How to choose a one-person tent for solo adventures and 8 of the best
You can forget just about any gear on a short backcountry adventure and still get by, but unless you’re planning on hammocking, your tent is vital. Exposure is one of nature’s greatest dangers. In poor conditions, the lack of adequate shelter can mean the end in just hours, while you can survive days without water or even weeks without food. It’s not meant to be morbid, it’s to emphasize how important it is to choose the right tent.
What seasonality should I favor?
When I go trekking, I adapt my clothes according to the environment. In hot weather, I’ll take shorts, thin, moisture-wicking clothes and maybe a warm layer. In cold weather, base layers, mid layers, and insulated jackets will all come into play. Most of us can’t afford (or want) to buy a different tent for every environment, and besides, it would be wasteful, so think about the kind of adventures you’re going to have most often.
One-season tents offer little to no protection from rain or wind, so unless you’re on an extremely tight budget, I wouldn’t recommend them. Two-season tents might be sufficient for festival camping (but having seen my fair share of festivals that turned into mud baths, I would be wary of a two-season tent even for this level of camping). A three-season tent is the type you want for the majority of adventures; it is able to withstand rain, strong winds and a good range of temperatures. If your style is winter mountaineering, opt for a four-season tent, which will provide better protection from the elements in snowy conditions and extreme temperatures.
What shape of tent is the best?
The most common tent shapes are dome, A-frame, tunnel, hanger and pop-up.
pop-up tents have become very popular recently due to their ease of use: just throw them on the ground and they take shape. They aren’t particularly sturdy or durable, and generally aren’t very compact. They are suitable for festival camping, but I wouldn’t recommend them for a foray into nature.
Hanging tents, like Sophisticated Hammocks, are great for wooded areas with uneven ground. Keep in mind that unless you buy a hanging tent that can also be pegged to the ground, your camping trip will end abruptly if you are above the tree line.
A-frame tents are the triangular ones with poles in the middle, which look more like clip art of a tent. They used to be the most common type, but these days you’re more likely to see dome tents (which, unsurprisingly, are domed) with criss-cross poles. They offer better stability and are more spacious, usually with room to sit.
The last type is tunnel tents, low to the ground and almost halfway between a bivy bag and a dome tent. The advantage of a tunnel tent is that its height makes it less susceptible to strong winds, and it is often lighter and more compact, but it is significantly less spacious and can look a bit like a coffin. They are often cheaper too.
How much should my tent weigh?
Lightweight tents have come on leaps and bounds, and there are now plenty of single-person options that weigh less than 1 kg. Ultralight enthusiasts now often choose to pitch tents that use trekking poles rather than tent pegs, which significantly reduce weight for a quick adventure (although they tend to be more flimsy in windy conditions). strong). Unless already built into the tent body, I recommend taking a footprint (groundsheet), to avoid snagging the tent floor on uneven ground. Personally, I wouldn’t take a tent that weighed more than four pounds on a backpacking adventure, and I prefer lighter, although people who are significantly taller and heavier than me might agree to a heavier option. .
I camped in cheap, shoddy tents and woke up in a pool of water (unpleasant, let me tell you). I also withstood blizzards and 60 mph winds in good quality tents, while other tents around me were reduced to soft bits of material. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, but most tents are a big investment and you don’t want to trial and error until you get the right one. Here is what I recommend.
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the MSR Hubba NX Solo Backpacking Tent is a great all-rounder, made from ripstop nylon with plenty of ventilation. At 2.8 pounds, it’s lightweight and portable, and designed for three-season use. It’s also large (the dome shape allows plenty of headroom) and there’s a porch generous enough for hiking boots or a small backpack. Purchase the imprint separately.
The poles on The north face triarch 1 are fantastic; they are very flexible, making them bend easily with the wind in harsh conditions rather than breaking. The mesh interior is a tinted gray color giving a bit more privacy than regular mesh, and it’s a very roomy option for one person, with plenty of room to sit down and stow a bag . The mesh does however drop quite low, which means you feel a draft in strong winds. With the footprint (included with the tent), it weighs 2.4 pounds.
Hanging tents are so photographable, but they are also very functional. the Tentsile Una 1 person hammock tentThe inside of is made from bug mesh, so on a clear night you can ditch the outer layer and watch the stars from your bed. It also comes with underfloor storage nets for your belongings. The obvious disadvantage of a hammock tent is that it is not suitable for camping above the tree line.
the Sierra designs high road 1 weighs less than two pounds and folds down to about the size of a water bottle. That’s because it uses hiking poles as tent pegs, but that doesn’t stop it from being relatively tall, A-frame shaped when erected. It even has two doors, although one is very small and only serves to fit a backpack through rather than your body. For ultralight backpackers and fast packers, it’s ideal, but it doesn’t hold up to harsh environments as well as some other tent styles.
the Jack Wolfskin Gossamer 1-Person Tunnel Tent is very good value for money and a great introduction to solo camping. Low to the ground with only two poles, it is very easy to install. It comes with a repair kit and reflectors on the shrouds and zippers which are extremely useful on dark nights. As it is a tunnel tent, it is not very big.
the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Backpack is extremely spacious and has been specially designed for cycling trips, with many gadgets. There are daisy-chain webbing loops on the outside for hanging clothes to dry and it’s easy to attach to a luggage rack. The poles fold up extremely small and can be stored very easily separately from the tent body, which is good for evenly distributing weight on a bike.
It’s impressive that at 3.7 pounds, the Hilleberg Akto 1 person tent is a good option for four season use. It’s well-ventilated, but the roof vents can be closed off with snow panels, and it’s longer than many one-person tents, making it a solid option for taller campers. This tent does not come with a footprint, and for all-weather camping you will likely need to purchase one separately.
The three seasons Sea to Summit Alto TR 1 Ultralight 1-Person Tent Weighs only 2.4 pounds and the tension ridge pole system means the top of the tent is roomy so even tall campers can sit upright. It is also well ventilated. A footprint is not included.