There are so many great one-person and two-person backpacking tents available today, that choosing between them has become one of the biggest challenges faced by many backpackers. For example, improved tent fabrics and lighter weight tent poles have reduced the weight of tents so much that many people purchase two-person tents for solo use because they want more room to spread out or to bring a canine companion. Whatever your preference, here are the 10 best one-person and two-person backpacking tents that we recommend to hikers based on weight, price, livability, durability, weather-worthiness, ease of use, and ventilation. Be sure to read our Tent Selection Advice at the bottom of this article for more insight on how to choose between these fabulous options.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 ($399) is a spacious 2 lb 3 oz double-wall tent with an easy-to-setup hubbed pole architecture. Two large side doors and vestibules provide excellent access and ample covered gear storage. A large ceiling pocket and side pockets provide excellent storage space, while mesh sidewalls provide extra privacy. The Tiger Wall UL 2 is the lightest 2-door, 2-vestibule backcountry tent from Big Agnes. Read the SectionHiker Review.
The Zpacks Duplex ($599) is a single-wall trekking pole tent that only weighs 19.0 ounces. It has ample space for one person plus gear to spread out, but can also fit two people comfortably. It has two doors, so you get good ventilation and vestibule space on both sides of the tent, plus you don’t have to climb over your partner at night to go for a nighttime walk. The Duplex has a full bathtub floor, seam taped seams, and mesh sidewalls for insect protection. Pitching the tent requires two trekking poles, but the dual apex structure is quite wind resistant provided it’s staked out securely. The Duplex is made with an ultralight fabric called Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is waterproof and won’t sag at night or when it rains. It is translucent, which can compromise your privacy when camping near others. Read the SectionHiker Review.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 ($450) is a great tent for two people. It’s incredibly easy to set up, lightweight and has two doors so you can come and go at night without disturbing your partner. Nearly freestanding, the pole configuration creates an interior space that has near-vertical walls, providing excellent interior space and livability. With a trail weight of 3 pounds and 8 ounces, the Hubba Hubba NX2 is lightweight enough for backpacking use when shared by two people, but on the heavy side if used by one. Still, MSR has done a fine job designing this tent which is spacious and comfortable. Read the SectionHiker review.
The Dan Durston X-Mid 1P ($220) is a 28-ounce double-wall tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. It has two doors and requires trekking poles to pitch. All of the seams are taped and the inner tent is optional so you can just use the rainfly if desired. The X-mid can be set up fly first in the rain to keep the inner tent dry and has plenty of interior gear storage space. This mid-style tent is quite stormworthy and includes extra guyout points for extreme conditions. Read the SectionHiker review. An excellent two-person version called the Dan Durston X-Mid 2P ($280) is also available.
The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo ($230) is an ultralight style, single-wall tent that’s pitched with a single trekking pole. Weighing 26 ounces, the Lunar Solo has a bathtub style floor to prevent flooding in the rain and a side door, making entry easy. The interior is quite roomy, with a hexagon-shaped floor, providing room to store your gear in the tent, and plenty of headroom to sit up inside. A large vestibule also provides gear storage and room to cook in bad weather. The Lunar Solo upper is made with a 20d silicone-coated polyester, reducing fabric stretch and packed volume, while the floor utilizes a durable 40D fabric. Read the SectionHiker Review.
Weighing 33 oz, the NEMO DragonFly 1 is a lightweight double-wall tent with a side entrance and large vestibule for ample gear storage area The freestanding inner tent and hubbed pole architecture provides easy setup, with excellent ventilation between the inner tent and rainfly to help reduce tent condensation. Kick-stand vents encourage airflow, while the high bathtub floor prevents cold wind from chilling you inside. White mesh on the tent sides provides extra privacy, while black ceiling mesh is virtually transparent to provide bug-free star-gazing. The DragonFly has a 20d floor and 15d rainfly for increased durability and waterproofing.
