Mom Goes Camping

The Best Trekking Pole Tents (2021 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: 

 

Comparison Table

*Tents are listed from cheapest to most expensive

TentSleepsWallsWeightFloor areaVestibulesDoors
River Country Trekker 2PHybrid 13lbs 5oz24.5 sq ftNone1
Geertop Pyramid II Plus 2P13lbs 6oz27 sq ft1x7.9 sq ft1
Geertop Pyramid 3S1P22lbs 11oz20 sq ft2x3.4 sq ft2
Skyscape Trekker 1PHybrid 11lb 12oz23 sq ft2x8 sq ft2
Kikilive tent2P23lbs 5oz25.9 sq ft2x8 sq ft2
Lunar Duo Outfitter2PHybrid 13lbs 6oz34 sq ft2x12 sq ft2
REI Flash Air 1P1PHybrid 11lb 10oz21.3 sq ft1x8.4 sq ft1
REI Flash Air 2P2PHybrid 12lbs 8oz28.7 sq ft2x8.4 sq ft2
Sierra Designs High Route 1P1P21lb 15oz16.6 sq ft2x6.6 sq ft1.5
SlingFin Splitwing 1-2P1-2P21lb 8oz24.8 sq ft1x6.8 sq ft1
Lunar Duo Explorer2PHybrid 12lbs 13oz34 sq ft2x12 sq ft2

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


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Best Trekking Pole Tents Reviewed

1. Sierra Designs High Route 1FL Tent

Best for: Double-wall 1P UL tent with nice features like two doors and vestibules

Sierra Design High Route trekking pole tent

Features

  • Packaged Weight: 1lb 15oz
  • Walls: Double
  • 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” (fly)
  • Floor area: 16.6 sq. feet (nest), 29.8 sq. feet (fly)
  • Vestibule: 7.3 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Review

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.

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.

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
  • Pricy

Buy it here on Amazon


 

2. Six Moon Designs  Skyscape Trekker 1P

Best for: Affordable but professional UL tent for solo hikers

Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 1P
  • Walls: Hybrid 1 wall
  • 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: 2x8sq. feet (16 sq. feet total)
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Review

Six Moon Designs trekking pole tent layout

Six Moon Designs is a small company run by actual backpackers.  Their products are made for long-distance thru hikes and are quickly becoming trail favorites.  The Trekker 1P is a single-wall hybrid tent which has mesh sides.  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.

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 over 8 feet long so definitely suitable for tall people.

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)

Best for: UL trekking tent which is easy to set up and withstands bad weather

REI Flash Air trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 1P and 2P options
  • Walls: Hybrid 1 wall
  • 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), 2×8.4 sq. feet (2P)
  • Setup: Two trekking poles plus vertical and foot pole

Review

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 hybrid single-wall tent and 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.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Very lightweight
  • Lots of floor space
  • Roomy vestibule
  • Two doors on 2P version
  • Withstands bad weather
  • Suitable for tall people
  • Good ventilation

Cons

  • Footprint not included; adds weight
  • Low ceiling height
  • Pricy

 Buy the 1p here and 2p here on REI


 

4. Kikilive Trekking Pole Tent 2P

Best for: Great value and very functional

mier trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 2P
  • Walls: Double wall
  • Weight: 3.3lbs – weight includes stakes
  • Floor: 15D ripstop nylon; 6000mm
  • Fly: 15D ripstop nylon, 5000mm
  • Interior Height: 49”
  • Size: 6.9×3.6’ (2p)
  • Setup:  2 poles (2P)

Review

Considering that this is a cheap lightweight tent, it’s pretty damn  impressive. Unlike most trekking pole tents, the Kikilive (previously known as the Mier tent) 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.

Pros

  • Two-layer tent
  • Very affordable
  • 2 doors and 2 vestibules
  • Inner mesh pockets

Cons

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

 Get the Tent Here


 

5. River Country Trekker 2.2 Tent (2P)

Best for: Insanely cheap option for camping in mild weather

river country trekker 2.2 trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 2P
  • Walls: Hybrid 1 wall
  • Weight: 3lbs (including stakes and carry bag)
  • Interior Height: 42”
  • Material: 190T PU coated polyester
  • Floor material: Oxford Taffeta
  • Floor space: 24.5 sq. feet
  • Setup: 2 poles

Review

This trekking pole tent is very cheap but  performs incredibly well.  The original version of it has great reviews.  The 2.2 version update has vents in the fly and a mesh inner so insects don’t get in.  You’ll still get some condensation in really cold weather, but it’s better than most tents in its price range.

