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Best Two-Person Camping Tents – Top 5 Review for Jan. 2020
It’s difficult to rigorously categorize tents for the purpose of reviews. A relatively-lightweight two-person tent could also be considered a backpacking tent; a couple with one child might look at a four-person tent as a family tent, while two larger-than-average campers might consider it just barely big enough to fit both of them.
For the purpose of listing our top 5 best two-person camping tents, we focused on features, rather than packed weight. In other words, check out our backpacking tent reviews if you’re interested in two-person tents which are the easiest to go trekking with. Many of the models listed here are likely to be heavier – but somewhat “nicer” for those who don’t spend lots of time on the trail. They’re likely to be more expensive, too, so buckle up.
1. Big Agnes Foidel Canyon 2
Anyone who’s looked into buying a tent, in any category, has come across the name Big Agnes multiple times – and has probably never seen anything negative about the brand. That’s because the company makes great tents.
The Foidel Canyon 2 is no exception; this is a terrific tent to use as a basecamp for two people, and is even light enough (just under 5½ pounds) that backpackers could grow to love it.
Let’s start with the construction, always a strong argument for Big Agnes products. The double-wall body is made from nylon ripstop and polyester mesh, the floor and rainfly are 30D nylon ripstop, and the corners are webbed with super-durable Dyneema polyethylene; the strong symmetrical poles are DAC with press-fit connectors. That all adds up to an unusually strong tent which will hold up against heavy winds, barely even making a sound or shifting noticeably. Unless you’re going to be abusing the Foidel Canyon or taking it out in hurricanes, this baby is going to last. The seams are taped and the fabric has been treated with waterproof polyethylene coating, so it’s not going to leak, either.
Some two-person tents feel like they should really be used by a solo camper. This isn’t one of them. This Big Agnes model is 92 inches long and tapers from 52 to 42 inches wide, with ample headroom of 43 inches, and the dome construction makes the tent seem quite roomy. It has one of our favorite features for a two-person tent: two doors, with zip-up mesh as well as zip-up nylon covers for nighttime or rainy weather. There are also two mesh/nylon windows and two vestibules measuring 10 square feet apiece.
The Foidel Canyon is about as easy to set up as any dome tent you’ll find. The pre-connected crossing poles, together with color-coded hardware and clearly marked canopy, will let you get the tent set up or broken down in ten minutes or less with a bit of practice. And with a packed size of 21 by 5 inches, plus its reasonably light weight, it transports very well. There’s a good amount of storage space with eight mesh pockets, and you can also add the Big Agnes gear loft or entertainment center loft (for an extra cost, of course).
The only real negative isn’t what’s missing from this tent, but what comes with it. It has a “Fast Fly” system (which requires purchasing a footprint, not included) that lets you pitch the fly without the tent body. Unfortunately, the fly doesn’t extend far enough from the footprint to provide any real rain protection. A nice idea, just a bit lacking – and certainly nothing that should stop anyone from buying this great two-person tent. The price tag might stop some because of budget concerns, but we think the Foidel Canyon is definitely worth the money.
Specifications for the Big Agnes Foidel Canyon 2
2. Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 Tent
This is a roomy tent. It’s a full 58 inches wide and 92 inches long, with an impressive 48 inches of head room. But what makes the Optic 2.5 really feel roomy are the views provided by the tent’s unusual design. There are two mesh doors, but unlike most competitors, Mountain Hardwear has placed them side by side so they can be opened up to bring in big backpacks. But more importantly, when the doors are both open and you roll back the vestibules, you have a magnificent 180° view spread out in front of you. If there are other two-person tents like this, we certainly haven’t seen them.
The construction of the Optic 2.5 is terrific, with one exception. The 20D polyester mesh body along with the 75D PU-coated polyester taffeta fly and bathtub floor make this a virtually rainproof tent, and the A-frame shape of the tent helps divert water nicely. The aluminum DAC pressfit frame and a fly that extends low to the ground keep the structure sturdy in strong winds, too. The only problem is that when it rains, you have to close up the double doors (naturally) and that could prevent decent ventilation inside the tent. Our recommendation? This gorgeously-designed tent is best used in good weather. Wind, dust and cold won’t be an issue; if you’re going to encounter a long period of summer rain, though, you won’t get wet inside but the heat and humidity will build quickly.
Setup and breakdown is easy with the 2.5, as the poles fit together intuitively and the tent and fly are color-coded. This really isn’t a tent for backpacking, as it only packs down to 23 by 7 inches and weighs more than six pounds. What it is, though, is an extremely comfortable and affordable tent which would be perfect for relaxing and watching the sun go down while sipping a beverage after a day in the great outdoors. Incidentally, there’s also a three-person version of this tent, the Optic 3.5, which only costs slightly more if you want extra space.
Specifications for the Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 Tent:
3. Nemo Galaxi 2P & Footprint
Another solid and reasonably priced two-person tent, the Nemo Galaxi isn’t quite as roomy as the Optic 2.5, but is a bit lighter (by a little more than a pound). It’s worth considering if portability, as well as comfort and solidity, are your big concerns.
