Photo of a grassy field full of tents and touring bikes. The weather looks quite damp.

What’s The Best Cycle Touring & Bikepacking Tent? (2024 Edition)

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Welcome to my introduction to tent choice for the touring cyclist or bikepacker, in which an actual human writer with loads of relevant experience (hi!) will explain what to look for in a tent for cycle touring or bikepacking, and suggest a range of tents for all budgets available worldwide.

Before we get to the good stuff, though, there’s one important thing to know:

There’s currently no established category of tents specifically for cycle touring and bikepacking.

If you’ve already spent some time researching, you’ll have noticed that most tents seem to be designed and marketed for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, car camping, and general outdoor pursuits, rather than specifically for cycle tours and bikepacking trips.

You might find the occasional exception to this rule, such as MSR’s new-for-2024 Hubba Hubba Bikepack series. But it doesn’t take much investigation to reveal that these are the same old Hubba Hubba backpacking tents with shorter pole sections, different carry sacks, and lots of marketing spin, rather than new tents designed from the ground(sheet) up for cyclists.

And the lightweight tent market is a crowded one. Walk into REI or Decathlon or any other large, high-street outdoor gear retailer and you’ll find a huge range of tent options, from ultralight shelters through to heavyweight family tents, freestanding domes to tunnels and teepees, tents with ventilation and bug-mesh or with snow cowls and snow stakes, double-wall and single-wall tents, tents with or without awnings or footprints – and at prices from next to nothing up hundreds of pounds or dollars. 

Yes – it can be hard to know where to start. (That’s why I originally wrote this post back in 2013, before the AI chatbots took over.)

And why the focus on people with cars and backpacks rather than bicycles? Simple: the market is much, much bigger. It’s about profit margins. Bikepacking may be growing in popularity, but bicycle travellers still sit on the margins, and are lucky if they get more than a quick mention in the product description.

The truth is that you’ll be lucky to find any tent designed specifically with cycle tourers and bikepackers in mind. 

Given that, it’s natural to start searching for trustworthy recommendations when choosing a tent for cycle touring or bikepacking – which I’m guessing is how you arrived here.

Here’s another important thing to remember:

‘Best’ means nothing outside the context of your bike trip. Every ride is different.

So before you go any deeper into researching the best tent for a cycle tour or bikepacking trip, take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Are you hunting for a cheap tent for a short overnight bike adventure close to home, or investing in a long-lasting tent for a transcontinental or round-the-world tour?
  • Are you a heavyweight tourer who likes plenty of living space and room for luggage, a minimalist ultralight bikepacker, or somewhere in between?
  • Do you have racks and panniers to take bulky and heavy loads, or are you bikepacking with frame luggage, handlebar harnesses and fork cages alone?
  • Do you plan on staying mostly at nice campsites with perfect tent pitches, or wild camping in the woods with your own stove and cookware?
  • Are you planning a fair-weather ride in good weather, or will you encounter winter temperatures, strong winds, high altitudes, or other extreme conditions?

As I mentioned, there are many tried-and-tested tents for cycling and camping adventures that have proven themselves on a massive range of journeys.

But if you want to delve any deeper, you’ll find there’s no real ‘best tent for cycle touring or bikepacking’ until you’ve asked yourself the questions above.

If you haven’t answered them, now’s the time to do so. And if you’re struggling to find clear answers, I’ve written introductions to the what, where, when, who and how of adventure cycle touring and bikepacking to help you do so.

I once rode the length of England without no money (long story), sleeping in a Tesco Value 2‑berth tent I got from a recycling centre. Another time I pedalled off-road through a stormy Mongolian springtime with a stormproof German tent costing hundreds of Euros. And before that, my wife and I shared a spacious 3‑person freestanding tent as we traversed the campgrounds of Europe. On each occasion, the tent I was using was the “best” tent for the job. You get the picture.

Okay. Got a clear idea of what kind of bike trip you’re going on? Great! Read on…

What Type Of Tent Is Best For Cycle Touring & Bikepacking?

I’ve spent a long time (too long, probably) looking at cyclists’ tent-buying trends over the last couple of decades I’ve been exploring the world on two wheels.

And I can tell you with confidence that the most popular kind of cycle touring or bikepacking tent for a solo rider is a freestanding, double-walled, 2‑berth, 3‑season tent in an inconspicuous shade of green, weighing 1–2kg (2–4 pounds), striking a balance between comfort, durability and weight, strapping neatly to a rear rack or a handlebar harness, with room inside for the rider and the most valuable bits of their luggage, and space in the awning for more. (The bike itself can stay outside.)

For a couple or pair, it’s the 3‑berth model of the same tent.

And for a solo ultralight rider, it’s the 1‑berth model.

If you asked me to pick just one range of tents that ticks all of these boxes, it would be MSR’s Hubba Hubba range, which is available in 1‑, 2- and 3‑berth models.

(Click here to skip down to the full details, photos, and manufacturer links for the MSR Hubba Hubba range).

I’ve used and abused many tents in the Hubba Hubba range over the years, including a 2014 2‑berth Hubba Hubba NX, a 2012 1‑berth Hubba, and a 2010 3‑berth Mutha Hubba HP. They’re heavily patched-up with seam seal and repair tape, but I still use all of them regularly (see the photos above).

If you don’t have any highly specialised requirements and you’re looking for a top-quality tent you can simply grab and ride out the door with, the MSR Hubba Hubba range is what I’d usually recommend.

As a bonus, being of the free-standing variety of tents, they’re extremely easy to pitch, making them ideal for newcomers to frequent camping in varied conditions.

How Do Tents For Cyclists Differ From Tents For Hikers & Backpackers?

Before I start listing the best cycle touring and bikepacking tents, I’ll briefly explain how tent-buying priorities for cyclists differ from, say, long-distance hikers, and how that might affect your choice.

The first big difference is that packed weight and volume is usually less important for cyclists.

