Choosing 2 man backpacking tents sounds easy until you have to set up a tent on the side of a mountain during a heavy rainstorm. Careful selection now obviates years of pain and suffering because you will likely have to endure the wrong tent for a few years to come. You’ll want to choose a backpacking tent with the long-term mindset.
|2 Person Tents||Price||Our Rating|
|NEMO Hornet||REI / Amazon||B|
|The North Face Talus 2||REI / Amazon||B|
|Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Tent||Amazon||A+|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2||REI / Amazon||B|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX||REI / Amazon||A|
|Kelty TN||REI / Amazon||B+|
Chief Concerns: The Four Factors
You need to look at size when backpacking with a buddy. Space becomes an obvious concern, but what about when you have a friend who snores? A larger two-person tent adds some distance between you and your bro so that you can get some much needed z’s for tomorrow’s hike.
Don’t trust the manufacturer’s “size.” A lot of the two-person backpacking tents you see are more intended for two smaller individuals who plan to have intimate sleeping quarters.
In particular, pay attention to the dimensions of the floor—a 44 x 75-inch tent gives just 22 inches of width per person, which is not best for two medium-to-large adult men. A person over 6 feet will have either their head or feet touching the wall, which leads to water infiltration during a rain storm.
Even a couple extra inches like a backpacking tent 51 x 85 inches can make a big difference on sleeping comfort. Outside size, the other three factors include:
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent Design
A tent with two doors and a basic rectangle design is the best choice because your buddy can exit at the same time as you. In addition, two doors give you better accessibility. You might not have a lot of room to maneuver on the trail, and you can set up your tent in a fashion where one door always has access.
Good pole design will be simple. Poles that bend from corner to corner in the X shape, for example, will have a freestanding design that is straightforward and frees up your time for building a fire and relaxing under the stars.
What happens if you fail to set up early? With a simple design, even at night, you can assemble the tent without problem. Also, the design offers easier repair. Normally, you want to avoid the tents with a lot of parts and connections, which only become a hassle to set up or fix while backpacking.
How Important is Quality?
Backpackers usually want a comfortable place to lay their head. Even unseasoned backpackers are better off investing in an intermediate-level tent. The middle ground will usually range from $200 to $300, but a cheap tent can lead to a busted zipper that lets in the mosquitoes, or it can mean the floor leaks giving you a cold, wet and miserable night in the great outdoors.
For long-trail backpackers, a splurge on a high-quality lightweight backpacking tent can save you from feeling worn out from hauling all the weight. In addition, these tents last for several years, and while visiting a destination you may never return to, it’s smart to travel with a tent that will give you a more comfortable and positive memory-infused experience.
Backpacking: How Much Weight to Carry
A lot of veteran backpackers say the weight is the most crucial factor in a tent. In fact, weight should be examined with cost because budget always plays a key role. You can spread your gear around budget, and when you save in one area, you can put it into a more necessary backpacking area like a better sleeping bag or a light air pad for $200 extra.
Split up between two people, one pound will be just eight ounces for each individual. Let’s say you have a six-pound tent for $200. Meanwhile, you have a five-pound tent for $400. An extra pound makes little difference between two backpackers, and you can use the money saved to buy other quintessential backpacking gear.
Nevertheless, this is intended for the budget backpacker because a six-pound tent is a reasonable trade off in cost. You’d still prefer the tent of five pounds, but if you want your money to go further and get involved in backpacking for a lower cost, the added pound is worth it to get set up.
Darwin onthetrail talks about tents vs Bivys when backpacking in this video:
Should You Get a Backpacking Tent Footprint?
A tent footprint fends off nick and cuts to your tent from sharp rocks, and they protect you from mud and tree sap. They’re lightweight, but they will still add extra burden to carry. Necessary? No, but a footprint does come in handy.
It depends on how much weight you will be comfortable carrying for the day, but if weight is the principal concern, then leave the tent footprint at home or avoid buying a backpacking tent with one. It just adds extra cost to your tent.
Our Top Picks:
Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 Tent 2015
Where the Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian fails in weight, it makes up for in durability and practicality. You could still feel dry by morning even with a heavy rain. Alps is not known for having the lightest tents, but among two backpackers, you can split up the seven pound weight, and a footprint will be included.
In terms of dimensions, you have a monstrous 92 x 62-inch floor area, and two doors for when attempting to set up camp in a tight space. The poles are well-made, and they snap together with a flick of the wrist. You also have side walls with mesh pockets, and you have a gear hammock to hang the lighter backpacking gear from the ceiling. This a bulkier tent to take on the trail, but you can use a couple compression packs to make the burden lighter.
