Going for a multi-day rough trail hiking? Got your backpack ready and set with your tent?
Packing a tent, more precisely a top-notch tent, is one of the best ways to increase comfort, safety, and enjoyment on backcountry trips.
If you’ve already realized that and have surfed through market to buy one, then I guess you already know that there’s a huge multitude of choices.
Trying to find the best tent to fit your needs as well as your budget can become very overwhelming.
That’s why this review is going to be your tour guide in finding your perfect backpacking tent.
When I bought my first backpacking tent, it was a disaster. The only factor I considered was my budget; turns out there are a lot of other factors.
You should minutely consider various other factors like weight, cost, interior space, and weather protection into your choices.
I hope this post helps you find that perfect backpacking tent to keep you warm, dry, and protected in the outdoors for many years to come.
Choosing the right backpacking tent is a complex decision that’s influenced by where and when you camp, and also how you camp.
So you got to make the choice. Either you can pick a random tent or you can go through below article that features ten best backpacking tent under $200 and select the one that suits you.
- Best Backpacking Tents Under $200 in 2017 (Top 10)
- Are Backpacking Tents Necessary?
- How to Choose Backpacking Tents for Hiking and Camping?
- 10 Best Backpacking Tents For Hiking and Camping under $200
- 1. ALPS Mountaineering Extreme 2 Tent – 2 Person 3 Season
- 2. Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Person Tent
- 3. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 person 3 season tent
- 4. Eureka Apex 2XT Tent
- 5. Lightspeed Outdoors Mammoth 6-Person Instant Tent
- 6. Ledge Sports Recluse Lightweight 3 Person Tent
- 7. Slumberjack 2 Person Trail Tent
- 8. Wenzel Alpine 8.5 X 8-Feet Dome Tent
- 9. Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent
- 10. Mountain Trails Cedar Brook 7×4-Feet 2-Person Backpacking Tent
- The Verdict
Best Backpacking Tents Under $200 in 2017 (Top 10)
Are Backpacking Tents Necessary?
If you’re going for a backpacking tent then there’s no questioning if you need a tent. You absolutely need one.
Taking weight off your back is a good thing, but not at the expense of comfort, capability or preparedness.
When venturing out into the wilderness on foot, proper sleep at night can aid into your overall satisfaction throughout the trip.
I immediately realized the advantage of going lighter on my first ever backpacking trip. So I started looking into affordable backpacking tents, which was also light and easy to assemble.
However, you can organize and shorten your search process by focusing on the following points described below.
How to Choose Backpacking Tents for Hiking and Camping?
A great backpacking tent shouldn’t always be expensive.
You can acquire a tent that best fits your requirement even below $200. The price ranges vary in accordance to your requirement and budget too.
However, if you backpack a lot, it probably makes sense to spend a little more for a quality product that will get lots of use for many years.
Lightweight tent options make hiking more fun and easy.
A few ounces here and there might not seem like a big deal, but keeping pack weight down is critical to enjoying backpacking trips.
While backpacking, your tent will be one of the four heaviest items in your backpack (tent, backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad), so it’s a great place to keep weight to a minimum.
Light weight will give you more space for fun and fun is what it’s all about. Right?
A backpacking tent that doesn’t protect is worse than worthless, it’s dangerous.
The purpose of a backpacking tent is to protect you against the external elements and extreme weather conditions. So if the tent can’t fulfill its purpose, then it’s a burden on you.
You should be careful about the extreme budget tent options you’ll find elsewhere. The tent you choose should be able to keep you safe, dry and warm.
The capacity of the tent depends upon your choice of travel companions.
However, generally 2-person tents tend to be the most popular models. A lightweight 2-person tent can be used for solo hikes or with a partner.
You can also get a 1-Person tent if you are a dedicated solo adventurer looking to hike fast and light.
The group tents tend to be more crowded and less practical, though they can be a good fit for families.
