Best Ultralight Tents

For campers and backpackers who have no suitable means of shelter on the go, a tent is an ideal choice. While there are many different variations, we want to specifically focus on ultralight tents. These are suitable for backpackers, hikers and even campers looking to keep the weight of their travel to a minimum. Besides being designed to be as lightweight as possible, the best ultralight tents will also have ample interior space for you, protection from the weather, and an easy set-up. However, other factors, such as the person-capacity and season rating, will be up to your preferences. No matter, down below are ten of the best ultralight tents, period.

Hilleberg Jannu
  • Hilleberg Jannu
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Remarkable strength
  • Outer + inner tent
  • Price: See Here
Big Agnes Copper
  • Big Agnes Copper
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof
  • Stable design
  • Price: See Here
MSR Hubba Hubba
  • MSR Hubba Hubba
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Compression sack
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Ultralight Tents

 

 

Hilleberg Jannu

If double wall tents are your personal preference, then it can’t get better than what Hilleberg offers with their Jannu Tent. It is rated for all four seasons, the set-up is a complete breeze and the outer and inner tents can actually be used individually.
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Overall Construction
The outer tent fabric is composed of Kerlon 1200 and this combined with the 9mm poles, creates a sturdy and stable foundation. In addition, the bottom of the tent is indeed waterproof and will keep the water from seeping in.

Capacity and Interior
This is designed for two people and it allows for enough space for not only that but also your gear. Plus, there is an included vestibule for additional storage.

Ease of Set-Up
For a quick and easy set-up, the pole and sleeve system is very straightforward and the dome only requires you to peg the vestibule to the ground.

Lightweight Nature
Overall, even with the included vestibule, the weight is kept to a minimum. While the 5.4 shipping weight is certainly not the lightest on the market, it is not at all classified as “heavy”.

Season Rating
With its all-season workmanship, it does not matter which time of year you utilize this tent as it is designed to withstand all weather conditions. But, on hot, summer days, it can get a bit clammy.

Overall
Notwithstanding its questionability for summer uses, everyone around the world will be satisfied with the luxuries provided here. If you know the inclement weather is coming and you need to be prepared for it, this will take all your troubles away.
Pros
  • For the weight, the fabric and strength are remarkable
  • Due to the dome construction, this provides snow load handling capabilities
  • The outer and inner tents can be used individually
Cons
  • Gear stored in the front compartment may get wet during rainfall
  • Could be a little warm in the summer
 

Big Agnes Copper Spur

Everything you would expect to be of high-quality in an ultralight tent is present here. It is only rated for three seasons, meaning it may be a risk to use it in the winter, but its terrific storage capacity and taped seams for waterproofness are just a few of the many reasons users love this tent.
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Overall Construction
The double ripstop nylon that is integrated into the tent is 20 percent stronger for maximum durability. However, the fabric can still be torn a little too easily. Also, the seams are taped with waterproof, polyurethane tape.

Capacity and Interior
Fitting two people, this is spacious enough for all your belongings. For storage, there are four interior mesh pockets and also media pockets that are located above the area that you sleep.

Ease of Set-Up
To make the set-up process as easy and user-friendly as possible, the plastic clips will attach the tent body to the pole frame.

Lightweight Nature
Big Agnes maximizes the strength that they can achieve and increases the amount of living space without adding unnecessary weight. All in all, the 3.85 pounds is lightweight enough to suit just about everyone.

Season Rating
This is only rated for three seasons and that means it may not be suitable in the winter. However, in the spring, fall, and summer it will become your best friend.

Overall
If you take away the fact that the fabric tears too easily, this would be a flawless design. Nothing is perfect and while some may feel this flaw is unforgivable, this is still a highly-impressive ultralight tent.
Pros
  • All the seams are taped with waterproof, polyurethane tape
  • Features a four-way hub design to increase stability and strength
  • The discreet seams of the door entry allow for smooth entry and closure
Cons
  • Compared to others, the fabric may tear a little easier than many will prefer
 

MSR Hubba Hubba

While the Hubba Hubba from MSR is suitable for just about any weather and conditions, it may not hold up in heavy storms and is only rated for three seasons. Despite this, the interior is spacious and will stay dry no matter what.
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Overall Construction
The canopy, fly and floor are all made of high-tenacity ripstop nylon. In addition to this, the doors are designed in a manner that will prevent water from dripping inside when it is opened.

