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The Best Trekking Pole Tents (2020 Update)

best trekking pole tents

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. Here’s what you need to know about trekking pole tents plus the top picks.

 

Top Picks Overview: 

*Scroll down to read the full reviews and see all of the best trekking pole tents.

 


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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

Trekking pole tents can be an absolute pain to pitch, especially if you can’t find a level campsite or the ground is rocky or sandy.  Depending on how the tent is designed, you might spend a lot of time crouched on your knees adjusting guylines to get the tension right.  If you don’t get the tent staked out right, it could start sagging.  And the sagging might not happen until rain hits it in the middle of the night!

ZPacks Solplex pitching

Check out all the rocks which had to be gathered to pitch this trekking pole tent (ZPacks Solplex)

 

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 often have 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.

 

Trekking Pole Tent vs. UL Freestanding Tent?

It the effort to go ultralight, it can be really tempting to choose a trekking pole tent.  And I’m not trying to discourage you from them.  However, be realistic.   Is the extra hassle of pitching a trekking pole tent really worth the weight savings? Remember, going ultralight isn’t a competition. It’s about making the experience more enjoyable!  These tents are all freestanding or semi-freestanding and still very lightweight.

But there is one good reason to choose a trekking pole tent: Compared to UL freestanding tents, trekking pole tents are a lot more affordable.   The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Carbon 2 tent is freestanding and only weighs 1lb 7oz, but it also costs about $850.  By contrast, most trekking pole tents in that weight category don’t cost more than $200-$300.

The bottom line? Choose a trekking pole tent if you have more experience pitching tents and want an UL tent which won’t cost a fortune.

 

Trekking Pole Tent vs. Tarp

If you are willing to put some extra effort into pitching in order to save weight, then it is worth considering a tarp shelter.  A tarp shelter is almost always going to be lighter than a trekking pole tent, cheaper, and give you flexibility.  If insects are going to be a problem, then you can bring a net shelter or bivvy to use under your tarp.

However, I wouldn’t go from a double-wall tent to a tarp right away.  It takes a lot of learning and skill to backpack with a tarp. Sure, it might be easy when the weather is good — but what about when a storm suddenly hits and you are scrambling to find a proper pitch site?

One good piece of advice I read was this: It’s a lot easier to learn UL skills in a single-wall tent. Then you can move to a tarp system when it makes sense.

Trekking pole tents are a good transition between freestanding tents and a tarp.  If you can’t decide between a trekking pole tent and a tarp, consider a double-wall trekking pole tent.Then you’ll have the option of just using the outer wall as a tarp tent later on.

 

Best Trekking Pole Tents

1. Sierra Designs High Route 1FL Tent

Sierra Design High Route trekking pole tent

At first, the High Route 1 trekking pole tent looks a bit weird.  It is rectangular but the poles used to pitch the tent are offset from each other.  This is actually a functionality feature: you can enter the tent without the poles blocking the doors.  It also makes the tent more stable.

The two pole design creates an apex shape.  This shape has more horizontal walls so you get more interior living space.  There are technically 1.5 doors on the tent.  While a small person could enter through the half door, it’s better used for ventilation or for accessing gear stored outside.

You’ll see the High Route tent listed as both a 1-person and 2-person tent.  Both are true.  This is because the tent consists of a fly and an inner nest.  If you use just the fly (as a tarp tent), then you get much more interior space and it’s suitable for two people.  When you use the nest, the living space is cut almost in half and it is only suitable for one person.

The two-wall design makes the SD High Route more versatile.  Use just the fly, use just the mesh for star-gazing on nice nights, or use both together for when you need some extra protection from critters or insects.

Compared to other trekking pole tents, this one is a bit finicky to set up.  You’ve really got to make sure everything is tightened properly so it doesn’t sag.  Once you master it, the tent does hold up against bad weather well.  The 2-wall construction also means you don’t have to worry about condensation.  Still, I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.

My major criticism of the tent is that the vestibule is very small. It’s more of a covered awning than a vestibule.  You can fit a backpack there, but don’t count on using the vestibule as living space during bad weather.

