For those who need to hit the trail with just that one other person and keep things light, nothing beats the best 2 person tent. They are small, lightweight, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors without dealing with complex or cumbersome gear.
There are a few different designs but most 2 person tents follow the same pattern. The original designs are not far from the two-person shelters used in the military over the past century but have been upgraded to provide better protection from the elements and to be more user-friendly. These are perhaps the most versatile and simple tents you can own.
Table of Contents
- Choosing 2 Person Tent Considerations
- Top 10 Best 2 Person Tent on the Market Reviews
Choosing 2 Person Tent Considerations
Who Needs a 2 Person Tent?
The obvious answer is 2 people who need a small shared space. This is great for couples in the backcountry or those who need to travel light. But there are a lot of single people who opt to use a two-person tent. Since tents are usually given a size rating based a 2x6 foot per person measurement, they can be a bit tight with 2 adults.
Many solo hikers will opt to use a 2 person tent alone just to have more space for their gear and more room to sleep. They are still small and light enough to be managed by a single person backpacking. They also make a great choice for outdoor concerts where you may be spending more than a single night.
Many campers who take along a pet also decide a 2 person tent is right for them. This allows them extra space for their dog while still allowing more gear space than a single person. If you do this, make sure you do something to protect your tent bottom. A dog’s claws puncture the thinner fabric and make for a very damp night sleeping.
There are a few tents that are somewhat between sizes. If you want the smaller and lighter tent without going down to a single person tent, there are 1-2 person tents available that are somewhere between. If you need more space, there are 2-3 and 2-4 person tents that offer more size without a drastic increase in weight.
Weather & Season Rating
If a tent does not list a specific rating, it is probably best to assume it is a 3 season tent at most. Very rarely you will see a tent that is designed only for summer use but most are able to make it for at least three seasons. Summer is by far the most popular camping time but with reasonable gear, you can go from mid-spring to mid-fall. This is a brief primer on what tent seasonality actually means.
Weight & Size
A few people may use a 2-person tent for car camping but most people who want a tent this small plan on carrying it quite a way. If you do plan on car camping, a 4 person tent would be a better option to increase your space without taking up too much more size. If you are backpacking in or just need a small lightweight shelter, that is when you turn to the 2 person tent.
Weight is probably of highest concern with these tents. Some of the best can get down into the 4-pound range but most are going to be between 6 and 8 pounds. If you plan on using it backpacking, be cautious of any tent weighing over 7.5 pounds.
Size has a similar consideration. If it is going in a pack, you probably want it as small as possible. How small depends on your pack and how much other gear you will be taking. With rare exception, this is the largest tent you will be able to fit for most backpackers.
Because space can be tight in these tents, you want to go for anything extra you can get. The options are pretty slim in tents this size but they are incredibly important. Not only are they helpful for gear storage but can even offer a place out of the rain to cook.
What you would call a porch is not an option for these tents. They are too small to make use of a mesh room or other outdoor space. Instead, you usually get a covered vestibule out of the weather. It can be a great place to stash muddy boots and when you open it a little, it can be used with an alcohol stove or other small contained flame for some light cooking.
Top 10 Best 2 Person Tent on the Market Reviews
1. ALPS Mountaineering Extreme
At just over 25 years old, ALPS isn’t even in the top 10 when it comes to camping outfitters but they have earned a reputation by consistently producing some of the top rated tents. They are well known for making tents perfect for backpacking and even some very good options on the larger side for car camping. You will find all of them among the best sellers list.
The first thing of note about the Extreme 2-person is the size. It is a little larger than most of its competitors at just over 5x7. This is one of the roomiest options if you have 2 adults. You won’t be able to stand in it but it does have a decent center height of about 4 feet. Overall weight is just under 7 pounds making it perfect for hiking with.
The inner portion has plenty of mesh for ventilation but not so much that it gets too cold when the weather gets a bit rough. Over that, it has a fully waterproof rainfly that adds a large vestibule area for storage and cooking. This complements the additional inside room nicely and adds to the versatility of this tent.
With a 3 pole design, the ALPS extreme goes up quick and easy but packs down very small. They can be a bit pricey, often just a bit under $200 but can be had on sale prior to camping season. If you can find one cheap, this is easily one of the best tents for camping most any time of the year.
2. Kelty Salida
There are few names in camping that can live up to the reputation of Kelty. They are usually the first among equals when it comes to camping gear on a budget. They are ultralight, inexpensive, and offer you the absolute best value for the money. This combination makes them the first choice for many hard-core and weekend campers.
This tent is truly amazing with its lightweight polyester construction. It may not be the absolute most durable but it only weighs about 4 pounds and packs down to just a 13x 15 flat-pick that will fit in the bottom of post hiking packs. When unpacked and assembled, you get a tent measuring a little better than 4.5 feet by 7 feet.
