When I was a student I had a cheap but trusty beast of a tent but some of my friends always bought these super-lightweight, 1-person numbers. It only ever took a few miles of hiking to make me very jealous of them but it wasn't until I did my first solo backpacking trip that I actually invested in one myself. Now, years later, I've tried and tested loads of them and I thought it would be useful for me to shortlist my opinion of best 1 person tents currently available to help others choose from the huge range on offer.
Luxe Tempo Solo Tent
Geertop 1 Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Ozark Trail 1 Person Backpacking Tent
SnugPak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent
MSR Hubba NX 1 - Best 1 Person Backpacking Tent
The Luxe Tempo 1 is rated for 4 seasons, weighs 4lbs and comes with a footprint included in the price. It also has 2 vestibules for stowing gear. The loops and guylines are reflective. ($$)
Regular readers will know that I don’t always recommend the most obvious gear. This is one example (because the MSR Hubba NX has a better technical spec IMO). But the Luxe Tempo 1 offers a tremendous balance of features at a great price point which is why it tops my list of best 1 person tents.
A lot of one man tents can be quite cramped but with the Luxe Tempo you buy yourself a really good amount of space. You can sit up inside and there are two vestibules that will keep all your gear bone-dry. It stands up to most weather, including heavy rainfall and big winds. It’s easy to set up and break down. And it comes with a footprint, which is a nice touch.
It’s a bit on the heavy-side as one-person tents go. And the fact it’s a four season tent means that the ventilation may be a bit limiting for summer camping in hot climates. (But hey, you can always flynet!). Other than that, I can't really fault it.
If you’re looking for a great all-rounder and you like great value, this is a fantastic choice. It’s not the lightest tent on the market, or the most compact. But it’s well-designed, useful in a range of seasons and environments, and won’t break the bank.
The Geertop 1 has a couple of configurations. It's available as a mesh inner tent only, a rainfly only or a combination of the two. Depending on what you go for you get a certain number of stakes and guy ropes. All options come with a carry bag. The fly weighs less than 2lbs and the inner tent weighs less than 1lb. It's rated for 3 seasons. ($$)
It's very unusual to find a tent that is both ultralight and easy on the wallet but the Geertop 20D achieves both those things! It packs down extremely well. With two doors and two ventilation windows, condensation is absolutely not a problem. And it even has two vestibules providing more than enough storage for your gear. The flysheet and inner tent can be used separately which is an added bonus.
So what's the catch? Well, it doesn't come with poles. That's not necessarily a problem if you use walking poles but it definitely puts some people off. The only other issue you may have with it are the walls are angled so that they can kinda crowd in on you, especially if you are taller than average.
This is a great choice if you travel with walking poles and want a super lightweight option. It's really great value and will stick around for a long time.
Rated for 3 seasons and weighing 4.4lbs, the Ozark Trail 1 Person Backpacking Tent also comes with a gear loft, a couple of mesh pockets and an e-port for an electrical extension cord. ($)
This Ozark Trail 1 manages to be both extremely cheap whilst providing lots of space and a reasonable degree of durability. There is enough room that you might consider it a 1.5 person tent. It is easy to set-up and take-down. And it's far more solid than you might give it credit for given the low, low price point.
It is quite heavy for a one man tent (you'll probably notice the weight after hiking a few miles). And it's also bulkier than other solo tents when packed. And look, the presence of an e-port for electricity suggests it's not really intended for much use in the backcountry.
However, it is perfectly serviceable. If budget is the only thing holding you back from an awesome backpacking expedition, then all you really need to do is give it a bit of extra waterproofing and away you go!
This is a great choice if your looking for a cheap one person tent. If money is the only thing standing between you and a camping trip, just get it!
The Snugpak Ionosphere weighs just 2.5lbs. It's a low profile tent with a single door. The floor space is 8'x3'.
The first thing to say about this tent is that it's a firm favourite with military personnel. And they have good reason to like it! It's unobstrusive, lightweight and extremely robust. If you want a small tent that does the job and isn't going to let you down, this is it.
You're not going to be able to sit up in it. But there's plenty of room to stow your gear and stretch out. Two people could squeeze in if you were in a tight spot. So that gives you an indication of size. I do know people who've been able to fit their dog in with them without being uncomfortable.
If you want a flashy tent, don't even think about buying this one! Everything about it is the opposite of flashy. This is a tent for no-nonsense people. Bikepacking or kayaking? Take a serious look. Scouts? Hunting? Backpacking? Yes, yes and yes.
