What’s The Best Tent For Cycle Touring? (2018 Edition)

Choosing the best tent for cycle touring is difficult because there’s a heck of a lot of choice out there. Ultralight tents, freestanding tents, 3-season, 4-season, double wall, solo, with and without awnings – and at a whole range of prices from next to nothing up to hundreds of pounds or dollars. Which of these hundreds of options is right for you?

As a newcomer, it’s natural to look for other people’s recommendations when choosing a tent for cycle touring. But before you get bogged down with what other people think is the best cycle touring tent (which somehow usually seems to be the one they use or were given by a sponsor), here’s one important thing to remember:

The word ‘best’ only has meaning within the context of your bike trip. Every ride is different.

  • Are you looking to for a bomb-proof long-lasting tent for a transcontinental trip, or something cheap for a few weeks of summer adventuring?
  • Are you a couple who like plenty of living space, or a minimal solo rider?
  • Do you have racks and panniers to take heavy loads, or are you bikepacking with ultralight gear?
  • Do you like nice campsites or wild camping in the woods?
  • Will it be fair weather only, or will all-season pitches be required?

Sure, there are a few tried-and-tested tents for cycle touring that have proven themselves on a massive range of journeys. But there’s no ‘best tent for cycle touring’ until you know the answers to basic questions about your style of cycle touring. If you haven’t asked them of yourself, now’s the time to do so. Then come back to this article.

Know what kind of tour you’re going on? Great! Read on…

The listings below represent an up-to-date collection of frequently-recommended tents, cited by experienced cycle tourists and specifically recommended for cycle touring.

We’ll start with low-budget solo tents for short and simple cycle touring, and work our way up to uber-tents for people on worldwide bike tours of many months or years, with a few specialist tents cited as examples of how preferences may differ depending on the details of any given trip.

I’ve fleshed out the details of no more than one tent from each brand in order to avoid favouritism. When several tents from a single maker have proven popular, I’ve included them as additional suggestions in the same entry as the ‘favourite’ cycle touring tent from that brand.

You’ll find links in each case to the manufacturer’s website where you can get detailed specifications, plus links to online retailers in the UK and USA I’ve found offering the best deals on each example.

These are not the only tents that’ll do the job. They are, however, representative of what people are out there using successfully.

What Does The Perfect Cycle Touring Tent Look Like?

I’ve spent a long time (too long) looking at the trends, and I can tell you that the prototypical cycle touring tent for one person tends to be a freestanding, double-walled, 2-berth, 3-season tent in an inconspicuous shade of green, weighing 1.5-2.5kg, fitting nicely on the rear rack of a touring bike, with room inside for the rider and some of their luggage (but not their bike).

For a couple, it’s generally the 3-berth model of the same.

If you’ve done any amount of online research, you’ll probably have noticed that the priorities for cycle touring tents differ from those of backpackers. Why? Mainly because weight and volume is much less of an issue for the cyclists.

Remember you essentially have a vehicle to carry your stuff, which means you can carry a tent that will allow you to live comfortably. In choosing a bigger, heavier tent, you’ll likely also save money, fare better in bad weather, and find that your tent lasts for longer. Backpackers are concerned with minimising the load on their shoulder straps and hip-belts. You won’t be sharing that concern.

(Ultralight bikepackers do have different priorities which are much more in line with the backpackers, so I’ve included a couple of examples for that specialism.)


The Big List of Best Cycle Touring Tents

Gelert Solo (UK)

If you’re riding alone, looking for a low-budget lightweight tent that can be pitched in temperate climates, and you’re not expecting much in the way of living space, the Gelert Solo tent is well worth a look, not least because you’ll be able to pick one up for well under £50. Coming highly rated by bushcrafters and hikers, it’s small, inconspicuous, waterproof and very lightweight at 1.3kg.

gelert-solo

Since Gelert’s acquisition by Sports Direct, they’ve become more difficult to find.  Check eBay* first, and also look at the Amazon* listing’s “Also Viewed” section for several identical tents with different logos on them. The OutdoorGear Backpacker 1 and the OEX Phoxx 1, for example, both look suspiciously similar.


Vango Banshee Pro (UK)

Vango‘s Banshee Pro 3-season tent range is a step up in quality and features, coming in a good shade of green for wild-camping and providing ample living and storage space while remaining on the lightweight side of things. Two- and three-berth versions are available under the 200 and 300 model names, the 200 is ideal for a soloist at 2.4kg, and the 300 at 2.8kg is good for a couple.

The same naming scheme is used for other tents in Vango’s range, of which the Soul is also recommended as a budget option and the Mirage at the higher end.

Vango is very well represented in the UK, though their tents my be hard to find elsewhere. The RRP for the Banshee Pro 200 is £150, but you’ll be able to find them cheaper online from outlets such as Go Outdoors (£125*). The 300 is actually cheaper at the time of writing (£110*).

As an alternative, the Coshee range by Wild Country (see below) is curiously similar in design, name and price point.


