Best Small 2-Person Tents for Backpacking and Lightweight Camping

Reviewed by Jodelle Marx
Last updated:

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Short on time? Our pick for the best small 2-person tent is the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Check out this list of the best small 2-person tents from someone with over ten years of camping experience.

Two-person tents are the most popular tent size, and as such, there are about a million on the market. 

I remember when I bought my first tent. I was totally intimidated by camping, and I bought a lot of budget gear, thinking it would save me money. 

It’s been over ten years since that first nervous purchase, and I’ve now camped in almost every western state, in all ecosystems and weather. 

It’s about time to replace my current tent, so I selfishly wrote you this article detailing all the best small 2-person tents, including everything you might want to know about each tent to make a final decision. 

Plus, I made you a buying guide at the end to help you decode all the tent jargon. You’re welcome! Click through to see the top tents for two.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

A small 2-Person Tent pitched in a grove of tall trees.

#1 Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum Tent

Best Ultralight Two-Person Backpacking Tent

Product photo for the Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum Ultralight Two-Person Backpacking Tent.


Our Rating: 4.8/5
Packaged Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 27 sq. ft
Peak Height: 45’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 1

The Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum Tent is my choice for the best Ultralight Two-Person Backpacking Tent because its packed weight is less than a pound and a half and comes from a reputable brand. 

A tent’s packaged weight includes the entire tent and all the doo-dads that comes with it, including the fly, stuff sack, guylines, and stakes. 

The minimum trail weight is the weight of the tent, fly, and poles. The difference between the two is usually 4-8 ounces. I’ve only included the packaged weight in the specs on this list because I always take my stakes (the heaviest item anyway), and I think it’s a more useful number. 

But if you’re backpacking with this tent, you might leave the extras behind, in which case you’d be looking at just above a pound. You can’t get much lighter than that!

There’s much to love about this ultralight tent (aka “UL tent”). The Scout 2 is a single-walled, A-frame-shaped tent with vertical walls on each end. The vertical walls improve the tent’s livability, giving you ample headroom (45″), even if you’re a tall camper. 

While there are no mesh windows on this model, mesh vents with little eaves near the top help with air circulation. 

The downside is that it’s not a freestanding tent, so it requires trekking poles to set up. However, that is the industry standard for ultralight tents, so I can hardly call it a real drawback. 

Another note is that it doesn’t have a vestibule and the floor area is a scootch on the small side at 27 square feet (but both features are typical tradeoffs with ultralight backpacking tents).

PROS

  • Ultralight backpacking tent
  • Large mesh pockets
  • Protected mesh vents enhance air circulation
  • Solvent, PVC, and VOC-free polyurethane.

CONS

  • Not a freestanding structure
  • No vestibule

#2 MSR Hubba Hubba

Best  Two-Person Waterproof Tent

Product photo for the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 Waterproof Tent.


Our Rating: 4.6/5
Packaged Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 29 sq. ft
Peak Height: 40’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 1

I chose the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-Person Backpacking Tent as the best waterproof backpacking tent for two reasons. 

One, the rain fly has an outstanding hydraulic head rating of 1200mm, and two, the doors have built-in rain gutters. 

In addition to keeping you dry, the Hubba Hubba has many other appealing features. First, the tent weight is still very light, even compared to the aforementioned ultralight Big Agnes. 

Second, this tent has lots of space. The floor area is generous at 29 square feet, the enormous vestibule is 15 square feet, and there’s lots of extra storage space with gear pockets on the interior. 

One downside of this tent is the quality of materials. The zippers and elastic inside the poles may be flimsy and break easily.

Interested in waterproof tents? We wrote a whole article about them!

PROS

  • Durashield waterproof coating and taped seams keep water out
  • Proprietary StayDry doors with rain gutters
  • Lightweight tent
  • Lots of floor space
  • Large vestibule

CONS

  • Low-quality materials

#3 The North Face Stormbreak 2

Best Traditional Two-Person Tent

Product photo for the The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent.