On a bike trip, you have a two wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle to carry your gear, rather than shouldering the burden yourself. This means – generally speaking – you can consider bigger, heavier tents that will allow you to live more comfortably, fare better in bad weather, last longer, and possibly cost less too.

Long-distance thru-hikers in particular are often concerned with minimising their base pack weight, and for that reason sometimes carry single-skin shelters held up by carbon-fibre trekking poles that weigh just a few hundred grams. Unless you’re hoping to win an endurance bikepacking race, you probably won’t be sharing this obsession. (But in case you are, there are suggestions below for ultralight tents for bikepacking too.)

A second difference is that cyclists often camp close to roads, as well as in the backcountry. 

This brings with it slightly different priorities when it comes to visibility.

Many hikers prefer to be as visible as possible in remote landscapes in case of needing assistance. Cyclists just as often want the opposite: to be able to wild camp (or stealth camp) undetected, close to civilisation when necessary. For that reason, the colour of the pitched tent often factors into the buying decision.

This is less of a concern for remote, off-road riding in wilderness areas where you’re going to be a long way from people. But because trips like this often involve road sections too, both cycle tourers and off-road bikepackers are served best by tents suited to both scenarios.

A third, although marginal, difference is that hikers have the ability to pitch ultralight shelters which use trekking poles for structure. 

If you’re on a bike, some of these shelters may seem to offer a fabulously lightweight and packable solution for a bikepacking expedition. But you’ll have to buy/make/bring an additional set of poles to set them up. These poles will have no other use, which cancels out the weight savings. If reducing your luggage is really your top priority, consider using the bike itself to support a tarp shelter.


The Best Cycle Touring & Bikepacking Tents For 2024

To the listings!

The following tents are specifically recommended for cycle touring and bikepacking, and have been extensively road-tested by the community.

Models in this list come from a variety of manufacturers worldwide, so whether you’re reading this article in the UK or Europe, the USA or Canada, Australia, or elsewhere, there’ll probably be options here you can find locally, as well as online.

Some of these recommendations are inspired by my interviews with highly experienced riders who have spent countless miles and years road-testing these tents. Others are tents that frequently appear in trip reports and receive unanimously positive reviews from real-world users. The listings are fully updated to reflect the latest models and prices for the 2024 season.

We’ll start with low-budget tents for short and simple trips, move on to the most popular tents in the mid-range for general cycle touring and bikepacking service, and work our way up to the most durable lightweight tents for world-ranging rides of months or years.

To finish, we’ll looking at a few examples of specialist tents suited to the weight and pack size restrictions faced by ultralight bikepackers with minimal frame luggage (though this niche is not my usual focus).

For each tent, you’ll find links to manufacturer’s websites where you can get detailed, up-to-date specifications. Wherever possible, I’ve included links to online retailers in the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada offering the best deals I can find (affiliate links are marked with an asterisk; you can find out more about my affiliate policy here).

These are not the only tents that’ll do the job. In fact, the tent you already have in the garage/basement/attic/storage unit might be perfectly adequate, as you don’t really need any of this fancy gear anyway.

But I can promise you the listing below represent the very best of what the global cycle touring and bikepacking community is using today.


Wild Country Zephyros Compact 2 (UK, £230)

Wild Country is the budget marque of the premium British manufacturer Terra Nova. The 1.95kg Zephyros Compact 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 interior space for a reasonably low weight and with a single pole supporting a single-pitch structure. 

The “Compact” tag was added to the name in 2020, with the tent now featuring shorter pole sections for a more convenient 30×16cm packed shape for bikepacking luggage and small panniers, as is fast becoming the trend.

There’s also a 1‑berth version which weighs in at 1.65kg, but in my opinion – especially given the small awning – the 300g you’d save isn’t worth the loss of interior storage space for your gear, unless minimising weight is your number one priority.

  • Exclusive to Tom’s Bike Trip readers: Get 15% off the Wild Country Zephyros Compact 2 on the Terra Nova website when you use the voucher code TOMA15 at checkout.
  • The Wild Country Zephyros Compact 2 is also available online or in-store in the UK from Go OutdoorsSnow + Rock and Cotswold Outdoor, or online-only from Amazon. Try eBay.co.uk for second-hand offers.
  • Wild Country is a British brand, so (especially post-Brexit) this tent is quite hard to find elsewhere in the world.

Alpkit Ordos 2 (UK, £235)

Direct retailer and manufacturer Alpkit have made a splash in the UK bikepacking and cycle touring scene with their Ordos ultralight 3‑season wedge tents. I used one on a traverse of the central highlands of Armenia, and I’d still be using it if it hadn’t later been trampled by a herd of cattle.

With 2- and 3‑berth models available and a choice of a red or green rainfly, the lightweight Ordos tents – just 1.4kg for the 2‑berth and 1.7kg for the 3‑berth in their most minimal configurations – are roomy, practical, well-ventilated, easy to pitch, and reasonably priced, doing best in warmer weather.

The classic wedge design echoes classic tents such as the Vaude Hogan UL from Germany (see below) and Big Agnes Seedhouse from the USA. It’s not quite freestanding but close enough for most real-world scenarios, requiring a minimum of four stakes for a good pitch.

The most recent versions of the Ordos feature shorter-section collapsible poles, making the 42cm-long pack shape and size slightly more handlebar harness-friendly (though still not as friendly as other tents in this list).

  • Order the Alpkit Ordos 2 or Ordos 3 direct from Alpkit in the UK or with worldwide delivery.
  • Also try eBay for rare second-hand models.

REI Co-Op Quarter Dome SL 1/2/3 (USA, $330/350/400)

If your tour is beginning in the States and you need a new set of camping gear, you’d do well to head to the nearest branch of REI.

REI is a well-known outdoor co-operative manufacturing a range of top-rated gear and selling it without the third-party mark-up, so you get a lot for your money. Sign up as a lifetime member of the co-op and you’ll also get 10% of your spend back in store credit at the end of each year, as well as free delivery and various other benefits.

