How Long Do Backpacking Tents Really Last? (Solved)

If you’re an avid camper, who enjoys hiking and adventuring off the beaten path, you’re likely considering a backpacking tent.

Backpacking tents are much smaller, more lightweight, and easier to set up than traditional tents, but they are also more durable and come with more luxuries than ultra-lightweight tents.

With a compact backpacking tent, you can pack it in a backpack and begin exploring without worrying about it weighing you down. On average, these tents weigh between one pound and four pounds to be versatile. Yet, you’re likely asking if these tents last and if they are worth purchasing.

To help you determine if a backpacking tent is a correct type for you, we have answered this question and provided some of the other information you need to know about backpacking tents.

Here’s The Answer To How Much Backpacking Tents Cost:

How much a backpacking tent costs will depend on the brand, the size of the tent, its accommodations, features, and the materials used. A one-person backpacking tent costs as little as $30, but it isn’t durable. For a quality backpacking tent, you should expect to pay between $200 and $400.

What Lifetime Do Backpacking Tents Have?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer surrounding the lifetime that backpacking tents have because hundreds of different tent brands make backpacking tents.

However, on average, according to those who use backpacking tents, this tent type lasts anywhere between 2 to 12 years.

Several factors influence how long a tent lasts, which we will discuss later in our article. Additionally, there are also ways you can make your backpacking tent last longer, which we will also speak about.

Do Backpacking Tents Last Longer Than Other Tent Types?

If you’re considering purchasing a backpacking tent, you’re likely trying to determine if this tent type will last you longer than other tent types.

A backpacking tent will last the same length as certain nylon and polyester tents because most backpacking tents are made with this fabric. However, this tent type is not as durable as certain cotton canvas, poly-cotton, and military tent types.

These tents are more durable and often last between 10 to 30 years, far longer than 2 to 12 years.

Which Factors Impact The Longevity Of My Backpacking Tent?

If you’re wondering which factors impact the longevity of your backpacking tent, you have come to the right place.

In our below section, we will discuss how to avoid reducing your backpacking tent’s lifespan. If you are aware of these factors, you are more likely to get the maximum usage out of your tent.

The Materials It Is Made Of

The material that your backpacking tent is made out of can impact how long it will last you.

Most backpacking tents are made with different coatings, namely PU, silicone, or a blend of both. If your tent has a PU (polyurethane) coating, which is the most common, it is likely not to last as long as a backpacking tent with a silicone or blended coating.

PU coatings are more likely to weaken your tent’s fabric and cause it to tear far easier. Additionally, PU coating tends to hydrolyze over time, and this causes the waterproof coating to peel. When the waterproof coating peels, your tent gets damaged quicker and risks developing mold and mildew.

How You Store Your Tent

After using your backpacking tent for an epic adventure, it can be easy to disregard safe storage practices and scrunch it up or haphazardly fold it and store it in the location nearest to you that requires the least amount of effort.

Unfortunately, if you do this, you’re putting your tent at risk of becoming damaged. When you fold your backpacking tent tightly, you’re causing creasing that can damage the waterproof coating.

Additionally, if you roll the tent up too tightly, you could use the fabric to sustain damages. Moreover, storing your tent in a damp or cold location can cause mold and mildew to develop, so it’s best to avoid storing it in the boot of your car or the attic or garage.

If You Choose To Use A Ground Sheet

How many times have you had to replace a backpacking tent because the bottom of it has ripped, torn, or developed mold?

There is an easy solution to prevent the bottom of your backpacking tent from sustaining damage. If you haven’t started using a groundsheet for your backpacking tent, you might want to consider doing so now.

A groundsheet will protect the bottom of your backpacking tent from debris and rough terrains. If the bottom of your backpacking tent is protected, it won’t rip or tear, and you won’t have water seeping through the bottom of your tent or mold developing.

How Often you Use Your Tent

The more you use your tent, the quicker it sustains wear and tears, and the easier it is for the fabric to tear and rip and the poles to fracture or break.

Luckily, there are some ways you can improve the longevity of your backpacking tent if you choose to use it frequently. You can take care of it while you use it by carefully handling the zips and the window netting, and you can be sure to follow the other tips we mention later in the article.

If You Don’t Clean Your Tent

When you don’t clean your tent, you allow dirt to build up, damaging your tent’s fabric.

Since some backpacking tents are not made with fabric that is as durable as others, this can quickly lead to the material becoming damaged.

How Long Do Backpacking Tents Stay Waterproof?

How long a backpacking tent will stay waterproof will largely depend on what brand it belongs to and what materials it is made of.

Some brands sell cheaper backpacking tents that are not waterproofed, while others will be only minimally waterproofed. Additionally, some backpacking tents are not made with a fabric that is agreeable to the rain, impacting how well it performs.

If you have purchased a backpacking tent from a reputable brand and it states it is waterproofed, you will only need to re-waterproof it every two to three camping seasons unless you use it constantly for a month or two.

If you use it constantly, you should re-waterproof it each month or the moment you notice it has started to absorb or leak water.

How Can I Make Sure My Tent Lasts As Long As Possible?

There are no tents that are manufactured to last forever, but you can increase the lifespan of your tent by ensuring you follow the tips we have spoken about below:

Protect it from UV Damage: 

Since many backpacking tents are made with fabric that is not as durable as other tents, it’s best to protect them from UV damage as much as possible.

This will include pitching the tent under a cover or out of direct sunlight and applying UV protectant coatings.

Re-Waterproof it: 

A backpacking tent’s waterproof coating will not last forever, especially if yours has a PU coating on it.

Should you want to improve the lifespan of your backpacking tent, you need to be mindful of apply re-applying a waterproofing agent whenever your tent needs it.

Avoid Bug Repellent: 

We know that it can be tempting to apply a bug repellent to the outside of your tent while camping, but this can do far more harm than good as it can cause damage to the fabric of your backpacking tent.

That’s why it’s best to apply bug repellent to your body and not to your tent.

Immediately Repair Tears and Rips: 

If you don’t patch any holes or tears that appear in your backpacking tent as soon as you notice them, you likely won’t get to it before the holes and rips become worse.

When these rips are bigger than an inch, you won’t be able to use your tent.

When Should I Replace My Tent?

We know that it can be incredibly challenging to determine when you need to purchase a new tent because it can often be hard to let go of the one that has allowed you to create many wonderful camping memories.

Yet, it’s inevitable that you will need a new tent.

When your tent can no longer keep you dry from the rain or protected against the elements, you need a new tent. When you cannot fix some rips and holes or when you cannot re-waterproof your backpacking tent, it’s time for a new one. 


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