Best Lightweight 3 Person Backpacking Tents

If you are in search of a trail tent for you and your friends, you will want to check my selection of best lightweight 3 person backpacking tents, all reliable products from the best-known brands in the outdoor industry.

Backpacking tents are almost always too small for their declared capacity, but there are exceptions of course. On the other hand, they can be so light that they can be a great option for two users on the trail. The weight can be shared when you are with somebody, no matter if this is two people or three in the group.

So this 3-person capacity group can be of interest both for three people and for two people. I use the word ‘lightweight’ in the title, but in fact, these are among the lightest tents on the market.


My list of best backpacking 3-person tents

This is all about optimal weight and the protected space. This is why I have decided to order the tents by the ratio of the total protected space and the weight, from lower to higher values. This protected space includes the inner floored area and the area under vestibules. So here is the list:

 

There are brands that are specialized in building ultralight backpacking tents, and Big Agnes is the best example. So it would be easy to populate this list with the tents from this brand alone. Naturally, I have added a couple of them, but I also wanted to show some other brands as well. All of them are the best-known in the outdoor industry.

I hope you will love the products I present below, I choose only the best that is on the market, those that I can fully recommend, and present them here in the site. Just a heads up that as an associate of Amazon and other sellers, I may earn some commission from qualifying purchases of products bought via links on this page, at no additional cost for you.


1. Marmot Tungsten UL 3P Backpacking Tent

Marmot Tungsten UL 3P Backpacking Tent.
Marmot Tungsten UL 3P Backpacking Tent.

This tent is from one of the best-known series on the market that includes 4 tents, Tungsten 1, 2, 3, and 4 tents. They have been on the market for a number of years and here you have the lightest version so far, hence the letters UL in the name.

So you have a tent with two vestibules and a full-coverage fly. The DAC Pressfit 9 mm diameter poles are pre-bent in the lower sections and this creates a bit more volume. Note that you have a frame with two main X-crossed poles plus two ridge poles that create vertical sides. So in view of the poles, this is not a minimalist design and the structure is very strong for a backpacking tent.

The floor fabric is a 30D 100% nylon with a 2000 mm waterproof rating, and the canopy is a 15D 100% nylon No-See-Um mesh. The fly is a 20D 100% polyester with Sil/PU coating that gives it a 1200 mm rating. Note that the tent is nicely vented with its two vents.

Here are a few numbers you might want to know. The weight is 4 lb 5.5 oz (1.97 kg), the floor area is 41.5 ft² (3.8 m²), and the two vestibules protect 10.6 ft² + 7.8 ft² (1.71 m²). So you have the total protected space/weight ratio of 2.79 m²/kg. This value may not be as high as in the other tents here, but the frame here is stronger. So if you know you will have strong winds, this tent should be one option. The packed size is (L x D) 22 x 8 inches (56 x 20.3 cm).

What I like:

  • Great frame.
  • Ventilation.

What I dislike:

  • The tent is very expensive.
  • A bit bulky.


2. Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 3 Tent

Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 3 Tent
Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 3 Tent.

The tent is a hubbed design supported by a Y-shaped pole plus a cross pole that lifts the side walls up. The poles are pre-bent and this gives a bit more volume inside. The floor is slightly tapered to shed weight. You probably know that there are many sleeping pads that are also tapered, so this design matches the pads.

The fly is designed with stargazing features. This means you can roll it up from any of the two sides and sleep under the stars. But you can put it in place easily in the case of rain.

You have the best materials here. The fly is 20D nylon ripstop, and the floor is 30D nylon ripstop. The mesh on the canopy is a 15D nylon No-See-Um mesh. The poles are DAC Featherlite aluminum and this is the Dongah Aluminum Corporation brand, one of the best known in the tent pole industry.

Here are some numbers. The weight is 4 lb 4 oz (1.93 kg). The inner floor area is 40.4 ft² (3.75 m²) but you also have two vestibules that add 8.9 ft² + 8.9 ft² (0.83 m² + 0.83 m²). So the total protected space/weight ratio is around 2.8 m²/kg of tent’s weight.

The packed size is excellent, the carry bag with the tent inside measures (L x D) 17 x 6.75 inches (43 cm x 17 cm). The peak height is 43 inches (109 cm).

What I like:

  • Stargazing fly design.
  • Excellent packed size.

What I dislike:

  • The price.


3. Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL3 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL3 Tent.
Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL3 Tent.

This tent is truly remarkable and you realize why this is so from the picture above. So here you have a huge porch that is fully covered, plus a smaller vestibule on the other side. I see this tent perfect for a group on the trail in wet areas where keeping the gear protected is essential.

As you know, when it is raining it is very difficult to organize your life once you set the camp. With such covered spaces you have storage rooms plus space for cooking. The total vestibule plus porch areas are 9 + 27 ft² (0.9 + 2.5 m²), while the inner tent floored area is 41 ft² (3.8 m²).

The weight is 4 lb 9 oz (2.07 kg), this may look heavy but the total protected space/weight ratio is very good 3 m²/kg. To continue with numbers, the peak height is moderate, you have 43 inches (110 cm). The packed size is excellent (Lx D) 21 x 5.5 inches (53 x 14 cm).

The waterproof rating is 1200 mm, but this is a silicone treated material. The poles are top-notch DAC Featherlite NFL and one of them is added to support the porch. This tent is also in my list of best 3 person camping tents.

What I like:

  • Incredible porch area.
  • Great ventilation.

What I dislike:

  • The price.


4. Nemo Dagger 3 Person Tent

Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent.
Nemo Dagger Ultralight Backpacking Tent.

