Latest Trango News
Apr 22, 2021
Even though the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 weighs just 3 pounds, it has a roomy interior, an innovative hub design that increases its stability, and two doors and vestibules to allow for easy entry. Pros: Large interior space, two doors make it easy to get in and out, two-tone mesh offers outside views without sacrificing privacy, and it weighs just over 3 pounds, making it one of the lightest on the market Cons: Condensation and waterproofing can be an issue, a little pricey To seasoned campers, the Big Agnes name is synonymous with quality and dependability, and its Copper Spur HV UL 2 is the embodiment of that description. Not only is it our pick for the best backpacking tent but it could very well be one of the best tents for any outing, backpacking, or otherwise. With a packed weight of just over 3 pounds, it's light enough for weeks spent on the trail. Its light weight means there's more room in your pack for other things. The tent's svelte design is crucial, but where the Copper Spur truly shows its worth is with its surprisingly roomy sleeping area. Often, backpacking tents sacrifice interior volume to shave off precious ounces, but Big Agnes figured out how to offer more room in the head and shoulder area while also integrating steep walls to allow you to sit upright comfortably. The design helps you feel less cramped during the night and affords ample space to change clothes each day. Adding to its convenience are two doors and two vestibules, which offer added space to store gear and more than one way to enter or exit. Its two-tone mesh design grants privacy to those who like to do a little stargazing at night, too. Perhaps our favorite aspect of the Copper Spur , however, is its color-coded tent poles which makes setting it up a breeze. It takes just a few minutes to set the tent up once you've arrived at the campsite. When you're at the end of a long day of hiking, little things like that truly make life easier. Priced at $450, it's certainly not the cheapest option on the market but tents offering similar features that weigh just 3 pounds either cost more or simply don't exist. When it comes to striking a balance between weight, size, ease of use, and durability, the Copper Spur remains in a class all its own. Easy on the wallet and on your back, REI's Half Dome SL 2 offers an extremely easy setup system, very durable ripstop materials, and a large interior that's spacious enough for two people. Pros: Easy setup, great ventilation, good for stargazing, spacious interior with room for two, and solid condensation control all at an excellent price tag Cons: Heavy, doesn't pack down particularly small When you're just getting started backpacking, dropping hundreds of dollars on a tent can be daunting, particularly when you're investing in a sleeping bag, stove, and a pack to carry everything around in it too. Thankfully, there are some excellent bargains to be had when it comes to buying your camp shelter, with REI's Half Dome SL 2 making the perfect entry-level model. At just $229, it comes in well below the price tags of the other picks on this list, but that doesn't mean that it lacks features. For starters, thanks to an innovative vertical wall design that maximizes head and shoulder room, it can sleep two people comfortably. The tent also comes with two doors and vestibules, which give each person their own entry point and spot to store gear too. With a packed weight of 5 pounds and 5 ounces, the Half Dome SL 2 isn't going to win any awards for being lightweight. That said, it isn't a behemoth either. It's a great blend of size, weight, features, and price. Like some of the other picks on our list, REI's budget tent features color-coded poles making setup an absolute breeze. Once pitched, its unique fly design allows you to roll up each end to increase airflow while also offering a nice view to the outside. Its fly was also designed to have four vents that go a long way toward reducing condensation. Though REI is known mainly as a purveyor of outdoor gear, its Co-op-branded camping equipment is as impressive as anything on the market. The Half Dome SL 2 is the perfect example of this, delivering outstanding performance despite its low-cost price tag. Comfortable enough for two people, easy to pitch, and backed by REI's high-quality construction, this tent is a great option for anyone looking to save a few bucks on a high-quality shelter. Tipping the scales at just 1 pound and 3 ounces, the Zpacks Duplex is the standard by which all other ultralight tents are measured. Pros: Weighs just 19 ounces, very durable, comes with two doors and two vestibules, and performs well in poor weather Cons: Expensive, complicated to set up, condensation build-up, not especially warm Zpacks has been at the forefront of making ultralight backpacking gear for years and its tents are ideal for those who are trying to cut down on gear weight. The company's Duplex two-person tent leads the ultralight category, tipping the scales at a mere 19 ounces. To achieve this feat, Zpacks used a fabric called Dyneema, which is known for being very lightweight, but stronger than steel. That translates to a very durable tent that is more resilient than its slim design would lead you to believe. Making a tent that barely weighs more than a pound is an achievement in and of itself, but doing so without giving up a lot of features is even more impressive. Despite its ultralight construction, the Duplex not only features two doors, two vestibules, and a bathtub-style floor to help keep rain from making its way inside. The tent is also surprisingly roomy, offering 28 square feet of interior space. In addition to being very lightweight, Dyneema has another good quality that makes it good for use in tents. Because it tends to not absorb moisture, the Duplex won't become soaked and start to sag in a heavy rainstorm. In fact, it performs very well in wet conditions, keeping the interior protected from the elements. The downside of Dyneema is that it is an expensive material to use, which contributes to the Duplex's $600 price tag. The tent also uses single-walled construction to keep its weight to a minimum, which can lead to excess condensation. Learning to manage that condensation takes a bit of trial and error, which can lead to a wet sleeping bag from time to time. The tent also takes a bit of practice to set up, which means it isn't especially beginner-friendly. With more headroom and elbow space than most backpacking tents, MSR's Hubba Hubba NX 2 sleeps two backpackers with ease, and thanks to its two large StayDry doors, each person gets their own entrance and exit. Pros: Sleeps two people comfortably, performs well in poor weather conditions, compresses down to a very small size