Solo Tents

Wondering what everyone is using for tents. I’m looking at solo tents mainly for sea-kayaking and the occasional backpacking trip. Looking for roomy, light, packs small, tough, waterproof/resistant and affordable.

Thanks much

Look at the ultralight floorless tents that are out there. I have a tarp with bug netting that I like, made by Dave Olson, at

If I were looking now
And wanted a ultralight, I would look for something like this.

Self standing for easy setup, roomy and light.

I’ve owned several tents LL Bean, Kelty, Eureka, Sierra Designs, and MSR. They’ve all been good tents, but the MSR Zoid 2 I bought 2 years ago is my favorite. The free standing MSR model Sloopsailer linked us tolooks very good also.

small 2 person…
I purchased the REI Half Dome 2 last year. Nicest tent of the 4 I’ve owned previously (except for my Integral Designs bivy - I love that tent/bag/shelter…)

That REI tent has a lotta bang for the buck. Dual doors and vestibules and options on pitch configurations. Rather light and quite roomy for 1.

do yourself a favor
Brand preferences aside, the smartest move you’ll ever make in tent shopping is to shop up a size. One prson=2 person tent. Two people = 3 person tent.

When you really need a tent because of snotty weather or plagues of biting bugs, you’ll appreciate the room for your gear, stretching out, etc. Most one-person tents are like coffins.

You asked for “affordable” & get $100+
Responses… HAHAHA!! Why didn’t you just ask me in the first place?! Here are some links to “AFFORDABLE”, “roomy”, “durable”, “pack small”, solo tents:

You can also make “quick, easy” shelters out of a poncho ($9-$20). If you email me I can send you a “quick guide to poncho shelters” instruction sheet.

Paddle easy,


Also to answer your question about…
What “I” use. I use one similar to the first link on the list I sent you.

When I am kayaking or hiking with Heather, I use this tent. When I am kayaking or hiking by myself or with the guys, I use either a ponch or nothing…

Paddle easy,


You asked for “Small” & get canvas
Seriously now, Coffee. Not everyone likes military surplus.

paxtonm is right. You’ll go insane stuck inside a 1-person tent for a couple of days. Check out the Eureka Apex 2A. 2 person size, packs down to about 8"x16" and doesn’t weigh 45 lbs. after a little rain. 90 bucks at Campmor.

best but not cheap

I Strongly Agree, Pax
I hate sleeping in a pile of wet stuff. And if it leaks, it will leak on the sides, especially if you or your gear is touching the side of the tent. I always get a 3-4 man tent for two people.

The little 7’X 7’ Coleman is a nice tent for about $60.

Sil-Nylon Tarp

– Last Updated: May-05-04 9:25 PM EST –

I use a 5 x 10 nylon tarp for my trips. I also have a Walrus Trekker Tarp that's pretty neat. For light weight, packability, and ease of set up, it's hard to argue with a tarp. And they are useful in all but the harshest weather. I've spent some very rainy nights nice and dry under a well-pitched tarp. And the nice thing about tarps is there's plenty of room.

Of course, I'll also probably buy a Hennesy Hammock of my own one of these days (those things are really cool).

Clip Flashlight

– Last Updated: May-05-04 10:02 PM EST –

I've used a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight for years on both long distance backpacking and bike trips. ( $149 on sale). The two person is a little tight unless you're verrrry friendly with the other person. Most people use them solo and find there is lots of room for one and gear. A very important consideration if weather forces you to hold up for a few days.

The fly is green. That color is easy on the eye in a rustic setting and doesn't draw attention to a camp site when you don't want it. I am not fond of bright colors for tents unless there is a real safety issue where you really want to be seen.

The Clip is not a free standing tent. On ground that won't accept stakes it could be a problem. Out of several hundred nights I only ran into this situation three or four times. My solution was to stretch the floor between two hiking poles weighted down or tied to something. A little extra trouble but it works for me in a pinch.

