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Poor man's UL one or two person tent.
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Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Poor man's UL one or two person tent. on 11/07/2011 20:38:49 MST Print View


I have a friend who wants to buy a very lightweight (<3-4lbs), 3 season tent on a very strict budget (less than $100). Aside from going used via the gear swap forum here, or geartrade, or craigslist, can anyone suggest a decent new tent in this price range?



John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Cheap tent on 11/07/2011 21:45:44 MST Print View

I posted about a cheap tent awhile ago:

It's served me well and could work for your friend if he's not too tall. You really can't get much cheaper than it too. There's also the Wenzel Starlight Backpacker Tent at Wal-Mart, which according to BPL weighs 2.8 lbs (

Your friend could also go the blue tarp and bug netting route. That would probably be pretty cheap and light.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Poor man's UL one or two person tent. on 11/07/2011 22:37:23 MST Print View

Thats a tough call. If price is the only consideration, there are tons of options. Does he want a full on tent with poles or would a tarp or tarptent be ok? If he can scrape together $125, the SMD Scout would be great, and Bear Paw WD has some shaped tarps for $110. If he wants a full on tent, REI Outlet and would be places to start. You can usually find Alps Mountaineering tents for great prices. They are quality tents, but not UL.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE: $100.00 tent on 11/07/2011 22:54:00 MST Print View

This was my 1st backpacking tent, for the price and weight it's hard to beat. I still keep it as a loaner and everyone that uses it loves it.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
High Peak Minilite on 11/08/2011 04:51:14 MST Print View

Sometimes i use this tent. Weight is less than 1 kg.
Available in Europe.

Tim Haynes

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Poor man's UL one or two person tent on 11/08/2011 08:20:02 MST Print View

I'd recommend either of the ALPS Mountaineering lightweight one man tents -- the Mystique or the Zephyr. Both are less than 4 lbs and are readily available for less than $100. Amazon has them for $76 and $90, respectively, with free shipping. You can often find them cheaper on places like Sierra Trading Post.

They aren't ultralight, but from everything I've read, and from my experience with ALPS products, either one should be solid and last a long time -- a notch or two up in quality from the Texsport/Wentzel/Coleman single man tents that you can find in the $30 range.

The Eureka Spitfire (I think someone else may have mentioned) is also a solid choice, and a little lighter, at ~3lbs, and a similar cost of $90.

Of course, my ultimate recommendation would be to watch for a great sale, something on geartrade, or something on these forums. I know you were looking for other options, but in my experience, those are still the best places to go for a great deal.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Eureka Spitfire on 11/08/2011 10:18:55 MST Print View

I really like the Eureka Spitfire 1 for one person. It can be found for under $100 if you shop around. I actually prefer it over some models costing 3 or 4 times that much. The two person version is a bit more though.

Adam Johnson
(mr.ajandkj) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
cheap tent on 11/08/2011 10:24:08 MST Print View

If he is near an REI, be patient and wait for their garage sales...I am starting to take my daughters out, so wanted a reasonably lightweight 3-person tent, scored a REI Quarterdome T3-Plus for $92 with a broken zipper that I fixed before I took it home. I passed on a BA Fly Creek UL2 that I could have had for $99 (kicking myself!), I really wanted it but it was not a good fit for my needs. It had two small tears in the stuff sack, was otherwise perfect.

Logan Kidwell
(Logan) - MLife

Locale: Maine
wenzel - not so much on 11/09/2011 05:52:56 MST Print View

While the Wenzel is relatively light, it is a cramped tunnel, and that might not be the best experience. I have used these as solo shelters on trips I have led over the last 5 years, and they are simply not waterproof.

Water resistant is probably a stretch as well. We've adapted, and the price is certainly right, but by the time an additional tarp/ poncho adds in for real rain protection, it isn't so light anymore.

Seems like about a year ago there was a "Superultralight/ Superultracheap" article on here somewhere.

You could always make your own tarp shelter or trailstar -check out the Quest Bilgy tent.

Hope this helps,


Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
Re: Poor man's UL one or two person tent. on 11/09/2011 12:53:45 MST Print View

Campmor 8x10 silnylon tarp, plus some sort of bug netting if you need it.

Less than 1 pound, less than $100 (depending on whether you go with just a headnet or a full bug bivy type of thing). Enough room to sleep 4+ people, able to cook in the rain, nice views sometimes, and you can pitch it anywhere!

Robert Atwood
(Courtright) - F

Locale: Sierras
MH Sprite 1 on 11/09/2011 14:50:34 MST Print View

I picked up a Mountain Hardware Sprite 1 for $89 on clearance last year at REI and it looks like it can be had for about $120 online. It weighs 3 lbs as a tent or 2 lbs 5 oz in the fly/footprint set up.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Poor man's UL one or two person tent on 11/09/2011 17:27:26 MST Print View

Don't forget the Six Moon Designs Skyscape Scout, the polyester version of the tent. $125.00 is over your price, but it's a really good entry price point for a new and fairly light shelter.

Joe Newton
Eureka Spitfire on 11/09/2011 17:38:14 MST Print View

I will be the third person on this thread to recommend the spitfire 1. Nice little tent for the money and fairly light as well. Also will take a lot of abuse. Hard to beat this little tent for the money. Usually can be found for around 100.00.

Ethan Simoneau
Spitfire on 11/09/2011 18:29:08 MST Print View

I like the spitfire for a low dollar tent. Just change out the tent stakes, it make it lighter.