Capacity and Interior
Thanks to the vestibules, you are given additional space in the interior and it is easier to keep it dry. Plus, the unique pole configuration provides you with ample headroom and elbow space.

Ease of Set-Up
When setting the tent up, the color-coded hub-and-pole-system will assist in making it as simple as possible. To reduce the weight, you can also set-up the tent with only the poles, fly, and footprint (sold separately).

Lightweight Nature
As opposed to other tents, this rates right there with them in terms of its weight. At three pounds and seven ounces, you will hardly know it is in your pack.

Season Rating
This is yet another three-season rated tent, which is probably the most popular and is mostly suitable for cooler to warmer climates.

Overall
Granted you avoid camping or hiking when heavy winds are present, this tent will work wonders for you. Do not worry, it should hold up to a casual (or even above average breeze). But, trouble arises when it creeps up beyond 20 mph or so.
Pros
  • Its light pitching feature does not require a separate footprint
  • Includes a compact compression sack for transport
  • You can reduce the weight with an alternative set-up option
Cons
  • Not as durable as other tents and may not stand up well to storms
 

Nemo Hornet Elite

Nemo Hornet Elite
So far, if you still have not been satisfied with the lightweight nature of these tents you may want to take a glance at the Hornet Elite. In Nemo’s impressive lineup of tents, this is the lightest 2-door variation that they have.
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Overall Construction
Both the floor and the fly are designed with a polyurethane coated ripstop nylon. However, the No-see-um mesh that is integrated is not the most durable. Also, the tent is double walled.

Capacity and Interior
To create additional living space inside of the tent, the guyouts have been volumized in a specific fashion. Overall, this is better suited for one person.

Ease of Set-Up
No too many users have griped about the set-up as the single hubbed pole set works with the ball-and-socket end tips. The result is a process that should take only a few minutes.

Lightweight Nature
No doubt, this is one of the lightest tents you will find on the market. Weighing in at an astonishing 1.12 pounds, this feels like a feather compared to most.

Season Rating
Sporting a three-season rating, you take a chance if you use it in bitterly cold weather.

Overall
Do not let the extreme lightness fool you, this is not a cheap tent. The mesh could be more durable, but, in a general sense, the weight is certainly not indicative of the strength and workmanship.
Pros
  • Is a double walled tent
  • One of the lightest tents in the world
  • Includes a repair kit, guyout cords, stakes and a stuff sack
Cons
  • The No-see-um mesh could have been more durable
  • Can be a hassle to release the door when inside the tent

Nemo Spike

Nemo Spike
Nemo certainly has an understanding of how to excel when designing a tent, with two straight selections proving that. Their Spike Tent is significant in its own right thanks to its incredibly lightweight nature and silicone impregnated fabrics that add both waterproofness and durability.
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Overall Construction
This tent is actually constructed from silicone impregnated fabrics. What this achieves is a core that is both super strong and also waterproof. Also, the partial floor underneath the foot section adds even more coverage.

Capacity and Interior
Despite the fact that this is designed for two people and will indeed account for that plus the gear, an additional two inches of width would have been suitable. This would better account for enough shoulder room.

Ease of Set-Up
Instead of poles, this tent pitches with trekking poles. While not many reviewers have taken issue with the set-up, these aforementioned trekking poles are sold separately.

Lightweight Nature
At just under two pounds, this no doubt qualifies for “lightweight”. The fact that no poles are included does decrease the weight a little.

Season Rating
Again, three-season tents tend to be the most popular and this falls into that category as well.

