14 Ultra-Lightweight 1 person tents for bikepacking and bicycle touring The best one-man camping tents for your hikes and bike adventures, described in detail and with full specifications, waterproof rate, dimensions, etc.
Choosing the best 1-person lightweight tent for your needs is not an easy task. The outdoor and camping world is becoming bigger every day, along with the well-established brands producing backpacking, cycle touring, bikepacking, and ultralight tents in general.
Many new brands come out into the market every year, sometimes with innovative products, sometimes with reliable, cheap camping tents that won’t break your bank and still keep you warm and dry, ready for your next day hike or whatever.
In this blog post, we’ll compare 20 ultralight tents and shelters from the cheapest to the top-notch. The tents mentioned in this list are all well suited for bicycle touring, long hikes, and adventurous backpacking trips.
The one-man lightweight tent comparison table should help you compare each model and hopefully make the right choice for your next purchase.
Let’s have a look at what factors you should consider when buying a one-man lightweight tent.
Comfort: 1-Person tent VS 2-person tent
One could assume that a 1-man tent is good for 1 person but that’s not always true. Depending on how much time you’ll spend into your tent, a tight living space may result in a loss of comfort and a drop of your love for camping. We would advise taking with you the most spacious tent possible, especially for bike touring, when weight is less a concern than when backpacking, and you likely will carry more gear.
25 inches (63cm) per person is what is usually considered enough width for one person, but it’s honestly a bit too narrow in my humble opinion, particularly in hot climates.
My opinion is to consider at least 80cm, the wider the better, especially if you plan to keep some gear inside with you. Since some of the lightweight tents listed here are narrower than that, you could think about getting the 2-person version, which is available for many of these models.
Another important and often overlooked spec is the length of the tent. Although 210cm (85″) may seem enough, keep in mind that this information indicates the length at floor level.
Depending on the design of the tent, if the walls are very slanted this length might be much shorter at your head’s height, resulting in it touching the walls, which is not pleasant. Consider buying a longer tent if you are a tall person.
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Use: Cycling Tents VS Backpacking Tents
Although it may seem a specious distinction, the needs of a bike tourer are a bit different from those of a backpacker or hiker. First of all, the bicycle traveler usually has more gear, spares, tools etcetera add up to the bulk. So, an ideal bike touring tent should have large vestibules for gear storage.
Besides that, when bike touring you use your tent more. Your tent will be your home for most of your trip, especially if it is going to last a while, so you’ll want a comfortable and reliable home to live in. Adding a few hundred grams in exchange for a bigger and stronger tent might be a good choice.
Backpackers tents, on the other hand, should ideally be ultralight and small when packed. The weight of your tent will be on your shoulders instead of a bike rack, and shouldn’t take too much space in your single piece of luggage, your backpack indeed.
Climate: 3-Season Tents VS 4-Season Tents
Although the quality, design, and materials of a tent make some difference in cold weather, make no mistake, what really keeps you warm during freezing camping nights is your sleeping bag (and your companion if you have any).
For most of the trips, a 3-season tent should be enough. With a decent sleeping bag, you should be able to stay warm down to 0°C, so if you don’t plan to venture in colder climates, you can go for a 3-season.
3-season tents are lighter and usually provide higher ventilation, if you plan to camp in really hot weather you’ll faint and be covered in sweat inside a 4-season tent.
But not all is bad about 4-season tents, if your average night temperatures are below 15°C, a 4-seasons will just provide a comfortable sleeping environment, without you needing to wear too many clothes.
Terrain: Freestanding Tents VS Not-Freestanding
Tents can be free-standing (no need to pitch it to the ground), half-free-standing (only need a few pegs), or not-free-standing (doesn’t stay up if not pitched).
We sincerely like freestanding tents much more, it’s very common to find perfect sheltered camping spots where is impossible to plant a stake (or peg), it may be concrete, wood, or whatever (like for example the magical gazebos of Korea, or porches of the Shinto Shrines in Japan), you can also find kinds of soil where pitching is really complex, like hardened soils or sand.
We suggest taking with you a half-freestanding tent like this (you can use ropes and tight it somewhere), or even better a completely free-standing one like this (the super expensive tent of my dreams). Don’t forget also to bring a few spare pegs (stakes), soon or later you’re going to lose at least one.
Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a camping tent is the possibility to pitch its inner igloo alone, without necessarily needing to put the fly on it. Pitching the just the inner tent is great in hot weather and, if the tent is mostly made of mesh fabric, can allow some great stargazing without being bothered by mosquitos.
