Your tent is one of the most important considerations when off the beaten path, both for comfort and safety. If you’re going to invest in anything, a good backpacking tent is the place to do it. But not everyone can afford to spend an arm and a leg. That’s is why we’ve put together a list of the best backpacking tents under $100 that don’t cut corners on safety in the name of saving money.
Our Top Picks: Best Backpacking Tents Under $100
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview:
- Best Overall: ALPS Mountaineering Lynx. With weatherproof construction, a freestanding design, and overhead gear storage, there’s nothing not to love about this amazing one-person backpacking tent.
- Best Eco-Friendly: Clostnature Lightweight. Enjoy the great outdoors with a clear conscience with this tent made through sustainable manufacturing processes and ethical business practices.
- Best Budget: Coleman Hooligan. Our budget pick on this budget list rings in at just over $50, while offering all the features you need in your backpacking tent.
- Best Two-Person: Coleman Sundome. With plenty of room for two (or more!), this spacious tent is comfortable for the whole family, or just you and all the legroom you could ever need.
- Best Ultralight: Winterial Bivy. When cutting ounces is all that matters, look no further than this ultra-lightweight backpacking tent that still manages to stay under $100.
1. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Backpacking Tent
The best backpacking tent under $100 overall
Brand: ALPS | Sleeps: 1 | Weight: 3lbs, 5oz | Pack Dimensions: 6″ x 17″ | Center Height: 36″ | Price: 💰💰💰
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Backpacking Tent is hands-down the best one-person backpacking tent under $100. The freestanding, two-pole design sets up in mere minutes with its intuitive clip system. It offers stability on any terrain you can find.
With a center height of 3 feet, most everyone can comfortably sit up inside, making it feel more spacious than other one-person tents. Some great features include the UV-resistant fly, ventilation from the half-mesh walls, and the durable, #8 zippers that stand up to wind, rain, and rough days on the trail. ALPS also outfits the Lynx with an overhead gear loft (featuring its own mesh pocket!), so you can maximize the use of your space and not feel so crowded by your things while laying down.
- Easy set-up and take-down saves time and frustration after a long day
- Roomy interior is easy to sit up in and accommodates even taller backpackers
- Durable materials last well beyond what you might expect from a “budget buy,” and genuinely protect against all the elements
- Though there’s plenty of height and length, the interior space may be too narrow for some users
- The rainfly has clear plastic windows that are nice for letting in natural light, but don’t afford a lot of privacy
2. Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent
The best eco-friendly backpacking tent
Brand: Clostnature | Sleeps: 1 | Weight: 3lbs, 11oz | Pack Dimensions: 15″ x 5″ x 5″ | Center Height: 36″ | Price: 💰💰
When it comes to communing with the great outdoors, it makes sense you’d want to ensure your outdoor gear is just as environmentally-friendly as you are. Clostnature built their brand off this idea, and focus just as much on sustainability and “green” business practices as they do high-quality and versatile functionality.
Their lightweight one-person backpacking tent is freestanding for easy set-up, and combines an interior mesh with a water-resistant rainfly for the perfect balance between comfortable ventilation and weather protection. The spacious interior is more than enough for back and stomach sleepers to spread out while still leaving room for a stuff sack and your shoes. The exterior vestibule is also larger than average for additional storage space.
- Set-up is quick and easy for no hassle at the end of the day
- Durable, high-quality construction from a brand just as caring about the outdoors as you are
- Despite the advertised one-person size, two adults could fit inside comfortably, making it extra spacious if it’s just you
- Doesn’t hold up well in wetter climates
- A few reviewers noted that the dual-sided vestibule is a little unnecessary weight with the spacious interior and adds unwanted extra weight (though not much)
3. Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent
The best budget backpacking tent
Brand: Coleman | Sleeps: 2 | Weight: 7lbs, 13oz | Pack Dimensions: 22″ x 6.5″ x 7″ | Center Height: 58″ | Price: 💰
We know this list is already a budget list, featuring only backpacking tents under $100. However, once we found the Coleman Hooligan at just over $50, we knew we still needed to feature a budget budget-list option. Though not the lightest in weight and a little bulkier when packed down, this backpacking tent still has thousands of five-star reviews. They praise the full-length fly, spacious vestibule, mesh interior for maximum ventilation, and waterproof floors that eliminate the need for a footprint. The inverted seams and integrated weather-resistant zipper cuffs bring an additional layer of protection against the elements, ensuring you are safe and dry inside.
