Outdoor Horizon is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

The 10 Best 2-Person 3-Season Tents

Trying to find the perfect 2-person 3-season tent takes a lot of time and effort. Tent buyers routinely express disappointment after unwrapping their new gift only to find it doesn’t measure up to their expectations. It’s therefore best to take a look at what the best 2-person 3-season tents are.

The 10 best 2-person 3-season tents are:

  1. Teton Altos Tent 2
  2. Marmot Catalyst 2P
  3. North Face Stormbreak 2
  4. Eureka Suma 2-Person 3-Season
  5. Kelty Grand Mesa 2
  6. Sierra Designs Full Moon 2
  7. Mountainsmith Lichen Peak
  8. NEMO Aurora 2P
  9. REI Co-op Half-Dome SL 2+
  10. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Of course, your choice will depend on what your unique needs are, how you will typically use your gear, and what kind of money you want to spend. Be sure to prioritize what’s important to you and your camping companions. Below are some basic criteria to help guide your decision-making process.

What To Look For In A 3-Season Tent For 2 People

There are several things to consider when searching for the perfect shelter for your next camping trip. You certainly won’t be able to find everything you want in one tent, so you’ll have to decide what the most important features are for your specific camping style. At the very least, you need to consider the following in order to reduce your chances of disappointment on your next big purchase.

Size

The first thing to decide is the size of tent you want to purchase. Tents never comfortably sleep as many people as they say they do, so you have to decide if you’re willing to sleep in tight quarters with little extra room for gear, or upgrade a size to give yourself more breathing room and comfort. Even 2-person tents come in various sizes, so pay attention to what you’re buying.

You’ll also need to consider the height. If you want to comfortably sit up in your tent, make sure it offers plenty of headroom. Of course, cabin-style tents with vertical sides offer the most room, but you can get by with a dome tent if the center height is enough for you. Take caution, though: dome-style tents offer superior strength in adverse weather conditions.

If you’re taller than six feet, make sure your tent floor size is capable of comfortably accommodating your needs. Look for tent floors that offer a length around 90 inches, versus the standard 84 to 88 inches. This may take a little searching, but they are out there!

Weight

If your expedition involves backpacking, the weight of your tent should be a consideration. Since your overall pack weight should be equal to or less than 30% of your body weight, many campers aim for a tent weight of two to three pounds. You could opt for a heavier tent if the gear were divided evenly between the party members.

Durability

Durability is probably the most important factor. Make sure you’re investing in something that will last, especially if you’re a frequent camper. Today’s materials typically include nylon or polyester, but many manufacturers use their own proprietary blend. Higher denier fabrics are more rugged and reduce the chance of leaks and tears.

A tent requires a minimum of a 1000 mm rating to be considered waterproof, but a rating of 3000-5000 mm is better to withstand heavier rainfall. Taped seams keep water from dripping through your tent stitching. Also, look for ripstop fabric, which is specially reinforced to prevent ripping and tearing. Make sure the tent floor is durable and can withstand routine wear and tear.

Rainflies

Rainflies are essentially a part of your tent and should be reviewed for their durability in the same manner as the tent itself. They are the key component to protecting you from the elements and providing vestibules for your gear. Make sure the tent fly has been waterproofed to withstand the rain.

Your fly should be large enough to cover any windows and doors so your tent stays dry. It also needs to allow sufficient ventilation so that condensation doesn’t build up in your tent at night. If you’re usually just a fair-weather camper, you could probably get by with a fly that just covers the roof, but you never know when the weather will unexpectedly change, so err on the side of caution.

Free-Standing Versus Staked

Deciding between free-standing and staked is really a matter of preference and depends on the type of camping you do. If you’re a car camper, you can probably get by with a free-standing tent. If you’re a hiker or backpacker, then a staked tent might be the better option. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but even free-standing tents will often add loops for staking.

Free-standing tents are much easier to use and are typically larger than staked tents. Free-standing tents result in more weight because of the poles that are necessary for pitching the tent. They are usually fast and easy to put together, and most of the time only one person is needed. They are also nice to have when camping in terrain where stakes are difficult to drive into the ground.

Staked tents are often preferred by hikers, as it lessens the overall weight. Many staked tents use trekking poles for support rather than supplied tent poles, but you can also purchase straight tent poles if needed. The main advantage of staked tents is that they are more likely to hold up in high winds and poor weather.

Tent Poles

For fair-weather campers, poles aren’t much of an issue. However, there are at least a few things you should know. Fiberglass poles are the most likely to break. These are the type of poles that usually come with Academy-type tents. They’re cheap and often buckle under the weight of the load.

If you are looking to buy quality gear, aluminum poles are a much better option, but you’ll have to pay for the quality. They’re lighter and sturdier than fiberglass. They’re also more rigid and durable, making them more capable of handling weight.