It may not be the largest 2 person tent but with the addition of 10 feet of vestibule under the rainfly, you get plenty of 2 people and gear storage. All of that area is waterproofed with sealed seams. Under the rainfly, there is a ton of mesh for great ventilation. This is not a very good cold weather tent but it works great as a three season tent.
For the extras, it has easy to setup clip-in poles and easy entry D-style doors. On the inside, there are several storage pockets. It is a somewhat plain model but the main selling point is never the extras. This tent sells based on its ridiculously low weight and overall quality. It would be hard to find any other tent like this for under $150.00
3. Mountainsmith Morrison
Mountainsmith was founded in the late 70s at the time when camping equipment was first turning to lighter weight materials and shooting to achieve ultralight gear. Back then ultralight was not the same as it is today but Mountainsmith has stayed the course and continued innovating to keep their gear at the cutting edge.
Their 2 person Morrison tent is a perfect example of their mentality of lightweight and spacious. At less than 5 pounds, you get a tent that measures 4.5x7.5 feet. In square footage, this is one of the larger tents in its class. When packed, it is just a little larger than a 2-liter soda bottle but you get over 30 square feet of space.
It does have a large rainfly to cover the massive amount of breathable mesh. Most of these are adjustable to give you more warmth or more air depending on the season. While it would be hard to see using this for cold weather, it is possible with good gear. All of the seams are taped and the door has its own seal.
The quality of materials is one thing that will always set Mountainsmith apart, even down to the zippers. The rainfly is amazingly durable and watertight. It forms a vestibule over each of the 2 doors for added protection. For a lightweight tent, this is definitely a premium choice!
4. Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2
We already covered one of their tents but ALPS has a ton of amazing products that fit into any list of the best tents. This is what happens when a company devotes itself to quality first and decides they want to lead the industry in quality. This may fall lower on the list than the previous model but the quality is the same.
This tent has one disadvantage to the Extreme above. The Zephyr 2 is smaller. This tent is closer to the industry standard at 4’10”x 7’4”. Of course, this also means it is much lither at just under 5 pounds. Whether the tradeoff in size is worth it for you to save weight is a personal decision. If you can fit everything you need in this tent it will save you some money and be much more convenient.
The entire underbody of this tent is mesh. This is a weight saver but also provides serious ventilation. You wouldn’t want to take this tent into winter conditions but for warm weather, this is perfect. At 6x19 inches packed down, if you use a smaller pack it may be a bit large. For larger packs of if you wanted to use it for motorcycle camping or horse riding, you would be fine.
The Zephyr does come with vestibule area and doors on either side. The two-pole setup makes it convenient, quick, and very easy to set up. It takes only minutes and you have a rainproof shelter with full sealed seems and supreme water resistance. For the price, this is a strong contender for the best tends for 2 people.
5. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
Rounding out what are the really impressive, big-name brands where quality comes first is Teton Sports. Sure, they may rank 4th but never doubt that they are a supremely good tent. Consistently, they are among the best rated and most sought after tents around. They usually cost a little less as well which is quite surprising considering their popularity.
For a two-person tent, this is one of the largest you are likely to find at very close to 5.5x7 feet. When packed down it is similarly sized to many other as just a bit larger than a coke bottle. The weight is around 6 pounds making it a good mid-range option if weight is your primary concern. It will fit 2 with little issue or just 1 person if they have a lot of gear or need extra space.
Almost the entire upper of this tent is made of a very fine mesh that will allow a maximum of ventilation when it’s hot. It has a massive rainfly which covers the whole tent from floor to top of the arch. This leaves room open at the front for a good sized vestibule for rain or other bad weather.
You may have noticed that this tent weighs a little more than the other options for its size. That is because it comes with a full footprint that will protect the bottom of your tent. If you don’t want it, leave it at home but it is a great way to make sure your tent stays in proper order without damages. 6 pounds is still light, it just seems heavier because of its peers. For the price, this is a solid tent that will last you for seasons to come.
6. Kelty Grand Mesa
One more go around by the giants with this one. You know Kelty and their products and we talked about them above. Let’s not rehash the obvious. If you want quality and you don’t want to spend a fortune, Kelty is a great choice. We will leave it at that.
The Grand Mesa is one of the lightest 2 person tents on the market, weighing less than most single tents at just 4 pounds. Set up, it is about the norm, around 4 and a half by 7 and a half feet. Packed down it is just a little bigger than a 1x1 foot square. For portability, this is a really hard tent to beat. The square pack method used by Kelty is a great innovation.
With yards of mesh, this is not a cold weather tent. If you want something for warmer weather, pushing into 3 seasons this will do just fine. All of the seams are sealed on the tent bottom and rainfly. There is a reasonably sized vestibule area for your outside but out of the weather needs. This is a tent you can trust if the conditions take a turn for the worse.
