Camping Tent vs. Backpacking Tent

Look From Inside of Tent

When you are headed outdoors, it is imperative you are equipped with the right tools and equipment. Explorers and travel addicts can opt for two types of travel adventures. You can go camping or backpacking. You can choose from either of the activities based on your preference.

Usually your choice for either a camping or backpacking tent depends on whether you wish to walk or drive a car to the campsite.

Backpacking Tents

Backpacking tents are typically lighter since you will be trekking for hours at a time as compared to camping. Plus, they need to be able to provide more space but must be durable enough to withstand storms. Backpacking involves carrying all your weight on your shoulders. Basically, everything you need on your trip is on your back.

Man Backpacking

Typically, backpackers drive to a trailhead, prepare and pack up all their gear in their backpacks and move to the next spot. Backpacking provides explorers the amazing opportunity to experience the wilderness like never before. You experience solitude and get in touch with nature in the best possible way.


Key features of backpacking tents include:

  • For Long Distances - Typically, backpacking tents are designed for long distance needs and are a great option if you are headed deep into the wild.
  • Lightweight - The most noticeable feature of backpacking tents is their light weight. The best backpacking tents out there offer a balance of comfort and portability without compromising on functionality.
  • Less Space - In addition to their light weight, these tents are also designed to occupy less space.
Backpacking Tent on Grass
  • Easy to Work With - Because of the complex nature of backpacking, these tents are much easier to work with and are easier to carry when cycling through the forest or riding a motorcycle.
  • Double-Walled - Backpacking tents are usually doubled-walled. The tent optimized ventilation by incorporating mesh panels, keeping your tent bud-free and away from creepy crawlies.
  • Waterproof - Generally, the outer material of backpacking tents comprises of waterproof materials that will protect you against rain.

Backpacking is more suitable for people who:

  • Are looking for adventure and are excited to face any challenge that nature has in store for them.
Man in Backpacking Tent
  • Are comfortable with trekking and following long trails for several hours.
  • Are looking for an opportunity to experience wilderness.
  • Preferably have experience taking care of themselves in the wild or have a good friend they can backpack with.

Camping Tents

As a general rule, camping tents tend to be bulkier than backpacking ones. They may also be heavier and more durable as camping tents offer more features. Most camping tents are also known as car camping tents since you require a vehicle to transport them from place to place.

Man Standing Next to Camping Tent

Therefore, the weight of the tent is of not much concern. With camping tents, you enjoy versatility, space and comfort. Camping tents typically offer more room and can easily fit in your car. Most family tents offer multiple rooms, separated by thin nylon walls.


Key features of camping tents include:

  • Heavier - Camping tents are heavier but they also sport more features and offer campers a more comfortable space to rewind and relax.
  • Spacious - Most camping tents are highly spacious. You can also invest in family tents that can accommodate multiple people. Plus, while camping, you are expected to carry whatever you want to make your trip more comfortable, such as mattresses, heaters, and 2 to 3 pairs of clothing. Carrying all this extra stuff is impossible while backpacking since you will be carrying the load on your shoulders.
Man on Luxury Tent Porch
  • For Short Distances - Also known as car camping, your vehicle is in close proximity to the tent when you are at the campsite. This means you can create a comfortable space with a tent, a hammock and some camp chairs, all with your car nearby. Camping tents are designed for short distances.
  • Several Features - Camping tents typically offer more features and are usually more comfortable to use than backpacking tents.

Camping is more suitable for:

  • People who want to get in touch with nature but take advantage of campsite facilities.
  • Families with kids who cannot go on long hours of trekking.
Young Woman Sitting in Camping Tent
  • People who are not keen on carrying the entire load on their shoulders.
  • People who are looking for a quick getaway from the city.

Tips For Campers And Backpackers

  • Practice at Home - Before you set out on a hard-core adventure, it is a good idea to set up your tent in the backyard, light your stove, go through the safety guide and inflate your sleeping pad. Camping and backpacking may seem intimidating to newbies, hence figure out how things work in a comfortable place before you are exposed to an unfamiliar setting.
  • Prepare Ahead - Surprises may be fun but not so much when you are stuck on the road and do not know which way to go. Be sure to ask about trail conditions, road closures, temporary restrictions, animal activity or permit requirements before you decide to head out of the city.
Two Guys Setting Up Large Tent
  • Call Your Family and Friends - If you are going on an adventure on your own, it is best you leave an itinerary with a family member or trusted friend in town. This way, if you do not return by the appointed time, your buddy will come out to get you or notify the authorities for help.


Whether you are going camping or backpacking, the choice is up to you. However, ensure you have properly planned your trip and have opted for the right equipment. Hopefully, this handy guide will help you choose between a camping and backpacking tent. Good luck!

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