The best two-person tents reviewed (2022)

Keeping weight to a minimum will greatly increase your enjoyment on the hill. Fact. So check out our pick of the best two-person tents available right now to make sure all your overnighters are sublime.

Tester James Forrest pitching Sea To Summit tent on a hilltop

by James Forrest |

With 14 review tents in my kit store, deciding which one to take on my backpacking trips has been a tricky decision over the last few months. But invariably I’ve found myself reaching for the lighter-weight models – those under or close to 2kg for a two-person, 3-season shelter.

Why? Because carrying a back-achingly heavy load up a steep hillside is an utter nightmare, and it’s not even necessary with the array of ultralight tents now available on the market. Granted, there are one-person tents and even bivvy bags if you want the ultimate lightweight shelter. But for less than 1kg per person, you can have it all – sturdy weather protection, superb liveability and excellent features, without needing to be Geoff Capes to carry your tent up a mountain.

Of course, lightweight tents always involve some level of compromise. Flysheets may not be flush to the ground, mesh inners can be draughty and cold, inner-first pitching is inconvenient in a downpour, high walls can catch the wind, and ultralight materials often have lower-than-ideal hydrostatic head waterproof ratings. But, unless you’re caught in a truly atrocious storm, many ultralight tents are fine for UK 3-season adventures.

How to care for your tent

During my testing trips on the 100-mile South Downs Way, the 30-peak Ring of Fire hike in Scotland’s far-flung Galloway hills, and in my local Lake District fells, these six lightweight tents have hit the spot: joyously lightweight, yet comfy and protective too – a perfect compromise.

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The best two-person tents

Sea to Summit Telos TR2

Verdict: A superb tent notable for its roomy interior and amazing headroom – but it’s expensive.

Field testing Sea to Summit Telos TR2
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: Exceptional space to weight, well ventilated, good porch space

Cons: Expensive, can catch the wind, could have better HH ratings

This tent is positively palatial, with first-rate headroom and liveability, despite weighing only 1591g. This is achieved via an all-in-one pole structure featuring the ‘Tension Ridge’ – a cross pole that widens the peak and creates near-perpendicular walls, angling upwards like a wingspan to maximise room.

The 20-denier groundsheet is 2500mm-rated and the silicone and PU-coated flysheet is 1200mm, while all seams are fully taped. Each occupant gets their own door and a good-sized porch, and the interior feels very spacious despite tapering 25cm in width towards the foot end.

Apex vents in the flysheet and mesh on the inner aid ventilation, while other features include the pole storage sack doubling as a light-diffusing lamp and the two-part storage bag enabling each occupant to carry their share.

Gram-counters will still prefer the MSR FreeLite 2’s unbeatable weight, but for most the Telos TR2’s added comfort for just 446g extra is well worth it.

If we’re being fussy

The price is lofty. The tall walls can catch the wind like a sail, and the top of the tent is flat – a possible design flaw if rain pools atop it during heavy downpours. For this price, better HH ratings are expected, and if weight is your number one priority the MSR Freelite 2 is a better option.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 215x134cm | Peak height 111cm | Packed size 48x13cm | Trail weight 1.48kg | Doors 2 | Porches 2 | Style Freestanding | Materials DAC Featherlite NSL 8.5mm and 9.0mm Anodised Aluminium; 15D sil-nylon Ripstop fly (1200mm HH); 20D sil-nylon Ripstop groundsheet (2500mm HH), 15D polyester solid/mesh inner

Terra Nova Pioneer 2

Verdict: A bombproof tent with excellent waterproofing and strong, durable materials – but it may be too heavy for some.

Field testing Terra Nova Pioneer 2
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: High HH ratings, still reasonably light, easy pitching in the rain

Cons: Others more spacious, one porch, pole sleeves feel flimsy

If the thought of using a USA-style ultralight, high-walled, mesh-centric backpacking tent in the UK fills you with dread, then you’ll need something stronger and sturdier. Cue the Terra Nova Pioneer 2, which is easily the most waterproof, windproof and stable tent on test, but far from ridiculously heavy at roughly two kilograms.

