One-person shelters are the definitive expression of going ultralight. Eschewing creature comforts, those who sleep solo reap the benefits of cutting precious ounces from their packs. To identify the absolute lightest models available in 2023, we’ve researched and compiled charts of backpacking tents with poles, trekking pole-supported shelters, and bivies and hammocks. We did level the playing field and require the shelters to have a waterproof and bugproof design, so there are no minimalist bivies or tarps here. Bivy sacks lead the way starting at 10.7 ounces, but we came away impressed with the sheer number of shelters on the market under 4.5 pounds all in. No matter your preferred sleeping style, there is a lightweight one-person solution available.

One-Person Tents with Poles

Tent Model Packed Weight Price Fabric (Bottom) Floor Area Packed Size
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 1 Carbon 1 lb. 5 oz. $1,400 Unavail. 19 sq. ft. 5 x 18 in.
Tarptent Moment DW Li 1 lb. 10.3 oz. $679 1 oz/sqyd 18.1 sq. ft. 4 x 18 in.
Neno Hornet Elite Osmo 1P 1 lb. 13 oz. $550 Unavail. 21.8 sq. ft. 4 x 19 in.
MTN Hardwear Nimbus UL 1 1 lb. 14.8 oz. $400 30D 19.7 sq. ft. 5 x 12 in.
MSR FreeLite 1 1 lb. 15 oz. $420 15D 20 sq. ft. 4 x 18 in.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 SD 2 lb. $370 20D 20 sq. ft. 5 x 18.5 in.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL1 SD 2 lb. 2 oz. $400 15D 19 sq. ft. 5.5 x 17 in.
Tarptent Rainbow 2 lb. 3.5 oz. $279 30D 23.9 sq. ft. 4 x 18 in.
Nemo Hornet Osmo 1P 2 lb. 4 oz. $400 0D 22.3 sq. ft. 7.5 x 12.5 in.
Tarptent Moment DW 2 lb. 5.7 oz. $349 Unavail. 18.1 sq. ft. 4 x 18 in.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 2 lb. 6 oz. $450 15 x 20D 20 sq. ft. 5.5 x 17.5 in.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Bikepack 2 lb. 6 oz. $400 Unavail. 19 sq. ft. 5 x 14 in.
MSR Hubba Hubba 1 2 lb. 7 oz. $470 20D 18 sq. ft. 4 x 19 in.
Sea to Summit Alto TR 1 2 lb. 7.2 oz. $499 15D 19.5 sq. ft. 4.3 x 17.7
Nemo Tracker 1P 2 lb. 9 oz. $350 15D 23 sq. ft. 4.5 x 19.5 in.
Marmot Tungsten UL 1 2 lb. 9.5 oz. $349 20D 19.4 sq. ft. 4.1 x 21.1 in.
Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 1P 2 lb. 10 oz. $430 Unavail. 20.3 sq. ft. 5.5 x 19.5 in.
Nemo Dragonfly Bikepack Osmo 1P 2 lb. 11 oz. $520 20D 20.3 sq. ft. 6 x 14.5 in.
Big Agnes Copper Spur Bikepack 2 lb. 13 oz. $550 15 x 20D 20 sq. ft. 6 x 13.5 in.
Tarptent Scarp 1 3 lb. 0.1 oz. $459 30D 19.1 sq. ft. 5 x 18 in.
Eureka Solitaire AL 3 lb. 3.2 oz. $120 65D 21.5 sq. ft. 4 x 18 in.
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 3 lb. 5 oz. $280 Unavail. 20 sq. ft. 6.5 x 18 in.
The North Face Stormbreak 1 3 lb. 7 oz. $150 68D 18.1 sq. ft. 6 x 22 in.
MSR Access 1 3 lb. 8 oz. $680 30D 19 sq. ft. 6 x 18 in.
Kelty Late Start 1 3 lb. 12 oz. $140 68D 20.6 sq. ft. 7 x 15 in.
Kelty Ashcroft 1 3 lb. 15 oz. $110 68D 18.7 sq. ft. Unavail.
Kelty Discovery Trail 1 3 lb. 15 oz. $115 68D 18.7 sq. ft. Unavail.
Marmot Tungsten 1P 4 lb. 0.5 oz. $219 68D 19.4 sq. ft. 5.5 x 18.1 in.
Eureka Midori 1 4 lb. 2 oz. $150 Unavail. 20 sq. ft. 5 x 16 in.
REI Co-op Flash Air 1 2 lb. 4.6 oz. $299 20D 18.9 sq. ft. 6 x 16 in.


