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The best 2-person tents for camping, bikepacking and backpacking adventures

best 2-person tent: A couple camping in a 2-person tent
Find the perfect two-person tent with our guide (Image credit: Getty)

Having the best 2-person tent enables some awesome adventures, whether you’re planning on spending a single night sleeping under the stars or escaping into the wild for several glorious nights in the great outdoors. The best 2-person tents are lightweight and pack down to a compact size, meaning one person can easily carry the whole thing. This is even more important if you’re backpacking over technical terrain or bikepacking with a full set of kit strapped to your trusty steed.

As with all the best tents, you can expect high performance in testing conditions – like when you’re wild camping in the hills and mountains, for example. Like your best waterproof jacket, your tent will also need to be robust enough to take a hammering from rain, hail or even snow, as well as be stable enough to withstand strong winds. 

best 2-person tent: A pair of people kicking back in a tent

The best 2-person tent should be able to comfortably fit two adults (Image credit: Getty)

But the best 2-person tents balance protection from the elements with ventilation, as good airflow through a tent is vital to help manage condensation and keep you and your kit dry. The perfect tent must be reliable and durable too, in order to provide lasting value and give you peace of mind that you’ll be protected wherever you pitch up. Lastly, it should be quick and easy to set up and take down, with the minimum of fuss. After all, nobody likes grappling with bent poles, billowing flysheets or tangled guylines.

For all these reasons, plus its competitive price point, we particularly like the Vango F10 Xenon UL2. 

The best 2-person tents you can buy today

best 2-person tents: Eureka Mountain Pass 2

(Image credit: Eureka)

Eureka Mountain Pass 2

A quick-pitch wilderness home that can cope with most conditions

RRP: $320 (US) | Capacity: 2 people | Weight: 5lb 8oz / 2.5kg | Pack size: 6 x 20in / 15 x 51cm | Dimensions: 7ft 4in x 4ft 8in / 223.5 x 142cm | Max headroom: 41in / 104cm | Doors & vestibules: 2 doors, 2 vestibules | Compatibility: 3–4 season

Multiple pockets
Four season usability
Footprint included
Heavy compared to some comparable models
No windows

The 32 sq ft / 3 sq m floor plan of the Eureka Mountain Pass 2 makes this a comfortable shelter for two adults. Because it’s not the most lightweight 2-person tent out there, it is best suited to backpackers who aren’t intending to venture too far on any given trail day. 

However, the Mountain Pass 2 provides a good level of shelter, and it has zippered, removable panels that can extend the tent to four-season use if required. The pitch is nice and easy too: a hub, three color-coded pole-and-clip system takes the tent from stuff sack to crawl-in comfort in just a few minutes. It is also an easy tent to keep organized and tidy; five pockets and an overhead gear loft swallow sunglasses, smartphones, headlamps, pocket knives and anything else you want to keep handy.

best 2-person tent: REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

(Image credit: REI)

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

A luxurious room for two

RRP: $279 (US) | Capacity: 2 people | Weight: 4lb 13.5oz / 2197g | Pack size: 7 x 20.5in / 18 x 52cm | Dimensions: 92 x 56in / 234 x 142cm | Max headroom: 42in / 107cm | Doors & vestibules: 2 doors, 2 vestibules | Compatibility: 3 season

Environmentally friendly solution dye
Updated design
Footprint included
No gear loft

The best backpack tent designers worry over the smallest details, and the benefit of their hard work is often found in product attributes you don’t immediately notice, because it’s the things that don’t annoy you. Large door openings and durable zippers translate into easy entry, without snagging mesh or tripping over a door seam that’s too high off the floor. 

