Planning on doing an overnight or multi-day hike and need a lightweight tent that you can carry while hiking? In this article, I review and compare the best hiking tents Australia (aka backpacking tents), to help you figure out which one is right for you!
I include some options for those on a tight budget and some more expensive, ultra-lightweight tents under 2kg. I’m confident you’ll be able to find the right option for you on this list, regardless of your budget or requirements.
To keep things consistent, I have reviewed the 2 person (2P) size tents for each brand. However, they do come in other varieties (I list these at the end of each review).
Let’s get started with a quick comparison of each of tents that I will be looking at in this article!
Companion Pro Hiker 2
OZtrail Nomad 2
Explore Planet Earth Spartan 2
Coleman Ridgeline 2P
$170 at Snowys
$80 at Outback Equipment
$170 at Snowys
$135 at Snowys
$300 at Snowys
Best Hiking Tents Australia - Individual Reviews
Companion Pro Hiker 2 Hiking Tent
The Companion Pro Hiker is a superb, all-rounder. It is much loved for its excellent build quality and workmanship. Many have commented on how easy it is to set up this tent.
Coming in at 2.7kg, it has a pretty standard weight for a 2P hiking tent. Not the lightest, but certainly not heavy by any means. The compression storage bag allows it to pack down to a cylinder of just 45cm long by 14cm diameter. This is about the size of many people’s sleeping bags!
Unlike cheaper but more flimsy hiking tents, you can expect this tent to last you many, many trips. It is best for those who want a good balance of price and quality, and are looking at doing some moderate intensity treks.
Those doing extreme hiking will want to look at a more lightweight option.
It only comes in a 2P variety.
OZtrail Nomad 2 Hike Tent
Best Budget Hiking Tent
For just $80, the OZtrail Nomad 2 Hike tent is outstanding value. It is roomier, yet cheaper than the other tents on this list, and even comes with a 2 year warranty.
At 2.3kg it is relatively light (although there are better options out there for ultralight tents).
Unfortunately, some people have commented that despite taking good care of the tent, the poles snapped after just a few uses. Your backpacking tent breaking down on you is the last thing you need if you are halfway through a hike, so bear this in mind if you decide to go with the OZtrail Nomad.
Overall, this tent is loved for its excellent value.
It comes in 1P and 2P varieties.
Explore Planet Earth Spartan 2 Hiking Tent
The EPE Spartan is a great option that represents good value for money. It is built to handle strong weather, with a 4,000mm waterproof rating for the fly.
Many have commented on how durable the tent material is, which is surprising considering how inexpensive this unit is. The 2 year warranty confirms that this is a quality tent, designed to give you plenty of use.
The main downside is that the sleeping area is quite narrow at just 125cm wide.
It comes in 2P and 3P varieties.
Coleman Ridgeline 2P Hiking Tent
The Coleman Ridgeline is a decent all-rounder hiking tent. It is cheaper and lighter than the Companion Pro Hiker, but the sleeping area is smaller and the internal ceiling is quite low.
For a couple, the tent is acceptable, but it is too small for 2 adult friends to sleep in.
For those who want an inexpensive, lightweight tent that can handle heavy wind and rain, and are happy to sacrifice some sleeping room, this tent can do the job.
Be aware that there are few ventilation points, which could leave you feeling hot in summer, or with excess condensation in the tent in winter.
It comes in 2P and 3P varieties.
Zempire Zeus Hiking Tent
Best Premium Hiking Tent
The Zempire Zeus tent is the best premium, fully-featured hiking tent on this list. It is built to withstand severe weather conditions, evidenced by a 5,000mm waterproof rating on the fly, and 10,000mm rating on the floor!
It is very easy to set up - even 1 person on their own can have it up in about 5 minutes. The build quality is great and it comes with an excellent 3 year warranty.
You can expect to get plenty of use out of this tent.
For ultralight hikers, 2.8kg of weight and 58cm of packed length may be a little too much for them. For everyone else, this tent is a great option!
