You’ve decided to live in a tent. You’re good to go. They are lighter and faster than any other product on the market. While speed and light are great, we don’t recommend chasing the smallest weight or the smallest pack size. While both of these are essential aspects for a backpacking tent that can sleep one person, they don’t make the entire segment.

A backpacking tent that is small enough to be used solo should also be compact. You wouldn’t buy it any other way. We think that this is the wrong spot to begin your search for the ideal solo tent unless you have very specific goals regarding total bag weight or volume. What makes a single-person backpacking tent successful? Simple: Livability.

Livingability refers to the wide range of features that you should look for when camping solo. After extensive tent testing, we narrowed down our list of features that can make a tent for one person as comfortable as possible. We’ll show you how to identify the key aspects that make a tent livable and what to look for in your next tent.

As much interior space as possible is what you want

This is a difficult thing to say so let’s just put it out there: A typical one-person tent’s interior area falls between a Volkswagen Beetle’s back and a large coffin. After the rainfly has been put on, the tents are a bit cramped and difficult to move around in. It’s also very hard to get into the shower to change your clothes. This is part of the adventure.

We can’t stress enough the importance of shopping for one-person tents with plenty of interior space. Interior space refers to the three dimensions of floor space, height and shoulder space. Let’s explain the differences between these three dimensions.

Floor Space Explained

The floor space is the area of your tent that you will be using to lay down or get some rest. You’ll first need to find out “floor area”, which is the total floor area of your tent, from head to foot and sides to sides. Although the sweet spot will be around 20 feet in size, that doesn’t necessarily tell you everything.

You should also consider the “floor dimensions”, which will show you how the total area of the tent is divided. Most one-person tents are tapered, so the floor dimensions will be listed as one for the overall length (the measurement from head to toe), followed by two numbers that indicate the width and height of each section.

The larger measurement is the most important. This determines the amount of shoulder space that you will have while laying down and how many square feet you have for standing up in your tent. One-person tents should measure between 35 to 40 inches wide at their largest point. Some tents do better. Because you will only use the tent to rest/sleep, the smaller of these two sizes is more important. To ensure your pad is comfortable, make sure you have enough space to place it in the tent.

1P models are often rectangular, like camping tents. They only list two dimensions for their length and width. Although this saves money, it is not a major drawback. However these models tend to be heavier and more difficult to live with as they do not maximize the space around your torso.

The Peak Height Explanation

A one-person tent’s “peak height” is the highest point of its ceiling. This number is only applicable to one-person tents. It refers to the area where your head hangs when you are sitting up in the tent.

img alt=”A backpacking tent for one person with the rainfly staked in.” class=”wp-image-1195006 size-large” onerror=”dti_load_error(this)” src=”×800.jpg”/>
We’re looking for something a little more. Kurt Spurlock

Here are some important points about peak height: You will spend many hours in your tent, waiting for the bad weather to pass. Second, it is essential that you have enough height so you can stand straight without your head touching your tent ceiling. It’s not fun to wait for rain to stop, but it is more painful to sit in a hunched position waiting. To ensure you have the right height, consider your height and the additional inch that your pad adds to your height. To get the best results, have a friend measure you while cross-legged and place an extra inch on top of your pad.

The Shoulder Room explained

Although it isn’t usually listed as a dimension in tents, you should consider shoulder room when looking for one. We want to maximize the space available in the area where we will be hanging out the most. Sea To Summit Alto TR1 is one of our tested tents. The manufacturer has cleverly used a lateral support, called a “tensionridge,” to maximize shoulder space. This pulls the tent walls outwards until the tent’s floor is almost in line with your body. Although it may appear like an insignificant detail, making a tent liveable for one person is all about the details.

Sea To Summit’s tension ridge system draws the tent walls outwards until they are almost vertical.

You Can’t Put A Price On A Great Vestibule

As we’ve seen, there’s not enough space in a tent canopy for more than one person. This means that you will need to be very careful about the vestibule’s dimensions.

The vestibule of the rainfly is the portion that extends beyond the tent’s door. It serves two functions: They provide a safe place for outdoor equipment and gear that can be protected from rain. Your pack, muddy boots and other gear should be stored in the vestibule. Your vestibule also gives you shade. Sometimes, we are in the thick of dense forests. Other times we find ourselves on the edge of hot deserts or open fields. It’s always good to have somewhere cool and comfortable when it gets hot.

img alt=”Vestibule View of a One-Person Tent in the Rain” class=”wp-image-1195007 size-large” onerror=”dti_load_error(this)” src=”×800.jpg”/>
This vestibule is essential if you don’t want to get wet boots when you wake up. Kurt Spurlock

You can make small interior features count!

The tent’s interior is limited in space so manufacturers have cleverly designed little touches to make it more livable. You can use the light-diffusing panels to turn your headlamps into nightlights, and the mesh pockets inside the tent are great for organizing.

There are many uses for every bit of your tent, and the sky’s the limit. Each little hook, snap, and pocket in your tent can be used for something, such as storing electronics or hanging hiking socks.

Image alt=”Interior storage pockets on a tent that can be used for backpacking.” class=”size-large wp-image-1195008″ onerror=”dti_load_error(this)” src=”×800.jpg”/>

Although it may seem small, every penny counts when you’re in a tent for one.



Quick summary of the text where the author talks about the features to look for when you’re looking for a backpacking tent for one person.


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