5 Best Backpacking Tents for the Appalachian Trail
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If you are planning to conquer the Appalachian Trail, then you would need to bring with you the best backpacking tent.
It will help you take quality rest while exploring the 2,000 mile-long trail. It will also provide you shelter and comfort against the unwanted elements in the woods at night.
However, finding the best backpacking tent for Appalachian Trail can be challenging mainly because there are overwhelming options in the market. To help you with that, we have done extensive research on the best tent to be used for this trail. We found that the Big Agnes Fly Creek (Amazon) to be one of the best out there.
Each item on this list has its own distinct characteristics which makes them ideal for the Appalachian Trail. The shortlisted tents also have different price points to cater to any budget. With that said, let us now begin exploring the best backpacking tent for the Appalachian Trail.
Let’s get started…
Our best rated tents for the Appalachian Trail
That was a brief overview of our top 3 recommended tents for the Appalachian Trail, now let’s take a look at all of them in more detail below:
1 Big Agnes Fly Creek
The Big Agnes Fly Creek tent is ideal for the Appalachian trail due to its ultra-lightweight feature.
It is easy to carry and less likely to make you feel sore after a few hours of walking. However, although this tent is extremely lightweight, it is still durable. Its bomber materials can withstand almost any type of terrain and weather condition.
Moreover, this tent is very easy to set up, you’ll be done in no time, which is exactly what you want after a long day’s hiking.
Aside from that, its unique pole angles noticeable provides 25% more space for your shoulder and head. This is great if you don’t like being in tight spaces.
- 1 lb and 11oz in weight
- 4×19 inches when packed
- 38 inches head clearance
- Vertical door construction
- 3 pieces of interior mesh pockets
- 11 superlight aluminum J stakes
- Manufacturer’s warranty
What I Love
The best thing about this tent is its weight. It is easy to carry around without any difficulty. I also like the fact that although this is a one-person tent, it does not feel cramped and tight inside. The extra space provided by its NFL pole system is awe-inspiring.
- Easy to assemble and dismantle
- Spacious interior
- Reasonbly priced
- Might be a bit smaller for two people.
The mid-range price for this tent is justifiable for the benefits that it provides. I totally recommend you getting this if you are in the search for a lightweight tent to bring with you on your trip to the Appalachian Trail. However, if you intend to use this during April, you might reconsider as this cannot withstand the weight of snowfall.
2 Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent is ultra-lightweight and perfect for hiking the Appalachian Trail. Compared to the one mentioned earlier, this one is more affordable, which is why it is ideal for those who are budget conscious.
It has a floating canopy design that can be adjusted to your desired height. This provides ventilation and plenty of space inside for one person and hiking gears.
Constructed from 100% silicone and coated polyester material makes this tent compact. It also features a canopy made from 20D material and the floor takes advantage of a more durable 40D weave, minimizing the risk of rips and punctures.
Aside from that, it also has a tensioning adjustment feature that you will find convenient when setting up. You can keep your tent as taut as possible to make it more sturdy.
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
- 48 inches headspace
- Tensioning Adjustment
- Re-tension Strap
- Floating canopy
- Screen Door
- Mesh Cargo Pocket
What I Love
What I love about this one is it is relatively affordable, given that it is incredibly lightweight as well. Its design is also conscious of providing the user with space and comfort at night, which is essential after a long day of exhausting hiking.
- Spacious interior
- High headspace
- Easy to set up and dismantle
- Great ventilation
- High-quality and strong materials
- Stakes and poles are not included
- Needs weather-proofing
If you are looking for an affordable tent, then this one should be one of your considerations. It is lightweight, and the construction is reliable. However, you do need to spend more on buying the stakes and poles and waterproofing it. But, it is still much more affordable than the one mentioned above.
Aside from that, take note that this tent is not ideal for high altitude terrain. Although it will do well for a single trip to the Appalachian trail, you will find it more suitable to use at the Resurrection Pass Trail, which is less windy during summertime.
3 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL
Here’s another excellent choice from Big Agnes. Introducing the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL (Amazon) tent, which is perfect for two people. It uses a high volume poles, which provides extended headspace making the interior much bigger and spacious. Its arch design also allows snow and rain to simply slide off and not damage the structure of the tent.
