The right pitch? Hiking tents for dad this Father’s Day

Posted by David Henning on 10 June 2022

Getaway gear editor, Matthew Sterne, took 21 hiking tents into the field to find out which ones worked best. Here are his six top picks for Father’s Day. 

1. Best tent for three people

Eclipse 3 Season Hiking Tent

R4 000

Weight 3.74kg

Packsize 420 x 160 x 150mm

Dimensions 2 200 x

1 900mm, with 600mm vestibules on opposite ends

Waterproof rating Flysheet – 2 000mm, bedroom groundsheet – 3 000mm

The three-person tent category was interesting as the two finalists were so different. It pitted a 2.13kg tent (Cloud Up 3) versus a 3.74kg tent. The heavier one, the Eclipse, ultimately won with ease.

The larger floor space, ventilation, comfortable height, four-pole cross-system for extra sturdiness and better small touches (there’s a small shelf in the middle of the ceiling) made the difference in the end. It’s high enough and wide enough that three people can sit cross-legged and play a decent game of cards inside while around them the wind howls and rain pelts down.

And it’s of such good quality and size that it can easily double up as a comfy camping tent. The extra weight, when shared between two other people, means it’s only 1.35kg per person, which is still pretty light.

2. Best tent for one

VIK Series Ultralight

R3 300

Weight 1.28kg

Packsize 460 x 160mm

Floor size 2 100 x 850mm, with wings of 550mm and 650mm

Some of the tents-for-one we looked at were laughably small with no option of keeping your bag dry, unless you clamped onto it like a koala.

Not so with this nifty number – the best one-person tent by a good margin as it had an outside vestibule to protect your bag (which could be accessed through a zip window), decent floor space and clever design features.

There are air vents in the roof of the tent that can be propped open with tiny poles and the door can be converted to a canopy using trekking poles and guy ropes (not included). And, at 1.28kg, it feels as light as a loaf of bread.

3. Honourable mention, tent for one

Cycling Ultralight Silicone

R2 400

Weight 1.62kg

Packsize 400 x 150mm

Floor size 2 050 x 960mm, with a 600mm vestibule

Snap, snap, snap go the poles of this tent as they seem to automatically fit into place – almost like a Transformer. In a matter of moments, the shell of the tent is up, revealing a decent floor size and an entrance vestibule, once the fly sheet is up, for your bag. The fly sheet and tent have a water column of 4 000mm, making it one of the better wet-weather tents I looked at.

4. Lightest tent for two

Cloud Up 2 Ultralight

R3 000

Weight 1.7kg

Packsize 400 x 130mm

Floor size 2 100 x 1 250mm, with a 600mm vestibule

This simple-yet-effective tent will ensure your hiking missions are fast and light. Weighing just 1.7kg – or 850g per person – the Cloud Up 2 comes out trumps in one of the most important hiking tent categories.

These lighter tents sometimes have materials that don’t seem as durable as the heavier ones, but you get the sense that this tent should hold up fairly well in bad weather – just not as well as the MSR, for example. That’s always the trade-off you are making with a hiking tent.

5. Recommended by the pros

MSR Elixir 2 Tent Grey

R7 295

Weight 2.77kg

Packsize 510 x 170mm

Floor size 2 100 x 1 270mm

Waterproof rating Flysheet – 1 500mm, floor water column – 3 000mm

This is the tent that The Rim Of Africa guides like to take into the mountains. And I’m of the opinion that the lessons learnt on that 62-day trail are lessons worth listening to. The reason it’s the preferred option is simple: there’s no better hiking tent to be in during a storm – something those Cape mountains are more than capable of throwing your way. Its unusual pole structure provides extra rigidity and its different stake points and guy points ensure you can anchor it securely.

Balancing breathable mesh fabric with solid canopy fabric, the Elixir 2 provides ventilation, warmth and privacy, while the adaptable rainfly allows for excellent views. Need to get up in the middle of the night? No problem. The zippers glow in the dark.

6. Special mention: Trekking Dome Tent

FORCLAZ 2-p – mt900

R3 700

Height 1.95kg

Packsize 390 x 120 x 120mm

Floor size 2 100 x 1 250mm

Waterproof rating Flysheet – 2 000mm, bedroom groundsheet – 3 000mm

This light tent is a breeze to set up and take down, and once erected looks like a stingray, with the two vestibules on either side of its wings. The groundsheet extension storage area outside the inner tent is a really useful feature that sets it apart as it allows you to keep your pack and boots dry.

It must be said, though, that the ground-sheet is pretty thin and could be prone to tearing or not holding up in cold temperatures, so an extra groundsheet is recommended for rougher terrain or colder weather.


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