I have decided to give this aerial view of the tent, it shows the structure with two vestibules and a full-coverage fly with two doors and two large vestibules.

The poles are a hubbed design with a double-Y profile, plus a cross pole that lifts the sides up. This is again a high-quality DAC 9.0 and 9.6 mm Featherlite NSL structure.

The fabric is thin as expected, so you have a 30D PU nylon ripstop floor with a 3000 mm waterproof rating, bathtub-style with fully taped seams. The fly is a 15D Sil-PU nylon ripstop with 1200 mm rating.

One nice feature here is its stuff sack that is with an innovative “dual-stage” design. This means you have split components of the tent and they can be shared and carried separately by the users.

The inner floor area is 43 ft² (4 m²) and vestibules add 23 ft² (2.1 m²). The weight is 4 lb 4 oz (1.93 kg). So this means that here you have the total protected space/weight ratio of 3.16 m²/kg.

The peak height is 42 inches (107 cm), and the packed size is (L x D) 19.5 x 6.5 inches (50 x 17 cm). Note that this is a very long tent and I have included it in my list of best backpacking tents for tall people.

What I like:

  • Great stuff sack design.
  • Great ventilation.

What I dislike:

  • The price.


5. MSR FreeLite 3 Ultralight Backpacking Tent

MSR FreeLite 3 Ultralight Backpacking Tent.
MSR FreeLite 3 Ultralight Backpacking Tent.

Perhaps it would be appropriate to focus on the numbers because of the word Ultralight in the name. This tent weighs 3 lb 7 oz (1.56 kg) and its inner area is 39.5 ft² (3.67 m²). But it offers two vestibules so they add 17.5 ft² (1.62 m²). This means that you have 19 ft² (1.76 m²) per person, and the total protected space/weight ratio is 3.39 m²/kg.

Due to its vestibules, the tent cannot be described as freestanding. But the pole is a Y-shaped tripod and when you attach it to the tent, the structure is self-supporting. There is an extra ridge pole that ads a lot of headroom.

The packed size is impressive, it measures (L x D) 18 x 6 inches (46 x 15 cm). Note that the tent is quite low, the peak height is only 39 inches (100 cm).

The rain fly and the floor are both a 15D nylon ripstop with 1200 mm Durashield polyurethane & silicone coating. So these are incredibly thin materials, and this is partly behind the weight of this tent.

What I like:

  • Incredible weight.
  • Packed size.

What I dislike:

  • The price.
  • Quite low.


6. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Backpacking Tent

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Backpacking Tent.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Backpacking Tent.

This tent is so light that it would not be too heavy even if you use it as a solo tent. It weighs 2.69 lb (1190 g). This is the largest in the series of three tents that include also the Tiger Wall UL1 and Tiger Wall UL2 tents.

You have two doors and two vestibules, and the structure is supported by top-quality DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles. This is a hubbed design with a single Y-shaped pole plus one short pole that pulls the side walls up and makes the doors vertical.

The tent is with structured foot-end corners for extra volume and space for your feet, so the tent must be staked properly to have this functional. Note also that there are two vestibules, so the same holds here, they must be staked. So the tent is not freestanding.

The inner area is 38 ft² (3.5 m²), but you also have vestibules that add 16 ft² (1.4 m²). This means that the total protected space per person is 18 ft² (1.6 m²). In other words, the total protected space/weight ratio is 4.12 m²/kg. The packed size is (L x D) 19 x 5.5 inches (48 x 14 cm), and the peak height is 42 inches (107 cm).

The fabric is a silicon-treated nylon ripstop on the floor and fly and with a polyurethane coating. The official waterproof rating is 1200 mm. All seams are taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape (No PVC or VOC’s).

There are many storage options and pockets here. Huge pockets are under the ceiling where you can store lots of small items. They are with small openings for earbuds to listen to music while the gadget is up in the pocket. Pockets are also in the corners at the head side.

Other features include:

  • Low Vent feature on the vestibules with double sliders on the zippers so you can vent from the top or bottom.
  • Ready to pitch design with pre-cut guy lines and tensioners.
  • Reflective guylines and webbing on the corners.
  • Many inner loops to attach gear lofts.
  • A footprint is available to order separately.
  • The Fast Fly variant is possible if you order the footprint.

What I like:

  • Weight.
  • Packed size.
  • Storage & attachment options.

What I dislike:

  • The price.
  • A bit small for 3 people.

Final thoughts

So this was my selection of the best lightweight 3 person backpacking tents and I hope you realize how incredibly light these tents are. There are differences in the weight, but there are also big differences in the storage options.

These are tents built from the highest quality materials and they are very expensive. The fabric is always thin but those are durable ripstop constructions that can withstand a lot of pressure.

As mentioned above, this is about weight and protected space combination. So the less weight and the more protected space the better. This is why the tent shown below is my choice.

Editor’s Choice tent

Ultralight & ultra-compact
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Backpacking Tent.

Product Name: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Backpacking Tent

Product Description: Here you have an excellent combination of weight and protected space, plus numerous inner storage and hanging options.

Brand: Big Agnes

SKU: B07C5SFNY3

  • Features - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
  • Design - 9.6/10
    9.6/10
  • Quality & craftsmanship - 9.7/10
    9.7/10
9.7/10

Summary

When it comes to total protected space and weight ratio, no tent can match this tent.

Sending
User Review
7.48/10 (11 votes)

Thank you for reading. You might want to see more stuff for the trail presented here in the site. Check my selection of best 2-person backpacking tents and also best 4 person backpacking tents. Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below. Have a nice day.

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