This roundup of small, two-person tents is all about packability. Whether you’re looking to reduce your overall pack size or just free up space for some additional creature comforts, these tents will do the trick. Some of these tents are freestanding and some are not. Freestanding tents are pitched using included tent poles. If you’re really looking to save space (and weight), consider buying a tent that pairs with your trekking poles for setup.
Another consideration when choosing a tent is the durability of the material. Ripstop nylon comes in different deniers (10, 20, 30, etc.) and the higher the number the stronger the fabric — but also the heavier it is. You might want two doors, or maybe one is fine. Again, the choice comes down to weight vs. convenience. But whether you’re looking to spend a night sleeping under the stars or you have a longer backpacking trip coming up, one of these tents is sure to be a great addition to your pack. And once you’ve got your tent sorted out you might want to check out the best sleeping bags for camping.
The Copper Spur was first introduced in 2008 and has been a favorite ever since. Big Agnes makes great gear and is well-regarded in the industry. What’s so great about this ultralight freestanding tent? It’s ultralight and packable while still having a spacious interior. It has two doors, both with vestibules, and is made from durable double-nylon ripstop fabric.
- Packed Weight: 3 lbs 2 oz / 1.42kg
- Packed Size: 19.5 x 6-in / 50 x 15cm
- Floor Area: 29 sq ft / 2.7 sq m
- Head Height: 40 in / 102cm
The Dragonfly 2 from Nemo is another great ultralight backpacking tent. This freestanding tent has two vestibules, DAC featherlite poles, and a 20D nylon tub floor. With the same weight and floor space as the Copper Spur, the Dragonfly manages to pack down smaller and offer more head height. If you like Nemo tents but are looking for slightly more space, you might also consider the Nemo Dagger, which offers two more feet of interior space.
- Packed Weight: 3 lb 2 oz / 1.41 kg
- Packed Size: 19.5 x 4.5 in diameter / 50 x 12 cm diameter
- Floor Area: 29.0 sq ft / 2.7 sq meters
- Head Height: 41 in / 105 cm
MSR is another great name in the outdoor industry, and makes quality gear across the spectrum. Their Hubba Hubba tent is well known for being lightweight, having a quick set-up time, and spacious interior. MSR uses 30D ripstop nylon for the floor of this tent, and includes DWR (durable water repellent) finish on the fabric. Because of its slightly more durable floor, the Hubba Hubba comes in a little heavier than the first two tents on our list but retains a very respectable 18 x 6-inch pack size, and 29 sq ft of interior space.
- Packed Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz
- Packed Size: 18 x 6 in
- Floor Area: 29 sq ft
- Head Height: 39 in
The Half Dome is an REI classic in the two-person freestanding tent arena. Recent updates have further improved an already great tent, including the “SL” in the name, for superlight. Coming in at 4 lbs 11.5 oz, the Half Dome is a little heavier than the previous ultralight tents, but is still plenty light for backpacking. Where does that extra weight come from? Well, REI uses 40D ripstop nylon meaning greater durability than the other tents on this list. The new Half Dome also offers 33.75 sq ft of floor space, a few feet more than previous tents. That said, a packed size of 7 x 20.5 inches isn’t that large and this tent comes with a footprint. Maybe best of all, the Half Dome is only $279, quite a bit more affordable than the previous tents on our list.
- Packed Weight: 4 lbs 11.5 oz
- Packed Size: 7 x 20.5 in
- Floor Area: 33.75 sq ft
- Head Height: 42 in
Another great freestanding tent is the Marmot Tungsten Ultralight. This tent competes well with the previous tents on this list, with a similar weight, size, and interior space. Marmot’s design includes vertical walls which increase headroom and livability. It has two doors, color-coded easy pitch clips, and a 20D bathtub floor. The Marmot Tungsten strikes a nice balance in that it’s not as expensive as the first three tents on this list and not as heavy as the Half Dome. For those looking to get into the ultralight game without fully committing to the ultralight price, this is a great option.
- Packed Weight: 3 lbs 6.5 oz (1546g)
- Packed Size: 24.5 x 7 in | 61 x 17 cm
- Floor Area: 30.6 sq ft, 2.8 sq m
- Peak Height: 42 in
The Strato 2 strikes a really nice balance in the small, ultralight tent space. Mountain Hardwear packages the tent in two bags so it can be easily split between two people. Weighing in at 2 lbs. 6.7 oz, the Strato UL 2 is the best choice for someone wanting a really light freestanding tent. And with 31.1 sq ft of floor area and a head height of 39 inches, you’re not really sacrificing that much interior space.
- Packaged Weight: 2 lbs. 6.7 oz.
- Packed Size: 6 x 12 and 2.5 x 16 in
- Floor Area: 31.1 sq ft
- Head Height: 39 in
Though the Half Dome is a classic, I wanted to include a really packable and lightweight tent from REI on this list as well. The Flash Air 2 is great in that you can bring the included poles or pitch it with your trekking poles. With the included poles this tent packs to 16 x 7 in. and weighs only 2 lbs 8 oz. Without the poles, the weight drops to 1 lbs 15 oz, which is competitive with the lightest tents on this list. Though the square footage is a little smaller than some of the other tents on this list, the Flash Air 2 is still a great option for those wanting a small two-person tent.
- Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz
- Packed Size: 16 x 7 in
- Floor Area: 28.7 sq ft
- Head Height: 42 in
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is the Alto TR2. Sea to Summit has included a lot of really thoughtful design elements with this tent. Adjustable vents allow for better air control, preventing condensation build up. The rainfly can be rolled up on clear nights but easily rolled back down in case of rain. With a packed size of 4.7 x 20.5 inches the long, skinny Alto TR2 will leave plenty of space in your bag. Weighing in at 2 lbs 15.3 oz, this tent is plenty light for those looking to put some serious miles on the trail.
- Packed Weight: 2 lbs 15.3 oz
- Packed Size: 4.7 x 20.5 in
- Floor Area: 27 sq ft
- Head Height: 42.5 in
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