Here you have my list with best lightweight 2 person backpacking tents for 2020, all below or close to 2 kg (4.4 lb) of weight and all from top brands in this industry. Please keep reading.
What is included
Some of the tents in the list are new on the market and some are modified versions of the existing tents. But some of them have been around for a number of years already.
I keep the weight limit at 2 kilograms (4.4 lb) or very close to it. There is no particular reason for this number and not some other, but if the weight is shared between the two users, this is still very reasonable. Going above this looks too heavy for me, as you can imagine, the lighter the tent the better.
But the weight in the absolute sense is not the only important parameter, equally important is the area/weight ratio. This is why I give this number explicitly for every tent in the list, and I give this for the inner area, as well as for the total protected area, you need them both to understand the features of a backpacking tent.
Many of the tents are formally freestanding, but this term is not always completely clear and accurate. They have vestibules and those must be staked. I have discussed this issue in my another text about freestanding tents.
All the tents are presented in detail in my separate reviews so please follow the links for more. You realize from the names that those are the top brands in this industry.
So here is my list, with the tents ordered by weight, from heavier to lighter:
1. Sierra Designs Meteor 2 Tent
This is a freestanding tent with pre-bent poles for extra volume, with two doors and two vestibules and a roll-up fly design so you can enjoy sleeping under the stars when the sky is clear.
The packed weight is 4 lb 8 oz (2.04 kg) and the inner floor area is 29.8 ft² (2.77 m²) while the vestibule area is 9 + 9 ft² (0.84 + 0.84 m²). This gives the area/weight ratio of 1.4 m²/kg for the inner area, and 2.2 m²/kg for the total protected area.
You have 2 DAC press-fit aluminum poles. The fly is 68D 190T Poly Taffeta with 1800 mm PU WR FR CPAI84 and the floor is material. The tent is a 3-season structure with lots of mesh and with a vent on the fly.
2. MSR Access 2 Tent
Here you have something exceptional, this is a very lightweight 4-season tent and you realize from the picture that the inner tent’s structure is quite different from the other tents here. There are just a few mesh sections and this is to preserve the warmth in a cold environment. The tent weighs 4 lb 1 oz (1.86 kg) and the inner floor area is 29 square feet (2.69 m²). There are two vestibules which add 17.5 square feet (1.62 m²).
So here you have the inner area/weight ratio of 1.4 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 2.3 m²/kg. For a winter tent, these are great numbers.
You have 2 Easton Syclone poles and the rainfly is 20D ripstop nylon with 1200 mm Durashield polyurethane & silicone while the floor is 30D ripstop nylon 3000 mm Durashield polyurethane & DWR.
3. Big Agnes C Bar 2 Backpacking Tent
This is a 3-season backpacking tent which weighs 4 lb (1.81 kg) and it offers 28 ft² (2.6 m²) of the inner floor area. You also have a front vestibule with 7 ft² (0.7 m²). The tent is with the single front door so both users have the same access to it. The packed size (L x D) is very good 19 x 6 inches (48 x 15 cm). The inner area/weight ratio here is 1.4 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 1.82 m²/kg.
The poles are aluminum and you have a dual hub design. The waterproof rating is the same for the fly and the floor and it is 1500 mm. The peak height is typical, so you have 41 inches (104 cm). Please follow the link for more.
4. Sierra Designs Divine Light 2 FL Tent
This is a unique design with 3 doors in total and the tent weighs 3 lb 15 oz (1.79 kg). Note that this is a single layer structure, only the doors are double-layers. The tent is non-freestanding, and it packs nicely to 14.5 x 6.5 inches (37 x 17 cm).
It offers 29.3 square feet (2.72 m²) of the floor area and the weight is 1.79 kg. There is also the vestibule area of 10.30 ft² (0.96 m²). This gives the area/weight ratio of 1.52 m²/kg for the inner area and 2 m²/kg for the total protected area.
As for the materials, you have two vertical poles and one loop pole, those are DAC NSL / DAC Pressfit, and the fly is 20D Nylon Ripstop, Silicon, 1500 mm PE, FR CPAI84 while the floor is 30D Nylon Ripstop, WR, 3000 mm PE, FR CPAI84.
5. Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent
This is a tunnel-type tent with two asymmetric poles, with one front door and one vestibule. So this is a non-freestanding construction. This is a modified version of a famous tent that has been around for several decades already.
The weight is 3 lb 14 oz (1.76 kg) and the inner area is 30 ft² (2.79 m²) and the vestibule area is 8.8 ft² (0.82 m²). This implies that you have the area/weight ratio of 1.6 m²/kg for the inner area, and 2.0 m²/kg for the total protected area.
The waterproof rating for the fly is 1500 mm, and for the floor it is 3000 mm. The tent allows for an awning configuration with the help of your trekking poles. You have 2 DAC press fit 8.7 mm aluminum poles.