The materials used are thicker and more durable, with impressive HH ratings: 5000mm for the 40-denier flysheet and a whopping 10,000mm for the 70-denier groundsheet, both fully-taped.

All-in-one pitching is ideal for the UK’s rainy climes, with two colour-coded poles sliding into sleeves in an X-shaped orientation. This forms a free-standing, dome-style structure, with a large vent in the roof to minimise condensation (a ‘rain hood’ protects this vent from water ingress).

If we’re being fussy

It’s the heaviest tent on test and expensive. The groundsheet is difficult to get taut, and all-round spaciousness is inferior to other options, particularly in terms of width – 100cm feels a tad cramped. You get twin doors but only one porch. It feels worryingly like the pole sleeves might rip when sliding the poles into them.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 220x100cm | Peak height 100cm | Packed size 42x17cm | Trail weight 1.9kg | Doors 2 | Porches 1 | Style Freestanding | Materials 8.5mm Terra Nova Reflex poles; 40DD sil-nylon Ripstop fly (5000mm HH); 70D nylon groundsheet (10,000mm HH), 30D polyester solid/mesh inner

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Bikepack Solution Dye

Verdict: A spacious, lightweight and fully-featured tent with excellent eco credentials – but the hydrostatic head ratings are low.

Field testing Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Bikepack Solution Dye
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: Spacious, very lightweight, sustainable, stable, also great for bikepacking

Cons: One door and porch, could have better HH ratings, annoying stuffsack

There is a lot to love about this new-for-2022 tent. It weighs just 1242g (the second lightest on test) and boasts a spacious interior, steep wall architecture, good features, hassle-free inner-first pitching and solid all-round stability.

The eco credentials are top-notch too, courtesy of a manufacturing process that reduces water consumption by 50% and both chemical and energy use by 80% compared to traditional fabric dying methods, thus reducing the carbon footprint of the tent.

Marketed as a bikepacking tent – the storage bag is sized specifically for panniers or attaching to handlebars – this tent works just as well for walkers. The fly and groundsheet are made from silicone-treated ripstop nylon with a 1200mm HH rating and PU coating, while the inner features loads of mesh for good breathability and an excellent storage ‘shelf’.

You get one front-entry door with a decent-sized porch, while the pre-angled, hub-connected pole delivers ample space.

If we’re being fussy

You only get one porch and one door, which can feel cramped for two. We’d like to see higher hydrostatic head ratings and the tapering of the floor by 25cm from 132cm to 107cm-wide at the foot-end reduces liveable space. The compression stuffsack is unnecessarily fiddly, and should be ditched for a standard dry-bag.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 218x132cm | Peak height 107cm | Packed size 36x17cm | Trail weight 0.96kg | Doors 1 | Porches 1 | Style Semi-freestanding | Materials DAC Featherlite NSL 8.5mm poles; sil-nylon Ripstop fly (1200mm HH); sil-nylon Ripstop groundsheet (1200mm HH), PVC-free polyester solid/mesh inner

NEMO Dagger Osmo 2P

Verdict: A two-person tent with superb interior volume, spacious porches and good eco credentials – but it’s pricey.

Field testing NEMO Dagger Osmo 2P
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: Spacious porches, good interior space, sustainable

Cons: Expensive, a bit draughty

There is precious little to choose between the Dagger Osmo and Sea to Summit’s Telos TR2. They use a near-identical design: an all-in-one, hub-connected pole with a wishbone shape at each end and a wide cross pole in the middle, onto which the inner is pegged before throwing over the flysheet. This gives the Osmo excellent headroom, vertical walls and a wide floor, resulting in a superb interior volume.

The two trapezoidal porches are amply spacious, thanks to two pegging out points, and while the Telos TR2 might offer a smidgen of extra room overall, you’d probably need a measuring tape to really notice.

The Osmo has some nifty features, including a ‘landing zone’ pouch for stashing gear in the porch and an integrated headlamp diffuser, but its real USP is Nemo’s new tent fabric. It’s 2000mm-rated, 100% recycled, and features water repellency that lasts four times longer with three times less stretch when wet.

