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

By Michael Ferguson

Camping and backpacking are two different activities that require distinct kinds of tents. It’s important to know the differences between a camping tent and a backpacking tent before you decide what type is best for your next outdoor trip.

The primary difference between a camping tent and a backpacking tent is size and weight. Camping tents are typically much larger than backpacking tents, often accommodating multiple people, while backpacking tents are designed to be lightweight and small enough to carry in a backpack.

This makes them ideal for extended trips into the wilderness where every ounce counts.


Camping tents are typically made with heavier materials, such as canvas or nylon, which can withstand more wear-and-tear than the lightweight fabric used to make backpacking tents. This makes them more durable, but also means they’re heavier and harder to transport. Backpacking tents use lighter materials like ripstop nylon or polyester that offer some degree of protection from the elements while still being light enough to carry on your back.


Another difference between a camping tent and a backpacking tent is the features they offer. Camping tents come with plenty of bells-and-whistles like mesh pockets, gear lofts, and other convenience features designed for comfort during extended stays in one spot. Backpacking tents are generally more basic and don’t include many extra features in order to save weight.


Finally, camping tents tend to be more expensive than backpacking tents due to their larger size and greater number of features. Backpacking tents may cost less up front but weigh more when fully loaded with gear, so it’s important to factor this into your budget.

In conclusion, there is a clear difference between camping tents and backpacking tents. Camping tents are larger, heavier, feature more convenience items, but cost more than their lightweight counterparts designed specifically for long hikes in nature. Knowing which kind of tent you need before going on an outdoor trip will help ensure you have the most enjoyable experience possible!