If you're planning on camping in a remote destination, or a place where your vehicle is a far distance from your campsite, then it might be time to invest in a lightweight tent. These tents are just as strong and roomy as the heavier models, but have the added advantage of not weighing down your gear. You can even opt for ultra lightweight tents, which weigh just that much less.
Single-wall tents are the lightest type of tent available on the market because these tents have just one layer of fabric. The poles for the tents fit into attached pockets or holes on the outside of the tent, which can also take the form of clips that hold the poles in place. The disadvantage to this type of lightweight tent is that the roof can leak, causing your gear to get wet. Using a waterproofing spray on the top and sides of the tent often prevents this from happening.
Solo tents are extremely lightweight because these tents were designed to only fit one person, which is perfect for camping on your own. These tents work in all climates and year-round, but because of the size, many people prefer a larger tent. If you're interested in a solo lightweight tent, try one from Black Diamond, like the One Shot. This tent uses only two poles and weighs less than the regular packed backpack.
Most lightweight tents come with aluminum poles, which cut down on the weight. The poles also cutback on the size of the tent when fully packed because the poles fold into each other. These tents also have no windows or doors because those things require additional zippers, which increases the weight of the tent. The tents consist of a lightweight fabric that slides over the poles, leaving an opening in one end for climbing inside. Some of these tents rely on a one-pole system to cutback on weight even more.
There are a wide range of manufacturers making lightweight and ultra lightweight tents for camping. In addition to Black Diamond, North Face and MSR also make these tents. If you're shopping for one, you can look at sporting goods stores, or even shops like Wal-Mart and Target, both of which sell tents in the sporting goods department. The best thing to do is pick up the tent in its bag and carry it around the store for a short period of time, which gives you a feel of how heavy the tent will be when carrying it on the trail.
Keep in mind that most of these tents don't come with stakes or anything that tethers it to the ground, nor do they come with a spot for stakes once they are setup. If you're interested in making the tent more stable, you can place large rocks on the edges of the tent. If you're shopping online, also keep in mind that the weight of the tent listed may not be the actual weight as some manufacturers list the size of the tent without the poles or bag added.
Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.