Their ultralight, semi-freestanding Quarter Dome, available in 1‑berth (2lb 6oz / 1.1kg), 2‑berth (2lb 14oz / 1.5kg) and 3‑berth (4lb 9oz / 2.1kg) versions, was the most popular cycle touring tent among Stateside riders in my most recent survey of cycle touring and bikepacking tents (though I have not yet slept in one personally).

The mesh inner can be pitched fully freestanding for warmer weather and stargazing, with the rainfly needing just a couple of (included) stakes.

Expect plentiful headroom, excellent build quality and one of the best warranties you’ll find in the outdoor equipment industry.


MEC Spark 2.0 1/2/3P (Canada, CA$375/475/575)

Looking for a tent for a cycle tour originating in Canada? The Spark 2.0 range of tents from Canadian gear retailer MEC comes in 1‑, 2- and 3‑berth versions at a very reasonable weight for the price – the solo 1‑berth version weighs just 1.34kg packed.

With a familiar looking freestanding dome-shaped design, the 2- and 3‑berth models each have two doors and two vestibules for easy access to extra storage for panniers and other luggage. All models feature a 3000mm waterproof, 30D polyester ripstop fly (ie: industry-standard waterproof material) to protect you from the heaviest of North American springtime downpours.

And because the Spark 2.0 range is designed, manufacturerd and sold direct by Canada’s largest gear retailer, each model also works out considerably cheaper than similar tents from better-known brands, and is covered by MEC’s ‘rock solid’ guarantee.


MSR Elixir 1–4 (Worldwide, £250–380 / US$320–490 / CA$350–635)

If saving weight is not of utmost importance, and you’re looking to save money, but you still want a quality tent from a reputable brand, the MSR Elixir range is a very good bet (click for Europe/USA/Canada official manufacturer webpages).

These tents have a very similar freestanding dome structure and a range of 1- to 4‑berth variants – similar to the much-loved Hubba Hubba range (see below) but for significantly lower prices. Why? They’re considerably heavier: 2.77kg compared to 1.76kg in the case of the 2‑berth Elixir versus the 2‑berth Hubba. That’s almost 60% more weight, although we’re still only talking the equivalent of a 1‑litre water bottle. For a fully-loaded rider carrying a tent on a rear rack, that’s a marginal difference, though the 51cm-long packed size will exclude it from many bikepacking handlebar harness setups.

Slightly more spacious than the Hubba Hubbas, and with a more complex pole structure, you can expect the Elixir tents to last even longer than their more expensive brethren. As such, they’d be an excellent choice for fully-loaded riders heading off on long-haul trips where maximum durability is key.

UK/European markets get a choice of green or grey rainfly while North Americans are, for unknown reasons, stuck with grey.


MSR Hubba Hubba 1/2/3P + Bikepack editions (Worldwide, £385/445/650 / $470/550/630)

In the long term, the MSR Hubba Hubba range (Europe/USA/Canada webpages) is possibly the all-time most recommended series of tents among the global community of cycle tourers and bikepackers, as mentioned in the introduction. As a result, it has spawned a thousand cheap and inferior imitations.

Riders love the generous headroom, the inner mesh pockets, the vast luggage awnings, and the low packed volume and weight.

The range features 1‑, 2- and 3‑berth models (all three of which are pictured above) and has been updated several times over the years as tent technology evolves. For 2024 the range has been slightly expanded with the addition of “Bikepack” editions of the 1- and 2‑berth tents (but not the 3‑berth), almost identical to the regular models but with shorter pole sections, a packed size and shape better suited to handlebar harnesses, a dark green rainfly, and a slightly higher price tag.

The MSR Hubba Hubba range aims to strike that finest of balances between weight, comfort and durability. In other words, they’re neither the lightest, biggest, nor longest-lasting tents in this list, but you’re unlikely to find fault with the end result.

Since 2022, the North American models (pictured above) have come with a “Sahara” yellow-tan rainfly, replacing the light grey of previous “NX” iterations.

In Europe (where the range still goes by the old “NX” naming scheme), grey and green rainflys are still available. If you have a choice, I’d recommend green for more inconspicuous wild camping.

A solo fully-loaded cycle tourer might go for the 3lb 4oz / 1.5kg, 2‑berth Hubba Hubba 2P, or the Bikepack edition of the same tent, which may also suit those bikepacking in pairs. This is my personal go-to tent for most scenarios.

Couples with a full luggage setup will probably prefer the spacious 1.7kg, 3‑berth Hubba Hubba 3P. This is my and my wife’s preferred tent when we ride together.

Ultralight solo bikepackers will likely go for the 1‑berth Hubba Hubba Bikepack with a minimum packed weight of 2lb 13oz / 0.93kg. I took an older version of this tent down the US West Coast a few years back and wrote this review.

There has in the past been a 4‑berth variant called the Papa Hubba, but it isn’t part of the current range.

Expect MSR tents to last many years if well looked-after, with top-quality weatherproofing, well-designed ventilation, superb build quality, and super-easy setup, with a variety of pitching options for different climates, including inner-only and fly/footprint-only. If you do encounter difficulties, warranty repairs or exchanges can be requested from MSR’s service centres in WA, USA and Ireland.


Vaude Hogan UL (UK & Europe, £470/€500)

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 real high-quality tent. 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 very outdated original review here).

At 1.9kg it’s not the lightest tent in this list, nor is it truly freestanding, but it is extremely durable, waterproof, with a decent-sized porch and a nice natural shade of green available for the fly. 

As with other wedge-shaped tents, it’s a little more sensitive to side winds than tunnel or geodesic (aka: dome) tents, so you’ll do well to be mindful of wind direction when pitching.