With two simple crossing poles that break down to next to nothing in size. Kelty uses a simple and quick clip system that makes their tents incredibly quick and easy to assemble. There aren’t a lot of extras with this tent but it doesn’t need them. By design, it is simply a lightweight and convenient shelter for any of your backcountry needs.
7. Hyke & Byke Yosemite
So, Hyke and Byke is an interesting company with an interesting business model. Started by a group of engineers, their goal was to produce tents of the quality usually costing hundreds of dollars but to minimize their internal costs to a point where their products sold at budget prices. With more than 40,000 tents sold and no bad reviews, they must be doing something right.
To get into specifics on their Yosemite model, it seems fairly standard on the surface. It looks like a standard 4.5x7 foot 2 person tent. Even packed down, it isn’t that different at 17x6 inches. Where things get crazy is with the weight! If you cut things back the base setup for this tent is less than 3 pounds! For a tent in this price range, that is absolutely crazy!
The tent internals are mostly mesh with a tub-style bottom to keep you dry. The rainfly uses a very durable PU2000 fabric that will keep even the worst rain out. There is no soaking through no matter how it gets pounded. It comes with a ground cloth to protect your tent bottom for added protection
It has a gear loft. It has two doors with independent vestibules. It really has everything you could want from a tent. And it comes in hundreds less than the tents it was designed to emulate. With such a new product, it probably needs to be proven but I would expect this to move much closer to the top of the list of best tents over time.
8. Featherstone UL Granit
Featherstone is another new startup and while they are following a more popular business model geared toward e-business, they are doing it very well. Already company after company has picked up their products to make them one of the bestselling tent companies over the past couple of years. Where most companies only worry about sales numbers, Featherstone has pushed to develop a quality product first.
The Granit Ultra-Light is not that much different than most other tents in its price range. It is a standard 4.5x7 foot tent and weighs around 5 pounds. This is competitive with most other tents of this style and material quality. However, the price is anywhere from 20 to 50 dollars less than their competitors.
The only really novel point of this tent is the footprint shape. With one flat and one rounded end, you squeeze in a few more valuable feet of space without adding any weight. At this level of product competition, things like that count. Other than that, this is a mesh design with a full cover rainfly and two doors with vestibules.
While this may sound like a run of the mill tent in most regards, don’t let that dissuade you from considering it. The quality is extremely good and Featherstone has an amazing reputation for both quality and customer service. You would be hard pressed to find a tent of this quality for under $100.00 anywhere else.
9. ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2
Once more we are going back to ALPS for just one more two-person tent but this time with a little different design. Well, it is different than the standard 2 person tent and more like a traditional dome style tent. This makes it less desirable as a backpacking tent but much better for a hunting tent or other shorter-term outings.
Measuring 5x7.5 feet, this is one of the largest two person tents on the market. Even with that, it still only weighs about 7.5 pounds with everything included. If you want spacious but want to avoid the weight of most standard tents, this is a good option. Packed down, it comes in about 20x7 inches which may be a little large for most packs.
This is the first tent on this list that doesn’t have a vestibule. Instead, it has a dome tent’s usual awning for rain protection but does not provide any usable outdoor space if the weather turns bad. It does have all the weather resistance like a rainfly, sealed seams, and tub bottom though.
This is a two-door design which can be highly convenient. It also comes with a gear loft and plenty of storage pockets. With less mesh, this tent is very resilient to weather and makes it a good choice for camping in cooler weather. It also comes in well under $100.00.
10. Coleman Hooligan
So, it’s about time that we talk about the elephant in the camping room, Coleman. Sure, they are not known for their over-the-top innovative quality but they are known for the quality on the budget end of camping. They have easily put more tents in more customer’s hands than every other brand on this list combined.
So what about the Hooligan? Well, it isn’t your standard Coleman. This is one of their first backpacking designs and it measures a lofty 8x6 feet making one of the biggest tents on the market that is designed to hold two people. Even with that, it only weighs 8 pounds and packs down to an accommodating size if not so small as the high-end brands. Still, you can get this tent for a very reasonable cost, sometimes under $50.00 if you shop around.
It has a complete cover rainfly that is probably the most protective in the camping world. It is tapered and fitted very well. When combined with the lower amount of ventilation when this tent is sealed, you could take this tent into fairly cold weather confidently.
The Hooligan has a huge vestibule for outdoor space and sets up very quickly. Most of this is due to a rather interesting single pole design. For the price, this is an unbeatable deal. It may be just a bit heavy for the ultralight crowd but if you are just starting out or only doing the occasional weekend, this is perfect!
For those adventure seekers who are not yet ready to go it alone or just enjoy the company of a friend or companion, this is the way to go. Nothing beats a 2 person tent for portability and space combined and the best 2 person tent will get out in the woods without weighing you down or making you feel cramped. There are tons of options out there but these are the ones that maximize value for what you get.