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 because it’s easier to set up? How important is having a lot of interior space, and so on? Weighing these different factors, here are our recommendations for the 10 best two-person backpacking tents of 2021. 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 2 is a freestanding two-person tent with two doors and two oversized vestibules that provide ample storage for backpacks and wet hiking boots. Its 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. The 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.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 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. 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 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 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. Read the SectionHiker 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.
The Slingfin Portal 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 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 Durston XMid-2 is a two-person, trekking pole tent with a rectangular floor that is spacious and remarkably easy to set up. This double-wall tent has two doors and two vestibules that make getting in and out easy for couples, with plenty of space for storing gear and wet boots outside of the living area. The rain fly can be erected before the inner tent, which is attached to connectors in the rainfly corners and in the peaks, or you can keep them attached for faster set up the next time you use them together. The inner tent can also be set up separately for star-gazing or when you just need insect protection. The pyramid shape is very wind-resistant and shed’s rain and snow equally well. Weighing 2 lbs 4 oz, the XMid-2 is fully seam-taped and quite reasonably priced, making it an exceptional value.
The Marmot Tungsten UL2 is a two-person double-wall tent with two doors and two vestibules. A trimmed-down version of the best-selling Tungsten tent, the 3 lbs 3.8 oz Marmot Tungsten UL 2P maximizes livability while keeping weight at a level that caters to backpackers. Easily accessed on either side by dual D-shaped doors, extensive mesh on the walls and ceiling ensure excellent ventilation and keeps condensation to a minimum. Both the fully weatherproof rain fly and floor are seam-sealed while the unique, pre-bent “knees” of the tent’s DAC Pressfit aluminum poles pull the tent body taut, avoiding the unusable corners frequently found inside tents and maximizing livability.
The REI Flash Air 2 Tent is an ultralight two-person tent with two doors and two vestibules that weighs 1 pound 15 ounces if pitched with trekking poles (regular tent poles are also included). It is a single wall tent with lots of ventilation options to mitigate condensation. One of its best features is the ability to easily switch between an open, breezy set up for night sky views and battening down the hatches in a storm while sitting comfortably inside the tent. For folks who have never used non-freestanding or trekking pole-supported shelters before and are curious to try them out, the Flash Air 2 is a good entry point, as the basic setup is simple. It’s also great option for backpackers who want to lighten their load without breaking the bank. Read the SectionHiker REI Flash 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 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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