Should You Buy A Freestanding Backpacking Tent?!

Should You Buy A Freestanding Backpacking Tent?!


Freestanding backpacking tents are pretty much to go to for new backpackers, and for those looking for something simple and affordable. At least that is the idea that seems to be behind freestanding tents. So is a freestanding backpacking tent the best option, the best choice, the best shelter for where you live?
This video is a collaboration with Jason from Huck Outdoors. We teamed up to discuss the benefits of and even the cons of Freestanding and Non Freestanding tents.

Tents featured in this video:
– Paria Zion 1P:
– Paria Bryce 1P:
– Black Diamond HiLight:
– Exped Mira 1:
– Top Quilt:
– Sleeping Bag:
– Sleeping Pad:
– Stove:
– Shelter:
– Water Filter:
– Water Storage:
– Cook Pot:
– Pillow:
– Backpack:
– Kuiu Gear:

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  1. JessieBanana on April 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    You forgot seeing the sky or side views (since my tent does have a small solid at the top center). Most single wall tents have very limited mesh and it’s at the door. I get it’s pretty much a non issue for thru hikers who pretty much only sleep in their tent, but for the rest of us it’s a bummer.

  2. Backpacking With Jason on April 21, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Great tips Devin. I like my free standing tent but it’s so heavy. I’m with you on spots that you can’t use a non free standing tent. There’s a lot of times in the Red River Gorge that I want to stay on a bald rock but I can’t with the duplex unless I use rocks as stakes. And that never works well. Cool video and great tips. Now I’ll check out Huck video. Cool collaboration 👍

  3. Neeman Callender on April 21, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    There are many double skinned non freestanding tents, almost all English and European tents are outer first pitch double walled tents
    Nobody wants a freestanding inner first tent in the pouring rain
    American tents tend to be freestanding inner first tents, and your view is skewed that way too

  4. Urban Outdoorsman on April 21, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Just like i said on the other channel… If you’re that serious about backpacking to consider all this, you’ll probably own both….should own both. Freestanding seems more like a longer trip tent, non-free sounds better for peakbagging hot climate overnights.

  5. Hike Camp on April 21, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Good listing of pros and cons… !

  6. Midge Barno on April 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    The versatility and "livability" of the freestanding tent allowing room and ability to use the mesh screen for star-gazing, makes it worth the "weight penalty." Although my 2p freestanding lightweight tent is sub 3 lb with how I carry it, it’s hardly much of a weight penalty. As I find myself also pitching a tent in tight areas or in the desert where the ability to stake down a tent is nearly impossible, I have not really found a reason to switch. However, you make a valid point in the rain that I had never really though about with single-wall vs. double wall set up.

  7. Jeremiah Stringer Hikes on April 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Great vid man. Very well articulated. Personally I use both free and non free standing depending on the circumstances. I’m with you on the non free standing. Sometimes it’s harder to be comfortable because so much has been lost due to cutting weight. Hike on 👏

  8. Tom Noyb on April 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Most memorable campsites have always been on top of mountains, on hard-rock. There’s no reason to camp at the very top of mountains, other than the awesome spectacle? It’s dangerous, cold, windy, snow, lightning, hail and magnificent. Consequently, free-standing is the correct answer in those cases. And there are no real design limitations precluding correcting shortcomings? Were Tarptent to design an Alps Lynx Li, it could surely weigh sub-19oz? Yet most cling to the weaker (and setup-challenged) Bowfin design? + Great vid. Covered all the issues.

  9. SIDDHARTH TILALA17695 on April 21, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    how much wind can this tent survive in?

  10. Emmanuel Vincent on April 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Off topic but did you recently do some voice over work for a luxe youtube ad? I could’ve sworn it sounded just like you.

  11. Chris Young on April 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    One other small thing I prefer about free standing tents is that I can pick it up and shake out dirt or other debris that has managed to make its way inside.

  12. DudeHikes on April 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Great video man, super handy as I’m trying to decide on what my next shelter will be. I’ll go checkout Jason’s video now. Keep up the great content!

  13. Andrew C on April 21, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Between the two Paria tents, which one would you reccomend for a solid 2 person tent? It would be me and my 7 year old boy and possibly me doing solo trips

  14. Love2Wander on April 21, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Freestanding all the way living in the desert sometimes it’s hard to pitch. Stay safe my brother on your adventures

  15. HECTOR OUTDOORS on April 21, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the pro and cons!

  16. Galactico42 on April 21, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    I also love the option of pitching just the mesh without the rainfly in the desert when you’re confident of the weather forecast. Great to (nearly) sleep under the stars without worrying about various creepy crawlies.