The Half Dome 2, a pound lighter than the previous model, is filled with the small details that make the difference between frustration and pleasant memories. The proprietary pole architecture delivers vertical walls, comfortable headroom and floor space. This shelter is big enough for two adults plus a small child or a trail dog, and ventilation is excellent. Internal organization capacity is good too, with pockets and hanging straps to keep gear readily to hand. In addition to extra storage space under the vestibules, the fly can be rolled up and stowed.

best 2-person tent: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack

(Image credit: Big Agnes)

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Bikepack

An ultralight off-road shelter built for bikepacking

RRP: $450 (US) / £425 (UK) | Capacity: 2 people | Weight: 2lb 15oz / 1332.5g | Pack size: 13 x 6.5in/33 x 16.5 | Dimensions (LxW): 86in x 52–42in / 218cm x 132–107cm | Max headroom: 39in / 99cm | Doors & vestibules: 2 doors, 2 vestibules | Compatibility: 3 season

Specifically designed for bikepacking adventures
Ultralight
Solution dyed fabric reduces environmental impact
Small floor plan for some users
Extended footprint sold separately

Campers are always looking for new and exciting ways to get deeper into the woods and wilderness. Bikepacking – strapping gear to mountain bikes and riding remote single track trails for overnight adventures – is becoming increasingly popular. To accommodate bikepackers, Big Agnes has designed the Tiger Wall UL2 as a bike specific shelter. 

Every detail of this tent is examined through the expectations and eyes of the cycle-camper. Short 12in/30.5cm pole sections make strapping the tent bag to handlebars or a rack easy.  The proprietary TipLok Tent Buckle makes set-up fast and simple, especially welcome after a long, muddy trail ride. The double-door, two-vestibule set-up offers gear storage and easy access. Overhead pockets keep smartphones and headlamps off the tent floor and close at hand when needed. The stuff sack has attachment points to help secure the tent to the bike. 

Best 2-person tents: MSR Hubba Hubba NX

(Image credit: MSR)

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

A firm favourite among wild campers and backpackers, whether in the hills or on the trail

RRP: From $449.45 (US) / £445 (UK) | Weight: 1kg 720g /3lb 12.7oz | Pack Size: 46 x 15cm/18.1 x 5.9in | Dimensions: 213 x 127cm/83.85 x 50in | Max headroom: 100cm /39.4in | Waterproofing (fly): 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane and silicone | Compatibility: 3-season backpacking

Spacious
Lightweight
Easy to pitch
Draughty in cold or windy conditions
Not the best option for very severe weather
Pitches inner-first

Designed for lightweight backpackers who aren’t prepared to compromise on living space, the much-loved MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a roomy 2-person, three-season tent with a light and airy interior plus generous porches to stash wet boots and gear. There’s plenty of headroom, thanks to clever pole geometry consisting of a hub-and-pole exoskeleton that creates near-vertical walls, with no visible sagging either across the fly or the inner. It’s also easy and intuitive to pitch, and the freestanding design doesn’t rely on tensioned guys to set up. 

The Hubba Hubba is a pleasant place to spend even hot, humid nights, with ample ventilation to stay cool. You get a large vent in the flysheet that can be propped open, plus huge mesh panels that comprise a large proportion of the inner. As with many US-designed tents, there’s plenty of airflow under the fly on all sides, resulting in excellent moisture management that keeps condensation to a minimum. 

Of course, that airy feel does mean the Hubba Hubba is better suited to warmer weather than cold conditions, when things can turn a little chilly. And as a three-season tent, it can also reach its limits in really wild weather. Also, the inner-pitch first design means that setting up in the rain isn’t so much fun. But those caveats aside, it’s a durable and supremely functional design that finds an almost perfect balance of weight, performance and space. You can find lighter tents, but these typically use more delicate fabrics, and will cost you more. Equally, you can find cheaper options, but these will be far more cramped and much heavier. As a backpackers’ home from home, the Hubba Hubba can hardly be bettered.

