Best Hiking Tents for Overnight Treks and Backpacking Trips
Choosing the right hiking tent is not an easy task as there are so many things to consider. In addition, there is a huge amount of different hiking and backpacking tents available on the market right now which makes picking the best one even more time consuming.
We’ve done much of the research for you and have short-listed 8 of the best hiking tents that you can currently buy. From small, lightweight 1-person tents to larger 4-person tents suitable for hiking expeditions. All these tents are of the highest quality standards, designed to last forever.
What to Look for in a Hiking Tent
Choosing the right hiking tent is important as it’s not an item that you’d want to replace after using it just once. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best tent for your hiking adventures.
A key difference between a hiking tent and a holiday tent is that a hiking tent is much lighter. You need to be able to comfortably carry a hiking tent around, so weight is a crucial decision factor. Some prefer the lightest tent possible, sacrificing a bit of internal space. Others prefer a bit more comfort and are happy to carry a bit more weight around if need be.
2. Capacity and Interior Space
Hiking tents come in various sizes and dimensions and it depends on your personal needs what type of tent is best for you.
For example, if you usually go hiking or backpacking in a group of three friends, you could either for for a 3-man hiking tent or a three 1-man tents. A 3-man tent would typically be cheaper than three individual tents but obviously you would have less space and privacy. The other benefit of a 3-man tent in this scenario is that you would only have to carry one packed tent around with you and you can take turns between the three of you.
Alternatively, you can also choose a 3-man tent for two people to sleep in, or a 4-man tent to accommodate three people. It all depends on how much comfort and space you think you will need.
Interior space is also an important decision factor. If you’re a bigger person, don’t go for a super compact 1-man tent. There are in fact quite some variations between brands when it comes to internal space so make sure that you choose a hiking tent that is comfortable enough for you to sleep in.
3. Season Rating
Perhaps not the most crucial decision factor when hiking in Australia, season rating can still be something to consider. Most hiking tents are marked as 3-season tents, meaning they’re suitable for spring, summer and autumn. If you’re planning to use your tent in cold winter conditions and/or for mountaineering, make sure it’s a 4-season tent that can handle low temperatures and snowfall.
4. Freestanding or Non-Freestanding?
Freestanding tents are easier and faster to set up. They are often preferred for overnight hiking or backpacking trips to save time. They typically come with a fixed pole rather than pegs allowing you to set up pretty much anywhere you like.
Non-freestanding tents are usually lighter (no poles) but are more difficult and time-consuming to set up. They also require more real estate. The process of setting up your tent is something you can practice and get used to though.
5. Design and Features
Even with lightweight hiking tents there can still be crucial differences in the way they are designed. One door or multiple doors, single wall or double-walled, air vents, interior pockets, and so forth. We recommend hiking tents that are simple yet durable.
The more bells, whistles and other features, the more complicated it is to set up the tent and the more things that can actually break. Having said that, basic features such as interior pockets and vestibule can come in very handy.
Price is always important, no matter what you’re buying. You’ll find that most tents are priced similarly, with a few exceptions. If you’re planning to use your tent a lot and possibly in harsh conditions, don’t be afraid to spend a bit more. It’s an old saying, but it’s usually true, you get what you pay for.
Top 8 Best Hiking Tents in Australia
We have grouped our 8 favourite hiking tents into best 1-person, 2-person, 3-person and 4-person lightweight hiking tents, starting with the best 1-person hiking tents.
If you’re looking for a compact-sized, 1-person hiking tent, the following two tents are very good options to consider:
1. Vango Blade 100
The Vango Blade 100 is a popular one-person tent that is designed with durability and efficiency in mind. This green-colored, double-skin model is a single pole backpacking tent, ideal for the solo hiker or traveler. It features a small porch area that provides space and cover for your backpack. Made with breathable polyester, the inner tent has a part mesh door for ventilation.
One issue with sleeping in tents is the build up of condensation during the night. Just like the Lynx below, the Blade 100 has two ventilation points to allow for a bit of air circulation through the tent, minimising the risk of potential condensation. This is a tent feature that should not be taken for granted. The tent also has side pockets on either side that you can use to store your personal belongings such as wallets and keys.
The polyester head flysheet and polyethylene groundsheet in this tent offer perfect waterproof protection. Setting it up is as easy as it gets, and you should be able to have it standing up firm in under five minutes.
Packed size: 11 x 46 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): 300 × 100 x 95 cm
Floor area: 3 m2
2. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1
The popular Lynx by ALPS Mountaineering is a very compact yet feature-rich one-person tent. The Lynx is a freestanding tent that comes with a set of two aluminum poles. Setting it up is super easy with the pole clips that can be attached to the poles without any hassle.
The easy one door entry with one vestibule for extra storage and protection make the Lynx a very convenient and straight forward little home. A welcome feature is the tiny windows on each side allowing you to have a quick peek outside. The tent also has two ventilation vents which is actually very pleasant. Take note though that these vents need to opened and closed from the outside. The little net inside can be used to store some of your light hiking gear or other personal stuff like a book or magazine.