So the capacity choice is based on whom do you travel with or if you travel alone.
Interior tent space is actually the tradeoff between comfort and weight. So you should be able to strike a good balance between these two factors.
I specifically chose tents for this list that maximize interior space while keeping weight down.
So if you’re like me and you prefer hiking light, stick with a 2-person model to fit two hikers.
If you’re willing to carry a little more weight for a roomy interior, consider bumping up a tent size.
Trust me when I say that a single design flaw can easily ruin an otherwise solid backpacking tent because it came from experience.
Great tents keep design elements simple and include multiple doors, adequate vestibule space, lots of headroom, air vents to reduce condensation, and interior pockets for gear storage.
But yet there is still room for variation in design given your preferability.
Most generally hikers prefer freestanding tents as they can be set up easily and in less time.
These freestanding tents come with a fixed pole system that can be pitched almost anywhere, even on solid rock.
Well, on the other hand you have non-freestanding tents. They use guy lines, stakes, and trekking poles for setup and requires time and practice to master the setting up procedure.
The plus point is that they save the weight you’re carrying by cutting out lengthy tent poles.
You will always require more time and creativity in pitching a non-freestanding tent on hard ground, but if weight is what you’re concerned more about then this will do.
Basically regarding wall construction, you can choose either double-wall or single wall tents.
The double-wall tents come with two separate parts – a tent body and a rainfly. This design comprises a mesh inner-tent, which will provide you a barrier against any condensation that forms on the inside of the rainfly.
On the other hand single-wall tents will reduce the total backpack weight by combining the two layers and promoting airflow to keep condensation down.
However, the downside with single-wall tents is that it’s impossible to completely eliminate condensation, and rubbing up against it sucks.
So summing it up if your goal is to hike fast and light, dealing with interior condensation might be worth it. But if you’re looking for comfort and convenience, you’ll probably prefer the full coverage of a double-wall tent.
The condensation will form on the interior of your rainfly when outside temperatures drop and there is moisture in the air.
So, if you usually hike in warm and dry climates, you probably won’t have to worry too much about interior condensation.
If you tend to hike in lush forests and mountains, then a double-wall shelter will probably be a better choice for full protection.
On a final note, if you’re using a single-wall shelter to reduce weight, you should try to avoid camping in low-lying areas near water to help reduce the condensation.
Dorrs & Vestibules
The requirement of doors and vestibules depends upon the number of people you’re planning to fit inside your tent.
Let’s say if you plan on sleeping two people in your tent, it’ll be more comfortable to have two doors and two vestibules.
The major purpose of having separate entrances and vestibules is to ensure that you’re not climbing over your tentmate.
When you’re selecting a backpacking tent, there’s always a tradeoff between weight and durability.
Almost all lightweight backpacking gear you will find in the market will be less durable than heavy-duty equipment.
So, durable and heavy or light and less durable? The choice is yours.
That being said, unless you’re really tough on gear, the tents recommended below will accompany you for considerable period given the budget and the light-weighted-ness.
Overtime I’ve seen hikers worrying too much about the durability of lightweight backpacking products. They aren’t wrong as such; durability is actually a very important consideration.
But still quality lightweight backpacking equipment is built to last for thousands of trail miles – many more miles than the average backpacker will hike in their entire lifetime.
So, I say go for the lightweight gear and take good care of it. Making those miles more enjoyable is well worth it in my opinion.
Footprints provide durability to the floor of your tent.
Most tents don’t come with a footprint these days and many lightweight backpackers don’t consider footprint necessary at all.
Well the truth is that the footprint is actually an important component of the tent.
The footprint will protect your tent floor from abrasion, so that it will last longer and need fewer repairs.
So, if you’re willing to carry a little extra weight to extend the life of your tent, consider picking up one with a footprint.
10 Best Backpacking Tents For Hiking and Camping under $200
While looking for the best backpacking tents for camping, the features you’re looking for are easy to pitch, have an upright design and have some large vestibules that you can use for storing your gear.
