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Best Budget Backpacking Tents

It has been shown time and time again that meaningful time in nature is a sure-fire way to increase your health and bring joy to your life. Now more than ever, it seems that extended trips into the wilderness are the best medicine to escape the chaos, anxiety, and uncertainty surrounding us. 

While there is a burden to entry for any outdoor pursuit – be it gear, location, or skill set – backpacking is arguably one of the more attainable outdoor hobbies. Still, there is a considerable amount of gear that you need to stay safe and comfortable on a backpacking trip of any length. 

A proper tent is essential, but it could be one of the more expensive items on your list. If you are unsure how you will like backpacking or a bit tentative to throw down a lot of money on a new tent, check our list of best budget backpacking tents. 

While they may not be as light or fancy as some of their more expensive counterparts, these ten budget tents will still serve you just fine in the wilderness.

Best Backpacking Tents Under $100

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent

best budget backpacking tent
  • Tent Dimensions: 60 in. x 90 in. Center Height – 46 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 7 lbs. 
  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Canopy Fabric: Polyester
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $

We deem the first three tents on our list as the best backpacking tents under $100, and the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent is an excellent example of why. 

Not only is it affordable, but it is one of the most spacious tents on our list in terms of both area and height. This makes it a great option for bigger people or those who bring a lot of gear on backpacking trips. 

As is typically the case, with size comes weight, and the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent may not be the best choice for those looking to cut ounces and pounds off of their overall pack weight. 

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CONS

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent

best budget backpacking tent
  • Tent Dimensions: 32 in. x 90 in. Center Height – 36 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.
  • Capacity: 1 person
  • Canopy Fabric: Polyester
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $

If you see yourself going on solo adventures into the wilderness, consider saving space and weight by purchasing a one-person tent. If budget is also a concern, check out the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent. At under $90, this is one of the best cheap backpacking tents on our list for single hikers and campers. 

It’s lightweight, making it a breeze to carry on your back, and the ease of set up is always a welcome feature when traveling alone. The interior may be a bit small for some larger campers, but it does trap heat well – making up for not having a partner’s body heat to help heat a tent on cooler nights. 

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Bessport Camping Tent (2 Person)

  • Tent Dimensions: 86.6 in. x 48.4 in. Center Height – 43.5 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs. 3.2 oz
  • Capacity: 2 person (1 person also available)
  • Canopy Fabric: Polyester
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $

The last of our best backpacking tents under $100 is also the cheapest tent on our list. With a spacious interior and moderate weight, the Bessport Camping Tent is a great introductory option. 

This tent is admittedly “no-frills,” but it has all the necessary components for a backcountry shelter. When buying outdoor gear at lower price points, it is always essential to examine if there is a warranty included and what that may look like. 

Bessport offers a limited lifetime warranty, which should provide you with a little more peace of mind when putting your tent through the wringer.

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Best Backpacking Tents Under $200

REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent

best backpacking tent under 200
  • Tent Dimensions: 88 in. x 52 in. Center Height – 40 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Canopy Fabric: Polyester 
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, yes.  
  • Price: $$$

REI has long been a leader in the outdoor industry. Their line of products stand the test of time, and their generous return and warranty policies make REI a great place to start building your gear locker. The REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent upholds the company’s reputation through this affordable, simple, and functional backcountry shelter. 

The ample interior space is plenty comfortable for two people, and the weight is very reasonable to split between a couple of backpacks. It seems to hold up well in the elements and includes a footprint for the most suspect climates, too.

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Marmot Catalyst 2 Person Tent 

  • Tent Dimensions: 53 in. x 88 in. Center Height – 44 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Capacity: 2 person 
  • Canopy Fabric: 40-denier polyester mesh
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, yes. 
  • Price: $$$

Marmot has emerged as a leader in the outdoor industry and manufactures all types of gear to help people enjoy the outdoors in affordable ways. Their Catalyst 2P Tent is no exception. Of the best backpacking tents under $200, the Catalyst 2P Tent may be the easiest to set up, given its color-coded poles and simple design. 

The double doors – each with their own vestibule – add to the convenience of this wilderness abode. The interior space is plenty comfortable for two people and has an array of interior pockets for gear organization. It even has a designated Lamp Shade pocket to hold a headlamp and provide ambient light.

