Camping tents are getting lighter and more affordable every year. At the same time, the market is saturated with low-quality knock-offs claiming to be suitable for wild camping.
It can be hard to know which tents you can trust to keep you warm and dry on the trails, but don’t worry! This article will tell you everything you need to know about the best wild camping tents available on the market today.
- ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr - My Choice
- Geertop Bivy Tent - Best Value
- Alps Mountaineering Chaos Tent - Best 2 person Wild Camping Tent
- Forceatt 3 Person Tent - Best 3 Person Wild Camping Tent
- Geertop 1 Person Pyramid Tent - Best For Long-Distance Thru-Hike
- The North Face Storm Break Tent - Most Lightweight and Sturdy Construction
- Snugpak Bivvi Tent - Best Water Repellency
Best Wild Camping Tents Review
ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr
In my opinion, the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr Tent is the best one-person wild camping tent on the market today!
At 1.9 kilograms, it is a suitable weight for a solo wild camper, but it offers plenty of room to store your kit on the outer porch.
Easy to set up and extremely waterproof, the Zephyr tent is a brilliant option for wild campers in wet and windy climates.
If you are heading out on a multi-day thru-hike, you might want to consider a lighter tent. But unless you are prepared to pay for the most expensive expedition tents on the market, you will probably end up sacrificing on waterproofing, structural integrity, and insulation.
For a high-quality, reasonably priced tent that will keep you warm and dry year-round, I cannot recommend the Zephyr Tent highly enough.
Weight: 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms)
Color: Copper/Rust or Navy/Grey
Capacity: 1 Person
Pole type: Aluminium Poles
Geertop Bivy Tent
I think that the Geertop Bivy Tent offers by far the best bang for your buck.
This 1 person Bivy Tent does not have an outer porch, so you’ll have to bring your kit inside with you.
That being said, there is an inner vestibule where you can put your luggage, so it shouldn’t get in the way of a comfortable night’s sleep.
The camouflage design and low profile allow you to pitch up discreetly, and the taped seams and 5000mm waterproof covering will keep you dry in some of the wettest conditions.
I particularly love how easy this tent is to put up and take down. After a little practice, you should be set up in under 10 minutes, leaving more time for hiking along the trails or swimming in the alpine lakes!
Weight: 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms)
Capacity: 1 Person
Pole type: Aluminum Poles
Alps Mountaineering Chaos Tent
The Alps Mountaineering Chaos Tent is a brilliant wild camping tent for 2 people.
It is a little heavier than the recommended 2 kg for a single person, but the weight can be distributed between the packs of 2 people sharing.
In fact, 2 separate carry bags are provided with this in mind. If you prefer to have a little space to stretch out in your tent, you could also consider this tent for a solo wild-camping trip.
The tent has an entrance and vestibule on each side, and plenty of ventilation to minimize condensation.
You can store your kit on the outer porch, and a mesh storage pocket on the tent roof is perfect for keeping any valuables safe!
This tent performs very well in the wind, the cold, and the rain, with users frequently comparing it to much more expensive brands.
For these reasons, I have chosen the Alps Mountaineering Chaos Tent as my Best Choice for 2 people wild camping.
Weight: 5.9 pounds (2.6 kilograms)
Color: Dark Grey/Rust or Grey/Navy
Capacity: 2 person
Pole type: Aluminium Poles
Forceatt 3 Person Tent
The Forceatt 3 Person Tent is a fantastic little camping tent.
I recommend that you opt for the dark green color because it is a lot more discreet than some of the other options.
This tent is extremely easy to put up, taking most users an average of 3 minutes or less!
As with any wild camping tent, you should not expect to be able to fit in thick air mattresses or a lot of equipment. But the Forceatt 3 person tent has enough space for 3 people using sleeping bags and roll mats. If the weight is spread out between 2 packs, the tent isn’t heavy at all.
There are 2 separate doors for easy access, and space to store your kit in the outer vestibules.
This is an affordable and good-quality tent, but I would recommend that 3 people sleeping in a tent like this only if they are family members or very close friends!
If you want privacy or space to stretch out, it’s a good idea to go for a 1 person tent instead.