Terra Nova Voyager (UK, £660)

A British design that’s been on the scene for decades, the semi-freestanding classic Voyager is a long-term favourite among round-the-world riders originating from the UK, in part because Terra Nova don’t feel the need to change the design of or discontinue perfectly good tents. This has allowed the Voyager to build up a second-to-none reputation. It’s the tent I would have bought at the start of my first round-the-world attempt if I could have afforded it!

With a packed weight of 2.15kg, lightness is not the Voyager’s top design priority – but instead, you get top-class construction and weatherproofing, loads of liveability, and extreme durability for years (decades!) of riding.

The Voyager’s inner tent can be pitched fully freestanding, so in good weather you’ll also be able to take advantage of its part-mesh construction for ventilation and views of the night sky.

  • Buy the Terra Nova Voyager online in the UK direct from Terra Nova, with an exclusive 15% reader discount when you use the voucher code TOMA15 at checkout.
  • The Terra Nova Voyager is also available in-store or online in the UK from Cotswold Outdoor and Snow + Rock, or online only from UltralightOutdoorGear.co.uk and Amazon. Try eBay.co.uk. for second-hand offers and deals.
  • As with their subsidiary brand Wild Country, Terra Nova tents are not easily found outside the UK.

Hilleberg Nallo 2/3/GT (Sweden, £910+)

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

They’re not the most lightweight, nor the best choice for 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: these tents are among the most tried and tested in the world and will last – literally – for decades.

The Nallo 2 (2.4kg) is recommended for solo heavyweight tourers, with the Nallo 3 GT (3.1kg) delivering luxury on-the-road living for couples and their luggage.

Other Hilleberg tents often seen on the road include the lighter 1.7kg Akto for soloists and bikepackers, and the freestanding and spacious 3.3kg Allak 2 for couples and heavyweight tourers. The Swedish brand of course makes excellent winter tents, with the 2.4kg Soulo standing out.


Ultralight Bikepacking Tents

The following tents are included in this list as examples of shelters that have either been developed with bikepacking in mind or crossed over from thru-hiking circles because they’re the lightest and most packable shelters you can get.

The range of minimalist tents and shelters serving this niche has only grown with the rise of bikepacking, so consider this a sample of the kind of options you’ll find if you start digging deeper into this market. It is certainly not an exhaustive list: for that, you’ll have to visit a specialist bikepacking gear blog.

You’ll find some of the lighter tents from the list above – such as the Alpkit Ordos 2 or the MSR Hubba Hubba Bikepack 1P – making their way onto bikepacking kit lists, possibly in stripped-down form.


Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo (USA, $260)

Weighing just 680g (that’s the same as a full, standard-sized cycling water bottle), the single-pole, single-wall Lunar Solo relies on being staked out and requires you to supply your own pole (it’s designed to be used with a trekking pole). It’s 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 bivvy bag.


Terra Nova Starlite (UK, £655)

Launched in 2018, the Terra Nova Starlite series, available in 1‑, 2- and 3‑berth options, was one of the first British tents specifically designed with bikepacking in mind. Aside from striking a great combination of weight and weather-resistance, the 2‑berth Starlite 2 weighs just 1.5kg and, thanks to a reduction in pole section length, has a packed length of just 29cm. This means it’ll fit easily into a small pannier, or strap to your handlebars using the stuff-sack’s integrated webbing loops.

Some might consider its non-freestanding tunnel design a negative, but in the type of climate and terrain it’s designed for, staking it out really shouldn’t be a problem if you choose your pitch accordingly. Once up, it’s as roomy as you’d expect from a tunnel tent and very stable. That the optional footprint extends to cover the awning floor is a nice bonus.

  • Read my long-term review of the Starlite 2 here.
  • Get the Terra Nova Starlite 2 in the UK direct from Terra Nova, with a TomsBikeTrip.com exclusive 15% discount when you use the voucher code TOMA15.
  • The Terra Nova Starlite 2 is also available online in the UK from Amazon, eBay.co.uk, and possibly elsewhere.
  • As previously noted, Terra Nova products are hard to find outside of the UK.

More Tents For Cycle Touring & Bikepacking

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 cycled the length of England with a Tesco Value tent I rescued from the local household recycling centre, because remember: you don’t actually need any of this fancy stuff.

Which tent(s) have you successfully used on tours or bikepacking trips? Let us know in the comments.

Bogged down in research for your next big bicycle adventure?

I wrote a whole book to help with that. How To Hit The Road is designed to be read at your leisure, making planning a bike tour simple and achievable, no matter the length, duration or budget. Available globally as an ebook or paperback.


Comments (skip to respond)

139 responses to “What’s The Best Cycle Touring & Bikepacking Tent? (2024 Edition)”

  1. Ciaran avatar

    Excellent review Tom.Some great guidance.I’ve used the hubba nx on the wild Atlantic way in Ireland & it was excellent in all areas as you’ve said.
    Recently I bought a Durston XMid 1 to go sun 1kg.It’s a lightweight backpacking tent & you would use your trekking poles normally to pitch it.As the hiking poles are awkward on the bike:) Dan also supplies ultralight poles to pitch it.
    I’ve used it recently in Kerry doing a few days & it’s very good.It’s 800g without poles & still below the 1kg with them.it’s pitches rapidly with four pegs & have double entry & big vestibules.
    It’s a quirky offset interior but there’s ample room in the one man.
    Just something different & quite good value if you’ve a buddy coming home from the states & you avoid the add ons,Ciaran

  2. Richard avatar
    Richard

    Hi Tom

    Thank you for this page (and the whole site).

    I’ve got a Wild Country Helm 1 and Helm 3 for bike camping (depending on how many of us are going), but I’ve recently been thinking of the Hoolie 3 ETC or the Robens Pioneer 3EX or Voyager 3. The really large porches on both these seem to lend themselves to bike touring as they are big enough to put your bike and panniers in. Do you have any experience of these?