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The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent

  • Tent Dimensions: 87 in. x 50 in. Center Height – 43 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs. 5 oz. 
  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Canopy Fabric: 75-denier polyester taffeta 
  • Fly and footprint: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $$$

If you’re even just a casual outdoor enthusiast, you have probably heard of The North Face. Through their inspiring films and stylish outdoor apparel, The North Face has made a name for themselves as a leader in the industry. 

Their more technical gear, such as the Stormbreak 2 Tent, holds true to their reputation. You would be hard-pressed to find a better-designed tent at this price point. The high-low ventilation design creates excellent airflow, and the large vestibules on either side can be configured in multiple ways, which allows for gear storage space. 

The Stormbreak 2 is also compatible with the “Tentertainment” Center from The North Face (not included), which could make your backcountry tent feel more like home. 

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Kelty Late Start 2 Person

best buidget backpacking tent
  • Tent Dimensions: 85 in. x 54 in. Center Height – 40 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs. 
  • Capacity: 2 person (1 and 4 person available)
  • Canopy Fabric: 68 denier polyester
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $$$

The Kelty Late Start 2 Person Tent earned its spot on our list of best budget backpacking tents mostly because of its cost and simplicity. With one door and pre-bent poles, the Late Start is easy to set up and move around once erect. 

It has generous interior space and, while not an ultralight tent, is manageable in weight. For someone looking for a quick and simple backpacking shelter with no need for extra features, the Kelty Late Start 2 Person Tent could be the answer. 

If you fall in love and want to either upsize or downsize, Kelty sells the same style tent in both a 1 person and 4 person capacity.

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GEERTOP Backpacking Tent 

best budget backpacking tent
  • Tent Dimensions: 102.4 in. x 82.7 in. x 45.3 in. Center Height – N/A
  • Minimum Weight: 6 lbs. 6.4 oz.
  • Capacity: 2 person
  • Canopy Fabric: N/A
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, built-in snow skirt. 
  • Price: $$

The GEERTOP Backpacking Tent is the only 4 season tent on our best budget backpacking tent list. That is, it is rated to use year-round, no matter the weather. 

As a double layer tent, the GEERTOP provides ample protection from the elements and can also be set up to slightly increase ventilation in warmer climates. 

It should be noted, however, that all 4 season tents should be considered winter tents first. In warmer temperatures, it is common for moisture and condensation to build up – as ventilation design is not a top priority for tents that are meant to be used in the colder months.

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CONS

Marmot Tungsten 2 Person Tent 

  • Tent Dimensions: 88 in. x 54/46 in. Center Height – 42 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs. 13 oz. 
  • Capacity: 2 Person
  • Canopy Fabric: 40-denier polyester no-see-um mesh/68-denier polyester taffeta
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, yes. 
  • Price: $$$$

Slightly above $200, The Marmot Tungsten 2 Person Tent is still one of the best designed tents on our list. Especially when it comes to interior comfort. 

The catenary cut floor with straight perimeter edges maximizes available floor space, and dual doors and vestibules are great for gear storage and ease of entry. The Lampshade pocket offers a great place to store your headlamp and light up your backcountry home. 

Similar to the Catalyst, the Tungsten goes up easily by following the color-coordinated clips and poles. If you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of extra weight for comfort, the Marmot Tungsten 2 Person Tent may be the right choice.

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CONS

Kelty Salida 2 Person Tent 

best backpacking tent under $200
  • Tent Dimensions: 88 in. x 55/45 in. Center Height – 43 in. 
  • Minimum Weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz. 
  • Capacity: 2 person 
  • Canopy Fabric: 68 denier polyester
  • Fly and Footprint Included: Fly, yes. Footprint, no. 
  • Price: $$$

Every backpacker has their priorities when purchasing gear – be it comfort, packability, price, or weight. If you are most focused on the latter, then the Kelty Salida 2 Person Tent is worth researching. The Salida is the lightest two-person tent on our list and, while certain sacrifices must be made for dropping ounces, this tent still holds up reasonably well. 

It’s simple design is attractive to many, and the dual doors and vestibules maximize its usability. The price is also very reasonable for a tent of this weight.

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How to Choose a Backpacking Tent

When shopping for a backpacking tent, there are many things to consider. There are countless options on the market, and everyone will have their own set of needs, wants, and priorities when it comes time to purchase. The right tent for you may not be that desirable for someone else, and ultimately you need to decide what is most important for your portable backcountry home. 

Will you be camping with someone who values comfort above all else? 

Are you traveling long distances where cutting weight is essential to make big mileage gains? 

