The Best Tent for Appalachian Trail

by Christine Howland | Last Updated: February 26, 2021

Are you excited about your hiking trip on Appalachian Trail? I was, when my partner and I first decided to go for this adventure. The trail is beautiful and offers scenic views.

You look all prepared, but since you clicked to read this article, I am sure you are clueless about the tent you want. To help you with your planning, read this article; I have researched and found the five best tents for Appalachian Trail.

Tents for Appalachian Trail

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

Check Amazon

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is one of the best-selling tents of all time. It is a well-designed tent that perfectly balances weight, space, convenience, and design.  This two-person tent weighs just 3 pounds and is pretty awesome. Here are few main features:

Features

  • Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 88 x 52/42 x 40 in.
  • Color: Orange
  • Material: Nylon
  • Doors: 2
  • Available for Seasons: 3
  • Freestanding
  • Available in different sizes

Since this is a freestanding tent, you can pitch it anywhere along Appalachian Trail. It is quick and easy to setup. It means you have enough time to enjoy your adventure.

Copper Spur is famous for its living space. The best thing I found was its huge headspaces. UL2 can easily accommodate two sleeping pads with enough space to keep the storage. We were two people, and we comfortably slept for three nights.  It has two easy-to-open large doors for escaping and ventilation. Two doors mean you can comfortably exit and enter the tent without stepping over your partner or things.

Moving on, when we talk about durability, Copper Spur surprises us here too. It is made of 20-denier silicone. The denier element adds a tremendous amount of thickness to the tent’s fabric. However, the fabric also has 20d nylon. This nylon reduces the tent’s thickness and makes the tent more vulnerable. If you are hard on your equipment and don’t treat them well, we do not recommend this tent for you.

Pros

  • Spacious
  • Lightweight
  • Can pitch anywhere
  • Has two doors for convenience
  • Great construction and design

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Slightly less durable than other tents

MSR Hubba Hubba Backpacking Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba Backpacking Tent

Check Amazon

If you are on a hunt for a strong, durable, and weather-protected tent for your Appalachian adventures, I can’t recommend MSR Hubba Hubba enough. It is famous for all the right reasons. Hubba Hubba is lightweight, durable, well-designed, and gives astounding protection against windy and rainy weather.  Look at its unique features:

Features

  • Weight: 3 pounds 13 ounces
  • Dimensions: 84 x 50 x 39 in.
  • Color: Red
  • Material: Nylon
  • Doors: 2
  • Available for seasons: 3
  • Freestanding
  • Available in 1P, 2P, 3P, and 4P sizes

This freestanding tent is a two-person tent with two doors, two pockets, and two vestibules. There is also a rainfly door that you can pin as required.  It has a crossbar pole design that creates two vertical walls. With all these features, Hubba Hubba weighs just 3 pounds 13 ounces. It might sound too much, but my partner and I divided the weight while hiking, and the tent felt light suddenly.

When it comes to the durability of Hubba Hubba, this tent doesn’t disappoint you at all. The tent’s floor is made of 30-denier nylon. The nylon floor provides thickness and a right balance between durability and weight. It has a sturdy structure supported by strong aluminum poles. Besides, Hubba Hubba is entirely waterproof.

Irrespective of all the above positive points, Hubba Hubba, lacks enough space to accommodate two sleeping pads easily.

Pros

  • Provides adequate protection against weather
  • Has two doors for convenience
  • Easy to pitch
  • Extremely durable
  • Strong, sturdy structure

Cons

  • Heavy for a single person
  • Sidewalls feel claustrophobic

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

Check Amazon

A small tent with a fantastic interior, Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2, is one of the lightweight tents. Its spacious interior properly distributes the weight throughout its structure. Tiger Wall is a semi-freestanding tent and is pretty quick and convenient to set up. Read through its features below:

Features

  • Weight: 2 pounds and 8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 39 in.
  • Color: Gold
  • Material: Nylon
  • Doors: 2
  • Available for 3 seasons
  • Semi-freestanding
  • Available in sizes 2P and 3P

I think Tiger Wall will become every hiker’s favorite tent. There are reasons to support this belief. Firstly, this tent comes with a well-organized color-coded system for the poles. The separate rainfly easily attaches to the tent’s body. The only problem you might face is the use of stakes to pitch the tent’s floor.

Tiger Wall UL2 is a three-season tent with two doors, two vestibules, and a double wall. It is entirely waterproof. The double-wall shelter protects against extreme seasons such as rain and storms.

