The 6 Best 2-person Tents of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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Elevate your next camping trip with one of these durable, rain-resistant, and compact two-person tents.
Gone are the days of tricky tent poles and stakes that crack when you drive them into the ground. Now, two-person tents have reliable, thoughtful features for outdoor camping and backpacking. From color-coded assembly to multiple easy-access doors to lightweight materials that stand up to any type of weather, tent camping is becoming more comfortable and fun so you can wake up refreshed for a new day of outdoor activities.
To put two-person tents to the test, we went camping with a variety of options to determine the best models for portability, design, durability, and ease of use. We evaluated tent setup, breakdown, and special features in a mix of weather conditions — including heavy winds and rain — to select the absolute best tents for every camper, from beginners to expert thru-hikers.
Best Overall: NEMO Dagger OSMO 3P Tent
Why We Love It
It held up during an intense nighttime thunderstorm without even a drop of rain getting inside.
What to Consider
It doesn’t come with setup instructions.
There’s a lot to love about this tent — it’s lightweight, easy to set up, has two wide doors, includes interior loops to hook lanterns, and allows for optimal airflow — but it won our hearts with its incredible durability during a rainstorm. Just after heading in for the night, thunder, lightning, and strong winds picked up, and we were mentally planning what we would grab first when abandoning ship. After 10, 20, then 30 minutes passed, we realized that our night of camping would go on undisturbed, as this tent was fully holding up to the elements. After a pleasant night’s sleep, we woke up to discover the tent had become an island in a swamp; yet, there was still not a drop of moisture inside the tent. The high-performance rainfly made of OSMO ripstop held up throughout the night, and it did so without blocking airflow through the tent’s many vents.
While the tent doesn’t come with any setup instructions, in the time it took to search for instructions online, another camper in our group had already fully assembled the tent. The color-coded poles, clips, and loops made setup a fast, easy, and intuitive process. The stakes are lightweight, yet durable and easily drove into the ground by stepping on the top with a boot. We were also pleasantly surprised at how large the inside of the tent is. One of our campers is over 6-feet tall and this is the first tent he’s ever been able to sleep in fully stretched out. We also loved that there are two doors, one on each side of the tent, perfect for getting in and out without disturbing your camping buddy on late-night bathroom runs. This tent comes in either two-person or three-person capacities, so it's a good option for small families or those camping with dogs as well.
Price at time of publish: $530
The Details: 4.1 pounds | 90 x 50 x 42 inches set up | 19.5 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches packed | Water-repellent
Easiest Setup: REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2 Person Tent
Why We Love It
The assembled tent can be picked up and easily moved if you want to change or adjust locations.
What to Consider
The footprint is connected to the bottom of the tent, so if your campsite is muddy, you may need to clean the tent or keep it separate when repacking.
This tent has a handy diagram on the tent bag to make setup a breeze. The hubbed pole system is easy to connect with the tent thanks to its color-coded accents, and there are additional plastic clips to attach the fly to the poles and velcro fasteners to ensure it stays secure. When collapsing camp, it took less time to strike the tent than it did to roll a sleeping bag back into its sack.
We found the size perfect for two people and our dog plus gear storage for the night. There are also interior pockets to store items you want on-hand and a loop at the tent peak for hanging a lantern. While many tents can feel stuffy when the sun hits first thing in the morning, this tent had excellent airflow through two vented flaps at the top of the fly. The dual doors also provide easy access to the tent and can be rolled back for even more airflow.
Price at time of publish: $329
The Details: 4.7 pounds | 90 x 54 x 42 inches set up | 20.5 x 7 inches packed | Water-repellent
Best Budget: REI Co-op Trailmade 2 Tent
Why We Love It
The tent and rainfly are made from durable nylon that won’t easily rip.
What to Consider
This tent is made for sleeping and may be too small for lounging for long periods of time.
For a low budget option perfect for new or infrequent campers, this reliable tent is a great starter option. It may be smaller than other tents we tested, but the REI Trail Made is still high-quality and easy to set up without any special tools. The assembly instructions are printed right onto the bag’s tag, so you won’t lose or ruin a piece of paper, and there are plenty of easy-to-follow illustrations for quick assembly. We particularly loved that the tent poles are secured using hooks instead of having to weave them into inserts that can easily catch or rip.