One-Person Trekking Pole-Supported Shelters

Shelter Model Packed Weight Price Fabric (Bottom) Floor Area Packed Size
Zpacks Plexamid w/ Sonic Stakes 1 lb. 2.5 oz. $569 1 oz/sqyd 20.6 sq. ft. 6 x 12 in.
Zpacks Altaplex w/ Sonic Stakes 1 lb. 2.6 oz. $689 1 oz/sqyd 22.5 sq. ft. 7 x 13 in.
Durston X-Mid Pro 1 1 lb. 3.2 oz. $609 15D 20 sq. ft. 4.5 x 12 in.
Tarptent ProTrail Li 1 lb. 1.7 oz. $529 1 oz/sqyd 24.5 sq. ft. 4 x 12 in.
Gossamer Gear The One 1 lb. 1.7 oz. $300 10D 19.6 sq. ft. 6 x 9 in.
Tarptent Aeon Li 1 lb. 3.3 oz. $569 1 oz/sqyd 18.3 sq. ft. 4 x 14 in.
Tarptent Notch Li 1 lb. 5.5 oz. $629 1 oz/sqyd 19.8 sq. ft. 4 x 16 in.
Big Bear Wilderness Designs AT 1 1 lb. 6 oz. $249 30D 19 sq. ft. Unavail.
SlingFin SplitWind Shelter Bundle 1 lb. 8 oz. $335 20D 24.8 sq. ft. 5 x 11 in.
Tarptent ProTrail 1 lb. 8.3 oz. $239 30D 21 sq. ft. 4 x 14 in.
MTN Laurel SoloMid XL w/ Innernet 1 lb. 9 oz. $455 20D 44 sq. ft. Unavail.
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo 1 lb. 10 oz. $260 40D 26 sq. ft. 4.5 x 11 in.
LightHeart Gear Solo 1 lb. 11 oz. $260 30D 30 sq. ft. Unavail.
Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker 1 lb. 12 oz. $275 40D 23 sq. ft. 5 x 15 in.
Tarptent Notch 1 lb. 12.4 oz. $314 Unavail. 15.2 sq. ft. 4 x 16 in.
MSR Mesh House 1 w/ 70 Wing 1 lb. 14 oz. $420 15D 20 sq. ft. Unavail.
Durston X-Mid 1 1 lb. 14.8 oz. $240 20D 20 sq. ft. 5 x 12 in.
REI Co-op Flash Air 1 2 lb. 3.8 oz. $299 20D 18.9 sq. ft. 6 x 16 in.
Tarptent StratoSpire 2 lb. 6.3 oz. $325 30D 19.1 sq. ft. 4 x 16 in.
Six Moon Designs Skyscape Scout 2 lb. 8 oz. $160 Unavail. 23 sq. ft. 5 x 15 in.


One-Person Bivy Sacks and Hammocks

Shelter Model Packed Weight Price Fabric (Bottom) Fabric (Body) Packed Size
Black Diamond Twilight Bivy 10.7 oz. $190 70D 30D 3 x 5 in.
MSR Pro Bivy 12 oz. $260 15D 20D 4 x 8 in.
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy 14 oz. $135 30D 20D 4 x 10 in.
Rab Trailhead Bivi 14.3 oz. $110 40D 40D 4.7 x 7.1 in.
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy 15.8 oz. $199 40D 30D 3.5 x 12.3 in.
Rab Alpine Bivi 1 lb. 0.5 oz. $250 70D 15D 5 x 12 in.
OR Alpine AscentShell Bivy 1 lb. 2.6 oz. $299 40D 30D 3.5 x 12.3 in.
Rab Storm Bivi 1 lb. 3.3 oz. $150 70D 40D 4.7 x 9.8 in.
Rab Ascent Bivi 1 lb. 6 oz. $290 40D 40D 5 x 10 in.
Black Diamond Spotlight Bivy 1 lb. 7 oz. $250 Unavail. Unavail. 4 x 7.5 in.
Hennessy Hammock Hyperlite 1 lb. 12 oz. $280 30D 20D 4 x 8 in.
Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy 1 lb. 14 oz. $360 Unavail. Unavail. 6 x 13 in.
Rab Ridge Raider Bivi 1 lb. 15.2 oz. $375 40D 15D 5.9 x 12.6 in.
Hennessy Hammock UL Backpacker 2 lb. $240 70D 20D 6 x 9 in.
Warbonnet Blackbird XLC 
w/ Mamajamba Tarp
2 lb. 1.8 oz. $325 70D 30D Unavail.
Black Diamond Bipod Bivy 2 lb. 2 oz. $380 Unavail. Unavail. 6 x 13 in.