The Elements: Waterproofness, Wind Resistance, & Snow Handling
About waterproofness rate, we quote from MSR website:
A fabric’s waterproof rating, measured in millimeters (mmH20), refers not to the thickness of the fabric or its polyurethane (plastic) coating but to the pressure at which water is able to press through the fabric. The standard waterproofing test involves applying water pressure behind a fabric sample until 3 drops of water are able to pass through the fabric. For example, a 1500 mmH20 rating means the fabric can sustain 1,500 mm of water on top of the fabric before it can leak. The measurement can then be converted into pounds per square inch (a 1,500 mmH20 rating would translate into 2.18 psi).
So how many millimeters of waterproofing do you need?
The short answer is, not always a lot. A point of comparison is an umbrella, which you might assume to be a good example of waterproof protection. Umbrella fabric in our hydrostatic head tester resulted in a rating of just 420 mmH20, showing that a bigger number is not always needed when it comes to keeping you dry. So then why do tents have waterproofing ratings of 1,000-10,000 mmH20? Part of the reason has to do with the greater durability that thicker waterproof coatings with higher waterproofing ratings often provide (up to a point—more on this topic later). But because an umbrella is held aloft, it doesn’t typically see the kind of abrasion that, say, a tent floor might undergo. This minimal abrasion helps explain why tarps can offer waterproof performance at a lower rating than tents, which often require more coating to compensate for wear and tear
Wind resistance instead, is given by a few factors, mostly the strength of the poles, the quality of the stakes, and the aerodynamics of its design. While a tall tent might seem very comfortable, if the walls are too vertical is more than likely that it will be blown off by strong gusts of wind, this is especially true for one-person tents, which are narrower. Be sure to properly pitch your pegs if you expect strong winds. Learn more about wind resistance here.
4-season tents are designed to withstand heavy snow loads, they usually have even more slanted walls to avoid the snow piling on the top.
What Are Vents and Footprints for?
Some tents have one or most commonly two vents in the rain-fly, they are meant to improve the ventilation and might be very important to avoid condensation.
The footprint is an additional sheet to put between the tent’s floor and the ground, to provide better insulation and avoid the terrain’s asperities tearing a hole into the floor’s fabric.
Compare The Best One-Man Lightweight Tents – From Cheap to Top
REI Co-Op Quarter Dome 1 Tent
MSR Hubba NX 1 Tent
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 Tent
Nemo Spike 1 Tent
MSR Access 1 Tent
NEMO Hornet Elite 1P Tent
Marmot Eos 1
Msr Freelite 1
Hilleberg Akto 1-Person Tent
Eureka Solitaire AL 1
Terra Nova Competition 1
Ferrino Sintesi 1
REI Co-Op Quarter Dome 1 Tent
REI Quarter Dome tents are the best selling, so many people have used and tested it in rough conditions and the tent is sure of good quality.
The 1-man version is surely not the lightest one-person tent nor the best available but it’s a fairly good compromise between price and quality. It’s fully freestanding, meaning you don’t need any stakes to pitch it so it can be used on every kind of surface.
Despite so, the tent being narrow and tall, it can be a bit susceptible to strong winds, so stakes might be recommended in this kind of situation.
Size: 88 x 35/27 x 42″ 223.5 x 88/69 x 107 cm
Packed: 6 x 18.5″ 15 x 47 cm
PROS: Fully freestanding, large vestibule, roomy CONS: Not great against strong winds. Cheap zippers
Another very popular tent, the MSR Hubba NX is also completely freestanding and overall pretty similar to the REI Quarter Dome, sharing indeed the same goods and bads as the one mentioned before, although this has a slightly higher price tag.
The main differences are the inner tent, with more canvas and less mesh and the smaller living space. The weight is also exactly the same.
PROS: Fully freestanding, large vestibule – CONS: not great against strong side winds
This very minimalistic ultralight tent is more a shelter than a proper tent. It lacks floor, inner mesh, and poles. It must be pitched using two trekking poles (not included of course) and 10 pegs (provided).
If you’re after something very lightweight and compact this might be the tent for you but it certainly doesn’t offer any comfort.
The Nemo Spike also needs (although it is not mandatory) a third shore pole to keep the tarp from touching your feet, this is also not included, you may use a wood stick.