The tent comes with a bottom layer under the tent floor so there’s no need to pack an extra footprint, and the rainfly securely latches onto the tent with clips that pull it taut. Users who prefer a nice breeze during the night may want to leave the rainfly off, weather permitting, as the airflow is limited with the attached cover. While the tent is comfortable for two adults, it doesn’t leave any extra room for gear or pets. The tent peak is high enough that most users should be able to kneel, but with two adults inside, there isn’t much space for a lot of movement. However, disassembling the tent was a breeze, and the tent fits into its carrying bag whether or not you perfectly fold it back in its factory set since the sack has a bit of extra space. When the tent is rolled away into its bag, it's very lightweight and manageable to carry around in a pack for a full day of hiking.
Price at time of publish: $179
The Details: 5.44 pounds | 88 x 52 x 39.9 inches set up | 22 x 8.5 inches packed
Related:The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List
Most Durable: Hilleberg Allak 2 Tent
Why We Love It
The inside of the tent is quite large — perfect for tall campers to sleep comfortably.
What to Consider
This is an investment tent best for avid campers.
The Hilleberg Allak 2 is an all-season tent perfect for any terrain or camping conditions you may encounter. The tent has three cross poles that have a matching anodized color on the end of each pole that corresponds with the sleeves they slide into for easy setup. The tent poles feel high-quality with a thicker diameter than others we’ve seen, so they’re less likely to snap or bend. The tent itself was a lot bigger than we expected and easily fit a large sleeping pad and gear along with a solo camper. It's also comfortable for two people to share.
This tent is as high-quality and durable as you would expect at the price point. The Kerlon 1200 fabric is custom made by Hilleberg and is lightweight yet a lot thicker than other tents we’ve tested. During an especially windy evening on the California coast, the tent held strong and did not wobble at all. The dome construction of the tent is also designed for optimal snow-load handling and the built-in rainfly provides excellent coverage without limiting airflow.
Price at time of publish: $1,165
The Details: 7.25 pounds | 88 x 51 x 41 inches set up | 19 x 6 inches packed | Water-resistant
Best Ultralight: Mountain Hardwear Nimbus UL 2 Tent
Why We Love It
Although it’s lightweight, it stood up to a full night of 40-mile-per-hour wind.
What to Consider
The tent only has one door, so it can be tricky getting in and out of it given the smaller size of the vestibule and shorter height of the door.
For an ultralight tent, the Nimbus UL 2 is remarkably sturdy. The seams are strong and, overall, the tent feels very durable and secure, even in rain and strong winds. The instructions, which are sewn into the stuff sack, are incredibly easy to understand with detailed photos to guide you. With just about four minutes to full assembly, you can feel confident that you could even set this up in the rain without getting soaked through. The stakes are lightweight, but Mountain Hardwear certainly didn’t sacrifice strength for weight. You can stomp on them, use a rubber mallet, or hit the stakes into the ground with a rock and they won’t bend. Taking the tent down is just as easy. It fits folded neatly or with the tent and fly stuffed into the bag if you’re in a hurry. For storage at home, the tent bag even features elastic bands so you can secure the pole bag to the side of the tent to make sure no items get lost.
While there isn’t a lot of interior headroom for sitting up in your sleeping bag, this is a great tent for backpackers who want a cozy place to crash for the night. There’s plenty of ventilation, and we didn’t even spot condensation on humid mornings. If you’re trying to keep your pack weight down and you plan on packing solo or with a partner, this is definitely a tent you should consider.
Price at time of publish: $420
The Details: 2.3 pounds | 86 x 42 x 41 inches set up | 11 x 5 x 4 inches packed | Waterproof
Related:The 8 Best Camping Cots of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Best for Beginner Backpackers: MSR FreeLite 2-Person Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Why We Love It
The tent material is lightweight but able to withstand heavy rain and wind.
What to Consider
The inside of the tent doesn’t have many pockets or compartments for storing loose gear.
Backpackers and novice campers are sure to love this lightweight tent that will keep you warm and dry even under consistent and aggressive rain. The ripstop nylon fabric blocked out all the rain during an overnight camping trip, and the tent stayed put through heavy winds. Considering how thin the material appears, we were shocked at how durable it was throughout our tests. The assembly instructions are easy to follow with standard components and a basic diagram depicting what steps to take. Disassembly was also very simple and required no instructions. It only took a couple of minutes to take down, which was great since it was raining while we did so.
The tent is definitely on the smaller side — a trade-off for it being so lightweight — but we could still fit two people inside comfortably for sleeping. Because the entire top of the tent (without the rain cover) is a mesh material, there is good ventilation, but it still blocks a decent amount of the wind and breeze. This tent is lightweight and easy to carry, but the stuff sack doesn’t have a carrying strap, so you may need to pack it inside or strapped onto your backpack when hiking long distances. This tent is perfect for beginners who value intuitive setup and overall designs but are also looking to invest in a high-quality and reliable option.