Overall
All in all, this is extremely impressive and would make a fantastic addition to your camping experience. Its impressive ability to remain lightweight while also providing durability and waterproofness cannot be overstated.
Pros
  • Comes with a drawstring stuff sack and repair kit
  • Features silicone impregnated fabrics for waterproofness
  • Extremely lightweight
Cons
  • It may be necessary to replace the heavy, five included pegs
  • An extra-inch of width would be nice for additional shoulder room

Black Diamond Beta

Black Diamond Beta
To achieve a tent that holds up to your standards, you will most likely need to do a little maintenance on the Beta Light Tent. Black Diamond did not seal the seams and you will need to do so with McNett Sil-Net Sealer, but it is worth it as this is a high-quality tent.
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Overall Construction
Being a single wall tent, condensation may be a concern. But, on both sides of the tent, high-tenacity nylon (that has been treated with silicone) has been utilized which is both durable and lightweight.

Capacity and Interior
Interior space is of the essence here and not only is there room for two people, it is spacious enough to also store your gear and even an additional guest if the situation requires it.

Ease of Set-Up
Besides the seam sealer, you will also need to invest in the two adjustable trekking poles (or ski poles) that are required for this tent. Black Diamond does not include them in the Beta Light Tent.

Lightweight Nature
To be honest, you will probably forget if you packed this tent into your backpack or storage bag; it is simply that light and only weighs one-and-a-half pounds.

Season Rating
This tent is actually adaptable to four-season use. However, the only way to achieve this rating is if you seal the seams with the aforementioned seam-sealer.

Overall
It may be frustrating for some to invest in a tent only for it to need immediate maintenance. However, you can learn online how to seal the seams on a tent and after you do so, you will be thanking yourself as this is truly a fantastic tent.
Pros
  • It can be paired with the Beta Bug Tent
  • When stored, it packs down as small as any tent out there
  • Features ample interior space for two people
Cons
  • Does require seam sealing on your part
  • Potential condensation problems can arise

Black Diamond Firstlight

Black Diamond Firstlight
The NanoShield technology that is integrated into this tent makes it highly-breathable and water-resistant. However, it does so in a single-layer fabric which can lead to potential issues of condensation build-up.
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Overall Construction
All the seams are double sewn (not sealed which you will have to do yourself) and the stress points have been reinforced to increase the durability. In addition, the single wall is crafted from NanoShield fabric which is both water-resistant and breathable.

Capacity and Interior
The interior of the Firstlight tent not only features two mesh pockets, but it is spacious enough to sleep, two people. Plus, it is designed with steep walls to optimize as much living space and headroom as possible.

Ease of Set-Up
Even from the inside, this tent is relatively easy to set-up. The two DAC poles fit inside of the tent with hook-and-loop wraps.

Lightweight Nature
It is a little heavier than the previous Black Diamond tent but at three pounds and five ounces, it is certainly not a bulky or heavy tent overall.

Season Rating
The Firstlight tent has been rated for four seasons but due to some minor ventilation issues, it may overheat too easily in the summer.

Overall
For a single wall tent that is extremely lightweight, the durability and strength are very impressive. While there could be ventilation issues in hot weather, this tent will suit you for any to all circumstances.
Pros
  • Designed for two people with an optional vestibule
  • Integrates NanoShield technology for water-resistance and breathability
  • Features two interior mesh pockets for storage
Cons
  • Build-up of condensation may be a concern

MSR Flylite

MSR Flylite
The Flylite tent from MSR sports many of the great features that you have been accustomed to seeing on this list. An ultra-lightweight tent that has considerable strength, a spacious interior and suitable use in nearly all-weather conditions.
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Overall Construction
For full protection from the outside elements, this single wall tent features a Durashield-coated body, a 10D nylon ripstop fly and a large awning that keeps you dry during rainfall. Plus, the stress points have been reinforced for enhanced durability.

Capacity and Interior
It is roomy enough to fit and sleep two people and the large door makes it relatively simple for both to utilize it. Thanks to the vertical walls, you are left with as much space as physically possible.

