The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight – 50+ Great Tents Compared

The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight
The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

This is our ultimate guide on tent weight and what weight is right for you.

Tent weight may seem like a low-priority detail in comparison to planning the trip of a lifetime. 

But in reality, how much your tent weighs can make or break your camping experience.

Think about it: a tent that’s too heavy will be tortuous to carry over long distances. Or a tent that’s too light (read: undersized) may end up being overly cramped for that family getaway.

That’s why we created this ultimate guide to tent weight. Our goal is to educate you on the importance of this sometimes-overlooked topic. We’ve collected data on 50+ actual tents to calculate the average: 

The average weight of a 4-person backpacking tent is 7.1 lbs, and that of a 2-person backpacking tent is 3.94lbs. These translate into an average weight per person of 1.8 – 2 lbs. 

The average weight of one trekking-pole-supported 2-person tent is 1.8 lbs, so we have an average weight of 0.9 lbs per person.

And for 4-person car camping tents, their average weight per tent is 14.8 lbs, or 3.7 lbs per person.

Backpacking Tents – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

If you’re a hiker, the first thing you think of when you hear “tent” will most likely be a backpacking tent.

These types of tents are for camping anywhere, designed especially for the backcountry. As such, they’re relatively small and nimble, perfect for carrying over long distances.

Backpacking tents typically weigh under 5 lbs, with some ultralight models weighing mere ounces. 

Yet despite their light weights, these tents must also be sturdy enough to withstand basic bad-weather conditions. This is accomplished through numerous tradeoffs between weight, size, and durability. 

Below are some handy reference charts that compare a variety of 4-person and 2-person backpacking tents. 

Notice that as the capacity (and floor space) of the tents increase, so does the weight. It’s up to you to decide how important living space is over saving precious pounds on your back.

4-Person Tent Weight Comparison Chart – Backpacking Tents

The average weight of these ten 4-person (4P) backpacking tents is 7.1 lbs. 

The average weight per person refers to how much weight each person would carry if you split up the parts of the tent among them. For instance, the tent poles are carried by one person, the tent by another, etc. 

So if we’re looking at 4P tents, the average weight per 4 people would be 1.8lbs

NamePacked WeightPacked SizeFloor Space
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 5lbs 11oz7 x 22”57 sq ft
Exped Carina IV 6lbs 9oz6.7 x 16.5”47.4 sq ft
REI Co-op Half Dome 4 6lbs 12oz8 x 24”56.1 sq ft
The North Face Talus 47lbs 3oz8.5 x 26”51.8 sq ft
Hilleberg Nallo 46lbs 10oz7 x 19”46.3 sq ft
MSR Papa Hubba NX 47lbs7 x 21”63 sq ft
Kelty Gunnison 4P9lbs 6oz4 x 16”58 sq ft
MSR Elixir 4P9lbs 3oz7 x 22”54 sq ft
Tarptent Hogback4lbs 2oz5 x 20”49 sq ft
Marmot Limelight 48lbs 8oz9 x 27”51.7 sq ft

2-Person Tent Weight Comparison Chart – Backpacking Tents

The average weight of these 20 2-person (2P) tents is 3.94 lbs per tent. 

So again considering that that tent weight is the average weight divided by the amount of capacity per tent (2P), the average weight per person for 2 people is 2lbs.