for storage and transport, durably built Cons: A bit pricey, weighs nearly 4 pounds Backpacking is best done with friends and sometimes, those friends also happen to be your significant other. But when packing light is the name of the game, strapping on a cumbersome two-person tent isn't exactly ideal. Enter MSR's Hubba Hubba NX , a backpacking tent designed specifically for couples – if the name didn't already give that away. MSR designed an innovative pole configuration that increases headroom and elbow space, giving both people ample room to cozy up for the night without feeling cramped. This added space doesn't do much to the tent's pack weight, however, as it still manages to weigh just 3 pounds and 14 ounces. While that is heavier than Zpacks Duplex and the Big Agnes Copper Spur, it won't slow you down too much if you need to haul it around for hours on end. Despite its unique pole configuration, setting up the Hubba Hubba NX still only takes a few minutes. Thanks to its color-coded design, putting this tent together is simply a matter of aligning the poles to the hubs that share the same hues. For camping in wetter climates (or when that out-of-nowhere rainstorm hits), the tent features two of MSR's patented StayDry doors, which guide water away from the interior when they're open. This helps keep you and your gear dry. As it turns out, this just so happens to be a feature that we've put to the test in the field. We've survived a number of wet nights nestled cozily inside. When breaking the tent down, it packs into an incredibly compact compression sack that fits perfectly inside your backpack or can be securely fastened to the outside. This makes it a great companion for short weekend getaways or even multi-day adventures on longer trails. If you're in the market for a comfortable tent for you and your partner, the Hubba Hubba is definitely a great choice. Though heavy at 9 pounds, 10 ounces, the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is the ultimate four-season backpacking tent featuring ultra-strong DAC Featherlike poles and bomber construction designed to withstand the worst weather conditions. Pros: Performs well in winter conditions and in alpine settings, very durable, weather-resistant, DAC Featherlite poles are durable and lightweight, spacious Cons: On the heavy side, pricey If you're going to brave the snow, wind, and cold of winter to go camping, you need a tent that can keep you warm and well protected from the worst that Mother Nature has to throw at you. Mountain Hardwear's Trango 2 can do that and so much more, providing shelter from the elements, along with plenty of room for you, a companion, and all of your gear. Outfitted with two doors and two vestibules, accessing the interior of the tent is quick and easy from either side. True to its four-season nature, those vestibules offer a dry entry, keeping rain and snow out, while providing a comfortable space to take your boots on and off. The Trango 2's large bathtub-style floor prevents moisture from seeping through as well and provides a layer of protection even when set up on snow. Excellent ventilation also helps to keep condensation build-up to a minimum, ensuring a comfortable and warm living space. Setting up the Trango 2 is quick and easy thanks to a color-coded system for matching the poles with the correct connection points. With a little practice, this tent can be built in just a few minutes, which is a big plus in the winter when conditions can quickly take a turn for the worse. This is one of the most stable and wind-resistant four-season shelters that we've ever seen. It can take the brunt of gale-force winds without missing a beat. With a weight of 9 pounds and 10 ounces, the Trango 2 is heavy compared to everything else on this list, but it's fairly lightweight for a four-season model. Winter tents are made from thicker, more durable materials, which is what makes them ideal for inclement weather. That doesn't make them a great option for use at other times of the year, as this style of camp shelter is warmer and tends to offer less airflow than three-season options. Because of this somewhat limited window of use, the Trango 2's $700 price tag is on the expensive side. All of that said, if you need a four-season tent that is ideal for use in very cold conditions or alpine environments, you simply can't go wrong here. When you consider the level of performance that the Trango 2 offers, along with its list of features and outstanding durability, it is easy to see why this is considered one of the best tents on the market. How to shop for a backpacking tent Finding the right tent takes a bit of time and effort, too. You'll want one that's spacious enough to accommodate you and your companions, is easy to set up, doesn't weigh a lot, and won't take up much space in your backpack. Your choice may also be influenced by the location and season you'll be backpacking, adding even more variables to consider. Ultimately, the type of tent you choose to take with you on your adventures is often influenced by the type of trip you intend to take. On a shorter outing, it may be okay to carry a heavier, more feature-packed tent, while a longer multi-day trip may call for something lighter and less complex. Experienced backpackers may even decide to go ultralight, eschewing all amenities in favor of the lightest tent they can find. No matter the scenario, tent makers like Big Agnes, MSR, Mountain Hardwear, and even REI have a number of great options designed specifically to keep you cozy while catching some shut-eye. How we test backpacking tents Each tent in this guide went through a multi-phase testing process to judge its effectiveness in a variety of ways. First, we wanted to see how much of an impact its weight made in our backpacking packs. This meant comparing more robust packs to see if they were worth the extra weight, or if the saved ounces from lighter tents allowed us to pack along more gear. We also compared the relevant build quality and durability, how easy they were to set up and break down, and how its overall value (and price) factored into it being a sound investment or not. The tents featured all stood out on their own during the tests, though none was as impressive overall as the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 . It was consistently easy to pitch and tear down each day, offered a surprisingly spacious interior, and held up well in a variety of environments and weather conditions. Check out more Insider Reviews outdoor guides Shutterstock Backpacking is a fun but grueling outdoor activity, yet it doesn't always have to be. With the right equipment, a multi-day trip into the backcountry could feel like a literal walk in the park — and achieving this starts with purchasing the right backpack.