Ease of Set-Up
With the two standard trekking poles, which you must buy separately, you can complete the assembly in no-time at all.

Lightweight Nature
Among the tents that MSR has designed, this version has the greatest volume-to-weight ratio of them all. For specifications, this weighs in at a lightweight 1.57 pounds.

Season Rating
Once again, this is a three-season tent; meaning you could possibly use it in the winter but you are held responsible if damage occurs to the tent.

Overall
MSR is all about quality and this tent proves that with flying colors. With its terrific volume-to-weight ratio and reinforced stress points with taped seams, this is a worthy contender for your next ultralight tent.
Pros
  • Features mesh side windows and a vented door
  • The entry is covered with an awning and side wings
  • Designed with reinforced stress points and taped seams
Cons
  • It does require stakes as it is not a free-standing tent
  • In all but dry weather, condensation can be an issue

Mountain Hardwear Ghost

Mountain Hardwear Ghost
When it comes to durability and the integrity of a tent, the nylon ripstop fabric that is utilized in the Ghost UL Tent is as good as any you will find. While other concerns are present, it is very reassuring to know your tent can withstand some abuse.
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Overall Construction
You are guaranteed protection from the weather as this double wall tent is constructed with a fully taped fly, welded corners and a taped perimeter seam. Past this, the nylon material has a high-tolerance to accidental abrasions.

Capacity and Interior
This is rated to fit two people and features a full-size door that should adapt for both. For storage, there are also mesh pockets in the interior.

Ease of Set-Up
There should be no confusion in the set-up process as it is straightforward. If you have ever set-up a tent, this will be very familiar to you.

Lightweight Nature
Mountain Hardwear manufactured their tent with the lightest fabrics that they could get their hands on to minimize the weight as much as possible. In the end, the weight is a very light 2.15 pounds.

Season Rating
Unlike the other tents, this is probably only suitable for moderate to warm weather. Cold air tends to seep through into the tent. While it does an admirable job to combat rainfall, its downfall is the chilly weather.

Overall
If the fly would fully cover the netting, then there would not be as much of an issue as there is with the wind. But, looking at the glass half-full, this creates exceptional ventilation in hot weather.
Pros
  • The nylon ripstop is an extremely durable material that will protect the tent
  • The poles are designed from an ultra-lightweight aluminum
  • Protects well against rainfall
Cons
  • The fly does not come down long enough to cover the netting; resulting in air drafts and potential rain entry
  • Can be awkward for two people to use one door

Big Agnes Fly Creek

Big Agnes should be very proud of their Fly Creek tent and if it were not for one fatal design flaw, it could have possibly cracked the top five if not three. It is as lightweight as it gets, its seams are taped to protect you from downpours and there is even a dry-entry vestibule that keeps the interior dry as you walk inside.
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Overall Construction
Not only have all the seams been taped with waterproof, polyurethane tape but the fly and floor have been coated with 120mm waterproof polyurethane. In addition, the Velcro tabs connect the fly to the poles for extra stability.

Capacity and Interior
This is only suitable for one person, or two depending on the size of the people using the tent, but the interior remains spacious. As a bonus, it features a dry-entry vestibule to keep the interior dry.

Ease of Set-Up
Despite the lackluster stakes, which can require you to fiddle with them to secure them, the pre-cut guy lines and tensioners attached to the fly make pitching relatively simple.

Lightweight Nature
Nothing to complain about here as the 2.1 pound-weight is exceptional.

Season Rating
Utilizing this tent in the winter is your discretion. But, it is only rated for three seasons.