Wild Country Zephyros 2 (UK)

Wild Country is the budget marque of the otherwise premium British manufacturer Terra Nova. The 1.9kg Zephyros 2 takes more than a little inspiration from Hilleberg’s Akto, a favourite high-end tent for minimalists since it was popularised by TV outdoorsman Ray Mears. It requires staking out at each end, but you get a lot of space for a reasonably low weight and with a single pole supporting a single-pitch structure. Not a lot of porch space, though.

You can get the Zephyros direct from the Terra Nova website or from Cotswolds* at the RRP of £180. Amazon* and Snow + Rock* both have it cheaper at the time of writing.


Alpkit Ordos 2/3 (UK)

The Brits’ favourite budget direct outdoor gear retailer Alpkit have made a splash in the bikepacking and cycle touring scene as well as with the mountaineers and climbers, with the Ordos 2 and Ordos 3 tents proving almost as popular as MSR’s Hubbas in a recent highly non-scientific survey of cycle tourers I conducted on Twitter.

With 2- and 3-berth models available and a choice of red or green flys, these ultralight tents – just 1.3kg for the complete 2-berth model and 1.6kg for the 3-berth – are roomy, practical, well-ventilated, easy to pitch, and reasonably priced, with the wedge design echoing the long-standing Vaude Hogan and Big Agnes Seedhouse. Not quite freestanding but close enough for almost all real-world purposes, they do well in warmer, drier weather, with full mesh inners.

Get the optional footprint or make your own: as with all ultralight tents, longevity is not a design priority. I can easily see these being strapped to the handlebars of bikepacking rigs and taken off on many a summer adventure.

Order the Ordos 2 (£239) or Ordos 3 (£279) from Alpkit themselves in the UK – as with all their gear, buying direct is the only way to get it.


REI Quarter Dome (USA)

If your tour is kicking off in the States and you’re looking to reduce your excess baggage fees when flying there, you’d do well to leave the camping gear at home and head to the nearest branch of REI. This outdoor co-op manufactures a range of really well-rated gear and sells it without the third-party mark-up, so you get a lot for your money.

Their freestanding Quarter Dome range, available in 1-berth (1.3kg), 2-berth (1.7kg) and 3-berth (2kg) versions, was the most frequently-cited cycle touring tent range from Stateside survey respondents, with the Half Dome range also mentioned as a lower-budget alternative.

rei-quarter-dome-t2-2014-fly

The Quarter Dome 2 is available from REI.com* by mail-order for $349, or from any of their 132 retail stores in the USA.


MSR Hubba NX (UK/Europe/USA)

The MSR Hubba NX series is the latest incarnation of one of the all-time most popular tents among cycle tourers globally. The range, which features 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-berth models, has been updated several times over the years, and the current ‘NX’ incarnation seems to have managed to strike a balance between lightness and durability, with grey and green fly versions available (get the green), and an optional Gear Shed accessory to extend the awning for storing additional luggage (really, though?).

Most solo tourers go for the 1.7kg 2-berth Hubba Hubba for ample living room and a double entrance. Couples tend to prefer the 2.3kg 3-berth Mutha Hubba.

The heavier and cheaper Elixir range has a similar freestanding dome design and range of sizes, and if weight is not of primary importance I would consider these over the Hubba equivalents for the durability factor.

Expect all MSR tents to last for years, with top-quality weatherproofing and ventilation, superb build quality, and super-easy pitching with a variety of pitching options for differing climates. In 2017, MSR released a fancy Tour version of the Hubba range with an integrated storage room, though it seems the jury is still out on the build quality of the first batch – and do you really need that extra space?

msr_hubbahubbahp_fly_door_open_eu_l

The UK RRP for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is £405 – we’re into ‘serious’ tent-buying territory now. The cheapest I could find it was from Go Outdoors* or Trek Inn.

Being based in Seattle, WA, MSR tents tend to work out slightly cheaper in the USA. Look again at REI*, who stock the full range of both Hubbas and Elixirs, with the Hubba Hubba NX at $399.


Vaude Hogan UL

Another tent that has stood the test of time, German brand Vaude’s classic Hogan UL 2-berth tent was, back in 2007, my first decent tent of any kind. I rode across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Mongolia with it for four years, so I guess you could say I’ve put it through its paces (read my original review here). Then my brother inherited it and subjected it to another few years of abuse. It’s still standing 11 years on.

It’s not the lightest, nor is it truly freestanding, but it is extremely durable, waterproof, and stable in bad weather, with a decent-sized porch and a nice natural shade of green available for the fly, and it’s pretty portable at 1.9kg.

The RRP is £420 and it’s available direct from Vaude, though you can find it cheaper from Amazon* or Trek Inn in the UK, or Bergzeit.de in its native Germany.


Terra Nova Voyager

A British design that’s been doing the rounds for donkeys’ years, the freestanding classic Voyager is likely the most dependable long-term favourite among British world tourers, in part because Terra Nova don’t feel the need to change the design of or discontinue perfectly good tents at random (like certain other manufacturers seem to do), allowing the tent to build up a second-to-none reputation.

