Are There Any Lightweight Family Camping Tents for Backpacking?

Backpacking implies carrying lots of stuff for outdoor sleeping, and in the case of families this becomes even more complicated. So is it really doable? Find out here.

The term “family” should imply parents with at least one or more kids. On the other hand, a tent’s capacity is determined by the number of sleeping pads that in theory can fit on the floor.

So, in my view, the smallest backpacking tent option for such a family should be a 5-person tent. This would give some extra space for gear, and you should not go for a smaller option. But no worry, there are indeed ultralight options on the market.

If this is about a family with more than one kid, you can consider using two smaller tents of this type, or go for a 6 person option.

Are There Any Lightweight Family Camping Tents for Backpacking featured illustration showing a family in a camp.

Introduction

As more families seek to bond with nature and embark on memorable journeys, the demand for lightweight and efficient camping gear has surged.

One essential piece of equipment that can make or break the backpacking experience is the tent. This brings us to a critical question: Are there any lightweight family camping tents tailored for backpacking?

In this exploration, we’ll navigate the world of family camping tents designed with backpackers in mind. With advancements in materials, design, and manufacturing, a new generation of lightweight tents has emerged, offering a harmonious blend of comfort, functionality, and portability.

We’ll delve into the reasons why investing in a lightweight family tent is a game-changer for backpacking enthusiasts, especially those with young adventurers tagging along.

The allure of the great outdoors combined with the serenity of spending quality time with family is undeniable. However, practicality plays a pivotal role, and that’s where these innovative lightweight tents step in.

Importance of Lightweight Tents for Family Backpacking

When embarking on a family backpacking adventure, every ounce matters. The concept of packing light isn’t just a trend; it’s a necessity that becomes even more crucial when you have kids in tow.

The allure of exploring the great outdoors with your loved ones is often dampened by the prospect of lugging heavy gear for miles on end. This is where the significance of lightweight family camping tents comes into play.

These tents are ingeniously designed to address the unique challenges that families face while backpacking. By opting for a tent that combines space, durability, and minimal weight, you’re not only ensuring a more enjoyable journey but also setting the foundation for unforgettable memories with your family.

Features to Look for in Lightweight Family Backpacking Tents

Choosing the right lightweight family camping tent involves more than just selecting the lightest option on the market. It’s about finding a delicate balance between weight and functionality.

One crucial aspect to consider is space optimization. Modern lightweight tents are skillfully engineered to maximize interior space despite their compact designs. This means that even with kids, you won’t find yourselves cramped and uncomfortable.

Weight considerations, of course, remain a top priority. These tents are typically crafted using advanced materials that drastically reduce their weight while maintaining structural integrity. This not only eases the burden on your shoulders but also ensures that your gear won’t be a hindrance on the trail.

Durability is a non-negotiable factor when it comes to family backpacking tents. While lightweight, these tents are constructed from rugged materials capable of withstanding the unpredictability of nature. This durability is particularly crucial when facing changing weather conditions that backpackers often encounter.

Additionally, the ease of setup can’t be underestimated, especially when you’re dealing with a restless brood eager to explore the campsite. Most lightweight family tents come with straightforward assembly mechanisms, allowing you to quickly set up a comfortable shelter without the stress of intricate processes.

Storage options are a factor that must be considered. This is why I mentioned a 5-person tent even if this is a family with one kid only. This will mean you have extra floor area for gear. A tent with one or two vestibules will provide such a space, but this may imply more weight because of its massive fly that creates such vestibules.

Vents are an important part of the ventilation issue, the more vents the better. They can be low vents close to the floor, and high vents on the canopy/fly. Ideally, you will want to have both. This helps prevent condensation buildup inside the tent and keeps the interior fresh, creating a more pleasant environment for your family to relax and sleep after a day of hiking.

But if this is about a tent with a fly and a mesh canopy underneath it, you will be fine with fly vents only. This because the fly will always have some gap close to the ground from where fresh air will get into the tent.

