If you plan a backpacking trip and wonder what to buy, I would always recommend that you purchase quality. Firstly, it’s likely to perform better, but secondly, it’s likely to last longer. I have tents that I bought twenty years ago that have been well used over the years but are still in great shape.
In this review, we’re looking at the best budget backpacking tents. The problem of what to buy is really a question when you’re strapped for cash, but want to go camping in the countryside at the weekend. Can you still find a decent backpacking tent that won’t burn a huge hole in your wallet?
The honest answer is yes, you can. I firmly believe that the best tents for hiking are the Hilleberg range. I simply adore them. Personally, I use the Hilleberg Akto ( Four-season Tent) when I’m on my own and the Hilleberg Nammatj (Four Season Tent) when I’m hiking with the wife. We go camping most weekends throughout spring, summer and Autumn and therefore, I’m happy to pay the nearly £500 price tag, but if I was just getting into camping, I wouldn’t want to spend anything close to this on a tent.
This brings us back to the question, what’s the best budget backpacking tent on the market today? The good news is that there are a ton of great-quality backpacking tents that are reasonably priced. You can get your hands on a good tent and still have money left over for other camping supplies.
Best Budget Tent
So what’s the best budget backpackers tent? A few weeks ago, we looked at popup or instant tents. These are tents that literally take 30-seconds to go from folded up in your bag to open and ready to be slept in. Our favourite of all the tents was the Quechua 3-Man popup tent which offers both a of value for money, but also a great tent.
Quechua 3-Man Pop-Up Tent
The Quechua 3-man popup tent is as the name suggests, a popup tent meaning that you literally unfold it, and it springs into position. Folding it back into its carrying position takes seconds when you know-how, however, it does require a little practice and some know-how to make it fit back into the bag.
It real terms, the Decathlon owned Quechua has been making instant tents for a few years now and has refined both the process to fold and unfold, and the tent quality, which really shows through, especially when you consider the price.
The three-man tent is big enough for three adults, although we only used it with two, comes with a thick roof which helps to keep it cool the summer, and the side-vents really help to boost ventilation through the tent, keeping away condensation.
Overall, if you’re looking for a budget tent, you really cannot go wrong with the Quechua.
Bessport Camping Backpacking Tent
First up for consideration is the Bessport Camping tent. This lightweight tent is a perfect size for backpacking as it weighs just under 5 pounds and can collapse into a bundle less than a foot wide. The tent is made with durable and breathable polyester nylon that is 100% waterproof and is double stitched to protect against wind. The tent is designed for one person but is perfectly capable of fitting two people. The tent also has a welded design on the floor that elevates the floor so it stays off the ground to prevent leaking.
This tent features a simple two-pole setup and cors to anchor it to the ground. The stabilising cords are made from durable nylon, and the support poles are made from ultra-light composite fibreglass. The clip-pole attachments are easy to set up and will snap into place once they are placed in the tent holes and propped up.
This tent also comes in several different colours. You can choose from grey, green, orange, blue, green, and more. In addition to the door, the tent has an extra zip flap over the front that acts as an extra layer between you and the elements. The top flap also works as a windshield and can be removed for more ventilation.
Overall, it’s a great backpacking tent and is uber-affordable. So if you are looking for a good budget pick for your first tent, then Bessport is a great pick.
Coleman Bedrock Hiking Tent
Our second pick is the Coleman Bedrock Hiking Tent. This ultra-light and ultra-compact tent is perfect for solo hiking and sets up and breaks down in just a few minutes. The tent weighs just over 5 pounds, so it is super lightweight and is easy to carry around on the trail. The tent also has a unique shape that lies close to the ground, which adds extra protection from wind and other hazards low to the ground. The tent is designed for one person but can still fit two people comfortably with some room left over for storage.
The Bedrock tent also has several ventilation flaps along the side that can be opened up on hot nights and closed on cold nights for extra insulation and protection. The tent features durable fiberglass support poles and the canvas part is made from 200mm PU polyester with double-stitched seams for durability. The tent cover also plays a double role as a UV shield.
Overall, the Coleman Bedrock tent is a great ent for hardcore survivalists who need something small and lightweight for the trail but can also be used for a more casual day trip in the wilderness. The material is high-quality, the shape and design are portability-friendly, and it is versatile and able to stand up to a wide variety of elements. It is also very affordable too and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Features To Buy
While you probably could pop down to your local supermarket or department store, there are a few features that I would like to see in a tent that would make it a great buy but also offer value for money. Remember, if you get this wrong, the worst-case scenario is that you wake up at 2 am with a tent full of water because it’s raining and your tent leaks.
- Overall Weight – One of the major considerations for a backpacking tent is the weight. You do not want a backpacking tent that is too heavy, or else it will be arduous to carry around all day in addition to everything else in your backpack. Lightweight budget tents usually clock in at around 4-5 pounds, so they are pretty light. When buying a tent, make sure you distinguish between total weight, which includes packaging materials, and trail weight, which is just the weight of the tent and poles.
- Materials – Materials are also an important consideration. The two parts you need to focus on are the canvas and the poles. Tent canvas is usually made from nylon and polyester. These two materials are tough, water-resistant, and lightweight. They are also pretty good at retaining heat for cold nights on the trail.
- Support Poles – When it comes to the support poles, there are several varieties to choose from. Aluminium is a widespread material and is lightweight and durable, but composite materials like fibreglass and carbon fibre are becoming more common. Carbon fibre, in particular, is exceptionally durable and lightweight, but it is expensive to make. Fibreglass is decently strong, but it is brittle, so it can crack and shatter if bent too far.
- Doors – Most single-person tents have a single flap that zips up to close. If you are just getting a tent for one person, then a one door tent will do just fine. However, if you plan to share the tent with two or more people, it helps to get a model with two or more doors. That way, each person can leave the tent from their side without disturbing the other.
- Storage – Most tents also have storage options such as pockets for clothing and other items along with gear loops for things like your backpack, flashlight, head torch, and more. With backpacking tents, it’s about finding the right mixture between weight, overall size, and storage space. If the tent is just for a single person, then the storage space does not need to be very large. Overall though, storage space does not have to be at the top of your “features” list when shopping around.