Weight is less than four pounds, which is pretty good for backpacking. If you do a lot of camping in an area where stakes don't work, a free standing tent might be better. Those usually weigh several pounds more. That may not be a problem if you're using it for kayak camping.

Hope this helps!


There are 3 solo FREESTANDING tents
1. Eureka Mountain Pass XT1, $120 from Campmor. I bought one, set it up inside the house to check it, and am taking it to Alaska. This tent has two vestibules and windows (one door). You can sit up and read in it. It is not claustrophobic at all, unlike my old nonfreestanding hoop tent that I had to slide into on my back. It also packs very small, which is one of the key reasons I chose it. Very nice design.

2. Eureka also makes another freestanding solo tent listed in Campmor’s catalog. I can’t remember its name but it’s pictured in the catalog. Same price range as the XT but does not seem quite as nice.

3. If you are willing to pay $400-600, Hilleberg makes some solo freestanding tents that look comfortable. They are Euro style tents, in which you set up the fly first and the tent body hangs from that (good for rainy set-ups). An appealing type of tent, IMO, but too expensive.

I sold my 1-person tent
last year after packing up my gear in the rain, while the others in camp rolled their thermarests and sleeping backs inside their 2-person tents. The tent was fine for sleeping, as it was 2" larger than a standard thermarest, with a decent vestibule. But dressing was done on my back because of the lack of headroom. In the end, I decided a light 2-person, like the aforementioned Sierra Designs is better for me. The extra 1-2 pounds is worth the extra comfort.

For yacking i like the USMC combat tent, its 4 season 2 person, which means it will hold one person and gear. Bivi tenst suck for that reason. its a bit heavy like 7 LBS, but built like a tank with vestubule SP? the tent is on the Eurika web site. neat thing about it is is comes with all kinds of EXTRAS! you can even just camp under the rain fly if you wish for real light weight camping.

Solo tents
Moss use to make a nice one person, four season tent.

It cost a lot and weighed about four pounds , yet was realy comfy and sturdy.

I used it often and it stood up to high winds and

wet snow droping from trees.

I did wonder if it came with somthing extra , like

a noise that sounded like a train or somthing ,I keep on hearing realy lound noises at night when using the thing .

I agree Swedge! I have thought about…
getting that tent for sometime now. Unfortunately as of acouple years ago the last of us got out of the service, so I can’t get my usual price (“donated by Uncle Sam”…lol).

I have seen it, though, in Sportsmans Guide for $269. I am still contemplating that… I have to sell my 12’x7’ tent first. And maybe my F1 tropical tent too & possibly afew tarps.

If tou count tarps & ponchos as “tents or shelters”, I have 9. So another tent isn’t really a need for me.

I just (afew months ago) bought a “Quickdraw Explorer”, which is a “self erecting tent”. Just give it a toss & it sets up all by itself!!! Roomy enough for two, you can sit up in it with extra room, but it is perfect for 1 person + gear. It folds dowwn to a 27" diameter disc with pack-strap. Like I said before, though… If I am by myself, I use a poncho or nothing. Plenty of room!!

Paddle easy,


Hey Mau! Here’s another great deal…
For $20! Light, roomy, packs small, durable…

I have been using “certain” Guide Gear items for about 5 years now & have had NO PROBLEMS whatsoever!

Paddle easy,


Mike, only 1 was “surplus”. You would…

– Last Updated: May-06-04 8:03 AM EST –

be surprised at the weight differance & similar durability of "cotton canvas" as with "canvas". Also, it was the stuff sack that was cotton canvas, the tent is nylon. Plus the military half shelters do roll up pretty small, you just need to practice & experiment with technique. ;) My F1 tropical rolls up to almost as small as my sleeping bag (which by the way rolls up to about the size of a football).

And yes, you would go crazy "stuck" in a tent for acouple days. But hey, you are only sleeping in it. That is why I ALWAYS set up an extra poncho or "packable" (8x10) tarp... To stay under if/when it rains & to stow my gear.

Paddle easy,