What Is the Difference Between a Backpacking Tent and a Camping Tent?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking tents and camping tents are both great pieces of gear for outdoor enthusiasts, but they are designed for different purposes. Backpacking tents are designed to be lightweight and easy to carry on long hikes or backpacking trips.

They may not be as roomy or feature-rich as a camping tent, but their portability makes them ideal for those who want to travel light.

Camping tents, on the other hand, usually have more features and a larger size than backpacking tents. They are designed for car camping or shorter hikes where weight isn’t an issue.

Camping tents often offer more features such as additional storage compartments, multiple doors, and more spacious interiors.


Backpacking tents typically have a simpler design than camping tents with fewer poles, lighter fabrics, and smaller sizes. This makes them easier to pack and carry on long hikes where every ounce counts. The materials used in backpacking tents also tend to be thinner than those used in camping tents, which can make them less durable but more lightweight.

Camping tents typically have more poles to provide extra stability when set up at a campsite. The materials used in camping tents also tend to be thicker than those used in backpacking tents which makes them more durable but heavier. Camping tents often feature multiple doors for increased convenience when entering and exiting the tent.


Backpacking tents tend to be more expensive than camping tents due to their lighter weight materials and design features that make them easier to carry on long hikes. However, if you plan on doing a lot of hiking or backpacking trips then the cost is well worth it for the convenience it provides.

Camping tents are usually less expensive than backpacking ones due to their larger size, thicker materials, and additional features like multiple doors that can add cost. If you plan on doing shorter hikes or car camping trips then a camping tent is likely the better option.


Backpacking and camping tents each offer their own advantages depending on your needs. Backpackers will appreciate the lightweight design of backpacking tent while campers will enjoy the extra features of a camping tent. Ultimately it comes down to what type of activities you plan on doing outdoors so consider your needs before making your purchase.