Our Rating: 4.9/5
Packaged Weight: 5lbs. 14 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 30.6 sq. ft
Peak Height: 43’’
Seasons: 2
Doors: 2

I like The North Face Stormbreak 2 because it’s still small enough for backpacking trips but large enough to be comfortable for casual car camping. Combine those features with the classic dome tent design, and the Stormbreak is my winner for the best traditional 2-person tent. 

Compared to the other small 2-person tents on my list, this a heavy tent, coming in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces. However, I know firsthand that this is still a manageable weight because it’s how much my own tent weighs. 

I love that the Stormbreak has two doors, each with a vestibule (9.78 square feet each).  

The Stormbreak has a decent floor size and plenty of headroom for almost anyone. Finally, this double wall tent has a rain fly with a 1200mm polyurethane coating, making it very waterproof.  

One minor complaint about this tent is that the zippers tend to be sticky and either get caught in the fly or are hard to open when wet.

PROS

  • Versatile tent
  • No flame-retardants
  • Two doors
  • Freestanding
  • Very waterproof

CONS

  • Sticky zippers
  • On the heavy side

#4 REI Half Dome

Best  Two-Person Pop-Up Tent

Product photo for the REI Half Dome Two-Person Pop-Up Tent.


Our Rating: 4.9/5
Packaged Weight: 4 lbs. 11.5 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 33.75 sq. ft
Peak Height: 42’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

The REI Half Dome, a beloved tent among outdoor enthusiasts, is my pick for the best pop-up tent. The Half Dome is a lightweight tent with double walls, two vestibules, easy set-up, and tons of floor space. 

This classic dome tent has two D-shaped doors with 11 square feet of vestibule outside each of them. 

The Half Dome’s tent poles are hubbed, which means all the poles connect to a central point, like legs on a spider. Hubbed tent poles are easy to put together and help the tent pop up easily. 

Despite the fact that I’ve included it on a list of small 2-person tents, the Half Dome is pretty roomy inside. It’s the biggest tent on my list, with almost 34 square feet of interior space. You’ll have plenty of room for wide sleeping pads and maybe even your doggo. 

The Half Dome fly has two mesh vents that open to allow warm air to escape and close to keep the rain out. 

The fly and the tent body don’t have waterproof ratings, which I usually consider a con. However, my personal tent is an REI tent made of the same material, and I’ve had it for over ten years with no problems, so…it’s a minor con if that.

Note: I’ve seen the Night Cat backpacking tent listed as an excellent pop-up tent. After researching, I advise you to steer clear. This tent has all the tell-tale signs of a poor quality tent (suspiciously low price, no precise tech specs, and the descriptions in poor English).

PROS

  • Trail-tested and loved by many
  • Footprint include
  • Created with eco-friendly solution-dyed mesh
  • Tons of interior space

CONS

  • No waterproof rating specs

#5 Kelty Sideroads Car Awning

Most Versatile Two-Person Tent

Product photo for the Kelty Sideroads Car Awning Versatile Two-Person Tent.


Our Rating: 4.6/5
Packaged Weight: 8lbs. 14 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 80.5 sq. ft
Peak Height: NA
Seasons: 3
Doors: NA

The Kelty Sideroads Car Awning is my pick for the most versatile tent for two because you can use it for car camping, outdoor cooking, and hanging out with friends. 

The Sideroads Car Awning isn’t a traditional tent. Instead, it’s a simple, rounded awning that attaches to the back of a vehicle or natural object of your choice (trees, boulders, etc.). 

A great, low-cost shelter option for a car camping trip, the Kelty comes with a carry bag and shoulder strap and fits on any vehicle. The peak height varies depending on the object you attach it to, but the floor area is enormous. 

The rounded design helps it shed wind better than square shelters and comes with heavy-duty steel stakes. 

One minor drawback of the Kelty Sideroads is that the poles are fiberglass (i.e., cheap), and the material is polyester, which is inferior to nylon.

For more SUV tents like the Kelty, check out our full guide!

PROS

  • Great 2-person tent for car camping
  • Versatile camping shelter
  • The rounded shape sheds wind well
  • Heavy-duty stakes included

CONS

  • Fiberglass poles
  • Polyester material

#6 Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 Tent

Most Durable Two-Person Tent

Product photo for the Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 Tent.


