Picking an outdoor shelter for camping and multi day hikes is just as important as getting the right boots or sleeping bag in my opinion but where do you start. Weight, Packed size, Season and most importantly cost are all contributing factors to your decision. Which ones will be the best for your needs though.
Tents are the all rounder for campers and hikers keeping you Completely out of the elements. Finding a small backpacking tent will set you back a few hundred pounds but an investment well spent in my eyes especially for winter wild camping or multi day hikes. I have found Though that so called 2 man tents are more on the size of 1.5 Man tents just never quite big enough for two and all your kit.
2 Man tents Pictured below in a bit more detail from left to right
- MSR Hubba Hubba
RRP £390 Weight 1.54kg
- Wild Country Zephyros
RRP £180 Weight 1.81kg
- Vango Banshee 200
RRP £140 Weight 2.35kg
Tarps have been long connected to the minimalists and lightweight adventurers. They come with out the luxury’s of a tent such as no groundsheet and no inner insect compartment they at literally just a sheet.. The biggest advantage is that they are light and I mean super light packing down to the size of a can of coke they can be thrown in your pack without taking a lot of room up. Tarps can also be very versatile and pitched in many different ways depending on landscape and weather and can be used in conjunction with a Bivvy bag for the ultimate lightweight shelter.
3 Tarps of different Sizes, weights and prices from left to right
- Rab Siltarp
RRP £59.99 Weight 218g Size 1 Person
- Alpkit Rig 7
RRP £50 Weight Size
- Nemo Apollo
RRP £299.99 Weight 866g Size 3 Person
Bivvy bags are the ultimate minimalist sleeping shelter where pack size and weight matters most. Bivvy Bags do keep you open to the wind and most elemetns but will keep you dry. Used in conjuction with a Tarp can keep you completely out of the elements in severe or bad weather. They come in many designs such as the simple bag option or with one pole to keep the bag away from your face.
3 Bivvys From left to rightlight
- Alpkit Hunka
RRP £47 Weight 400g
- Rab Survival Zone
RRP £89.99 Weight 422g
- Outdoor Research Advanced
RRP £299.99 Weight 1.10kg
As you can see the pros for each tent are excellent they are all good in one way or another and it is really up to personal preference to what one to take on the trails and mountains. If you are a minimalist that likes to move fast and enjoys sports like fast packing then a Bivvy or tarp is for you but if you are moving a little slower and don’t mind the bulk nor weight then a tent will be for you especially when the weather is bad.