6. Big Agnes Copper Hotel HV UL2 Tent
The letters UL in the name of this tent mean ultra-light and here this implies 3 lb 13 oz (1.73 kg). The inner floor area is 29 ft² (2.7 m²). But see also its total area which is no less than 65 ft² (6.1 m²). You will not find many backpacking tents that offer such a comfort. There are two asymmetric vestibules here, one looks more like a porch with its own pole. The inner area/weight ratio is 1.6 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 3.5 m²/kg.
The poles are DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum, and you have them 4 in a hub design. The fabric is silicone treated and this is also a random rip-stop nylon with 1200 mm waterproof polyurethane coating.
There are several vents here so ventilation is optimal. You also have a large ceiling pocket and media pockets for storage. All in all, this is a top quality and very reliable tent.
7. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Tent
This is an award-winning and famous tent with a DAC Featherlite NFL poles system which is double-hubbed so you have Y-shaped profiles on both ends, plus a brow pole. This makes the structure freestanding.
The tent weighs 3 lb 13 oz (1.73 kg) and the floor area is 29 square feet (2.7 m²). There are two vestibules which add 17.5 (8.75 + 8.75) square feet (1.62 m²). This gives 1.6 m²/kg for the inner area/weight ratio and 2.5 m²/kg for the total protected area.
This is a 3-season tent, with 1200 mm rating for the fly and 3000 mm for the floor. It is a bit low with the interior height of 39 inches (100 cm), but this is not a big issue for backpacking. Please read more in my full review.
8. Sierra Designs Sweet Suite 2 Tent
This is a new 2018 series by Sierra Designs, a lightweight tent with a unique pre-bent pole geometry, with two doors and two vestibules, and with a stargazing configuration shown in the picture above.
The tent weighs only 3 lb 10 oz (1.64 kg). which is amazing in view of all its features. The floor area is 29.2 ft² (2.71 m²) and the vestibule area is 8.9 ft² + 8.9 ft² (0.83 m² + 0.83 m²). So you have the area/weight ratio of 1.65 m²/kg for the inner area, and 2.7 m²/kg for the total protected area.
The packed size is great (L x D) 16.5 x 6.5 inches (41.9 x 16.5 cm). The pole is DAC Featherlite aluminum, the fly is 20D Nylon Ripstop, Silicone 1200 mm PeU, FR CPAI84, and the floor is 30D Nylon Ripstop, Silicone 1200 mm PeU, FR CPAI84. So these are quality materials, the waterproof rating is not so impressive but you do not need more.
9. Marmot Force 2 Tent
This is a 3-season ultra-lightweight tent which weighs only 3 lb 8 oz (1585 g) and it packs to 18 x 6.7 inches (45.7 x 17 cm). So these are exceptional numbers. The inner floor area is 29 square feet (2.7 m²) so it is very similar to the tents shown above. You also have two vestibules which add 6.9 + 5.2 square feet (0.64 + 0.48 m²). The inner area/weight ratio is 1.7 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 2.4 m²/kg.
The poles are DAC NFL aluminum with 9.3 mm and 8.7 mm diameter. The fabric is as follows. The floor fabric is 40D 100% nylon, W/R, F/R, and the fly fabric is 30D 100% nylon ripstop, silicon PU. The waterproof rating is 2000 mm for the floor, and 1800 mm for the fly.
The peak height is typical, 41 inches (104 cm) and you have two doors here and inside there are two mesh pockets and one lampshade pocket. Please follow the link for more.
10. Exped Mira II HL Tent
The Mira II HL is a top quality item with DAC NFL poles and ripstop nylon used for the fly and the tent. It offers two doors and two vestibules with the inner area of 29 ft² (2.7 m²) and the total area 43 ft² (4 m²). This is a lot of space for a backpacking tent.
The frame is semi-freestanding and you have three poles that you pass through the sleeves so there are no hub elements here. The tent comes with a 1500 mm waterproof rating and this is for both the fly and the floor. The weight is 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), quite remarkable in view of its two doors and vestibules. The inner area/weight ratio is 1.8 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 2.7 m²/kg. Please follow the link for more details.
11. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Backpacking Tent
This Tiger Wall UL2 tent is the lightest 2-door & 2-vestibules tent ever built by this brand. Yet in spite of its incredible packed weight which is 2 lb 8 oz (1.13 kg), this tent offers more comfort than you would expect. So the headroom is large because of the extra brow pole that lifts the side walls, and you have plenty of pockets to store small items.
This is a Y-shaped single pole hubbed structure with the highest quality DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles. So it is a freestanding design and the inner floor area is 28 ft² (2.6 m²), but you also have 16 ft² (1.4 m²) under the two vestibules. The inner area/weight ratio is 2.3 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 3.5 m²/kg.
The peak height is 39 inches (99 cm). The fabric is ultra-light as you would expect and the declared waterproof rating is 1200 mm. Note that they also have a 3-person version. Please follow the link for more.
12. Marmot Bolt UL 2P Tent
Here you have something super-ultralight. This tent weighs only 2 lb 5.1 oz (1052 g) and this is one of the lightest tents on the market in general. So its inner area/weight ratio is 2.47 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 3.04 m²/kg.