Weighing in at 2.2kg, top-class construction, weatherproofing, liveability and extreme durability is the order of the day here.

terra-nova-voyager

They’re expensive: £550 direct from Terra Nova or via Cotswold Outdoor* or Amazon*. Don’t expect discounts. The Laser Comp 1 is also recommended for the solo minimalists.


Hilleberg Nallo 2/3/GT

The most lusted after (and expensive) tents for long-haul trips for which durability is the key consideration are undoubtedly those from Swedish tentmakers Hilleberg.

They’re not the most lightweight, nor the best performers in hot climates, but they do have an unmatched reputation for quality and longevity. Hilleberg have long resisted following the trend for ever lighter and more flimsy materials: don’t expect to find a bikepacking-friendly tent in their range, but do expect to find tents that are among the most tried and tested in the world and will last literally for decades.

The Nallo 2 (2.4kg) comes highly recommended for solo tourers, with the Nallo 3 GT (3.1kg) representing the epitomé of luxury on-tour living for couples. Other Hilleberg tents often seen on the road include the minimalist Akto (see the Wild Country Zephyros above) and the freestanding and spacious Allak. The Swedish brand predictably makes excellent 4-season (ie: winter) tents, with the Soulo standing out for solo cyclists.

hilleberg-nallo-2

In the UK, the Hilleberg Nallo 2 is available from many of the high-street chains, including Snow + Rock* and Ellis Brigham*. Cotswold Outdoor* have the GT model. They’re more difficult to find elsewhere online, and rarely discounted.

In the USA, Moosejaw.com sell all of Hilleberg’s tents, including the Nallo 2*.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

The Lunar Solo is included in this list as an example of the kind of shelter that has crossed over from backpacking and hiking circles and found favour in the ultralight bikepacking community. Weighing just 680g (that’s the same as a regular-sized cycling water bottle), the single-pole, single-wall design relies on being staked out, and is never going to be as comfortable as a double-wall tent with a geodesic structure – but if you’re OK with that, it’s difficult to imagine a more minimal shelter that isn’t a plain old tarp and bivvy bag.

It is by no means the only such shelter on offer – check out MSR’s FlyLite to see a big-brand attempt at the same kind of thing.

Get the Lunar Solo direct from Six Moon Designs in the USA, or from Ultralight Outdoor Gear in the UK.


Other Tents

If that’s not enough of a selection, try the following, which have also been recommended by readers of this blog:

I have also happily toured with a Tesco Value 2-berth tent, because you don’t need any of this stuff.


Alternative Sleeping Systems

Tents aren’t your only option for outdoor slumber on tour. Bivvy bags, hammocks, or simply sleeping outside (if it’s warm and dry) are entirely feasible alternatives. Check out my article on alternative sleeping systems here.

OK, enough about tents – let’s go camping!

Which tent(s) have you successfully used on tour? Which would you most highly recommend to a friend planning a trip? Let us know in the comments.

Essential Gear Cover Image

Buying bikes and equipment for your next tour?

Reading Essential Gear for Adventure Cycle Touring will help you avoid ending up with the wrong thing, and put more cash aside for your trip.

Click here to find out more at
GearForCycleTouring.com

78 Responses to “What’s The Best Tent For Cycle Touring? (2018 Edition)”

  1. Ania

    MacPac Minaret. We did tones of bike touring with it and it was fantastic. The last one held well for 12 years now we’ve got a new one!

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Thanks – this was a common recommendation from couples in NZ and Oz, as well as their Citadel.

      Reply
      • Gordon

        Try the Macpac microlight as well. Just finished a couple of weeks round inner Hebrides. Mixture of sun and storms. Didn’t leak a drop. Great gear.

        Reply
    • Olly Powell

      I have both a Macpac Mineret and a Tarptent DW moment. I love both of them. The Mineret is perfect for two, and sometimes I take it on solo tours, but at 3.2kg (15 years old and still bomb proof), it borders on extravagant. The tarptent, is half the weight, and super simple to put up, freestanding, and brilliantly ventilated. But I’m not sold on the tricky sideways entry in pouring rain, and the small head space when lying down (I am 6’3″). So I think my dream tent would be a blend of the two. Mineret for the front entry, Tarptent internal battens in a triangle on the back end. Of course there is also the Tarptent double-moment (slightly bigger), if I had to chose just one more tent, that would be it.

      Reply
  2. oneman onebike

    I used the Terra Nova Voyager XL 2 on a recent tour of Europe. It lasted about a week and the tents poles broke in a mild storm. Customer service didnt answer my emails, and I thought the service was shocking. It’s a shame because it seems they make really good tents, but I got a duff one. That is when customer service is important. Sadly they are infamous for poor service. Ended up buying a generic tent for a quarter of the price and it served me well.

    Reply
  3. Geoff Harpee

    I just picked up a Hilleberg Unna – will be testing on my next trip.

    Reply
  4. Oliver

    Nice compilation Tom! I would vote for the Gelert Solo actually. I have been looking around for an affordable lightweight tent before hitting the road for a month and have been quite happy with the choice. I didn’t encounter any harsh conditions though, but it seems to be a fairly durable tent indeed.

