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 7.1lbs, and that of a 2-person backpacking tent is 3.94lbs. These translate into an average weight per person of 1.8 – 2lbs.
The average weight of one trekking-pole supported 2-person tent is 1.8lbs, so we have an average weight per person of 0.9lbs.
And for 4-person car camping tents, their average weight per tent is 14.8lbs, or 3.7lbs per person.
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 5lbs, 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.
10 Backpacking Tents 4P – Weight Comparison Chart
The average weight of these 10 4P backpacking tents is 7.1lbs.
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
|Name||Packed Weight||Packed Size||Floor Space|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4||5lbs 11oz||7 x 22”||57 sq ft|
|Exped Carina IV||6lbs 9oz||6.7 x 16.5”||47.4 sq ft|
|REI Co-op Half Dome 4||6lbs 12oz||8 x 24”||56.1 sq ft|
|The North Face Talus 4||7lbs 3oz||8.5 x 26”||51.8 sq ft|
|Hilleberg Nallo 4||6lbs 10oz||7 x 19”||46.3 sq ft|
|MSR Papa Hubba NX 4||7lbs||7 x 21”||63 sq ft|
|Kelty Gunnison 4P||9lbs 6oz||4 x 16”||58 sq ft|
|MSR Elixir 4P||9lbs 3oz||7 x 22”||54 sq ft|
|Tarptent Hogback||4lbs 2oz||5 x 20”||49 sq ft|
|Marmot Limelight 4||8lbs 8oz||9 x 27”||51.7 sq ft|
20 Backpacking Tents 2P – Weight Comparison Chart
The average weight of these 20 2P tents is 3.94lbs 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.
|Name||Packed Weight||Packed Size||Floor Space|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2||2lbs 11oz||6 x 19.5”||29 sq ft|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2||3lbs 14oz||6 x 18”||29 sq ft|
|NEMO Hornet 2||2lbs 6oz||5.5 x 19.5”||27.5 sq ft|
|Hilleberg Nallo 2||5lbs 5oz||6 x 19”||28 sq ft|
|Marmot Tungsten 2P UL||3lbs 6oz||7 x 24.5”||30.6 sq ft|
|NEMO Dagger 2P||3lbs 14oz||19.5 x 6.5”||31.3 sq ft|
|Sea to Summit Telos TR2||3lbs 10oz||5.1 x 18.9”||28 sq ft|
|Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2||2lbs 8oz||5.5 x 18”||28 sq ft|
|Big Agnes Blacktail 2||4lbs 8oz||7 x 21”||33 sq ft|
|Hyke & Byke Yosemite 2P||5lbs 6oz||6 x 17”||33 sq ft|
|The North Face Stormbreak 2||5lbs 14oz||7 x 22”||30.6 sq ft|
|Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2||6lbs||6 x 24”||33 sq ft|
|NEMO Dragonfly 2||3lbs 1oz||4.5 x 19.5”||29 sq ft|
|MSR Access 2||4lbs 1oz||6 x 18”||29 sq ft|
|Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent – 3||5lbs 4oz||5.9 x 16.5”||29 sq ft|
|Exped Lyra II||4lbs 9oz||7.9 x 20.5”||30.1 sq ft|
|Black Diamond Equipment Firstlight 2P||3lbs 1oz||6 x 9”||27.3 sq ft|
|Naturehike Cloud-Up 2P||3lbs 8oz||5 x 15”||35.5 sq ft|
|REI Co-op Trail Hut 2||5lbs 15oz||8 x 18”||31.7 sq ft|
Trekking-Pole Supported Tents
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 frame. And since you can forget the tent poles, these trekking pole tents are wildly lightweight at around 1-2lbs.
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.
10 Trekking-Pole Supported Tents 2P – Weight Comparison Chart
The average weight of these 10 trekking-pole supported 2P tents is 1.8lbs per tent.
Thus, the tent weight divided by the 2P capacity results in an average weight per person of 0.9lbs.
|Name||Packed Weight||Packed Size||Floor Space|
|Zpacks Duplex Tent||1lb 5oz||5.5 x 12”||30 sq ft|
|REI Co-op Flash Air 2||2lbs 8oz||7 x 16”||28.7 sq ft|
|River Country Products Trekker 2.2||3lbs||5 x 12”||35 sq ft|
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2||1lb 2oz||6 x 8.5”||63 sq ft|
|Dan Durston X-Mid 2||2lbs 5oz||6.5 x 12”||32 sq ft|
|Marmot Agate 2P||1lb 6oz||6 x 23.5”||34.5 sq ft|
|Tarptent Stratospire Li (2P)||2lbs 5oz||5 x 16”||21 sq ft|
|Nemo Spike 2P||1lb 5oz||6 x 11”||41 sq ft|
|Black Diamond Distance Tent with Adapter||1lb 9oz||5 x 12”||26 sq ft|
|Gossamer Gear DCF 2||1lb 4oz||5 x 19”||28 sq ft|
Car Camping Tents
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 in 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!
10 Car Camping Tents 4P – Weight Comparison Chart
Finally, for these 10 4P car camping tents, their average weight per tent is 14.8lbs.
This results in an average weight per 4 people of 3.7lbs.
|Name||Packed Weight||Packed Size||Floor Space|
|CORE 4 Person Straight Wall Cabin||13lbs 4oz||8 x 27”||56 sq ft|
|Outdoor Products Instant Cabin 4P||21 lbs||8 x 40”||56 sq ft|
|Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup||16lbs 7oz||9 x 47”||56 sq ft|
|The North Face Wawona 4||13 lbs||10 x 27”||58 sq ft|
|Marmot Limestone 4P||11lbs 11oz||10 x 27.5”||60 sq ft|
|Coleman 4P Dark Room Skydome||11lbs||4.9 x 24.2”||56 sq ft|
|Big Agnes Dog House 4P||8lbs 10oz||8.5 x 23.5”||57 sq ft|
|MOON LENCE Pop Up Tent||10lbs 8oz||7 x 32”||44 sq ft|
|Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe||35lbs||10 x 30”||51 sq ft|
|Ozark Trail 4P Dome||7lbs 8oz||9 x 26”||64 sq ft|
Packed Weight and Trail Weight Explained
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.
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 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 are 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
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 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
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 in.
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 do-able for a 6 or 7lb 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 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.
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
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.
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 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!