Advice on the best light backpacking tent

natylka

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Dec 29, 2014
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103
What is the best and light backpacking tent to buy? Friend recommended golite but it looks lIke they went out of business.
 

mak1277

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May 2, 2014
Messages
106
Solo tent or able to fit 2? 3?
Does it need to be freestanding or would you want one that can be set up with trekking poles?
Is price a factor?
What conditions will it be used in? Do you need a double wall or would a single wall work?
Are you gentle or hard on your gear?

More info on your needs would be very helpful in making suggestions.
 

River

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Jan 26, 2012
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The Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 is great for one + a dog. For two people and dogs I prefer the Copper Spur.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Jul 5, 2014
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I've been researching upgrading to a lighter 2 person freestanding tent for a while and was going to get a Fly Creek UL2 but now I'm leaning heavily towards getting a Terra Nova Solar Photon 2. Weighs 2lbs 1oz so it's 10oz lighter than the Fly Creek UL2 and 1lb 6oz lighter than the Copper Spur UL2. Packs up smaller, has a larger vestibule, and made with stronger UL material than Big Agnes uses. A little harder to find and a little more expensive than Big Agnes though. Still trying to find the best deal on one.
 
Last edited:

mak1277

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May 2, 2014
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106
Ignoring my own questions from my prior post...I would strongly suggest at least researching TarpTent. They have a wide variety of styles/options and the price is excellent (IMO).

I have a TarpTent Rainbow and I really like it.
 

Mullet

Searching for a paradise....
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Dec 28, 2014
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I had the fly creek and took it back for the copper spur. Best decision ever. You get two vestibules and has side doors so you don't have to crawl in from the front.
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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I love my Copper Spur UL2. More roomy than most UL 2 person tents and the double doors and vestibules are fantastic.

With that said, there are lighter options, especially if you don't mind setting up with trekking poles. I've been around some TarpTents and I would definitely look into them if I decided to go with another trekking pole tent. If you're primarily going to the mountains, I personally think that's the best choice, but for the best functionality in both environments, I prefer a free-standing tent like the Copper Spur.
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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Sep 26, 2012
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444
A tarp!
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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2,645
Many many opinions..... :)

I really like my Tarptent Rainbow, had it for 7 years. Will replace it with another one. Plenty of room for me and the pack if needed, two in a pinch. Easy to set up, light (2 lbs 4oz), packs up the size of about a liter bottle, not counting the poles. It is a single wall so you have the single wall dew / frost. Has with stood 60mph winds in the Winds, torrential rain in Yellowstone 6" snow in Idaho. Have used it from SUtah to 11,000 ft in the Winds. Think it's running about $250.00. It can be set up as free standing or poles. But ............................. as always what one likes in gear doesn't always work for another.
 

backwoodsBob

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Dec 29, 2014
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http://masterwoodsman.com/2013/whelen-lean-to/ I love this design... is anybody out there using a whelen tarp? Ive resolved to make one from homespun silnylon this winter .....
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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2,140
"Best" is very subjective. In order to steer you the right direction we need to know more about your needs.

What are you looking for in a tent?
How many people do you need to fit in it?
What tents did you use and what did you like/dislike about them?
Does it need to be freestanding, or are you ok relying on staking it out every time?
Do you use trekking poles to hike, and are you OK using them for your shelter?
Do you get up a lot during the night?
Do you like lots of room, or something more cozy?
Are you more interested in comfort and features, or ultimate light weight?
What sort of environments do you camp in? (desert, snow, forrest, etc).
How much rain do you expect to encounter?
Do you need to be able to sit up in it?
Do you have a budget?

There's an old saying: cheap, light, and quality. Pick two. :)

I have many tents, and they're all the "best" tent (or worst tent) depending on the situation. If I could only have one tent that I had to use all the time, it would be my tarptent stratospire 2, but it must be staked down and it must use trekking poles. That right there would make it a deal-breaker for a lot of people. No tent will be the favorite tent of everyone in every situation.

If I could only have 2 tents, it would be my stratospire 2 and my HMG Ultamid 4. If I could only have 3, then it'd be those two plus my HMG tarp. Thank goodness we don't have to limit our tents to 3. :D
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Haha ... You are right Steve....

Don't use trek poles and I think tarps are crazy, been too many places with big spiders, fire ants, deer mice and ringtails.

Backwoods.....whew the article says 8lbs, I assume you can get a lighter version..
 

LarryBoy

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Jan 4, 2015
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If you're looking for something in the GoLite vein, you're getting solidly into the tarpish category. Something that sets up with a trekking pole, is single-walled, and may or may not have a floor. Given your original post, however, I'm assuming that you're not looking to go with a simple rectangular tarp. With that in mind, here are a few manufacturers of lightweight shelters that I or trusted friends have had success with -

  • Six Moons Designs (I use the Wild Oasis; more elaborate designs with a vestibule and floor are available)
  • Mountain Laurel Designs (impeccable craftsmanship, made in the USA, leading-edge materials)
  • Lightheart
  • Tarptent by Henry Shires (the godfather of the tarp/tent hybrid)
Another VERY interesting alternative for the Utah desert is the poncho-tarp. Dual-use gear, and perfect for a climate in which you can cowboy camp most nights if you prefer. If it rarely rains, your rain gear and shelter are basically emergency gear anyhow - it pays to save weight on such items. Mountain Laurel makes a respected poncho-tarp. Six Moons might have the best design out there in the form of the Gatewood Cape (which I anticipate purchasing in the near future for desert use).
 

backwoodsBob

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Messages
94
Haha ... You are right Steve....

Don't use trek poles and I think tarps are crazy, been too many places with big spiders, fire ants, deer mice and ringtails.

Backwoods.....whew the article says 8lbs, I assume you can get a lighter version..
noyhing quite like watching a 3" scorpion crawl out from under your sleepingbag!
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,645
Looked at the review..... ha one editors pick was lower than the rainbow..... as said, its what each likes in a tent. They probably wouldn't like me as a real world tester.... I don't fit the box, er, retail tent market. Have to look more in depth later. Good info tho.
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
"Best" is very subjective. In order to steer you the right direction we need to know more about your needs.

What are you looking for in a tent?
How many people do you need to fit in it?
What tents did you use and what did you like/dislike about them?
Does it need to be freestanding, or are you ok relying on staking it out every time?
Do you use trekking poles to hike, and are you OK using them for your shelter?
Do you get up a lot during the night?
Do you like lots of room, or something more cozy?
Are you more interested in comfort and features, or ultimate light weight?
What sort of environments do you camp in? (desert, snow, forrest, etc).
How much rain do you expect to encounter?
Do you need to be able to sit up in it?
Do you have a budget?

There's an old saying: cheap, light, and quality. Pick two. :)
Steve's reply nailed it. There are so many different variables, its impossible to name a best.

There are some great suggestions already mentioned in the thread. Check them out.

My opinion is that IF your going to bring a TENT into the desert, go with something free standing, and something that zips up. I'm making this assumption from reading your trip reports.

For the money, Tarptent probably makes the best lightweight tent. I don't use one, but I have camped with enough people using them in extreme conditions to recommend them.

Back to Steve's post. Ask yourself what your looking for in a tent. Go from there. In general, all tents work.
 
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