1 or 2 Person Tent for Solo Backpacking: Which to Choose?

1 or 2 Person Tent: Backpacker seated next to a 2-person tent at sunset in a picturesque mountain range

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Whether you’re an experienced camper or just starting out, you might wonder when choosing a tent: If you’re camping alone, should you pick a 1 or 2 person tent?

In this post, we’ll delve into the tent dilemma. We’ll examine factors to think about, the pros and cons of both types, and assist you in making a wise choice for your solo camping adventures. Let’s get started.

1 or 2 Person Tent for Solo Backpacking

An ultralight 2-person MSR tent set up in a stunning mountain range

In many cases, choosing a 2 person tent instead of a 1 person tent doesn’t result in a significant increase in weight or cost. Moreover, it comes with the added benefit of extra internal space.

However, before finalizing your shelter decision for your next adventure, consider these key factors:

1. Gear Storage Needs

Adequate gear storage is essential for a comfortable camping experience. Consider the following:

  • 1 Person Tents: These tents provide limited space for storing your gear. If you tend to pack light or prefer to keep most of your equipment outside the tent, a 1 person tent can be a practical choice. It’s worth considering using waterproof bags for your gear if you opt for this tent size, as they’ll help protect your belongings from the elements.
  • 2 Person Tents: With more interior space, 2 person tents offer additional room for your backpack, gear, and personal belongings. This can be especially advantageous during adverse weather conditions or when camping in colder climates.

2. Cooking Requirements

Your cooking preferences can also influence your tent choice:

  • 1 Person Tents: If you’re content with basic meals or plan to eat pre-packaged foods, a smaller 1 person tent may suffice, as it leaves less space for cooking gear.
  • 2 Person Tents: For campers who enjoy preparing elaborate meals, including hot dishes and beverages, a 2 person tent provides more room for cooking equipment and allows for a comfortable cooking experience inside the tent when necessary.

3. Weather Considerations

When deciding on a tent for solo adventures, consider the weather conditions you may encounter:

  • 1 Person Tents: In cooler conditions, smaller tents like 1 person tents excel. Less interior space means less air to heat, making it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. If staying warm is a priority during cold nights, a 1 person tent may be your best choice, though note that they are more prone to condensation in bad weather.
  • 2 Person Tents: These tents, provide extra room to move around comfortably when you’re confined to your tent due to inclement weather. Being able to sit up, stretch out your legs, or change clothes without feeling cramped can be a game-changer during extended rainstorms.

4. Tent Weight and Packability

When on solo adventures, the weight and correlated packability of your tent are crucial considerations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 1 Person Tents: Typically, 1 person tents are indeed lighter and more portable than their 2 person counterparts. Their compact design and lightweight materials make them ideal for those who prioritize carrying less weight on the trail.
  • 2 Person Tents: It’s worth noting that while this weight aspect holds true for most tents, high-end 2 person trekking pole counterparts, like those from Zpacks, can be an exception to this rule. However, if you’re seeking a 4 season tent, the 2 person option typically comes with a much heavier weight.

Comparsion Table: 1 or 2 Person Tent

Now, let’s put all that we have covered so far into a quick-to-read comparison table:

1 Person Tent2 Person Tent
Gear StorageLimited space for gear. Good for minimalist packing.More interior space for backpacks, gear, and belongings.
CookingLess room for elaborate cooking. Better for basic meals.More space for cooking equipment and preparing meals inside.
WeatherEasier to stay warm. More prone to condensation.More room to move around in bad weather. Less condensation.
WeightTypically lighter. Ideal for ultralight backpacking.Heavier, but some high-end models are exceptions. Significantly heavier if 4-season.

Which to Choose?

So, which option should you choose?

You should choose a 1 person tent if…

  • You want the lightest option.
  • You don’t need a large vestibule for your gear.
  • You prefer easy meals and don’t cook inside when the weather is bad.
  • You want to stay as warm as you can.
  • You are not afraid of condensation management.

You should choose a 2 person tent if…

  • You want a tent with the most space for you and your gear.
  • You enjoy using your stove and don’t like to cook outdoor.
  • You’re okay with giving up some warmth to prevent condensation.
  • You want to have the option for multiple doors.

For inspiration, popular lightweight yet durable tent options that come in 1 or 2 person sizes include:

Make / ModelSizeWeight (g)
Fly Creek HV UL1 Solution Dye1-P1lb 11oz (765)
Fly Creek HV UL2 Solution Dye2-P2lb 4oz (1020)
Nemo Hornet Elite OSMO 1P1-P1lb 12.6oz (812)
Nemo Hornet Elite OSMO 2P2-P2lb 0.9oz (935)
3F UL Gear Floating Cloud 11-P2lb 15oz (1343)
3F UL Gear Floating Cloud 22-P3lb 15oz (1780)

Conclusion

In summary, 1 person tents are all about being compact and lightweight, perfect for those who want to keep their hiking load minimal. However, it’s crucial to understand that they have limited space.

On the flip side, 2 person tents, while a bit heavier, provide extra room for storing gear, better ventilation, and added comfort in tough weather.

When picking your tent, think about how you like to camp, the expected weather, and your cooking preferences. Also, make sure the tent suits the seasons of your trips.

That’s all for now. We hope we’ve simplified your decision. And don’t stress too much; you can always sell your tent on Facebook Marketplace if needed. Happy camping!


Interested in an ultralight 1-person or 2-person tent? Check out our TOP 5 guides that cover the lightest tents on the planet.

FAQ

Who sells affordable 1 or 2-person tents?

Decathlon and Naturehike offer very affordable tent options usually ranging from $50-150 for 1-2 person sizes. If you’re willing to buy last season’s model, steep double digit discounts can also be found at REI and Campmor. Our favorite affordable 1-2 person tents are from 3F UL Gear. With some savvy shopping, finding an affordable yet durable tent for 1-2 people is definitely achievable.

Can 2 people sleep in a 1-person tent?

Sleeping two people in a one-person tent can work in emergencies, but it’s not a great idea for regular camping. The small space can be uncomfortable, and you’ll likely have issues with condensation, which can make things damp inside. It’s better to use a tent that’s designed for the number of people camping to stay comfy.

How heavy is a normal 1-person tent?

A normal one-person tent for camping typically weighs around 3 to 4 pounds (1.4 to 1.8 kilograms). It’s worth noting that 3-season tents, designed for spring, summer, and fall use, are considerably lighter compared to 4-season tents designed for winter camping. If you’re looking to reduce weight while backpacking, there are also ultralight options available that can weigh as little as 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms).

How to prevent condensation in 1-person tents?

The best way to prevent condensation buildup in a 1 person tent is to use a groundsheet and make sure to fully deploy the rainfly with sturdy stakes. If you are using a trekking pole tent, make sure that the poles are set at the correct height. A taut rainfly helps block condensation from forming on the inside of the outer tent walls while still allowing air flow through the mesh inner tent. Using a groundsheet creates a moisture barrier between you and the damp ground. With good airflow from the mesh and protection from a rainfly, a 1 person tent can remain relatively condensation-free, even with just one camper inside. It’s also a good idea to bring a towel to wipe up and dry any excess condensation that does accumulate.

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