    Reply
  5. Jeff Bartlett

    I have spent years in my Nallo 3Gt and I’ll likely have it on my rear rack the next time I hit the open road for an extended period of time; however, I have recently switched over to a bivy sack for overnight to weeklong trips. Its the best way to set up and take down camp in a hurry, which is essential when free camping where maybe you shouldn’t be!

    Reply
  6. Owen

    Everyone knows your confessed love for the discontinued Hubba Hubba, but you used the 1 man version for your American trip right – so why do you recommend the bigger/heavier version?

    I’ve just got a Seedhouse SL1 for £100, cheap price but it doesn’t have the split pole design of the SL2 (or indeed the Hubba range). So it’s freestanding ability is a little flawed.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      These aren’t personal recommendations, they’re my interpretations of the results of an extensive survey. Most solo tourers seem to prefer 2-person tents for the extra living space. Personally, I’m happy with a minimal 1-person tent nowadays, but that’s just my preference.

      Reply
    • Adrian Rees

      Love my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1. Has coped with some “character building” weather so far despite only being a 3 season tent, packs down nice’n’small and is a smidge over a kilo (some stripped down variations go lighter). Not sure what you mean by no ‘split pole’ – d’you mean the sort of Y-shape arrangement? If so, mine does have that, perhaps there are older versions which don’t?

      Reply
  7. Noel O'Connell

    I’ve just found this website and I am glued to it!
    A lot of what it have read so far, and the ‘just do it’ attitude is truly inspiring.
    Most of what I have read online seems to involve a lot of overthinking and overanalysing so this approach is extremely refreshing. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  8. Alex

    Very happy to recommend the Tarptent Scarp 1. Kept me very comfortable for 15 months across Asia. It’s amazingly spacious for a one man with two porches and lofty head room (even for me at 6′ 2″ and a bit). Goes up in a flash, pitches taught, you can choose a mesh or solid inner and it all weighs just 1.35kg. Seems to balance quality, space and weight perfectly and what’s more you don’t have to take out a mortgage to get one.

    Reply
  9. Pete

    Got to be freestanding! I have a Coleman Boa, freestanding and long with 233 cm inner..
    I remember once I put it up on a concrete surface under a roof near a footballfield in France. It was raining very, very hard. It was great to find this spot and then just put it up there. This could not have worked with a non freestanding tent.
    I like tents, I tried a hammock as well , nice, but only if the weather is good. Reason I like a tent is spiders, snakes and dogs. And musquitoes of course!

    Reply
  10. Steve

    Another thumbs up for the Gelert Solo. Used it mainly for lightweight “bike-packing” and 1.5kg weight and squat pack size make it perfect. For longer tours, I highly recommend the “Wild Country Aspect 1” . It’s a pitch with outer, two hoop tunell tent at 1.9kg. It’s quite tall (but very stable), and makes for an “airy” camp if sitting down, plenty of headroom for moving about. The USP clincher for me is that the whole side zips open, and you can attach to nearby bike for a tarp-like big awning for cooking, lazing about. Also sleeping with the side open gives a nice panoramic view through the upper mesh of the side. Being Wild Country (a branch of Terra Nova), the quality is exceptional, and all for about £90 or less if you shop about. Can’t fault it, and for me the perfect solo touring tent. Think they are discontinuing them soon (and can’t find anything similar), so snap any residual stock for a bargain.

    Reply
  11. Carl

    Having used the banshee 200 over the past few years and find this is more a 1 man tent with a bit of added room, used in all weathers have found it to be a fantastic tent, during the summer I generally take a bivy bag for short 1 / 2 night’s even if a spot of rain is expected, makes it easier for wild camping.

    Reply
  12. Ray

    Can I just cast another vote for the humble, inexpensive and very compact Gelert Solo. But I’d like to make it clear to all – you won’t be holding a disco or having your mates round for a brew. It’s a low, narrow sleeping space ……. Which is all I personally feel I need on bike trips. Getting dressed inside requires agility, organisation and telescopic legs would be an advantage. Brilliant value though, and tucks away small. Perfectly good waterproofing too.

    Reply
  13. Shaun

    I’ve a somewhat spacious Vango Tempest 300 which is technically a 3 person tent but the pack size is a reasonable 46x16cm and 3.35kg and that fits in a pannier. It’s a bit big for solo use though you can get all your bags inside and if you remove the wheels, your bike even fits in the porch.

    Having just carted it around the Pennines for the best part of a week though, I’m tempted with the smaller Zenith 100 or Blade 100, halving the weight and reducing the pack size (Zenith is 35×13!).

    The Gelert Solo might have been possibly discontinued but there seems to be a few clones of it about on Amazon such as ‘Highlander Blackthorn 1’ and ‘Charlies Outdoor Leisure Beris 1 Man Camping Tent’ for sub 30 quid. I’d rather have a bit more space, especially for stashing away kit, so your panniers don’t go walkies in the night.

