Ultra Light Tents

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How to choose the right ultralight tent?

In order to offer you the best choice of ultralight tents, we have made a careful selection, taking into account criteria such as number of places, weight, quality, price and seasonality (3 or 4 seasons).

Our aim is to provide you with the best possible guidance in choosing your new trekking tent. In the course of our guide, we'll present different tent models to meet your specific needs.

First of all, for whom?

In our opinion, the ultra-light tent is suitable for all hikers and trekkers! Thanks to technological advances and the reduction in the weight of materials, tent manufacturers are now able to design ultra-light models that offer both comfort and a reasonable price.
As a result, ultra-light tents are no longer reserved for adventurers ready for a minimalist experience on the trails. They've become commonplace, even among hikers, as demonstrated by the democratization of the Marche Ultra-Légère (MUL).
But how do you make the right choice? Depending on various criteria...

Let's go into a little more detail

If you're on this page dedicated to ultra-light tents, it's because you attach great importance to the weight of your tent - and you're absolutely right! Indeed, all hikers know that when carrying their own gear, weight is an absolute priority. The aim is to be as light as possible.

At AlpinStore, we attach great importance to weight when selecting our trekking tents, as well as in our evaluations.

In concrete terms, here's the average weight of the trekking tents in our selection:
  • 1-seater tent: average 1,300 g
  • 2-seater tent: average 1,800 g, or 900 g per person
  • 3-seater tent: average weight 2,350 g, or 800 g per person
  • 4-seater tent: average 4,000 g, or 1,000 g per person
You'll notice that, generally speaking, the greater the capacity of a tent, the lower its weight per person. However, 4-seater tents are an exception to this rule, as there are a limited number of 4-seater trekking tent models, which distorts their average.

So, if you're going away with several people, you'll carry less weight overall by distributing the weight of a large-capacity tent among several people.

The weight of a tent also depends on its use. A 3-season tent will always be lighter than a 4-season tent designed to withstand winter.

What about seating?

We recommend that you choose a tent that corresponds to the number of people you'll be taking with you. Don't think you'll "fit" in a tent for fewer people at the bivouac. Especially in the case of an ultra-light tent!

Indeed, the fundamental question linked to the weight of a tent is the weight/comfort ratio. Ultra-light tents give maximum priority to weight over comfort, and that's precisely what we expect from them!

In our selection of trekking tents, you'll sometimes find tents that indicate two figures for the recommended number of places. For example, you'll find "3-4":

This means it can accommodate :
  • 3 adults comfortably
  • 4 adults very close together
  • 2 adults and 2 children or dogs
  • 3 adults and 1 child or dog
If you really want to be comfortable on a hike, you can opt for a tent with extra room. You'll have to carry a little more weight, but you'll be comfortable once you're under the shelter of your tent in the evening at the bivouac.

The best brands?

In general, the backpacking tent brands we've selected for you offer models that are lighter than the average tent available on the market. In our opinion, this is largely due to the choice of materials used. A fine, well-coated nylon fabric is much lighter than low-grade polyurethane-coated polyester.

What's more, some brands go even further by using innovative materials. MSR , for example, uses carbon fiber poles (density 1.7) rather than aluminum (density 2.7), which helps to reduce the tent's weight.

However, three brands in particular stand out in our ultra-light tents:

  1. MSR: This manufacturer is famous for its Hubba Hubba tent, and ranks among the top four trekking tent brands. MSR is present in all ultralight comparison tables and dominates the 3- and 4-seater categories.
  2. Big Agnes: American brand, offering high-quality products. Here you'll find everything you need for every type of practice.
  3. Samaya: The French benchmark in high-performance tents!
These brands stand out not only for the lightness of their tents, but also for their quality and reliability. We highly recommend them if you're looking for an ultra-light tent for your outdoor adventures.

The different tent shapes

There are four (+ one) main tent shapes used in backpacking tent design, and in particular three shapes commonly used in ultralight tents.

The tipi tent

The tipi tent, as offered by Nigor or MSR, has a considerable advantage in terms of lightness: it can be set up with a single hiking pole. So there's no need to carry an extra frame in your rucksack! This makes it the champion of ultra-light single-person tents.

However, in our opinion, it has a disadvantage in terms of habitability, as the slope of the roof offers less space above the head and feet. This can limit comfort and freedom of movement inside the tent.

The "Canadian" tent

The Canadian tent shape, such as the Sierra Design High Route 3000 brand, also offers the advantage of lightness, but requires two walking poles to erect.

Compared to the tipi, it offers greater volume, making it more comfortable, and is more resistant to snow showers. This makes it the queen of ultra-light two-person tents, offering a good compromise between lightness, comfort and resistance to harsh weather conditions.

The dome tent
Last but not least, the dome tent is the most common tent used in bivouac areas today, as in the case of the MSR Carbon Reflex 3, the lightest 3-person tent in terms of weight per person, at just 400g per person!

The dome tent offers many advantages, not least its versatility and comfort. Thanks to the optimized shape of its poles, it offers a generous, well-arranged interior space, allowing comfortable use and good air circulation. This makes it a popular choice among hikers and campers, offering a good balance between lightness and habitability.

The tunnel tent
Finally, it's important to note that tunnel tents often weigh more than the average tent, as is the case with the Ferrino Lightent 1 Pro. Nordisk's Lofoten 2 ULW, for example, weighs just... 575g !!

However, tunnel tents have one major advantage: their excellent wind resistance. Thanks to their tunnel-like structure, they are more stable and better able to cope with windy conditions. So, if you're planning to camp in windy areas, a tunnel tent may be a wise choice, even if it's a little heavier than other ultralight models.

The bivy

The bivy is not considered a tent, but rather an oversack with a small bow at head level for added comfort. At Alpinstore, we can offer you products from Outdoor Research. This kind of system can be very practical for ultra-running, where space in the bag (or bike pannier) is limited and break time is at a premium.

So what's the budget?

MSR's Carbon Reflex range of tents commands a higher-than-average price. However, this is due to the exceptional quality of MSR products, which use ultralight materials such as nylon and carbon fiber, as well as durable coatings like XtremShield.

It's important to consider the purchase of an ultralight camping tent as an investment, for two reasons. Firstly, a tent of sufficient quality can last for many years, just like other durable equipment. Secondly, a lighter but slightly more expensive tent saves weight in the rucksack. This translates into less fatigue when hiking, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor experience to the full.

While backpacking tents from brands such as MSR, Big Agnes, Ferrino or Nordisk have a higher-than-average price tag, they generally have superior durability. You don't necessarily have to be an ultra-light hiker, but every gram or kilogram less in your backpack, specifically for the tent, really counts! When we go hiking, our main objective is to have a good time and recharge our batteries in the great outdoors. That, in itself, is priceless... In our opinion, this justifies the choice of an ultralight hiking tent.
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