Are your primary camping conditions warm and dry or cool and rainy? 

As you start to answer questions like these, it will be easier to start considering the following criteria when choosing the optimal backpacking tent for your specific needs.  

Pack Size & Weight

Pack size and weight are critical to take into consideration when choosing a tent. No matter how far you plan on backpacking, a lighter pack is always your best friend. 

Similarly, if your backpack has limited space, choosing gear that packs down small can be a major benefit. A heavy pack can spell the difference between an enjoyable multi-night jaunt into the backcountry and a grueling march from one campsite to the next. 

Every backpacker should at least consider weight when choosing a tent. Once purchased, there are always opportunities to cut ounces further, such as replacing any included steel stakes with lighter aluminum alternatives or foregoing a footprint if the weather is going to be favorable. 

At the end of the day, find a tent you are comfortable carrying (or splitting with your backpacking partner) in terms of weight and packability.

Capacity

Tent capacity speaks for itself. Purchase a tent based on how you most commonly envision using it. 

If you are a lone wolf, a simple, lightweight one-person tent will suffice. If just you and your partner will be hitting the trails together, then a 2 person tent is the obvious choice.

If you prefer more interior space, or will be bringing a child or dog along on your backpacking trip, check out some tents with three-person capacity. 

When examining tent capacity, look at the vestibule design as well. Vestibules are a great place to keep gear dry and protected. Plus, a vestibule can drastically increase the usable interior space.  

Seasonality

Season ratings for tents are generally broken down into two categories: three or four season tents. 

Three season tents are the best options for spring, summer, and fall.

They typically provide an excellent balance between adequate ventilation in hotter climates and protection from the elements. Three season tents are more than enough for the average backpacker. 

Four season tents should be regarded as winter tents, as they do excellent in the coldest months of the year. But they are often overkill in the spring, summer, and fall.

Tents of this style have a burlier design, thicker walls, and less ventilation. They do not breathe well but do stay warm in more demanding conditions. 

When used in the summer, four-season tents will often develop condensation. Their three-season cousins, on the other hand, are designed to wick away this moisture accumulation. 

When choosing a backpacking tent based on season ratings, carefully consider where and when you plan on using it most – chances are a three-season tent will suit you just fine.   

Additional Features

Each tent is unique and will have its own set of unique features. You will need to decide which of those features are most important to you. 

Well designed interior storage pockets are great for campers that like to stay organized in the backcountry. Many tents will include a gear loft (or at least clips for a loft that you will need to buy separately), that is a great way to keep important items dry and easily accessible.  

As mentioned earlier, vestibules are another incredibly useful feature on many tents. Vestibules come in all shapes and sizes and always come in handy. When examining a tent’s design, consider how many vestibules it has, how large the protected area is, and if you can configure them in multiple ways. 

Most tents will come with a rainfly – a necessary piece of gear if you are trying to stay dry and comfortable on a long backpacking trip where the weather could kick up.  Not all tents come with a footprint though.

Some tents with burly floor designs negate the use of a footprint (the jury is out on many of these) while others will sell footprints separately. 

Using a tent footprint is ultimately a matter of opinion, but if you are at all concerned about moisture leaking into your tent from the floor, then getting a footprint is highly recommended.

You do not need to bring it on every trip, but if you are backpacking in a naturally wet environment or an area that sees a lot of precipitation, it is not harmful, or too heavy to have a footprint just in case.   

Price

Price is a matter of personal budget and preference. Generally speaking, you will get what you pay for, with the odd steal of a deal popping up on occasion. 

Cheaper backpacking tents will likely not last as long and may be a bit heavier. More expensive options will be more durable, have better weather resistance, and likely come with a more generous warranty or return policy. 

If you’re not sure about the whole backpacking thing yet, then maybe a cheaper tent will suffice. If you are ready to go all-in, consider purchasing a tent that will last for years. 

Final Thoughts

To a much lesser extent, you can think of buying a tent like purchasing a home.

Every homebuyer has unique wants and needs, just like every backpacker has individual specifications for their tents. You won’t be choosing between a two or three-bathroom home, but you will need to decide just which features are most important to you. 

Once you’ve made a dream list and budget, start exploring different options. Backpacking can be an expensive hobby to get into.

Still, by examining some of the best budget backpacking tents on the market, you’ll quickly discover there are plenty of really excellent options that won’t break the bank. It’s just up to you to decide which one you will be most excited to call your home on the trail.  

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