If you are an enthusiastic backpacker, it is in your best interests that you find the best backpacking tents for camping that can meet your needs in the best way.
It’s very hard to find a tent that perfectly matches your requirements given the huge number of choices.
So to make the process easy and less hectic, you can go through the below article and choose among these 10 best backpacking tent under $200.
No idea? Then let me help you.
If you’re up for camping around such fierce weather conditions then ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent is your best choice.
This is one of the best 2-person backpacking tents for camping that you can dive in and enjoy a remarkable experience no matter the storm and rain.
It makes a perfect choice of hiking gear that you should carry along with you anytime you are going out there to camp.
The ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent comprises a three-pole design and guy-out vestibules, which gives you a super sturdy shelter during high winds.
Similarly when it starts raining, the sealed seams and urethane coated fly and floor of ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tentwill keep you dry and warm throughout the night.
What I personally like about ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent is the plenty of storage space. This provides enough space to store my mucky gear.
Wait this is not all. The mesh roof vents of ALPS mountaineering Extreme 2 tent will provide you stargazing ease and breathability.
The two doors of ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent will also allow you to make easy entrance and exit without disturbing your-tent mate.
The ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent is made out of polyester taffeta, which will provide you excellent insulation, allows the moisture to dry rapidly and resists stretching and sagging.
Similarly you can assemble it easily with the pole clips that quickly snap over the tent poles.
The special feature of ALPS mountaineering extreme 2 tent is its polyester fly. It resists UV damage and stays taut. Also the multiple fly vents increase ventilation.
So if this is what you’re looking for then hurry up and click.
Features I like:
- Light weight
- Good ventilation
- Polyester taffeta
- Aluminum poles
- Extreme weather protection
Kelty features a freestanding design with color-coded clip construction and a two pole frame for easy assembly.
Similarly the side release buckles will help you to attach the fly to the body easily.
Made with polyester, Kelty Grand Mesa is the best backpacking tent for camping to buy for 2 persons.
Kelty Grand Mesa gives you 29 sq. ft of living space and ample space for gear storage.
However on the downside Kelty features a single door and a single vestibule. This means limited flexibility while moving in and out of the tent.
Despite these, the large mesh panels on the tent walls will provide you get ventilation.
Similarly while you’re out camping in windy areas, the guyout points on the fly will help you stabilize the tent.
The multiple mesh storage pockets of Kelty will help you in overall interior organization of your stuffs and will ensure that you’re able to pull all things right in your camping tent.
The lots of mesh in Kelty will help in keeping the condensation to a minimum.
You will absolutely love the noiseless zipper of Kelty, especially during the windy nights.
Kelty is not very heavy given its size and won’t weigh much on your backpack.
On a plus point Kelty will be with you through three seasons giving you dry and warm sleeps.
Kelty has two caveats, which actually is not a big deal as they’re understood aspects of these sorts of products.
Is Kelty what you’re looking for?
Features I like:
- Has ample storage space
- Noiseless zipper pulls
- High quality poles
- Three season tent
- Great internal storage pockets
You can get Mountainsmith Morrison with simple, color-coded, two pole design with two master hooks at the top.
Hence you can set up your tent easily with its two end guy lines and vestibule doors.
The Mountainsmith Morrison is extremely livable and the two-door design, with doors that zip off almost completely gives you an open air feel and extra views outside the tent.
Not only that Mountainsmith features nylon panel that can be zipped up for extra warmth and less ventilation during cold weather.
The Mountainsmith Morrison features a bathtub style floor with taped seams to keep the interior dry and keep you warm.
What I personally like about Mountainsmith is the detachable ceiling loft and interior mesh storage pockets.
The clip-pole attachment of Mountainsmith will reduce the weight of your backpack and will also improve breathability.
