The Best 2 Person Tents for Backpacking

Every outdoors person should own a two-person, three-season tent. They’re the standard for most backcountry adventures, tough enough to stand up to rain and wind, but light enough to take anywhere. They’re perfect for couples, buddies and going solo.

We reviewed 10 tents to find which ones perform best in a variety of conditions, to help you find the best one for a lifetime of adventures. The highest-performing tent was Big Agnes’s Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent, which has a steep price tag at an MSRP of $450, but has many special features that add comfort and create organizational solutions.

Dive into each review below to find the best tent for your backpacking and camping style.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
90
Best in Class
2017
Shoulder Room 9
Packability 9
Set Up 7
Weatherproofness 7
Features 8

Lots of elbow room for hanging out

Easy set up

Excellent weight to roominess ratio

Well designed media pocket

Plenty of sustainability touches

Fly often catches in zipper

Vestibule & door holder not functional

MSRP
$450.00
BEST DEAL
Marmot Limelight 2
88
Best in Class
2016
Shoulder Room 9
Packability 4
Set Up 8
Weatherproofing 8
Features 9

Tons of livable space

Lots of handy features

Very weatherproof

Heavy

MSRP
$250.00
BEST DEAL
Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO
87
Best in Class
2015
Shoulder Room 6
Packability 7
Set Up 8
Weatherproof 7
Features 10
Value 9

Built in lights!

Excellent feature set

Good weight and packability

Could be roomier

MSRP
$350.00
BEST DEAL
Marmot Tungsten UL 2P Tent
87
Shoulder Room 8
Packability 7
Set Up 7
Weatherproofness 8
Features 7

Plenty of pockets for organization

Great weight to roominess ratio

Simple and fast pitching

Setting it up solo is harder than most tents

Full mesh body not good for windy or cold camping

Fragile feel to lightweight fly

MSRP
$300.00
BEST DEAL
REI Half Dome Tent
86
Shoulder Room 7
Packability 7
Set Up 8
Weatherproof 6
Features 8
Value 10

Great value

Easy set up

Big doors with smart storage

Two doors, two vestibules

Fly tends to touch tent body

Elbow room off the floor lacking

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
KUIU Mountain Star Tent
86
Shoulder Room 5
Packability 5
Set Up 9
Weatherproofness 9
Features 8

Fast pitch with external poles

Tougher than most 3-season tents

Easy to vent

Big doors

Snug floor area for two

Pole clips hard to use with gloves or cold hands

Single zipper on doors

MSRP
$420.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
NEMO Losi LS 2P
85
Shoulder Room 9
Packability 7
Set Up 6
Weatherproof 9
Features 7
Value 7

Big vestibule and generous shoulder room

Handy compartmentalized packing sleeve

Solid three season durability

No vents

Bigger pockets would be nice

MSRP
$390.00
BEST DEAL
Slingfin 2Lite
84
Shoulder Room 8
Packability 10
Set Up 6
Weatherproof 7
Features 5
Value 8

Very light

More elbow room than footprint suggests

Packs really small

Easy to set up

Not free standing

MSRP
$329.00
BEST DEAL
Hilleberg Niak 1.5
83
Shoulder Room 4
Packability 7
Set Up 8
Weatherproofing 10
Features 4

Robust fabric and design

Lightweight

Fast set up

Solid weatherproofing

Snug for two

Expensive

MSRP
$730.00
BEST DEAL
REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 Tent
83
Shoulder Room 7
Packability 7
Set Up 7
Weatherproofness 5
Features 7

Easy set up

Generous interior room

Lots of features make it more livable

Big doors

Rain drips in doors

No loss in weight from previous iteration

MSRP
$350.00
BEST DEAL
MSR FreeLite 2
82
Shoulder Room 6
Packability 10
Set Up 7
Weatherproofing 5
Features 4

Very light

Space to weight

Large vestibules

Fragile lightweight fabrics

Not very weatherproof

Tight for two adults

MSRP
$440.00
BEST DEAL
Sierra Designs Nightwatch 2
82
Shoulder Room 6
Packability 5
Set Up 8
Weatherproofing 5
Features 8

Very easy first time set up

Lots of ventilation

Vertical walls creates lots of livable space

Small floor area

Feels fragile

MSRP
$240.00
BEST DEAL
LL Bean Microlight UL 2
81
Shoulder Room 5
Packability 8
Set Up 8
Weatherproofing 7
Features 3

Very light and packable

Big doors and vestibule

Lots of mesh

Cramped quarters

Delicate materials

Limited ventilation

MSRP
$349.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Mountain Hardwear Hylo 2 Tent
78
Shoulder Room 5
Packability 5
Set Up 9
Weatherproofness 6
Features 3

Fast pitch with integrated fly and body

Simple pole set up

Storm proof design

Only one small door

Condensation issues with single wall roof

Water drips inside when vestibule open

MSRP
$300.00
BEST DEAL
Marmot Tungsten
75
Shoulder Room 7
Packability 3
Set Up 6
Weatherproof 5
Features 7
Value 7

Price

Lots of internal space

Easy to set up

Bulky

Water drips into tent when vestibule is open

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

The Copper Spur HV is a roomy tent, with big doors and lots of handy features, and it’s super lightweight. For less than two pounds per person it’s a great backpacking tent with the stability and steep walls to handle full three season use.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Eastern Mountain Sports

See All 2 Person Tents for Backpacking Reviews

The Best 2 Person Backpacking Tents

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Two-person backpacking tents are the standard for most backcountry adventures, tough enough to stand up to rain and wind, but light enough to take anywhere. They’re perfect for couples, buddies and going solo. So the first criteria for this category is that the tent is designed for two people.

The next filter is weight, an all-important variable when it comes to logging miles in the backcountry, no matter your vehicle—boots, bikes or boats. Depending on the last time you updated your backpacking tent you may be surprised by our criteria for this category. A steady and relentless push towards lighter has driven tents to new lows. Where three pounds per person was a reasonable weight less than a decade ago, now almost every tent we tested is less than 2.5 pounds and most are sub two. These tents are so light they are worthy of solo campers too, letting them escape the hovel’s of old for palatial mansions with little to no weight penalty. And the bonus to being lightweight is almost always smaller pack sizes—these tents don’t take up much room in a pack.

We could have pushed the weight boundary farther, but that would stray into the ultralight category, where weight trumps livability. There is a time and place for cramped camping, but this is not it. The five tents reviewed here find a middle ground between weight, durability, and roominess. New pole designs and tent architecture push side walls to near vertical and headroom up to kneeling height. The result: in the same footprint you get way more space, making the tent feel bigger. The tents we tested range from the Marmot Tungsten, which could fit three people in a pinch, to the more minimalist KUIU Mountain Star, still enough room for two big guys. 

Along with packability (a mix of weight and bulk), and shoulder room, we compared these tents on how easy they are to set up, their ability to deflect a storm and a miscellaneous grouping of other notable features. These are all great tents, but in the end the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 topped the category. Its acronyms say it all: HV for high volume and UL for ultralight—the best of both worlds. But if we were to roll value into the mix, the Marmot Tungsten would reign supreme. It scored 87 compared to the Copper Spur’s 90, but costs $150 less. 

But in the end, when it comes to a tent we don’t think cost savings should rank too high on the priority list. This is a home, a long-term investment, after all. Treat it right and a backpacking tent should last hundreds of nights. Spread out over that amount of time and even $150 comes down to a buck a night.