  3. Andrew Hamish Fennymore-White avatar
    Andrew Hamish Fennymore-White

    My wife and I have just completed our first bike packing trip with a 28 year old Terra Nova Trisar. The floor has had better days and the tape on the fly is just starting to leak but they make a great product. We have climbed the world in this from lightweight treks to perched on a bergschrund alpine climbing.
    Certainly a product to consider if you want quality

  4. Juan Luis Galeano avatar
    Juan Luis Galeano

    ¡Hola¡ Ahora tengo 71 años y empecé mis aventuras hace siete años. La tienda que me compré fue una Nallo 4GT ¡Enorme! pero cada ciclista es un mundo. Lo máximo que he estado han sido 15 días, en Francia y en invierno (finales de noviembre principios de diciembre de Toulouse a Royan y vuelta). Cuando viajo sólo hago camping “salvaje” muchas veces. Mi esposa se ha apuntado y vamos los dos. Nuestro territorio es España, Alemania pero sobre todo Francia. Uso una tienda grande y cómoda porque al final del día (podemos llegar a hacer 70 km) deseamos descansar, cenar bien y dormir confortablemente y tranquilos. Hemos tenido vientos muy fuertes y la tienda no se ha inmutado, así como mas de seis horas de lluvia torrencial y no ha entrado nada de agua. Con temperaturas bajo cero, es interesante porque dentor de la tienda hay unos 5 grados mas que en el exterior. En verano es muy calurosa, pero solo la usamos del atardecer al amanecer. Ahora han empezado a fallar las cremalleras (punto débil de Hilleberg) y hemos comprado una Keron 4GT, (La espero en tres dias) a veces la Nallo en su parte baja tocaba el saco de dormir y se mojaba este. Al año hacemos unas siete salidas y recorremos vias verdes. Encantado de compartir nuestras experiencias

  5. Have you taken a look at the Ventour Wisp? Interesting set up and less than 1kg.

  6. Hey Tom, any thoughts on the Naturehike Cloud Up 2?

  7. Hi Tom, year ago i saw a Lonely Planet book On cycling 9 or so European countries starting up in the Alps or Switzerland. I can’t find it at LP and twice I had it in my hand planning to buy it but finds we’re tight at the time
    Regards Simon

    1. I also have a Lonely Planet guide to cycling France somewhere… I think it was last updated in 2009.

  8. Hi again Tom. I’ve been reading your tent recommendations — useful thinking. 

    I just want to share that over the past 5–10 years I’ve done a number of bike trips, and I normally just buy a cheap two-man tent from Tesco or an online retailer if my last tent is gone. Each costs around £20+ sterling and I often give them away to a local at the end of the trip. So far they’ve worked a treat and have more than once stood up to storms, hail, snow, etc. Like you say, you don’t always need expensive stuff. 

    That said, always aim to be safe…

    1. Thank you Ian! Those on a budget would do well to heed this advice. For what it’s worth, I also used a Tesco 2‑person tent on a tour (I bought it used from the local tip) and it worked perfectly well through a rainy English spring. That said, I wouldn’t rely on it for, say, a crossing of Patagonia… ?

  9. Mike Gryczan avatar
    Mike Gryczan

    HI All, Does anyone have any experience with Kammok hammock tents? Sunda 2.0 seems like a nice option, pricey imo. But is it worth the $?

  10. Hi. Thanks for the advices. Cracking website. I’ve just discovered it. Very useful.

    Depending when and where we cycle we use a tent or a tarp. We’ve been travelling by bike since 24/30 years.

    Hilleberg’s Nallo 2 GT : Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Baltic countries. For spring or summer 4 to 5 weeks trips. Great comfort and space. Bombproof. But heavy. And bulky.

    Mountain Equipment AR UL 2 : France from late spring to early fall. 1 to 3 weeks trips. Very good tent. Pity ME does not produce tents anymore. Sturdy, reliable, compact, light. A bit stuffy inside : bags or paniers sleep out. We also use it for hiking trips.

    DD Hammocks Superlight tarp 2.9 × 3 m : France. From late spring in the South, to early fall. We spent more than 2 weeks in French “Bretagne” under it and it was absolutely great, even under bad weather. Very large protection against rain. But not when humidity fell…
    We also used it during two weeks on the EV8 route along the Mediterranean coast. Brilliant.
    In fact, since I changed my old Scico paniers for Alpkit bags, I tend to take the lightest shelter as possible. Unfortunately, I’m not sure 😉 we’ll be able to travel in Scotland under a tarp in summer, and the ME is also a wee small for this rainy destination.

  11. Rachel avatar

    We’re using a Wild Country Hoolie 6 for cycle touring as a family of four. It ticked all our boxes — packs small enough to fit easily in our trailer, light enough (7kgs) has two sleeping areas, height to stand up, loads of storage space, space for the kids to bring a couple of friends, and roomy enough inside to contemplate sitting out bad weather for a few days, whilst being a pretty functional 3‑season tent. There were a couple of other tents on our wishlist which were either too expensive for us to contemplate, or simply unavailable when we needed to get our tent, but a couple of years on from purchase, we’re very happy so far with it.

  12. Gareth Clarke avatar
    Gareth Clarke

    Hi Tom, I really enjoyed the article and I too have spent many a comfortable, and uncomfortable, night in a MSR Hubba Hubba 2P. I picked it up secondhand 5 years ago and it has served me well (we’re even using it yesterday on Islay) but I now need a bit more waterproofing in my tent life. I do like the USA-style tents with high walls, roomy inner, 2 doors, etc and I’m leaning towards a brand-new MSR Hubba, a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 or even a Sierra Designs Meteor 3000 which I’ve only just read about and has been tweaked with Northern European weather in mind! Also the SD is a bargain!! I spend 100+ nights a year under canvas, either backpacking or biketouring, and most of those are in the UK so waterproofing is essential and of course the ability to stand up in strong winds. Are there any others to consider in this category style?

