Whether you are planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail or just want to lighten your load, a lightweight tent is a great way to shed some pounds from the pack you carry. Losing your tent altogether and settling for a bivy sack is the ultimate lightweight selection. But if you still want the protection and privacy of a tent there are several lightweight options. These are the main types of lightweight camping tents.
Single-wall tents are as light as they come. Double-wall tents are dryer but heavier and usually take longer to set up. Double-wall tents are constructed with a breathable layer that the poles typically fit into either by sleeves or clips. Then a waterproof fly acts as a second wall. This helps to keep moisture from condensing on the inside of the tent. Single-wall tents simply use one layer of multipurpose breathable and waterproof fabric. These tend to work best in the winter when any condensation produced on the inside will simply turn to frost on the walls instead of dripping onto you and your gear. Single-wall tents, however, can successfully be used in any season.
The smaller the tent, the less fabric and fewer poles there are. Combine that with a single-wall construction and an ultra light material and you have the lightest tent possible.
One of the prime examples of this type of tent is Black Diamond's One Shot, four-season solo tent. The two and a half pole design and EPIC fabric by Nextec allows it to pack down tiny and weigh less than certain bivy sacks. Other top-of-the-line lightweight tents by Black Diamond and Bibler are also made with SilNylon fabric.
Other Lightweight Tent Features
Tents of the lightest weight are made with aluminum poles and usually don't have extra features like a vestibule or extra windows and doors which mean extra zippers. Many lightweight one-man tents are constructed with only one pole which means they may not be self-standing. It you are in an area where you can put stakes or anchors in the ground or snow this is not a problem, but in some cases you may have to anchor down a tent like this with rocks. A good lightweight tent is also one that packs small and comes with a stuff sack.
Compressibility and weight are both important if you want to carry the smallest and also the lightest pack. Brands such as Black Diamond Equipment, MSR, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot and The North Face all sell top-of-the-line light weight tents.
Article Written By Naomi Judd
Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.