For those of you just getting into backpacking and hiking or if you’re someone that only spends a few days per month or year out in the backcountry, you might be in the market for a reasonably priced and affordable backpacking tent that’s still good quality and going to keep you dry and comfortable when you’re out camping.
These days, there are quite a few different options available when it comes to different budget backpacking tents so thankfully you don’t have to totally blow all your savings just to find some shelter for yourself the next time you want to go on an overnight hike or spend some time camping with your friends or family.
One of the main drawbacks with these more reasonably priced tents is that they tend to be a little bit heavier compared to some of the better quality ones and they also use lower quality materials as a way to keep the price down.
On the other hand, it’s not like I’m going to recommend something that’s going to fall apart on you the moment you set it up.
Despite being a little bit heavier these tents are still going to be well-suited for you to begin your camping or backpacking adventures and help you to determine whether or not you want to upgrade to something better in the future.
Today, I want to go over some of my recommendations for the best budget backpacking tents.
These are going to be solid recommendations if you’re looking for something affordable or if you’re just getting started with the hobby and you don’t want to spend too much money all upfront before deciding whether or not you even like camping, hiking, or backpacking.
The Best Cheap Tents for Backpacking and Camping
My first recommendation for a cheap backpacking tent would be the Sundome 2-Person.
This bad boy is made by Coleman, which is a popular company that makes a lot of reasonably priced camping gear, and its smaller size makes it a suitable choice for those of you going on backpacking trips on your own or with one other person.
Although it’s a two-person tent, it will fit one person very comfortably and two people are going to be a little bit cramped, especially once you add all of the gear and sleeping bags and stuff inside.
It’s a dome tent, so there is just a single entrance door and on the inside you’ll get about 48 inches of height, which is plenty of room to move around, get changed, and not feel so cramped when you’re inside the tent itself.
Setting it up is quite straightforward and it features a easy 2-pole design so there’s no need to fiddle around with any awkward set up features.
To help with ventilation there is a rear hooded window as well as mesh vents on the roof that help to keep the interior ventilated and also help to prevent moisture from building up.
Of course, the tent is waterproof and the seams come equipped with extreme weather protection so that even in a downpour you’re going to be able to stay dry if you’re inside.
The tent is a bit heavy, coming in at around 7 pounds in total weight, but split between two people this is quite manageable and if you’re on your own it’s still a good choice if you’re on a budget.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx is a very reasonably priced and well-designed 1 person backpacking tent.
It features a single door entry along with plenty of ventilation so that you can enjoy a nice breeze during the night and you also don’t have to worry as much about the inside becoming full of moisture.
Getting it setup is very straightforward and easy and you simply just need to properly position the poles, clip the tent on, stake it into the ground, and you’re ready to go.
Once everything is set up, you can add the factory sealed rainfly to help keep you dry if you’re going to be camping during a rainy night and with the fly attached it also makes a little bit of extra space in a small vestibule beside the entrance that you can use to store your backpacking gear.
On the inside of the tent is a mesh storage pocket as well as a gear loft so that you can keep some things inside that you need quick access to such as your headlamp or smartphone.
The rainfly itself is made from a polyester material that helps to keep everything waterproof and also resists UV damage and for further weather protection the sealed seams as well as the poly taffeta floor are really going to help keep you dry during any rainy or stormy nights.
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx also boasts a free-standing design so you can set it up even if you can’t stake it into the ground, although on windy nights you might want to consider staking it down just to avoid any wind issues.
This is definitely a great option if you’re looking for a budget backpacking tent, and coming in at just under 4lbs in weight, it’s a very reasonable weight for someone hiking on their own looking for a durable and reliable overnight shelter system.
ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2
The ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2 is a budget 2 person tent that features a free-standing design and also comes equipped with two large doors, one on each side of the tent, to make entry and exit easier for one or two people.
To help keep the interior ventilated there are two large mesh panels on the sides as well as zipper windows in the doors so that during the summer you can enjoy a nice breeze and it’s also helps to prevent moisture from building up inside.
The rain fly is made from polyester and not only resists UV damage but helps to keep the inside dry during any rainfall.
