Mom Goes Camping

The Best Trekking Pole Tents

trekking pole tents

Every ounce matters when you are trekking long distances.  One way to reduce weight is to choose multi-purpose gear, such as tents that use your trekking poles for pitching instead of tent poles. There aren’t too many brands making trekking pole tents now, but here are some of the best options.

Pros and Cons of Trekking Pole Tents

tent pitched with trekking poles

Pro: Reduce Weight

This is such a big benefit of trekking pole tents that it overrides almost all of the cons.  While tent manufacturers have gotten better at making poles from ultralight materials, these still add weight. Plus, those ultralight poles will come at a cost.

Virtually all trekking pole tents are designed for ultralight backpackers, so they weigh in at under 2 pounds.

 

Pro: You’ll Actually Bring Trekking Poles

A lot of hikers don’t bring trekking poles because of the extra weight.  But, as I talk about in this post about the pros and cons of trekking poles, hiking with poles reduces a lot of strain on your knees and back.

If weight is the only thing that is keeping you from using trekking poles, then you should really consider getting a tent pitched with trekking poles.  Your knees will thank you later on in life! (Not sure what size trekking poles you need? Montemlife’s trekking pole guide has a size chart based on your height!).

 

Con: Pitching Can Be a Pain

Freestanding tents (which use tent poles) can be pitched anywhere.  This is not the case with trekking pole tents.

You will have to plan for the terrain much better.  For example, you may need to bring special stakes for sand or loose soil.

Many backpackers using non-freestanding tents will recommend bringing along some extra cordage just in case there is a problem with pitching.  When you calculate the weight of extra stakes and cordage, you might not be saving as much weight as you hoped.

 

Con: Most Trekking Pole Tents Are Single Wall

Since trekking pole tents are meant to be ultralight, they are almost always going to be single wall.  To keep insects out, they’ll usually include an optional footprint and/or mesh netting (aka hybrid wall).

Using a single wall can result in condensation.  Open up the tent to prevent condensation and you could end up with wind draft.  Thus, you are going to have a harder time finding a trekking pole tent suitable for 3-seasons.

 

Con: Risk of Puncture

Note that lots of trekking pole tents are designed so you put your pole upside down (tip point up).  The idea is that the tip of the pole fits into a grommet.  The handle side of the pole goes down in the ground.

If you aren’t careful when inserting the pole, it could slip out of the grommet and puncture the tent.  This isn’t likely to happen, but is still something to be aware of.

 

Con: Pole Failure

In general, trekking poles are a lot more reliable than flimsy tent poles.  However, your trekking poles get a lot more abuse than your tent poles.  Over time, they can wear out.  They might fail on you and not collapse/extend to the right size for your tent.

If you are going to get a trekking pole tent, make sure you have quality poles.  Latch poles are more reliable than twist-type poles.  You won’t have to worry about these slipping and causing your tent to sag.

 

Best Trekking Pole Tents

Nemo Meta 31oz Trekking Pole Tent (1 Person)

nemo meta trekking pole tent

While Nemo isn’t as well known as some other companies making trekking pole tents, this is a great product.  It is fully seamtatped and waterproof and will hold up well against bad weather.

The thing that really sets this tent apart is that it has a very large vestibule.  Yes, that does mean it adds weight – but it also means you can keep your pack dry and leave your stinky boots outside.

(See Best Price Here)

Specs:

  • Weight: 31oz
  • Floor: 5000mm nylon
  • Shell: 20d nylon
  • Interior height: 50 inches
  • Floor area: 26 sq. feet.
  • Vestibule: 13 square feet
  • Setup: 1 or 2 pole setup with optional footprint

BUY HERE

Pros:

  • Large vestibule
  • Lots of headroom
  • Suitable for tall people
  • Good waterproofing

Cons:

  • A bit heavy
  • No floor – must buy interior mesh separately
  • Pricy

 

GEERTOP 42oz Trekking Pole Tent (1-Person)

geertop trekking pole tent

There are three options when buying this trekking pole tent: just the outer shell, just the inner mesh, or both outer + inner.   Getting the outer and inner will only cost you (at time of writing) $99, which makes it one of the more affordable trekking pole tents out there.

The tent also has some nice features you won’t see on other trekking pole tents.  In particular, it has 2 doors and 2 windows, which is great for regulating airflow.