Mountainsmith Morrison is a three-season tent, but you can benefit from more and higher guy lines to withstand strong winds better.
However Mountainsmith is not very adaptable. The only adaption you get is keeping the fly on or off.
On aggregate, Mountainsmith Morrison is a super comfortable and livable tent, creating a space that you will like to spend time in.
Mountainsmith is a great deal given the price. So you’d rather not be late.
Features I like:
- Easy to set up
- Roomy and spacious
- Two doors and vestibules
- Freestanding three season tent
- Bathtub floor
What sets apart Eureka! Apex 2XT from other tents is its light weighted-ness along with good storage space and superior protection during camping.
However it’s probably not as light as many other options but you can skimp a little weight by staking the two corners where the fly/door attaches to ground.
You get Eureka! Apex 2XT with nice extras such as interior storage pockets and vestibules making it more desirable.
When out on a backpacking trip, the Eureka! Apex 2XT can be folded into a compact size occupying very least space on your backpack.
Similarly it offers you a good storage space, with full vestibules on each side for storing your gears.
The Eureka! Apex 2XT balances maximal thermal efficiency, provides superior ventilation and allows peaceful and calm stargazing opportunities during clear summer nights.
What I like about Eureka! Apex 2XT is the factory-taped, bathtub floor that keeps the seams taught and high off the ground for superior protection.
With Eureka! Apex 2XT with you, you’ll feel protected even in inclement weather conditions because of the waterproof and sturdy walls and the double-coated Stormshield polyester fly.
Eureka! Apex 2XT is your easy mate if you are a beginner at camping.
You can easily set this up as it is free-standing and two-pole tent. The assembling is made easy with durable shock corded fiberglass frame, ring and pin attachments, pole sleeve attachments, and color-coded webbing.
Also whenever you require extra air inside the tent, Eureka Apex 2XT has a poke out vent for additional ventilation.
You will definitely enjoy the operation of separate window in the door itself with the aid of twin track zippers.
So the 2 doors and 2 windows, as explained earlier, allows you to freely move in and out of the tent without trudging over your tent-mate.
If you are a bookie like me then you’ll absolutely love the overhead hammock. What I did was put my headlamp on low and set it in the hammock to have a nice glow to read.
Similarly the dual vestibules provide enough cover for gear for two people when you’re backpacking with your friend or your significant other.
So if Eureka Apex 2XT fits the specifications you prefer, then I say this investment will provide the value you seek.
Don’t wait too long!
Features I like:
- Exceptionally spacious
- Weather resistant
- 2 mesh doors and 2 full coverage vestibules
- Overhead hammock
- Polyester taffeta coating
- Bathtub floor and Double-coated StormShield polyester fly
Lightspeed Outdoors Mammoth is spacious and can fit up to 6 people or two large inflatable beds; ideal for car camping trips and family outings.
You can set this tent up in just few easy steps with the help of integrated side-pull hub system.
The large front door with extended awning eases the flow of six people in and out of the tent, with least trudging with each other.
Similarly the Lightspeed Outdoors Mammoth comes to you with four windows with zippered blinds and removable fly. This will maintain proper ventilation and privacy inside the tent despite the crowd.
The Lightspeed Outdoors Mammoth walls and fly are made of polyester fabric which assures you that the water won’t get their way past tent to you.
Also the plenty of interior pockets will help you keep your things organized and in order.
The bath-tub style floor will keep you dry and not only that; Lightspeed Mammoth comes with carrying case with strap, guylines and stakes for providing added stability to tent and extra comfort to you.
Lightspeed Outdoors Mammoth is committed to making the outdoors easy so you can spend less time hassling with your gear and more time enjoying the trip.
Thus Lightspeed Ample is a remarkable, feature rich hiking gear that is an ideal choice for any budget conscious shopper.
You will in particular be thrilled by its design and spacious construction that aims at ensuring that you experience the best nights when sleeping under the stars.
So what are you waiting for?