NamePacked WeightPacked SizeFloor Space
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL22lbs 11oz6 x 19.5”29 sq ft
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 23lbs 14oz6 x 18”29 sq ft
NEMO Hornet 22lbs 6oz5.5 x 19.5”27.5 sq ft
Hilleberg Nallo 25lbs 5oz6 x 19”28 sq ft
Marmot Tungsten 2P UL3lbs 6oz7 x 24.5”30.6 sq ft
NEMO Dagger 2P3lbs 14oz19.5 x 6.5”31.3 sq ft
Sea to Summit Telos TR23lbs 10oz5.1 x 18.9” 28 sq ft
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL22lbs 8oz5.5 x 18”28 sq ft
Big Agnes Blacktail 24lbs 8oz7 x 21”33 sq ft
Hyke & Byke Yosemite 2P 5lbs 6oz6 x 17”33 sq ft
The North Face Stormbreak 2 5lbs 14oz7 x 22”30.6 sq ft
Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 26lbs6 x 24”33 sq ft
NEMO Dragonfly 2 3lbs 1oz4.5 x 19.5”29 sq ft
MSR Access 2 4lbs 1oz6 x 18”29 sq ft
Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent – 3 5lbs 4oz5.9 x 16.5”29 sq ft
Exped Lyra II 4lbs 9oz7.9 x 20.5”30.1 sq ft
Black Diamond Equipment Firstlight 2P 3lbs 1oz6 x 9”27.3 sq ft
Naturehike Cloud-Up 2P 3lbs 8oz5 x 15”35.5 sq ft
REI Co-op Trail Hut 2 5lbs 15oz8 x 18”31.7 sq ft

Trekking-Pole-Supported Tents – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

Trekking-Pole-supported tents are a subclass of backpacking tents. As their name states, these tents ditch standard tent poles altogether.

Instead, they opt for your trekking poles to provide some of the frames. And since you can forget the tent poles, these trekking pole tents are wildly lightweight at around 1-2 lbs. 

Most serious hikers already carry trekking poles with them, so using those poles as tent support while shedding extra weight is honestly pretty genius.

Notice I said “serious” hikers. While there’s certainly no rule preventing a newer hiker from using a trekking-pole-supported tent, they’re often more difficult to pitch than a standard backpacking tent.

Not to mention, they’re very tiny inside. Even the 2P models can feel pretty cramped and minimalist. As such, trekking-pole-supported tents require a certain Spartan mindset that beginners may not have.

Notice in our below table that the tents are all 2P. That’s because 1 and 2P are the standard for trekking pole tents. 

Sure, 3 and even 4P versions do exist, but these are few and far between, and not as widely reputable.

2-Person Tent Weight Comparison Chart – Trekking-Pole-Supported Tents

The average weight of these 10 trekking-pole-supported 2P tents is 1.8 lbs per tent. 

Thus, the tent weight divided by the 2P capacity results in an average weight per person of 0.9 lbs.

NamePacked WeightPacked SizeFloor Space
Zpacks Duplex Tent1lb 5oz5.5 x 12”30 sq ft
REI Co-op Flash Air 22lbs 8oz7 x 16”28.7 sq ft
River Country Products Trekker 2.23lbs5 x 12”35 sq ft
Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 21lb 2oz6 x 8.5”63 sq ft
Dan Durston X-Mid 22lbs 5oz6.5 x 12”32 sq ft
Marmot Agate 2P 1lb 6oz6 x 23.5”34.5 sq ft
Tarptent Stratospire Li (2P)2lbs 5oz5 x 16”21 sq ft
Nemo Spike 2P1lb 5oz6 x 11”41 sq ft
Black Diamond Distance Tent with Adapter1lb 9oz5 x 12”26 sq ft
Gossamer Gear DCF 21lb 4oz5 x 19”28 sq ft

Car Camping Tents – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

Car camping tents get their moniker from their mode of transportation: the back of your car. 

That’s right – these guys are way too heavy to carry on your back, ranging anywhere from 10 – 20lbs for a typical 4P tent.

They’re designed to be used at designated campgrounds that you can drive up to and unload your tent. Even more specifically, they’re perfect for family trips the outdoors and lounging around the campsite.

Car camping tents can get downright enormous. While we’re only focusing on 4P tents, they can go all the way up to 10P and some even beyond!

4-Person Tent Weight Comparison Chart – Car Camping Tents

Finally, for these 10 4P car camping tents, their average weight per tent is 14.8 lbs.

This results in an average weight per 4 people of 3.7 lbs.