Overall
Truthfully, the lone design flaw that is present can be the deciding factor. When the wind reaches 15-20 miles per hour outdoors, the tent may not hold up to the point of deformity. Whatever you do, ensure a wind storm is not on the horizon.
Pros
  • Integrates a dry-entry vestibule to keep the interior of your tent dry
  • All the seams are taped with waterproof, polyurethane tape
  • Both the fly and floor are treated with nylon ripstop fabric
Cons
  • Wind that exceeds 20 miles per hour can warp the tent

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

The Overall Construction of the Tent

There is a lot that goes into the design and craftsmanship of a tent, even an ultralight version. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but once you let the information soak in, it really is simple stuff. For starters, assess the durability and stability of the tent. The fabric that the manufacturer utilizes and the foundation will determine the durability. Some tents will rip easier than others and even though some will come with a repair kit, you want to avoid abrasions and rips as much as possible. Also, consider the ventilation and breathability. If you plan on using your new tent in hot weather, mesh windows and extra ventilation is key.

Then, there is the concern of the weather. Sometimes, inclement weather strikes when you least expect it. As such, waterproofness and water-resistance are key factors. Ensure the seams are taped with waterproof tape, or that you can do it yourself, and that the bottom portion is either waterproof or water-resistant. Finally, you will want to determine whether you want a single wall or double wall tent. Single wall versions tend to be lighter and easier to set-up, while double wall tents tend to provide more gear storage and better protection from rain.

The Capacity and Interior Space

Right from the get-go, you need to determine how many people are going to be sleeping in your tent. Is it just you or is it for a friend or spouse, as well? The reason for this is tents are designed for a certain amount of people. For example, you will see one-person tents, two-person tents, four-person tents, etc. Then, you will want to assess the actual space in the interior. Is it designed in a manner that maximizes the amount of headroom and elbow space you have? Also, you may want to store equipment and gear inside the tent so having interior mesh pockets and gear storage locations may be important to you.

Some tents will also integrate a vestibule and this is a neat and convenient feature. A vestibule in a tent, which is typically located at the front, provides you with extra space for your gear. But, it also allows the interior of your tent to stay dry as you can take off your wet gear before you even get inside the tent.

How Simple the Assembly Is

Unfortunately, tents are not designed to be traveled with while they are assembled. If they were, though, it would be a hassle transporting them. Indeed, whenever you want to use your tent, you will have to assemble it. Thus, investing in a tent that simplifies this process as much as possible could be key for you. Of course, much like anything else, practice makes perfect and over time, you will find that your tent will be easier and easier to assemble each time you use it. Unless, of course, it is designed in a fashion that complicates the set-up to the point where there is not even a learning curve (just a simple poor design).

No matter, a good practice is to set-up your tent in your backyard the first time you use it. Get comfortable putting it together that way when the time comes where you want to use it, it will be easier for you to assemble it. Also, a quick note, sometimes manufacturers do not include all the parts you need. Make note of this as sometimes, trekking poles, for example, specific portions may need to be bought separately.

How Light They Are

Even though this guide is centered upon ultralight tents, which should signify that each tent is lightweight, some versions will always be lighter than others. Each tent on this list is in fact classified as lightweight, but how light you truly want it is up to you. As you have seen with the models on this list, ultralight tents can range from just over one pound to four to five pounds. Generally, you will see most fall into the three-pound range. Perhaps a reason you would want to aim for the lowest weight possible is if you plan on backpacking with your tent. In this instance, minimizing the weight as much as you physically can (even if it is only a pound or two as it will add up) could be paramount.

Their Season Rating

Typically, you will see tents with either a three-season or four-season rating. But, what exactly does it mean? Well, a three-season tent (which tends to be the most popular type) is only rated for use in the spring, summer, and fall. So, these models are typically designed with proper ventilation and protection from the elements. But, people often wonder if they can be used in the winter. While not rated for it, you could squeak one or two winter trips out of it (granted the weather is not extremely cold).

Meanwhile, four-season tents can actually be misleading. While they can be used for all four seasons, they are best for winter due to their design. They will generally feature little to no mesh ventilation and are primarily designed to withstand snow build-up and ice. In the summer, you can quickly overheat in a four-season tent. Hence, why three-seasons tents may be better over the course of the year.

 

FAQs

Q:   Should You Get a Footprint?