Weight: 7.3 pounds (3.3 kilograms)
Color: Dark Green or Off White or Orange or Yellow
Capacity: 3 person
Pole type: Aluminium poles
Geertop 1 Person Pyramid Tent
The Geertop 1 Person Pyramid Tent is perfect for a long-distance thru-hike.
Instead of using aluminum poles, you set it up with one of your trekking poles. This saves a lot of weight. It doesn’t matter too much if one of your trekking poles breaks on the hike. You need only one pole to put up this tent, so you won’t be stuck without any shelter.
Please note that the tent does not include trekking poles. The idea is to use it alongside the kit that you already have.
As well as being lightweight, this pyramid tent is very easy to set up. It is also surprisingly roomy inside for the weight.
However, there are some drawbacks. A trekking pole tent does not perform as well in the wind or the rain as a tent with classic aluminum poles and thicker walls.
This model does have a 3000mm waterproof coating, so it can be used in the rain.
However, I would recommend a sturdier tent if you are planning on camping in wet and windy climates.
All in all, this is a brilliant lightweight tent for thru-hiking in a reasonably warm and dry climate.
Weight: 1.98 pounds (0.9 kilograms)
Capacity: 1 person
Pole type: Trekking Pole Tent
The North Face Storm Break Tent
The North Face is a brilliant outdoor brand, with a long-standing reputation for quality products.
Its Storm Break Tent is a lightweight, high-quality tent, with enough space for 1 person, their kit, and a dog!
The only reason that I would hesitate before using this tent for wild camping is because the colors are not particularly discreet. The North Face may have given these colors the natural-sounding names of ‘Golden Oak’ and ‘Lagoon,’ but realistically, these colors are yellow and sky blue.
All the same, the tent is a brilliant option for wild campers due to its lightness and sturdy, weatherproof design. You just might have to go to a little more effort to find a sheltered pitch.
There are 2 outdoor porches where you can keep your things, helping to direct rain away from the sleeping area. One of these is accessible only from the outside, which is another slight drawback.
Weight: 3 pounds 7 oz (1.56 kilograms)
Color: Golden Oak or Lagoon/Navy
Capacity: 1 person
Pole type: Poles Included (pole material not specified)
Snugpak Bivvi Tent
The Snugpak Bivvi Tent is a fantastic bivvi tent for stealth camping.
You will have considerably less space than with the Geertop Bivvi Tent I chose as my best-value tent, but the Snugpak is exceptionally lightweight and compact.
A bivvi tent is designed to give you warmth and shelter without taking up unnecessary weight in your pack, so make sure you understand what you are buying.
Unlike a tent that you can sit up in, you will be able only to lay flat, and a couple of small poles will give you a little headroom.
The floor is coated in 8000mm waterproofing, so this bivvi holds up very well in wet conditions.
There is also a built-in mosquito net to protect you from any unwanted visitors.
Please note: Because of the design of this bivvi tent, it may not be suitable for people with a larger physical build.
Weight: 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg)
Capacity: 1 Person
Pole type: Aluminium poles
What equipment do I need for wild camping?
It takes practice to pack well for a wild camping trip. You need to find the right balance between limiting the weight in your pack and having all the essential equipment to camp safely and comfortably.
In addition to your tent, you will need a good-quality sleeping bag, warm clothes, and a comfortable sleeping pad.
You should also bring some basic first aid supplies and plenty of food and water.
For your safety, you should pack an emergency blanket and water filter.
An Emergency Blanket
Emergency blankets can save your life if you get caught in very hot or very cold conditions. They are affordable, lightweight, and usually small enough to fit in your pocket, so no excuses!
A Mini Water Filter
Sawyer filters have a particularly good reputation. Alternatively, you can use water purification tablets or carry all of your water into camp with you.
The latter can be a risky and heavy strategy, so I recommend having a system to purify water in case of emergency.
There is so much more to packing well for a wild camp. This wild camping equipment guide will help you choose the rest of your equipment.
Wild Camping Tents Basic Buying Guide
Before buying your wild camping tent, you will need to think about a few things.