This is a practical tent for practical people. Any sort of multi-night trip, especially moving camp from night to night, would benefit from this piece of kit.
Considered by many as the best three-season tent on the list, the Hubba NX offers easy and fast set-up/take-down. The tent packs up tightly, leaving more room for other essentials. This tent is lightweight, which should help keep your overall load more manageable. The design is solid and offers decent headroom for a one-man tent.
The Less Good
The lightweight design comes at a price, as there are little additional features to make this product more comfortable, such as mesh pockets. With minimum venting, condensation may occur. The design pushes the material to the limits as the fabric is stretched to the extreme (especially near the pole system), which may cause you durability issues over time.
Great Choice If…
This is a great choice if you are looking for a tent that is extremely lightweight and packs up into a small bundle. This may be a great choice for those who want something that is easy to set-up and take-down quickly as well.
Pros - Lightweight, Packs tightly, Easy and fast set-up/take-down
Cons - Footprint not included, Lacks pockets and other storage features, Less ventilation may cause some condensation
How to Select a One Person Tent
Understanding some key components and terminology of tent design will allow you to compare each product with more accuracy.
One Person Capacity
The sleeping capacity of a tent indicates the number of campers that fit inside of the tent with little consideration for gear. In order to keep the weight down, tents fit snugly (especially ultralight models). As there are no industry standards, the actual room in a one person tent can vary with each manufacturer. Tall or stout sleepers will want to pay attention to dimensions as well as square footage to accommodate longer layouts or more elbow room.
Three-Season and Four-Season Tents
Three-season tents are the more popular choice. They are designed to handle the milder conditions of spring, summer, and fall. They can handle stronger winds, but do not do well with snow loads. They have mesh panels to aid in airflow and to keep bugs out. These tents usually have walls that are more vertical to give extra headroom, and they weigh less due to lighter fabric and fewer poles.
Four-season tents are designed to handle stronger winds and snow loads. They usually have a lower profile and rounded dome designs that offer less interior space. They have fewer mesh panels and are made from heavier fabric that offers less ventilation. They will use more poles in order to offer a more sturdy design. All of this added protection comes at the price of more weight.
Traditional thought would suggest that heavier weight equates to sturdier construction, but that is not the case with today’s designs and materials. You will want to look for a tent that weighs less than five pounds while hiking, and most modern tents weigh less than three pounds while offering comfort and space. The selection that you make will give you a chance to lower the overall weight carried.
Attention should be paid when looking at the advertised tent weight, as they are often listed as packaged weight or trail weight (or both). The packaged weight takes all of the components into consideration. This includes body, instructions, poles, pole bag, rainfly, stakes, tent sack, and more. The trail weight consists of the minimum equipment you will carry to set up the tent. This would include the poles, rainfly, and tent body. The trail weight is usually used in descriptions and may be the best weight to compare this product feature.
Today’s tent designs seek to offer more interior space without adding weight. Other features to consider are the location and number of doors, options for sheltered exterior spaces, and ventilation considerations. When you shop online, examine the pitch of the tent walls. Step angles tend to indicate trading less interior space for lighter weight.
The length and width measurements can give you an idea of floor size, but tapered designs will offer more width for shoulders and less width for feet in order to save weight. Floor area will give you the square footage of space, and peak height can help determine possible interior room (it should be noted that these measurements can only give a rough estimate, as layouts will vary between products and height measurements are taken from a single point usually).
Wall angles are usually a bigger factor for interior space, as more vertical walls can provide more room. Door designs are discussed in detail by many manufacturers, but in the case of a one-man tent, anything beyond a single door is not critical. Ventilation can help prevent the build-up of condensation and vestibules offer exterior storage protection.
Another consideration is the materials that the tent is made of. Tent poles will come as aluminum (which are strong and light), carbon fiber (very light and strong, but not as durable), and fiberglass (cheaper, heavier, and less durable). Tent fabrics are usually nylons and polyesters and are rated with a denier (D) number. This indicates the material strength, with higher numbers indicating stronger fabrics. Denier will only be important to you if your selections are identical in most other aspects, with seasonal ratings and pole design being of more importance.
Don't forget, a one man tent isn't for everyone. If you are looking for something more social, do check out my articles listing the best 2 person tents and the best 3 person tents. Alternatively, if you want to get even more ultralight, check out my reviews of the best tarps for camping and the best hammock tarps.