If you are new to the world of camping, two-person tents are definitely the way to go. They won’t weigh your pack down too much, are easy to set up, and best of all they won’t leave your wallet empty.
Using a smaller tent is a great way to reduce your pack weight and relieve some of the strain on your back and shoulders during long treks. However, it is important to bring a tent that is large enough to comfortably fit you and your partner or your extra gear.
In this guide, I’ll go over the best 2 person tent for every situation so that you can get the best bang for your buck.
My Review Process
Due to my lifelong unquenchable wanderlust and seasonal environmental work, I have camped in every state in the lower 48. This range of climate and terrain forced me to test out a ton of different-sized tents from various manufacturers.
I quickly learned that the best two-person tents can double as a great option for solo campers who appreciate extra square footage. They’re also light yet durable enough to handle the strain that two campers can put on a tent.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite two-person tents that will have you sleeping like a baby, regardless of your favorite camping style or weather conditions.
Think it’s impossible for two-person camping tents to be more durable, spacious, and comfortable than their larger competitors, all while weighing under three pounds? Then think again!
The Alto TR2 is one of the roomiest tents in its class thanks to its distinctive shape with nearly vertical walls and a 42.5” peak height. This allows for spacious vestibules and easy access doors for taller campers, not to mention maximum ventilation on those muggy days.
Unfortunately, the footprint and gear loft are sold separately so you will have to spend a little more than the MSRP to get the most out of this quality tent. Luckily, the 20D nylon tent floor is PU coated, and the vestibule is spacious enough to hold most of your gear.
Dollar for dollar, the Alto TR2 is the overall best two-person tent on the market, and it will make a great fit for anyone new to camping.
One of the first tents I bought with my own money was from Ust. That’s why I feel so confident recommending the Highlander 2 as a premier two-person tent for those who are on a budget.
Despite being considered a budget value tent, this thing feels spacious, durable, and has plenty of storage to boot. It also comes equipped with a footprint which is becoming harder and harder to find, especially with cheaper tents like this one.
The sturdy aluminum color-coded poles are supposed to make set up a breeze. However, it can still be a bit of a puzzle the first few times you use it. You will definitely want to take the time to run through this process once or twice before you find yourself scratching your head as the sun sets.
If you are looking for something that covers all the basics of a great backpacking tent without all the extra expensive bells and whistles, then you should strongly consider the Highlander 2.
Do you prefer long backpacking journeys over quick car camping trips on the weekends? Then your back and shoulders will agree you definitely need an ultralight tent. The Copper Spur HV UL2 is the cream of the crop when it comes to lightweight durability.
On the outside, this year's model features new nylon double ripstop fabric to combat tears and punctures without adding too many extra ounces. This tank of a tent features a ton of storage options on the inside including a gear loft, added media pockets for electronics, and an elevated storage bin at the foot to keep gear dry in any conditions.
While it isn’t the most spacious tent on this list, it does offer awning-style vestibules that will protect your gear from rain and sun, freeing up space inside the tent.
Affordable ultralight tents that can stand up to the wear and tear of long backpacking excursions are few and far between. The Copper Spur HV UL2 checks all these boxes while offering plenty of extras to keep you and your gear warm and dry no matter what.
Sometimes less is more, and the simple yet effective REI Co-op Passage 2 is one of the top-tier three-season tents on the market today.
The standard X-pole configuration makes for easy setup and take down, even for beginner backpackers. Its two doors and two vestibules make accessing and organizing your gear a breeze, even with two people.
The attached fly doors can be rolled up over the roof for extra ventilation in humid climates, and make for a perfectly clear view of the stars at night.
It is slightly heavier than similar lightweight tents, but at 4.2 lbs it is still a viable option for backpackers and car campers alike.
If you are in search of a no-frills three-season tent that is great for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to weekend warriors, then look no further.
It isn’t often that I come across a tent feature that makes me want to drop what I am doing and tell everyone that I know, but Black Diamond’s Distance hiking tent did just this. The ability to incorporate your trekking poles into the frame of the tent is a genius idea that any serious hiker or backpacker will love.
It isn’t the cheapest two-person tent out there, but when you factor in the price of the quality trekking poles that are included, its value is hard to beat. It only needs a small single pole for the ceiling which is why this tent weighs just 2.6 lbs.
The only downside to this tent is its lack of size. You will be hard-pressed to comfortably sleep two adults in this tent as it is closer to a large one-person tent. That being said, it is a great option for solo hikers or those who like to bring their small dog along with them.
If you prefer experiencing the outdoors by yourself, then you should seriously consider this release from Black Diamond.
The Telos TR2 breaks the mold of traditional waterproof tents by offering ample ventilation and a shade canopy for those warm and dry nights. In the past, having an especially waterproof tent meant waking up soaked in sweat instead of the rain.
The double-walled construction along with the 2500mm waterproof rain fly combine to keep the rain out while venting the moisture that you create in your sleep. On top of this, the floor tub is also 6 inches deep, guaranteed to keep you and your gear dry in even the harshest downpours.
When the rain subsides, you can use the fly as an awning with your trekking poles. It also comes with three separate stuff sacks so that you can split the 3.7 lb packed weight among your group. At just under 20 ounces per person, it’s hard to beat this weight ratio. This technically makes it one of the lightest two-person tents that you can buy.
It comes with a hefty price tag that might scare off some beginner backpackers. However, considering its ability to keep you dry, it should be at the top of anyone’s list that does their camping in rainy areas.
