What are the best backpacking tents? The majority of backpackers purchase two-person tents so they can bring a friend or enjoy more interior space. The best two-person tents have two doors and two vestibules, so you can get out at night without disturbing your partner. Dome-style tents are the most spacious and popular, but wedge-shaped and pyramid-shaped tents can be better for smaller tents sites or backpacking destinations with high winds.
|Make / Model||Doors||Weight||Price|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2||2||2 lbs 12 oz||$450|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX2||2||3 lbs 8 oz||$450|
|Big Agnes TigerWall UL 2||2||2 lbs 4 oz||$400|
|REI Quarter Dome 2||2||3 lbs 5 oz||$349|
|REI Half Dome 2 Plus||2||4 lbs 14 oz||$299|
|Tarptent Double Rainbox||2||2 lbs 10 oz||$299|
|Zpacks.com Duplex||2||1 lb 3 oz||$599|
|NEMO Hornet 2P||2||1 lb 14 oz||$370|
|Marmot Tungsten 2P UL||2||3 lbs 4 oz||$299|
|Hilleberg Rogen||2||4 lbs||$845|
1. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent
2. MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 Tent
3. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Tent
4. REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent
The REI Quarter Dome 2 Person Tent ($349) has two doors and two vestibules, providing better access and gear storage when shared with a partner. A multi-hub pole architecture creates near vertical walls so occupants can both sit up inside the tent at the same time, but the tent pole and spokes can be unwieldy to set up. The inner tent has good airflow with ample mesh, with solid fabric panels that provide privacy and keep wind and dust from blowing into the tent. Convenience features including light hang loops and interior pockets are also provided.The fly is made with a 15 denier ripstop nylon to minimize weight while the floor and walls are made with a slightly more robust 20 denier ripstop. Gear weight without stakes in 3 pounds, 5 ounces, slightly lower weight than the MSR Hubba Hubba, but the Quarter Dome’s setup is not as straightforward.
5. REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent
6. Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent
The Tarptent Double Rainbow ($299) is a single walled, two-person tent that weighs 42 ounces. It has two side doors and two large vestibules for gear storage. Constructed as a single unit, the tent requires a single tent pole, which is inserted into a long sleeve sewn onto the top of the tent. Trekking poles can also be used in lieu of tent stakes, to stretch out the tent corners, such as on wooden platforms or rock ledge.The tent has a bathtub floor to prevent rain from entering the tent as well as large mesh sidewalls. Roof vents also help vent moisture and prevent internal condensation. This tent is very popular with ultralight backpackers and provides excellent value for the price.
7. Zpacks.com Duplex Tent
The Zpacks Duplex ($599) is an ultralight trekking pole tent that only weighs 19 ounces. It has ample space for one person plus gear to spread out but can also fit two people comfortably. It has two doors, so you get good ventilation and vestibule space on both sides of the tent, plus you don’t have to climb over your partner at night to go for a nighttime walk. The Duplex has a full bathtub floor, seam taped seams, and mesh sidewalls for insect protection. Pitching the tent requires two trekking poles, but the dual apex structure is quite wind resistant provided it’s staked out securely.The Duplex is made with an ultralight fabric called Dyneema Composite Material (formerly called cuben fiber – see Dyneema Composite Fabrics FAQ), which is waterproof and won’t sag at night or when it rains. It is translucent, however, which can compromise your privacy when camping in a group. The Duplex is also available in more opaque colors for an extra fee.
8. NEMO Hornet 2P Tent
9. Marmot Tungsten 2P UL Tent
10. Hilleberg Rogen 2 Tent
Tent Selection Criteria
Here are the most important variables to consider when buying a backpacking or camping tent.
WEIGHT/TRAIL WEIGHT – The total weight of a tent usually measures the tent and all of its packaging, while the trail weight is the weight of its poles, inner tent, outer rain fly, minus any tent stakes. Why the difference? Most people replace the tent stakes that come with a tent with lighter weight or stronger ones and leave all the extra stuff sacks and packaging at home rather than carry it.
TENT POLES – Tent poles are made using fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the most durable of the three, while carbon fiber is normally only used in very high-end tents where the focus is on lightweight. Fiberglass poles are the least durable tent poles and break frequently. So much so, that we recommend avoiding any tent with fiberglass poles. All the ones above have aluminum poles or use trekking poles. Most manufacturers who sell trekking pole tents offer regular tent poles as an add-on purchase.
DURABILITY – The floor of a tent is the part of a tent most likely to be punctured or torn as a result of ground abrasion. While using a footprint on floors that are 20 deniers thick or less is always recommended, it’s far less necessary on 30 denier or higher floors, except on highly abrasive or rough terrain.
DOORS – Tents with two side doors are often preferable when purchasing a tent for two because it means each occupant can each get in and out without disturbing one another.
INTERIOR STORAGE – Interior pockets and storage organization is a plus in a multi-person tent. Look for internal pockets and gear loops to hang gear from the ceiling. A gear loft is an added bonus. Vestibule space is always a plus as well, but especially if there are multiple doors so that gear storage does not block entry and exit.
VENTILATION – All tents experience tent condensation, but good tent site selection and ventilation are the best ways to avoid it. Look for tents that have lots of mesh netting to facilitate airflow, top vents to release moist air, and door tie-backs to roll up tent doors and keep them open at night.
How do we know what the top 10 best backpacking tents are? We survey our large readership to ask. If you’d like to participate in our surveys, be on the lookup for the gear raffles we run every few weeks on SectionHiker, where we give survey participants a chance to win. Or sign up to the weekly, award-winning SectionHiker newsletter, so you never miss out on an opportunity to participate. We hate spam, so we’ll never share your email with anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time.