How To Choose The Best One Man Backpacking Tent In 2018

    One man backpacking tents tend to come in a variety of different shapes and layouts.
    You want to make sure the tent folds up to occupy as little space as possible in your pack.
    A backpacking tent's weight is one of, if not the most important determining factor when deciding between tents.
    The toughness and strength of a backpacking tent goes a long way in determining its capability and life.

In this article, we review some of the best ultralight backpacking tents available today as well as offering advice and things to keep in mind when choosing your best one-man backpacking tent! 

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No matter what your backpacking experience level is, the necessity of owning a reliable tent is as crucial as carrying food and water. This is especially true for ultralight backpackers. Ultralight backpacking is quite risky in and of itself, especially considering in many instances you have no idea where you will set up camp before you find the spot.

Having a reliable one-man backpacking tent alleviates much of the anxiety that comes along with the territory of ultralight backpacking.

RELATED: Why Backpacking Tents Are The Most Awesome Shelters

Backpacking Tents Vs Camping Tents

Camping tents come in plenty of different sizes that can accommodate anywhere from one person to 12 people.

Coleman Sundome 3-Person Dome Tent, Green
The Coleman Sundome 3 Person Tent can be set up in less than 10 minutes.

However, we don’t really recommend more than 5 people sharing a tent.

Otherwise, your relaxing camp turns into a traveler’s hostel. Backpacking tents, on the other hand, are designed specifically for the lightweight traveler.

There are many factors to consider when choosing backpacking tents.  While some tents are ultralight and work great for the warmer months, others can be much heavier while providing extra space and a strong weatherproof exterior.

Below are some tips to keep in mind when investing in searching out the best one-man backpacking tent. In the end, it is up to you to choose the right tent according to your preferences.

One Man Backpacking Tent Dimensions

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent, Clay/Rust
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent includes a free standing, lightweight aluminum 2-pole infrastructure which makes setting up easy for even beginning backpackers.

One man backpacking tents tend to come in a variety of different shapes and layouts.

Knowing the dimensions of a tent can be a determining factor. So be sure to check the length, width, and height when the tent is open, as well as when its packed away.

It’s important to check the folded tent’s dimensions. You want to make sure the tent folds up to occupy as little space as possible in your pack. The size of the folded tent determines how comfortable it will be to carry around with you.

The smaller the backpacking tent, the easier it is to hike with. This not only cuts weight but also helps in organization and makes for a more comfortable pack.

The downside, of course, is the less room you have available to sleep in. How much physical space the tent occupies on the ground and in your pack is an important component to factor in when deciding between tents.

Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent
The Kelty Salida 2 Tent was awarded the 2011 Backpacker Editor’s Choice Award.

RELATED: 9 Best 1 Person Ultralight Backpacking Tents in 2018

Lightweight Is The Best Weight

A backpacking tent’s weight is one of, if not the most important determining factor when deciding between tents.

You don’t want to carry around a heavy backpack that hurts your back and joints. This can make camping a miserable experience.

The best one-man tents for backpacking are designed for the ultralight solo backpacker who values their hiking experience over sleeping space.

Simply put, the number of people that the tent accommodates, the heavier and bigger it will be.

Along with weight and size, many bigger tents offer some more features.

For the solo backpacker, we highly recommend to only invest in a bigger tent if you plan on bringing more people with you, or you absolutely need the space and features for extra gear. Otherwise stay as lean as possible.

That being said, it is possible to find 2 man tents that are the perfect size for the solo backpacker.

Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent
The Coleman Hooligan Tent comes in 2/3/4 person sizes with a simple 1 pole design setup.

These tents actually weigh just a pound or 2 more than the 1 man tents. Remember though that the tent is just one piece of equipment that you’ll carry on your back.

When you start adding in other essentials the weight can begin to pile on.

Ultralight backpacking is all about cutting weight wherever possible, but do it within reason.

Don’t go for the 2 man tent if it means you have to start doing other crazy things like shaving your toothbrush down to half its regular size to save an ounce.

One Man Tent Strength and Sturdiness

No matter if it’s a one-man ultralight tent or a 12 person hostel make sure you know how strong and sturdy it is.

Your tent can have all the best features and doors and vestibules in the world, but what can really differentiate the best backpacking tent from the rest is durability. This factor alone will save you from harm and discomfort when the weather goes from good to bad.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent,...
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent includes a mesh roof for air circulation, and a ventilated rainfly that also makes 2 vestibules for extra storage.