Fear no storm with this super-sturdy and durable tent, it will withstand high winds and heavy rain with no problems. This tent is made to last and is a great choice for the Appalachian Trail. If you’re thinking of bringing your dog then the floors also durable enough for their paws too.
Furthermore, this tent has a big dual zipper door. This provides privacy and security. It also makes it easier for you to get in and out of the tent. The seams are waterproof, too, so you do not have to worry about moisture while resting.
- Capacity: 2 people
- 5 inches in dimension when packed
- Weighs 3 lbs and 1 oz
- 40 inches high when assembled
- 29 sq ft floor area
What I Love
What I love about this tent is that it can confidently accommodate two people inside with enough space to store your valuables and gears securely. It has a high headspace, which gives the illusion that the interior is more significant than it is. Furthermore, it’s excellent for three types of seasons so you can bring it with you almost any time of the year.
- 3-seaon weather tent
- Spacious interior
- Plenty of pockets for storage
- Breathable mesh walls and roof
- Ultra-light strength
- On the higher end of the price point
In terms of material, construction, and design, this tent gets a 10/10 except for the winter season. However, there are two drawbacks to this tent. One is that it is quite heavy, but then again, it is good for two-person. The second issue is the price, but I can say that with the features and benefits that you would get from it, it is relatively reasonable.
4 Nemo Hornet
The Nemo Hornet (Amazon) has a cleverly designed fly bar, which has volume to the interior and allows the fabric to be placed without needing plenty of support. Due to this design, lesser poles are needed to set it up hence making it even easier to bring with you on a hike to the Appalachian Trail.
I also love that this tent has a moon roof which allows you to stargaze at night in the complete comfort and security of your tent. I love looking at the stars, and this would be a factor I’d have on my checklist.
Aside from that, this tent is weathertight. This means that it can withstand different weather conditions such as strong wind and snow without any problem.
Furthermore, it is waterproof, so the user is safe and dry inside the tent. It also has an easy to set up canopy made out of durable nylon material, which allows you to chill outside by the fire and still have some shade protection.
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Made out of 10D nylon material
- With an exterior canopy
- 5 x 5.5″ in dimensions when packed
- Flybar pole
- Quality Ripstop material
What I Love
So far, this one is the lightest two-person tent on the list, and that is a reason why I like it. I also like that it does not require plenty of poles when assembly because having lesser parts to put together means it can be done faster. Furthermore, the mesh layer makes it breathable, so that is a great bonus feature for a tent that is already very well designed.
- Fast setup and dismantle
- Breathable mesh
- High-quality and durable
- A little pricey
Overall, if you are taking this with you on a trip to the Appalachian trail, I can say that it can serve you well. It has a two-layer wall with mesh and nylon so it can definitely withstand the test of wind and weather. It is also lightweight, so it will not give you fatigue after long hours of walking.
5 MSR Hubba Hubba
Unlike the other tent mentioned above, the MSR Hubba Hubba (Amazon) definitely has the most unique and practical tent structure there is. It has a lightweight freestanding design. The floor is made out of 30D ripstop nylon that can protect you from the elements of the ground.
This tent also features Xtreme Shield waterproof coating which lasts up to three times longer than the standard waterproofing on other tents ensuring you’re kept nice and dry.
Setup is an absolute breeze with the Hubba Hubba tent thanks to the unified hub-and-pole system and its color-coded clips.
It can provide you comfortable living conditions for three seasons, which is why it is excellent for the Appalachian Trail. It has a generous 39-inch headspace, which is reasonably spacious and a total of 29 sq ft area giving you enough room to live and sleep comfortably.
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Head hight: 36 inches
- 18×6 inches in dimension when packed
- Hub and poly system
- Waterproof coating
- With ceiling pocket
What I Love
I like that this tent has a unique yet practical design. Its pole structure is what gives it durability, and it is constructed with reliable waterproof materials. Although it’s not as lightweight as the other tents, its durability and high-quality materials that will withstand harsh weather conditions more than makes up for it.