There’s even a ridgepole that you can use to make sort of an awning over each of the doors and on the inside there was also a gear loft along with mesh storage pockets for more interior storage and organization.
Despite being free-standing, this tent comes with steel stakes and it’s a good idea to stake it down if you’re expecting any windy or inclement weather overnight.
For one person I would recommend going with a smaller tent but for two people, especially if you can split the 9 pound weight between the two of you, this is a great choice if you’re on a budget and you still want something you can use for camping out in the backcountry.
Kelty Salida 2
The Kelty Salida 2 can be used by either one or two people at a time and not only is it reasonably priced but it also is surprisingly lightweight compared to some of the heavier 2 person tents that I’ve recommended here today.
The lightweight design makes it a suitable choice for those of you spending a lot of time hiking or backpacking with everything like your back, rather than just car camping, and it’s a great tent especially if you’re on a tight budget.
This bad boy features a free-standing design, a single entry door, and internal storage pockets on the inside for better organization.
For two people, the inside is definitely going to be a little bit snug but with the rain fly attached there is a small vestibule right beside the entrance where you can store your hiking boots and backpacks for more interior space.
To help with ventilation, all of the walls feature mesh panels and was also a mesh window on the door so that even with the rain fly attached you can still enjoy a nice summer breeze and not completely overheat when you’re inside.
Not only is it lightweight but it can also be rolled up into a small profile so it fits nicely in a backpack without taking up too much space or being too bulky.
To get everything set up, there are only two poles that make up the frame and once they are opened up and ready to use you simply just need to clip the actual tent on to the frame poles and you’re ready to go.
One of the things I like about the poles is that the sections are actually a little bit shorter compared to what you would normally find and this makes them easier to pack rather than having to deal with some of the more awkwardly shaped ones.
During any inclement weather there are guy out points on the rain fly that you can use to help stabilize the tent if it’s windy or heavily raining and this along with the aluminum pole design to keep the tent stable, durable, and well suited for a wide range of outdoor weather conditions and environments.
Mountainsmith Morrison 2
The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 is a two-person tent that’s designed to be used during all three camping seasons and it’s something you can pick up without totally breaking the bank.
It’s a free-standing tent, and this allows you to set it up in a wider variety of different spots outdoors rather than having to find somewhere that you can use your stakes with and it comes with two doors so that each person has their own quick easy access entrance.
Having two doors is good because you don’t have to crawl over the other person you’re traveling with if you need to get out during the night to use the washroom or earlier in the morning for some fresh air.
The design also allows for two separate vestibules and this is really good because it offers a lot more storage underneath the rain fly for things like backpacks and hiking boots that might not fit so well inside the tent when you’re trying to sleep.
Mesh on the walls as well as the door panels help to keep the interior door well ventilated and on the inside there is a removable gear loft as well as mesh storage pockets for better storage capabilities as well as increased organization.
Around 5 pounds in packed weight, this is a very lightweight budget backpacking tent and it’s suitable to use if you’re hiking or camping on your own or one other person where you can split the weight and make it even more reasonable to carry for extended distances.
ALPS Mountaineering Taurus
The ALPS Mountaineering Taurus is designed to be used for one or two people and it features 2 doors along with 2 storage vestibules making it a good choice if you’re looking for a cheap 2 person tent to bring with you camping or hiking.
Setting it up is quite straightforward with its freestanding design and you just need 2 poles to get everything up and running.
Each of the doors comes equipped with a mesh window and even the rain fly has vents in it so that you can still keep the interior ventilated even when the tent is completely covered with the fly.
To help keep you dry during inclement weather both the floor and the rain fly have been factory sealed so as long as you have everything set up properly you should be able to spend the night completely dry even in a heavy rainfall.
For its lightweight design, the poles are made from fiberglass and it even comes with aluminum stakes that you can use to tie the tent down if you’re expecting heavy winds or a stormy night.
On the interior is a gear loft as well as some mesh storage pockets giving you some interior storage as well as organizational capabilities.
As for your backpack and hiking boots, these can be stored in the vestibules outside of the tent so that you have more space inside without having to worry about them getting soaked or being too exposed to the elements.