Looking for the best tent for this camping season? We leaned on the NDP Group and its comprehensive sales data to find 10 of the most popular two-person tents sold in the United States because chances are one will be on your short list.
The tents below, organized from least expensive to most, are top-sellers at REI stores and independent outdoors shops. (You’ll find many of these models in stock and on the shelf.)
Here we break down some pros and cons of each one, judging price, weight, and other features that make or break a night spent under the stars.
The best part? Most of these tents are easy to find, either in stores or online.
$140: Kelty Grand Mesa 2
A solid budget buy, the free-standing Grand Mesa has requisite seam-taped construction, internal storage pockets, and an easy entry D-shape door. Color-coded clip and fly attachment removes the stress when a fast-moving rainstorm requires adding the fly.
A mesh tent body aids ventilation, making this 4-lb., 12-oz. model a solid contender for car campers and backpackers alike. Some reviewers note it’s heavy for its internal size, and that the included stakes are kind of cheap. But overall, Kelty makes good tents, and for the money the Grand Mesa is a fair choice.
$159: REI Co-Op Passage 2
Touting “high livability and low cost,” this 31.1-square-foot shelter improves upon the popular model for 2017. The two-person, three-season tent has two doors, each with its own vestibule, and ceiling vents to reduce condensation and keep the shelter cool on summer trips. Improved Combi aluminum poles increase space near the ends of the tent and for shoulders.
From many nights camping we’ve seen the durability of this model first hand. It weighs more than 4lbs 13oz packed up, so backpackers take note. But as an all-around tent the Passage 2 will get the job done, and at a good price to boot.
$159: The North Face Stormbreak 2
This is a basic but well-made tent. Lots of headroom and living space in the three-season, two-person Stormbreak will keep you comfortable if the weather turns bad.
Two doors and vestibules keep your gear organized and accessible. Constructed from durable polyester and mesh, the Stormbreak is a good choice for a first campground tent on a budget, and while the 5-lb. 5-oz. load will feel heavy on your shoulders, it will suffice for short backpacking trips. For those counting pennies, this is a lot of tent for the money.
$199: Marmot Tungsten
The shape of the floor, placement of the doors, and attention to the smallest details — like color-coded pitch clips — separate the Marmot Tungsten from other options.
It won’t break the bank at just $200. A two-person, three-season, free-standing tent, the Tungsten has vertical walls to improve the living experience and D-shape dual doors so you can exit without climbing over your partner.
Vestibules at each door provide extra storage space. It’s not ultralight, but at 4 lbs. 13 oz. it will work for those dabbling in backpacking or camping near their car.
$240: Sierra Designs Nightwatch 2
Taking the place of the brand’s popular Lightning 2 for 2017, the Nightwatch 2 has a retractable rain fly, allowing for unhindered stargazing. Two gear ports were upgraded as usable doors when the fly is rolled back.
This three-pole model adds some weight, becoming more all-around and less backpack (but still fair to carry). Minimum weight is 4lbs 7oz.
$249: Nemo Galaxi 2P
A hub-pole configuration results in steep walls on this tent for more useful living space. Two doors and vestibules allow both campers to organize personal gear. Magnetic door tie-backs remove the tangled entries and exits.
An add-on, the brand’s Pawprint liner offers a comfortable sleeping spot for your dog while protecting the tent’s floor. At 4 lbs., 15 oz., this tent is heavy for backpacking but will work for those who spend most of the time in campgrounds and only want to own one tent.
$240: Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5
At times, a two-person tent can feel like you are sharing a small closet with a friend. Sure, you both fit inside, but can you get your knees out of my back, please? The Optic 2.5 offers more living room (or enough for a furry friend).
Big doors on each side of the mesh tent body zip away for wide-open views of the campsite scenery. With tie-backs on the vestibule you can customize ventilation and sight lines to match your mood.
The Optic 2.5 is a tad heavy (6.3 pounds), so this spacious abode is best used as a car camping model, on canoe trips, or anywhere else you’re willing to lug a bit of an extra load for the comfort of an open-format tent.
$390: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2
This one’s for the backpackers. Big Agnes is weight conscious about every element of the Fly Creek series. This tent tips the scales at just 1-lb. 15-oz. Light poles, aluminum stakes, and a mesh body deliver a three-season tent with a single hub pole design for fast setup.
A single door and vestibule save weight but still offer some gear storage for rainy nights. The mesh body invites a breeze to flow through on a hot summer night and lets you contemplate the stars as you fall asleep.
$350: Black Diamond Equipment Mesa 2
D-shape doors on each side of the tent improve access and vestibules keep the interior clear of muddy, wet gear. DAC poles and a hub setup make pitching intuitive and fast. This one comes at a premium price, but you can ditch the tent body and use a ground cloth (sold separately) and the rain fly alone for a lightweight backpacking shelter.
At 5 lbs., 2 oz., the tent won’t help you win any races, but it will work well in the campground and could handle a short overnight on the trail. The option to reconfigure it as a backpacking tent is a nice bonus.
$400: MSR Hubba Hubba NX
At 3 lbs. 7 oz. the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a light three-season model that will comfortably shelter two campers. It’s a premium offering at $400, but for that you get a combination of light weight and a very livable 29 square feet of interior space.
It packs into a small compression sack, and it can be used in a “fast & light” mode with just the rainfly, poles, and footprint (not included) to reduce weight to 2 lbs. 2 oz. This is MSR’s most popular tent, and it is a solid, versatile choice for those who will spend many nights at the campground and on the trail.