    1. You might try the REI Quarter Dome, or Hilleberg’s Allak (not the lightest)… but if you’re happy with the Hubba Hubba then why change it? 🙂

  13. Phil Binns avatar
    Phil Binns

    Banshee Update to comment posted on July 28, 2016!
    The seam sealant worked. Continued using the tent until 2019 when I bought a Vango Tempest as I needed to store muddy panniers inside a tent vestibule on campsites. As expected the Tempest is fine.
    Because of Covid my Tempest is trapped in Germany so I have got out the old Banshee to see if I can UK tour with it this summer. Put up in Garden for seveal days now to check it out and its still good! Groundsheet ants bite holes fixed with Gorilla Tape.
    Money saving tip if you want a footprint to put under your groundsheet. Use builders roofing under sheet cut to size its very tough light and thin — started doing this a few years ago. Most roofers have huge rolls of the stuff and can easily spare a couple of meters.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Phil!

  14. Nick Mariën avatar
    Nick Mariën

    Anyone experience with wickiiup tipi tents?

    1. Not personally. Anyone else?

  15. Hi Tom! Thanks for this website and greetings from Finland. I would like to add the Norwegian Helsport Ringstind 1–2 to the premium ultralight category for solo riders. Used it last summer for my 6 week bike tour and even though it is not self-standing, it is quick to set up and as the inner tent can remain connected to the outer, everything will stay dry even if pitched in the rain (+ it has excellent ventilation). The vestibule is just big enough for two panniers + some other items. Footprint is sold separately. The tent is nice and long even for taller riders. I also bought the Helsport Bitihorn superlight tarp to extend the camp area in bad weather, as the tent is a bit too compact for anything other than sleeping.

  16. Entire sleeping system under 4 pounds.
    If you want to go minimalist on weight but not sactifice comfort, there is the Nemo Ultralight 1p at 812g or 2p at 935g. Its made by a New Hampshire company (USA), very high quality, lifetime warranty.
    I use it for bike packing. Except for the light poles, the entire tent fills half of a 3.5 liter Salsa Everything Bag. I also use Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight sleeping bag (extra long) which can be packed in a second Salsa Everything Bag and still give room for sleeping pad. Usually I can carry tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow and towel in two Salsa bags that weighs in at under 4 pounds. I stick the tent poles in the frame bag just under the top tube.
    https://www.nemoequipment.com/product/hornet-elite/
    Keep on peddeling!
    Fred

  17. Hi Tom
    Followed your recommendation on Bike choice and went to Richard at Oxford Bike Works and I love the bike he built for me. None of our three tents we use make your tent list though — 1) Vango Omega 350 — originally bought for weekend car camping but a great size for a group of 3 adults bike touring, relatively cheap and massive storage, 2) Nigor Great Auk 2 — enough height and space in porch for two adults to be able to sit in chairs (Helinox) and wait out foul weather, 3) MSR Hubba Tour2 — picked up for £260 this year — has masses of storage space for panniers etc and decent sleeping space for 2 adults. This years international touring scuppered, but enjoyed both the Nigor and MSR around East Anglia this year.

    1. mike grenville avatar
      mike grenville

      Likewise I am very pleased with my Oxford Bike Works bicycle.
      Re tents, your Nigor Great Auk 2 is an eye watering £800 and heavy at 3.5kg. I went for a Luxe Outdoor Peakarch TL-6350, less than half the price, and 1kg+ lighter. The MSR Hubba Tour2 looks like you got a bargain though.

  18. Hi Allen
    What would you consider an adequate water column for a bike touring tent?

    I almost decided to get a big agnes copper spur 3 for crossing Europe with my gf next near. However yesterday I saw it has a water column of just 1200, which seems awfully low to me, especially for the floor. (The other tent i looked at was Hilleberg Nammatj, but it costs twice as much, and interior space is a lot more limited.) 

    Also thanks for all the amazing info on your website.

    cheers
    Jake

    1. Hi Jake,

      As much of Europe is in the temperate zone and you’ll be camping mostly on soft, moist ground, I would go for a tent with a higher water column rating for the floor than the rainfly. For example, MSR’s Hubba range has the same 1200mm rainfly fabric as the Copper Spur, but uses 3000mm for the floor. Having said that, if you’ve found a good deal on the Copper Spur and you can buy (or make) an additional footprint/floor protector to go with it, then I am sure it will serve you well for a few weeks in Europe.

      Hope that helps!

      Tom

  19. John Lovick avatar
    John Lovick

    To clarify, the models in the second pic with a central ‘spine’. Thanks.

    1. This is the Vaude Hogan UL, which is mentioned in the article.

  20. John Lovick avatar
    John Lovick

    Hello, what are the Kharki coloured tents in the article thumbnail pls.

  21. julie dakin avatar
    julie dakin

    this is great thanks. I’m trying to decide on an ultra light tent that I can use for hiking or off road bike packing. Solo use. I will bivy if weather good so looking for one that I could use in the winter too, or am I trying to tick too many boxes in one tent. I bought a second hand terra nova laser competition 1 first to check I’d definitely be doing this to warrant getting a new one. From that I’ve learnt it would be good to be able to sit up. What would you recommend?

    1. Have a look at Decathlon tents, some are light weight and good price, also Naturhike Cloud up 2 or Mongar tents.

    2. The Hilleberg Soulo is a very capable 1‑berth 4‑season tent, but it’s not ultralight. You might consider the 1‑berth MSR Hubba NX, which has lots of headroom, but isn’t ideal for winter, though you would no doubt manage with it.

  22. You missed out on Hilleberg Niak! The perfect compromise on everything except perhaps price.

    1. Hi Moa! Thank you very much for this recommendation. The Niak looks like a relatively new model for Hilleberg, so would you mind telling us a little more about your experiences using it for cycle touring and/or bikepacking?

