CAMPING & HIKING

Best Solo Tent: Keep Warm and Stay Light Weight

Best Solo Tent
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

It’s time to start planning your next big camping adventure, and whether you like to camp in groups or hike the old trail by yourself, sometimes it’s nice to sleep with a little privacy. Or perhaps you are looking for a lightweight option to do some long term alpine trekking.

Whatever the reason is, having a small solo tent can reduce your weight and still be comfortable! A tent should keep you warm, add comfort to a trip, and keep the rain off yourself and your belongings. And while it may be tempting to splurge on a 2-person tent for extra room, keep in mind that it’s extra weight on your shoulders for the whole time that you are gone.

In your pack your tent will be one-third of a number of big weight items you need to consider, the pack weight and your sleeping bag are the other two to consider. In this article, we will cover the best solo tent for your backpacking or camping trips so you can select the right tent for you!

Solo Tent outdoor

While looking for a tent of your own you might have noticed that the market is overloaded with different brands, styles, and unique features to each tent, and it can feel a bit overwhelming to select one that is right for you. In this article, we will show you what we think are the best solo tents on the market, and help break down how to pick so you can stay warm and protected in the backcountry!

We suggest that when looking for a tent you take into consideration interior space, it’s season ratings, and finally the actual design elements of the tent to ensure you are buying the best on the market.

Ready to Purchase, but Not Sure What to Consider?

There are quite a few factors that go into your shelter when you are prepping for a big trip, but what is most important as with all your gear, is to make sure you are maximizing your comfort.

That means you should assess the type of trip you are going on, whether it’s a backpacking or camping trip, and just as importantly what season you plan on taking your trip in.

While solo tents are ideal for most campers, make sure you try one out in the store before you buy, some people review these tents as too small for comfort and opt in for a larger tent at the cost of more weight during their trip.

Bring your solo tent

When you go to buy, even if you plan on making an online purchase, try to find the model in a store, or pay a little extra for a good return policy and try these tents at home before you go out on an extended backpacking trip.

Interior Space

Interior space can be a make or break deal with a tent, even if you are opting into a solo tent doesn’t mean you are giving up all comforts. While they may not have the roomiest interior, you can still find that solo tents can be comfortable after a long day on the trail.

Solo tent Interior

The battle here is almost always between comfort and weight. In the models, we listed below we think we have struck a good balance between the two.

As you look at the dimensions listed on the tent, remember that this is only for you to be sleeping in, so unlike a two-person, you don’t have to worry if your partner needs extra space to sprawl in. Also keep in mind that you will be carrying the tent by yourself on the trip so if the weight seems like it will be too hard on your trip, try to find a smaller solo tent.

Season Rating

When you are deciding to go out on your first solo backpacking trip you need to look at how cold it gets during the season you are traveling in. Even if your sleeping back is a 3 season rating, you need your shelter to have the same ratings.

Solo Tent season rating

On the market, you will find that a 3 season tent is very popular, and they will be perfect for spring, summer and fall trips. You can find tents rated for winter, so do not take these 3 season tents out into a winter snow backpacking hike.

The reason these season ratings matter is that you want to keep bad weather out of your shelter but also allow for optimal air circulation in your tent. Especially during summer when the bad weather might not be the cold but rather the heat.

Design Elements

The market is particularly inundated with heaps of different options on designs for your tent, from double wall tents and even freestanding tents. A double wall is pretty self-explanatory and helps reduce condensation from sneaking in during the night, and a free standing tent provides you the ability to select a sleep spot without worrying that your ground is not suitable to be anchored down to.

You should also look at our reviews because we discuss if there are any complaints of design flaws in the tent itself, one flaw could make an otherwise awesome tent, uninhabitable. Some of these tents may feature multiple doors, air vents or interior pockets, and those few designs can make your backpacking trip ten times more enjoyable.

Solo tent design

The last consideration to the design of the tent is how it was designed to be set up, a free standing tent has a fixed pole system so the set up is very quick.