    Reply
    • Shaun

      I picked up a Blade 100 for about £50 after a price match+discount in April and used it for a 23 day tour through France & Spain. It’s quite roomy for a 1 person tent but don’t pack it too full as the gap between the inner and fly isn’t great. You can get your pannier bags inside alongside your sleeping bag and 1 or 2 in the porch.

      The single pole gets in the way a bit at the door and if your pitch isn’t perfect bends into an S. It’s inner first which some people dislike (I don’t mind). But, another good cheap, light (1.75kg) tent from Vango.

      Reply
  14. Karen Ellis

    Have finally managed to try out our Dragonfly 3XT with my husband. We really like the quick pitch and robust shape. Lots of room for storing panniers in the porch area, and plenty long enough for a tall man in the tent. For solo touring my husband tends to take a Quecha 2 man, much cheaper though not such a strong tent.

    Reply
  15. Jana Henderson

    I’ve just bought a 2pax, forest-green MSR HubbaHubba HP. I believe this particular range has been discontinued but I was lucky enough to come across one in a store here in Dublin, Éire. The name of the store is Great Outdoors, the tent cost e499.00, they ship internationally, and I think they have a couple left. I believe the footprint will be an extra e50 when they get them in next January. Happy hunting.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      The Hubba HP range is still shipping in Europe, AFAIK. I’d cut a cheap plastic tarp to size rather than waste money on an expensive footprint…

      Reply
      • Pet

        There are a few similar models

        The ‘Blow ‘by Hannah, a czech company
        The ‘Tordis’ by Ford Nansen, a polish company.

        Nice green colours too, better then the Hubba, a bit too light. IMHO!

        Reply
      • Jana Henderson

        Excellent idea. Must give that a try.

        Reply
  16. Pet

    Personnally I think the Micra by Salewa is impressive. Freestanding! Sturdy! small footprint! Steep walls! Green ( the older models are darkgreen.. ) Inner only possiblity!
    Some people might argue that 2.3 kg is too heavy, But I think, if you ‘ re cycling it is not extreme, for one kilo less you might find something that is very flimsy ” fashion before function”.
    I like to think that you get a lot more Reliablity for the extra 500 gram.

    Reply
  17. Steve M

    Backpacking Light Uk sell a budget version of the Hubba Hubba called the Luxe Habitat – not tried it myself but it looks pretty good – pitching video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAn967N5reA&list=UUGdXKgAS4MDFHO-O71E8C9g

    Reply
  18. ralph r

    Used the Wild Country Zephyros 1 last May for a east coast ride of 4 days, very light & plenty of room for panniers. A really great tent.

    Reply
  19. tommaso

    I use a very cheap gelert scout, 1,750 Kg, for 2people, but better for just one. Is goof for summer, letting the door open a little. With cold weather some moisture in the morning, never used in stormy weather or very fast wind. Very good for £ 15, but not for every kind of journey

    Reply
  20. Racheal Morgan

    Great article: looking at several of the cheaper tents now. I am doing a bike trip around Europe and want the best bang for my buck. Doesn’t everyone?

    Reply
  21. John Turnbull

    What I’ve seen so far looks very inspiring, have purchased the E-book and look forward to reading it. Keep up the great work and stay safe.

    Reply
  22. Wayne Hare

    Have you tried or even heard of the Black Diamond Mega Mid Lite? It’s a HUGE 4-person, center pole tent made of parachute material, so it stuffs down to about the size of a softball on steroids. Probably weighs about 2 and a half pounds. It has no floor, so not great in areas with snakes and creepy crawly things. If it is set up really taut, it sheds water well. I’ve used it in winter conditions and actually even built a small fire inside. It stand probably 5 and a half feet, so you can sort of stand up to pull on your pants. If creepy-crawlies are an issue – and most of my camping and touring is in the desert southwest of the U.S. where ants, spiders, scorpions and an occasional snake are issues – you can purchase the Bug Mid which is netting and integrated floor. The Mega Mid then just drapes over that. Total weight with floor and tent is 5 pounds, 10 ounces. The tent has a HUGE front opening that really lets the outdoors in. If you go with the no floor version, the tent pulls down to within about 3 inches of the ground. I don’t know why, but in my experience with this tent, mosquitoes never, ever fly in under the tent walls. I’m old and travel with a light weight backpacking chair which I can easily set up inside the tent. Personally I think that this is the best all round tent for most applications.

    Reply
  23. Wayne Hare

    Damned cool, inspiring site, by the way. A friend just introduced me to it last night.

    Reply
  24. Andy Pettitt

    I am a huge fan of my Terra Nova Solar, which has travelled the world with me over the years, on the back of my motorbike and bicycle.A bit pricey but well made, its a roomy one person tent ( you can store your panniers inside), or a cosy 2 person tent with your luggage in the porch.