It has not been addressed thus far but you may want to consider investing in a footprint if the manufacturer does not include one. For those who do not know, this is not referring to the imprint left by your feet. Instead, a footprint for a tent is used to reduce the wear and tear that the bottom of your tent endures. It is merely a cloth that goes underneath the bottom of your tent and while it may not sound like it will do much, it will increase the lifespan of your tent.

Besides the benefits of abrasion protection, it will also keep your tent floor drier as it is not resting on the wet ground but on the footprint. In addition, for minimalists, sometimes you can simply construct a tent from a fly and the footprint which will reduce the overall weight (but only certain models will allow you to do so).

Q:   What to Do for Small Abrasions?

It is never a good feeling when a tear is present in the fabric of your tent but depending on the extent of it, you may be able to partake in some DIY work. If it is a small tear or abrasion, you can simply apply silicone to the hole and allow it to dry. However, this may not suffice if the tear is too large. While you will still apply silicone to the tear, if it is too massive of a tear, you may also have to follow-up by gluing a patch of ripstop nylon (that has been siliconized) to the hole.

For precaution, if you feel the need, you can look up tutorial videos online and they will take you through, step-by-step, the process of repairing tears in the fabric.

Q:   How to Store Your Tent When It Is Not in Use?

Clearly, you will not use your tent every single day and in the times where it is unused, you want to ensure you are storing it properly. Yes, there are incorrect ways to do so. One thing is for sure you should absolutely never store your tent if it is wet, dirty or damp in any way. If you let this moisture stay on the tent, it could affect the waterproof coating that is applied to most tents. Besides this, prolonged exposure to moisture will also cause mildew to form on your tent; which is clearly something you will want to avoid. Consider mildew cancer for your tent as it will stain it, cause a stench, and break down the waterproofness.

To ensure your tent is stored properly, merely abide by the above advice and also store it in a dry and cool area away from direct sunlight. Also, ideally, find a breathable bag to store it inside.

Q:   Is One Coat of Seam Sealer Sufficient Enough?

Many people will not be in love with the fact that when ordering their new tent, they need to apply sealer to the seams for proper waterproofness and weather protection. However, there are some tents that do not come with taped seams so this is a reality you may have to face. For people who must do this themselves, a lot of questions can arise. One, in particular, is if one coat is sufficient enough or if you need to apply multiple coats.

As Tarptent points out, one coat should suitable enough as long as you apply it correctly. For example, you want to ensure that you give special attention to the ridgeline seam and the seams that are around any guyline extenders. Tarptent also recommends taking a paper towel after the silicone has been applied to help push it into the seams for a proper seal.

Q:   How Do You Properly Clean a Tent?

Generally speaking, it is not going to be necessary for you to clean your tent very often. However, you may start noticing a rancid odor or it becomes heavily soiled. In either of these cases, it may be a wise decision to clean the tent. Depending on the severity of the dirt and smell, you can either get away with spraying it with a garden hose or hand-washing it with warm, soapy water (in more serious cases).

Spraying it with a garden hose is pretty self-explanatory as this will remove most of the dirt present on the tent. But, if you do feel the need to hand-wash it, ensure that you do not use solutions such as detergent, bleach, or dishwashing liquid. Also, you should never, ever dry clean or machine-wash the tent as this can potentially remove waterproof coatings.

Q:   Should You Seam Seal from the Inside or Outside?

This is another good question in reference to seam sealing. Although you can always reference tutorial videos if you are unsure what you are doing, it is important to have a good understanding of this question. As Tarptent recommends, you should apply the silicone solution from the outside of the tent and not the inside. However, this is only accounting for the seams that can be accessed from both the interior and exterior of the tent.

Say you wish to apply sealant to the inside flooring to create an anti-skid surface, you would clearly need to apply it from the inside of the tent.

Final Thoughts

There sure is a lot that goes into a tent, is not there? It can be overwhelming when you begin but to start, establish what you are looking for. Is the lightest weight your priority? Do you plan on using the tent in winter? Are you planning on fitting more than one person inside? Once you are knowledgeable about what you want, you can begin to pay attention to the larger details that make ultralight tents so useful.

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