Best 2-person tents: Wild Country Hoolie Compact ETC 2

(Image credit: Wild Country)

Wild Country Hoolie Compact ETC 2

A palatial porch makes this tent a deservedly popular choice for bikepackers and backpackers on extended trips

RRP: From £270 (UK) | Weight: 3kg 150g / 6lb 15.1oz | Pack Size: 30 x 22cm/ 11.8 x 8.66in | Dimensions: 230 x 100cm/90.5 x 39.4in | Max headroom: 90cm/35.4in | Waterproofing (fly): Stormtex P4000FR | Compatibility: 3-season backpacking and bikepacking

Huge porch
Pitches all-in-one
Good value
Modest ventilation
Fairly heavy
Fairly narrow

The most immediately impressive feature of the Hoolie Compact ETC 2 is its cavernous porch. With a total length of some 2 metres, it offers a capacious amount of space for your kit, making this tent a popular choice among bikepackers or cycle tourers, as well as backpackers on extended trips carrying big, heavily-laden packs. Internal sleeping space isn’t bad either, with generous length plus reasonable width and headroom.  

For such a large footprint, the packed size is also impressively compact – hence the tent’s name – so its stuffs neatly into a backpack. It’s short enough to fit in most panniers or onto the frame of a bike too, a considered piece of design from makers Wild Country, which is the entry-level division of renowned British tentmaker Terra Nova. At just over 3 kilos, this is not the lightest 2-person tent around, making use of heavier weight polyester fabrics as opposed to lighter nylon or DCF. That does, however, keep the cost down and ensures it is both robust and reliable, with fully taped seams throughout and 8.5mm Superflex alloy poles. 

The design pitches all-in-one, with the inner pre-attached to the fly and poles that simply thread through external sleeves, saving set-up time and making life much easier in wet weather. The tunnel-type design offers only one entrance and relies on guyline tension for stability, but if securely pitched it is very weatherproof, offering good three-season protection. If there is a drawback to this tent – other than the slight weight penalty – it’s the relatively modest ventilation. There’s only a half mesh door and two fairly small vents at either end. 

Best 2-person tents: Robens Buck Creek 2

(Image credit: Robens)

Robens Buck Creek 2

A practical and thoughtfully designed tent with unusual features to help it stand out from the crowd

RRP: £374.99 (UK) | Weight: 2kg 350g /5lb 2.9oz | Pack Size: 41 x 13cm/16.1 x 5.1in | Dimensions: 215 x 120cm / 84.6 x 47.2in | Max headroom: 95cm/37.4in | Waterproofing (fly): Ripstop polyester outside siliconised PU inside, 100% polyester, HH 3,000mm | Compatibility: 3-season

Practical porch
Pitches all-in-one
Good value
Not the lightest

A relatively new addition to Danish brand Robens’ extensive range of tents, the Buck Creek 2 is a very practical and liveable shelter, with an array of little touches that really enhance overall enjoyment. It is robustly made from ripstop polyester, with sealed seams throughout and high-quality 9mm DAC aluminium alloy hubbed poles. This forms a sturdy exoskeleton, to which you simply clip the fabric fly and pre-attached inner, enabling simple, speedy pitching. It’s a largely freestanding design that sheds wind well, with a useful floating ridge pole that extends the porch area. 

The porch has a partial groundsheet to keep packs and other gear dry, while still providing wet access for muddy boots. The single side doorway has a double zip to crack it open for extra airflow. Other nice touches include guy line retainers to avoid tangles, storage pockets for inner doors and an internal adjustable ridgeline to hang a tent lantern or dry your kit. Inside, the doorway has a mesh panel for ventilation, while the floor space will comfortably accommodate two. Headroom is reasonable, with ample space towards the porch, though that aerodynamic design means the ceiling tapers markedly towards the feet. 

At 2.3kg, the weight is middling for a 2-person tent, but it’s still a viable option for backpacking, and we think that slight increase in weight is worth it for the additional creature comforts. In terms of price, the Buck Creek 2 is also good value compared to many other rivals. 

