The Best Wild Camping Tents & Bivvies In 2018 [For Rough Campers]

Looking to rough it? Our buyer’s guide is going to give you the knowledge you need to find the best tent for wild camping

There’s something about pitching up on a campsite that just doesn’t sit right.

Toilets and showers…where’s the adventure?

And, that’s why a select few of us choose to rough-it, and go wild camping.

I’ve used various tents on my wild camping trips, and there’s a few features you need to look for that are going to make your life more comfortable.

And, if it’s not -10, you might even break a smile.

Below we’ve covered the essential features your wild camping tent must include. No negotiations.

Next, we’ve covered the best wild camping tents, and explained which one is best for 1-man and 2-man wild camping and backpacking, as well as the best wild camping bivvies’.

Buyer’s Guide To Wild Camping Tents

Every wild camper is different. Camping in different seasons, with different amounts of people, for varied periods of time. So, there’s not a one-size fits all approach to purchasing a tent.

It’s worth considering the following before reading our top picks, and making a purchase.

Weight

Your tent has to be light.

Most wild campers prefer to travel as light as possible. And let’s face it, your tent is going to be the heaviest thing you carry.

1-Man Tent Weight

If you’re wild camping on your own, you’ll want a tent that’s 1kg-2kg. Not only will this be effortless to carry, a tent that weighs this little won’t take up much space.

And, that’s important. A 2-man team can share the load. One can carry the stove, and one the mess tins. One can carry the tent, and the other can carry sun cream. When you’re out in the wilderness on your own, all of that’s got to fit in your bag.

2-Man Tent Weight

A 1-man band will make a sacrifice by carrying a lighter tent; protection against the elements. Within reason, a heavier tent will offer much more protection against wind, rain, run and snow.

Remember, these tents need to be bigger, so instantly weigh more. However, expect to be able to find a tent in the 1.8-2.8kg range that’s perfect for a 2-man wild camping trip.

3-4 Man Wild Camping Tents

This is where we’d draw the line. Especially in windy conditions, a bigger tent is going to be more prone to the elements, it’s better to get a 1-man and 2-man or 2 x 2-man tents.

Tent Waterproof Rating (HH)

Hydrostatic Head (HH) measurements are used to measure how waterproof a fabric is.

All you need to know is a tent in the 1500mm-2000mm is really designed for tame conditions. If you expect heavy rain, snow, or excess wind, go with something in the 3000mm-5000mm range.

Size

When comparing the best wild camping tents, try and go for the smallest one possible.

Small wild camping tents are:

  • Less prone to the elements (especially wind)
  • Light
  • Easy to pack

Best 1-Man Tents For Wild Camping

Nemo Dagger 2P

HH: 3000mm

Weighing in at around 3lb 5oz (1.4kg), we’ve got the Nemo Dagger, and it’s at the top end of the price spectrum.

At 90 x 50 x 42in, it’s incredibly compact. Although we’ve listed this in the 1-man tent category, it can fit two people at a push.

It’s a 4-season tent that’s high on interior space; plenty of room for all your gear.

However, for such a high-end wild camping tent, we’d expect there to be a little more breathability, it condensates pretty easily.

Check Price on Amazon  

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent

HH: 1500mm

ALPS make high quality mountaineering and camping gear, at exceptional prices. And, their Lynx tent is no exception – it’s a a lot cheaper than the Nemo Dagger.

At just under 4lbs, the difference between the two in weight is minimal.

It’s 7’6″ long and 32” wide, so you’re not going to be lacking space; that’s for sure.

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Nemo Dagger 2P Or ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent?

If you’re looking something hardcore, the Nemo has it all, but you are paying for it.

For the recreational wild camper, the ALPS Mountaineering 1-man tent is going to offer more than enough protection from the elements.

If weight is not an issue, look at the 2-man options that are offered below. Slightly heavier, but certainly offer a little bit of extra space.

