When choosing a camping or backpacking tent, size is a key consideration. A shelter should be spacious but not too big. It would be best if you also considered weight, bulk, ease, cost, and convenience.
You’re here because you are looking for a backpacking tent. Our top tips based on decades of outdoor industry experience will help you choose the right tent model for your next adventure.
Considerations for Backpacking Tent Size
While camping and backpacking tents have many similarities, backpacking tents have a very specific and important requirement. They must keep their weight as low as possible. It is not easy, but choosing the right backpacking tent is crucial. It is important to choose a shelter that is both spacious and light as possible.
Ratings of Capacity
There are many sizes available for backpacking tents. The Big Agnes Copper Spur HVUL comes in various sizes, including 1P, 2P, and 3P capacities.
Although the capacity rating can show how many people can fit in a tent, most users believe these ratings are too high. Another way to put it: Backpacking tents can feel much tighter than their capacity ratings suggest.
This is the general feeling of most camping and backpacking tent sizes:
- 1P Tents- Usually comfortable for one person with gear stored inside the vestibule
- 2P Tents- Luxurious for 1 Person with internal gear storage space. With gear stored in the vestibule(s), it is a tight fit for two. It will fit 2 standard-width sleeping pads (not wider).
- 3P Tents for 2 – Luxurious with Interior Gear Storage Space. It will fit two wide sleeping pads. It is comfortable for two people and a small child/dog. This is a very snug fit for three average adults.
- 4P Tents for 2-3 People –Luxurious with interior gear storage space. It is possible to fit three people plus a child or a dog. This is a very tight fit for four average adults.
- 6P Tents Comfortable for 4 Plus Gear For 5 or 6, tighten.
- 8P Tents – Luxurious for 4 plus gear. Comfortable for six, if any of the guests are children or dogs.
- 10P Tents – Luxurious for 4 plus gear. Comfortable for 6+ people. Comfortable for 8+
Many 2-person backpacking tents offer livability and interior space. Here are some tips and recommendations for specific tents.
- A lightweight 2-person backpacking tent that sleeps two people will have enough space for 20 inches of regular-width sleeping pads. You can store 1-2 small bags near your feet or head. If you are small or can live in intimate spaces, most 2-person tents won’t fit you. Regular width sleeping pads should be used if you opt for a 2-person tent.
- One large pad (25in wide) and one smaller pad (20in wide) will fill most 2-person lightweight backpacking tents. Although the person with the largest pad will dominate the space, it is possible to have two people sharing the same height pad. Although this is not a good sleeping arrangement, it can be done.
- You will need space to accommodate two 25-inch wide sleeping pads. A 3-person lightweight backpacking tent is usually sufficient. A 2-person backpacking tent won’t usually accommodate two large pads. A three-person tent has the advantage of providing more space for two people. For this reason, we prefer three-person backpacking tents. Upsizing your tent will result in it weighing more.