Our Rating: 4.7/5
Packaged Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 29.3 sq. ft
Peak Height: 41’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

The Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a durable tent. The tent, floor, and fly are all made of ripstop nylon with 15, 40, and 20-denier ratings, respectively. 

The Aspect 2 camping tent features two doors, each with a private vestibule, which is convenient for getting up in the middle of the night. 

This backpacking tent has generous floor space at 29.3 square feet, and while the peak height is slightly lower than other tents on my list, it still has plenty of room, even for tall guys. For reference, my sitting height is 33’’, and I’m 5’7’’. 

Another feature I appreciate about the Aspect 2 is that it doesn’t use any flame-retardant, which is toxic.

There are large mesh panels on the upper half of the tent, which can be a blessing and a curse. Yes, they will ventilate hot air well, but they’ll also let in dust in windy weather.

PROS

  • Double doors
  • Flame-retardant free
  • Made of durable, ripstop nylon
  • Ample headroom

CONS

  • Flimsy pole design

#7 REI Co-op Passage 2

Best Two-Person Budget Tent

Product photo for the REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent.


Our Rating: 4.6/5
Packaged Weight: 5 lbs. 10 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 31 sq. ft
Peak Height: 40’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

I’ve long been a fan of REI tents because I personally own one and have been using it for over ten years. I chose the REI Co-op Passage 2 as the best budget backpacking tent because of its low cost and REI’s excellent reputation. 

The Passage features two doors, two vestibules, and large mesh windows for airflow. It’s a double-wall budget tent with a rectangular floor shape and a domed canopy. 

Like other small 2-person tents, this tent has a floor area of 31 square feet and a peak height of 40″. The inner tent assembles with an X-pole configuration via snaps on the tent body. I have a tent with the same construction and shape, so I can tell you that it’s straightforward to assemble. 

I like that this tent includes a footprint, and REI uses an eco-friendly dying process that requires less water and energy than traditional dying techniques. 

As this is a budget tent, there are some shortfalls. The tent and included rain fly are made of polyester but don’t specify the denier or waterproof rating, which usually indicates lower-quality materials.

PROS

  • Best budget tent
  • Excellent REI refund policy for one-year post purchase
  • Footprint included
  • Eco-friendly manufacturing techniques

CONS

  • Made of low-quality polyester

#8 North Face Assault 2 Futurelight

Best Two-Person Premium Tent

Product photo for the North Face Assault 2 Futurelight Premium Tent.


Our Rating: 5/5
Packaged Weight: 5 lbs. 15 oz. 
Floor Dimensions: 26.8 sq. ft
Peak Height: 41’’
Seasons: 3-4
Doors: 2

If you’re looking to get spendy and want the best of the best, check out the North Face Assault 2 Futurelight. As one of the few four-season tents on my list, this is the best 2-man tent for wild camping in cold environments (i.e., mountaineering). 

One of the standout features of this great tent is that its waterproof and breathable fabric is also recycled. 

The floor is 40-denier ripstop nylon and has a 3000mm PU/sil waterproof coating (See my buying guide below if that rating is confusing). The poles are high-quality carbon fiber, which is a top-of-the-line material. 

Finally, it has lots of tabs on the roof to hang drying lines and other gear, a feature I love. 

While this will be a comfortable tent in extreme weather, it is on the heavy and small side of the other backpacking tents on my list. That said, those comparisons are relative– at just over five pounds, this tent is light in the grand scheme of things.

I regularly use a very similar-sized tent, and I’m perfectly comfortable with a second person in it with me. The main downside of this premium small tent is the price.

PROS

  • Premium, breathable, waterproof, and recycled material
  • Carbon-fiber poles
  • Lots of gear tabs on the roof
  • Comfortable in four seasons

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Heavy for the price

#9 Black Diamond Eldorado

Best Two-Person 4-Season Tent

Product photo for the Black Diamond Eldorado 4-Season Tent.