The toughness and strength of a backpacking tent go a long way in determining its capability and life. It is the most influential factor you must consider when purchasing a backpacking tent.

Look for tents that have a higher denier and thread count rating. Look for a floor made from rip-stop nylon as this will protect the fabric from tearing over time.

Materials coated with polyurethane are good for waterproofing.

Unless your a newbie and tying down a tent gives you anxiety, stick with a regular, staked tent instead of a freestanding tent.

Freestanding tents seem better due to their ease of set up, but can be fragile and break easier. Not to mention they’re not good with heavy winds and bad weather. A good staked tent can handle most extreme weather conditions.

Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent, 94 inches x 35 inches x 28...
The Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent is super lightweight at 2 and a half pounds and takes very little time to setup.

The best one-man backpacking tent will be sturdy and durable, and will not soon wear out.   A backpacking tent should last you for years, so don’t hesitate to invest in the best.

Material

Make sure your backpacking tent is made up of the best materials which can fight and withstand the toughest circumstances.   Sudden rains and strong winds are not uncommon when trekking the great outdoors.

The best one-man backpacking tents for backpacking are built to survive such strong rains. Specifically look for a tent made up of a high rated nylon fabric wall. This tends to be more durable than polyester.

Also look for a tent floor made from coated materials, or ripstop nylon.

Coleman 8-Person Dome Tent with Screen Room | Evanston...
The Coleman Evanston Screened Tent features a very spacious interior both horizontal and vertical.

You can go for a single-walled or a double walled tent depending on your preferences.

Single-walled tents are extremely light and easy to carry. They’re built to handle extreme weather and are very common on 4 season tents.

Double walled tents keep out water and while avoiding internal condensation. The double wall design is very popular in 3 season tents where the inner wall is made of mesh. This will give you better air circulation.

Double walled tents provide exterior weather protection with an attachable rainfly.

If you need something more robust than what the tent includes, rain-flies can always be purchased separately. Especially if you are carrying electrical equipment, make sure your tent is as waterproof as possible.

Spacious Interior

Your one-man backpacking tent should include enough space to accommodate one person plus an ultralight sleeping bag. Enough room to stretch out doesn’t hurt either.

Ideally, you should not feel cramped in a one-man tent. Most importantly you want empty space to store your belongings. Without this extra space, you’ll end up leaving your stuff outside exposed to the elements.

The last thing you want is to have to keep your bag with your camera, phone, and GPS outside because there’s no room to keep it inside.

A vestibule works great for storage space. They open outside of the tent and create a canopy to store your pack and shoes under. This gives you storage space without taking space away inside the tent.

The walls and design of the tent play an important role in this regard.

Some one-man tents are too small to fit even a 6-foot person without having to lie diagonally. If you are on the bigger side you can opt for a bigger 2 person tent, which will give you more space but not add too much weight to your pack.

One Man Tent Design and Doors

Although it may seem overrated and unimportant, the design of a tent is the major driving force behind its use and capability.

A sole flaw in the design can render the entire tent null and void.

For example, if the there’s a slight crease above the door where rainwater puddles up and this leads to water pouring onto your head every time you unzip the door. All the waterproofing and extra pockets in the world won’t cheer you up once you experience a soaking like this.

Speaking of which,  it is good to have two doors in the tent for easy entry and exit. A good one person tent may not need more than one door. However, when looking at tent doors try to opt for side panel doors over front panel doors. This makes getting in and out of the tent much easier.

Also, make a note of where your tent has its support frame.

Different environments and terrain make for more specific tent setups.

Be sure to check reviews of the tent’s zipper reliability. Faulty zippers are at the top of any backpacker’s list of frustrating design flaws.

Conclusion

When it comes to selecting the best one-man backpacking tent for your lightweight adventure it really depends on your own needs and requirements.

The most important thing to know is how comfortable you are with less. Less space, less weight, fewer people, etc.

The needs of camping vary from person to person. Some people look for tents that are light and small while some others prefer the strong and heavier ones.

What may be the best for one, may not be the same for another, and vice versa.

Your budget plays a big a role in what tent works best for you, but if you can swing it don’t be afraid to spend a little more for better quality.

Purchasing a backpacking tent should not have to be done every year, so make sure to invest in the best when you set out shopping.

Keep your preferences clear and have a steady mind about your purchase and always remember your experiences on the trail are priceless.

 

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Erik

Erik grew up as a desert rat in Arizona. After exploring the backcountry of the west coast he came east for a job but still finds time to explore the beauty of the northeast.