If you’ve got the extra money to spare, carbon fiber poles are your absolute best option. They’re ultra-light, superb quality, and extra rugged. They can stand up to heavy weight and winds and are by far the best choice, but they can also be super expensive.

Pole Systems

Most tents today come with a variety of tent frame options, and each will have its own pros and cons. This is just a matter of personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you have the basic X-frame, which is considered the simplest and the safest of all the frame sets. You simply run the poles cross-corner either through a sleeve or by clip-on brackets. When the poles are broken down, they are straight and easy to pack. They are also the easiest to replace because you can buy one pole at a time.

Hub systems are like tinker toys. You have a wheelhouse that sits at the center of your roof, and the intersecting poles attach to the hub. The problem with the hub system is that if one piece gets broken, you will have to replace the whole set because everything is connected.

You also have skeleton frames that usually come with a spine attached to arms and legs on either end. Sometimes you may have an additional transverse section in the middle to support the roof. These are also easy to pack and generally break down well without taking up too much space. But again, if you damage one piece, you will have to replace the whole thing.

Finally, there’s pre-bent pole technology that comes with some tents in order to maximize the support of the tent structure. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these systems, they just don’t pack down as nice because the poles are bent and take up more space. You also need to consider that if you damage any of the poles, you’ll likely have to purchase directly from the company to replace them.

Guy Lines And Loops

Guy lines and loops are used to keep your tent and rainfly taut and secure. This in turn keeps the fabric from flapping and coming loose in windy conditions. Make sure the guy lines and loops stay secure and don’t slip or give way to resistance easily. You want the security of knowing your shelter can withstand a sudden and unexpected change in weather.

Ease Of Use And Comfort

Last, but not least, you want something relatively easy to set up and tear down that also offers those comfortable amenities that make your camping experience pleasant. Some tents require extensive instruction manuals to put together, but you’re better off with something self-explanatory because if you ever lose the directions, you may struggle with assembly.

Many tents are free-standing and come with their own support poles, but occasionally trekking poles or straight tent poles are required. The fewer poles you need, the lighter the weight and the faster the set up. Poles that attach to clips are much easier to use than poles that must be threaded through a sleeve, but many tents will use both for extra stability, so it’s just a matter of preference.

An optional amenity you might consider is having a tent entry in more than one location. This way you don’t have to climb over your party members to enter and exit your tent. Also, make sure your tent has plenty of mesh panels and vents to provide ample airflow.

Consider whatever storage requirements you may need. Evaluate your tent for storage pockets, shoe closets, gear vestibules, extension cord holes, or anything else you feel you might need to make your next outdoor adventure as comfortable as possible.

Zippers

As trivial as it seems, always check the zipper quality. Make sure the zippers open and close freely without getting hung up on the fabric. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to retire for the evening only to find you can’t close your tent door because the zipper bunched up on a section of tent fabric!

3 Season Tent vs 4-Season Tent

3-season tents are the most popular and are designed for temperate weather conditions. Their purpose is to keep you dry, protect you from bugs, and offer you privacy. They can withstand heavier rainfall, wind, and cold. 3-season tents are suitable for most family expeditions and hiking excursions.

4-season tents are generally designed for more hardcore campers who take on more rugged adventures. A 4-season tent, sometimes called a mountaineering tent, is better for harsher winter conditions or higher elevations. They are heavier and offer greater durability against fierce winds and sustained snowfall.

4-season tents usually come with more poles to provide additional support. They have fewer mesh panels to hold in warmth, and the rainflies extend almost all the way to the ground for greater protection. They are usually dome-shaped for added quality and durability and to help pitch off any snow.

The 10 Best 2-Person 3-Season Tents

1. Teton Altos Tent 2

* Check Price Here *

The Teton Altos is fairly light at 3 lbs 11.2 oz and is fairly cheap. It has a sleek design with the ability to withstand stormy winds. It’s a free-standing and waterproof tent with double reinforced seams and anchor points with a 68 denier bathtub-style floor with extra high walls.

It has a waterproof rating of 1500 mm, and the 20 denier rainfly is made of ripstop fabric and can also act as a stand-alone shelter. It has a single aluminum pole with a skeletal frame with clip-on attachments and comes with its own footprint. It can easily be assembled by one person. It offers just over 33 square feet of space and 42 inches of height. It only has one door that’s near vertical.

PROS:

  • Light and roomy
  • Durable 68D and 1500 mm waterproof rating
  • Easy set-up
  • Stand-alone fly

CONS:

  • Single entry and single vestibule
  • Rainfly is not as durable at 20D
  • Fairly heavy

2. Marmot Catalyst 2P

* Check Price Here *

This is a free-standing, lightweight, comfortable tent that’s also within a reasonable price range. The pack weight is 5 lbs 3 oz with three aluminum poles. This tent also comes with its own footprint. It has an X-frame with clip-on attachments and a third stabilizer with sleeves. It has a bathtub-style floor with 68 denier fabric and a mixture of mesh and solid walls, which may limit airflow.