Our Rating: 5/5
Packaged Weight: 5 lbs. 1 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 30.8 sq. ft
Peak Height: 43’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1

The Black Diamond Eldorado is my pick for the top four-season 2-person tent. This tent is designed for mountaineers and climbers, but it’s also a superb choice for anyone who isn’t down to mess around with crap weather (it me!). 

One of the keys to the Eldorado’s excellent performance is the interior poles. Although it features standard aluminum poles, you set them up inside the tent. That way, when wind pushes against the tent, the force on the fabric distributes along the entire tent rather than on single clip-on points. 

Plus, this single-walled tent’s ridge shape helps shed snow and rain. For an expedition-style tent, the Eldorado has a ton of interior space. 

Compared to other ultralight tents, the Eldorado is on the heavier side. But considering how durable and protective it is, it’s worth every ounce. 

One of the few drawbacks of this camping tent is that the set-up is slightly challenging, and it is not a budget tent by any means. 

Looking for more winter tents? Read our complete guide!

PROS

  • Very durable design and fabric
  • Tent shape sheds snow and rain well
  • Great in extreme weather
  • Lots of room inside

CONS

  • Set-up is challenging
  • Expensive

#10 MSR Access

Best Two-Person Cold Weather Tent

Product photo for the MSR Access 2 Tent.


Our Rating: 4.9/5
Packaged Weight: 4 lbs. 1 oz. 
Floor Dimensions: 29 sq. ft
Peak Height: 42’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 2

The MSR Access’ claim to fame is that it is “lighter than a mountaineering tent but warmer than a backpacking tent,” and I think this statement holds true. 

This double-wall tent has two doors and an enormous vestibule (17.5 sq. ft) for gear storage. 

There are two features that make this small tent so great for cold weather. First, there isn’t much mesh on the tent’s body, which improves its ability to trap warmth. 

Second, the floor and fly have very high waterproof ratings, which prevents rain and snow from encroaching on your space. 

I love a tent with double doors, which this tent has, and there are two gear pockets in the inner tent as well. 

Set-up is quick with a hubbed pole system, and the 42 inches of headroom allow for plenty of shoulder space. 

One downside with the Access, a common problem with small 2-person tents, is that the sloped walls touch the sleeping bags, allowing condensations to wick into the bags.

PROS

  • Limited mesh keeps warmth in
  • Large vestibule
  • Easy setup
  • Two doors

CONS

  • Sloped sides allow condensation to wick into sleeping bags

#11 REI Flash Air 2 

Best Two-Person Hot Weather Tent

Product photo for the REI Co-op Flash Air 2 Tent.


Our Rating: 4.8/5
Packaged Weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz. 
Floor Dimensions: 28.7 sq. ft
Peak Height: 42’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

The REI Flash Air 2 is one of the best two-person tents for hot weather because the entire canopy is mesh. 

The large mesh windows and doors keep the tent cool on hot summer trips. In addition to having excellent ventilation, this backpacking tent packs down very small and is lightweight at just over two pounds. 

Like the other small 2-person tents on my list, this tent has mesh pockets and gear loops on the interior–- an essential organization feature. 

Another feature that makes this ultralight backpacking tent stand out compared to other tents is that you can use hiking poles to set it up as an alternative to the provided ones. 

Many ultralight models require you to use hiking poles, but I like having the option. Plus, it’s only two pounds with the poles, so it’s hardly a back-breaker. 

One downside to this simple, mesh-heavy design is that it won’t fair well in wet weather.

PROS

  • Mesh body allows for max airflow
  • Super lightweight tent
  • Option to use trekking poles or poles provided
  • Two doors

CONS

  • Doesn’t handle wet weather well
  • Not freestanding

#12 Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Best Two-Person Bikepacking Tent

Product photo for the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepacking Tent.


Our Rating: 5/5
Packaged Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
Floor Dimensions: 29 sq. ft.
Peak Height: 40’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is another super popular tent and was REI’s Editor’s Choice Award Winner. 

I chose this as one of the best 2-person tents for bikepacking because the packed size (6×19.5’’) is small enough to fit in a biking pannier. 

Besides its compact dimensions, there are many features to appreciate about the Big Agnes Copper Spur. 

