This hiking tent may not be at the very tip-top of the line, but let's be honest – you don't need it to be. Especially as spring rolls in, the value of the Helm Compact 1 continues to wildly exceed the price. As a result, Meet the winner of the Trail Gear of the Year awards 2023.
This bargain tent has many great advantages, and one major drawback. We’ll kick off with the good stuff...
The Helm Compact 1 in Detail
We are currently deep in a ‘cost of living’ crisis. For people struggling to heat, light and feed their household, spending money on a tent is not a priority. But even for those of us lucky enough to still be able to pursue our hobbies, money is tight. For would-be wild campers, then, the Helm Compact 1 is a godsend.
It’s rare to find a tent for less than £300, let alone one that performs so superbly. It’s a well-proportioned, free-standing one-person dome tent that packs down to a compact size. And it’s tough – we’ve witnessed one of these withstand a wintery battering in north Wales, performing as well as the tent pitched next to it that had a price tag nearly 4x that of the Helm. That's astonishing, and earns the Helm Compact 1 a spot amongst the best tents for hiking and backpacking.
So what’s the bad news? These things are so popular that they’re currently rare as hen’s teeth. Which is frustrating, as there really are few alternatives to compete on this level. Still, keep your fingers crossed and your eyes open and you might just find one in time for the 2023 camping season.
Our Three Favourite Things
Wild camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the UK mountains, and anything that makes it easier for more people to do that comfortably and responsibly should be applauded. With an RRP of £250 (and previously often available for even less than that) the Helm Compact 1 makes sleeping out in the hills more affordable for more people.
Ultra-lighters may turn their nose up at the weight stats, but for most of us sub 2kg is a perfectly acceptable weight for a reliable one-person shelter. It’s pleasingly compact too (as the name suggests it should be), with a pack-size small enough to comfortably slot into your rucksack or strap to your bike frame.
Wild Country rates the Helm Compact 1 as a 3-season tent, meaning it’s designed for use in spring, summer and autumn. But we’ve seen these used throughout winter in awful conditions, take a beating, and survive unscathed. You might not want to risk that, but at least you can be sure that as far as 3-season tents go, this is a tough one.