  17. Chuck Littleton on April 21, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    My measuring stick for the two different tents boils down to location. I hammock camp when possible but have both a freestanding and a non freestanding tents to use when a hammock is out of the question. The freestanding tent is a universal tent I can use anywhere. The penalty for that ability is some additional weight but worth every ounce. I research the area I will be in and chose my shelter from that knowledge.

  18. Z0MB13Redfield on April 21, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    I own both a free standing and a non free standing. I also like the option of sleeping with just the bug net I get with my free standing.

  19. Huck Outdoors on April 21, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    That was a fun collab buddy! Thanks for letting me be a part of it. Next collab better be a hiking trip! lol

  20. Rashoop on April 21, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    I have both free and non, and lately my go-to has been the non, with a Six Moon Design Lunar Solo. Love the weight. That being said, if i knew there was a chance of rain (hopefully not while pitching, which would suck), I’d go with my free-standing. One other benefit of at least my Lunar Solo is the interior space, compared to my free standing (REI Quarter Dome 1P)… WAY more space.
    Keep up the great work Devin, and once again, a to-the-point overview. Very helpful.

  21. Russell Jolly on April 21, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    When I was a kid, seems like all the tents were either single wall or true double-wall, where the inner wall was all fabric, not mesh (similar to the Eureka Timberline). So when you pitched your tent in the rain, you never had to worry about rain on the inside. My preference right now is for a freestanding design. I recently bought a 1p and want to evaluate the pros and cons vs a 2p.

  22. Daniel H on April 21, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Nice video!
    I use freestanding tents about 5-10% of the time I hike, but I love to use them when they are needed.

    Som freestanding tent are designed to be set up fly first and/or fly and inner at the same time and still more of them can be simply redesigned to do so… including the one in your video.
    Simply tie some knots on a thin stringso they match the holes where the poles go in the inner tent floor, that way you can set up the poles in this simple harnes first, then the fly and last the inner tent.

    This is way more fiddly and time consuming, but in a heavy rain, the extra 2-3 minutes is well worth it to have a dry inner tent instead of a soggy mess.
    I have been using this trick several times, it work fine.
    It also allow for setting up the fly without the inner when and if you want.

  23. mark scott on April 21, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    How does the Paria Zion tent holding u? Looking to buy the 2p but concert the quality is not there compared to BA, msr or Nemo However I love the Paria price point

  24. our world outdoors on April 21, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    great collab tons good info in both

  25. Chris Adams on April 21, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Great video. You gonna do a full review of the Zion 1P? Of course they released it a month after I bought the Bryce 1P.

  26. Goatlord Hiking on April 21, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    I have both. A NF Mica FL II freestanding, and a SMD Lunar Solo. Which one I carry depends on the trip (terrain, weather, etc).

  27. Jeffrey Donaldson on April 21, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    It have a free standing tent. love it. You can move it to an area after you assemble it if you have to. Has a floor where little critters have a problem getting into tent.

  28. JK is Hiking on April 21, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Excellent video! There are definitely pros and cons to both. You’re right about setting up in a storm. I’ve gotten caught multiple times trying to set up my tent in the rain, and having to set up the inner tent first always ended up in a wet floor that I needed to dry up with a towel. Great info!

  29. Libolt Adventures on April 21, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve always used freestanding, they do not hold up to the wind though which is a pain and too many pieces! Good tips dude.

  30. Jarold Williams on April 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    I have a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1 freestanding tent. It can be pitched fly first in a storm which keeps the inner tent and your other gear dry. So, not all free standing tents are created equally.

  31. Adventures in Backpacking on April 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    We own an HMG tarp and a ZPacks Triplex, both of which my husband loves. But for me, nothing compares to our Packs Duplex Flex. I love the freedom of knowing I will be able to easily set up our tent regardless of the conditions of our campsite, or the time we decide to stop hiking for the night.

  32. john wimer on April 21, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    One of the drawbacks you mentioned was setting up in a downpour. I was watching this video yesterday, he was showing a freestanding setup without the bug-net body, that would lessen the downpour problem. That setup starts at approx 12:32.

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