    Reply
  25. Gayle & John

    Have been n the road for more than 2 and a half years now (so far have cycled Norway to Taiwan). We’re using the Hilleburg Nallo 3 GT which we highly recommend for couples on long-time cycling trips. It’s not perfect but having slept in it on this journey for more than 500 nights including in Mongolia, China, Pamir Highway we really can’t complain about it. In seriously high winds and prolonged rain it’s been fine. Yes, it’s expensive but on this journey it’s our home. I think there are few tents out there that would be so reliable over such a long time period. However, if your trip is just for a few months then it’s probably not worth forking out so much.
    http://www.slothsonwheels.blogspot.com

    Reply
  26. AdamJackson

    During summers 2013, I attended my first cycling tour, and guess what; I changed three tents in just 24 days. It was my first trip I had no idea and just fell for reviews. But, I have to admit that the search ended with TLDR. It’s a genuine dome that is durable and waterproof and it’s very light. Even a couple of hundred grams weighs more when you are on a one month hiking and camping trip.

    Reply
  27. Tom Gaughan

    Superb article Tom , I use a Force Ten , Argon 200 for my present tour. Very lightweight and spacious, good in the wind too !

    Reply
  28. m

    I have had this tent the terra nova voyager for just under a year now mostly took out out in fair weather I decided to camp on top of Pen-y-fan 11/04/15 the wind condition’s were moderate to strong at the time’s but with this being rated a 4 season tent I was confident it would withstand the weather being thrown at it , but boy was I wrong the arch pole over the door kept being blown back onto the tent and me inside all night despite being pitched correctly the result in the morning was a broken pole and where the red pole sit’s over the two blue horizontal poles it had rubbed holes in both pole sleeves and the stitching inside was tearing through the inner tent where the pole sleeves attach, now I cannot insert the poles through the sleeves without them coming through the holes . I contacted terra nova about this they were useless after many emails and pictures of the damage were sent I had to send it off to them, 2 weeks for them to look at it and after they make a dissension another 2-3 weeks for them to repair it at my expense when it is clearly a design fault as there is no reinforcement protection where the poles overlap on the front of the tent but there is protection on the rear. Truly disappointed in there poor customer service I expected more form a British company I have lost faith in there product’s and will buy a Hilleberg for a better experience .

    Reply
  29. CAAD8 Tourer

    I travel with success with Topeak BikCamper, 3 seasons only I would say not really suitable for winter.

    http://www.topeak.com/products/bike-tent/bikamper

    Reply
  30. Dmitry

    I’m using this one Tramp Sputnik (around 1 kilogram)

    Definitely not the best choice: in a one layer tent all things are wet after the night.

    Reply
  31. Pet

    I v got the Coleman Celsius Compact. Fantastic simplicity, One entrance, on the long side, and easy in and out.
    Very good ventilation, accessable from inside, and the colour is a decent brown and green. Freestanding , a must I think.

    Reply
  32. StuartG

    Stumbled on the website, great article.

    Is use the terra nova tourer deluxe for touring. Comes in at around 2.5kg and is a massive 2 man tent, with a porch area. It’s an excellent tent, but too big for single expeditions.

    For solo efforts I have reverted to the terra nova Jupiter bivvy and a tarp. This is a new set up, so it will take me a bit of time to fully appreciate it.

    Reply
  33. Todd

    I am a big fan of the good old tarp. I have a 10×12 Cuben fiber tarp that weighs around 16oz. TONS of room and more airy and roomy.

    Reply
    • Wayne Hare

      I’m probably not going with a tarp, although it recommended by many experienced light-weight affiicionados. But I am curious: What is your preferred method for setting it up, and what to you do about mosquitoes? Thanks.

      Reply
  34. Raim

    Terra Nova Photon Laser Elite on a 72 day tour round France plus a tour of Northern Spain. Very light at under a kilo and compact for sticking in a pannier bag. Like others I’m very unimpressed by TNs non response to an email I sent seeking advice on a repair issue. The tent served me well . For me weight is an issue especially in hilly regions.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Yes – Terra Nova haven’t responded to any of the emails I’ve sent them over the years with various enquiries. Seems they make good tents but aren’t particularly interested in the people who buy them…

      Reply
  35. John

    The Gelert Solo tent is available in Europe under the name Highlander Blackthorn 1 for about €40 from Amazon. Mine will be here in a few days. Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  36. Simon

    I’ve got the Terra Nova Voyager too, it’s a great tent for bike camping tours. I bought it after following a discussion thread on http://www.livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=36510 about what tents to buy. Made a great choice, if anyone else is looking then this comes recommended. One of my buddie has the Hilleberg Nallo and he’s pleased with that so also worth considering.

    Reply
  37. Heike

    Hi Tom,
    my favourite is the Hilleberg Soulo. I am using it now for an entire year and never had any problems with it. It has the perfect size, easy to pitch and enough space for all panniers. I am 172cm.
    Yes it is expensive but no regrets – I love it.
    Greetings Heike

    Reply
    • Paul

      Heike, saw your blog a while ago and wondered what your tent was, now i know! safe travelling!