However, if you purchase a nonfreestanding tent they are much lighter but come with the cost of needing both mastery and creativity to set up with guy lines, stakes, and trekking poles, especially if you are camping on hard ground.

Useful Tip: If you have ever found yourself waking up in the middle of the night in search of water or needing to pop outside for some bathroom relief, you know you are going to need a headlamp or flashlight. The best way not to be fumbling in the dark is to have interior pockets in your tent to pop this light in and make your night time needs much easier.

Buy The Best

You are ready for your first solo trip, or at least your first solo tent and are now looking to buy the best.

Before heading straight out to an outdoor store, check out this review of eight of the best solo tents on the market for you to choose from and find the best ratio of weight and comfort.

Big Agnes Fly Creek 1 Platinum Tent

Big Agnes Fly Creek 1 Platinum Tent

Weight: 3.78 lbs

Dimensions: 4x5x19 inches

Price: $499.95

Specific Features: The Big Agnes has a few special features that make it stand out, it is made out of nylon, with an ultralight silicone treated fly hat makes it both rip protected and 1200mm waterproof.

The tent itself is a single door and vestibule with one pocket made of mesh inside the tent. The tent body is also made of mesh to give it better ventilation and all seams are waterproof.

Best Use: Solo Backpacking

Description: This Big Agnes Fly Creek 1 Platinum Tent has many features that make it a desirable feature to bring it along on a backpacking trip. It is extremely light weight and its floor area is 22 square feet with the head height of 38” meaning that it is roomy enough for an average packer.

Customer reviews are very favorable, the waterproof seams and breathable mesh outside make for a tent that withstands well in rain and in heavy wind. It is a three season tent that is both free standing and ultra light, making it an excellent option for backpacking through many different types of terrain.

While this tent runs on the expensive side its new technology in the material and in the poles make it light, easily packable, and easy to set up. It has many features designed for comfort and can withstand extreme rain elements.

Kelty Salida 1 Tent

Kelty Salida 1 Tent

Weight: 3.88 lbs

Dimensions: 38 x 29 x 86 inches

Price: $100-$150

Specific Features: This tent features a low packing weight of 3 lbs 6 oz, is made of polyester and no-see-um mesh, for great ventilation. It is a freestanding dome style tent and features a fast two pole set up with compact design, making your pack up faster.

Inside the tent, you will find gear loops lofted on the ceiling for a flashlight, and the zippers are made out of a noiseless tape covered material to help protect against the wind.

Best Use: Backpacking.

Description: This Kelty Salida 1 Tent is rated as a three season weatherproof tent that helps with both chilly weather and windy or rainy weather. The top half of the tent has larger mesh panels which not only make it breathable and keeps out the condensation, but it also is reviewed as having great stargazing abilities on nights when the weather is not too bad.

In warm weather, this is a favorite feature by most reviewers. The tent is also light for how much space it provides its sleeper and is on the lower end of the price compared to some of the other tents on the market.

The stakes are also designed to be super lightweight, meaning that you can enjoy the tent and all of its lightweight features in the great outdoors.

Many of the customers who reviewed this tent mention that it was comfortable even though they were over 6 feet tall, making this tent ideal for a larger backpacker. The only thing this tent doesn’t have is pockets on the inside, however, it attempts to rectify this problem by having gear loops on the ceiling.

Related: Kelty Salida 1 Footprint and Kelty Gear Loft.

Big Agnes Slater UL 1+ Person Tent

Big Agnes Slater UL 1+ Person Tent

Weight: 3.84 lbs

Dimensions: 47 x 96 x 36 inches

Price: $250.00

Specific Features: What sets this tent apart is its two major features which are two door closing options, one mesh and the other a full protection polyester layer. The second is storm flaps on its vestibule zipper making it extremely effective for rain.