Features I like:
- Polyester fabric
- Integrated side-pull hub system
The Ledge Sports Recluse can be assembled quickly and easily with the two aluminum poles system.
You can get Ledge Sports Recluse with a rip-stop nylon rain-fly, which is waterproof of course.
What makes it more attractive is the fact that the floor matches the rainfly and both are completely seam-taped and sealed.
Like many other tents in this review, you will have two doors and full vestibules on each side of Ledge Scorpion. This will provide you ample space for gear storage and dynamic flexibility.
If you’re anything like me then you surely will like the glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls. This feature will save you the hassle of finding the phone for torchlight.
I personally appreciate this tent for its well-constructed body and sturdy structure.
The sweet touch Ledge Sports Recluse gives you is the vinyl windows on both sides of the tent on rain-fly.
Ledge Sports Recluse is very well ventilated. You can open the vents at the top for warm weather or keep it closed during cold nights.
The gear loft feature of Ledge Sports Recluse is quite fascinating to me given that it doesn’t weigh too much on your backpack.
Given the price of Ledge Sports Recluse, it is very durable and can get you through heavy rain without a drop inside the tent.
The only downside I found was the lack of footprint.
So if Ledge gives what you’re looking for, don’t waste a second more.
Features I like:
- Light weight
- Top tier materials
- Reflective points
- Gear shed
- Interior pockets
- Full coverage rainfly
The Slumberjack 2 Person Trail tent is ideal for you if you intend to go for backpacking trips, fishing or any weekend get-a-way.
You can experience exceptional livable space with ventilation and waterproof protection at a reasonable price with the Slumberjack Trail tent.
The manageable packed weight and low bulk design distinguishes Slumberjack Trail tent from other tents.
Similarly the ridgepole geometry optimizes the living space inside the tent providing you and your mate maximum space.
I particularly like the 8.2 squarefoot outer vestibule for dry gear storage. It provides me more flexibility inside the tent.
You’re going to thank the full coverage rainfly with taped seams when you experience the weather protection and ventilation. You’ll stay dry even when the weather doesn’t want you to.
Similarly the mesh walls of Slumberjack Trail tent will keep your tent well ventilated and cool without developing interior moisture when the fly is on.
What I enjoyed while using Slumberjack Trail Tent was the color-coded clip construction and side-release buckle tent-fly connections. This made the whole setting-the-tent-up procedure easy and fun too.
The high-quality materials from the sturdy, lightweight fiberglass poles to noiseless zipper poles and heavy duty polyester construction, are what makes Slumberjack stand out.
So with Slumberjack Trail Tent you can go out and enjoy your trips with comfortable outdoor sleeping.
This one is quite a good deal for the amount you’re paying.
Features I like:
- Free standing trail tent
- Fiber poles
- Maximum interior space
- Manageable packed weight
- Color-coded clip construction
- Very inexpensive
- Above average durability
Wenzel Alpine is lightweight and you can easily set it up or take it down with the help of shock corded fiberglass frame and pole pockets.
The Wenzel Alpine features a single room of 8 by 8.5 feet, with the third pole creating a vestibule.
The single room will provide you ample space, enough for two to three people and the vestibule gives area for gear storage and weather protection.
The Wenzel Alpine features a D-style door with mesh window on it. Similarly you can experience excellent ventilation through the closeable mesh windows.
Similarly the Wenzel Alpine comes with gear loft, hanging gear pocket and an integrated mud mat with a drainage strip. All these features come in handy while enjoying the overall stay inside the tent.
The weather armor polyester with a polyurethane coating protects you from top to bottom inside the tent.
Similarly the sonic sealed polyethylene tub-style floor of Wenzel Alpine combats water seepage on your favor. These floor are reliably rugged and resist leaks of all kinds.
The seams of Wenzel Alpine Tent are double-stitched, lap-felled (for shingle effect against water) and all threads, zippers and webbing are treated with superior water repellency application.
