We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

If you really want to get to know a person, take them on an extended camping trip in a two-person tent. You know, just a couple of BFFs shoulder to shoulder, hiding from mosquitos, riding out the storm, sharing everything from your hopes and dreams to the other person’s incessant gabbing and noxious odors. Personal compatibility notwithstanding, having the right two-person tent can spell the difference between establishing a lifelong outdoors friendship or swearing vows against a mortal enemy. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good night’s sleep in close quarters. Simply consider a few basics before making that shelter purchase, then just get out there to discover what you’re both made of, and pray it isn’t chili.

Top Pick

This model keeps rain out thanks to welded column and inverted seams. Coleman

Measure the width of your sleeping pad, double it, and add three or four inches for elbow room find the minimum width you need. Adequate length is a function of body height. While most tents come rated as 1-, 2-, or 3-person or larger, don’t make the manufacturer’s specs your only consideration. If you are backpacking, then stick to the recommended capacity to minimize weight. But for car camping, it might be wise to buy a 3-person tent because the extra weight won’t matter much in a park-and-pitch situation, and you’ll appreciate the extra space. Features such as an exterior vestibule and an asymmetrical footprint that is wider at one end can make a 2-person tent live larger than it actually is.

Budget Friendly

Fiberglass poles make this option lightweight and simple to assemble. Kelty

The single most important function of a tent is to keep the rain off your head, and the only way to do that is with a viable fly sheet. On starry nights, sleeping with the fly off is a great option, but on dewy or rainy sleeps, you’ll want a fly sheet that comes almost to the ground and fastens to the tent grommets with ladder buckles that can be cinched down in high winds.

Easy to Transport

The included rainfly with this option makes it great to use year-round. Featherstone

On those occasions when an unexpected storm blows up, you’ll appreciate having a tent that is easy to pitch. That means a minimal number of poles, preferably shock-corded for fast assembly, and tent clips that snap onto the pole system without a wrestling match. For extra security, keep a 4mm to 6mm sheet of plastic stowed in the tent bag for a ground sheet. On cold nights, a lightweight emergency blanket with the reflective side facing up is even better.