You will want to keep your pack nice and light, preferably no more than 20% of your body weight.
Unlike with a classic tent, you will be prioritizing lightness over space and comfort, ideally keeping your tent below 2 kilograms per person.
If you are wild camping with a friend or family member, you could consider getting a larger tent to share and spreading the weight between your packs.
I prefer to go for a 1 person tent when I’m wild camping because I don’t feel comfortable sharing such a small sleeping area with another person.
That being said, some countries have rules about how many tents are allowed to wild camp at one pitch. This is to protect delicate ecosystems from too much pressure.
If you are in an area where no more than 3 tents can pitch together, and if 4 or 5 of you are camping, sharing tents can help you avoid any fines or being asked to move.
It is important to be discreet when wild camping, causing as little disturbance to local wildlife or communities as possible.
This includes choosing a tent that blends into the local environment. Greens, browns, and greys are all fine. Dark blue might be ok, too. Bright yellow, racecar red, or neon pink should be avoided.
It’s all about having respect for your local surroundings and not concerning any wildlife too much.
You should also aim for a low-profile tent that doesn’t stand out too much, rather than a higher dome-style tent.
Porch vs No Porch
The lightest wild camping tents don’t always have a porch, which means you have to bring your backpack inside the sleeping compartment with you.
This can take up space in your already limited sleeping area and can contribute to a lot of condensation if your kit has gotten damp in the rain.
Personally, I prefer a slightly heavier tent with a porch because I feel a lot less claustrophobic that way.
Make sure you put a rain cover over your backpack for extra protection, and bring your shoes inside the tent compartment if there is any risk of rain.
Even if you think your porch is completely waterproof, you don’t want to test fate! I can tell you from experience, putting on soaking wet boots for a long hike home isn’t fun at all.
It is always necessary to choose a suitable tent for your climate, but this is especially true when it comes to wild camping.
It may take several hours for help to reach you when you are out on the trails, so protecting yourself from the elements is far more important than when you’re camping near your car.
In a warm climate, the quality of your tent is less critical. However, if there is any chance of wind, rain, or snow, you will need to invest in suitable equipment to keep you warm and dry.
What is the best waterproof camping tent?
Look for a tent with a high-quality waterproof coating, sealed seams, and plenty of positive user reviews.
What is the best tent for cold weather camping?
Depending on how extreme the climate is, you can consider anything from a 3 to 4 season tent for cold weather camping.
Don’t forget that your sleeping pad and sleeping bag are just as important as your tent.
Read also: Best Extreme Cold Weather Tents
Is wild camping legal?
It depends on the country you are in, and even on the zoning within each region and national park.
In some places, like Scotland, wild camping is not criminalized. So long as campers Leave No Trace, camp discreetly, and respect the local ecosystem and community, it is allowed.
In many countries, wild camping is allowed only if you have the explicit permission of the landowner.
Before wild camping anywhere new, you should research the specific laws and regulations of the place you are hoping to visit. For public-owned land, the national park websites are a good place to start.
What does Leave No Trace mean?
Leave No Trace refers to a Wild Camping practice that does no harm to local people, wildlife, or ecosystems. It is a legal requirement in many places and includes packing out all of your litter, including toilet paper.
You should leave your camping spot exactly as you found it, including not lighting any fires that leave fire scars on the ground and can quickly get out of control.
When it comes to a wild camping tent, lightness is not the only important factor to consider.
You also need to think carefully about the climate and whether you will have enough space to sleep comfortably.
Thanks to the quality, weight, and size, I think the best wild camping tent on the market right now is the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr Tent. It performs well in a range of climates, and it has a very generous weight-to-space ratio.
If you prefer a more budget-friendly option, the Geertop Bivy Tent is a great option. However, this tent's drawback is that you'll have to bring your kit inside with you because the tent does not have an outer porch.
If you choose to buy a different tent, make sure that you refer to my brief buying guide in this article, so you can make the best decision for you. Don’t forget to Leave No Trace. I wish you many happy wild camping adventures in your new tent!
Are there any other tents that you would like to recommend for wild camping? Please don’t hesitate to reach out; I would love to hear from you!
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Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.