- Easy to set up and dismantle
- Highest quality materials
- Withstands strong winds and heavy rain
- Rollup vestibule for stargazing
- Not as lightweight as other tents reviewed
If you want to invest in a tent that can truly conquer any type of weather condition and provide you with optimum comfort, then you should consider this one. Its design is well thought out, and the material used is proven to withstand harsh weather conditions without any signs of wear and tear.
Criteria for Evaluation
Here are the different factors you should consider in finding the right tent for you:
When hiking the Appalachian Trail some solo hikers tend to use two-person tents to give them a little bit more room. As the trail is so long you’re going to need more living room, not only for your backpack and hiking gear but for your own comfort.
If you’re doing the trail as a family or group then I would recommend getting a tent a couple of sizes bigger, again this will give you more living room, storage, and overall comfort.
So, be sure to check your tent’s overall square footage and look for internal storage compartments and pockets to keep things out the way.
Weather conditions can change very quickly, and the Appalachian is no exception, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Heavy rain can also affect the terrain you pitch your tent on.
Therefore you’ll need a weatherproof tent with a thick durable base. Make sure your tent is wind and rainproof. It might be worth getting an additional tarp shelter for added protection.
Ensure your tent is made from the highest-quality materials such as rip-stop and strong durable poles. Getting a quality tent will prevent leaks and rips but also protect you if the weather gets worse.
Set up and dismantle
After a long day trekking, you’re going to be very tired, therefore you don’t want to have a tent that is complicated to setup. You want your tent to be up within 30-minutes maximum.
I’d recommend testing setting up your tent a few times in your garden before you take the trail. This will result in quicker pitching up times on the Appalachian Trail and will avoid any hidden or nasty surprises.
Hiking for so long can take it out of you, so you’re going to want as much room in your tent as possible to stretch out and relax. Therefore finding a tent with good internal storage compartments and pockets is very important. Not only that these storage areas need to be safe and also protected from the rain. The last thing you want is your valuables getting damaged.
Weight and portability
The Appalachian Trail in full is roughly 2,000 miles from start to finish, so carrying a heavy tent around with you is not ideal nor recommended. You must find a lightweight tent to complete this trail. Not only does it need to be lightweight, but it must also be durable and weatherproof.
Getting a high-quality lightweight tent will ensure your tents last you the whole trail no matter what conditions are thrown at you. All these tents we have reviewed are not only lightweight but they’re all built to last and withstand harsh weather conditions.
After hiking most of the day you’re going to want to kick back and relax and there’s no better way to do this than exposing the tent to reveal its breathable mesh walls and roof. This will allow a nice gentle breeze to pass through your tent and cool you down.
Not only that, if you’ve pitched up somewhere with amazing views you can also have panoramic views of your surroundings from the comfort of your tent. Oh, by the way, the panoramic mesh is great for star gazing at night too!
Not many people complete the whole trail with their trusted furry companion, so if you’re planning on doing some of the trails with your dog then make sure your tent floor is thick and durable enough to withstand paws or if your dog likes digging!
Value for money
Most importantly, the trail is long, tough and you’ll be against all different types of terrains and weather conditions. Therefore, you’re going to need a very strong, durable tent that is weatherproof.
Please don’t buy any old tent that’s on offer or go for the cheapest. Chances are you’ll be getting an inferior quality tent and it won’t last a few days on the Appalachian Trail. Get a tent that’s trusted, well made and durable, any of these tents reviewed will be more than capable of completing the Appalachian Trail.
To summarize, the Appalachian Trail is a very difficult trail and a very long one. So ensuring you get the right tent is paramount. Yes, with so much choice, finding the right tent for such a challenging trail can be tricky.
However, I hope with this article we have eliminated some of that doubt. All the above tents in this article with ensure you complete the trail safely. I would recommend getting a tent one size up though, for your own comfort.
Anyway, here’s a quick recap for what you would look for in a tent for the Appalachian Trail:
- Lightweight – Easy to carry and wont weight you down
- Breathable – Keeps you cool
- Easy setup – Last thing you want is a complicated setup
- Weatherproof – Withstand rain and wind
- Durable / Quality – Get a tent made to last for all terrains
- Capacity – Finally, traveling solo, get a 2-person tent, you’ll have more storage and comfort.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on our best backpacking tent for the Appalachian Trail. If you have please share it with your friends and family.
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