If you enjoy backpacking adventures, you likely prefer extended stays in the great outdoors. Carrying heavy, bulky tents while you backpack is a major drain on your ruck space and energy. Finding lightweight freestanding tent options can ensure your backpack has enough space for all the essentials without weighing you down.
Let’s take a look at the five best lightweight freestanding tents.
The 5 Best Lightweight Freestanding Tents
5. Bessport Freestanding Camping Tent
The Bessport Camping Tent offers plenty of room for 1- to 2-person camping, while remaining light enough to take backpacking. Rated for 3-seasons, this tent is durable, windproof and waterproof. The welded-floor, seam-taped construction and well-constructed rainfly ensures you stay dry no matter what the weather. Beneath the rainfly, however, you have a full mesh, well-ventilated tent that keeps the bugs out and allows the breeze to flow through.
- This tent measures 86.6 inches long, 48.4 inches wide and 43.5 inches high and offers plenty of room for two people to sleep comfortably.
- The Bessport Camping Tent includes two D-door entrances.
- The welded-floor and seam-taped construction ensures you stay dry.
- At 5.2 pounds, the design includes aluminum poles that maximize strength while minimizing weight.
- The Bessport Camping Tent is easy to assemble whether you are alone or with company.
- Taped seams, welded flooring, and quality rainfly ensures rain stays outside of the tent and you stay dry.
- The aluminum poles are lightweight but strong enough to keep the tent standing no matter how heavy the wind is.
- Bessport offers a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty on all of their tents, making returns and replacements a painless process if needed.
- At 5.2 pounds, this tent is considered lightweight but may not be light enough for serious backpacking adventures.
- The Bessport Camping Tent does not include a gear loft; bags will need to be kept under the rainfly but on the ground.
4. Featherstone Lightweight Freestanding Tent
The Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent is also rated for 3-season usage. This 2-person tent comes with aluminum poles, a full mesh interior and a seam-taped rainfly. While the mesh interior helps to maximize ventilation, the bathtub floor ensures water does not seep through the bottom even in the worst storms.
- The Featherstone Outdoor Backpacking Tent is 84 inches long, 51 inches wide and 43 inches high.
- One piece, collapsible aluminum pole design helps reduce weight while still providing ample support throughout the center of the tent body.
- You can pack this tent in three different ways, with a maximum weight of 6 pounds and minimum of 3.8 pounds.
- Weather permitting, you can pack this tent up at the ultra-lightweight of only 3.8 pounds. This set up will include the standalone rainfly, aluminum poles and footprint.
- The interior space is large for a 2-person tent, allowing even 6 foot people to sleep comfortably.
- This tent should be set up using at least two people, which may be inconvenient to the independent backpacker.
- Some occupants have indicated that wind can be a problem with this tent.
- At 6 pounds, the inclusion of all components (tent body, rainfly, poles, stakes, guylines and footprint) make this tent one of the heavier “lightweight” options.
3. Kelty Grand Mesa Lightweight Freestanding Tent
The Kelty Grand Mesa Tent is a favorite of new and experienced backpackers alike. Kelty, a well-known tent manufacturer, has honed this tent through decades of experience and knowledge. This 2-person tent includes a mesh tent body with high bathtub floors, seam-taped construction, gear loft loops and a single D-door. Dual aluminum poles help support this tent, making it sturdy without adding a lot of weight.
- The Kelty Grand Mesa is 85 inches long, 44 inches wide (57 inches with the rainfly), and 43 inches high.
- Easy set up ensures quick shelter and protection from the elements quickly and without much effort.
- Lightweight, the Kelty Grand Mesa weighs in at just 4.2 pounds fully packed.
- At 4.2 pounds, the Kelty Grand Mesa is lightweight and easy to carry on any of your backpacking adventures.
- Color-coded clip construction makes set up easy; one person can set this tent up without hassle.
- Durable and spacious, the Kelty Grand Mesa is a true 3-season tent.
- The Kelty Grand Mesa does not come with a footprint; you will have to purchase this separately if it is desired.
- Guyling cord quality is questionable and users may want to invest in better ones.
2. Hyke & Byke Zion Freestanding Tent
The Hyke & Byke Zion Backpacking Tent comes in a range of colors, allowing backpackers more options than the previous models on our list. A 2-person, 3-season tent, the Zion Backpacking Tent comes with a footprint and a gear loft. The bathtub floor, seam-taped construction and included rainfly help to prevent moisture from seeping into your shelter. With a full mesh tent body and two D-door entrances, this tent allows for plenty of ventilation.
- At 90 inches long, 55 inches wide and 42 inches tall, the Zion Backpacking Tent is one of the most spacious models on this list.
- With all of the components, the Hyke & Byke Zion Backpacking Tent weighs in at 4.47 pounds. When packing just the rainfly, poles and footprint, however, it weighs just 3.09 pounds.
- Reflective guylines help prevent accidental trips even at night.
- Interior walls, which are almost completely vertical, make this tent one of the most spacious 2-person lightweight tents available today.
- With the ultra-lightweight 3.09 pound pack, this tent takes up minimal space in your rucksack.
- The Zion Backpacking Tent is treated with a flame retardant; some users have noticed a lingering chemical smell. It is recommended that you air this tent out prior to first use.
- The included bag is a tight fit if you intend to repack this tent.
1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Freestanding Tent
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent is one of the most highly recommended single person, 3-season backpacking tents on the market today. Easy to set up, this tent includes aluminum poles, storage pockets, gear loft, and half mesh walls that help to increase ventilation. The bathtub floor, seam-taped construction, and durable rainfly offer quality weather protection.
- The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent is 90 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 36 inches high.
- Solidly constructed, the materials and design ensure you are well protected from rain, wind and excessive heat.
- With all components, this tent weighs just 4 pounds.
- Designed for single person use, this tent is extremely easy for one person to set up.
- At 90 inches long, this tent accommodates tall campers. It also has space to bring your gear inside instead of sitting it on the ground under the rainfly vestibule.
- The materials and design are high quality, providing campers with exactly what they need to stay dry throughout the night.
- ALPS does not include a footprint with this purchase; you will need to buy one separately if desired.
Freestanding Tent FAQs
What makes these tents “freestanding”?
A freestanding tent is one that does not rely on environmental supports to help it stand. Freestanding tents are the norm for most backpackers, however, the pole systems will slightly increase the weight you will be required to carry in order to set up your tent.
What does 3-season tent mean?
A 3-season tent is one that should stand up to weather associated with spring, summer and fall seasons. If you plan on camping in the winter or colder environments, these tents will not maintain the level of heat you need to survive the night. It is highly recommended you invest in a winter-rated, four season tent if you plan on camping in this type of weather or environment. To safely use a three season tent, you would have to effectively insulate it for the winter.
Having the right camping tent for your backpacking adventure is important. While there are hundreds of options to choose from, the models listed above have our seal of approval. Lightweight, easy to set up, and well crafted – these tents have a lot to offer any backpacker looking for their next adventure shelter. For backpackers on a budget, there are plenty of great, affordable backpacking tents for less than $100.
Remember to be safe out there and, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!
Is there an awesome freestanding tent that you recommend? We would love to try it out! Let us know in the comments section below.