This tent is best for its weight. This semi-freestanding tent weighs just 2 pounds and 8 ounces. With such a lightweight backpack tent, you can be care-free and enjoy your hiking trips on the Accapalachain trail. However, mark my words, a lightweight tent is usually made of a thinner material and has a very tight interior. Tiger Wall is made with a fragile fabric, 15 denier nylon. Unlike me, if you don’t take care of your belongings, Tiger Wall won’t take long to tear up in pieces.

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Good weight to space ratio
  • Easy to setup
  • Great Design
  • Protects against three kinds of weather

Cons

  • Not as durable as other tents
  • Made with a very thin fabric that wears and tears easily
  • Short for tall hikers

Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Check Amazon

Nemo Dagger is a two or three-person tent with a unique rectangular floor and an asymmetrical ceiling. Its design focuses primarily on more space and less weight. This structure increases the interior space and gives enough room to accommodate you and your partner.

Features

  • Weight: 3 pounds and 11 ounces
  • Dimensions: 90 x 50 x 42 in.
  • Color: Green
  • Doors: 2
  • Material: Nylon
  • Available for 3 seasons
  • Freestanding
  • Sizes Available for 2 and 3 persons

This tent has two large doors and two huge vestibules. For me, this is the right amount of convenience any hiker would want their tents to provide. The doors provide convenience with entry and exit, while the vestibules provide a massive space for storage. Moreover, the light pockets, one on each side of this tent, light up the tent through a light-diffusing fabric.

Nemo Dagger is another lightweight tent option. It weighs around 3 pounds and 11 ounces. The weight might be too much if it is only you who is carrying it all.  I have had trouble carrying a tent that weighed more than 3 pounds, and I believe everyone does.

However, I wish the Nemo Dagger was available for a solo hiker as well. This two-person tent is way too heavy if you plan a solo hiking trip to Appalachian Trail. Moreover, I feel it does lack good ventilation management. These things are essential. Other than that, this is a spacious tent option.

Pros

  • Spacious on an excellent elbow space
  • So, easy to pitch
  • Has two doors and huge vestibules for convenience and storage
  • Waterproof
  • Light-diffusing pockets for better light penetration

Cons

  • Heavier than most similar tents
  • Ventilation could have been better

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Ultra Light Tent

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV Ultra Light Tent

Check Amazon

It is very rare to find lightweight and well-structured semi-freestanding tents. I am proud of finding the Big Agnes Fly Creek. This tent has double walls and a lightweight structure. It has a similar floor plan to Nemo Dagger above; however, it has just one door and one vestibule. It limits the storage and convenience by a great deal. Here is a list of some of the main features:

Features

  • Weight: 2 pounds 4.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 86 x 52/42 x 40in
  • Color: White
  • Material: Nylon
  • Doors: 1
  • Available for three seasons
  • Waterproof
  • Semi-freestanding
  • Available in several sizes

This tent is best for good space and low weight. Fly Creek provides enough shoulder and headspace for you despite its lightweight. It weighs just 2 pounds and 4.5 ounces. Isn’t that brilliant? You won’t feel like carrying anything. Moreover, its design and structure help with an increased volume. It has a single hub pole and steep walls.  The pole design makes it easy to set this tent. Both these characteristics enhance the overall volume so that you enjoy a good space.

Fly Creek has a breathable body, thanks to the nylon fabric. The nylon body provides excellent ventilation. Besides, the floor and the body are both fully waterproof. Fly Creek is a great and affordable tent for your Appalachian adventures, but it does face great competition. Big Agnes’ Tiger Wall is Fly Creek’s better version. Tiger Wall is just a few dollars expensive but has two doors and ample space.

Pros

  • Waterproof against rain and storm
  • Extremely lightweight, so best for even solo trips
  • Semi-freestanding makes it easy to pitch
  • Durable and strong
  • Compact
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Has just one door and vestibule
  • Lacks enough interior space

Looking for more tents? Check out these articles

Buying Guide and Information

Why do you need a tent on the Appalachian trail?

You need it for protection against weather and animals. So, if you plan to hike for more than a day on this trail, make sure you carry the right tent to spend the nights.

There are more than 100 designated campsites available along this trail. All the campsites are simple with a flat area so you can easily pitch your tent. The trail authority encourages hikers to use the designated campsites as their tent locations.