Available here on Amazon

Specs:

  • Packaged Weight: 1lb 15oz
  • Fly Weight: 1lb 1oz
  • Body Weight: 11oz
  • Body Material: 15D nylon mesh
  • Floor Material: 20D ripstop nylon DWR/1200mm
  • Fly: 20D ripstop nylon, silicone/1200mm
  • Interior height: 43” (nest), 48” (tarp)
  • Floor area: 16.6 sq. feet (nest), 29.8 sq. feet (tarp)
  • Vestibule: 7.3 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Pros:

  • Two-wall construction
  • Can use fly by itself
  • Good ventilation
  • Lots of interior space
  • Holds up in bad weather

Cons:

  • A bit trickier to set up
  • Nest has very little floor area
  • Vestibule is very small

Buy it here on Amazon


 

2. Six Moon Designs  Skyscape Trekker 1P

Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker trekking pole tent

Six Moon Designs is a small company run by actual backpackers.  Their product are made for long-distance thru hikes and are quickly becoming trail favorites.  They have other trekking pole tents but they are more akin to tarp shelters than tents.  The Trekker is the closest to a real tent since it has mesh walls: Just roll up the vestibule walls to expose the mesh.

With both vestibules rolled up, you expose a lot of the mesh and can almost sleep under the stars.  The feature is also great for added ventilation.  On cold nights, there will undoubtedly be condensation issues though, so I’d only recommend this tent for warm-weather backpacking even though it can hold up against snow.

Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker

Six Moon Designs trekking pole tent layout

The listed tent floor space is very large.  However, a lot of this space isn’t usable because of the low-ceilings near the foot of the tent.  Regardless, it’s still a very roomy 1-person tent. The poles are off-set from each other to create a larger roof area. It’s 8 feet long so definitely suitable for tall people.

Buy the tent here

Specs:

  • Weight: 1lb 12oz (doesn’t include stake weight)
  • Canopy: 20D silicone-coated polyester 3000mm and 20D mesh
  • Floor Material: 40D silicone polyester
  • Interior height:
  • Floor area: 23 sq. feet
  • Vestibule: 16 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Pros:

  • Lots of room for one person plus gear
  • Two doors and two vestibules
  • Suitable for tall people
  • Good in bad weather
  • Stash pocket
  • Sturdy materials

Cons:

  • Poor ventilation when doors are completely closed

Get the tent here


 

3. REI Flash Air (1p and 2p)

REI Flash Air trekking pole tent

If you are concerned about not being able to set up a trekking pole easily, then the REI Flash Air is a good choice.  It comes with a 3.4oz pole which you or you can use trekking poles. There are also a small roof and vertical pole. The additional poles do add a tiny bit of weight but makes setup a heck of a lot easier.  It takes all of 5 minutes to set up the Flash Air once you get the hang of it.

There are two versions of the REI Flash Air available: 1p and 2p.  Both are suitable for tall people at 88 inches in length.  The floor space is also roomier than other UL tents: 21.3 square feet for the 1P and 31.7 square feet for the 2P.  That said, it’s still pretty tough to get two people in the 2P tent.  Your pads will overlap and be prepared for close contact!

There are two doors and two vestibules on the 2P version of the Flash Air (the 1P only has one vestibule and 1 door).  This makes it easier to get in/out of the tent and each person has gear storage space.

This is a single-wall tent, but REI has added features to prevent condensation buildup.  There’s mesh on the door/s and side wall. There are also three vents to improve airflow.  You still won’t want to keep wet clothes in the tent and be careful where you pitch it, but it handles condensation better than other single-wall trekking pole tents.

As expected, there aren’t many extra features.  However, there is a stash pocket and a lantern hook, which you don’t see on many UL tents.