- Genuinely suited for all weather, including wind, rain, snow, and heat
- Plenty spacious to accommodate two adults (and maybe a child or furry friend or two) comfortably
- High-quality materials built to last with the reputation and support of Coleman behind them, all at a truly unbeatable price
- Set-up can be a little complicated, so be sure to follow the directions
- At almost double the weight of other backpacking tents, you’ll definitely need to make cuts elsewhere for longer trips
4. Coleman Sundome Tent
The best two-person backpacking tent under $100
Brand: Coleman | Sleeps: 2 | Weight: 7lbs, 12oz | Pack Dimensions: 25″ x 7″ x 6″ | Center Height: 48″ | Price: 💰💰
Coleman makes our list again with the best two-person backpacking tent under $100. Their weatherproof welded corners, inverted seams, and patented WeatherTec system ensures you are truly protected from all the elements — no matter where you choose to hike. Large windows and ground vents offer enhanced ventilation for warmer days.
Other conveniences include mesh storage pockets sewn into the tent walls for easy access to essentials, and a weather-sealed E-Port that allows you to run an extension cord into the tent without leaving your tent partially unzipped. And, if you’ve got more than two people looking for adventure (or want some extra room for you and your partner), the Sundome also comes in a three-, four-, and six-person model.
- High-quality, spacious tent that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg
- Added ventilation from the floor vents offer a marked improvement in comfort
- The integrated E-Port is a game-changer for those looking to camp with the convenience of electricity
- The included tent stakes may not be strong enough for frequent, strong gusts of wind
- Some reviewers noted having difficulty getting the tent to pack back down into its included carry case
5. Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent
The best ultralight backpacking tent under $100
Brand: Winterial | Sleeps: 1 | Weight: 2lbs, 9oz | Pack Dimensions: 18″ x 4.5″ x 4″ | Center Height: 28″ | Price: 💰💰
If you’re looking to cut ounces at every corner but don’t want to spend your entire equipment budget on a tent, look no further than the Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent. At just 2.9 pounds, this is one of the lightest full-size tents available that includes both a mesh interior and UV- and water-resistant exterior rainfly. The two-hoop design is easy to assemble and take down. Additionally, it offers over 2 feet of central height, so you don’t feel too confined. Both the zippers and the actual entrance are oversized for easy, one-handed access. The entire thing packs down into a small package to take up minimal backpack space.
- Easy set-up and take-down
- Lightweight and compact without sacrificing price or quality
- Highly durable materials are both water- and UV-resistant for added protection
- The vestibule space is minimal at best
- Length may not be suitable for users over 6′ tall
What to Look for in the Best Backpacking Tents Under $100
Finding a backpacking tent on a budget doesn’t have to mean settling for lower quality. Your tent is a vital piece of equipment for keeping you safe and warm in the harsh wilderness. Here are a few essential considerations to keep in mind as you browse:
When it comes to backpacking, every single ounce matters. It’s easy to underestimate how heavy an extra half a pound will feel after you’ve been carrying it on your back all day. Be sure to do your research and figure out how much weight you have to spare for your tent — or how much weight you’ll need to cut elsewhere based on the weight of the tent you choose.
A tent’s primary purpose is to protect you from the elements when you’re resting, be that at night or in the middle of the afternoon. Water-resistance is a must, so you don’t end up drenched if it rains, but UV protection is another useful feature to look out for. Damage from sun exposure can creep up on you, especially if you’re out for days at a time.
3. Interior Space
Backpacking tents tend to cut extra weight by cutting down their size. The amount of space inside your tent will dictate what you can and can’t do in it. If you’re merely looking for something to sleep in, then you’ll be okay with something built just long and wide enough to accommodate a sleeping person (and maybe a stuff sack or two), with a little height so you can sit up. If you plan to be conscious for long periods in the tent, or are just looking for a little added comfort while you camp, then you might want something roomier.
Freestanding tents are generally faster and easier to pitch and take down. Their fixed pole system can usually set up pretty much anywhere, making them more versatile. Non-freestanding tents (like the kind that use stakes/guylines/trekking poles for pitching) cut out the extra weight of tent poles, but are more time-consuming to set up and take down, and may not be compatible with all terrains.
5. Additional Considerations
Budget tents tend to be thinner and less durable than their pricier counterparts. While that makes them lighter weight (and therefore better for backpacking), remember to treat them with care.
Tents may have multiple doors and vestibules, but they also might not. If you’re camping with another person(s), having separate entrances will allow you to easily access the tent without having to step over your sleeping friend.
Double-wall tents have a mesh tent body and a rainfly, designed for enhanced water and moisture resistance. Single-wall tents offer less of a barrier but are much lighter in weight.
Most tents are tri-season rated (spring, summer, and fall), but if you’re planning on heading out into near-freezing, freezing, or sub-zero climates, make sure the tent you choose is certified for that temperature.
For this guide on backpacking tents under $100, our team spent 4 hours researching the most popular options from over 35 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each tent. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 backpacking tents under $100 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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