  23. Ciarán avatar

    Excellent article Tom.Ive used the Msr Zoid 1.5,now discontinued but a great tent.Hiking,bike packing, motorbike trips, concerts etc & it was a dinger.Its for one & a half people ie fits two but plenty of room for one.They pop up second hand & are very well made, so should be considered if we’ll minded.I now use the Hubba 1 & love it as an excellent all rounder.I was lucky to spot it second hand, but only pitched in the guys house, for 90€.I thought it might be a copy but it’s genuine.Moral of the story, I know buying used tents is risky but like the zoid I sold, which was fit for years more use & the hubba I bought, pre-loved can work too with a bit of research & luck,
    Ciarán.

    1. Thanks, Ciarán! You’re right that if a tent has been lightly used and well looked-after, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be a second-hand option. Always best if you can inspect it in person, of course!

  24. Used a Vango Mirage 200 for a while. good tent but with pannier bags inside it wasn’t too roomy. Opted for the Vango Mirage 300, plenty of room, decent porch and I can kneel up fully inside. The extra weight is worth the extra benefit. Lots of good tents out there.

  25. Félix-Antoine Tremblay avatar
    Félix-Antoine Tremblay

    You have a what? ‑_-

    “On a bike tour, you have a vehicle to carry your gear, rather than shouldering the burden yourself.”

    1. The vehicle is your bicycle!

  26. Hi!

    I noticed I commented last years edition of this post too. What I failed to say is that sometimes it is also interesting to notice how the type of tent you are using affects the way you travel. I mean rather than choosing a tent by listing ones personal priorities.

    On my first solo tours I had a small, lightweight and highly waterproof tent. I could camp pretty much anywhere. Later I travelled with a friend who had this old, leaky and heavy four person tent. They had used it on their annual weeks hike in Lapland for a decade or two. His dad had told him the basic rules on how and where to pitch the tent.

    So what happened is we learned to read the map and really put effort on finding the perfect spot. So if there is no lake, sea shore or riverside views, maybe there is is a spectacular hill top somewhere… And I dont think I would have found it using an ultralight one person sleep anywhere camo setup. Because I’m lazy and I dont have to.

    Besides: a spacious four kilo tent with two large entrances only makes two kilos per person. The modern one person tents are sometimes more about individualism than actually keeping things lightweight.

    Good luck on your trips! We are planning on doing a guidebook/map for bike touring in some close to Finland parts of Russia. That is if the funding works out…

  27. Adrian Rees avatar
    Adrian Rees

    Really useful article, thanks. I’ve been using a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 for about 5 years in all weathers, and it’s been great as a bikepacking tent.
    Now that I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, and less bendy, I’m thinking of upping size to a 2‑berth tent and the Copper Spur HV or Fly Creek HV are both looking like good options. Interesting to see Big Agnes has now got bikepacking specific versions (shorter poles and a few other features) — clearly a commercially viable niche these days!

  28. hello Tom , is there a 4 seasons ticking all the boxes for cycling around the planet like the ‘hubba hubba nx’ 3 seasons does, considering you d have to camp in some colder areas .. like the MSR Access 2 maybe ? .. cheers and thanks for sharing !

  29. Sarah Bridger avatar
    Sarah Bridger

    Hi Tom, Thanks for all the info particularly keeping things up to date!
    I’m heading off for my first big cycle tour next week (solo around Europe) and after a lot of debate between taking my brothers ancient Eurohike 201 or whether to invest in something a bit lighter and better designed I have gone for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 . . big money for me but I’m very excited!

  30. Ishay yakir avatar
    Ishay yakir

    Hi Tom
    I’m using the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 persons for the last 6 years trips in south Australi Tasmania and Asia, it is good , little bit heavy, unfortunately somebody stepped on the poles last trip and 3 of ther were broken, do you know where I can get replacement

    1. Have you tried an official MSR dealer locally?

  31. I used the Big Agnes Spur 3man tent on my tandem cycling tour in southern Germany with my 8 year son July 2018. I was disappointed. I’ve also used it on a 5 day hike with my son (6) 2017 in April. 

    Very easy to put up, freestanding and light and nice shape and room. But so not suitable to rain. Yes you stay dry, but it’s soggy fly cover is not good getting in and out of and with only single mesh walls cold. I didn’t take the tent liner and I should have. The tent floor is far too light for not having extra protection. Which definitely defeats to lightness. Even as a hiking tent, we hit rain and the tent requires extra effort to keep the fly away from the mesh inner to prevent dampness on your tent. This wasn’t so easy in sand and the fly needs to fit over the tent frame perfectly to be able to pull it away. I found in wet (hot/tropical) weather the tent you had to fiddle a bit with it. 

    Further for a basic tour I also have two bike tube patches on the fly and on on the innner mesh. It is so light that it’s easy damaged. And it’s it’s own system of venting that mostly damaged it. The fly vents have a firm 10cm long “post” that keeps the vent open, but went you fold pack the tent you have to make sure you have these (2) horizontal to your tent roll otherwise they dig into the tent fabric. This is a pain to do. 

    I guess too I was used to the toughness of the Macpac Apollo (no longer around). Yes super heavy at 3kg but that tent was amazing. Bought in 2006 and only just retired it for the Big Agnes. I’m glad to see it’s not on the top list of tents on this blog. 

    Though you can tell I’m having to get a new Tent. I’m Australian so need a tent that is good for hot weather also.

  32. Hi Tom,

    Cracking article as ever, thanks for the in depth reviews.

    I was wondering if you’d thought about the Mont Moondance 2? It’s only available in Aus but not too expensive to ship to the UK
    https://www.mont.com.au/moondance-2-tent-bracken

    I’m deciding between that and the MSR Hubba NX2 to tackle Central and Southern America over a few years. To me the Mont Moondance appears to match up pretty well and has the added benefit of having 2 entrances, which I’m sure will allow a much appreciated through breeze when in hotter climates.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts and any pros/cons.

    Steve

    1. If I’m honest, at first glance this tent looks like a more or less straight copy of the MSR. Even the company logo looks like a close imitation!

