This $30 Backpacking Tent Costs Less Than a Tank of Gas (and Yes, We Tried It and It Works)

The Sierra Designs Crescent 2 is beginner-friendly two-person shelter, and right now it's 50% off.

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We’ve spilled a lot of ink on the lightest, strongest, and roomiest tents, but in the end, the best tent is the one you have, and spending hundreds of dollars on a new shelter is one of the biggest humps for a new backpacker to get over when they’re building out their kit. Even a budget tent can run as much as $300. Enter the Sierra Designs Crescent 2, a tent that costs less than a dinner at Applebees: Usually $60, you can grab it for half-off right now.

For the cut-rate price, the Crescent 2 is surprisingly livable, with 32 square feet of floor space and a 44-inch peak height. A dual-wall design with a mesh body kept both condensation and ridgetop breezes at bay during an overnight backpack in Iowa’s Hitchcock Nature Center, while a single vestibule was big enough for us to stash muddy boots and an overnight pack. An included gear loft let us stash a headlamp and phone for easy access. We didn’t notice any abrasion on the floor after nights spent on both an impacted dirt site and a gravel tent pad. While we never tested the tent in more than a light sprinkle, the fly’s 1200mm waterproof coasting should be enough to stand up to steady rain.

Budget Tent Crescent 2
(Photo: Courtesy)

At this price, there are definitely some tradeoffs. The poles are fiberglass instead of aluminum, so we might be leery of using this shelter in a sideways storm. There’s only one door, and at 6.48 pounds, the Crescent 2 is definitely on the chunkier side of the category (it is a budget tent, after all). But considering it costs less than the gas you’ll use to get to the trailhead, we’re not about to complain.

Buy Now; $30