This tent also holds up really well in heavy rain with the factory sealed fly and floor seam. Size-wise, while it’s definitely a small tent, it should fit any reasonably sized adult. The middle if the tent is high enough to be able to sit up. Overall, this is a very practical tent that won’t disappoint.
Packed size: 15.2 x 44.4 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): 228 x 81 x 91 cm
Floor area: 1.85 m2
Priced slightly higher, the following 2-person hiking tents are excellent options for two hikers or individuals looking for a bit more space:
3. Companion Pro Hiker 2
Perhaps the best entry-level 2-person hiking tent on the market is the Companion Pro Hiker. Set at a very competitive price, this tent is very well constructed and offers a great set of useful features. It’s a tent with two conveniently sized entrances and two vestibules that provide easy access through mesh doors. The interior is quite spacious and can be properly ventilated through the two vents in the rain fly. The roof contains an additional four vents.
With superior weather protection, various handy interior pockets, a compression bag and a gear loft, the Companion Pro Hiker 2 is a great little home for people who occasionally like to go out hiking or backpacking but don’t want to spend a fortune on a tent.
Packed size: 14 x 45 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): 255 x 260 (140 inner) x 110 cm
Floor area: 3.6 m2
4. The North Face Talus 2
Loaded with great features, the freestanding Talus 2 by The North Face is a top quality 3-season 2-person tent that provides great value for money. This model includes a rain fly with taped seams that stops any rain from dripping through. It also has a mesh canopy to allow sufficient airflow during warm nights. The fly can easily be rolled up to expose the sides to further enhance ventilation. It also comes with a footprint that protects the tent floor from dirt and rocks. This is quite a unique feature that not all brands offer at that price.
The Talus 2 is a dual vestibule tent that can be easily pitched with clips within a matter of minutes without any hassle. It also has an extra door for convenience so you don’t have to step over your buddy when you need to enter or exit. It’s also excellent for moving gear in and out the tent. The gear loft at the front of the tent is very useful to store smaller items such as flashlights and clothing. It’s around 100cm high in the centre, high enough to be able to sit up.
What’s awesome is that you can actually set up this tent with just the fly and the footprint. This is useful in scenarios when you just want some quick cover against the sun or rain, or when you’re having a meal.
Packed size: 19 x 58 cm
Floor area: 3 m2
The Vango Bashee 300 and the Talus 3 are great hiking tents that can fit up to three people:
5. Vango Banshee 300
One of the most affordable 3-person tents on the market is the bestselling Vango Banshee 300, a lightweight compact tent that is equipped with a side vestibule and two doors for easy access. The doors are designed such that rain will not drop into the inner tent when they are open. The pole comes with a tension band system to increase the stability of the tent during strong winds.
The inner tent and external flysheet can be easily pitched together, making it easier to set up this tent. They durable flysheet is 100% waterproof and comes with mesh-covered vents for improved ventilation to reduce unwelcome condensation. Given the affordable price and the rather compact internal space, the Banshee 300 is often used as a 2-person tent rather than a 3-person tent.
Packed size: 16 x 48 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): 279 x 220 x 106 cm (outer)
Floor area: unknown
6. The North Face Talus 3
The Talus 3 by The North Face is almost identical to the Talus 2, but slightly bigger to accommodate three people. It includes a 100% waterproof rain fly and handy footprint that protects against any dirt and rocks. This popular tent with two doors and two vestibules is certainly not the cheapest but it’s one of the more convenient and spacious tents available.
Packed size: 21 cm x 59 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): unknown
Floor area: 3.6 m2
Looking to accommodate up to four travelers? The following two 4-man hiking tents are popular, top quality tents to consider:
7. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4
The ALPS Lynx 4 has exactly the same design and looks as the Lynx 1 and is only about double the price. A hugely affordable tent that can accommodate four people. Easy to set up with two poles and two vestibules and pole clips that fit easily over the poles. With lots of storage space and 100% waterproof protection, the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4 is one of the best hiking tents for the budget traveller.
Packed size: unknown
Dimensions (LxWxH): 232 x 260 x 134
Floor area: 6 m2
8. The North Face Bastion 4
Far more expensive than the ALPS Lynx 4, the freestanding Bastion 4 by The North Face is a 4-season 4-person expedition tent that you might as well call a house. This beast is designed to provide shelter in the most extreme weather and climate conditions, yet it is a surprisingly lightweight hiking tent. It features a nylon fly and canopy with multiple vents for perfect ventilation throughout the tent. The polyurethane window has been tested to withstand temperatures -50 degrees Celsius. The two doors with poled dual-entry front vestibule make navigating very easy. It also features no less than ten interior pockets for easy storage.
Constructed with a fully taped nylon bucket floor, this expedition tent has great structural strength suitable for extreme locations. In addition, the fly has has welded reinforcements at critical points to be able to withstand harsh conditions. Setting up is a breeze too, with six color-coded poles and snow stakes. If you’re going hiking in tough weather conditions or you’re going to climb mountains, the Bastion 4 is probably the best hiking tent you could wish for.
Packed size: 40 x 60 cm
Dimensions (LxWxH): unknown
Floor area: 5.7 m2