The floor offers a roomy 32.5 square feet, and it peaks at 44 inches tall. It comes with 2 D-shaped doors for private entry and has a rainfly made of 68 denier fabric that provides 2 vestibules for gear storage. One is 9.5 square feet, and the other is 6.7 square feet. All the seams are also sealed and taped.

While this tent comes with its own footprint, you may need to purchase additional stakes and guy lines separately. The tent has a waterproof coating and can withstand heavy rains and mild snowstorms.

PROS:

  • Aluminum poles
  • Two doors and two vestibules
  • Roomier and taller than others
  • Durable 68D fabric

CONS:

  • On the heavier side
  • Requires separate purchase of stakes/guy lines
  • Limited airflow

3. North Face Stormbreak 2

* Check Price Here *

This free-standing tent has a good design for two people, whether you’re car camping or backpacking. Weighing in at just over 5 lbs, some hikers claim it’s a bit on the heavy side, but car campers don’t mind the weight. It’s a fairly low priced tent 3-season tent.

Its vertical walls maximize space and offer plenty of headroom. The fly is made with 75 denier fabric with a 1200 mm waterproof rating, and the floor is 68 denier fabric with an impressive 3000 mm waterproof rating. Each camperhas a private entrance, but the zippers aren’t the greatest and can snag up if you’re not careful. It has a two pole X-frame with two roof stabilizers.

It has a bathtub-style floor with vertical mesh walls and a solid square roof. The rainfly extends all the way to the ground offering extra warmth with full protection from the elements, while also offering high-low airflow ventilation to prevent overheating.

The floor dimensions are just over 30 square feet with vestibule spaces of 9.8 square feet each and four interior pockets. It’s a great entry-level tent, especially for new campers.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Two doors and two vestibules
  • Impressive 68D/75D fabric

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Zippers get hung up easily
  • Stakes are on the flimsy side

4. Eureka Suma 2-Person 3-Season

* Check Price Here *

Weighing only 3 lbs 13 oz, this is one of the lighter tents on the market and is reasonably priced too. It has an X-frame setup with two aluminum poles and clip-on attachments. It offers a bathtub-style floor with a 68 denier fabric and a 1500 mm waterproof rating. The door side is fully mesh with the other three sides being a combination of mesh and 68 denier fabric.

The fly and floor are treated to resist weather and abrasion. It has one door and one vestibule that offers 10 square feet of space. It has slightly over 30 square feet of interior space and 43 inches of height. It also provides a gear loft with 3 pockets. The seams appear a little on the weak side and may have difficulty withstanding excessive strain.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Aluminum poles
  • Durable 68D fabric

CONS:

  • Single entry and vestibule
  • Weak seams
  • On the smaller side

5. Kelty Grand Mesa 2

* Check Price Here *

Coming in at 4 lbs 12 oz and being on the cheaper side, this tent comes with two aluminum poles, but it’s still on the heavy side for minimalist packing. It has a two-pole X-frame with clip-on attachments, but it also has sleeves at the base for added reinforcement. It has a bathtub-style floor with mesh walls.

It has a single vestibule rainfly with taped seams, and a polyester abrasion-resistant body made of 68 denier fabric. With only two poles and quick corner technology, this is a breeze to set up. The tent offers 43 inches in height and 30 square feet of space. It also has EZ-Zip zippers and an 1800 mm waterproof rating.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Aluminum poles
  • EZ-Zip zippers

CONS:

  • Single door and vestibule
  • On the heavy side
  • Smaller than others

6. Sierra Designs Full Moon 2

* Check Price Here *

This updated version of the Summer Moon is a free-standing tent with two aluminum poles for fast and easy pitching. It weighs 3 lbs 15.5 oz and is in the middle-ground in terms of pricing. It has 2 aluminum poles with an X-frame set up and clip-on attachments.

The bathtub-style floor and fly are made of 68 denier fabric, while the body of the tent is entirely mesh and comes with factory sealed seams. It has just over 29 square feet of floor space and a peak height of 41 inches. It offers 2 doors and 2 vestibules with an additional 20 square feet combined. It comes with guy lines and stakes.

PROS:

  • Durable denier fabric
  • Aluminum poles
  • Two doors and two vestibules

CONS:

  • On the smaller side
  • There are better tents for the price

7. Mountainsmith Lichen Peak

* Check Price Here *

On the heavier side at 5 lbs 11 oz and straying towards the pricier end of the spectrum, this tubular construction has a roomy 45 square feet of space and 45 inches of peak height. This tent has an end-hoop style frame with 2 poles and clip-on attachments. It has a bathtub-style floor with the body made up of a combination of mesh and fabric.

