How To Choose The Best Backpack Shelter For Your Needs

By Charles •  Updated: 05/22/22 •  12 min read

When looking for a backpack shelter, it is important to consider the different types available and what will be the best fit for your needs. Backpack shelters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some are better suited for specific applications than others. There are four main types of backpack shelters: tarp tents, hammocks, tipis, and bivy sacks.

Table of Contents

Quick Reference Table For The Best Backpack Shelters

What Are Backpack Shelters And What Are They Used For

Backpack shelters are temporary structures that provide protection from the weather and can be used as a base camp while waiting for help. They are made to be carried in a backpack and set up quickly in an emergency situation. Backpack shelters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some are better suited for specific applications than others.

The Different Types Of Backpack Shelters

There are four main types of backpack shelters: tarp tents, tipis, hammocks, and bivy sacks.

Tarp tents: Tarp tents are the most popular type of backpack shelter. TTarp tents are typically lighter weight than other types of backpack shelters and can be set up quickly. However, they offer less protection from the weather and are not as durable as other types of backpack shelters.

Tipis: Tipis are another popular type of backpack shelter. Tipis offer more protection from the weather than tarp tents but are heavier and take longer to set up. They are larger than tarp tents and can accommodate more people.

Hammocks: Hammocks are a popular choice for backpackers because they are lightweight and easy to set up. Hammocks offer less protection from the weather than other types of backpack shelters but are more comfortable to sleep in. Many hammocks come with a rain fly, which will provide protection from the weather.

Bivy sacks: Bivy sacks are the smallest and lightest type of backpack shelter. They are a good option for backpackers who want to keep their weight down. Bivy sacks are small and lightweight, and can be used as a standalone shelter or as an emergency bivouac.

The Pros And Cons Of Backpack Shelters

Backpack shelters have a variety of pros and cons that you should consider before choosing one for your needs.

Pros:

Cons:

By considering the pros and cons of backpack shelters, you can decide if a backpack shelter is right for you. If you need a lightweight and packable shelter that can be set up quickly, then a backpack shelter may be a good choice for you. However, if you are on a budget or if you need a shelter that can be set up in windy conditions, then you may want to consider other types of shelters.

How To Choose The Best Backpack Shelter Four Your Needs

When choosing a backpack shelter, it is important to consider the type of shelter, the weight, the size, and the price.

Type Of Shelter

The type of backpack shelter you choose will depend on your individual needs. If you are looking for a backpack shelter that is lightweight and easy to set up, then a tarp tent or hammock would be a good choice. If you are looking for a backpack shelter that offers more protection from the weather, then a tipi or bivy sack would be a better choice.

Weight Of The Shelter

The weight of the backpack shelter is another important consideration. The lighter the backpack shelter, the easier it will be to carry. However, lighter backpack shelters generally offer less protection from the weather.

Size Of The Shelter

The size of backpack shelter you need will depend on the number of people you plan on accommodating. If you are looking for a backpack shelter for one person, then a bivy sack or hammok would be a good choice. If you are looking for a backpack shelter for two or more people, then a tarp tent, or tipi would be a better choice.

Price Of The Shelter

The price of backpack shelters can vary widely. Tarp tents and bivy sacks are typically the least expensive backpack shelters, while tipis and hammocks can be more expensive.

How To Set Up A Backpack Shelter

Most backpack shelters can be set up quickly and easily. However, some backpack shelters, such as tipis and hammocks, can take longer to set up.

To set up a tarp tent, first stake out the four corners of the tarp. Then, extend the poles and insert them into the grommets on the tarp. Finally, stake out the guylines to secure the shelter.

To set up a tipi, first stake out the four corners of the shelter. Then, insert the poles into the grommets on the shelter and extend them. Finally, stake out the guylines to secure the shelter.

To set up a hammock, first secure the hammock straps to two trees. Then, attach the hammock to the straps. Finally, adjust the tension of the hammock to your desired level.

To set up a bivy sack, simply unzip the bivy sack and climb inside. Most bivy sacks have a built-in sleeping pad and a mosquito net.

When setting up any backpack shelter, be sure to stake out the guylines to secure the shelter. Guylines can provide additional stability in windy conditions.

Tips For Using Backpack Shelters In An Emergency Situation

If you are using a backpack shelter in an emergency situation, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, stay calm and think clearly. If you are in a panic, you will not be able to set up your shelter properly and you could put yourself in danger.

Second, be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Dehydration can impair your judgment and make it difficult to set up your shelter.

Third, be sure to have a plan. If you are lost, having a plan will help you stay focused and find your way back to safety.

Finally, be sure to stay warm. Hypothermia can occur quickly in cold weather, so be sure to dress warmly and stay inside your shelter if possible.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you will be safe and comfortable while using your backpack shelter in an emergency situation.