Price at time of publish: $320
The Details: 6 pounds | 84 x 50 x 40 inches set up | 20 x 7 inches packed | Waterproof
Other Two-person Tents We Liked
Out of the 11 two-person tents tested, there were some that impressed us but lacked the features, capacity, or portability found in other tents.
Poler 2+ Person Tent: While we loved that this tent is spacious enough for two people plus a dog, it lacked ventilation and was quite heavy when packed up.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2: We like how this tent is portable and easy to set up, but at this price point, we found it to be on the small side. Taller campers would have trouble sleeping comfortably, and two people with sleeping pads were a tight squeeze for us.
Mountain Hardwear 4-season Trango 2 Tent: At 9.6 pounds, this was the heaviest tent we tested, which isn’t ideal for hikers or long-term campers. Made of durable and thick materials, it may be best for cold-weather camping.
Our Testing Process
We tested 11 different two-person tents in a variety of weather conditions, climates, and terrains over a four-week period. Before taking the tents out, we read all provided assembly instructions to determine whether any special tools were needed and surveyed all the components (such as footprints and rainflys) provided along with the tent.
After evaluating the tent at home, we went on backpacking and camping trips to test our tents at real camping sites. We noted how far they carried the tents to determine how portable each item was. Once we arrived at our campgrounds, we assembled the tents following all manufacturer instructions (if they were provided). We were looking for how long it took to set up, how intuitive assembly really was, how many people were needed for setup, and how easy the instructions were to follow. While assembling the tents, we were also evaluating the durability of the tent poles, stakes, and the tent fabric itself.
Throughout the testing period, campers spent at least one night in their tent outdoors. We were looking for special features such as added pockets, capacity, and ventilation as well as determining how well tents might hold up against rain and wind.
After disassembling the tents, we evaluated the quality of the materials by looking for any scratches, dents, or other visible signs of excessive wear and tear before we packed the tents back into their stuff sacks to see how easy it is to pack on the go.
Tips for Buying a Two-person Tent
Prioritize durability and weatherproofing
The last thing you want during a camping trip is to wake up wet from the rain or a tent that has collapsed in the wind. Whether you’re a beginner camper or an outdoor expert, you want a tent that will keep you warm and dry throughout the night. Your two-person tent should absolutely be water-resistant with materials that won’t allow even small amounts of moisture to get in (from the rain above or the soaked ground below). It’s also important to have a tent with airflow so you don’t have condensation build up during humid or warm nights. Campers should also be sure to securely fasten any rainflys and footprints that are included or invest in these additional support structures if they are not provided with the tent.
Get the right size for your needs
After a long day of hiking, kayaking, or just roasting marshmallows, you want a tent in which you can stretch out for a good night’s sleep. Taller campers should be sure to check the length of assembled tents to be sure they can lay flat, not on a diagonal. For those who plan to sleep two to a tent, the width is also important, as you’ll want to have plenty of space for two sleep pads, sleeping bags, and all of your gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you tell if a tent is good quality?
A high-quality tent is made of durable and reliable materials that will keep you protected from the elements. It should also be easy to assemble and take down, with instructions provided and/or intuitive designs such as color-coding and hubbed poles. Good-quality tents will also provide plenty of ventilation, sturdy zippers that won’t catch or break, and good flooring. Many tents also included rainflys, footprints, and landing zones to provide campers with even more comfort and support.
Is a small tent warmer than a large tent?
Small tents can be warmer than large tents as they can trap in heat. However, if your two-person tent has good ventilation or multiple doors, the airflow should keep you cool even on humid nights. If you’re worried about overheating in a smaller tent, you can also look for options with removable rainflys so you can truly sleep under the stars with the mesh roofing to provide a nice breeze.
Is it better to roll or fold a tent?
Most tents come from the store pre-rolled, but you can certainly fold your tent when you’re packing up camp if it’s easier for you. Generally, rolling your tent will save you room in your stuff sack and can be used as protection around the bag of poles.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Taylor Fox is a commerce writer at Travel + Leisure where she writes about and reviews travel products. She is an avid hiker, camper, and traveler who has been writing about travel for over five years, but camping for over twenty years. To select the best two-person tents, Taylor worked with travel editors and outdoor gear experts on a series of real world tests and went camping to test some products herself.
Related:The Best Family Tents, According to Camping Experts
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