You’ve spent a small fortune on the best hiking boots to keep your feet from blistering. You have a gorgeous new camping grill and lightweight camping stove for searing up meats and giving your palette a trip to flavor country. Your camp knife is in your pocket, now all you need is one thing: A halfway decent backpacking tent so that you don’t die of exposure on the trail. In the rule of threes, shelter is the one thing you won’t last a few hours without.
There’s nothing more important than having the right tent, and we’re not going to lie, that isn’t going to come cheap. You need it to be made of lightweight materials that you can lug around, since your pack mule won’t be making this trip with you. It has to be able to retain heat, fight off sudden storms, stand up to repeated packing and unpacking without breaking down, and give you enough space that your bits aren’t left to fly in the wind or freeze off when the mercury drops. For the sweet spot of weight, space, price, and protection, we rounded up the 7 best backpacking tents.