Is a 5lb Tent Too Heavy to Carry Around?

Two backpackers walking through a forest. Wondering if a 5lb tent is too heavy to carry arround? Read the article below.

So, you’re getting ready to head for the forest trail? Is that so? As you may already know, you really don’t want to overburden your back by sporting a heavy load while you hike (unless you’re an outdoors masochist if there’s even such a thing). Anyway, we “unintentionally” overheard you asking if a 5lb tent is too heavy to carry around.

To make it up to you for this “very unintentional” intrusion of privacy, we’ll try to give you an answer to the question you’ve proposed. So, is 5lb too much? As always, the correct response to this question depends on many little details. It doesn’t have to be a strict YES or NO answer. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

We assume that, unfortunately, you’re all too familiar with unnecessary cargo ruining your outdoor adventures. If that’s not the case – lucky you! Whether you’re camping, climbing, hiking, or casually going on an international trip (how casual is that?), carrying too much stuff is always a drag. Especially nowadays, when an average person is very close to being accused of serious hoarding.

A 5lb tent is probably not something that you’d want to call heavy. Especially when you have in mind that your hiking/backpacking gear can be divided among the members of your group. If you’re still worried it might be too much, there’s a number of quality ultralight tents on the market to choose from.

Table of Contents

Why do I need a tent in the first place? It’s only a one-day trip!

Okay, your hiking adventure might not be a lengthy one. If you’re planning to sleep in your bed that very evening, why would you need a tent in the first place? That’s a good question, although you might want to give it a second thought.

A lot of things can happen on the trail, and there’s no way you can prevent some of them. That being said, it might be best you always pack a tent when going on a hike. Not that the tent will protect you from wild beasts or something, but it will give you much-needed cover if you encounter some rain. You don’t want your hiking gear wet as much as you don’t like being wet yourself. If that’s your thing, though…

If you’re planning to stay the night out in the wild, and head back home the next morning: it goes without saying a tent will provide you with a great sense of comfort.

Why couldn’t I just sleep out in the open?

So, we’ve already mentioned rain, so we’re gonna skip that part. A tent will give you good shelter from various pests that roam the wilderness at night. Just imagine all the insects or scorpions crawling around. Yikes! Of course, there are alternatives to this in the form of hammocks with bug nets or bivy sacks (although some items that belong in those groups won’t shield you from the rain).

Essential hiking gear

Let’s see what else will you need to pack/bring along besides your tent:

  • Quality hiking backpack – well, who would’ve thought?
  • Top-notch hiking boots – the adjective top-notch has seen its better days but still, make sure your boots are up to the task.
  • Lots of food and water – make sure to bring an extra-day portion. Something might happen or you might wanna stay on the trail a bit longer.
  • Navigation tools – a map, and a compass. Getting lost is not a pleasant feeling, as some of you may already know.
  • First-aid kit – there’s no way you’re going to the wild without bringing one.
  • Sun protection – since you might be exposed to direct sunlight during the hike.
  • Fire matches or a lighter – there’s no need to further elaborate on this.
  • Knife, multitool, and/or a hatchet – they always come in handy.

That’s about it when it comes to hiking essentials. Now, it’s up to you to see how will you pack all of the mentioned items and still enjoy a pleasant hike, without feeling like things could’ve gone better if you’ve hired someone to carry all the cargo for you. Not the best example there is, we know.

The importance of tents during longer hikes (and other info)

In one of the paragraphs above we’ve dismantled the idea that you don’t really need a tent while going on a one-day hike. It’s pretty safe to assume that one wouldn’t want to argue about whether or not tents are important during longer hikes. It would be absurd.

Different types of tents

Sporting a top-quality tent on longer routes is basically a must. There’s no alternative to that solution. Let’s check out what kinds of hiking tents one might expect to find on the market (regardless of their capacity):

  • Freestanding tents – they come with a pretty solid pole system and are mostly dome-shaped. They’re very spacious and easy to set up, especially on a terrain on which staking would be difficult (since you can set them up without any stakes at all). You’ll probably find that freestanding tents are the most adaptable kind.
  • Semi-freestanding tents – you’ll recognize this kind by its separate pole system and the ability to stand without being staked. Although, you’ll probably need to stake out your semi-freestanding tent in order to fully experience its potential, and achieve maximum stability.
  • Tarp tentsthe ones that cannot stand on their own. Wow, that sounds a bit like tent poetry or something. Anyway, this type is somewhat tricky to set up, and it’s not really recommended for hiking/backpacking. Although they might prove very practical if you’re backpacking the ultralight way. Unfortunately, they’re usually single-walled, which boosts the buildup of condensation.

Backpacking tents vs. camping tents

When we’re talking about hiking, one would automatically think backpacking tents are the obvious choice. Now, that’s pretty close to the truth, although there are exceptions.

The main difference between these two types is, of course, in weight. Backpacking tents are the standard option since they’re very light and easy to carry. On the other hand, campers prefer larger, more comfortable tents that are not so easy to carry around all day long. That’s because most campers drive to their campsite.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the backpacker with a camping tent paradox.

Who’d want to carry a 12lb tent while hiking up the trail? It’s safe to assume no one is interested. Still, they can prove to be pretty useful when you’re going on longer hikes with a couple of your buddies. Why’s that? Camping tents provide more space and they can provide shelter for multiple persons.

To sum up the paragraph above: camping tents are very good if you’re hiking in a group since your buddies can carry other items while you sport a 12lb tent on your back.

A group of kids sitting in front of a camping tent.

If you’re hiking with a couple of your buddies, it might be best if you carry a good camping tent that provides shelter for multiple persons.

So, is a 5lb Tent Too Heavy to Carry Around?

Now that we’ve gone through some essential info concerning hiking and backpacking gear, it’s time to finally answer the question proposed by the title of this article.

Some hiking/backpacking experts note that the ideal weight of the tent should be approximately 2.5lb a person. Let’s say that if you’re camping with your partner, only one person should carry a tent. You can divide the weight of your hiking gear and make sure you’re both carrying cargo in accordance with your capabilities.

It’s pretty safe to say that a 5lb tent isn’t too heavy to carry around since tents can give shelter to multiple persons. You can fit two people in most tents, and we’ve mentioned that approximately 2.5lb a person is an ideal measure, so… That’s pretty much the answer to the main issue of this article.

Additional question: Are ultralight tents a good investment?

While obviously more expensive, ultralight tents can turn out to be a good investment for folks that don’t want any additional cargo making them feel like the hunchback of the Appalachian Trail. Now that was an unexpected parable… Still, you know what’s up.

You can find ultralight tents that weigh as little as 1lb. They’re usually fit for a single person. The other ones usually weigh about 2-3lb, which is still pretty light. So, if you’re not willing to carry a big load and you’re hiking alone (two options that always go together) – ultralight tents are the ideal choice for you. Here’s a recommendation that will probably give you some goosebumps (in the best possible sense).

To give a conclusion on the “Is a 5lb tent too heavy to carry around?” issue

So, that’s about it. Hopefully, this info will be of some use to you on your hiking/backpacking adventures. Whether you’re going solo, with your partner, or in a bigger group – we’ve provided you with a solution to the tent weight problem. Tent weight? That sounds pretty catchy, don’t you think? Anyway, let’s finish this article wishing you a happy hike, whenever you choose to live your home for a great outdoors adventure!





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