It is a 3-season plus tent with a protective tent body and reflective guylines and webbing.  It’s a dome tent with nylon rip-stop fly and excellent PU coating.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: This Big Agnes Slater UL 1+ Person Tent offers extra floor space that makes it comfortable and lightweight. Instead of having mesh walls the tent has breathable nylon rip-stop so that you can have extra privacy but also stay warm in your tent.

Our second Big Agnes tent is heavier than the first but a bit roomier is free standing and has a single pole system for a fast standing tent.

Since there is such limited mesh on this tent it makes it better for cold weather camping, but the trade off is that it does collect a bit more condensation in the tent.

The mesh door can be unzipped to allow a more breathable and dryer tent. There are some mixed reviews on the heaviness of the tent, and its condensation, but it is an excellent price for all of its other features.

Kelty Gunnison 1.3 Tent w/ Footprint

Kelty Gunnison 1.3 Tent

Weight: 4.6 lbs

Dimensions: 29 x 40 x 89 inches

Price: $169.95

Specific Features: This tent is extremely easy to set up, has one entry door and has door storage pockets. Unlike our other tents reviewed it includes a Footprint, has gear loft loops on the awning and has compact folding poles.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: While this Kelty Gunnison 1.3 Tent w/ Footprint is not the lightest of the options you can pick it is still an excellent price and tent for comfortable backpacking trips.

There is plenty of leg room in the tent, and has a quick and easy setup, and is a free standing tent so it can be placed on any surface.

While there is plenty of length in this tent, some report that they struggle to kneel in the tent, making it difficult to change inside of the tent.

One other thing that is mentioned about this tent is the necessity of the Footprint that comes with the tent, and that is because the floor of the tent is rather thin. There was also some condensation reported in the tent but only after a heavy rain.

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 Tent

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 Tent

Weight: 3 lbs

Dimensions: 5 x 14 x 18 inches  

Price: $279.90

Specific Features:  This nylon ten is three season and free standing with one door opening and a storm flap.

The floor and the fly are both lightweight and are treated with nylon rip-stop and a waterproof coating. The tent is largely made of mesh to provide ventilation and there are two interior pockets.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: This ultra light Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 Tent is both fast to set up and is easy to pack down to an incredibly small size. It has inside pockets making it easy to store your belongings and is highly rated for its weight and the poles being shock corded together makes for simple set up.

It is also well rated for tropical areas for its ventilation abilities due to the amount of mesh.

There are two things poorly rated about this tent to be aware of, several customers have noted that the tent is extremely difficult to get in and out of due to its size. If it is raining getting out of the tent means that you may end up getting soaked.

As an additional difficulty, some customers have complained about the zippers being low quality, meaning that they may break while you are in the outdoors.

Eureka Spitfire Tent

Eureka Spitfire Tent

Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz.

Dimensions: 22 x 6 x 6 inches

Price: $116.72

Specific Features:  This tent features one main fly and floor seams that are taped to prevent feeling the extreme weather, it has a rather large side entry meaning that the entry is much easier.

It also has a bathtub floor to make sure water doesn’t seep through. It is ultra light, with decent vestibule for extra storage and very large mesh sections for ventilation and stargazing.

Best Use: Solo backpacking

Description: Unlike our other tents, this Eureka Spitfire Tent is not a freestanding tent, meaning that if you can’t stake it into the ground you need to find nearby trees to hold it up.  On top of that, the tent itself has an interesting shape and design due to the bathtub style floor.

While this tent is pretty large for its weight, it is still difficult to fit a larger person inside this tent, so test it before you buy. It’s size also means that you need to consider your backpack size if you plan on storing it in the tent itself.

All this being said, for its weight and size it is extremely well priced, and if money is your biggest concern this might be the right tent for you. If the weather is warm enjoy the large mesh panels on the top for stargazing!

Eureka Solitaire Tent

Eureka Solitaire Tent

Weight: 2.9 lbs

Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches

Price: $76.98

Specific Features: This tent features a design meant for speed set ups, pole pockets on one end and a ring and pin on the other, it also has two storage pockets on the inside and a flashlight loop.