The Tarptent Double Rainbow ($299) is a single wall, two-person tent that weighs 2 lbs 10 oz. It has two side doors and two large vestibules for gear storage. Constructed as a single unit, the tent requires a single tent pole, which is inserted into a long-sleeve sewn onto the top of the tent. Trekking poles can also be used in lieu of tent stakes, to stretch out the tent corners and make the tent freestanding, for use on wooden platforms or rock ledge. The tent has a bathtub floor to prevent rain from entering the tent as well as large mesh sidewalls. Roof vents also help vent moisture and prevent internal condensation. This tent is very popular with lightweight backpackers and provides excellent value for the price.
The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 ($299) is a highly livable 31 oz double wall tent with vertical sidewalls and plenty of head and shoulder room. The hubbed and shock-corded pole assembly is color-coded to simplify setup, while adjustable stake out points make stake placement easy and allow for quick vestibule tensioning. Abundant mesh and a roof vent help prevent internal condensation while a variety of pockets and hang loops help organize the interior. This tent is surprisingly affordable and quite a good value. Be sure to check out the REI Quarter Dome SL2 ($349) which is also a great tent for two. Read our SL1 Review
Gossamer Gear’s “The One” ($299) is an ultralight, single-walled trekking-pole tent that weighs 17.7 oz. It has a spacious interior that’s a palace for one, with excellent ventilation to help prevent internal condensation. Made with PU coated sinylon, the One is factory seam-taped so you can use it without seam-sealing. The front vestibule is quite large with a zippered center opening which can be closed shut in inclement weather, or rolled back for views and ventilation. The vestibule is also large enough to store your pack under half the vestibule and get in and out through the other. Read the SectionHiker review.
The Slingfin Portal ($485) is a lightweight two-person tent that can be used year-round in more extreme weather. Weighing just 2 lbs 13 oz, it has a unique internal guyline system that adds superb wind-resistance without additional weight. Two large vestibules and numerous internal pockets provide best-in-class livability, while its dome-shaped exoskeleton provides impressive livability. Kickstand door vents provide unrestricted cross-tent airflow for excellent condensation management without sacrificing weather protection. Read the SectionHiker SlingFin Portal Review.
Here are the most important variables to consider when buying a backpacking or camping tent.
Tent Weight/Trail Weight
The total weight of a tent usually measures the tent and all of its packaging, while the trail weight is the weight of its poles, inner tent, outer rain fly, minus any tent stakes. Why the difference? Most people replace the tent stakes that come with a tent with lighter weight or stronger ones and leave all the extra stuff sacks and packaging at home rather than carry it.
Tent Poles/ Trekking Poles
Tent poles are made using fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the most durable of the three, while carbon fiber is normally only used in very high-end tents where the focus is on light weight. Fiberglass poles are the least durable tent poles and break frequently. So much so, that we recommend avoiding any tent with fiberglass poles. All the ones above have aluminum poles or use trekking poles. Most manufacturers who sell trekking pole tents offer regular tent poles as an add-on purchase.
Trekking poles tents are quite strong and wind-resistant as long as your trekking poles are in good working order. They’re a good option if gear weight is your chief concern.
The floor of a tent is the part of a tent most likely to be punctured or torn as a result of ground abrasion. While using a footprint on floors that are 20 denier thick or less is always recommended, it’s far less necessary on 30 denier or higher floors, except on highly abrasive or rough terrain.
Number of Doors
Tents with two side doors are often preferable when purchasing a tent for two because it means each occupant can each get in and out without disturbing one another. One person tents with two doors are also quite convenient, especially in bad weather, since you can cook under one vestibule and store gear in the second.
Interior pockets and storage organization is a plus in a multi-person tent. Look for internal pockets and gear loops to hang gear from the ceiling. A gear loft is an added bonus. Vestibule space is always a plus as well, but especially if there are multiple doors so that gear storage does not block entry and exit.
All tents experience tent condensation, but good tent site selection and ventilation are the best ways to avoid it. Look for tents that have lots of mesh netting to facilitate airflow, top vents to release moist air, and door tie-backs to roll up tent doors and keep them open at night.
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