If we’re being fussy

It’s expensive. At the head and foot end, small asymmetrical cut-outs in the flysheet fabric expose the inner’s bathtub-style sheet, and could prove a weak spot in bad conditions. The mesh inner is cold and draughty, and inner-first pitching may be inconvenient.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 228x127cm | Peak height 106cm | Packed size 50x16cm | Trail weight 1.52kg | Doors 2 | Porches 2 | Style Freestanding | Materials DAC Featherlite NSL 8.5, 9, and 9.5mm; Recycled PFC-free OSMO fly (2000mm HH); Recycled PFC-free OSMO groundsheet (2000mm HH), Ripstop nylon solid/mesh inner

MSR FreeLite 2

Verdict: An amazingly lightweight tent with a superb space-to-weight ratio – but the flysheet should offer better coverage.

Field testing MSR FreeLite 2
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: Very lightweight, all-round spaciousness, quick to pitch

Cons: Concern over weather-resistance

At just 1145g, this minimalist tent is the lightest on test and delivers the best space-to-weight ratio. Despite the ultralight weigh-in, you get two good-sized porches, two side-entry doors, generous headroom, near-vertical walls, and a rectangular inner footprint with impressive width and length and no tapering at the foot end. It’s all quite remarkable considering the weight – a gram-counter’s dream and ideal for long-distance hiking.

The first-rate spaciousness is achieved courtesy of a wishbone-shaped pole structure and a clever overhead spreader bar, which enhances the headroom and wall steepness. The inner has lots of mesh for ventilation, clever zippers that close to a single point (easy to find in the dark), overhead pockets, and a bathtub-style floor with a 1200mm hydrostatic head (HH) rating. The flysheet is 1200mm-rated with taped seams and a DuraShield PU coating.

Inner-first set-up is very quick and simple, and the tent structure is semi-freestanding.

If we’re being fussy

A big worry is the huge cut-out in the flysheet at one end – this exposes the (albeit waterproof) inner and feels like a weak spot that could fail in very wet conditions. The mesh inner is draughty and cold, the hydrostatic head ratings are disappointing, and the groundsheet is rather thin and flimsy.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 213x127cm | Peak height 100cm | Packed size 46x11cm | Trail weight 0.91kg | Doors 2 | Porches 2 | Style Semi-freestanding | Materials DAC NSL 8.7mm; 15D sil-nylon Ripstop fly (1200mm HH); 15D nylon Ripstop groundsheet (1200mm HH), 10D polyester solid/mesh inner

Vaude Hogan SUL 2P

Verdict: A well-designed tent with good stability in the wind and good waterproofing stats – but it’s overpriced for the space provided.

Field testing Vaude Hogan SUL 2P
©Live For The Outdoors

Pros: Stable, sustainable, good waterproof ratings, quick pitching

Cons: Expensive, one small porch, not as spacious as others

Featuring Vaude’s tried-and-tested tripod – a long ridge pole along the length of the tent and an arch at the front, forming a sloping dome shape – the Hogan SUL 2P is a good all-rounder.

If pitched with the rear facing into the wind, as recommended, the aerodynamic shape holds firm and delivers good wind resistance. Waterproofing is solid too, with the siliconised and seam-sealed groundsheet and flysheet both securing a 3000mm HH rating.

Inner-first pitching is quick, and double guy lines enable versatile pitching – raise the flysheet off the ground for better ventilation, or peg it closer to the ground in wet conditions.

You get one door (with an awning-like ‘hood’) and one porch, which is just about fine for two bags or cooking, and the all-round shape is similar to the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2.

Headroom is decent closer to the porch, while two integrated struts at the foot end increase the space available slightly.

If we’re being fussy

It’s arguably overpriced. You only get one door and one small-ish porch, and the interior – which lacks the steep wall architecture of other designs – doesn’t feel as spacious as it should for £570. Inner-first pitching isn’t ideal in wet conditions.

Internal dimensions (LxW) 235x130cm | Peak height 100cm | Packed size 45x15cm | Trail weight 1.45kg | Doors 1 | Porches 1 | Style Freestanding | Materials DAC Featherlite NFL 8.7mm; 20D sil-polyamide Ripstop fly (3000mm HH); 30D sil-nylon Ripstop groundsheet (3000mm HH), 20D polyester solid/mesh inner

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.

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