Best 2-person tents: Terra Nova Laser Compact All-Season 2

(Image credit: Terra Nova)

Terra Nova Laser Compact All-Season 2

A bomber four-season shelter that utilises a proven design and highly robust fabrics, yet tips the scales at under 2kg

RRP: £550 (UK) | Weight: 1kg 800g/3lb 15.5oz | Pack Size: 30 x 16cm/11.8 x 6.3in | Dimensions: 230 x 105cm/90.5 x 41.3in | Max headroom: 95cm/37.4in | Waterproofing (fly): Watershed R/S Nylon, HH 5000mm | Compatibility: 4-season all rounder

Lightweight and packable 
Very protective
Pitches all-in-one
Not free-standing 
Not the roomiest
Pricey

Put two iconic tents together and what do you get? The Laser Compact All-Season 2, which Terra Nova claims is the ultimate four-season lightweight 2-person tent. It takes the distinctive low-profile design of the Laser, a favourite amongst lightweight mountain marathoners and adventure racers, and adds super-robust fabrics from the Quasar, the brand’s classic mountain tent (for which the appellation ‘bombproof’ was surely invented). The result is a highly resilient and very stable storm-proof shelter that still weighs in at just 1.8kg and packs down to a mere 30 x 16cm. 

For a genuine four-season tent that will hold up in the most fearsome winter weather those are impressive specs. But Terra Nova haven’t compromised on features in order to save weight. In fact, they’ve specced up this version for added toughness. As well as fully taped seams throughout, the twin door zips have vent hoods at the top for additional rain protection. The zip flaps also have magnetic closures, so they snap shut when you zip up the flysheet doors. Three guylines at each end of the tent add extra stability in high winds, and if you really need to batten down the hatches, extra eyelets in the pole feet pull-tabs allow you to double-pole the main central hoop. 

Of course, as anyone who is familiar with the Laser design will know, it isn’t the roomiest. As such, this tent is a snug fit for two, and though there are twin doors, you only get a porch on one side.

Best 2-person tents: Vango F10 Xenon UL 2

(Image credit: Vango)

Vango F10 Xenon UL 2

A lightweight yet sturdy tunnel tent that offers both performance and practicality

RRP: £340 (UK) | Weight: 1kg 900g/4lb 3oz | Pack Size: 45 x 15cm/17.7 x 5.9in | Dimensions: 230 x 130cm/90.5 x 51.2in | Max headroom: 105cm/41.3in | Waterproofing (fly): Protex 15.SRN, HH 3,000mm | Compatibility: 3-season plus

Lightweight
Pitches all-in-one
Plenty of headroom
Good wind resistance
Good value
Not free-standing
Multiple pegging points
Modest ventilation

The tunnel tent is a preferred design for many adventurers. That’s because it offers a superior space-to-weight ratio, improved internal headroom and good wind-shedding ability compared to other conventional designs. The Vango F10 Xenon UL2 maximises all of these advantages in a lightweight package. In fact, Vango’s clever architecture adds head height without affecting stability, thanks to the tent’s arched poles, which gives steeper walls for better rigidity and improved rain run-off compared to standard hooped poles. Inside, these are braced with the brand’s Tension Band System (TBS), which prevents the poles deforming in high winds. 

So, although this isn’t classed as a four-season tent, it is still very weatherproof and stands up well to the rough stuff. Indeed, it prioritises protection at the slight cost of ventilation, and airflow through the tent isn’t as good as some, which can result in condensation in some conditions. However, it pitches all-in-one, which is a practical solution for wetter climates, and with practice goes up very easily. Having said that, you do need to peg it out well, ideally using all the guylines and pegging points. 

Although the design offers only one entrance and a single porch, it’s a good size for either cooking in or storing packs and wet gear, with a vertical inner door and a hood over the outer door to stop water dripping down into the inner tent. It all makes this a robust tent that is well suited to outdoor adventures in unpredictable weather.

Best 2-person tents: Vaude Lizard 1-2P Seamless

(Image credit: Vaude)

Vaude Lizard 1-2P Seamless

Technically advanced tent for fast and light adventure races or mountain missions

RRP: £540 (UK) | Weight: 1kg 290g /2lb 13.5oz | Pack Size: 40 x 16cm/15.7 x 6.3in | Dimensions: 230 x 110cm/90.5 x 43.3in | Max headroom: 90cm/35.4in | Waterproofing (fly): 20D Ripstop both-sides Silicone coated 3,000mm | Compatibility: 3-season for quick adventures

Extremely lightweight
Pitches all-in-one
Good wind resistance
Small for two people
Only a single entrance

Described as a one- to 2-person tent, the Vaude Lizard Seamless 1-2P is palatial for one but snug for two – making it a good option for quick overnighters, but perhaps less ideal for extended trips, unless you’re a couple of adventure racers who are simply too exhausted to care. It is, however, a technically advanced tent that manages to be impressively lightweight for a double-walled tent yet extremely storm-proof too. 

