Two-person backpacking tents can be used by couples or solo backpackers who want a little bit more space to store their gear inside the tent in bad weather or on long treks. When shopping for two-person backpacking tents, we recommend that you figure out your priorities. Do you want a tent with two doors? Do you prefer a trekking pole tent or one with a freestanding tent pole structure? How much interior space do you want, and so on? Weighing these different factors, here are our recommendations for the 10 best two-person backpacking tents of 2023. While everyone’s priorities are different, we feel that these tents provide the best balance of features and cost available today.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a popular two-person backpack tent and with good reason. This freestanding tent is easy to set up and has two doors so you can get in and out without having to crawl over your companion at night. It has a spacious interior with lots of headroom and vertical sidewalls so you can change clothes and sit up inside without touching the sides. Awning-style vestibules expand the covered living space, which is great for both drizzle and sun protection, while two-way door zippers let you vent warm air without compromising privacy. Off-the-floor storage in the form of an oversized ceiling pocket in the head, side pockets, and media pockets provide plenty of space for personal items you want close at hand. Weighing just 2 lbs 11 oz, the Copper Spur is an exceptionally lightweight but fully featured backpacking palace. Read the SectionHiker Copper Spur HV UL2 Review.
The NEMO Dagger OSMO 2P Tent is a spacious freestanding double-wall tent for two people with two doors and two vestibules. Weighing 3 lbs 6 oz, the tent is made with NEMO’s new OSMO polyester/nylon ripstop fabric which reduces rain fly sag when wet and improves waterproofing. The spacious interior and numerous livability accents make the Dagger OSMO 2P a great tent for tall people or couples that want more room to spread out. Read the SectionHiker Dagger OSMO 2 Review.
The Zpacks Duplex is a single-wall trekking pole tent that only weighs 19.0 ounces. It has ample space for one person plus gear 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. 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 strong and wind-resistant. 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, however, which can compromise your privacy when camping near others. Read the SectionHiker Review.
The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 is a spacious 2 lb 3 oz double-wall tent with an easy-to-pitch 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 plenty of storage space, while mesh sidewalls provide extra privacy. The interior of the Tiger Wall is smaller than the Copper Spur listed above and made with gossamer-thin fabric, making it the lightest 2-door, 2-vestibule backcountry tent from Big Agnes. If gear weight is a primary concern or you want to use a two-person tent for solo hiking, the Tiger Wall is a good option. Read the SectionHiker Review.
Gossamer Gear’s “The Two” Tent is a single-wall trekking pole tent with two doors and two spacious vestibules. While it’s made by a smaller gear company, it’s very well built, with fully taped seams, excellent waterproofing, great headroom and length for taller campers, interior clotheslines, and gear pockets that make it a joy to use. Weighing just 23.5 oz, it’s also really lightweight and packs up small (11″ x 5″) in part because you use two trekking poles to set it up (tent poles are available separately). The Two is a great tent for warmer weather in milder conditions and is still quite affordable because it’s made with conventional nylon ripstop.
The MSR Freelite 2 is a 32 oz two-person tent with two doors and two vestibules. It still has the true rectangular floor, 50 inches wide, without a foot taper like most other two-person tents. A unified hub-and-pole system and symmetrical design make setup super quick. Inside, tech-friendly pockets feature cable ports at the corners for headphone and charging cords, while the overhead gear loft pockets are perfect for headlamps, sunglasses, and other quick-access items. Read the SectionHiker Freelite 2 Tent Review.
The Tarptent Double Rainbow 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 ledges. 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. Read the SectionHiker Review.
The Durston Gear X-Mid 2 is a spacious double-wall, two-person trekking pole tent that requires two trekking poles to set up. Weighing 36 oz, the tent has two doors and two vestibules with a shape that makes it extremely weather and storm-worthy. The all-mesh interior tent has offset peaks to maximize headroom and comes with four interior pockets for gear storage. Large kickstand vents in the fly provide excellent ventilation, but the dual doors and vestibules are also designed so they can be left open in the rain without splashback. The tent is made with no-sag polyester and fully seam-taped with Aquaguard door zippers enabling hassle-free use in all conditions. An ultralight DCF version is also available.
The Slingfin Portal is a lightweight two-person tent that can be used year-round in more extreme weather (Slingfin was founded by Martin Zematis, the guy who started Mountain Hardware). 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 freestanding, dome-shaped exoskeleton makes it easy to set up. Kickstand door vents provide unrestricted cross-tent airflow for excellent condensation management without sacrificing weather protection. Read the SectionHiker SlingFin Portal Review.
The NEMO DragonFly OSMO 2 is a lightweight freestanding two-person tent with two doors and two oversized vestibules that provide ample storage for backpacks and wet hiking boots. Weighing 2 lbs 10 oz, the tent is made with NEMO’s new OSMO polyester/nylon ripstop fabric which reduces rain fly sag when wet and improves waterproofing. The tent’s exoskeleton architecture comes with prebent tent poles that maximize head and shoulder space, providing plenty of room inside to change clothes or sit out rainy weather, while large D-shaped doors make it easy to enter and exit the tent and can also be rolled back in hot weather for extra ventilation. Overhead light pockets at both ends use special light-diffusing fabric to cast an even glow throughout the tent while interior gear pockets in the corners offer occupants ample storage for personal items. Read the SectionHiker DragonFly 2 Review.
Here are the most important variables to consider when buying a backpacking or camping tent.
Total 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 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 pole 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 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 are 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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I’m kind of surprised that the DupleXL from Zpacks didn’t make it into this list. I would argue that it’s superior to the original Duplex
Whatever you do, don’t get the FreeDuo version of the Duplex. That didn’t quite pan out so well. You’re much better off with the Duplex or as you say the DuplexXL.
Still debating on what tent to take on a 5-day trip to Isle Royale N.P. in late May, the Durston X-Mid 2 or the REI Flash Air 2. The x-mid seems to pack down slightly smaller than the Flash, so that may be the deciding factor. Just not sure yet.
The Durston tent with it’s offset peaks, provides a huge volume of interior head space. The Flash Air 2 has the poles coming up and inboard, and the resulting decrease in head width of the tent, leaves a lot (of space) to be desired. :)
Light weight tents have a cost, not cheap!
Some of these are pretty affordable, actually.
Heavy tents have a cost too…
Not many ACTUAL 2 person tents in this list. Having 2 people in the Tiger Wall UL2, Dragonfly or Freelite isn’t really fun. Having 2 in the xmid means one person gets really close to mesh in the face. And the Tarptent has very little shoulder room.
Good thing many of them come in a “3 person” version as well that’s basically the same thing just bigger – the weight penalty is usually pretty small too.
I’ve been checking out the tarptent dipole 2
Tarptent Dipole should be on this list, if not at the top. Sure the double rainbow is less expensive, but the list is named “best” two person tents.
Phillip, what’s your choice for one person (decently skinny but 6’1″) and a reasonably docile 47-pound dog for two nights max in the White Mountains?
Given how small one person tents are, and if you want the dog to sleep inside the insect netting with you, I’d recommend a Tarptent Rainbow. If the dog doesn’t mind sleeping on the outside of the bug insert but under a vestibule, I’d suggest a Durston X-mid, but only if you don’t mind using a trekking poles tent and are willing to put up with the hassle of pitching one on wooden platforms, when staying at AMC or RMC tent sides. The rainbow has a huge interior and can be set up freestanding if you use trekking poles. If you don’t use trekking poles, you’re going to have a hard time getting a big dog into the other 1-person tents available. I’d recommend upsizing to a 2-person.