It’s made of 100% polyester and has a waterproof cap-style fly and vestibule with a single but large point of entry. It offers internal mesh pockets and comes with its own footprint that buckles to the tent, making it easier to set up in windy conditions. It comes with 17 stakes, making it very taut and wind/weather-proof.

PROS:

  • Very roomy
  • Comes with footprint
  • Extremely secure

CONS:

  • Single entry and single vestibule
  • Tube style makes it smaller on one end
  • A bit more expensive

8. NEMO Aurora 2P

* Check Price Here *

The Nemo weighs almost 5 lbs and is closer to the $300 mark. The Aurora is a free-standing tent with a hub-style aluminum pole set and a skeletal frame with clip-on attachments. The floor and fly are made with 68 denier fabric, and the canopy is made with 30 denier polyester.

The floor, fly, and canopy all have a 1200 mm waterproof rating. It comes with its own footprint, stakes, and guy lines so no additional gear is needed. It has two doors for easy access with nearly vertical sidewalls. Each door has its own vestibule with 9.2 square feet of space. The overall floor space is just over 31 square feet with a peak height of 44 inches.

There are also interior gear pockets for easy access and storage. Overall, the tent displays sturdy construction. This tent does not have a double zipper, which is a bit of a downfall, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

PROS:

  • Aluminum poles
  • Two doors and vestibules
  • Roomy

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • No double zipper

9. REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

Coming in at 3 lbs 15 oz and often above the $300 mark, this tent has pre-bent pole architecture with vertical sidewalls. It has one hub-style aluminum pole set consisting of an arched frame on each side and a single roof stabilizer with clip-on attachments. It has a large bathtub-style floor and mesh walls with two large D-shaped doors allowing private access.

The floor and canopy are made of 40 denier fabric while the rainfly is 30 denier. It has two ceiling vents at the top and a total of six interior pockets. The rainfly can be pitched as its own structure providing an airy shelter or sunshade. This tent comes with its own attached footprint, guy lines and tighteners, and stakes, so you don’t need to purchase any additional gear.

It provides 33.75 square feet of living space with 22.5 square feet of vestibule space and peaks at 42 inches. The stakes are a little on the flimsy side and the zippers tend to snag. It’s quick and easy to set up and tear down if you don’t mind the hub mechanism. It also offers a bit more versatility with the stand-alone fly.

PROS:

  • Two doors and vestibules
  • Aluminum poles
  • Super light and roomy

CONS:

  • Hub mechanism
  • 40 denier fabric
  • Poor quality stakes and zippers

10. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

* Check Price Here *

This is a super light backpacking tent coming in at 2 lbs 12 oz and costing closer to $500. It has an X-frame hub system with clip-on attachments and an additional single pole roof stabilizer. It’s a little on the smaller side at 29 square feet and it’s built 10 inches wider on one end than the other so it’s a tight fit for two people, but it does come in a three-person option.

It also has unique awning-style vestibules that uses trekking poles or accessory poles to create an open shade or canopy. The fly consists of double ripstop mixed denier fabric. This tent gets many great reviews and is one of the more popular on the market, but it may seem to many like a lot of bells and whistles for the price. The material is thin, and the size is subpar.

The loops for pinning back the door flaps are on the small side, and the zippers get hung up on the rain flap. If you use the awnings, it means you’ll have to crawl out on your hands and knees before you can stand up, which may get old fast.

This tent might be useful for one person, but for two people, you would need to upgrade to a three-person tent, which of course means even more money. Once pitched, it measures 52” x 88” from the outside on one end, and 42” x 88” on the other.

PROS:

  • Super light
  • Two doors and vestibules
  • Double ripstop fabric

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Small
  • Subpar quality material and components for the price

Best Lightweight 2-Person 3-Season Tent

The Teton Altos 2 offers the most bang for your buck. While it’s neither the lightest nor the cheapest, it’s the best all around. It’s middle of the road in weight at 3 lbs 11 oz. Divide that weight between two people and it’s pretty light. It’s one of the largest in square feet and one of the tallest too.

By sacrificing a little bit of weight, you’re gaining both square footage and height, which is worth the trade-off. In addition, it has solid 68 denier fabric (except for the fly), which is second only to the North Face Stormbreak. Plus, you get the bonus of the fly acting as a stand-alone shelter.

So, for 3 lbs 11 oz and usually only a couple hundred dollars, you get 33 square feet of floor space, 42 inches of height, 68 denier fabric with a 1500 mm waterproof rating, and an additional stand-alone shelter.

Final Thoughts

Picking a suitable tent for your next camping trip requires you to prioritize what’s most important to you. It’s tough to balance weight, durability, square footage, and price, but it’s truly just a matter of preference. Find one that work for you and go have fun!