The best one-person tents reviewed (2023)

A backpacking tent is your ticket to a magical wild camping experience. It’ll be your home away from home, keeping you safe, dry and comfortable in any weather. Here’s what to look out for.

Hiker making camp with their one person tent

by James Forrest |
Posted on

If you're itching to get out there for a solo hill-top overnighter or backpacking trip, then check out our pick of the best one-person tents first. Though compact and lightweight, these hikingtents can still offer excellent liveability and weather resistance.

Tent shopping can feel a bit like those restaurant menus with so much choice you're rendered utterly indecisive. Which tents are actually worth the price tag? There's so much to consider – weight, size, durability, features, comfort and price – and balancing these competing priorities can be tricky.

If protection is your number one consideration, opt for a bombproof tent with an aerodynamic profile, high hydrostatic head (HH) rating like 3000mm+, bathtub-style floor and flush-to-the-ground flysheet. However, it'll be heavier, more expensive, and the tapered walls will feel cramped. Moreso, if you add a thick sleeping mat.

Hiker pitching a one-person tent on a hilltop
©Live For The Outdoors

Best one-person tents at a glance

Best hiking tent 2023: Wild Country Helm Compact 1 - View on Winfields Outdoors

Best in Test: MSR Freelite 1 - View on Ellis Brigham

Best Value: Vango Nevis 100 - View on Alpinetrek

If space and comfort are more important to you, choose a tent with a skeletal pole structure, high walls, good headroom, well-sized vestibule and impressive dimensions – but it may not cope as well with torrential rain and high winds. A two-person model may even suit you better. Everything has a trade-off. Choosing the right tent can be an indecision-inducing minefield, whichever way you turn, but thankfully, our list of the best one-person tents is here to help.

Best one-person tents in detail

Gear of the Year 2023 winner


The Helm Compact 1 won 'Best Tent' in our Trail Gear of the Year Awards for 2023. The reasons are


  • Great price
  • Small pack-size
  • Reliably durable


  • Rarely available to buy

Best in Test

MSR Freelite 1 pitched in the hills with award logo overlayLive For The Outdoors


Tents with the most comfortable and spacious interiors feature hub-connected pole systems, like


  • Fantastic internal space
  • Good ventilation
  • Semi-freestanding


  • Can catch the wind
  • Inner first pitching not ideal for wet conditions

Best Value

Vango Nevis 100 pitched in the hills with award overlayLive For The Outdoors


Officially recommended as Duke of Edinburgh expedition kit, the superbly priced Vango Nevis 100 is


  • Very affordable
  • Tough and weatherproof materials
  • Proven shape


  • Relatively heavy and bulky
  • Hard to pitch taut

Best for headroom

Exped Mira I HL pitched in the hillsLive For The Outdoors


This tent is very similar to the MSR Freelite 1. It uses a near identical hubbed pole design


  • Great headroom
  • Good flysheet coverage
  • Two vestibules


  • Quite narrow
  • Inner pitching first not ideal in the wet

Best 3-season one person tent

Terra Nova Starlite 1 pitched on a hillLive For The Outdoors


Terra Nova is a safe bet if you're looking for a strong, stable, well-designed tent capable of


  • Strong and stable
  • Great for coping with rough UK weather


  • Not very spacious

Best for eco credentials

Vaude Taurus SUL 1-Person pitched in the hillsLive For The Outdoors


The Taurus features Vaude's 'tripod dome' structure, with one long pole forming a lengthwise ridge


  • Stable
  • Quite spacious
  • Good eco credentials


  • Slightly awkward porch shape

Best lightweight one-person tent

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo pitched in the hillsLive For The Outdoors


This ultralight, single-skin tent is pitched using a trekking pole and appeals to gram-counting


  • Super lightweight
  • Fantastic liveability


  • Not suitable for very wet or windy conditions

What to look for in a one-person tent

Wind resistance: A good backpacking tent will allow wind to flow over it smoothly without buffeting and flapping like crazy. Tents with a low-to-the-ground, aerodynamic profile will 'shed' wind better than tents with higher, more vertical walls. Either way, pegging out guy lines will increase stability in high winds.

Flysheet: For maximum weatherproofing, a tent's flysheet – the waterproof outer – should peg out flush to the ground. It should also be easily adjustable via tension straps so that it's taut, stable and well-shaped. Some flysheets don't quite reach the ground, which aids ventilation but risks water ingress.

Weight: If you're carrying a tent up a mountain, you'll naturally want it to weigh as little as possible. But, the lighter a tent is, the more expensive it'll be. For a good quality, 3-season tent for UK use, 1kg or under is extremely light, 1.5kg is good, and 2kg is a tad on the heavy side.

Pitching: Some tents, particularly from US brands, are pitched inner first – which isn't ideal if it's raining (and let's face it, it probably will be!). Others are pitched outer first or all-as-one, enabling the inner to be kept dry while the flysheet is pegged out. Ease of pitching is another important consideration.

Ventilation: Condensation can be difficult to avoid in the UK's wet climate, so good ventilation is key. Mesh vents on the inner and vent windows on the flysheet will help increase airflow, as will mesh panels on the inner walls. Good clearance between the inner and outer is very important too.

Comfort: The most comfortable tents have roomy interiors with vertical walls and ample head and shoulder room. It's not necessarily essential, but the ability to sit up and move around without touching the inner is desirable. Lower profile tents will have aggressively tapered walls, which can feel cramped and claustrophobic.

Groundsheet: The groundsheet – the bottom of a tent's inner and the bit you lie on – needs to be strong, durable and waterproof because it's constantly in contact with the ground. 'Bathtub' groundsheets have waterproof material stretching a few inches up the walls, creating a 'tub' of protection around you.

Waterproofing: For an indication of how waterproof a tent really is, check the hydrostatic head of the flysheet and groundsheet. A good baseline is 3000mm. However, many other factors, including silicone or PU coatings, the tent's shape, sealed seams, and the tightness of a fabric's weave, affect waterproofing.

Features: Other important features include: a good-sized porch for stashing your backpack and wet boots, a wide door for easy entry and exit, sufficient length and width for lying down (check carefully if you're 6ft+), a stormflap over the main zipper, internal pockets for gear organisation, an easy-to-fill carry bag, strong poles, good pegs, sturdy pegging out loops and robust guy lines.

Tent care and maintenance

To maintain the performance and waterproofing of your tent, you need to care for and clean them properly.

Tent cleaning and care is easy and primarily involves cleaning them after use with the correct cleaning products and making sure they're completely dry before storing them away.

Best tent care kit

Grangers Tent And Gear Kit

Rrp: £19

Price: £14.49


Grangers' effective and eco-friendly care kit for tents and outdoor gear such as packs. It even


  • Water-based and PFC-free
  • Easy spray-on water repel
  • Good value


  • Reproofing spray needs applied quite regularly

Best tent care kit

Nikwax Camping Care Kit
Price: £17.49


Nikwax's tent and gear care kit. It's just as good as the Grangers kit and also water-based and


  • Water-based and PFC-free
  • Dry bag included


  • Reproofing spray needs applied quite regularly

How we test

We take our test tents out on proper excursions. The one-person hiking tents we tested spent many hours pitched on hillsides. We, of course, use them for sleeping in on our trips, but we also spend a lot of time examining every detail about them, from living space and ease of pitching to material quality and sustainability.

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James Forrest is a freelance gear tester for Live For The Outdoors and Trail Magazine. He's a prolific peak-bagger and wild camper who's climbed hundreds of mountains in the UK and abroad, James gives his gear a serious thrashing on every trip.

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