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Ultralight Tents - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Ultralight Tent Buyers Guide

As a backpacker, you might understand how essential it is to shed the extra pounds from your luggage. The heaviest thing that you will be carrying is the tent, so it is essential to look for ultralight tents that are easy to pack and carry.

With a lightweight tent, you can travel more distance as there is less weight on your back. Moreover, these tents are durable and are easy to set up. But do you know how to choose an ultralight tent and what materials to consider when buying it?

Well, it can be challenging to choose an ultralight tent as not every backpacker is aware of them. So, to help you make an informed decision, we are here with this ultralight tent buyer’s guide.

Go through the guide to know what factors you should look for when buying an ultralight tent.

Why should you trust this guide?

The guide contains information accumulated after extensive research. The factor listed below will help you in determining the right ultralight tent for you. These tents are available in different types and materials, so it is important to make the right choice.

The guide covers everything that you should know about ultralight tents. From materials to the tent's size and capacity, the guide has highlighted all the factors that one should check before buying a tent.

There are innumerable reasons why reading this buyer’s guide will help you in making the right choice. To know about the benefits of this guide, keep reading the article.

Considerations to make when buying an ultralight tent

When choosing an ultralight tent, your focus should be on several factors aside from the weight and compactness of the tent. We have classified various factors below so you can easily determine what factors should be your priority when buying an ultralight tent.

Types of tent

The first thing that you should check is the type of ultralight tent. These tents are available in a multitude of types, and each type has its respective pros and cons. We have explained the different types of tents below with the pros and cons that you should expect with it.

The most common types of ultralight tents are:

  • Tarp tents
  • Hammocks
  • Pyramids, or modified pyramid tents
  • Double-walled ultralight tents

Tarp tents

Tarp tents are among the best ultralight tents that are convenient to carry because of the reduced weight. The tents have a single wall, which is made using a combination of mesh and solid material. Most of the tarp tents come with a bathtub floor, which is attached to the walls, so pitching the tent is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Furthermore, you will also find some tents that have an integrated front awning or beak that will help you store your gear, or you can cook your meals during rains or in bad weather. The awning of the tent allows a good airflow inside the tent while keeping it dry and protected from the downpours.

Pros of using a tarp tent

  • Easy and convenient to set up
  • Ultimate airflow so there is no need to worry about condensation
  • Slither and bug proof construction
  • The living area remains dry even in the case of downpours
  • The tent has a single wall, so it dries quickly
  • Excellent wind resistance due to an aerodynamic design
  • You can even pitch the tent using trekking poles
  • Offers good coverage for your gear and cooking essentials

Cons of using a tarp tent

  • As the airflow is higher, you cannot expect a good ambient temperature in winters
  • You need a better site to pitch up the tent due to its single-wall construction
  • The tent requires sealing the seams to prevent the water from seeping through it

When should you use a tarp tent?

If you have a flat area to pitch the tent, then you should go for a tarp ultralight tent. Further, the tents are ideal for areas with light to moderate winds as they cannot withstand extreme winds. Lastly, these ultralight tents are good for warm weather due to the excellent airflow.

Hammocks

Ultralight hammocks are popular among backpackers that need a tent that remains above from the ground. The double-walled tent suspends in the air so you will be a few feet above the ground. As there is no floor with a tent so you will get a sling with it.

If you are a beginner, then it can be challenging to pitch up a hammock as it needs precision and expertise. Check the pros and cons to decide if you need a hammock or any other ultralight tent.

Pros of using a hammock

  • Ideal for camping in forests where less flat land is available to pitch up a regular ultralight tent
  • Slither and bug proof
  • Can be used in on a wet surface as the tent is a few feet above the ground
  • Easy to pack as it has fewer components
  • Comes with storage pockets to store your stuff such as water bottles and food

Cons of using a hammock

  • Difficult to pitch up
  • Not ideal for backpackers traveling in a team due to limited accommodation space
  • Not suitable for colder weather

When should you use a tarp tent?

If you are traveling in an area where there is no flat land available, go for a hammock. There is no floor, so the ultralight tent is good for pitching up on a wet surface.

Pyramids, or modified pyramid tents

A pyramid ultralight tent has a shape like a pyramid, which is pointed at the top and then extends at the bottom. If you want to camp in an area with high winds, then go for a pyramid ultralight tent as the aerodynamic design protects the tent from the strong currents.

You can easily pitch up a tent as it has a center pole, which gives the tent a pyramid-like shape. You won’t get a bug-proof pyramid tent, but you can transform it into a bug-proof tent by using an inner that keeps bugs away from the tent.

