All experienced trekkers know the importance of keeping pack weight low. And the easiest way to shed a few pounds from your pack is to replace your bulky tent with a modern lightweight variety. We’ve chosen four models that bring together value for money, high-quality craftsmanship, and ultra lightweight materials.
Laser Photon 1 (Terra Nova) – 1lb 9oz
Terra Nova Equipment is a leading British brand that focuses on lightweight equipment. The Laser Photon 1 is their flagship product, being one of the lightest versions in their arsenal.
The Laser Photon 1 is an incredibly lightweight tent and is suitable for most environments. The material is also very breathable, resulting in little condensation. Overall, you’ll get a very comfortable night’s sleep.
The only downside is the included pegs. They’re not the strongest, and it’s worth investing in a separate set of lightweight titanium pegs.
Terra Nova also sells the Laser Ultra 1 tent, which weighs just 1lb 4oz. However, the price tag is substantial (almost $1200!), and we would only recommend it for competition purposes.
Price Tag: $470 USD.
Top Tip: The price difference between a 1-man and 2-man tent in this range is only $26 USD. It doesn’t add much in weight (7 ounces), and you’ll get much more room.
Telemark 1 (Nordisk) – 1lb 10oz
Nordisk’s Telemark 1 is one of the most popular 1-man tents on the market. It’s not only lightweight but also very durable. The carbon poles can withstand strong wind speeds, making this tent a great option for those of you looking to hike through adverse weather conditions.
What sets the Telemark 1 apart is the generous vestibule area. Many lightweight tents skimp on this to lower the overall weight, but if you don’t mind carrying an extra ounce (compared to the Laser Photon 1, for example), you’ll have much more space for your gear.
Price Tag: $560
Top Tip: There are two options with the Telemark 1: the ultra lightweight (ULW) and lightweight (LW) models. The weight difference is just a single ounce, but for some lightweight trekkers, that’s all the difference.
Fly Creek UL1 (Big Agnes) – 2lb 1oz
This tent is perhaps the best ‘value option’ of the bunch. The Fly Creek UL2 still offers fantastic quality, but a little more affordable at $320 USD. You’ll be carrying a bit more in weight, but it’s still acceptable compared to the average tent.
Overall, we’re big fans of the Fly Creek UL1. Despite its minimal weight, you still feel that you’re using a durable and high-quality product, and the interior and vestibule areas are roomy enough for 1-man treks. Due to its 2-wall construction, it deals with moisture and rain – you won’t have to worry if you experience a sudden torrential downpour.
The downside? The tent is not known to handle high winds very well, which may mean that the Telemark 1 is more suitable for some campers.
Price Tag: $320 USD
Top Tip: Though it’s not necessary, it may be worth purchasing additional heavy-duty guy lines for this tent. It makes pitching that little bit easier.
Quarter Dome 1 (REI) – 2lb 2oz
For those of you who can’t afford to splash more than $600 on a lightweight tent, the Quarter Dome 1 is a very serviceable option. It’s clearly not in the same league as the Telemark 1 or Laser Photon 1, but it’s still a solid buy.
The Quarter Dome 1 is easy to set up, deals with most weather conditions and is quite roomy. We were also pleasantly surprised with the breathability and quality of the material, as cheaper tents can lead to condensation issues. The tent also has a roof vent and a large mesh pocket, which were nice bonuses we weren’t expecting.
The tent isn’t ideal when it comes to heavy rain. The rainfly doesn’t offer complete coverage, with rain often coming in through the foot and right side. It does take quite a heavy downpour, but you will get wet.
Price Tag: $230 USD
Top Tip: The footprint that you can buy separately will add to the mileage you can get out of this tent, so it may be worth buying.
Want to Go Lighter?
If you want to go to the next level and become a lightweight trekking nut, there are ways to lighten your load even further:
- Tarp – these used to be very popular in the early days of camping, but are now often overlooked (partly due to the lightweight tents now available). However, the traditional tarp is still a very reliable option indeed. They’re cheap, lightweight, and you can cook underneath them without issue.
- Bivvy Bag – Essentially an outdoor sleeping bag, the bivvy is for the more extreme outdoorsman. Great option if you want to sleep under the stars, but make sure you check the weather reports before committing to a night in a bivvy bag.