The lightweight nylon flysheet is siliconized on both sides and has minimal seams, offering reliable waterproofing and a clean design that sheds rain superbly. Sil-nylon single-hoop tents can be notoriously difficult to tension consistently, but Vaude’s system utilises a central pole sleeve that is closed at one end, enabling full tensioning from one side, plus easily adjustable central and corner guys with high-quality metal components. Ventilation is also surprisingly good for such a compact and weatherproof tent, with twin end vents and an upper vent placed at the top of the door. 

There’s only a single entrance, with a modest porch, though the inner tent can be pulled aside to offer a little more room. It is an ideal option for weight-conscious solo adventurers who are likely to encounter variable conditions – though be aware that the lightweight fabrics can tend to flap in the wind, so take earplugs for gusty nights in exposed locations. 

As a 2-person tent it is a less comfortable prospect, but if all you plan to do is pitch up late, catch a little shut-eye and strike camp early, it is still a viable option. And though other tents are cheaper and roomier, few match this one for weight or overall build quality – it is meticulously engineered.

Best 2-person tents: Sierra Designs Meteor 3,000 2P

(Image credit: Sierra Designs)

Sierra Designs Meteor 3,000 2P

Ideal wild camping or backpacking tent that offers plenty of protection and outstanding value

RRP: $250 (US) / £250 (UK) | Weight: 2kg 40g /4lb 8oz | Pack Size: 46 x 16.5cm/11.1 x 6.5in | Dimensions: 213 x 129cm/83.9 x 50.8in | Max headroom: 104cm/41in | Waterproofing (fly): 68D 190T Poly Taffeta, HH 3,000mm | Compatibility: 3-season backpacking

Great headroom
Twin entrances
Roomy porches 
Protective and weatherproof
Pitches inner first

A newcomer for 2020, this superb tent is based on US brand Sierra Designs’ bestselling Meteor series but tweaks the build to make it better suited for the wetter climates of northern Europe. As such it features enhanced waterproofing, with a PU-coated polyester flysheet rated at 3,000mm hydrostatic head in an earthy green colourway that makes it far more practical for stealthy wild camps. The fly provides good coverage and there is added wind protection too, thanks to an inner tent that features more fabric and less mesh. 

Sierra has retained the same lightweight, double-door, twin porch design that has made the Meteor such a popular backpacking tent in the US. It offers decent living space, two roomy porches and plenty of headroom, with practical features like two-way door zips for additional ventilation. Pre-bent DAC poles create a vertical front wall while an extra ridge pole creates near vertical side-walls. The flysheet can also be rolled back for added ventilation or a spot of stargazing on warmer nights. 

It does need to be pitched inner-first, which is a minor inconvenience if you’re setting up camp in the rain, and those beefed-up fabrics mean it now tips the scales at just over 2kg, which for some might be the cut-off point for a lightweight backpacking tent. However, we’d urge you to not to discount it, as this is one of the best value options around for British backpackers and wild campers. 

Best 2-person tents: Kelty All Inn 2

(Image credit: Kelty)

Kelty All Inn 2

Easy-pitching tent with unusual adjacent doors that offers breezy ventilation for balmy summer nights

RRP: $279.95 (US)/ £300 (UK) | Weight: 1kg 760g/3lb 14 oz | Pack Size: 46 x 15cm/18.1 x 5.9in | Dimensions: 213 x 132cm/83.9 x 52in | Max headroom: 107cm/42.1in | Waterproofing (fly): 40D Siliconized Nylon Ripstop, 1500mm | Compatibility: 2- to 3-season

Lightweight
Twin entrances
Modest flysheet coverage
Pitches inner first
Awkward end door design

As its name might suggest, this likeable tent offers both comfort and liveability. It offers good length, with great headroom and reasonable width for two people, plus a generous porch. Unusually, it boasts twin doors on adjacent sides – offering entry either from the side or the end of the tent. Inside it feels light and airy, with superb airflow that minimises condensation build-up and offers plenty of ventilation. It’s an ideal tent for a balmy summer night. 

