Best Budget 1-Person Backpacking Tents of 2024

Choosing a tent for solo backpacking can be a hassle because there are just too many options available. Also, when you backpack alone, you carry all the weight on your shoulders and a tent is one of the heavy pieces of gear. So, choosing a lightweight tent that is also durable, provides a good amount of features, and interior space can be very tricky. Last but not least, if you are on a tight budget, making this decision becomes even more difficult. So, below I’ve rounded up a list of top 1-person tens available on the market that provide a good set of features at an affordable price.

1. NEMO Hornet

NEMO Hornet
Weight: 2 lbs.
Packaged size: 19 x 4.5 in.
Floor Dimensions: 87 x 43/31 (L x W head/foot) in.
Peak height: 39 in.

Nemo Hornet one-person tent offers minimal design features, which makes it perfect for solo backpacking. It weighs around two pounds which is light for a fully-featured freestanding tent. This is technically a freestanding tent but I would start by staking all four corners of the body into the ground. The hubbed wishbone pole is fast and simple and the color-coding takes out the guesswork. Just place the two grey pole ends into the gray corners and the single yellow pole into the corresponding grommet with the yellow webbing at the foot end. Find the fly bar and attach it to the pole first then attach the rest of the smaller body clips and you’re ready for the rainfly. Match grey to gray and yellow to yellow. Last, stake the vestibule and tighten everything down so the rain fly is centered and taut.

The poles are high-quality, lightweight, and durable. The wishbone shape cuts down on weight and bulk and the fly bars give additional interior space when sitting up in the tent. The fly gives you confident protection from the elements and has a large vestibule for exterior storage for your pack and boots. On a clear night, you can roll back the vestibule door for a cross breeze. The fly is fully seam taped and the storm flap over the zipper keeps you and your gear fully protected. The corners have unique triangular guy-out points that give more usable space at your feet. The stuff sack has two drawcords and that’s so you can split up the tent. If you want to carry the poles and stakes on one area of your pack while the body and fly are tucked away in a more compact size.

What I like: Good pole construction and good water protection

What I don’t: Bulky design, flexes in heavy wind

See the NEMO Hornet

2. Kelty Late Start

Kelty Late Start
Weight: 3 lbs. 12 oz.
Packaged size: 15 x 7 in.
Floor Dimensions: 85 x 40 in.
Peak height: 36.5 in.

Kelty Late Start is a cheap 1-person tent that is easy to set up. The Quick Corners and color coding make the setup fast and simple. The materials are durable so they can take a little use and abuse and the affordable price makes this an excellent option for solo backpackers. Two simple aluminum poles create an X pattern over the tent. They slot into the Quick Corners and are pre-bent to create more foot space. The rest of the body clips set up lightning-fast to the poles to create a sturdy structure. There is one big door for easy entry and exit. The tent measures 85 inches long by 40 inches at the head end that tapers in towards the foot end and the peak height is 36.5 inches.

The no-see-um mesh canopy offers ventilation and keeps weight down. With the fly-on, you are completely protected from the elements. Color coding ensures that you orient the fly the correct way each time you set it up. The large front vestibule is a great spot to store your pack safe from rain. I would stake the opposite fly wall – to improve ventilation. The guylines can be rolled into their convenient pockets so you don’t have to mess with tangled lines when you open your tent next time. So, with the convenient Quick Corners, the color coding, the durable materials, and the budget-friendly price, this is the perfect option for solo campers and backpackers.

What I like: Fairly light for the price, easy to set up even in the dark, the rainfly gives a little more space for gear

What I don’t: A little heavy for ultralight backpacking, one of the male buckles doesn’t fit its female buckle counterpart

See the Kelty Late Start

3. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL
Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz.
Packaged size: 17.5 x 5.5 in.
Floor Dimensions: 88 x 38/28 (L x W head/foot) in.
Peak height: 38 in.