But this is a tent with one door and one vestibule so it offers a bit less comfort that those with two doors. You have the inner area 28 ft² (2.6 m²) and the vestibule adds 6.9 ft² (0.6 m²).
The poles are DAC Featherlite NSL, and the fabric is 15D 100% nylon No-See-Um mesh F/R, while the fly is 20D 100% polyester RS, Sil/PU treated and with 1500 mm waterproof rating, F/R. The tent is equipped with vents.
13. Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum HV Tent
This is an incredibly lightweight tent with the packed weight of only 2 lb (907 g), so currently, I do not think that you can find anything lighter on the market. So let’s see what this tent offers.
The inner space is 28 square feet (2.6 square meters), and you have one vestibule which offers 7 square feet (0.7 square meters) of space. So this is not a lot of area but two backpackers can manage with it. On the other hand, this tent is so lightweight that you can use it also as a solo tent. Note that you have one door on the narrow side. The inner area/weight ratio is 2.9 m²/kg and the total protected area/weight ratio is 3.6 m²/kg.
You have a single Y-shape DAC Featherlite NFL pole so the structure is freestanding and the material is the best of the best. The floor and fly are silicone treated nylon rip-stop and it is with 1200 mm waterproof polyurethane coating.
14. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2 Carbon Tent
Here you have a tent with the Dyneema fabric, so it is not surprising that it is among the lightest in this list and in general. The packed weight of this tent is 1.44 lb (652 g). So you realize it is considerably lighter than the Platinum version shown above.
Note that the inner area is 28 square feet (2.6 square meters), and the vestibule area is the same as in the Platinum version. So the inner area/weight ratio is 4 m²/kg. This is totally impressive.
The tent is a standard two-layer type, but the fly and the floor are both Dyneema. The poles are Easton carbon, incredibly lightweight and strong, so this is yet another difference as compared to the Platinum version above.
15. Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum
This tent weighs only 1 lb 5 oz (595 g) and this is one of the lightest tents on the market in general. Its inner area/weight ratio is 4.2 m²/kg so you will not find many tents that can match this. But note that this is its all protected area because it has no vestibule.
As you realize from the picture, this is an A-frame type structure where you use your trekking poles to support the tent. So the poles are not included, but you can order a pair of tent poles separately.
This is a single-layer tent with a silicone treated nylon ripstop with 1200 mm waterproof polyurethane coating. Please follow the link for more.
16. Big Agnes Scout 2 Carbon
This tent comes with something special, and this is its Dyneema fabric. So this is a totally waterproof and ultralight material, a sort of plastic which allows for welding. This means that there are no taped seams here.
The packed weight is 1 lb (454 g), but note that this is without poles. So you can use either your trekking poles or order a pair of tent poles from the brand. So the inner area/weight ratio is 5 m²/kg. Even if you add two poles, the trail weight is 582 grams (1.28 lb), respectively.
But there are no vestibules here and although it is large enough for two backpackers, it is super-ultralight and you can use it as a solo tent as well.
How to choose
Obviously, all these tents are built with the idea of shedding the weight as much as possible. As a result, some are so light that they can be used also as solo tents and they would still be described as ultralight even in this 1-person group.
The weight is definitely important and you know this if you have ever fully packed you pack and started your outdoor adventure. But there are some factors to bear in mind and to avoid mistakes that can ruin your trip.
Comfort: You have seen some tents that are built as single-layer structures. This sheds the weight because there is no inner tent as the second layer. But such tents must rely on vents and if this is not properly done condensation can be a big issue, more below.
Some of them are quite small for two people so it is best to find some good balance between the size and weight. Yet another aspect of comfort is the number of doors. Many of the tents are with one door only, but this is not so bad because the door in such tents is mostly on the front and both users have the same access.
Space: This issue is related to comfort but there is more to it. Some ultralight tents are with such a weight because they either have no vestibules, or those are very small. The fact is that you need protection for your gear, so having a vestibule is essential if you are in an area with lots of rain.
Freestanding or not: In fact, none of these tents could be described as truly freestanding. This is either because of the vestibule(s) that must be staked to be functional, or because of the frame. But indeed, some of them are with the inner tents that are freestanding.
Vents: Condensation can never be avoided, but it can be reduced, and this is why having vents is critical. Did you know that we lose around 0.3-0.5 liters of fluid a day through breathing?
So for a night, this would give up to 0.25 liters or so per person. In the case of two people, you can expect up to a half-liter of water condensed on the tent fabric above you. Even if it is just a fraction of it, your bag can still become wet if the water cannot escape through vents by evaporating, and it drips down instead.
Price: These are all top-notch items and the prices are to match. So follow the links and compare.
I hope you realize that these are indeed lightweight 2 person backpacking tents. Some of them are not with so high waterproof rating, but you might not need more. More essential is that all seams are properly sealed, this is why I include only the most reliable brands and models.
This list will be updated regularly so please bookmark this post and visit it from time to time. Thank you for reading. In the case of questions or comments, please use the comment box below. I wish you a nice day.