The Lightweight Shelter Debate: Tents, Hammocks and Bivy Sacks

We'll start with the bad news: We’re not going to crown one shelter type as the absolute best way to go ultralight. There are simply too many factors at play. What we can do is take an objective look at the charts above, and trekking pole-supported shelters are the winners with a number of options under 1 pound (not including your trekking poles). From there, the order is as follows: bivy sacks, traditional tents with poles, and hammocks. 

Each shelter type has its various pros and cons. Most folks won’t venture away from the traditional backpacking tent, and with a number of options under 2 pounds, it’s hardly a huge sacrifice. That said, the fabrics are less durable relative to their weight, and heft and bulk can add up pretty quickly with all the moving parts and components. If you already backpack with trekking poles, getting a tent that’s supported by those handy sticks is a great way to go lightweight. Not everyone, however, is up for the more complicated setup.

Bivy sacks and hammocks are on opposite ends of the comfort scale, but both have a small but dedicated group of devotees. Bivies are great for the hardcore adventurer who isn’t prone to claustrophobia, while hammocks are a relaxing getaway for those who like to sleep off the ground. Keep in mind that not all wilderness areas allow hammocks, so do your research before diving in. No matter your preference, the good news is that the industry’s focus on keeping weight down has yielded multiple sub-2-pound options for each shelter type.

One-person bivy sack (sitting in OR Bivy overlooking mountains)
Bivy sacks are best suited for hardcore minimalists who don't mind the tight space

Trekking Pole-Supported Shelters

As our overall lightweight winners, trekking pole-supported shelters have earned a more detailed explanation. As the name indicates, your trekking poles replace the standard tent poles in creating the structure. The resulting shelters are rigid, just as capable in bad weather as a standard tent, and roomy for their weight. But these tents are not for everyone. To start, not all backpackers use trekking poles. Further, someone coming from a freestanding tent model may find the set up a little confusing—it’s not as simple as clipping in the poles and staking it out. With practice in setting them up and familiarity in choosing a good campsite, however, the process can become very smooth very quickly. Serious adventurers and thru-hikers are the biggest proponents of these designs, but we've seen their appeal continue to grow over the past few years as they are blazing the trail in ultralight shelters.

Backpacking tent (trekking pole setup with Durston X-Mid)
Most trekking pole-supported shelters take some practice to set up quickly and efficiently

Packed Weight vs. Trail Weight

When researching tents, you’ll often see two weight specs: packed weight and trail weight. Packed weight is the heavier of the two and includes everything that’s shipped from the manufacturer: the tent body, rainfly, poles, stakes, guylines, instructions, and bags. Trail weight is the most brag-worthy but includes just the basics: the tent body, rainfly, and poles.

The truth is the actual weight you’ll be hauling around will probably be somewhere in between the two. For the sake of this comparison, we’ve chosen to list packed weight because it’s the more accurate number for the majority of backpackers. Trail weight doesn’t include stakes, which are an essential part of setting up a tent, and most people don’t ditch the guylines and tent bag. Packed weight does include some extras we prefer to leave behind like the instructions or the tent pole bag (subtract about an ounce total for those items), but we still think it’s the better and more helpful number for the purposes of our charts.

Backpacking tent (laid out with other UL gear)
Many ULers are willing to leave some components behind to keep their kit as light as possible

Packed Size

A quick scan of the charts above reveals the obvious: Packed size and weight go hand-in-hand. Lighter and thinner materials are on average more compact and compressible, and these one-person shelters easily can be fit into just about any size backpacking pack. That said, packed size is only so helpful because we rarely store our tents as a single unit. Instead, we prefer to strap the tent poles along the outside of our pack, which opens up even more space inside the main compartment. We like the spec as a means for comparing how much total space the tent will take up, but don’t be hamstrung into thinking you have to squeeze the whole thing inside your pack as one unit.

Ultralight Fabrics: Nylon, Silnylon and Dyneema (Cuben Fiber)

The single biggest influencer in reducing weight is the shelter body fabric. The longtime standard has been ripstop nylon, which is affordable and can be made waterproof with a polyurethane coating and seam taping. Its unfortunate downside is durability. As the fabric gets thinner (measured in denier), its tendency to puncture and tear increases more than other fabric options.

Many small-time cottage industry brands turn to silnylon, which is liquid silicon-injected ripstop nylon. This process makes the fabric waterproof and more durable than standard nylon at a very low weight. Silnylon once was considered the ultralight gold standard until the release of Dyneema (formerly Cuben Fiber). This fabric is extremely expensive and requires precise manufacturing, but it has the best strength-to-weight ratio of anything on the market (see our review of the Dyneema Zpacks Duplex Tent here). It’s no surprise that the lightest shelters on this list from Zpacks and Six Moon Designs all utilize Dyneema and Dyneema Composite fabrics.