Copper Spur is an award-winning tent in the field of backpacking. It offers an excellent interior space-to-weight ratio and adds features that cater to backpackers on overnight or extended trips. To set up this tent, spread out the tent body and insert the color-coded pulls into the grommets. Clip the tent to the poles and attach the cross pole. Stake the tent down then throw the rainfly over and use the Velcro tabs and the color-coded buckles to connect the fly. Stake out the vestibule and use the reflective guylines and tensioners to get everything nice and taut. This tapering tent measures 38 inches at its widest point and stretches 88 inches in length giving you 20 square feet of interior space. The single-vented vestibule uses storm flaps and dual zippers to offer 9 square feet of weather-protected external storage space.

The tent is supported by high-volume pole architecture, which uses a hub set of lightweight DAC Featherlite NSL pre-bent poles to increase the steepness of the inside walls so there’s more livable space inside the tent. Breathable mesh on the tent body maximizes ventilation and reduces condensation. The silicone-treated ripstop nylon floor and rainfly made with unique high-density materials are further coated with waterproof polyurethane to provide weather protection. All of the tent seams are sealed with waterproof solvent-free polyurethane tape to provide even more protection from the elements. Inside, a large shelf takes advantage of the otherwise wasted space above your feet an oversized storage pocket and integrated media pockets provide other storage options.

What I like: Excellent balance of interior space and weight, keeps you dry well in rainy weather, and good overall performance

What I don’t: Not very budget-friendly, lightweight means flimsy materials

See the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL

4. MSR Zoic

MSR Zoic
Weight: 3 lbs. 12 oz.
Packaged size: 20 x 5 in.
Floor Dimensions: 88 x 35 in.
Peak height: 39 in.

MSR Zoic gives you everything you need and nothing that you don’t. It offers a simple setup, a full-coverage fly, and breathable mesh making this 3-season shelter sure to please those looking for a roomy but lightweight tent. This freestanding tent measures 88 by 35 inches yielding an internal area of a tad over 21 square feet. The peak height is 39 inches. The single vestibule offers 9 additional square feet of space for packs and boots. The tent is supported by two 7000-series aluminum poles. The walls are constructed from lightweight nylon micro mesh which promotes air circulation while keeping bugs at bay. The tent floor is tough 70D taffeta nylon with a long-lasting DWR coating to keep you dry.

For total weather protection, the tent has a 40D ripstop nylon rainfly. The fly and floor are treated with durable Xtreme shield water-resistant coating. This coating lasts up to three times longer than standard coatings. Many waterproof coatings degrade in hot humid conditions but the Xtreme shield was designed to stand up to those kinds of environments meaning that this tent will serve you for years to come. Inside, a gear loft offers residents a place to put their stuff. I always recommend a footprint to protect your tent from rocks, pine needles, and roots. The MSR large one-person universal footprint is compatible with this tent. This tent provides simple lightweight three-season weather protection for a single backpacker. High-tech design features mean that you can carry this too easily and rely on it for years.

What I like: Compact design, great value, ideal for warm weather, and large vestibule

What I don’t: Seams are not glued, terrible storage sack and the third arc goes separately

See the MSR Zoic

5. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL
Weight: 2 lbs. 1 oz.
Packaged size: 19 x 4 in.
Floor Dimensions: 86 x 38/28 (L x W head/foot) in.
Peak height: 38 in.

The Fly Creek tent by Big Agnes utilizes a unique pole structure, which increases the interior space without adding extra weight to the system. The dimensions are 86 inches long and it’s certainly tall enough for those taller backpackers. It is 38 inches wide at the head and 28 inches at the foot so you can still use a longer wider sleeping pad in this tent. The peak height is 38 inches, which means it’s a fairly short tent but you can sit up at the front comfortably whether you’re changing your clothing or just preparing for the next day. On the inside, you do have some interior mesh pockets for storage and you’ve also got internal gear loft loops. This tent is compatible with the triangle gear loft (sold separately) which enhances your overall storage.

