There are many ultralight tents that I would love to try.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers have discontinued their build-a-website-get-a-free-tent
promotions. Also, I usually use a tarp. However, I can tell you
a few things about ultralight backpacking tents, and give you
a couple examples. I recently added a video as well.
Ultralight tents have to be judged by personal standards.
Are you claustrophobic? Over 6-feet tall? Do you just sleep in
your tent, or spend hours in it playing cards? Will you be in
rainy areas? Do you want faster set-up or lighter weight? How
much have you budgeted for a tent?
What to Look for in Ultralight Tents
When looking at tents, be sure to note the floor size (especially
important for tall guys like myself). If the length is within
a few inches of your height, you will be touching the
walls and probably getting wet from the condensation. Total floor
space becomes important if you plan to spend a lot of time in
Remember that single-layer tents (without a rain-fly) are
likely to have more condensation inside, even if they are made
with material that is waterproof and breathable. This is less
true with the newer designs that have a lot of screen/ventilation
area. Personally, I think air circulation is as important as
having a "breathable material." These materials just
don't breath that well anyhow.
Finally, it isn't fun to spend 20 minutes setting up a complicated
tent in the rain. And it can be more than inconvenient to tear
the seams because of a design that stretches everything so tight
you have to fight with it. So my own preference is for tents
that set up easily and quickly.
I really like GoLite products. The Golite Den 2 Shelter is
the only totally enclosed 2-person tent that I know of that is
under 3 pounds. The forward sloping door allows for a large screen
area, to keep air-flow at a maximum, which keeps condensation
at a minimum.
GoLite also has a floor-less 3-person tent, the Hex 3 Shelter,
that weighs less than 2 pounds. I haven't tried it yet, but it
gets good reviews, and it is in the weight range I want for ultralight
tents. Being floor-less, you will have to bring a groundsheet
of some kind with this tent.
Unfortunately, I have discovered the hard way (four tents
and counting) that you tend to get what you pay for with ultralight
tents. That is one of the reasons I backpack with a tarp.
I would like to make this page better. If you would like to
recommend a good tent that you have used, please contact