The large, open front door makes it easy to admire the view too, and it has a pronounced peak to deflect wind and keep off light drizzle. The door is waterproof, which is just as well since the fly offers no protection at this end of the tent. The door also unzips to the floor, which does mean it tends to get muddy unless you’re careful about rolling it away. But the overall design is very stable, dealing well with moderate to strong winds, and pitching is quick, easy and intuitive once you get familiar with the DAC hubbed pole structure. The pole system tensions the fly easily to ensure a taut pitch every time. 

If we had any negatives, it’s that the single side porch is a little awkward to use for two campers. Secondly, as already intimated, it’s a tent better suited to good weather than bad, since the fly offers only moderate rain protection and all that mesh and ventilation can make it feel draughty. But Kelty is to be commended for its unusual and innovative design approach – the All Inn 2 certainly stands out from the crowd.

Best 2-person tents: Black Diamond Distance Tent with Z-Poles

(Image credit: Black Diamond)

Black Diamond Distance

A brilliant marriage of lightweight convenience between tent and trekking poles

RRP: $400 (US) / £400 (UK) | Total weight: 1kg 200g (tent 820g + trekking poles 380g)/2lb 10oz | Packed Size: 13 x 30cm (5 x 12in) | Dimensions: 147 x 241 x 104cm / 58 x 95 x 41in | Max headroom: 95cm / 37.4in | Waterproofing (fly): 30D poly fabric | Compatibility: 3-season adventures

Clever combination of tent and trekking poles
Reasonable price for poles and shelter
Good trekking poles
Limited ventilation
Space tight for two adults

Providing both shelter at the end of the day, and support while you’re on the trails, the Black Diamond Distance tent with Z-poles is an ingenious design that combines a great tent with an excellent pair of trekking poles to produce a robust but lightweight shelter. 

The 2-person single-wall structure has just one tiny cross pole, used to connect with Black Diamond’s excellent Distance Carbon FLZ-AR Trekking Poles to make a three-season tent, absolutely perfect for gram-counting thru-hikers and ultralight enthusiasts. The shelter is a tight squeeze for two adults, but will fit one with a pack quite easily. 

The poles themselves are very lightweight (380g/13.69oz per pair) but high performing, and have a comfortable EVA foam grip and a breathable, moisture-wicking strap. A classic Z-pole design, they fold down to an impressively small stash size (38cm/15in). Assembly is simple (just pull down on the slider shaft) and the strong and reliable FlickLock feature means you can adjust the operational height of the pole (105–125cm/41–49in) easily while out on the trail.

Choosing the best 2-person tent for you

When considering how to choose a tent, there are many factors. 2-person tents are among the most popular pieces of backpacking kit around, a mainstay of many adventurers' camping checklists, and there is a bewildering array of models available, scattered across a broad landscape in terms of features, quality, weight and price point. The best 2-person tent for you will depend on what backpacking, bikepacking, canoeing or car camping adventures you have planned.

First of all, you should consider whether a 2-person tent matches your ambitions. If you're heading for Glastonbury, you won't want to spend a fortune on something that was designed with the hardy souls of British Antarctic Survey in mind. One of the best pop up tents will be probably be just the ticket (not the sort of ticket that will get you through the festival gates, that is).

If long solo trips to the hills and mountains are your cup of tea, then the weight saving you'll make by investing in one of the best one-person tents is more than worth it. Sampling America's best thru-hikes or bagging a handful of Scotland's 282 Munros during a multiday fastpacking trip will be much more pleasant with less weight on your back.