What kind of tents are available?

There are three main kinds of tents available in the market. These are freestanding tents, trekking pole shelters or non-freestanding tents, and semi-freestanding tents.

I, personally, like freestanding tents. They have an old traditional design and come with designated poles to support the structure. These poles help the tent to stand on its own. You can set these tents anywhere irrespective of the surface. Also, since these tents have metal poles with a strong structure, they are the most stable tents.

On the flip side, the non-freestanding tents do not have poles. It is why they are incredibly lightweight. If you choose a non-freestanding tent, you will have to use your trekking poles to give your tent a structure. Almost all hikers have trekking poles, and you should too. All kinds of trekking poles are sturdy and give support to the tent’s body. But for that, you need to ensure you have the right-sized poles. The most fantastic trekking poles must be adjustable. Other than the two tent categories mentioned above, there is another hybrid category of tents called semi-freestanding. These tents are my partner’s favorite. A semi-freestanding tent has poles to support the structure, but you need to stake them down to support the entire tent.

How to choose the best tent for your Appalachian Adventure?

If this is your first-time hiking on Appalachian Trail, you must be clueless about the kind of tent you should get. I can’t stress enough how important it is to choose the right tent. It can make or break your experience.

Read the factors below to have a clear idea of what you should consider while choosing the right tent:

1. Space

The space of your tent must match the number of people using it. If you are a single person, a lightweight, one-person compact tent will be enough. But if you love space, you can also purchase a two-person spacious tent. It all comes down to what you prefer.

Besides, do consider the headspace. Look for a tent that you can sit in comfortably. Tents with spreader bars expand the headspace area so that you can move around without touching the ceiling of the tent.

Consider buying them. In a nutshell, the only important thing to consider is that your tent shouldn’t be too large or too small. Just to add, your tent must also have enough storage space to keep all your gears.

2. Weight

Weight is key. Always prioritize lightweight tents over heavyweight. It is useless to carry a tent that’s heavier for one person. You don’t want the weight of the tent to ruin your trip, yeah? So, look out for tents that weigh between two to three pounds, and that’s it.

3. Weight-to-Space Ratio

A big tent but with a low weight is a perfect combination. Irrespective of which category of tent you go for, always ensure that the tent is lightweight. Don’t be hard on yourself. It is challenging to carry a heavy tent on a path as long as Appalachian Trail.

4. Material

The most common tent materials are Silnylon and Dyneema. Both these materials are perfect for backpacking tents, but they have some significant differences.

Dyneema is a top-quality fabric that looks and feels perfect for tents. This fabric is extremely lightweight but is super strong and sturdy. With that said, Dyneema is quite expensive. As compared to Dyneema, Silnylon is quite affordable but not as strong. It is again the most popular fabric found in a majority of tents.

5. Design and Convenience

Your tent should have a clean and basic design. A good tent is one with the most stable layout. An easy to set up and a durable tent is the best option. Tents with complicated designs look great, but they come with several parts to manage. You don’t want to waste your energy and time on sorting your tent only.  Also, look for tents with at least two doors and two vestibules. Two is a good number if you are sharing your tent with a partner.

6. Waterproof

Durable tents with a waterproof body are hassle-free. You never know what kind of weather you come across. Irrespective of good or bad weather conditions, if you want your tent to live a long life, always prefer the waterproof one. Also, durability is crucial. Sturdy poles and a healthy body ensure the long life of a tent.

There is no point in buying a tent that wears and tears easily. That’s a waste of money!

7.  Brand and Price

Some popular brands manufacture both expensive and cheap tents, especially for Appalachian Trail. Regardless of what kind of tent you buy, its price must reflect all its features and functions. I will never suggest you buy an overpriced tent for just a one-off experience on the Appalachain trail and then never use it again.

Conclusion

Each tent has its own story to tell. It is hard to decide the best one, but I will go for Big Agnes Copper Spur if asked. It has all the great features we all require on a hiking trip. It is highly durable, provides enough space, and is exceptionally airy. Moreover, it has two doors and two vestibules to take care of convenience and storage. Also, since it was my first ever tent, I have a soft corner for it. However, I understand it is expensive, and not everyone can afford it. But if you look at the bigger picture, its features and functions justify its price completely. That’s my choice, but at the end of the day, it all comes to what you prefer. Make sure you make a choice considering all the factors above. Do not let a tent ruin your trip. Happy hiking!