- Spacious and roomy
- Stays dry even during a thunderstorm
- All vents can be zipped closed
- Quality buckles and zippers
- High-grade materials used
- Hard to fit the whole unit back into the storage bag
- Small pole storage tight to maneuver and get the poles out
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2
Awarded the best backpacking tent of 2016, the competition this year was fierce, but the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 fought hard to be a reliable, comfortable and sturdy, lightweight backpacking tent. In fact, this tent only weighs three pounds, which makes this two-person backpacking tent a dream on the trail.
You have two doors, but it might not stand up to the heavier rainstorms. A more durable choice might be the Anjan or the Hilleberg. The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 costs less than the Anjan, which makes it a more dependable choice for budget-conscious backpackers.
For two people, this might not be ideal if one of the backpackers is taller because it is a little small, but set up only takes an average of three-and-half minutes even when you are inexperienced.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- No need for trekking poles
- Floor stays dry
- Easy to pack back into storage
- A slight condensation problem
- Might be more than you’re ready to spend
- Not a two-person tent with a taller individual
The Nemo Hornet 2 person tent aims to be one of the lightest on the market. It has a packaged weight of 2 lbs 5 oz. If you’re one of those backpackers that is trying to shave off as much weight as possible this one might be for you. The floor area is 28 sq feet and has a height of 40 inches.
The tent comes with everything you need including poles, fly tarp and carry stuff sacks. Includes pockets in the ceiling and a built in privacy panel.
- Ultralight weight
- 2 Doors
- Lots of extras
- Not the largest 2 man tent
- Some users found it leaked
The North Face Talus 2
The Talus 2 is new for the 2017-2018 season. With a packaged weight of 5 pounds it’s not the lightest but definitely light enough for the average backpacker. It’s fairly spacious with 32 square feet and 40 inches of height. It includes: gear loft, ground tarp, DAC NSL poles, high-low ventilation and footprint.
- Good all rounder
- Not to pricey
- Includes everything you need
- Exterior gear locker
- Instructions might be hard to follow
- Not many color options
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent
Measuring 56 by 43 by 92 inches, the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent won the 2011 Backpacker Gear Guide awards, “Killer Value” and “Killer Deal.” This is a lower priced tent, but it still offers some of the best value money can buy.
The Mountainsmith Morrison is one of your better 2 person backpacking tents because it weighs four pounds and 11 oz, but which only 3/4 lbs lighter than the Big Agnes Copper Spur, and that tent costs a great deal more. The quality of the fabric increases the tent’s lifespan, and the mesh air vents mean better airflow on the hotter nights.
- Cannot match the price and quality of the tent
- Can stand up to nature’s elements
- Color coding with the instructions make for an easy set up
- About 15 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures
- Sewing work quality lower than average
- Poles are made from cheaper aluminium
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
A cozier, more lightweight tent, the fabric is a little more sensitive because of the lighter weight, but it can still stand up in a pounding rainstorm. You can purchase the footprint for an additional cost, and the set up is straightforward even for one person.
As a side note on the footprint, it does a fantastic job of keeping the perimeter dry, but you want to avoid a puddle of water near it because it can still soak in. Still, this is better than no footprint at all where you’d be soaked.
Because of excellent airflow and venting, even in a more humid environment like south Mississippi, moisture does not penetrate the tent. For the interior room and low weight, finding a backpacking tent of the same quality and dimensions can be next to impossible. MSR Hubba Hubba NX has floor dimensions of 50 x 84 inches.
- Spacious Design
- No need for additional waterproof
- Weighs little
- Quality Footprint
- The higher cost might scare some buyers away
- Could use a couple more tent stakes
Kelty TN 2 Person Tent
A square-packed design, the Kelty has kind of a “tetris-like” appeal with the other gear in your pack. It stores alongside the other items nicely, and you can always roll the Kelty much tighter for added convenience.
Kelty comes with 14″ DAC pressfit poles more durable than the old fiberglass poles, which had a tendency of breaking after using for a while. Condensation never becomes a problem with this tent, but the manufacturers sacrificed the density of the material for the sake of a lower weight. Your tent pack will be great for someone who likes to organize their gear.
- Simple and intuitive setup
- Stargazer set to enjoy the night sky
- Vents for both vestibules
- Durable poles
- Easy to organize items in the pack
- Easy to fit into your pack
- Not great for heavy rain
- Plastic connectors and tensioners
- Only one large door
Summing things up
For those who plan to take on the more humid environment, the MSR Hubba Hubba can withstand mighty rains much better than the Kelty TN or the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL. Meanwhile, the Mountainsmith Morrison is the most economic choice for budget conscious backpackers.
If you’re just getting into this outdoors activity, this tent frees up your capital with a dependable tent while still giving you money to buy other important backpacking gear like bear spray and a light air pad.
If you want a more lightweight backpacking tent, however, the Big Agnes Copper Spur lets you take in the breathtaking views without having to lug around a heavy load. All of these 2 man backpacking tents can be a useful choice, but you should look at your individual purpose and how you plan to use it to get the most from your decision.