This tent is capable of being pitched in a fast fly setup meaning that you can use the rainfly and the footprint (sold separately) to create an ultralight system. Keep in mind you won’t have mesh protection from insects or fighting flies but that will reduce your trail weight to around 1 pound 4 ounces. The rainfly is constructed with a super lightweight ripstop nylon that is silicone treated and all of the seams are taped with a waterproof polyurethane solvent-free tape. One of the cool aspects of this rainfly is on the sides. There’s a clip that is on the inside of the rainfly that’s designed to be used with a small loop on the tent body itself. You can clip that loop together and draw out the tent body a little bit further, which gives you a little bit more interior space.

What I like: Very lightweight, good for ultralight backpacking, small pack size, already attached guylines

What I don’t: Collapses in high winds, flimsy materials, difficult to set up

See the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL

6. Marmot Tungsten

Marmot Tungsten
Weight: 3 lbs. 12 oz.
Packaged size: 20 x 6 in.
Floor Dimensions: 84 x 36/29 (L x W head/foot) in.
Peak height: 38 in.

Marmot Tungsten 1 is designed for solo backpacking and camping. To me, this is the kind of tent that can do it all. The Tungsten 1 is certainly lightweight and packable enough for backpacking and the materials are durable without being too heavy. It’s going to last a long time and give you confidence in bad weather. The tent is a breeze to set up and it’s got little extra features that make it a great value like an included custom-fit footprint. Although it’s a freestanding tent, I would always take it out with the footprint underneath. The poles go on to the grommets easily and with the clips on the tent body, it sets up fast. The full-coverage rainfly is color-coded so you know which way it goes onto the tent every single time.

The first thing that caught my attention was the pre-bent on the front tube holes. This seems like a small detail but adding that extra bend in the poles makes the sidewalls come out to be a little bit more vertical giving you more usable space near the floor. Marmot calls it their Sleeping Zone so you get more interior space when you’re lying down. That’s an important detail for taller folks, especially in this 1-person tent. The bathtub-style floor is completely waterproof and you get extra protection with that included footprint. The canopy then above it is all mesh so that keeps the weight down and gives plenty of ventilation.

The rainfly is polyester and it’s completely waterproof. It will keep you dry and they used material in the fly that is a perfect balance of durability and weight so you can be confident in that durability without it weighing you down in your backpack. If you stake out all the guy out points on the fly, you’ll get more ventilation and you can also open the front vestibule door to get a cross breeze.

What I like: Very roomy for its price and weight, nice looking, and easy to set up

What I don’t: Small vestibule with an asymmetrical fly, cheap-looking materials, and difficult to taut the fly properly

See the Marmot Tungsten

7. MSR Elixir

MSR Elixir
Weight: 4 lbs. 12 oz.
Packaged size: 19 x 6 in.
Floor Dimensions: 88 x 33 in.
Peak height: 39 in.

MSR Elixir tent maximizes interior space so there’s room for you, all your gear, and your plush sleeping pad. It balances weight and durability so it’ll stand up to harsh conditions but won’t weigh you down on multi-day trips. The setup is made simple with the color-coding external pole clips and unique hubbed poles. Since the footprint is included, I’d stake that out first and put the tent body on top. The rainfly provides reliable shelter from wind and rain and will handle some hard use because it’s made of durable 68D ripstop polyester. The 1500-millimeter polyurethane and DWR coatings ensure that no water gets in. You can safely stow extra gear under the canopy of the large vestibule. If you need even more space than that, the Elixir 1 is compatible with the MSR Gear Shed. You can pick that up separately.

When you remove the rainfly you will see the unique pole structure. The two long poles are hubbed at two spots and create a really solid structure. The cross pole adds headroom so you can sit up in the tent with plenty of space. I noticed the waterproof floor fabric comes up high into the body so splashes from rain are no problem. The solid white fabric in the canopy makes up a big portion of the body and this adds privacy, a ton of durability, and a touch of warmth. It’s a 40 denier ripstop nylon with a DWR coating so it’ll help on those chilly windy nights. This gives versatility to use this tent for more months throughout the year than a standard lightweight backpacking tent.