      The 2‑berth Hubba Hubba also has two entrances, by the way…

  33. Michael M. avatar

    ‘Nice article. Well-written, informative, honest–even “revealing.” LOL ‘Nice photographs, too!!

    And not LITTERED with ads. Granted, you have links–but they can be quite useful. 

    ‘Read another review of tents just before this one and there was ad after ad after ad after ad. I wrote to them, pointing out that they perhaps HAD a lot of experience, and things to say, but … geez. If you’re going to review tents, review tents–right? And as I was composing my unsolicited comment, immediately to the right on the page was an ad for HOTHOUSES! What the heck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    Anyway, ‘very informative article. Thank you!!!
    ~ Michael
    Morelia, Mexico
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Cajamarca, Peru

    1. Thanks Michael. This blog has been ad-free for 12 years and counting. Glad you appreciate it 🙂

  34. I’m soon to hit the big ol’ world for the first time on a bike! I have the Vango Banshee Pro 300 just for me as it’s spacey and allows me to sit up with clearance—I’m 6′1″. (The space is superb if I’m going to be staying for a while). The only issue worth a mention is that it’s not freestanding ie. it requires both ends to be tethered, (not good for camping inside a buddhist monastery Tom!). Other than that, it’s well-vented and a top quality tent for the price.

  35. Kevin Wilkinson avatar
    Kevin Wilkinson

    On a recent tour whilst using the Wild Country by Terra Nova Zepheros 1 and feeling claustrophobic in the extreme I met a guy using the Nigor Wickiup 3 with a half inner, what impressed me most about it was the sheer volume of living space, ease of setup & ventilation! So much so that I bought the tent myself, it’s a great tent, not free standing but otherwise, everything I need for a bike packing/touring tent, lightweight & weatherproof, great ventilation and so much livable space, especially for a longer tour. I use it with a lightweight groundsheet/footprint. https://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/gear-editors-column/nigor-half-size-innertent-wickiup‑3/

  36. So many suggestions yet no mention of QUECHUA Quickhiker Ultralight from Decathlon :/

    It’s very affordable (£110) and lighter (under 2kg) then pretty much anything mentioned here. It also has very favorable reviews (4.6/5) as of this writing.

    1. Thanks Danny – I’ll include it in the next update!

      1. Ayy, nice — thanks for responding Tom!

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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

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

  41. mike grenville avatar
    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

    1. Thanks Mike! Hope you’re doing well!

    2. I’ve used the Luxe Mini Peak II for several years.
      http://www.luxeoutdoor.com/eng/catalog-topic-gallery-view1.asp?id=1388&selfpath=/173
      Weighs in at 1.6kg plus pole.
      I like it because -
      1. Very light and packs down.
      2. Tons of interior space for storage.
      3. Lost of ventilation. This is important here in Australia where you are more likely to have hot weather.
      4. Like Mike says it is useful to be able to put the outer up first. The tent goes up fast.

      My touring is for 1 — 2 weeks at a time. I mainly stay in campgrounds. I would not be able to comment on possible expedition use. The tent is pegged out, not freestanding.
      I’ve been able to use it with 2 people by getting an additional inner.
      I’ve always used it with a tarp or other groundsheet.

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

    1. Good to hear someone else also using a Laser Space 5. We (2 adults + 3 kids) are not long back from a cycle tour of Burgundy where it again served us well.

  45. 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.

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

    2. 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

      1. Which Naturehike tent did you use exactly for your Hebrides trip? Was it Mongar?

  46. Andreas Buciuman avatar
    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.

  47. 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.

  48. Alex tracey avatar
    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.

    1. 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.

  49. Terry McGeary avatar
    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!

    1. 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.

  50. 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.

    1. 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!

  51. Yan stam avatar

    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 #(:

  52. phil binns avatar
    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.

  53. brendan avatar
    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

  54. Dhruv avatar

    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.

  55. 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

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

  56. 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.

  57. 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!

    1. Thanks for the tip, John. Here’s the link to the tent on Amazon UK.

  58. 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.

    1. 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…

  59. I am a big fan of the good old tarp. I have a 10x12 Cuben fiber tarp that weighs around 16oz. TONS of room and more airy and roomy.

    1. Wayne Hare avatar
      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.

  60. StuartG avatar

    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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. CAAD8 Tourer avatar
    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

  64. 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 .

  65. Tom Gaughan avatar
    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 !

  66. AdamJackson avatar
    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.

    1. What is TLDR ?

      1. mike grenville avatar
        mike grenville

        TLDR: too long; didn’t read

        1. thank you !

  67. 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

  68. Andy Pettitt avatar
    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.

  69. Wayne Hare avatar
    Wayne Hare

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

  70. Wayne Hare avatar
    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.

  71. John Turnbull avatar
    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.

  72. 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?

  73. 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

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. Jana Henderson avatar
    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.

    1. 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…

      1. 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!

      2. Jana Henderson avatar
        Jana Henderson

        Excellent idea. Must give that a try.

  78. Karen Ellis avatar
    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.

    1. Jörg Fichl avatar
      Jörg Fichl

      I use a Quechua Arpanaz 2 Fresh&Black — it’s shiny white on the outside, so no under the radar wild camping, but i love my sleep even on tour and enjoy the dark and cool inner. I replaced the fiber glass tent poles with aluminium, which brought weight and size down: less than 2kg, 38x13cm — for less than 100€ (45 tent, 20 aluminium tent poles, 10€ for repair tubes to reinforce the pole ends).

  79. 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 35x13!).

    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.

    1. 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.

      1. Good to know about the Vango Blade 100 – thanks Shaun!

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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!

  84. 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.

  85. Noel O'Connell avatar
    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.

  86. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. Adrian Rees avatar
      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?

  87. 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!

    1. Yes, agreed. Plus, being inside a tent is often quite rubbish!

  88. 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.

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

  90. oneman onebike avatar
    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.

    1. That’s a shame, as the tent itself comes highly recommended.

  91. 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!

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

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

Something to add?