A backpacking tent is not a good place to cut corners when it comes to quality. On trips into remote wilderness, a shelter will be one of your most important gear choices for safety and comfort. When the weather turns nasty, you’ll want to have confidence that your tent will stand up to the elements.
But a quality backpacking tent shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg either. If you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford one of the best lightweight backpacking tents on the market, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice on safety.
We put together this list to showcase some solid budget tents that strike a good balance between cost, weight, weather protection, and durability. These tents aren’t leaders in quality, but beginners and budget buyers will greatly appreciate their cost effectiveness and performance.
CRITICAL TENT CONSIDERATIONS
PRICE – You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality backpacking tent. If you backpack a lot, it may makes sense to spend more for a quality lightweight tent that will get many years of use. If you’re looking for a step up in quality from the budget recommendations below, check out our top lightweight tents and ultralight tents pages.
WEIGHT – A few ounces here and there might not seem like a big deal, but keeping pack weight down is critical for enjoying backpacking trips. Lightweight tents make hiking more fun, and that’s what it’s all about. Your tent will be one of the four heaviest items on your back (shelter, backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad), so it’s a great place to keep weight to a minimum. The tents we recommend on this list are lightweight by budget standards, but increased weight is one of the biggest tradeoffs with budget tent options. If you’re looking for a lightweight tent, we recommend checking out our top lightweightand ultralight tents pages.
PROTECTION – A backpacking tent that doesn’t protect against the elements is worse than worthless, it’s dangerous. So be careful about extreme budget tents you’ll find elsewhere. Every tent on this list will provide solid storm protection to keep you safe, dry, and warm.