You’ll need two trekking poles to pitch the tent, but setup is very fast and easy. The only major design flaws are that the top of the tent is pretty low at just 42 inches and there is no vestibule. It’s also over 7 feet long so is suitable for tall backpackers.

Unfortunately, the company doesn’t give much info about the material the tent is made from, though reviewers seem happy with how it holds up in rainy weather.  You will want to use a ground sheet though as the floor material is very thin and can allow moisture through.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not great for bad weather
  • No vestibule

Get It Here

 


6. SlingFin Splitwing Shelter

Best for: Insanely UL double-wall tent that can even fit two people

slingfin Splitwing trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 1-2P
  • Walls: Double wall
  • Packaged Weight: 1lb 8oz
  • Body weight: 11.2oz
  • Fly weight: 7.9oz
  • Removable vestibule weight: 1.9oz
  • Floor material: 20D nylon ripstop PE 1800mm
  • Tarp Material: 10D nylon 66 ripstop, reinforced with 30D fabric
  • Interior height: 41-47”
  • Floor area: 24.8 sq. feet (inner), 32sq. feet (tarp)
  • Vestibule: 6.8 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Review

SlingFin is a small brand run by real backpackers.  The Splitwing is their main product.  The bundle includes the outer tarp, inner mesh body and removable vestibule.  I love that the vestibule is optional – something which isn’t the case with most other tents and great if you really care about saving those extra 2oz.

It really doesn’t get more lightweight than this.  At just 1lb 8oz, you have a fully-functioning double-wall tent with decent headroom.  The slanting walls do mean that you realistically aren’t going to fit two people into the tent like they say.  You’d have to snuggle very close together.  However, the extra floor room compared to other UL tents is appreciated.

When it comes to headroom though, the SlingFin leaves a lot to be desired. It droops towards the back in bad weather.  It’s also front entry and you are supposed to sleep with your head towards the door, something that I find particularly annoying.

Pros

  • Insanely light
  • Packs down tiny
  • Can (snugly) fit two people
  • Vestibule is optional
  • Two-wall construction
  • Holds up in bad weather
  • Fairly easy to set up

Cons

  • Entrance obstructed by trekking pole
  • Roof sags a bit
  • Sleep with head towards door

Buy It Here

 


7. Lunar Duo Explorer by Six moon Designs (2P)

lunar duo explorer

Best for: Incredibly spacious yet designed for serious hiking

Features

  • Capacity: 2
  • Walls: Hybrid 1 wall
  • Weight: 45oz (doesn’t include stake weight)
  • Floor material: 30D silicon nylon
  • Tarp material: 30D silicon nylon
  • Inner material: 20D ultralight no see um
  • Interior height: 45”
  • Floor area: 34 sq. feet
  • Vestibule: 2 x 12 sq. feet (24 sq. feet total)
  • Setup: Two trekking poles + two spacer poles

Review

lunar duo explorer

lunar duo explorer floor space

The Lunar Duo uses two trekking poles plus two included spacer poles for setup.  The spacer poles go above the doors and help keep the sides from slanting so much, so you end up with a lot more headroom.

Not only do you get lots of headroom with the Lunar Duo, but there’s also lots of floor space too. The tent is 54” across and 90” long. It will actually fit two people comfortably. Each of the two vestibules is 12 sq. feet, which means an additional 24 sq. feet of space for your gear (or your dog).

There are a bunch of other nice features built into the tent, like the good ventilation, tension adjustments which make setting up easier, interior pockets and canopy which can be set to different heights.   The only real issue with the tent is the high price tag. :/

 

Lunar Duo Explorer vs. Outfitter

Six Moon Designs makes two versions of the Lunar Duo.  They are essentially the same when it comes to size, shape, setup and core features.  The key difference is in the fabric type, which affects weight, waterproofness and price. The Explorer weighs 45oz, is made from Silnylon fabric, and has a waterproof rating of 3,000mm. By contrast, the Outfitter weighs 54oz, is made from polyester fabric, has a lower waterproof rating (2,000mm) and costs significantly less.

