5 of the Best Lightweight Tents for Backcountry Camping – 2018
Matt Gunn 03.07.18
2018 sees a number of popular tent manufacturers with flagship lightweight tents for the weight-conscious wilderness camper.
Backcountry camping is the ultimate decompression event, putting you miles away from crowds and the modern life we often take for granted. But your experience spending a few days in the wilderness is only as good as the gear you bring in; choosing the right shelter is just as important as the food and clothing you pack. Fortunately, manufacturers are on a never-ending quest to perfect the backcountry tent, making them stronger, lighter, and dryer every year.
Let’s take a look at five lightweight tents for backcountry hiking.
Big Agnes – C Bar 2
New for 2018 from one of the most trusted names in outdoor gear, the C Bar 2 from Big Agnes combines affordability in a lightweight package. This lightweight 2-person backcountry tent (also available for 3 people) sports a single front entry into a vestibule that’s perfect for storing wet gear that you don’t want in your sleeping quarters. The C Bar 2 isn’t short on stash spots for your gear either; a large ceiling pocket and three mesh side pockets can hold essential gear while you crash after a long hike in. The Big Agnes C Bar 2 retails for $199.95
- Trail Weight – 3lbs 9oz (1.62kg)
- Packed Weight – 4lbs
- Packed Size – 6” x 19” (5x48cm)
- Number of Seasons – 3
- Intended Use – Backpacking
- Floor Area – 28Sq Ft
- Light enough for the backcountry, strong enough for the front country
- Simple head entry design
- Single door and vestibule featuring storm flaps on vestibule zipper
- DAC Angle Hubs and attached cross pole create a spacious interior
- Single pole architecture makes set up and take down simple and efficient
- Quick Stash door keeper on tent body door makes stowing unzipped door quick and easy
- Oversized ceiling pocket is great for gear stashing
- Velcro tabs connect fly to pole structure providing perfect pitch and extra stability
- Ready to pitch; with pre-cut guy lines and tensioners attached to fly
- Reflective guy lines and webbing on tent corners
- To extend the life of your tent floor, we recommend using a Big Agnes footprint – sold separately
- Multiple interior loops for use with gear lofts or for attaching other accessories
MSR – Carbon Reflex 1
Mountain Safety Research makes extremely lightweight and high-performance backpacking gear – we’re talking tents that pack to the size of a water bottle! The Carbon Reflex 1 is just such a tent for weight-sensitive backcountry campers. Weighing in at a mere 1lb 7oz (.66kg), the Carbon Reflex 1 is perfect for cyclists and minimalist backpackers alike. As the name suggests, it features carbon fiber poles, lightweight fabrics, and a zipper-free vestibule. The MSR Carbon Reflex 1 retails for $399.95.
- Packed Weight: 1lb 13oz
- Tent Volume: 23 cu ft
- Interior Height: 34”
- Packed Size: 17” x 5” (43x13cm)
- Simple, non-freestanding design
- Unique pole geometry optimizes headroom
- Weight-saving, zipper-free vestibule
- Fast & Light setup with optional footprint
- Large door provides easy entry and exit
- Micromesh canopy
- Waterproof, taped-seam rainfly and bathtub-style floor
- Reinforced stress points for durability
- Internal mesh storage pockets
Hilleberg – Mesh Tent 1
The Mesh Tent 1 is an ultra-light summer tent for the most space-conscious backcountry hikers. With a packed weight of 15 ounces, the awesome Mesh Tent 1 is definitely the lightest on the list. However, it doesn’t come with pegs or poles, but rather relies on using your hiking sticks as support or packing in a pair of aftermarket poles. The Mesh Tent 1 is breezy and quite versatile with its ridge-tent design, allowing protection from biting bugs while maintaining an open-air feeling that some hikers prefer. Also not included is a rain tarp and Hilleberg recommends their Tarp 5 as the perfect match for the Mesh Tent 1. The Hilleberg Mesh Tent 1 retails for $210 and is currently in pre-order status.
- Packed Weight: 410g/15oz (does not include poles or rain tarp)
- Length: 83”
- Height Front: 37”
- Height Rear: 22”
- Width Front: 47”
- Width Rear: 22”
- Spacious and roomy 1-person tent.
- Designed for warm weather and summer months.
- Extremely lightweight at 410 grams packed.
- Designed to work with the Tarp 5 rain tarp.
- Classic ridge-tent design; all you need are a pair of poles, sticks, or two trees.
Brooks Range Mountaineering – Foray 2P
The weather is unpredictable. A warm afternoon hike can turn windy, cold and wet, and that’s just what the Foray 2P is designed for. This 2-person 3-season tent weighs in at 3lbs 2oz fully packed, and bundles into an 18×6” package that can easily be lashed to your hiking pack. To help with foul weather comfort, all the seams are fully taped, and the front door is a no-drip design that won’t get your interior wet when the fly is open. The interior sleeping space is a roomy 50” in width by 78” in length, making the Foray 2P one of the biggest and lightest in its class. To top it all off, the vestibule offers up 6 sq ft of gear storage space. The Foray 2P retails for $424.95 and ships free from Brooks Range.
- 2lb 9oz min weight
- 3lb 2oz max weight
- Pack size 18′ x 6′
- Fully seam taped
- Fly vents to help remove condensation
- No Drip Front door, rain won’t drop into the tent when the fly is open
- Quick release fly connections
- Full mesh canopy for added ventilation
- 15d Sil / PU Nylon fly 1200mm
- 15d Sil / Pu Nylon floor 1200mm
- 90 x 50 x 39
- 30 Sq ft
- 6 sq ft vestibule
MSR Hubba Tour 2
Finishing off our top lightweight backcountry tents of 2018 is another high-performance offering from Mountain Safety Research. The Hubba is a well known in the hiking community for its longevity and quality, so there’s no denying that the Hubba Tour 2 will deliver! MSR touts the Hubba Tour 2 as a tent that “redefines the art of long-term roughing it”. It features an exoskeleton design that keeps the interior dry during setup and takedown, an ultra-durable Xtreme-Shield coating to resist moisture from all angles, and a spacious vestibule to make transitions a much cleaner affair. The MSR Hubba Tour 2 retails for $749.99.
- Unique Design:Exoskeleton frame and unified rainfly and body keep the tent body dry during setup in foul weather.
- Added Space:Large hooped vestibule provides a dry, protected area for changing clothes, lounging, and storing and prepping gear.
- Livable Features:Two easy-access entrances, multiple gear storage solutions, and an internal glow-in-the-dark zipper.
- Xtreme ShieldCoating: Ultra-durable coating lasts up to 3 times longer than standard waterproof coatings.
- Capacity: 2 people
- Packed Weight: 5lbs 4oz.
- Floor area: 32 sq. ft.
- Poles: 2 aluminum 7000 series
- Number of doors: 2
- Material: 20D and 30D ripstop nylon