The inside dimensions of this tent are 90 by 54 inches with a height of 46 inches; but the facts that the roof tapers to 21 inches at one end, and the sides of this Nemo model are sloped, make it feel somewhat smaller. It’s more than enough for two people, but not with the elbow room it would need to be called “roomy.”
Now the better news: The Galaxi is well-built, able to withstand both wind and rain better than many more-expensive or highly-touted competitors. The material used throughout is polyester ripstop, between 68D and 70D, and is treated to be fully waterproof. The fly hangs low so there should be nowhere from rain to sneak in – except the fly doesn’t run far enough away from the door, so you do get drips inside when you entering or leaving the tent. The tent’s unusual aluminum pole construction with a single hub connector provides ample stability. A footprint is included, and you’re able to set up just the fly and the footprint for those beautiful, warm nights.
The Nemo Galaxi 2P doesn’t have traditional vestibules, instead relying on covered gear closets with awnings well away from the two large doors (which have a nice magnetic system holding them back in good weather). There are several vents in addition to the mesh sides, so ventilation isn’t an issue.
Setup was a bit confusing, because the metal pole system is an unfamiliar one. After a while, though, it became natural and only took ten minutes for setup or take down.
It wouldn’t be our first choice (obviously, since we’ve ranked it at #3), and it’s not quite light enough to be considered a backpacking tent. But the Galaxi 2P is a solid tent and a good buy.
Going in-depth on the Nemo Galaxi 2P & Footprint:
4. Sierra Designs Flashlight 2 UL Tent
This comes closest to being a true “backpacking tent” on our list of the top 5 best two-person camping tents. It’s only about 3½ pounds (closer to four pounds if you opt for optional vertical poles to replace trekking poles) and has an unusual design. Instead of relying on vestibules, there are awnings covering the gear storage provided on the sides of the tent. One side benefit of the construction is that you don’t have to climb over around the gear stowed in the vestibules to get inside.
The specs make the Flashlight 2 appear to have lots of room: 90 by 50 inches, with a peak internal height of 46 inches. The vertical walls are nice in terms of space, however the pitch of the fly is quite sharp, so the 46 inches is only a “true” measurement for where your head would be; the fly rapidly slopes down to about half that height. There are two doors with mesh screens providing good ventilation. Setup is better than you’d expect with a non-freestanding tent, with the directions easy to follow.
This Sierra two-person tent is made of 15D nylon mesh, with a coated 20D polyester ripstop fly and a 30D nylon ripstop floor, and uses DAC pressfit poles. It is well-built, so rain and wind aren’t an issue in most conditions; the only problem is that the tent’s head is single-wall construction (there’s a mix of single- and double-wall in the tent body), so condensation has a habit of gathering and dripping in very bad weather. Not a deal-stopper, just a slight annoyance. A footprint is not included.
We consider this more of a backpacking/sleeping option than a tent we’d want to sit in while staying up late and discussing the meaning of life. For the price, that seems a lot to pay unless the backpacking weight is most important; in that case, it’s an interesting option.
What you need to know about the Sierra Designs Flashlight 2 UL Tent:
5. Hilleberg Nallo 2 Person Tent
This is a wonderful double-walled four-season tunnel tent, with a high price to match; the price is why we’ve listed it at #5 on our rankings. But if you have the money to spend, you’d do yourself a favor by at least taking a long look at the Hilleberg Nallo, because the company’s products are of exceptional quality.
There’s a single mesh entrance (with a fabric panel behind) with one vestibule because of its tunnel design, but that’s to be expected; this is more of a functional tent than one built for lounging on a warm summer night. The proprietary Kerlon 1200 outer fabric, coated with three layers of silicon, is lightweight yet strong and meant to provide outstanding insulation in cold weather. The lightweight DAC poles are built for stability in strong winds. This tent has been extensively tested in Northern European winter weather and has come through with flying colors, able to withstand moderate snows (heavy snows require constant attention to the tent) as well as wind and rain.
There’s more indoor room than you’d expect from a tunnel tent (87 by 52 inches, with a peak height of 40 inches), and the lower portion of the rear wall can be rolled up to allow additional venting through the installed mesh. There’s an optional footprint available, and the vestibule is quite roomy as you’d expect in a tunnel. One facet of this Hilleberg model that we liked was that you can separate the inner and outer tent (the fly), to create two separate structures which can accommodate more people and are comfortable in nice weather.
Because of its design, the Nallo goes up easily with a sleeve-and-pole system and four pegs for the guy lines. It’s not overly heavy (a little over five pounds) and probably overkill for casual camping trips, but if you are into serious all-weather camping, it’s a beast.
|Facts and figures on the Hilleberg Nallo 2 Person Tent:|
The team at Groom+Style love nothing better than to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. When we were younger this used to mean roughing it a bit, but now we like to do things with a certain level of style and comfort. If you are still trying to work out what you need you can continue your research into the Top 5 Best Family Camping Tents or the Top 5 Best Backpacking Tents.