Updated: Feb 25
While it is widely known that REI is a leading manufacturer and seller of outdoor equipment - including hiking tents, they can be pricey, costing as much as 2x the price of an off-brand tent you might find on Amazon. The best way to know whether to spend more for a pricier tent or go for a less expensive one like you might find on Amazon is to know a little about tents in general, know what your specific needs are, and know your experience level. If you are a beginner, you might not need a tent with a big price tag. Or if you know you don't want to rack your brain figuring out how to put the thing up, you might want to stick to a simpler, less complicated tent. Are you doing the Rajmachi Trek in India, or the Borra Caves of the Araku Valley in India? Here are the most important considerations when buying a tent:
What is the purpose of the tent - how will you use it?
Size - are you camping alone or with a partner or friends?
Weight - the heavier the tent, the more weight you'll be carrying in your backpack
Weather - will you be camping in the snow? Is there a chance of rain in the forecast?
Best overall backpacking tent for weight, space & quality
Dave and Annie, over at CleverHiker.com say the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 two person Tent gets the nod for this category. The folks at GearLab seem to agree as they listed the Big Agnes Copper Spur as their #1 choice for overall best hiking tent.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 two person Tent
Best Overall Backpacking Tent
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
GearLabs' other top choices include
Best Lightweight Option
Big Agnes 2019 Copper Spur HV UL
Excellent Balance of Features and Weight
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2