2P Backpacking Tent Recommendation


New Member
Jul 16, 2023
Hi all, new here, but have been camping a few years. I'm looking to upgrade my tent. There are so many choices out there, I'm looking for a 2 person backpacking tent for around $300 (or less of course).

Does anyone have any recommendations?
Depends completely on your particular situation:
  • Is this for two large people, or for one person mostly?
  • For areas exposed to wind, or areas with natural protection from the elements?
  • For established campsites, or off-trail campsites?
  • For the desert, mountains, or forest?
  • For trips with short hiking and lots of time around camp, or trips with long hiking and minimal time around camp?
  • For buggy areas, or mostly non-buggy areas?
  • Do you hike with trekking poles?
Every one of these questions leads to a different "best" tent. I'm guessing it won't be 100% clear cut and you'll have to pick a tent that is the best compromise for your intended uses.
Hi all, new here, but have been camping a few years. I'm looking to upgrade my tent. There are so many choices out there, I'm looking for a 2 person backpacking tent for around $300 (or less of course).

Does anyone have any recommendations?

From the outdoor gear websites, the REI Half Dome 2P tent appears to get very good reviews and costs around $300. REI tents are generally highly regarded, for their price.

Unfortunately, these days, this is at the 'budget' end for quality tents, and so there will be some compromises, mainly weight related. For example, the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2P tent (which I use) weighs 3lb 2oz, compared to the Half Dome, which weighs 4lb 12 oz. On the flip side, the fabrics used on the heavier tent are probably more robust and potentially longer lasting.
Check out the tarptent Moment DW...... Just over 2lbs. Ive had traptents since around 2009.
First was the rainbow, now have a Bowfin but have been ooking at the Moment
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Might check out the Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo Outfitter $210, 3lb 6oz. requires 2 poles.
Have the first version of the Skyscape Trekker 1p. For 26 oz, 3/4 double wall, it's been good except with an inch+ snow.
Thank you everyone for these recommendations! I'm going to check them all out!

Does anyone have any options on the Durston X-Mid-2 or the NEMO Aurora 2P ?
Does anyone have any options on the Durston X-Mid-2

I have some nights in my friend's X-Mid 2 and he replaced it last year with the X-Mid Pro 2. We have used it for a couple of trips this year.
I do like Durston, good headroom, both sitting and laying down, solid construction, not too hard to pitch. The vestibule is a little narrow.

For the Pro 2, I do not think it is worth it.
I griped about this somewhere on here previously. You only get 48" of width, instead of 52". For some, this is not a big deal, and you can say that at 52" you are inevitably going to wake up face to face with your tentmate- for good or bad- or almost spooning with them... BUT, if you have a pad that is 25", which is 1000x better than a 20 or 22" pad, then you do not fit in 48" (simple math of 2x25").
I don't know why Durston short-changed the Pro when the Pro material is lighter and the width wouldn't cost much weight (I think it was to shave cost).

One solution in the Pro 2, is having mummy-shaped pads and sleeping staggered, which puts one person's shoulders even with the trekking pole, knocking into them when you move, and right in the fart zone, which is worse than waking up face to face. The whole idea that you could solve it by sleeping head to foot is ludicrous in 80% of backcountry campsites where you are almost always on some kind of slope and need to face the same direction. If you are talking desert, Cascades, Tetons, etc... where I have slept in the Durston, you could spend all week trying to find a campsite that is level enough for sleeping head to foot.

Rant over... I do wish my friend had not traded the X-Mid 2 for the Pro.

I have also used the Stratospire 2. It is 52" wide and a good tent. We got rained on in the desert with high winds and it was fine.
I think many of the tents mentioned here are all good and depend on what you prefer.

When I am not taking a bear canister or when I know I have a little more space to setup, then I use my MLD SuperMid. For 2 people it is a palace. It is even better in winter on snow- but it is more than $300.
Thank you for that input on the Durston! I had not heard of the Tarptents before, and I like some of the features of the Double Rainbow DW. A little more than $300 though. such hard decisions, I can see how someone might get to many tents!

I Think I'm taking the Nemo off the list, between the 3 of them, it weighs the most, and has the smallest floor space (though has some nice end-to-end headspace).

The question is, are those neat features worth an extra $100? I like the double open fly that looks like an awning, just not sure how practical that is and if I would use it. I also like how the side comes up higher off the ground. Weight the 2 are pretty close to the same. Tarptent is slightly smaller inside, by a few inches. It's also shorter by 5"...But the Durston is a Treking Pole tent, and I don't have Treking Poles, so that will be extra cost...decisions decisions!

Screenshot 2023-07-18 132502.jpg
Moment is close to the rainbow... I think a little better design... I had the single rainbow good tent used it 10 or 12 years in the Winds and in the desert
One to consider... Large footprint needs larger clear area to pitch
One to consider... Large footprint needs larger clear area to pitch
I did think of that. Most of my camping won't be hard core backpacking, probably light backpacking or site camping. I just want the option for something lighter in case.

I'm torn on the treking poles VS the regular tent poles. I've never used treking poles, let alone for a tent. Any feedback one way or the other on one VS the other?

UPDATE ALSO: I did trade emails with Durston (Dan emailed back) and also with Tarptent. Both tents are attractive to me for different reasons.
I have never used trek poles. Time I tried carried most of time so ended up being just dead weight
I've never used treking poles
If you've never used them and are happy with your routine then carry poles. Like many, I always use poles to protect my knees especially on steep down climbs. Only disadvantage of not having extra tent poles is if setting up a base camp - you're forced to take tent down or leave poles.
One thing to consider concerning tent poles versus treking poles: do you want a fully free standing tent or not? Good free standing tents like the Big Agnes can be set up on hard surfaces such as stone slabs (or paved surfaces) without using stakes. They are slightly floppy but work under most conditions. Sometimes piles of stones can replace stakes, but we have camped in places where there were no useable stones and a non-free standing tent/tarp would not have worked. For us, the extra weight of a free standing tent is worth it given where we sometimes camp; for other folks, it does not matter.

Another thing to consider is that a well designed free standing tent is easy to set up under adverse conditions: wind, rain, etc. It takes learned skill to set up a tarp tent securely using treking poles, so it you get one, learn how to set it up robustly at home before you head out.

Finally, we would never travel with a shelter that does not have a bathtub floor. Conditions can change at night and several times we would have been flooded out without that floor. Once we were camped alongside a shallow fresh water stream in Scotland. Although we were twenty miles from the coast, the stream was tidal and after settling in, we noticed water rising around us at a rapid rate. We evacuated quickly and stayed dry only because the bathtub floor prevented water ingress. We felt foolish afterwards, but never considered that the stream could be affected by tides so far away.

James and Amy
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