Best two-person tents for 2024: light and protective

A two-person tent is arguably the most versatile choice of shelter for anything from a long-distance backpacking trip to a wild camping overnighter. Here are our top picks...

best 2-person tents

by Matt Jones |
Updated on

In the days of yore, most two-person tents were cramped and coffin-like. You'd only want to share these camping tents with someone with whom you were already intimate.

But as technology has advanced, materials have become lighter, and tent design has improved. Many modern two-person tents offer generous floor space and headroom while trimming weight and packed size. There are now various ultralight models that weigh under a kilo, including minimalist single-skin shelters and trekking pole tents.

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Granted, there are one-person tents and if you want an even lighter, compact shelter. Or bivvy bags move in that direction. But for less than 2-3kg, you can have it all – sturdy weather protection, superb liveability and excellent features.

The best two-person tents at a glance:

Best in Test: MSR Tindheim 2 – View on

Best Value: Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 – View on

Best for durability: Wild Country Panacea 2 – View on

Best lightweight two-person tent: Sea to Summit Alto TR2 – View on

For the vast majority of users, a double-skinned tent with a separate inner and flysheet remains the best choice. Balancing space-to-weight with other factors like lifetime durability and overall weather protection they make the ideal three-season shelter. We've selected the very best two-person tents for a variety of use cases.

The best two-person tents in detail

Best in Test

MSR Tindheim 2Live For The Outdoors


The Tindheim 2 is a classic tunnel tent that pitches outer first or all-in-one, a first for MSR.


  • Good stability
  • Large living space
  • Ideal for longer trips


  • Not freestanding
  • Not the lightest or most compact option

Best Value

Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2Live For The Outdoors


This quick-pitching two-pole tunnel tent has a generous peak height, which provides enough room to


  • Recycled and PFC-free fly
  • Lightweight
  • Fast pitching


  • Not freestanding
  • Not the most spacious

Best for durability

Wild Country Panacea 2Live For The Outdoors


As the more affordable sub-brand of renowned Derbyshire tentmaker Terra Nova, Wild Country is


  • Freestanding
  • All-in-one or out-first pitching
  • Very sturdy


  • Not many storage pockets
  • Not the lightest or most compact

Best lightweight two-person tent

Sea to Summit Alto TR2Live For The Outdoors


The Alto TR2 is impressively light, with a super-slim pack size that can be separated into three


  • Very lightweight
  • Fast pitching
  • Good ventilation


  • Feels a bit delicate
  • Not ideal for bad weather

Best for liveability

Exped Lyra IILive For The Outdoors


This tent offers a very good space-to-weight ratio. It tips the scales at a fraction over 2kg, so


  • Excellent internal space
  • Spacious porches
  • Lightweight


  • Plastic pegs not great for rocky ground
  • Not the most robust tent

Best lightweight tent for unsettled weather

Vaude Taurus UL2Live For The Outdoors


The Taurus is a high-quality tent that uses PFC-free sil-nylon fabrics and a proven tripod pole


  • PFC-free
  • Good weather resistance
  • Good sized porch


  • Not the most spacious
  • Only one door and porch

What to look for in a two-person tent

Wild County Zephyros 2 pitched in a valley at dusk
©Live For The Outdoors

Shape: Dome tents and geodesic tents are the most stable shapes and best for dealing with stroppy weather. Tripod and backpacking shapes are lighter than dome and geodesic tents but aren't so weather resistant, though usually still very good. Tunnel tents are popular for hiking and camping alike. They can be compact and lightweight or large and commodious, depending on the design. They aren't as good in a storm as dome or geodesic tents, but they are usually still pretty good.

Flysheet: For maximum weatherproofing, a tent's flysheet – the waterproof outer – should peg out flush to the ground and be easily adjustable via tension straps so that it's taut, stable and well-shaped. Some flysheets don't quite reach the ground, which aids ventilation but risks water ingress.

Weight and packed size: For trekkers, this is key and part of the reason two-person tents are very popular. They can give that bit of extra room without adding too much weight or girth to the packed size. Consider your rucksack size and volume, and be sure to check dimensions of a tent's packed size before committing to it. For a good quality, 3-season tent for UK use, 1kg or under is extremely light, 1.5kg is good, and more than 2kg is a tad on the heavy side.

Pitching: Some tents, particularly from US brands, are pitched inner first – which isn't ideal if it's raining. Others are pitched outer first or all-as-one, enabling the inner to be kept dry while the flysheet is pegged out. Ease of pitching is another important consideration.

Waterproofing: For an indication of how waterproof a tent really is, check the hydrostatic head of the flysheet and groundsheet. A good baseline is 3000mm. However, many other factors, including silicone or PU coatings, the tent's shape, sealed seams, and the tightness of a fabric's weave, affect waterproofing.

Ventilation: Condensation can be difficult to avoid in the UK's wet climate, so good ventilation is key. Mesh vents on the inner and vent windows on the flysheet will help increase airflow, as will mesh panels on the inner's walls. Good clearance between the inner and outer is very important too.

Features: Other important features include: a good-sized porch for stashing your backpack and boots, a wide door for easy entry and exit, sufficient length and width for lying down (check carefully if you're 6ft+), a stormflap over the main zipper, internal pockets for gear organisation, an easy-to-fill carry bag, strong poles, good pegs, sturdy pegging out loops and robust guy lines.

Tent care and maintenance

To maintain the performance and waterproofing of your tent, you need to care for and clean them properly. You wouldn't reasonably expect longevity out of anything that isn't cared for.

Tent cleaning and care is easy and primarily involves cleaning them after use with the correct cleaning products and making sure they're completely dry before storing them away.

Best tent care kit

Grangers Tent And Gear Kit

Rrp: £19.00

Price: £14.49


Grangers' effective and eco-friendly care kit for tents and outdoor gear such as packs. It even


  • Water-based and PFC-free
  • Easy spray-on water repel
  • Good value


  • Reproofing spray needs applied quite regularly

Best tent cleaning spray

Nikwax Camping Care Kit
Price: £17.49


Nikwax's tent and gear care kit. It's just as good as the Grangers kit and also water-based and


  • Water-based and PFC-free
  • Dry bag included


  • Reproofing spray needs applied quite regularly

How we test

We take our test tents out on proper excursions. Two-person hiking tents we tested spent many hours pitched on hillsides. We, of course, use them for sleeping in on our trips, but we also spend a lot of time examining every detail about them, from living space and ease of pitching to material quality and sustainability.

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Matt Jones is a freelance gear tester for Live For The Outdoors and Trail Magazine. He has walked several long-distance backpacking trails in New Zealand, the USA and throughout the UK.

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