Additional Tips For Using Backpack Shelters

When using a backpack shelter, there are a few additional tips that can help you stay comfortable and safe.

First, be sure to ventilate your shelter. In hot weather, shelters can become extremely hot and stuffy. By opening the doors or windows of your shelter, you can allow fresh air to circulate and keep yourself cool.

Second, be sure to protect your shelter from the sun. In hot weather, the sun can heat up your shelter quickly. By using a tarp or an umbrella, you can shade your shelter and keep yourself cool.

Third, be sure to keep your shelter clean. In cold weather, shelters can become wet and muddy. By sweeping out your shelter regularly, you can prevent mold and mildew from growing.

By following these tips, you can keep your backpack shelter clean, comfortable and safe.

Should you take a backpack shelter on your next hike?

Backpack shelters can provide an efficient, lightweight and packable solution for emergency shelter. They are made to be carried in a backpack and set up quickly in an emergency situation. Backpack shelters can provide relief from the weather and can be used as a temporary shelter while waiting for help.

When deciding whether or not to take a backpack shelter on your next hike, consider the following factors:

The weather conditions of the area you will be hiking in. If the weather is unpredictable or if there is a chance of severe weather, a backpack shelter can provide peace of mind.

The length of your hike. If you will be hiking for an extended period of time, a backpack shelter can provide a comfortable place to rest and relax.

The terrain of the area you will be hiking in. If the terrain is rugged or if there is a chance of getting lost, a backpack shelter can provide a safe place to stay.

By considering these factors, you can decide whether or not taking a backpack shelter on your next

5 Backpack Shelters That Are Perfect For Backcountry Camping

If you’re looking for a backpack shelter that is perfect for backcountry camping, you’ll want to keep reading. We’ve gathered 5 of the best backpack shelters on the market and reviewed them for you. So whether you’re looking for a lightweight hammock or a tipi for the whole family, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find the perfect backpack shelter for your next camping trip.

Bivy Shelters
Slumberjack Contour Bivy
$134.12

Slumberjack's Contour Bivy is a backpack shelter that provides waterproof protection and features a no-see-um mesh window. The bivy can be used as an emergency shelter in bad weather or while waiting for help. It is made with 40-denier upper and 70-denier PU-coated polyester bottom, and includes a stuff sack. The bivy measures 88"l x 34"w and weighs 1 lb. 5 oz.

Pros:
  • This bivy is maybe the best backpacking shelter for the solo hiker that is not looking for extreme comfort.
  • Provides great insect protection during the summer months.
  • When you need emergency protection from weather, this bivy will get you through those rough storms.
  • This shelter provides great ventilation.
  • It has a small footprint so you do not need a lot of room to set it up.
  • For those looking for a lightweight shelter this is a great choice.
Cons:
  • For me this bivy (actually all bivies) are too small and cramped for long-term use.
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11/17/2022 02:19 am GMT
Tarp Shelters
Slumberjack Satellite Tarp
$99.95

If you're looking for an efficient, lightweight and packable emergency shelter, look no further than the Slumberjack Satellite Tarp. This backpack shelter can be pitched in near-limitless configurations and includes a built-in pocket that doubles as a carrying bag. The 70-denier coated polyester is waterproof and has taped seams to keep you dry in wet weather. The Kryptek™ Highlander camo pattern helps you blend in with your surroundings. The shelter includes 10 aluminum stakes and packs down to 12" x 7.5" x 2.5". It measures 120"l. x 102"w. and weighs 1 lb. 14.7 oz.

Pros:
  • This tarp is very durable with a quality level that is far above its price point.
  • This is a large tarp that can be used in multiple configurations.
  • An light weight option for a backpacking shelter at a low price point.
  • I use my trekking poles to set up the tarp which allows me to save weight.
Cons:
  • The only real drawback I have with this shelter is the built in stuff sack. It is a little difficult to get the tarp back inside but it can be done.
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11/17/2022 03:04 am GMT
Tarp Shelters
ALPS Mountaineering Ultra-Light Tarp Shelter
$119.99 $67.18

If you're looking for an efficient, lightweight and packable backpack shelter solution, the ALPS Mountaineering Ultra-Light Tarp Shelter is a great option to consider. This backpack shelter is made to be carried in a backpack and set up quickly in an emergency situation. It can provide relief from the weather and can be used as a temporary shelter while waiting for help. The backpack shelter is made from 20D 380T nylon ripstop with a 3,000mm silicone/PU coating that resists UV damage. It has fully taped seams and a dark color that provides increased sun protection. The backpack shelter can be paired with the Adjustable Tarp Pole for ultimate versatility.