One 25-inch wide rectangular sleeping pad will fit inside with a few extra inches to spare. To make the interior space feel more open, there are several pockets to store smaller items up off the ground. The footprint is included and does more than just protect the floor of your tent. The grommets and the attachment points on the footprint mean that you can utilize MSRs fast and light setup. If you aren’t concerned with rain or bugs, just take the footprint, the stakes, the poles, and fly with you and leave the tent body at home.

What I like: Solid and stable construction, robust materials, and 3-panel vestibule

What I don’t: Heavy and the grommets are a hassle

See the MSR Elixir

8. NEMO Dragonfly

NEMO Dragonfly
Weight: 2 lbs. 13 oz.
Packaged size: 19.5 x 4 in.
Floor Dimensions: 88 x 35/32 (L x W head/foot) in.
Peak height: 39 in.

NEMO Dragonfly is a freestanding tent that weighs less than 3 pounds. It offers a huge door and more than enough space for a solo backpacker and their gear. The convenient stuff sack allows you to split up the poles, stakes, body, and fly so you can pack it the way you like. Some super lightweight tents claim they are freestanding but they just don’t seem sturdy unless they are fully staked. Well, the Dragonfly has four points of contact with the ground with a sturdy pole structure. So, I can say it’s truly freestanding. If you camp in areas where it’s almost impossible to get a stake in the ground or if you use rocks and logs to tie onto, this is an excellent option to consider.

The poles are high-quality DAC Featherlite aluminum, which means they are strong, lightweight, and durable. The hubbed design is easy to set up. The color-coded anodized poles and matched webbing make for an intuitive setup. The body has a raised tub-style floor so no water splashes into the tent. It also gives privacy when the fly is off and improves durability. The floor is 35 inches wide and it tapers to 32 inches at the feet. It is 88 inches long so there’s plenty of space. The peak height is 40 inches high and the huge side door opens wide to make for easy in and out. There’s a light diffuser pocket for your headlamp that gives an ambient glow after the sunsets.

I’d recommend a footprint to protect the floor from rock, roots, and groundwater. NEMO makes a custom fit footprint and it’s sold separately. The same color coding goes for the fly so you can set it up correctly every time. You are fully protected under the waterproof canopy and there’s a large trapezoid vestibule for exterior storage. If you stake the fly away from the body on the other side, you can even store a pair of boots under it. You can roll back the vestibule in a few different ways for a cross breeze. If it’s raining and you need more ventilation, open the zipper from the top and use the vent bar to prop it open. The storm flap over the zipper keeps rain out.

What I like: A good balance of price and features, plenty of storage pockets, and a large vestibule

What I don’t: Pockets are high up and tapered foot

See the NEMO Dragonfly

Budget 1-Person Tents: Comparison Table

NEMO Hornet2 lbs.19 x 4.5 in.87 x 43 in.39 in.
Kelty Late Start3 lbs. 12 oz.15 x 7 in.85 x 40 in.36.5 in.
BA Copper Spur HV UL2 lbs. 6 oz.17.5 x 5.5 in.88 x 38 in.38 in.
MSR Zoic3 lbs. 12 oz.20 x 5 in.88 x 35 in.39 in.
BA Fly Creek HV UL2 lbs. 1 oz.19 x 4 in.86 x 38 in.38 in.
Marmot Tungsten3 lbs. 12 oz.20 x 6 in.84 x 36 in.38 in.
MSR Elixir4 lbs. 12 oz.19 x 6 in.88 x 33 in.39 in.
NEMO Dragonfly2 lbs. 13 oz.19.5 x 4 in.88 x 35 in.39 in.

Which one is right for you?

Which backpacking tent is right for you?

A good tent can make all the difference on your backpacking trip so choosing the one that’s right for your needs is important. You could get the most spacious and featured-rich tent out there but at the end of the day, you’ll be carrying some extra ounces on your shoulders. So, if you are backpacking alone, choose the lightest possible tent to avoid extra load in your backpack. Also, if there’s no chance of rain, you can leave the rainfly at home to save some more weight. Finally, if you are on a budget, finding a lightweight tent with just enough features and durability can be difficult so you need to find a tent that strikes a good balance between price and features.