NamePacked WeightPacked SizeFloor Space
CORE 4 Person Straight Wall Cabin13lbs 4oz8 x 27”56 sq ft
Outdoor Products Instant Cabin 4P21 lbs8 x 40”56 sq ft
Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup16lbs 7oz9 x 47”56 sq ft
The North Face Wawona 413 lbs10 x 27”58 sq ft
Marmot Limestone 4P11lbs 11oz10 x 27.5”60 sq ft
Coleman 4P Dark Room Skydome11lbs4.9 x 24.2”56 sq ft
Big Agnes Dog House 4P8lbs 10oz8.5 x 23.5”57 sq ft
MOON LENCE Pop Up Tent10lbs 8oz7 x 32”44 sq ft
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe35lbs10 x 30”51 sq ft
Ozark Trail 4P Dome7lbs 8oz9 x 26”64 sq ft

Packed Weight and Trail Weight Explained – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

If, after checking out our tables, you decided to do some of your own digging into tent specs, you may have noticed something. There are often (but not always) two different weight specs listed on the product page.


These two specs are called Packed Weight and Trail Weight. And yeah, it can be a little confusing at first to see two of them, especially after our tables here only provide the Packed Weight.

We chose to only include the packed weight because truly, this is the weight that you should pay attention to.

Packed Weight is the total weight of the package that gets shipped to you when you order the tent. It really includes everything, not just the tent. 

Some things in the packed weight can include the tent itself, the poles, pole sack, rainfly, guy lines, extra rope, instructions, stakes, and the stuff sack.

Meanwhile, the Trail Weight is often a few ounces (maybeeee a pound) lighter than the Packed Weight.

This is because the tent manufacturers are estimating what you’ll bring with you when you take the tent on trail. 

For example, you may not choose to bring all the ropes, or you could leave behind the spare stakes they sent you. If the weather is fair, you could even forgo the rainfly too.

Packed Size – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

The last component on our comparison tables is the tent’s packed size.

Packed size refers to the dimensions of a tent when it’s stuffed into its sack, ready to be loaded into your bag.

Now, this section isn’t as big of a deal to car campers, who have an entire trunk for tent storage. But for backpackers, weight and physical space inside a pack are precious real estate.

While the fabric portions of a tent can easily be squished down into ridiculously tiny sizes (think the size of a chubby water bottle), it’s not so simple when you remember your tent poles.

Thankfully, manufacturers make poles that fold up into manageable lengths. But even so, the folded poles are still often 1 – 2’ in length on average. 

Obviously, a packed size of around 1’ would be preferable. Some ultralight tents offer packed sizes around 8” to further maximize space in your backpack. 

Tents of this size would fit comfortably into a multiday (or 50-60 liter) backpack. They’d slip easily into a much larger extended-trip pack, which is upwards of 70 liters of capacity.

For backpacking trips, try to avoid anything beyond 2.5’, as you start crossing into car camping tent packed length. As such, the tent will get bulky (or might not even fit!) inside your pack.

But if a longer pack length is inevitable, here’s a hack for getting around this that I’ve used in the past. 

Go buy a separate stuff sack that can pack down really small. Remove the poles and stakes (along with the pole sack they’re kept in) and place them separately into your pack. 

How does this help? Well, although you still have long, slightly-annoying poles to deal with, at least they’re separated from your tent. The tiny stuff sack in which your tent is now stashed is way smaller than the bulkier tent bag it originally came in.

Pros and Cons of Choosing a Lightweight Tent – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

You may think at this point that selecting the lightest possible tent is the way to go, especially if you’re a backpacker.

But hold up – although there’s plenty of reasons to choose a lightweight tent, they come with several notable tradeoffs.

First, the positives. Obviously, due to their light weight, these tents are ideal for carrying over long distances. 

As such, they also boost your stamina. Since your tent weighs less, that results in you having more strength to walk further. This makes them the perfect choice for thru-hikers, for instance.

However, lighter tents tend to sacrifice living space. Depending on which tent you pick, some of them require Spartan-like mindsets in order to be okay with such tiny, minimalist shelters.

Furthermore, the price will increase, especially for ultralight tents made of premium materials. Speaking of which, check out of an article on tent costs if you want to learn more.