For one, the vestibules each offer nine square feet of shady space to chill while camping. 

I love a tent with storage, and the Copper Spur has that in spades. Most small camping tents have some storage, but the Copper Spur has a giant pocket at the foot, which keeps gear off the floor. Plus, an oversized “attic” pocket and media pockets have routing earbuds. 

Condensation is a tent’s worst enemy, and functional solutions to reduce buildup are always tricky. The Big Agnes Copper Spur utilizes vents low on the vestibule and up top on the fly, which allows for active airflow. 

As with all Big Agnes products, this one has taped PVC and VOC-free seams for healthier breathing. 

Honestly, there’s not much to complain about with this tent. If I had to pick one thing, it’d be the high price.

PROS

  • Excellent vestibule design
  • Small packed size
  • Tons of helpful storage space
  • Good air ventilation

CONS

  • Expensive

#13 Coleman Pop-Up Tent with Darkroom Technology

Best Two-Person Festival Tent

Product photo for the Coleman Pop-Up Festival Tent with Darkroom Technology.


Our Rating: 4.4/5
Packaged Weight: 5.9 lbs
Floor Dimensions: Not listed
Peak Height: 41’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 1

The Coleman Pop-Up Tent with Darkroom Technology is one of the best two-person tents for festivals for three reasons. 

First, this tent is reasonably priced, which makes it perfect for festivals, as no one wants their expensive gear trashed by well-meaning partygoers. 

Secondly, this Coleman tent blocks 90% of the sunlight, making it ideal for sleeping off–err–whatever you get into at the festival. 

Is the darkroom “technology” simply black tent fabric? Almost certainly, but let’s not put a damper on Coleman’s efforts. 

Three, the Coleman Pop-Up is lightweight and sets up very quickly (it’s a pop-up tent, after all). 

This tent has other standard features like gear pockets, an adjustable rain fly, and taped seams to deter water, but make no mistake; it’s a budget tent. Do not expect miracles from this thing.

PROS

  • Reasonably priced
  • Blocks 90% of sunlight
  • Lightweight tent
  • Easy setup

CONS

  • Everything you should expect from a budget tent

CHECK PRICE ON:

#14 Coleman Kids Wonder Lake

Best Two-Person Tent for Kids

Product photo for the Coleman Kids Wonder Lake Tent.


Our Rating: 4.6/5
Packaged Weight: 5.3 lbs
Floor Dimensions: 28 sq. ft
Peak Height: 39’’
Seasons: 3
Doors:1

The Coleman Kids Wonder Lake tent is the best 2-person tent for kids because it’s kid-sized and kid-priced. 

The Coleman Kids Wonder Lake tent is perfect for kids who want to have their own tent for whatever reason. 

This tent has all the basics at a super reasonable price, so while this is another budget tent, kids don’t notice or need highly specialized gear anyway. 

This dome tent sheds wind and water well, and the door has a wee little awning over the entrance. The logo on the tent is glow-in-the-dark, and the setup is extremely easy. 

The Kids Wonder Lake is more than big enough for two kids and could fit up to three little ones as well. 

As with my other Coleman tent review, set reasonable expectations for this budget-friendly tent. The fabric is polyester, and the poles are fiberglass, both of which are cheap.

PROS

  • Reasonably priced
  • Designed for kids
  • Easy setup
  • Carry bag included

CONS

  • Cheap polyester and fiberglass construction materials

#15 Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution-Dyed Tent

Best Non-Toxic Two-Person Tent

Product photo for the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution-Dyed Tent.


Our Rating:
Packaged Weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz. 
Floor Dimensions: 28 sq. ft
Peak Height: 39’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2

I chose the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution-Dyed Tent as the best non-toxic tent for two people because of Big Agnes’ commitment to sustainable practices. Read their sustainability mission here

In the last year or so, I’ve become more aware of the toxic chemicals used to manufacture everyday products, and what I’ve discovered concerns me! 

Thankfully, many outdoor folks agree, and plenty of outdoor gear manufacturers are switching to less toxic construction materials. 

