent in a heavy rainy day before we take it to the camping trip and we’re surprised to see the interior was as dry as a bone from all the water! We woke up completely dry next morning and there was not build up of condensation inside the tent.

The features we dearly loved about this tent is the large screened door which are very effective at keeping mosquitoes and bugs out and the top mesh wall which can let you see the skies at night - romantic enough for camper couples like me and my husband.

Pros

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Excellent screened door

Cons

  • Only has one entry and exit
  • Has a thin material; may not be suitable for cold weather

#3 Enkeeo 2-Person Ultralight Camping Tent

Featuring a waterproof PU coated polyester roofing material, a moisture-proof polyethylene flooring, shock-corded fiberglass pole frames, and 10 tent stakes for windproofing, this particular tent seemed to be one of the sturdiest ultralight tents that ever existed, not to mention how awesome it is to see all those materials fitting snugly inside the bag.

The spacious dome enables two people to sleep in with utmost comfort and space large enough to sit and play cards.

We loved the thoughtful additions they designed such as the top mesh window which allows more air to enter, the roll-up outer curtain for manipulating ventilation, and the two-way durable zippers for easy entrance/exit.

But what we liked most is the deep-gusseted, tube-style flooring that one would find in a more expensive type of tent.

Moreover, this thing proves that setting up tents shouldn’t be a hassle. It features a simple 2-pole design with ropes and tent stakes for quick and easy set-up and takedown.

We were able to hike with this tent attached to the backpack and haven’t noticed any real difference in weight.

Pros

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Excellent windproofing
  • Has a more advanced flooring design
  • Easy to assemble/disassemble
  • Has roll-up curtains and top mesh panel for more ventilation

Cons

  • Has a thin material; may not be suitable for cold weather
  • May be too crowded for two people; best fits a single person plus belongings

#4 Topnaca 2-Person Double Layer Ultralight Backpacking Tent

This 2-person silicone tent boasts a durable polyester cloth, two-door mesh ventilation system, high-strength aluminum rods for support, nylon fly sheet with silicone coating for wind and waterproofing, and full-length rainfly with a large vestibule.

The one striking thing with this ultralight tent that caught our eyes was its large vestibule. For camping novices, the vestibule serves as the tent’s porch, a sheltered area just before the entrance.

It’s a simple multipurpose extension that can be of great help especially if you’re camping during the wet season. This area can hold your muddy shoes, shield your tent from rain, store your things, and just about anything.

We have to say that we’re impressed with the quality of this Topnaca tent. The packaging itself was well-made. Overall, it embodies quality – from the sturdy and lightweight aluminum poles and the double clips that clip onto the poles to hold the tent in place, to the waterproof sealing and reinforced corners of the tent.

Pros

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Has a two-way ventilation system
  • Has sturdy poles and clips
  • Includes a large vestibule

Cons

  • Has a thin material; may not be suitable for cold weather

#5 Geertop 1-Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Lightweight and portable at only 1200g (flysheet, inner tent, and ropes, and pegs), this ultimate ultralight tent is the perfect buddy for backpackers, mountaineers, and bikers – simply shove it in your backpack and move from one place to another without feeling its weight at all!

Furthermore, this tent is 100% waterproof and durably made from silinylon. There are so many things to love with this tent such as its two-door ventilation system which permits greater airflow throughout the entire tent and the separation of the flysheet and tent body which allows you to use them independently – very convenient for campers who’re fond of setting up shelter tarps for quick rests.

We loved this tent because setting it up is fairly easy. You just need two trekking poles (your own trekking poles will do; no need to buy) to make it stand on its own. Some of the things we dislike about this tent is its pyramidal shape which runs small, especially if you have a lot of things or if you’re too tall and its thin material which necessitates a foot tarp just so it won’t be damaged.

Pros

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Has a two-way ventilation system
  • Only requires trekking poles for set-up
  • Excellent waterproofing

Cons

  • Thin material, prone to tearing
  • Has a small interior space

The Verdict

Finding an ultralight tent is a painstaking task especially if you’re a first time backpacker or camper as you’re probably clueless of what basic features to look for.

Our pick for the best ultralight tent goes to the Bryce 2-Person Ultralight Tent and Footprint simply because it meets the basic standards of an ultralight tent and more.

Via: Amazon.com

It’s lightweight in all aspects, highly durable, spacious, comes with a footprint, provides excellent ventilation and convenience, can shield you against the outdoor elements, and finally, it allows you to use its parts separately according to your liking.

Hey, camper! What’s up? Are you in the lookout for some great ultralight tents lately? Look no further than our top picks! Do you think we’re missing some great stuff here? Comment your thoughts below!

Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers!

Cindy Herrera
 

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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