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Ultralight Backpacking Tent - Tips On Choosing An Ultralight Backpacking Tent.

Feb 23, 2008
When choosing an ultralight backpacking tent there are several factors to take into consideration but I think that a couple of the main ones are obviously size and weight. Ok so you want the lightest tent you can find simply because you have to carry it around with you all day long, so the lighter the better. But don't forget that you also have to sleep in it, often in conditions that are far from ideal e.g. wind, rain, snow, and anything else that the weather can throw at you.

There's no point in buying the smallest lightest tent possible only to find that there is no room to put all your gear, so it's left outside in the rain. On the other hand you do not want to be lugging around a heavy 2/3 man tent with you.

Your tent is often going to be the only thing between you and the elements, so it's vital to choose the right one for you and your style of backpacking. There are many ultralight backpacking tents on the market, some just large enough for a person to lie down in, and some so small that you can't sit up in them. I have used these tents on several occasions and found them fine for short weekend trips especially if like me you carry an ultralight tarp and walking pole so you can erect a handy sized awning over the front of the tent to give you some extra room for cooking etc.

Ok so you may think that taking a tarp and tent is a bit silly but it only adds slightly to your overall weight and its well worth it, and most people carry at least one walking pole on a hiking trip these days. Also if you are blessed with some fine weather you don't even need to put up your tent but just use your tarp on its own.

On my last backpacking trip around Dartmoor I was gone for 19 days and I had with me a small one man tent and this was absolutely fine for the type of trip I had planned, just stopping one night in any one place. But during the first week I had trouble with an old knee injury and had to find a campsite to stay for a few nights (something I try not to do as I prefer wild camping when possible.) This became very uncomfortable after a couple of nights as I found that instead of packing equipment away after use it was easier to leave it in the tent which soon became very cluttered leaving less room for me and making the tent feel even smaller. So remember that a extra few ounces for a slightly larger tent can make all the difference when it comes to comfort.

Sadly I suppose the biggest consideration when choosing a backpacking tent is going to be the cost. All I can say is to buy the best one you can with your budget and remember that you are buying something that hopefully you will have for a long time, so make sure that:

- It fits you
- You feel comfortable in it
- It's up to the job you want it for
- Lastly whatever tent you decide to buy in the end don't leave it in its bag at the back of the cupboard,

Then all you have to do is get it out, use it and enjoy it!
About the Author
Mike Legg is a seasoned hiker with many years experience of backpacking in Europe. For more information on this or other aspects of backpacking go to http://www.buytryreview.com/category/backpacking
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