Four tents to take into the backcountry

Go light.

tent in the woods
Take shelter.Michael Guite via Unsplash

The old backpacking adage goes something like this: ounces make pounds and pounds make pain. That means every extra ounce, every extra pound you throw on your back to head into the woods will emerge later in sore feet, legs, and shoulders. A tent will be one of the bulkiest, heaviest items you take, so carefully consider which one makes the most sense. Here are four good options depending on your needs.

Big Agnes 2019 Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent
Don’t take more than you need.Amazon

This ultralight tent is also ultra durable. It comes in variations for one person, two people and four people, but consider the two-person tent for you and your significant other, you and the dog, you and a close friend, or you and your gear. In your pack, the tent weighs just a shade over 2.5 pounds. All seams are waterproof, and inside you’ll find a surprising amount of room.

Marmot Tungsten UL 4 Person Backpacking Tent
Be cozy. Save on weight.Amazon

Marmot advertises that this tent offers more space per ounce than “any other freestanding ultralight tent.” Whether or not it is the exact lightest, at 22.5 ounces per person, it has to be close. This tent is perfect for long thru hikes or anyone interested in lightening their packs. The pre-bend construction creates a roomy sleeping area and the rain fly doesn’t stretch when wet.

MSR Access 2 Tent
Stay warm.Amazon

This isn’t a four-season tent, but it’s as close to one as you can get while still being as light as a three-season. The two-person tent has limited mesh to trap heat on cold nights. It’s perfect for hiking or biking in the summer and warm enough for skiing or snowshoe trips on warmer winter weekends. The rain fly provides added warmth and protection.

Hummingbird Hammocks Ultralight Single Plus Hammock
Go light. Really light.Amazon

Sometimes all you really need to sleep in the backcountry is a way to rest off of the ground. If it’s warm and won’t rain, why mess with a tent at all? This hammock weighs less than half a pound and packs to 6 by 4 by 2 inches. Go ahead, rock your tired body to sleep.