And speaking of materials, these can be thinner and a little more delicate than standard tents. You can’t just toss them around like you can with a tent whose floor is made of tarp-like fabric. 

Pros and Cons of Choosing a Heavier Tent – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have heavier tents. They may seem appealing, especially for those of you who want more space to spread out. 

But similar to their lightweight counterparts, heavier tents have some considerable minuses to balance out their perks.

It’s certainly true that a heavier tent equals a larger tent, which means a lot more living space. Depending on how heavy/large you go, you could end up with a 4P tent or even one that can house 10 people!

They also make sturdy base camps. Consider this: waiting out an extended storm will be miserable in an undersized, 1P bivy. 

But this is a lot more feasible to do inside a tent that you can comfortably move around in.

The elephant in the room is clearly the weight you gain from all this space and capacity. 

Heavier tents, particularly those designed for car camping, are difficult to impossible to carry long distances.

Sure, this is doable for a 6 or 7-lb 4P tent. But it’s not the wisest choice for a dedicated thru-hiker. Those unneeded pounds will add up over the miles.

How to Choose Tent Weight – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

The previous sections gave an overview of what to expect depending on which tent weight you choose.

Now let’s look at how you can pick a tent weight best suited to you and your unique trip.

Trip Type – How to Choose Tent Weight

The first thing to consider when choosing a tent is your trip type. 

Are you embarking on a months-long thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail? Alternatively, are you planning a fireside gathering with friends?

Personal Comfort Preference – How to Choose Tent Weight

Next, consider your personal comfort preference. There’s no right or wrong answer here, either!

How much weight are you willing to carry? A thru-hiker, for example, may be okay with an extra pound on a tent if it means having space to sit up comfortably inside the tent.

Oh, and car campers, this question is applicable to you too. 

You’ll still have to lug your tent from trunk to campsite. Even though the distance probably isn’t far, dragging something that weighs 50+lbs is going to be a pain compared to something weighing 15lbs.

The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight
The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

Conclusion – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into choosing the perfect tent weight for you and your trip.

But hopefully, you see that choosing a tent’s weight is a relatively straightforward process. Be honest with yourself because there’s no wrong answer here.

And remember, there’s no better teacher than actually getting out there! Try your tent in the field and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. 

Guess what? That’s bound to change once you experience it. Happy tenting!

Frequently Asked Questions – The Ultimate Guide to Tent Weight

How Much Does a Backpacking Tent Weigh on Average? – FAQs

A backpacking tent’s average weight ranges from 2-4 pounds, with ultralight options weighing as little as 1 pound.

Is it Worthwhile to Invest in an Ultralight Tent? – FAQs

It is determined by your requirements and intended use. Although ultralight tents are more expensive, they are ideal for long-distance hiking or backpacking trips where every ounce counts.

How Much Does a Tent’s Weight Affect its Overall Performance? – FAQs

A tent’s weight can have an impact on its portability, ease of setup, and durability. Although heavier tents are more durable, they are less portable than lighter ones.

Should I Get a Freestanding Tent or a Non-Freestanding Tent? – FAQs

Because they do not require stakes or guylines for support, freestanding tents are generally heavier but easier to set up. Non-freestanding tents are lighter, but they take more time and effort to properly set up.

Can I Lighten the Weight of My Current Tent Without Purchasing a New One? – FAQs

Yes, you can reduce the weight of your current tent by replacing heavy stakes with lightweight alternatives, using trekking poles instead of tent poles, and removing unnecessary rainflys or vestibules.

Is it True That Four-Season Tents are Heavier Than Three-Season Tents? – FAQs

Four-season tents are typically heavier than three-season tents because they are built to withstand harsher weather conditions such as snow and strong winds.

When Selecting a Tent, How Much Weight Should I Prioritize? – FAQs

When selecting a tent, weight is an important factor to consider, but it should not be the only factor. Other factors to consider when making your decision include durability, comfort, and weather resistance.

Ben Wann- Tent Camping Expert

My name is Ben Wann, and I’m a lifelong tent camper and backpacker who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.