      Reply
  38. Dhruv

    Hi tom, great website, rich with relevant information. I begin a transcontinental tour from Alaska in June. I am using the hilleberg Allak. It’s a roomy 2 man tent at 5 lbs and looks solid. Do you have any record of experiences with it? I tested it in the Himalayas in snow and at -15 c. It was really comfortable. The zips worry me though.

    Reply
  39. brendan

    HiI, we did our first cycle tour in 1992 through Europe and used a Vaude three person tent. It weighed about 2.8kg. I still have it and still use it .I have had the seams resealed by a parachute maker here in Australia and have found its internal inner hanging system unbelievable. The best tent I have ever used for hiking or biking

    Reply
  40. phil binns

    Hi, i have been using a banshee 200 for the last 3 years as a one person tent. Bought on price match from Go-outdoors. Original one a seam on the inner parted on first outing & shop replaced (was not actually a big problem) since then i have used the tent for well over 100 nights in Scotland, England, Germany & a trip all the way down the Rhine. Seen some real bad all season weather & its held up & stayed dry. It has been a good performer & is very well suited to wild camping especially if you leave the panniers on the bike & use a cheap plastic groundsheet as a footprint. Now has a very minor seam leak – I have internet ordered some sealant that i hope will sort this out. For the price it is excellent value if I throw it away & buy another one tomorrow I will still have spent less money than on some other tents & also will have worried less about how much i spent on kit. I am sure there are other good there but the banshee is a very good low cost buy. It is not free standing but i see very few situations were I need this.

    Reply
  41. Yan stam

    I have a vaude hogan ultra light. Its great for wild camping very quick to set up . Cycled cape york in Australia and could not leave the tent up in the the afternoon sun the poles break from the heat and the tension on the two shorter ons. Back in NZ the repaired them. Then i cycled from the Netherlands to Indonesia bringing repair kit for tent plus spare parts of pole plus sleeves. The poles are just to light or thin. Have to look ad something els #(:

    Reply
  42. Ge

    Hello Tom, thank you for the guide and recommendations! We (my boyfriend and I) are setting off to Australia from Barcelona in December, going through the Balcans, Turkey, Iran, China, Thailand etc and would like to know what your opinion is on the MSR Hubba Hubba nx3? We are planning to camp all the way, although not sure if it will be ok in SE Asia yet but anyway.. Would this tent be good in case of cold nights and also good for hot climates?
    By they way I would like to comment on the Vango Banshee 300. We used this tent on our tour from Edinburgh to Barcelona(Via Holland, Belgium, France) and unfortunately after a month the tent poles started to crack. We did tape them along the way but it was really frustrating to set the tent up in a decent shape. Also the button to hold the tent doors rolled up came off pretty soon but we stitch that with no problems afterwards. The waterproof of the tent is very very good luckily! Also shape and color are great. This is our feedback so we wouldn’t rely on it for a long term use. I’m sure for short trips is great, or maybe we have just been unlucky.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      The Hubba range is very good all-round. If there’s two of you I’d definitely look at the Mutha Hubba (3-berth) – I’ve been using it with my other half since 2010 and we really appreciate a little extra space to unpack and make it more homely. I’ve heard only good reports about the updated NX version of the tents. HTH!

      Reply
  43. Terry McGeary

    Great reviews thanks. I have used my Vango Blade 2 a few times. Long metal pole front to back. Loads of room for one with panniers. Inner up first but I have no experience otherwise. As someone else commented, their is not a lot of room between the inner and outer, and I too dislike the awkwardness of the pole even though you can unzip to go past it left or right. Did the job but had to be a strap-on-top of panniers job partly due to poles. Gelert solo tents are rare as hens’ teeth. The Banshee 200 is looking good to me!

    Reply
    • Steve

      The Solo one is sometimes sold under the Highlander brand. I also highly recommend the Wild Country Zephyros 1 (a 1.4kg Hilleburg Atko copy for <£100) and my fave, the Wild Country Aspect one for a good spacious 1 man 1.9kg tent.

      Reply
  44. Alex tracey

    Hi tom,

    How much time did you spend in your tent on your janapar expedition? How important is Living space on such a long journey?

    I am setting off soon for a few years and can’t decide on how big a tent I want.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      As a beginner I found having a bit of living space was nice in the long run. A 2-berth tent suited me fine. Nowadays I’m happy with a 1-berth tent or just bivvying without a tent at all, but it took a few years to get to that point.

      Reply
  45. Struan

    I’ve used a Hillberg Akto for several years whilst cycling & hill walking. It’s absolutely bomb proof & easy to put up that I find is great when conditions are bad & you need to get your tent up quickly. My version is quite old now as I inherited it from s friend when he bought a new tent. The only downside is it’s size & weight when compared to modern compact & lightweight tents on the market. But the benefits hugely outweigh these downsides.
    Great article as always from Tom, my go to site on bikes & bike equipment.

    Reply
  46. Andreas Buciuman

    Hi Tom,

    great list! On our biketrip from Austria to Australia we also used the 1-person MSR Hubba NX each. Great tent. I was satisfied with it during our whole journey of 11 months.