So with Wenzel Alpine feel free to test it against any harsh storm or heavy rainfall.
And yes I like using the duffel bag of Wenzel Alpine for easy storage of small items.
Features I like:
- Easy to build and take down
- Spacious sleeping area and vestibules
- Shock corded fiber glass
- Integrated mud mat
Coleman Sundome is a topnotch camping gear, making it an excellent choice for beginning campers like you.
Well, this is just a part of it.
Apart from beginners Coleman sundome is equally suitable for you if you’re a car camper or solo or duo traveler.
What I like most about Coleman Sundome tent is its net. Inside it I can be sure that this net will keep me cozy and dry.
However Sundome has a single door unlike other tents for entry and exit. Despite that the door is large enough for both the campers to move freely.
It is quite easy to set and is a perfect selection when you are going for a summer trip.
I particularly like the large hooded fly of Sundome as it provide ventilation even in the rain. In addition the large rear hooded window laso provides airflow for cross ventilation.
The mesh vents on the roof of Sundome will provide you additional ventilation if required and the rugged polyethylene floor in a bathtub style will provide extreme weather protection.
The seams of Sundome tent are welded, even in the corners, for providing you effective protection against leaky floor.
Similarly the fly and walls of Sundome are coated with polyester fabrics, which are rugged and durable too.
I personally enjoy using the zippered Electrical Access Port of Sundome to run AC power into the tent.
Also the vented Cool Air Port will provide you increased ventilation and comfort inside the Sundome tent.
The Sundome comprises ground vent, two windows, roof vent and an interior mesh storage pocket for added comfortability to the tent residents.
The mesh roof of Sundome will aid in ventilation and also will reduce condensation inside the tent.
The tough and durable polyester fly of Sundome will provide you excellent protection and won’t stretch even when wet.
Sundome features a convenient clip and continuous pole sleeve construction system making it very easy to set up.
Most importantly Sundome has external guy points to keep the tent stable in storms and high winds.
If you can’t sleep without a good read or can’t fall asleep in dark, then Sundome has a convenient flashlight loop on the ceiling.
Does it feel like you found the right one?
If yes then hurry up.
Features I like:
- Easy to set up
- Good quality
- Excellent construction
- Flashlight loop
- Electric Access Port and Cool Air Port
- Hooded fly
This is more so if you are looking for a cheap, highly affordable tent that will make your camping a memorable trip that you will live to remember.
When you need a lightweight, two-person tent at a great price, don’t worry. Mountain Trails Cedar Brook has you covered.
You can have an all-in-one portable package with the Stow and Go system with the Mountain Trails. It effectively utilizes the lightweight and compact design to create such portable package.
With Mountain Trails you can carry the whole tent and poles in one single convenient package as against multiple stuff sacks.
The Mountain Trails feature shock corded fiberglass frame, which is durable and last will last you a long time.
Similarly the removable rainfly and reinforced polyethylene floor will keep you dry and warm and cozy, all at the same time.
You will have a D style door with inside zip window in Mountain Trails, making the process of getting in the tent easy and also allowing plenty of ventilation.
It surely doesn’t have the flexibility of 2 doors tent but is a good bargain for the amount being paid.
One interesting feature of Mountain Trails is that it comes with an integrated mud mat. This will protect you from water seepage and give you a comfy stay inside.
So if you like it, buy it. Stock’s running out!
Feature I like:
- Good quality for price
- Easy set up and take down
- Integrated mud mat
- Removable rainfly
While shopping for anything, the major challenge or constraint is our budget. But given that, you can now choose among the above 10 tents costing you just under $200.
My favorite is ALPS Mountaineering Extreme 2 Tent. It is light weight, good ventilation and protects from extreme weather conditions.
Your need for backpacking tent can vary based on many factors at hand, however my advise is that your primary concern should be weight and weather protection.
So pick your backpacking and make the camping memorable and fun.