There is nothing that I dread more than having to struggle setting up my sleeping arrangements after a long day of hiking. That’s why pop-up tents can be such a lifesaver. The Vista Quick two-person tent from Teton Sports is among the simplest pop-ups in production.
Simply lock in the two aluminum poles, pull the drawstring, and voila! You can relax and rest your tired legs.
It is perfect for stargazing on clear nights, thanks to its full mesh ceiling, but this isn’t the best thing for staying dry during rainstorms. The included rainfly is only 1,200mm and doesn’t reach down to the ground, so if you prefer camping in wet climates, you may want to consider another tent.
It's also on the heavier side of two-person tents at 6.3 lbs. This means the Vista Quick is probably not the best choice for long-distance backpackers. But if you want to spend the least amount of time possible setting up your tent, the Vista Quick is a prime choice.
I prefer to sleep in a hammock versus on the cold hard ground when possible. However, I don’t always have room in my pack to fit a hammock plus a tent. This is where the hammock tent comes into play, and Night Cat’s two-person version is one of the nicest that I’ve seen.
This versatile design also comes with a mosquito net and rainfly that can be easily removed. It can even be used as a ground tent if you happen to find yourself camping in the plains, where trees are hard to come by.
Even though the Night Cat is among the most versatile, it comes at a cost. This hammock tent takes time to set up correctly and you should do a dry run at home before attempting in the field. Even after practicing, it isn’t the most simple setup system, so give yourself extra time to set it up before sundown.
In short, this all-in-one hammock tent system comes with everything you need to stay elevated from wet ground, insects, and uncomfortable rocks that will rob you of a good night's sleep.
How To Choose The Best Two-Person Tent
As a beginner camper, it’s hard to anticipate all of the different situations in the field and the features that your tent should have. A quick weekend car camping trip in the desert is going to call for a very different tent than a week-long backpacking adventure through wet coastal territory.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when in the market for a two-person tent.
The cost of a tent can act as a barometer for its quality of materials and features, but the price shouldn’t be the only factor that you consider.
Two-person tents can range anywhere from $50-$1,000+. When purchasing a new tent, consider what features you absolutely need, and which ones you can do without.
Does it need to be completely waterproof? Do you need a three-season or four-season tent? How important is weight? These are all questions you should be asking yourself so that you can get the best tent for the least amount of money.
Stay away from the cheapest options so that you don’t have to buy a new one next year. Start your search in the $200-$600 range to find a tent that is spacious, durable, and lightweight.
Consider your budget and make sure to compare multiple options so that you don’t break the bank and end up with a tent that you want to get rid of after just one trip.
Ease of Set-Up
Take the time to analyze the process of setting up and taking down each tent on your list of possible candidates. If you are having trouble setting it up in your living room, it will be a nightmare to set it up in the field during a downpour.
More often than not, the fewer the poles, the better. Fewer moving parts mean less room for error. Features like color-coded poles can be a godsend when assembling tents with more than two poles.
Fly-first pitch tents are designed to keep the tent dry during a rainstorm by pitching the fly before the tent. These are great for camping in areas with unpredictable weather, but can add unnecessary steps when setting the tent up on a clear day.
Packed Weight & Size
Almost every tent feature comes at the cost of extra weight. More durable materials, larger dimensions, and extra storage pockets will all add to a heavier packed weight.
The main thing to keep in mind is the distance you will be carrying your tent. Longer multi-day treks will call for a lighter tent. If you are strictly a car camper, then you won’t have to worry as much about this factor.
Some of the common factors that contribute to a tent’s packed weight include:
- Number of walls - Single-walled tents are lighter than double walls, but don’t ventilate as well.
- Poles - Carbon fiber poles are lighter than aluminum but are much more expensive.
- Waterproofing - Fabrics treated with PE or PU are much more waterproof than those without, but will also be heavier.
Imagine getting to your destination after a long day of hiking. You roll your tent out, but because you are so exhausted you fail to notice the sharp stick protruding out of the ground. Now you have a hole that makes everything in your tent prone to the elements.
This scenario could have been easily avoided by laying down a footprint. Footprints act as an extra layer of moisture and abrasion protection between the floor of your tent and the ground, kind of like a tarp. The weight that they add to your pack pales in comparison to camping in a tent with holes in the floor.
Keep in mind that it is becoming more common for footprints to be sold separately from tents, so be sure to check a tent’s accessories before making your next purchase.
Ventilation is important in any size tent, but it’s particularly vital in two-person tents. Their smaller size allows moisture to build up faster than larger tents, especially when there are two people inside.
Waking up to a soaking wet sleeping bag can ruin an otherwise perfect trip. Even worse, the condensation that forms on the inside of the tent walls can freeze, transforming your tent into a freezer.
Mesh is the most breathable tent fabric, but it is the most prone to allowing moisture in from the outside. Tents with mesh walls or ceilings need to have a strong waterproof rainfly to keep the rain out.
Materials such as Gore-tex are great options because they are simultaneously waterproof and breathable, shielding you from mother nature while allowing moisture to escape from the inside.
Camping with a two-person tent is the way to go for couples or if you are a solo camper that likes to stretch out when you sleep.
The all-around best two-person tent is the Sea To Summit Alto TR2. If you are new to camping and want to save some of your hard-earned cash, then the Ust Highlander 2 is for you. Do you need a simple shelter to reside in after a long hike? Then you should definitely check out Black Diamond’s Distance Tent.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.