If you can afford it, the Explorer is definitely the better of the Lunar Duo tents.  However, you’ve got to ask yourself how much you are willing to pay to save 9oz in pack weight.

Pros

  • Two doors and vestibules
  • Incredibly spacious with lots of headroom
  • Vestibules are very large
  • Easy setup
  • Good ventilation

Cons

  • UL Explorer version is pricy
  • Pole is in middle of door entranceway

Buy  the Explorer version here and the Outfitter here

 


8. Geertop Pyramid 1P

Best for: Affordable double-wall 1P trekking pole tent with a smart design

geertop pyramid 1P trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 1
  • Walls: Double wall
  • Packaged Weight: 2lbs 11oz
  • Body weight: 14.4oz
  • Fly weight: 27.4oz
  • Floor material: 55D PU 5000mm silicon coated nylon
  • Tarp Material: 20D PU 3000mm silicon coated nylon
  • Interior height: 41”
  • Floor area: 20 sq. feet
  • Vestibules: 2×3.4 sq ft
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Review

geertop 1P pyramid trekking pole tent fly

geertop pyramid 1P trekking pole tent inner

Considering the affordable price on this tent, it’s surprisingly well-made.  The tent is two-layer and designed so you can use the fly as an UL tarp shelter which weighs in at just 1.74lbs.  The inner mesh tent weighs 0.9lbs.  As of 2021, the Pyramid 1P has two side entrances. Those entrances help when you need cross ventilation.

This is definitely not a trekking pole tent for tall people though as it is only 82” long. It’s also snug at 35” across. You don’t get much extra space from the tiny vestibule either.  They don’t list the size but it’s approximately 3.4 sq. feet each according to my calculations.  Still, at this price and weight, it’s hard to complain.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy setup
  • Two doors and vestibules
  • High denier floor

Cons

  • Cramped inside
  • Low ceiling height
  • Tiny vestibules
  • Small doors are hard to enter

Buy It Here


9. Geertop Pyramid II Plus

Best for: Affordable and spacious option, if you don’t mind some condensation

Geertop 2P pyramid trekking pole tent

Features

  • Capacity: 2
  • Walls: Single with hybrid door
  • Packaged Weight: 3.37lbs
  • Floor material: 210T polyester 3000mm
  • Tent Material: 210T polyester 3000mm with mesh
  • Interior height: 45”
  • Floor area: 27 sq. feet
  • Vestibule: 7.9 sq. feet
  • Setup: Two trekking poles

Review

geertop 2P trekking pole tent

The Pyramid II Plus is a single-wall trekking pole tent that sets up easily with two poles. You can also use branches or tie it to trees.

It has a double-wall door (mesh inner and separate fly).  The vestibule only extends 13 inches out at the bottom, so you can barely fit your boots there. But the design allows you to set up the outer door like an awning.  On nice nights, you can leave the awning open for ventilation.

In bad weather, the Pyramid II holds up okay enough. The vents are at the bottom so some condensation is inevitable.  However, the tent actually is spacious enough inside for two people.  It’s just too bad that there is only one entrance – you’ll have to climb over your camping partner to get in/out.

Pros

  • Really affordable
  • Spacious inside
  • Door can be used as awning
  • Large door
  • Weight includes stakes

Cons

  • Single side door
  • Condensation

Buy It Here


 

Pros and Cons of Trekking Pole Tents

The main reason hikers get trekking pole tents is to reduce weight from their pack.  But, before you dive in with the goal of saving some ounces, make sure you carefully consider all of the 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 Get a Free Tarp Tent

If you choose a double-wall trekking pole tent, you are basically getting a free tarp shelter.  This gives you a lot of flexibility if you want to bring just the tarp/fly on some trips.  Because tarp shelters can be surprisingly expensive, this will ultimately save you money.

 

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: Condensation

Since trekking pole tents are meant to be ultralight, many are single wall.  To keep insects out, they often have mesh netting (aka hybrid wall).

Using a single wall can result in condensation, and you can’t open the doors for ventilation in bad weather.  The good brands will put vents in their vents to prevent condensation but it’s still inevitable in bad weather.

 

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!

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.

 

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 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/abelajohnb/5610575921/)” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by johnabela (https://www.flickr.com/people/abelajohnb/)
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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