Pros of using pyramid tents

  • Excellent wind resistance and remain stable even in strong wind currents.
  • Superb privacy and can accommodate an entire team of 3 or 4 campers.
  • The space is decent, so you can store your gear and can cook without any issues.
  • The higher walls of the tent shed the water and snow so you won’t get wet inside the tent.

Cons of using pyramid tents

  • The center pole can cut down the living space available inside the tent.
  • You need a bigger area to pitch the tent, so it isn't a great option for forests.
  • An extra bug-proof inner is required.

When should you use a pyramid tent?

If you want to camp in an area with strong winds, go for ultralight pyramid tents. The tent can withstand its position even in bad weather. Also, the living room is good, and a team of backpackers can use a tent.

Double-walled tents

As you can easily guess by its name, a double-walled ultralight tent has two walls that make the tent extra secure. The tent has a removable inner, so you can remove it whenever required. Further, the tent is highly waterproof and protects you from cold winds.

The reason why double-walled ultralight tents are popular is because of the lightweight. You can quickly pack a tent in the bag.

Pros of using double-walled tents

  • The tents are easy to pitch
  • The inner acts as a layer that keeps the bugs away from the tent
  • More space available to store your gear and cooking essentials
  • More ambient temperature so they are good to use in cold weather

Cons of using double-walled tents

  • Internal condensation can take place if you don’t remove the inner wall
  • The tent quickly gets warmer in hot weather
  • You need to carry the tent poles as well

Size of the tent

It is essential to the size of the tent so that you and your team can comfortably relax into it. The ultralight tents are available in different options such as a one-person tent and two, three, or four-person tent.

The size of the tent depends on its dimensions and type. Also, the reason why you should check the size of the tent is to determine whether you can store your gear in it or not. You cannot use a sleeping bag while storing your gear if you have a small tent.

You can easily guess the size of the ultralight tent as the manufacturers list the person accommodation with the tent. It is always a great idea to go for a bigger tent than your requirement so that you have some extra space to keep your gear and other items.

The materials used to manufacture the tent.

The durability of the ultralight tent depends on the materials used to manufacture it. Usually, ultralight tents are made using nylon and polyester, as they are durable and light in weight. Make sure that the material is durable and water-resistant.

Also, check the material used to manufacture the flooring of the tent so that you can pitch it up even on a rough surface. The only way to check the durability and water resistance of the material is by checking its thickness.

You can check the denier, which is used to measure the thickness of the tent material. Tents that are thick will be durable, but they will be heavy as well.

Weight of the tent

Even if you are buying an ultralight tent, you should check its weight before buying it. Check how much weight you can easily carry in your backpack to buy the best tent. If you are a team of campers, then you can go for tents that are a bit heavy as everyone can carry some weight so it will be distributed among all.

Usually, ultralight tents are lighter as compared to other types of tents.

Size when packed

Most campers often overlook the size of the tent when packed. It is important to check the size to determine whether you can pack it in your backpack or not. Not every tent will get compact after folding it, and this is the reason why it is essential to check the size when packed.

When backpacking, every pound matters, and you should go for a tent that requires less space and is easy to carry.

Ease of pitching

There is no benefit of buying a lightweight tent that is not easy when it comes to pitching. Pitching means setting up a tent. Every type of tent has a different pitching process. Some require poles, whereas some have strings and ropes that you can tie to the trees to pitch the tent.

The best way to find out how easy it will be to pitch a particular tent is by checking the customer reviews. Go through some reviews and then check what the users have to say about it.

Seasonality

When buying an ultralight tent, you will find two options i.e., 4-season and 3-season tents. Most beginners choose 3-season tents because they are ideal for moderate weather and are cheaper than 4-season tents.

4-season ultralight tents

The 4-season ultralight tents can withstand extreme conditions such as stronger winds, heavy rains, and substantial snow. The thick material used to manufacture the tents makes it highly waterproof and windproof.

However, you may find it challenging to stay inside the tent in warm weather due to the poor ventilation.

Key features of a 4-season tent

  • Made using heavy-duty materials and have more poles.
  • Usually have a dome-shaped design with ultimate aerodynamics that keeps the tent stable in strong winds.
  • Highly water and windproof.
  • Available in single-wall options as well, which are great for warm and dry weather

3-season ultralight tents

Mostly campers buy a tent that is ideal for fall, spring, and summers because they are ideal for camping. A 3-season tent is good for these weathers. Also, the tents are lighter and cheaper than the 4-season tent.

Furthermore, the tents have decent resistance against water, wind, and snow, but they aren't good in harsh conditions.