It also features a fiberglass frame that is shock corded making it both durable and fast to take down. It is well ventilated by its large roof mesh and the roof also acts as the door for this tiny tent.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: Light and small this Eureka Solitaire Tent is the ideal 2 hoop bivy style tent, it also comes at one of our most reasonable prices in this list. It has been rated as highly durable and incredibly fast in it’s set up. It is a three season tent, and while it might be snug to some, many campers enjoy the door on the side and on the top of the tent.

Two cons to this tent that have been most talked about by its customers are that there is no way to fit both yourself and your gear in this tent, so bring a rain cover for your pack if you purchase this solo tent. The second is that many find that there are broken poles, or that the poles split during the trip.

That being said Eureka has excellent customer reviews and will replace the poles immediately and add an extension to the ring and the pin to reduce stress on the poles.

Lunar Solo – 24 oz. Green, 1 Person Tent

Lunar Solo - 24 oz. Green, 1 Person Tent

Weight: 24 oz.

Dimensions: 48 x 6 x 6 inches

Price: $215.00

Specific Features: Lunar solo has made an extremely lightweight tent that is 3 seasons and highly durable.

It features dual full vestibule high vents and a floating canopy and floor that is waterproof. They also ensured that the tent has an oversized screen door and a single piece bathtub styled floor.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: If you are looking for an ultralight weight solo tent, then the Lunar might be perfect for you! It is a single wall tent, which helps save weight but increases the risk of condensation on the inside.

The lofted canopy is beloved by most campers who purchase this tent as they can comfortably change their clothes inside this tent, which is rare amongst solo tents.

With it’s floating floor you can place this tent almost anywhere, there is less of a chance for sharp objects to puncture your tent and the center pole support allows for you to remain comfortable even in high winds.

Lunar also advertises that this tent can be set up in 2 minutes or less, in almost any conditions you may come across on the trail.

Sleep with Ease

Now that you have selected your solo tent you can rest assured that you will be both comfortable while you sleep and when you pick up your full pack the next morning.

Choose your Solo Tent

Remember, what you choose is not based on what is the most expensive or the best brand name, but what will maximize your sleep after a long day of alpine trekking.  If you are sleeping what you believe to be the best solo tent and we have missed it in our review, let us know in a comment below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    It wasn’t mentioned in this article, but I like bringing my camping hammock with me when camping on areas with lots of trees. There are a lot of advantages bringing one such as having no problems with the ground. Sloping or rocky ground wouldn’t be a bother because all you need are two trees far enough from each other. It’s also easier to set up. I set up mine for less than five minutes.

    • Dennis Owens

      Bringing a hammock is a great idea with that authentic laidback feel to it. It also doesn’t consume too much space and can be used when the weather is relatively mild. Just remember though, when installing a hammock, double check the trees where you’ll attach the ends and make sure that they are sturdy and free from insects.

  • Euan Percival

    I’ve spent around two months researching and reading reviews to find the perfect solo tent. I had an upcoming backpacking trip that meant my tent had to meet some very specific criteria, namely, it to have very little or no mesh, weigh less than 4lbs, and be free standing with a single pole system.

    Not only did the Big Agnes Slater tick all those boxes, but was easy to put together and it provided me with a comfortable nights sleep. If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight one-person tent, you won’t be disappointed by the Slater.

    • Dennis Owens

      The Slater is a compact and really portable solo tent. These features complement the fact on how durable this tent is. Ultralight and very dependable.

  • Eugene Anderson

    When buying a solo tent, nothing matters more to me than it being a pyramid tent. I find them versatile and lighter than other tents. They certainly have more space than ultra-light. They offer more weather protection than a tarp. The best thing about them is that you can buy them in parts and take with you only the ones you need for that trip. It can save you from carrying a lot of unnecessary weight.

    • Dennis Owens

      We can always go classic. The pyramid tent provides space and comfort of a roomy tent to provide you a comfortable rest. Some pyramid tents come in series or parts and indeed, you can leave the parts you don’t need at home.

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