Best 2-Man Tents For Wild Camping

MSR Elixir II

HH: 1500mm

The MSR Elixir II isn’t just suitable for wild camping, but also for weekend trips, backpacking and adventures; it’s truly versatile. And, for such a well-established brand in the adventure space, it’s worth the MSRP all day long.

If you’re looking for an ultralight wild camping tent, then the MSR Elixir II isn’t the best choice. It weighs in at just under 6lb, or 2.64kg. It’s not back breaking, but certainly not the lightest tent on the market.

For a couple just entering the world of wild camping, this tent will easily get you through the next few years; if not more.

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Berghaus Peak 3.2

HH: 3000mm

Don’t be fooled by the price of the Berghaus Peak 3.2. It’s not just cheaper than the MSR, but it’s also lighter by a few ounces.

What the Peak 3.2 is, is a tent that offers a little bit of comfort due to the space on offer, mainly thanks to its tunnel construction.

Not as sturdy as the MSR, but certainly more than capable of being the perfect wild camping tent for a 2-person outing.

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Vango Banshee 200

HH: 5000mm

The Vango Banshee 200 2-man tent is lightweight, compact, but incredibly sturdy. It’s the lightest tent of the bunch at just over 4lb 4oz too, and that even includes a small porch area (don’t forget to take it down in high winds).

It’s a confident allrounder and at this price point, we’re impressed with its 5000mm HH shell material.

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MSR Elixir II, Berghaus Peak 3.2 Or The Vango Banshee 200?

When it comes to price, durability and all-round capabilities, you can’t argue with what Vango is offering with the Banshee 200. And, so this is my overall best pick. It’s going to more than cover the average recreational camper throughout all seasons

Best Bivvy Bag For Wild Camping

If you’re looking for an ultralight alternative to a tent, enter the bivvy, or bivvy bag.

It’s a waterproof shelter that is about as minimalist as you can get. And with that, comes to getting as close as possible to nature as you can get.

As a bonus, they are generally much cheaper than tents.

Here are what we consider to be the best bivvies for wild camping on the market today.

Sierra Designs Navassa Bivvy

The Sierra Designs Navassa Bivvy weighs a “back breaking” 16oz, that’s under 0.5kg.

Realistically, this is a fair weather bivvy, not designed to protect from harsh weather. But, with that comes great breathability. Perfect for the summer.

Check Price on Amazon  

Outdoor Research Helium Bivvy

The Outdoor Research Helium Bivvy sits at the opposite end of the spectrum in every way, including price.

Weight is similar, at just 18oz, but this is a bivvy you can use in the fair weather (thanks to its excellent breathability) right through to the harsh conditions of mountaineering.

So, for the average wild camper, this is going to be a 4-season bivvy.

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Rab Alpine Bivvy

The Rab Alpine Bivvy is tailored more towards the winter wild camper. You’ll want two bivvies if you purchase this, as it’s just too insulated and not breathable enough to use in the summer months.

However, it will keep you toasty in freezing conditions.

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Sierra Designs Navassa, Outdoor Research Helium Or The Rab Alpine Bivvy?

My top pick here is the Outdoor Research Helium. I just don’t have the cash to be buying both a summer and winter bivvy, and the Outdoor Research bivvy does it all.

If that sounds like you, the Outdoor Research Helium should be your top priority.

Primarily a summer wild camper? Go for the Sierra Designs Navassa.

Primarily a winter wild camper with a big budget? Grab the Rab Alpine.

What’s Next?

Let us know what wild camping products you’ve used – good or bad.

And, don’t forget to read our Complete Guide To Wild Camping here.

Ready to pick your perfect tent or bivvy? Check out the selection below.

Written by
Grant Draper

Grant's a motorcycle geek, outdoor enthusiast & confirmed racing nut. He road tests all the gear he buys, and then gives his feedback here on NoobNorm.

He also details any quick fixes he stumbles upon, whether that's to stop brakes on motorcycles sticking, or unusual noises coming from gaming wheels.

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Written by Grant Draper