Get it here on REI

Specs:

  • Packaged Weight: 1lb 10.5oz (1P), 2lb 8oz (2P)
  • Weight with own poles: 1lb 4oz (1P), 1lb 15oz (2P)
  • Floor Material: Ripstop nylon
  • Canopy: Nylon mesh
  • Interior height: 42 inches
  • Floor dimensions: 88×35” (1P), 88×52” (2P)
  • Floor area: 21.3 sq. feet (1P), 31.7 sq. feet (2P)
  • Vestibule: 8.4 sq. feet (1P), 16.8 sq. feet (2P)
  • Setup: Two trekking poles plus vertical and foot pole

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Very lightweight
  • Lots of floor space
  • Roomy vestibule
  • Good ventilation

Cons:

  • Footprint not included; adds weight
  • Costs nearly as much as some UL tents with poles

Buy the 1p here and 2p here on REI


 

4. Mier Trekking Pole Tent (1P and 2P)

mier trekking pole tent

Considering that this is a cheap lightweight tent, it’s pretty damn  impressive. Unlike most trekking pole tents, the Mier is two-layers with an inner mesh tent and an outer fly.

If you choose to camp with just the fly, you can get the weight down to about 1.5lbs. There are also some really nice features of the tent, like roomy vestibules.  You’ll need the extra room of the vestibules though because the inside is such a tight fit.

There are also nice things like a lantern hanger, mesh pockets, and repair patch included.  The materials seem to be high quality and reviewers say that it holds up in bad weather.  Just note that the light weight is partially due to the fact that there’s no footprint.  If you use your own footprint, it will add to the weight.

The triangle design means the tent can funnels rain away well.  If you set it up with wind direction in mind, it will also hold up against tough storms.  Getting in/out of the tent is a bit annoying because of the small door, but that’s just a minor gripe.

The 1-Person Mier Trekking Pole Tent

The 2-Person Mier Trekking Pole Tent

Get it Here

Specs:

  • Weight: 2.2lbs (1p), 2.8lbs (2p) – weight includes everything
  • Floor: 15D ripstop nylon; 6000mm
  • Fly: 15D ripstop nylon, 5000mm
  • Interior Height: 49”
  • Size: 6.9×2.5’ (1p), 6.9×3.6’ (2p)
  • Setup: 1 pole (1P), 2 poles (2P)

Pros:

  • Two-layer tent
  • Very affordable
  • 2 doors
  • Vestibule
  • Versatile
  • Inner mesh pockets

Cons:

  • Snug fit
  • One way zipper on doors
  • No footprint
  • Heavy for trekking pole tent

Check the Price Here


 

5. Nemo Meta Trekking Pole Tent (1P)

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 seam-taped 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.

As with all trekking pole tents, it is a bit tricky to set up.  However, it is nice that there are reinforced pole pockets, which is a feature not all other trekking pole tents have and does make it more stable. You will definitely want to test it out at home first.  A lot of users recommend bringing extra guylines for staking out the tent. These aren’t included with the tent.

Get It 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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Get It Here


6. ZPacks Duplex (2P)

ZPacks Duplex trekking pole tent

When it comes to ultralight, ZPacks is one of the top companies right now. They use a material called Dyneema (formerly called cuben fiber) to make their tents as well as their UL backpacks. All their products are also very well designed for long-distance hiking. The ZPacks Duplex tent has gotten an almost cult-like following in the UL backpacker community.

The design of the tent is amazingly smart (and makes you wonder why other manufacturers don’t do these things).  It’s a single-wall tent which is held up by two trekking poles.  There are two mesh doors and two vestibules, so it’s easy to enter/exit when hiking with a partner.  The vestibules are spacious enough to hold your gear.

Each vestibule opens in the middle so you can roll up just half of the vestibule door if you want. Instead of opening/closing with a zipper (which would add weight), the vestibule doors overlap each other.  There is a small hook to hold them closed, though they still might flap around in bad wind.   Note that the vestibule is fairly small.  You won’t be able to perform tasks in the vestibule during bad weather.

ZPacks Duplex trekking pole tent

ZPacks Duplex trekking pole tent

There is an 8″ high bathtub floor which will protect you from puddling.  What’s cool is that the bathtub floor is connected to the tent walls with mesh.  This gives you extra ventilation – a feature which most other single-wall tents don’t have.  While the feature does mean you won’t have to worry about condensation (as much), it does mean the tent can get drafty.

Note the tent comes in a few colors.  The translucent option is great if you want to stargaze at night through your tent, but doesn’t offer much privacy!

The ZPacks Duplex currently costs almost $600.  While this is pricy, it’s a lot cheaper than the freestanding tents in its weight class like the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Carbon 2.