Key features of a 3-season tent

  • Optimal airflow but keeps the bugs out of the tent
  • Excellent headroom so you can move inside the tent without any issues
  • Lightweight and comfortable to pitch up than 4-season tents

Doors

Usually, ultralight tents come with a single-door that you can use to get in and out of the tent. But some 3-person tents also have two doors that you can use for more convenience. If you are going for a one-person or two-person tent, then you can opt for tents with a single door.

However, if you need a bigger tent and you don’t want to crawl over your friends to attend nature's call, then go for tents with two-doors.

In ultralight tents with two doors, you get a vestibule that ensures excellent privacy.

The peak height of the tent

If you don’t want to bump your head whenever you sit up inside the tent, check its peak height. The peak height is how high is the tent from the footprint. The headroom and the peak height are two different things, as the peak height is a single point.

Pyramid ultralight tents have excellent peak height as compared to regular tents.

Ventilation

Ventilation is important as it keeps the moisture out of the tent. An ultralight tent with good ventilation will allow the water vapors to pass through the tent fabric so there will be no condensation inside it.

When buying an ultralight tent, you should check the material and the windows the particular tent has. Also, check if the windows are made using mesh or not because mesh windows have ultimate ventilation.

If you are buying a double-walled tent, then check if it has a removable inner so that you can improve the ventilation of the tent.

Pole material

The pole has to withstand the entire weight of the tent, so there will be significant pressure on it. The poles should be durable and lightweight as well, so that you don't find it hard to carry with your gear.

Below are the common materials used to manufacture poles for ultralight tents.

Carbon fiber

The poles made using carbon fiber are durable, lightweight, and strong. However, the poles are expensive and can break down if extreme pressure is put on them.

Fiberglass

Tent poles made using fiberglass are lightweight and inexpensive. However, the poles aren’t very durable and don't last that long.

Aluminum

A lot of ultralight tents come with aluminum poles because they are strong, durable, and light. Aluminum poles aren't that expensive, so you can even buy replacement poles if required.

Waterproofing

Check if the tent is waterproof or not because the water will seep through the material if the tent isn’t waterproof. Yes, materials like polyester and nylon are resistant to water, but you need to check other components of the tent as well.

The seams, zippers, and the windows will let the water in if you buy an ultralight tent that doesn't have a good water-resistance rating. You should go for some customer reviews to determine if the tent is really waterproof as it claims to be.

Structure of the tent

The structure of the tent or the shape of the frame impacts the installation process of the tent. You will find two options when choosing the tent structure i.e.

  • Freestanding
  • Non-freestanding

Freestanding tents

If you go for a freestanding ultralight tent, then it will be easier to pitch up because there is no need to use any stakes. However, when you don't use stakes with the tent, then strong winds can blow it away, so it is essential to use the stakes properly.

Non-freestanding tents

The non-freestanding tents are dependent on the stakes, and you cannot pitch the tent without stakes. The reason why freestanding tents are good is because they are stable and you can even pitch the tent in a tight spot.

Price

The price of ultralight tents depends on multiple factors such as the size, material, and type of tent. Make your budget before looking for an ultralight tent to avoid overspending.

FAQs: Best Ultralight Tents

Q: How to pitch a tent?

A: Pitching a tent depends on the type of tent you are buying. The best way to learn how to pitch a tent is by learning it. Try to pitch the tent in your backyard so that you can find out some quick tips to set up the tent quickly.

Q: How to find the best ultralight tent?

A: To find the best ultralight tent, you should go from this buyer’s guide. The guide contains everything that you should know about an ultralight tent before buying it.

Q: How durable are these tents?

A: The durability of the tent depends on the materials and type of tent. Nylon is more durable as compared to polyester, but it is expensive as well. To determine the durability of the tent, you should go through customer reviews, as a user who has used the tent will explain it better.

Q: What is the weight of an ultralight tent?

A: The weight of the tent varies depending on its size and material thickness. If you go for a double-walled 3-person tent, then it will be heavy as compared to a one-person single-walled tent.

Conclusion

The ultralight tent buyer’s guide will help you in buying the best tent that has ample room to accommodate you and your gear. Check the material, type, pole material, size, and other such factors listed in this guide to make sure that the tent you are going to buy is perfect in every aspect.

Always go through customer reviews before clicking on the buy now button. Through the customer reviews, you will be able to understand the positive and negative points of the tent that you are planning to buy.

Lastly, pitch up the tent multiple times in your garden so that you don’t find it hard to pitch it up on the camping spot.




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