    Reply
  47. 1/2KL

    I found out that Naturehike, a Chinese brand that you’ll find on Aliexpress as well as sometimes Amazon, kind of replicates the style of the MSR Hubba Hubba (my very first tent!) as it used to be with their so called Mongar. And the price is divided by three. Something to investigate for the newcomers, I guess.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Thanks Michael – several people mentioned that on Twitter recently when I put out a call for recommendations.

      Reply
    • Shack

      Thumbs up for the Nature Hike. Did a tour around the outer Hebrides last year, had everything from torrential rain to snow and gales. Never missed a beat and stayed dry. Well impressed for the money

      Reply
  48. Tom J

    A good piece, Tom! A bike touring tent is a really personal purchase which, like bikes, I think people tend to buy with undue haste when starting out, before working through what they need it to do for them.

    A thought or two on tents for larger groups – specifically those with children!

    In groups of multiple adults, more than two in a tent and you’re best off having multiple tents of that size. It’s inefficient to do otherwise, but with children you have very little choice but to go big.

    We used the Vango Ark 400 when the children were smaller; this was a good price but the fly never quite seemed to be the same shape as the inner, and relied on the roominess of our child trailer to transport it. The cube, more so than the weight, became an issue, although it was no lightweight.

    To say that “Terra Nova don’t feel the need to change the design of or discontinue perfectly good tents at random” isn’t *quite* true when it comes to bigger tents, because the Laser Space 5 which we use, had a frightfully short life. Sadly, I fear that critical mass for an ultra-light five berth tent simply doesn’t exist. The similarly shaped 4 berth version remains in the Wild Country range but is heavier and has two of the two-berth inners, rather than a three and a two.

    We spent over a year trying to track a Laser Space 5 down, having been royally done over by a retailer during the clearance sale, but got lucky in the end. We can now get all five of us, and all our bikes and panniers at a push, under cover in a space most of us can stand up in – and pack the tent away into a single Ortlieb Sportpacker, excluding the poles. We use the Wild Country footprint and carry a tarp for the bikes in a second pannier, with space left in the top of both, and it all fits on the rack of a 20” wheeled trailerbike. There’s a few pictures of it in action, here: http://www.familybycycle.uk/2017/08/vatersay-barrabados.html

    The downsides? Frontal area, and the consequential strain on guys in strong winds necessitating some meaty pegs for insurance, and a distinct lack of stealth – but if you have children you’re unlikely to be banking on that anyway 😉

    There is a distinct shortage of choice for families looking for a seriously lightweight tent, and it’s a real shame that, expensive as it was, the Laser Space 5 has been discontinued. We know a family who actually make their own tents for touring – and we nearly did the same!

    Reply
  49. Paul

    Hi Tom, great article and perfect timing for me personally. The suggestions and endorsements from readers have led to a dozen open tabs in seconds. Just throwing into the mix the Yellowstone Matterhorn 1 (1.5kg) very cheap, it cost me £30 and it served me well, if a little bit too small for my height, and used it across Europe and Scandinavia a couple of years ago.

    Reply
  50. Lassi

    I’d recommend buying a tent with two entrances for better views. A two person ten for solo rider and a four person tent for two or for the family. I know most people prefer green but I’ve noticed that a bright colour like orange works just as well. Enjoy your trip!

    Reply
  51. mike grenville

    A key factor for me in choosing a tent was that the outer tent went up first, so doesn’t get the inner tent wet if you have to pitch in the rain, and can act as a shelter until the end if you have to pack up in the rain. This Luxe tent is the tent I use; it weighs 2kg, has a single pole and has lots of inside space.
    http://www.luxeoutdoor.com/eng/catalog-topic-gallery-view1.asp?id=1405&selfpath=/173

    Reply
  52. Adam

    Check out Naturehike tents. Great value for money. Quality products.
    Tom, keep up the good work.✌🏻

    Reply
  53. Chuck Bahl

    I too prefer a smaller, solo tent, and I am surprised that the one I have been using for several years now never seems to get recognition. The Eureka Spitfire 1 weighs in at just over 3lbs, sets up and tears down quickly, is easy to get in and out of, has great ventilation, and offers a surprising amount of room… It’s unusual shape allows me (I am 6’5″) to stretch out for sleep–with room to store items above, below, and on both sides of me–and it affords ample space to sit up to get dressed in the morning. I have a brief review and picture of it on Amazon.com:
    Eureka Spitfire 1 Tent https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SZ0ZLME/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_JXiWAbF3J52Q4

    Reply
  54. Daniel Silva

    I used to hike with a MountainHardwear light tent (the model doesn’t exist anymore)for 2 persons which weight is about 2 kg but recently bought a minima sl 1 from camp.usa https://www.camp-usa.com/outdoor/product/essential-equipment/minima-1-sl-tent/

    Very happy with it and especially when packed. It’s a really small bag and its total weight is 1 kg.

    Reply
  55. Sam

    Interesting read, I have a tour (my first!) Planned this summer with my dad in France, contrary to this list we’ve gone with Robens challenger 2 tents, which come with their own dry bags!

    Reply

Leave a Reply