However, a 2-person tent may make more sense, especially if you've got buddies you want to bring along. Though, if you're not too fussed about wild camping and you're unlikely to be carrying your tent too far, the luxury and flexibility afforded by the best 4-person tents might serve you better. There's nothing to stop you using a 4-person tent just to yourself, whilst there's quite a lot stopping you from taking the family on holiday in your one-person shelter. For the car-based camper, this might be the best option. Or you could go positively palatial with one of the best large tents.

However, if a 2-person tent hits the nail on the head for your ambition, before you invest, consider the following factors.

Weight

If you’re car camping, these figures are less important – but if you’re backpacking or bikepacking, they’re crucial. Make sure the packed dimensions (i.e. total volume of the tent and poles all bundled up together in their stuff sack) are not too bulky to fit inside your backpack alongside your headlamp and freeze-dried meals.

When adventuring with a partner or adventure buddy, you can usually split the weight of the tent and share it – one person carrying the poles and pegs, the other carting the inner tent and flysheet. 

Weight is still a factor of course, especially if you’re walking/running/riding a long distance. Dedicated ultralighters might consider a 2-person tent over 1.5kg as ‘too heavy’, but for most backpackers and wild campers, a 2-person tent up to about 3kg is still reasonably lightweight. 

Nylon flysheets offer better strength for their weight, as do carbon fibre poles. Mesh used in the inner is light and cool in warm weather, but can result in a chilly night in cold conditions.

Inner and outer space

Carefully consider the total floor space of the inner, to ensure you’ll have enough room for you, a partner and both of your sleeping pads and gear. Ideally, you should be able to sit up, at least at one end of the tent.

Most tents have a small space outside the inner tent that’s still protected by the flysheet. This porch or vestibule is a great place to store wet kit and muddy boots, and can also act as a sheltered space to cook on a camping stove in poor weather. Make sure the porch is big enough to accommodate gear.

best 2-person tent: A pair of campers sitting outside a 2-person tent

The best 2-person tents enable you to explore the great outdoors with your mates (Image credit: Getty)

Performance

The primary function of a backpacking tent is to keep you protected from the elements – mainly wind and rain, but sometimes snow too. This is particularly important if you are intent on going wild camping in the mountains. On quality tents, the flysheet and groundsheet fabric will have a quoted Hydrostatic Head (HH) weighting in terms of 1000s of mm – e.g. 3,000mm – which reflects how much pressure the fabric can withstand before it lets water in. So, a flysheet with a HH of 3,000mm could have a solid column of water 3 metres tall standing on it before it fails. 

But, HH isn’t everything, good tents also need decent stitching, well sealed seams and quality zips. Ventilation is another important factor – a tent may be fully waterproof, but without adequate moisture management you’ll still get wet from condensation build-up. 

Ease of pitch

When you're pitching a tent, you need to factor in its design. Tents pitch in one of three ways: inner first, outer first or all-in-one. Some 2-person tent designs are free-standing, meaning that the overall structure is created by the poles alone and does not rely on fabric or guy line tension to keep the tent upright. 

A freestanding tent is ideal for pitching on hard ground when it may be difficult or impossible to drive tent pegs or stakes into the ground. It also makes it easier to move the tent around once it is erect if you decide to alter your pitch to find flatter ground, for example. 

Provided tent pegs are securely staked, however, non-free-standing designs can be just as stable, and they also have lower profiles, enabling them to shed wind well. As well as pegging points at tent corners, most tents have a series of guy lines to help stabilise the tent in high winds. More guy lines add security and resilience, but also means carrying more pegs.

Value

Ultralight tents made from premium materials can come with big price tags, as can four-season or expedition tents designed to withstand extremely high winds and massive snow-loading. But unless you’re a committed adventurer, you don’t need to spend an eye-watering sum. 

Having said that, high-spec, premium backpacking tents don’t always come cheap. Try to think of your tent as an investment. After all, with care and a bit of regular TLC, it ought to last a lifetime of adventures. However, if you are on a budget, it is possible to find a good-quality 2-person backpacking tent for $200 / £150 or less. And it is always worth shopping around, because you can invariably pick up tents for far less than the RRP.