PROS: Can’t get lighter than this if not on a bivvy
CONS: No floor, no bug protection, needs trekking poles
116 x 41 x 45″ 295 x 104 x 114 cm Packed: 9.5 x 5″ 25 x 13 cm
A very classic design for a hi-quality lightweight tent, makes the Marmot EOS one of the best choices in this list. Price/Quality ratio is great and the tent is big enough not to feel like you’re in a coffin.
The Marmot EOS is a standard for bike touring while it might be a bit on the heavy side for hikers.
This tent is completely freestanding and features two inner pockets for storage while light-reflective points help you find your tent on the darkest of nights.
PROS: Freestanding, good price to quality ratio
CONS: A bit heavy for the lightweight addicts
87 x 37/30 x 36″ 220 x 94/76 x 91.5 cmPacked: 6 x 18″ 15 x 47 cm
The lightest semi-freestanding, full-featured backpacking tent for 1 person in the MSR lineup, the 3-season FreeLite 1 tent offers generous room to fit a wide sleeping pad and all your gear on solo trips.
With only 1.1 kg the Freelight is one og the lightest freestanding tents in the market, although it still needs two pegs to tension the corners.
MSR has received some bad press lataly, with some complaining a drop in manufacturing and materials quality. We still consider this tent to be one of the best deals out there for solo backpackers or cycle tourist though.
PROS: Lightweight and roomy. Semi-freestanding
CONS: Flysheets gets caught in the zipper
86 x 30 x 38″ 218 x 76 x 91.5 cm Packed: 18 x 6″ 15 x 47 cm
The Enan is the 3-season version of the Akto (see below). Hilleberg quality is indisputable, if you are really looking for the best tent that will last you a lifetime you should really consider this brand.
The Enan has a huge vestibule (0.8sqm), a decently sized livable area (60 to 95 cm wide), great ventilation and top notch materials.
PROS: Easy to set up, ventilated, top-quality, big vestibule – CONS: Expensive
The Hilleberg Akto is one of the best lightweight 1-person tents suitable for all 4 season tents. The Akto features some of the most innovative venting options available to defeat internal condensation.
The large vestibule, and hi-quality construction and design, make this a very comfortable backpacking or cycle touring shelter to take on long-term trips.
The inner is hanged to the fly so that they can both be pitched together, or you can first put the fly up and then hang the inner, so to avoid it getting wet.
PROS: Hilleberg quality, the best camping tents in the world. Great ventilation, huge vestibule. CONS: Expensive, not freestanding, might be small for big guys.
Topeak makes this bicycle touring tent which uses your bike to keep itself upright. The handlebar is strapped with velcro and the fork pitched with special pegs. The tent is 90% canvas, which is good for insulation but provides poor ventilation
The Bikamper is made of water-resistant, urethane-coated 45D ripstop nylon, and includes three mesh panels for ventilation and stargazing. The tent also includes a fully waterproofed 70D ripstop nylon fly.
PROS: Comes with handlebar straps
CONS: No vestibules for gear storage, poorly ventilated, can’t ride your bike after you set your tent up, a bit difficult to pitch.
78.7 x 35.4″ (at its widest point) 200 x 90 cmPacked: 10.5 x 5.5″ 26.5 x 14 cm
The Laser Competition 1 has become the classic, one person backpacking tent and has received multiple industry ‘Best In Test’ awards.
The tent is designed for bike travelers and backpackers looking for tried and tested weight saving kit with a good balance of low weight and durability. Its low profile shape and design make it ideal for wild camping.
PROS: great waterproofness and hi-quality construction
CONS: Small and expensive
Fly: R/S 5000mm Floor: R/S 6000mm
220 x 62 x 100 cm 86.6 x 24.4 x 39.4″Packed: 16.5 x 4.7″42 x 12 cm
Ferrino is an Italian outdoor brand that has been leading the local market since more than one century, providing gear for some epic expeditions. Unfortunately, their manufacturing quality has dropped recently. Sintesi 1 is their ultra-light, basic 1-person tent with a minimum trail weigth of 830 grams, a good mid-range shelter for hiking and bike touring.
PROS: Light & larger than other shelters – CONS: Not freestanding, small condensation issues
93 x 39 x 31.5″ 235 x 100 x 80 cmPacked: 12 x 5.5″ 30 x 14 cm
2.2 lbs. 997 g
Fly and Floor: Polyester Rip stop 50D 60 g/m2, pU coating 3000 mm