 (See Best Price Here)

Specs:

  • Weight: 42oz (inner tent, flysheet, ropes, and pegs)
  • Floor: 5000mm silicon coating nylon
  • Shell: 20d 3000mm silicon coated nylon
  • Interior height: 41 inches
  • Floor area: 27 sq. feet (fly), 20 sq. feet (inner mesh)

BUY HERE

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Two doors and two windows
  • Good waterproofing
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Not suitable for tall people
  • Heavy
  • Small floor size
  • Zippers are low quality

 


ZPacks Duplex (2-Person)

Zpacks duplex

When it comes to trekking pole tents ZPacks is the best-known manufacturer.  Their products are high quality, but come at a very steep price tag.

This is not a tent for the occasional backpacker, but rather for the serious lightweight trekker who doesn’t mind paying a small fortune for a tent.

Specs:

  • Weight: 21oz
  • Floor: 1oz Dyneema Composite Fabric
  • Shell: 7oz Dyneema composite fabric
  • Interior height: 48 inches
  • Floor area: 28 sq. feet (inner)
  • Vestibule: 4-5 inch overhang on each side

Pros:

  • Suitable for tall people
  • Nice design
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Very expensive!
  • Translucent material means less privacy


MSR Flylite (2-Person)

MSR flylite trekking pole tent

MSR is one of the best-known brands of backpacking gear, so you can expect their trekking pole tent to be a good product.  The main seller here is that it is designed to be roomy.

Unlike other tents that use trekking poles for pitching, the poles are off to the side (and not in the middle where they will annoy you while sleeping).  The floor space isn’t that big but it still is roomy because of the vertical walls.

To make it lightweight, MSR used 1200mm fabric for the floor and walls.  This can tear pretty easily, so be careful with it.  You won’t want to use this tent when bad weather is possible because the nearly-flat roof pools water and lots of condensation forms when it’s cold out.  However, it’s a great lightweight choice for mild weather.

 (See Best Price Here)

Specs:

  • Weight: 23oz
  • Floor: 20d ripstop nylon 1200mm polyurethane and silicone
  • Shell: 10d ripstop nylon 1200mm polyurethane and silicone
  • Interior height: 44 inches
  • Floor area: 29 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two poles

 BUY HERE

Pros:

  • Reputable brand
  • Easy setup
  • Side vents prevent condensation
  • Vertical walls
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Pricy
  • Floor material could be tougher
  • Flat-ish room causes water too pool
  • Lots of condensation in cold weather

 


CreHouse Trekking Pole Tent (2-Person)

CreHouse affordable trekking pole tent

Even though this trekking pole tent is made in China, it is surprisingly good quality.  It actually rivals a lot of the top brand names – but comes in at a fraction of the cost.

Yes, the tent is heavier than more trekking pole tents.  However, its shell is 5000mm compared to the 1200mm-3000mm used for most others.  This makes it good for 3-seasons and bad weather.  You can separate the inner and outer fly, so the fly can be used alone if you don’t mind insects.

Be warned that the tent is pretty small for a two person.  It has adequate headroom and suits tall people, but you are going to be sleeping very close to your backpacking buddy! Be prepared to unintentionally snuggle. 😉

 (See Best Price Here)

Specs:

  • Weight: 41oz (with all ropes, pegs, etc.)
  • Floor: 20d ripstop nylon 5000mm
  • Shell: 15d ripstop nylon 5000mm
  • Interior height: 49-51 inches
  • Floor area: 25 sq. feet

 BUY HERE

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Surprisingly good quality
  • Two doors
  • Lots of headroom
  • Great waterproofing
  • Suitable for 3 seasons

Cons:

  • A bit heavy
  • Small floor area for two people
  • Vestibule is tiny

 

Do you use trekking poles to pitch your tent?  Which tent and how do you like it?


Resources:
https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/83317-Free-standing-tent-vs-trekking-pole-supported-tents
https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/106655856/anyone-ever-used-a-trekking-pole-tent
https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/comments/2us7il/double_wall_tents_with_trekking_pole_support/
Image credits:
Inside the tarp” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by The Cabin On The Road,
Tent – Nemo Meta 1P” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by ex_magician,
Lost Coast Trail, April 2011” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by johnabela

 

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About the author /


Diane Vukovic is an avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast, beetle lover, sometimes sculptress, couchsurfer, and loves finding ways to explain complex topics to her 6-year old daughter. Follow MomGoesCamping on Facebook and Twitter @MomGoesCamping to stay in touch!

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