Privacy is not the best feature of such tents, so if this is your concern, it may be good to consider using two smaller tents instead of one bigger. There are many more ultralight smaller tents on the market and it may be easier to find something for you.

This may be an option with older kids because they can carry their own tent. Bur bear in mind that one 6-person tent is always lighter than two 3-person tents from the same series.

Top Lightweight Family Camping Tent for Backpacking: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL5 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL5 Tent.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL5 Tent.

This 5-person tent is incredibly light for its overall size, and currently I do not know any other example even close to it. Here are some numbers so see yourself.

The weight is only 7 lb 5 oz (3.32 kg), and this explains the letters UL in the name. Its inner area is 65 ft² (6 m²). But you also have two identical vestibules that create 17 + 17 ft² (1.6 + 1.6 m²). So you have plenty of space for users and their gear.

The peak height is modest 60 inches (152 cm), and the packed size is (L x D) 24.5 x 9 inches (61 x 23 cm).

The tent has 2 doors and Quick Stash door keeper pouches located on the tent body door. There are also 8 interior mesh pockets and 4 media pockets. You have low vent features on vestibule doors and one fly vent.

There are multiple interior loops for attaching some accessory elements like their gear lofts (Large Trapezoid, Trapezoid, Square, and Triangle), that are sold separately.

Regarding materials, you have DAC Featherlite NFL pressfit pole system that includes two main poles and one short ridge pole. The letters HV (high volume) in the name refer to the fact that the poles are pre-bent and this creates more volume inside.

There are 10 Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL stakes 6 inches long included.

The fabric of the fly and bathtub style floor is a silicone treated proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon, with 1200 mm waterproof polyurethane coating. Seams are sealed with a waterproof solvent-free polyurethane tape, No PVC or VOCs.

The canopy is a breathable proprietary ultralight double ripstop mixed denier nylon, with a solution-dyed ripstop grid and polyester mesh.

Places to buy

User Experiences

This tent has received high rating by users, and you can realize this if you follow the links above and read their reports. On Amazon, as of the moment of writing this text, the rating is 4.7/5.

Note that the series includes also smaller options, you have the tent in all sizes 1-5 person, so you can combine smaller options if you want more privacy.

They also build it in orange color, just to know if the one shown in the picture is not what you want.

The tent is so ultralight thanks to its fine materials and thin fabric. But for some users this is an issue, and I have seen some complaining about its durability.

Please see more about this Big Agnes Copper Spur HV series in the video:

Any alternatives?

Currently, from what I know, the only place where you might look for is again the same brand, Big Agnes. In the smaller range, they have some light 4-person tents, but regarding weight nothing close to the tent presented above.

There are more options if you would go for two separate but smaller tents. In this case, apart from Big Agnes brand, check also at Sea to Summit site in particular.

How about larger tents? You can check among 6-person options, but those are much heavier as you will realize. Though the MOON LENCE Camping Tent 6 Person can also be described as ultralight, and is also incredibly affordable, but it is without vestibules. So this is a great alternative if you do not want to spend much.

Conclusion

So if this is about a single tent for a whole family on a backpacking adventure, the weight is a critical parameter, and there are no many ultralight options on the market.

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL5 Tent presented above is by far the lightest of all, and there is nothing even remotely close to it. It offers plenty of options for storage, and this is simply amazing in view of its weight. But this is also a very expensive tent, not for people that are on a budget.

The focus of this text is on the shelter, but this is just one out of several items you need for such adventures. So think also about ultralight sleeping pads and sleeping bags. You will need a camping pillow as well, I do carry it in the pack when I am on a tour.

For more texts of this type please check under the category Trail Gear here in the site. Let me know if you have questions, there is a comment box below. Bookmark this site and keep as a reference. Thank you for reading.

 
Me on Jalovec.Hi, I am Jovo, the founder of this OutdoorsFAQs site and several other outdoor sites. I have been mountaineering for almost 40 years already, and I have created this site to use as a reference for various questions that I receive in my sites. Being a theoretical physicist by profession, I tend to base my answers on facts and on my own personal experience.

Leave a Comment