Pros:
  • It packs down to a nice compact size.
  • The stakes are sturdy and they perform very good.
  • The guidelines are pretty good as well they initially seemed cheap to me but they performed really well.
  • This tarp performed really well in high wind conditions.
Cons:
  • The shape of the tarp does limit the number of set up configurations.
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11/17/2022 02:44 am GMT
FireHiking Ultralight Hot Tent
$179.00 $159.00

If you're looking for a lightweight and packable emergency shelter solution, backpack shelters are the way to go. FireHiking Ultralight Hot Tent is one of the best backpack shelters on the market, made with fiberglass cloth and a flame retardant coating. It's unique stove jack design allows for easy replacement, and the separate design of the stove jack cover and rainproof flap make it even more packable. The half inner mesh protects against mosquito bites, and the elastic POM support vent increases air circulation. The single door design adds warmth and comfort, and the knot at the top allows for easy setup. The ground buckle at the bottom is adjustable for a perfect fit. The whole tent weighs just 5.18lb, making it easy to carry in your backpack. For a truly enjoyable camping experience, match it with a single titanium firewood stove.

Pros:
  • The reflective guy lines were already tied on, and I felt the tensioning hardware to be reliable, even in high winds.
  • I was able to pitch this tipi pretty taut and it really did will in the wind.
  • This is a great tipi that stood tall in the wind and rain keeping me and my gear dry.
Cons:
  • I did not like the stakes that came with the tipi and replaced them with some better stakes from MSR.
  • It is not tall enough to stand up in but this is not a big con.
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11/17/2022 03:44 am GMT

Final Thoughts

When choosing a backpack shelter for backcountry camping, it’s important to consider the weight, size and durability of the shelter. All of the backpack shelters featured in this article are made from high-quality materials and offer a variety of features that make them perfect for backcountry camping. So, which backpack shelter is right for you? It ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a lightweight and packable backpack shelter, the ALPS Mountaineering Ultra-Light Tarp Shelter is a great option to consider. If you’re looking for a backpack shelter that offers more protection from the elements, the FireHiking Ultralight Hot Tent is a great option to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which backpacking shelter is the best?

The best backpack shelter for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a lightweight and packable backpack shelter, the ALPS Mountaineering Ultra-Light Tarp Shelter is a great option. If you’re looking for a backpack shelter that offers more protection from the elements, the FireHiking Ultralight Hot Tent is a great option.

How do you make a simple tarp shelter?

There are a variety of ways to make a simple tarp shelter. One way is to use two trekking poles and tie the tarp to the poles. Another way is to use a rope to tie the tarp to trees or other objects.

How do you set up a backpack shelter?

Most backpack shelters can be easily set up by following the instructions included with the shelter. Generally, you will need to stake out the corners of the shelter and then tie the shelter to the stakes. Some backpack shelters come with pre-attached guy lines for easy setup.

Do backpack shelters come with stakes?

Some backpack shelters come with stakes, but not all. If your backpack shelter does not come with stakes, you can purchase them separately.

What is the best material for a backpack shelter?

The best material for a backpack shelter depends on your individual needs and preferences. Some backpackers prefer shelters made from synthetic materials because they are more durable and offer more protection from the elements. Other backpackers prefer shelters made from natural materials because they are lighter weight and more packable.

How do you build a temporary shelter with a tarp?

There are a variety of ways to build a temporary shelter with a tarp. One way is to use two trekking poles and tie the tarp to the poles. Another way is to use a rope to tie the tarp to trees or other objects.

Why is hiking shelter important?

Hiking shelter is important because it can provide protection from the elements. Hiking shelters can also be used as a temporary shelter while waiting for help. backpack shelters are an efficient, lightweight and packable solution for emergency shelter.

How do you make a quick and easy shelter?

There are a variety of ways to make a quick and easy shelter. One way is to use two trekking poles and tie the tarp to the poles. Another way is to use a rope to tie the tarp to trees or other objects. You can also purchase backpack shelters that are designed to be quick and easy to set up.

How do you make a tarp shelter without trees?

There are a variety of ways to make a tarp shelter without trees. One way is to use two trekking poles and tie the tarp to the poles. Another way is to use a rope to tie the tarp to rocks or other objects. You can also purchase backpack shelters that do not require trees for setup.

Featured Image: Joseph from Cabin On The Road, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Charles

Charles is a man who loves the outdoors. He moved to Wyoming specifically to spend more time in the mountains and wilderness. A hunter and fisherman, Charles knows how to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. He is an outdoorsman through and through, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Charles is the President of Absaroka Enterprises, an company focuse on outdoor entertainment and endeavours. He's also an Editor for Alpha and Omega Outdoors, an online hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and all around outdoors blog.

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