Backpacking tent (Dyneema fabric closeup)
Dyneema offers the best strength-to-weight ratio of any fabric on the market

Fabric Thickness

The industry-wide obsession with ultralight fabrics has pushed them to become so thin that many are literally see-through. Calling them paper-thin doesn’t do justice, and although the various fabrics are surprisingly tough for their weight, durability inevitably suffers. Of particular importance is retaining some tear resistance, or thickness, in the floor material—this is the area most vulnerable to punctures and wearing out over time. When available from the manufacturer, we list the floor thickness of every shelter model in the charts above.

Unfortunately, there aren’t universal thickness measurements to use across fabric types. Standard nylons are given a denier (D) rating, with a lower denier being thinner and flimsier than a higher denier. Tents with 15 and 20D floors in particular require gentle treatment to keep them intact (and don’t even think about ditching the footprint). As we cover in the section above, silnylon and Dyneema fabrics have superior weight-to-strength ratios than standard nylon, so you get a thinner fabric with fewer compromises. Their thicknesses are measured in an ounce/square yard ratio with Dyneema fibers as mind-blowingly light as .51 oz./sq. yd., while silnylon is about double that at a still-impressive 1.1 oz./sq. yd.

Interior Space

One-person shelters are built for sleeping one person and that’s about it. Don’t expect space to store a pack inside or play host to a game of cards with a buddy. As such, interior space is undeniably tight in just about every model on the charts above. Bivy sacks are the ultimate expression of a snug fit and offer about as much room as a large sleeping bag—as we mentioned above, they aren’t for the claustrophobic. Tent interior volume can vary, and you can get a good indication of interior space by looking at the floor area. But keep in mind that this length-by-width measurement is taken at ground level and doesn’t account for sloping walls or the peak height. Analyzing the shape of the tent is always recommended to get a clearer picture of true interior volume.

Backpacking tent (sitting in trekking pole-supported shelter)
One-person tents and shelters don't offer much extra space to move around

Realistically, interior space isn’t a top priority for one-person shelters. But if you fall into the category of ultralight but comfort-oriented backpackers, we recommend a two-person tent, which we cover in this Backpacking Tent Weight Comparison Chart.

Weighing the Rest of Your Gear

Shelters are only one part of putting together an ultralight backpacking system. We’ve found the process of identifying areas where you can cut ounces to be really fun, and it’s something you can do on just about any budget. As a means to pinpoint these opportunities, we’ve researched and compiled detailed comparison charts of two-person backpacking tents and lightweight sleeping bags. Trimming ounces from each of these items can lead to pounds being dropped from your total carrying weight, which can make backpacking much easier as the miles add up.
Back to One-Person Tents with Poles  Back to Trekking Pole-Supported Shelters

Powered by Drupal

Backpacking Tent Weight Comparison Chart

If you’re researching backpacking tent weight, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ve put together detailed tent weight comparison tables covering most models available for summer of 2023. If we’ve missed anything important, feel free to comment...

Best Backpacking Tents of 2024

In choosing the right backpacking tent, you have a wide range of options from minimalist ultralight shelters to inexpensive and heavier entry-level models. Uses and budgets vary, and the ideal tent for beginners and those taking shorter trips differs...

Best Ultralight Tents of 2024

In the ultralight backpacking world, The Big Three refers to the most important (and heaviest) pieces in your kit: your backpack, sleeping bag, and shelter. Shaving a pound (or two) off of each of these items can go a long way...

Sleeping Bag Weight Comparison Chart

It’s amazing to think that a sleeping bag can weigh only 1 pound and keep you warm through the night. To pull this off, manufacturers utilize light and lofty down insulation, thin shell and lining fabrics, and...

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags of 2024

Cozying into your sleeping bag at the end of a long day on the trail is one of the great pleasures of backpacking. And today’s bags offer exceptional warmth for the weight along with a range of technologies that help them stay dry and perform in a...

Best Hiking Shoes of 2024

The momentum in hiking footwear is moving away from bulky boots toward lightweight shoes and even trail runners that are faster and more comfortable. You do lose some ankle support when carrying a heavy pack or traversing rocky trails...

Best Trekking Poles of 2024

Serious hikers have known the benefits of trekking poles for decades. Aside from providing stability while hauling a heavy load or moving over technical terrain, hiking poles have distinct advantages even on easy trails. They’re great for setting a...