The Tiger Wall Ultralight tent uses solution-dyed fabric, which uses less energy and is less toxic than traditional dying methods. Not only that, it still retains its strong resistance to UV fading. 

The taped seams use clean, waterproof polyurethane that doesn’t have PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can be irritating to breathe. 

As the name suggests, this is an ultralight tent at about two and a half pounds, and it comes with mesh windows and excellent gear storage. 

Like the other small tents on my list, the tent size is perfect for solo campers and cozy camping partners.

One annoying thing I noticed about this camping tent is that it doesn’t include a gear loft  (the mesh net on the tent’s inner ceiling). I love the gear loft on my tent, so I’m bummed this one doesn’t have this feature.

PROS

  • Eco-friendly fabric and finishes
  • Lightweight backpacking tent 
  • Great gear storage options

CONS

  • Gear loft not included

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Small Two-Person Tent

A small, green, two-person tent on a beach at sunset, with a pink and blue sky in the background.


What to Look for in Small Two-Person Tents

REI makes super helpful gear videos. Check out their video on how to choose a backpacking tent.  


While not all small tents are for backpacking, this is still a helpful place to get started when you’re shopping for compact tents.

Packaged Weight

The packaged weight of a tent is the total weight of the tent body and every accessory that goes with it. Packaged weight includes the rain fly, stuff sack, stakes, poles, guylines, repair kit, and footprint (if there is one). 

A 2-person backpacking tent should weigh only about five to six pounds, up to 2.5-3 pounds per person. 

Minimum Trail Weight

Minimum trail refers to the weight of the tent, rain fly, and guylines. 

This weight measurement is helpful to know if you’re a hardcore ultralight camper and don’t intend to bring stakes or the stuff sack with you. 

Peak Height

The peak height of a camping tent is the interior center height when it’s set up. I prefer a peak height at least a few inches taller than my sitting height, so I have sufficient space to sit upright in my tent. 

Remember that the peak’s location will influence the tent’s livability. If the peak is smack dab in the center of a small two-man tent, you’d have to sit right in the center to enjoy the height. 

Vestibule Space

I prefer tents with vestibules. 

The vestibule is the covered space outside the main body of the tent, and it’s usually right outside one of the doors. I love love love the vestibule on my backpacking tent because it gives me a sheltered place to leave my boots and backpack. 

Some vestibules are so large that you can hang out under them, although this is rarely the case with a compact 2-person tent. 

Tent Fabric

Generally, the best fabric for tents is nylon. You’ll also see ripstop nylon, which, as the name implies, doesn’t tear further if it gets a hole. Polyester is a cheaper fabric, and canvas, while waterproof and often high-quality, is heavy. 

Finally, the denier of a tent is a rating of the thickness of an individual strand of fiber. The higher the denier, the more durable the fabric. The tent floor usually has a higher denier than the tent walls. The denier rating scales from 15 to 500. 

To limit tent weight, many quality two-person tents keep their denier ratings between 15 and 40. 

 

Fabric Sealant

Most tent fabrics are coated with either polyurethane (PU) or silicone to enhance the waterproof rating. 

Polyurethane is the most common sealant, but you may see a hybrid polyurethane and silicone coating (PU/sil), which means each side of the fabric has a different sealant.

You may also see pure silicone coating (sil/sil), which indicates both sides are silicone treated. Flame retardant doesn’t stick to silicone, so you may find this sealant in eco-friendly tents. 

Waterproof Rating (aka Hydrostatic Head)

First off, no tent is completely waterproof. It would have to be solid plastic or rubber, which wouldn’t be breathable at all. 

The best backpacking tents will have their waterproof rating expressed in millimeters (mm) as the “hydrostatic head (HH).” The hydrostatic head is the depth of water (in mm) that can pool on the tent fabric before water leaks.  

Look for hydrostatic head ratings of at least 1,200mm. 

Seasons

You’ll see “seasons” listed under tent descriptions. Most tents are for three seasons, meaning spring, summer, and fall. 

A four-season tent includes winter and will typically be more expensive and heavier duty. 

Number of Doors

If you want to avoid climbing over your camping partner to pee in the middle of the night, get a tent with two doors. 