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:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Two large doors for easy entry/exit
  • Cheaper than other UL tents in its weight category
  • Suitable for tall people
  • Roomy interior good for one or two people
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Vestibules are only large enough for gear
  • Translucent material means less privacy
  • No hanging loops in tent
  • Weight doesn’t include stakes

 

7. MSR Flylite (2P)

MSR flylite trekking pole tent

Unlike other tents that use trekking poles for pitching, the MSR Flylite has poles which are off to the side (and not in the middle where they will annoy you while sleeping). It also uses a small included pole in the back. 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.

 Get it Here

Specs:

  • Weight: 28oz (with everything)
  • 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

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

*This is discontinued at REI but you can still get it on Amazon


 

8. River Country Trekker 2.2 Tent (2P)

river country trekker 2.2 trekking pole tent

This trekking pole tent is very cheap and performs incredibly well.  One of the standout features of it is the mesh sidewalls which have vents in them that you can open/close.  The mesh isn’t on the back wall.  So, it that means it is almost a double-wall tent and you won’t have to worry about condensation like with many other trekking pole tents (which are almost always single wall).

You’ll need two trekking poles to pitch the tent, but setup is very fast and easy. The only major design flaw is that the top of the tent is pretty low at just 42 inches. It’s also over 7 feet long so is suitable for tall backpackers. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t give any info about the material the tent is made from, though reviewers seem happy with how it holds up in rainy weather.

*Note that there is also a 1-person and 4-person version of the tent available.

(See Best Price Here)

Specs:

  • Weight: 3lbs (including stakes and carry bag)
  • Interior Height: 42”
  • Interior Dimensions: 84″ x 62″
  • Setup: 2 poles

BUY HERE

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Roomy vestibule
  • Suitable for tall people
  • Mesh sidewalls
  • Good ventilation
  • Roomy interior
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Not great for cold weather
  • No vestibule

 

9. Naturehike Trekking Pole Tent (1P)

Nature Hike trekking pole tent

I love Naturehike tents (I have their ultralight Cloud Up 2 tent).  They make knockoffs of popular, expensive brands and price them at a fraction of a cost.   As for this one, it is one of the only two-layer trekking pole tents you will find.  That means you won’t have to worry about condensation in cold weather.

The two-layer design also gives you some versatility. You can use just the fly for a very ultralight setup (1.17lbs).  The inner mesh tent weighs 2.23lbs.  And the mat is 1.27lbs.

The tent does have a really weird inner design because the pole is in the middle. If you don’t have much gear, you could squeeze two people into the tent. Just be warned that your face will probably be almost touching the mesh if you use this as a two-person tent.

Get It Here

Specs:

  • Weight: 2.23lbs (inner tent + fly); 3.5lbs (with mat and stakes)
  • Inner Dimensions: 82.7×82.7”
  • Inner Height: 53”
  • Floor: 20D silicon coated nylon, 3000mm
  • Fly: 20D silicon coated nylon, 4000mm
  • Setup: 2 poles

Pros:

  • Two layer design!
  • Vestibule
  • Quality materials
  • Great price
  • Versatile – can use just the fly
  • Reliable even in crappy weather
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Not great for tall people
  • Weird inner design

Get the Naturehike tent here

 

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


the best trekking pole tents for ultralight backpacking
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
Tent” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by gregjanee
Tenting with a view” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Taiga Journeys Yukon
_MG_8924.jpg” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by oskarlin
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About the author /


Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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2 Comments

  1. Paul McGrath

    I’ve been using the Geertop pyrimid II at just 950g it’s a perfect size & weight for me, does suffer a bit with condensation though especially when there’s not much breeze. Although I have been very happy with this tent I’ve just ordered a new trekking pole tent from Toplander on AliExpress. Similar to the Rei tent but only £45 & weighing 1.2kg, 5000hh fly 8000 groundsheet. p.s soz about me email address, I used to play rugby very badly & got that as my nickname.

    • Diane

      My family orders tons of stuff from AliExpress. The knockoff brands there are so much cheaper than what you’d find on REI or even Amazon. But it’s often hit-or-miss with quality and the product descriptions often have incorrect weight. Let us know how the Toplander turns out. 🙂

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