It comes in 1P, 2P and 3P varieties.
What To Consider When Buying A Lightweight Hiking Tent?
Before you go rushing out to make your purchase, consider the following important factors.
Hiking tents are designed to be very light so that they can be easily carried while trekking. This means that most of them are considerably smaller than the equivalent size conventional camping tent.
Because hiking tents are light and pack down to small sizes, they are also suitable to be used as motorcycle camping tents.
Hiking tents should also pack down to small dimensions so that they can fit in your backpack while hiking.
Most backpacking tents come with a compression bag that will help you reduce the volume of your tent, and keep it dry while it’s packed away. The exception to this is the Coleman Ridgeline 2P, which doesn’t come with a compression bag.
If you will be hiking considerable distances every day, the weight of your tent is absolutely critical. As Back Country states in their article on choosing a tent size for backpacking, you should aim to choose a tent that weighs around under 2kg in weight (for a 2 person tent).
With 2 people, you can split the tent, rain fly and poles amongst you to keep the weight distributed.
The OZtrail Nomad 2 and the Coleman Ridgeline 2P are both decent picks in the sub 2kg category. Note that they both also come in 1P varieties if you are sleeping alone and want to further reduce your weight.
Some tents are more suitable for certain weather conditions than others. This is typically expressed with the ‘season rating’. 2 and 3 season tents tend to be for mild to moderate weather, whereas a 4 season tent is suitable for use even in cold conditions.
All tents in this article are rated for 3 seasons, meaning that they can handle everything other than mid-winter conditions. Do keep in mind that winter in QLD can be much milder than winter in Tassie, for example!
Storms are unpredictable in Australia, with sudden, unexpected downpours very common. You don’t want to be woken up at night with water dripping on your face, so make sure that you choose a tent with a decent waterproof rating. Ratings range from 1,000mm (the lowest rating that is considered waterproof), all the way up to 10,000mm.
The Zempire Zeus has an outstanding 5,000mm waterproof rating for the fly and 10,000mm for the tent floor. The EPE Spartan 2 is not far behind with a 4,000mm rating for the fly, and 5,000mm rating for the floor. Both of these tents will keep you dry, even in heavy rain.
Note that the OZtrail Nomad 2 doesn’t have a waterproof rating, which may mean that it will struggle in wet conditions.
We all know how brutal and unforgiving the Australian sun can be. Tents can act as greenhouses, trapping in hot air. Make sure that your tent has some vents and windows to let the hot air escape, otherwise you’ll be in for a hot and sweaty evening.
Ventilation can also prevent condensation forming on the inside of your tent.
Most tents on this list have excellent ventilation, with the exception of the Coleman Ridgeline tent, which has been noted as having few ventilation points.
If you have been hiking all day, the last thing you need is a long and arduous tent set up process when you reach your rest stop. Thankfully, the tents in this list are all very easy to set up, even if you are by yourself.
A warranty lets you sleep easy knowing that your tent is covered if it is defective in any way. It is also a good sign that the manufacturer has faith in the quality of their product, and that they stand behind this quality.
The Zempire Zeus tent comes with an outstanding 3 year warranty. The EPE Spartan tent and the OZtrail Nomad have a 2 year warranties, and the others have 1 year warranties. Feel free to read more about the Coleman warranty and OZtrail warranty.
Poor build quality means a painful tent setup experience, higher risk of accidental damage to the tent, as well as frustrating and flimsy pegs, poles or zippers.
Cheaper tents naturally have poorer build quality, as the manufacturers save on material to keep costs low. You can rest assured that the tents I have recommended in this article are those with decent build quality only.
Hiking Tent FAQ
How heavy should a hiking tent be?
When trying to decide between tents to take hiking, there are many things that you should consider including how heavy the tent will be. As you’re trekking, the last thing that you need is to be unnecessarily weighed down by your shelter. You’ll need room for other things!
