10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2020

10 Best Backpacking Tents

If you backpack with a partner, your dog, or alone, and want more room to spread out, a two-person tent is the way to go. Improved tent fabrics and lighter weight tent poles have significantly reduced the weight of two-person tents while making them very easy to set up. Here are our recommended 10 best backpacking tents in 2020, considering weight, price, livability, durability, ease of use, and ventilation.

Make / ModelDoorsWeightPrice
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 222 lbs 11 oz$450
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 211 lb 15 oz$350
Zpacks.com Duplex21 lb 3 oz$599
REI Quarter Dome 223 lbs 5 oz$349
MSR Hubba Hubba NX223 lbs 8 oz$450
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 222 lbs 3 oz$399
Gossamer Gear "The Two"21 lb 12 oz$375
REI Half Dome 2 Plus24 lbs 14 oz$229
NEMO Dragonfly 2P22 lb 9 oz$400
Tarptent Double Rainbow22 lbs 10 oz$299

1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Person Tent ($450) is the most popular backpacking tent purchased today. Lightweight, but fully featured, it boasts an impressive interior space to weight ratio. A hubbed pole architecture and steep walls provide lots of interior space, while two doors and vestibules add convenience when used with a partner. Ample mesh provides circulation to fight condensation build-up, with plenty of interior pockets for personal items. Porch-able vestibule doors, new this year, let you open the tent up if you carry trekking poles to views or batten the hatches if there’s a storm. (Note: trekking poles are not required to use the tent.) The tent weight minus stakes is a miserly 2 pounds 11 ounces.  Read the SectionHiker review.

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REI | Moosejaw | EMSAmazon

2. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Tent

Big Agnes HV UL 2 Tent
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Person Tent ($350) is a double-wall two-person tent that’s often used by a single person who wants extra space to spread out after a hard day on the trail. Its semi-freestanding design is easy to set up and well ventilated to reduce internal condensation, with a vertical front door to increase front vestibule space. Weighing just 1 lb 15 oz, the Fly Creek is narrow enough to fit into compact tent sites, making it a flexible option on long-distance trails. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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REI | Moosejaw | EMS | Amazon

3. Zpacks.com Duplex Tent

Zpacks-duplex-top 10 tents

The Zpacks Duplex ($599) is a single-wall trekking pole tent that only weighs 19.4 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.

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Zpacks

4. REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent

REI Quarter Dome 2
The REI Quarter Dome 2 Person Tent ($349) has two doors and two vestibules, providing better access and gear storage when shared with a partner. A multi-hub pole architecture creates near vertical walls so occupants can both sit up inside the tent at the same time. The inner tent has good airflow with ample mesh, with solid fabric panels that provide privacy and keep wind and dust from blowing into the tent. Convenience features including light hang loops and interior pockets are also provided. The fly is made with a 15 denier ripstop nylon to minimize weight while the floor and walls are made with a slightly more robust 20 denier ripstop. Gear weight without stakes is 3 pounds, 5 ounces, slightly lower weight than the MSR Hubba Hubba. Read the SectionHiker review.

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REI

5. MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba
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.

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REI | Moosejaw | EMS | Amazon | MSR

6. Big Agnes Tiger Wall HV UL 2 Tent

Tiger Wall UL 2
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.

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REI | Moosejaw | EMS | Amazon

7. Gossamer Gear “The Two” Tent

Gossamer Gear The Two

Gossamer Gear’s “The Two” Tent ($375) is an ultralight, single-wall tent that’s pitched with two trekking poles. Weighing just 28.3 ounces, The Two is easy to set up. It has a bathtub style floor to prevent flooding in rain with two side doors and two large vestibules for gear storage. The interior has plenty of head and shoulder room with plenty of insect netting for ventilation. The tent’s long 89″ length provides extra space and is especially good for tall backpackers. All of the seams are taped for waterproofness and the tent comes fully outfitted with guylines, line tensioners, and stakes.

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Gossamer Gear

8. NEMO DragonFly 2P Tent

NEMO Dragonfly 2P

The Nemo DragonFly 2 ($400) weighs just 2 pounds 9 ounces and features two side doors with large vestibules for gear storage. The DragonFly 2 is a comfortable tent for two, but lightweight enough for one person who wants to bring a dog or to spread out. The freestanding inner tent hangs from an exoskeleton style hub and spoke pole using plastic clips. This creates a large air gap between the inner tent and the rainfly, which improves internal airflow and helps eliminate internal condensation. Mesh sidewalls improve air circulation while solid side panels provide privacy and wind protection.

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REI | MoosejawAmazon

9. REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent
The REI Half Dome Plus 2 Person Tent ($229) is a great crossover tent for car campers who want to start backpacking. At 4 pounds 14 ounces, it is heavier than the REI Quarter Dome 2, but it’s significantly less expensive and has many features only found on high-end tents. The Half Dome 2 Plus is easy to pitch with a hubbed pole assembly that simplifies set up. Two side doors make this a very comfortable tent when shared with a partner, with separate side vestibules for external gear storage. The tent comes with mesh pockets and a gear loft for storing personal effects and features roof vents for enhanced ventilation. Read the SectionHiker Review.

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REI

10. Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent

Tarptent Double Rainbow
The Tarptent Double Rainbow ($299) is a single wall, two-person tent that weighs 42 ounces. 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.

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Tarptent

Tent Selection Criteria

Here are the most important variables to consider when buying a backpacking or camping 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

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.

DURABILITY

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.

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.

INTERIOR STORAGE

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.

VENTILATION

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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2 comments

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but the new copper spur is the same as last year just with a crappy gimmick and an extra 2oz

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