Ultralight Tents for Tall People

July 10, 2017

There’s a general truism when it comes to ultralight tents. As manufacturers shave down the ounces, they often shave inches off the tent’s length. Which is fine if you’re less than 6 feet tall. But if you’re tall like me (6 feet 5 inches), there’s nothing fine about having your head and/or feet pushing directly against the sides of the tent.

When it comes to tent length, my minimum benchmark is 88 inches long (90 to 92-plus inches is ideal). In my experience, anything less than that means I will be touching the tent walls at one end or the other (or both). Do keep in mind, however, that the angle of the tent walls comes into play here—walls that slant in more quickly make the tent feel a lot shorter.

I began my round-up with The Trek’s excellent overview of the best thru-hiking tents for 2017, and then expanded further to include a few other options.

So here are the tall-person tents I would consider, from lightest to heaviest (weight is the total packaged weight as listed by the manufacturer):

Zpacks Altaplex 

The person pictured here is 6 feet 6 inches

This is a high-end single-wall tarp tent for one with optional internal bathtub floor and bug net. It sets up with two trekking poles. Tarp tent length: 100 inches. Interior floor and bug net length: 90 inches. Weight as shown here: 18 ounces. $585 for full system, tarp tent only $385.

NEMO 1P Spike Trekking Pole Tent

A floorless single-wall, two trekking pole tent for one person. Length: 110 inches. Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces. $229

Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid XL

This is a bomber floorless pyramid tent that can handle 4-season use. Trekking pole or separate center pole setup. Length: 104 inches. Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces (not including center pole). $365. An optional Silnylon inner net is available ($175).

Tarptent Rainbow

A strong single-pole design with clip-in bathtub floor and bug net. Bathtub floor length: 88 inches. Weight: 2 pounds, 3 ounces. $259.

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

An ultralight double-wall design with room for two. Steep walls enhance its 88-inch length. Weight: 3 pounds, 1 ounce. $449

Marmot Tungsten UL 2P 

A classic double-wall, two-person design from Marmot. Kinks near the ends of the poles make the lower walls wall steeper and much roomier. Weight: 3 pounds, 4 ounces (minimum weight) Length: 88 inches. $299

REI Quarter Dome (88 inches)

A free-standing double wall design. Available in both a one-person version and the two-person version pictured here. Length for both is 88 inches. Quarter Dome 1: 2 pounds, 14 ounces. $279. Quarter Dome 2: 3 pounds, 12 ounces, $349.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.