A hiking tent should weigh between 0.9 kg and 2.7 kg. When buying a hiking tent, you will typically have access to three different weights: the packing weight, the trail weight, and the fast pitch weight.
The packing weight takes into consideration everything that you receive when purchasing the tent. This number is the absolute heaviest that your shelter can be when all of the parts are included. Typically, this will not be the weight you will bring on the trek.
The trail weight is what you should expect to carry with you out on the trails. This number includes the combined weight of the tent, fly, and poles. These materials should offer a basic shelter experience.
The fast pitch weight offers the bare minimum and includes the combined weight of the fly, footprint, and poles. This will offer protection from the rain, but little of anything else.
Don’t forget that if you’re trekking in a group or with a partner, the weight can be divided between members. The weight should average around 1.1 kg per person.
How do you carry a tent while hiking? How do you pack it?
When hiking with a tent, there is a correct way to carry it in your pack that will make it easier on you and your back. The tent should sit towards the middle of the pack and as close to your back as possible.
By packing your tent this way, you lessen the chance of aching from unequally distributed weight.
Something worth noting is that if you are traveling with a partner(s), you can divide up parts of the tent in order to lighten your personal load!
The tent, rain fly, and the poles can be separated between packs to make room for other supplies and cut down on overall weight.
Hiking tent vs. swag vs. hammock - which is best while trekking?
When going on a long trek, choosing your shelter will be one of the most important decisions you make. There are plenty of options to choose from including a hiking tent, a swag, and a hammock, the following will help determine which may be the best for you.
A hiking tent is the most common shelter that people bring with them on the trails. Hiking tents offer room for you and potentially others to move around while resting up.
These shelters provide incredible protection from the elements and keep you, as well as your gear, dry. Hiking tents are quite easy to set up and can be erected very rapidly, the only true downside to these is that you will have to plan on bringing a sleeping mat or other bedding to keep you off of the rough ground and warm through the night.
A swag is a more durable version of a tent and is an all inclusive option for a shelter! Swags come with a built-in mattress and have plenty of room for you to roll up a sleeping bag inside too.
Due to this, the swag will be a bit heavier and more bulky than other potential options which is something to consider if going on a trek is the main activity.
A hammock is the best sleeping arrangement for those who deal with back pain, arthritis, or aches and pains while on the trail. A hammock keeps your body completely off of the ground.
The comfortable support you would receive is a plus, however, there are cons that include having to pack not only the hammock but the under quilt and top quilt as well as having little protection from the elements.
What's the difference between a regular tent and a hiking tent?
A hiking tent is significantly more lightweight than a regular tent. The lighter your tent is in weight, the easier it will be to hike with it and leave room for other supplies! Typically, a regular tent will be larger and sturdier than a hiking tent.
Are tent footprints necessary for hiking tents?
A tent footprint isn’t necessary for a hiking tent, however, it will extend the life of your tent. The tent bottom can endure a lot on the trail, but over time, the rough, uneven ground can wear away at the tent fabric and affect the waterproofing.
In my opinion, the Companion Pro Hiker 2 is the best hiking tent Australia. It is a fantastic all-rounder, with great build quality, decent space sleeping, good waterproofing and it packs down to a small size.
It is excellent value for money.
The Explore Planet Earth Spartan 2 is a close runner up, although it is a little more cramped in terms of sleeping space. The additional waterproofing may make up for this depending on what kind of hiking you plan on doing!
In terms of a budget option, the OZtrail Nomad 2 is incredibly cheap and quite lightweight but also very spacious! Just be aware that it doesn’t have a waterproof rating.
Finally, for those with a slightly larger budget, the Zempire Zeus is a fantastic, fully-featured option. 5,000mm waterproofing on the fly, super fast setup and a 3 year warranty make this a fantastic tent.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this round up of the best hiking and backpacking tents in Australia! If you still have some questions, leave them in the comments below!
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Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.