Poles

Some backpacking tents, especially ultralight ones, use hiking poles as the tent’s structure, which cuts down on weight and storage space.

If your tent comes with poles separately, look for aluminum or carbon fiber, as these are the lightest and strongest. Fiberglass is a cheaper pole material, and steel is strong but heavy. 

Footprint

A footprint is a separate ground tarp in the shape of the tent floor, which serves as a protective barrier against sharp objects and moisture. Most tents don’t come with a footprint, but it’s a plus if they do. 

Types of Small Two-Person Tents

A man, woman, and young child sit at the entrance to a small green tent, with a valley and lake in the background.


Double Wall

A double wall tent has a tent body that is separate from the rain fly, which acts as the second “wall.” The benefit of double-wall tents is that they’re more versatile. Often, the body of the tent, or “inner tent,” will have mesh panels for warm summer weather. 

Double-wall tents also disperse condensation (tent’s mortal enemy) better than single-wall tents. 

Single Wall

A single-walled tent uses one piece of fabric for the entire tent. Single-wall tents are good choices for ultralight hikers, but they may not disperse condensation as well as double-walled tents. 

Dome Tent

A dome tent has a rounded top. Dome tents come in all sizes and are a popular tent style because they shed moisture and wind well. 

Pop-up Tent

Pop-up tents are freestanding, easy-to-set-up tents. Sometimes the poles are pre-attached so they can pop out in an instant. These tents are great for new campers or families because they’re so easy to set up. 

Tunnel Tent

Tunnel tents are shaped like a cylinder cut in half and laid on the flat side. These tents are usually easy to set up and stand up reasonably well against the wind. 

Cabin Tent

A cabin tent is shaped like a square and often has a tall peak height and vertical walls. Cabin tents are good options if you need a lot of space to move around or want to stand upright in your tent. 

Another benefit of perfectly vertical walls vs. sloped walls is that it’s easier to keep your gear and sleeping bags from touching the walls overnight, thus wicking up moisture. 

Cabin tents are popular designs for large (6+ people) tents. 

Roof-Top or Car Camping Tent

Roof-top tents attach directly to your vehicle to create a shelter. Sometimes they sit on the car’s roof, but some versions attach to the back of an open truck bed or SUV.

Car camping tents are any large tent you wouldn’t haul into the backcountry. These tents often have a spacious interior and a large sleeping capacity. 

FAQs About Two-Person Tents

A man pitches a small white tent in a grassy landscape on a sunny day.


How much does a 2-person tent cost?

Two-person tents range in price from about $50 to close to $1000. 

To ensure you’re getting a reliable tent, I wouldn’t consider any that are less than $50. REI has some fantastic entry-level tents in the $150 range. 

Is a 2-person tent too small?

Most 2-person tents can reliably fit two average-sized humans plus a few small gear bags. 

That said, the fit is notoriously snug. The average person takes up 20 square feet sleeping in a tent–use this metric to decide if your 2-person tent is big enough for you. 

What is the smallest tent you can buy?

The smallest tents you can buy will be ultralight, one-person backpacking tents. Here is a list of a few of the smallest, lightest tents on the market. 

Can two people fit in a 2-person tent?

Every 2-person tent–and every person–is different, but generally speaking, two average-sized people can fit in a 2-person tent. 

What is a good weight for a 2-person tent?

At most, a 2-person tent should weigh five or six pounds if you plan to backpack. 

Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Small Two-Person Tent

POV of two people lounging with their legs sticking out of the doorway of a small tent, looking out on a grassy landscape.


All the tents on my list are excellent choices; however, if I had to pick one, I’d choose the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

You have to acknowledge there’s a good product on your hands when it’s an REI Editor’s Choice Award. 

I love that this tent has double doors, with a vestibule on each side. Plus, I really appreciate all the excellent storage options. 

Mold and mildew are a tent’s most notorious killers, but the Big Agnes Copper Spur offers two ventilation options, both low and high, to create active airflow. 

As with all Big Agnes products, this one has taped PVC and VOC-free seams for healthier breathing. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is chef’s kiss next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!


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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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