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AT thru hike tent

I am planning a 2022 AT thru hike....

Trying to decide between a Nemo Hornet 2p or the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2p. Anyone have a recommendation? I am an experienced hiker, climber and backpacker. Just trying to find a sub 2 lb quality tent.  Any advice would be helpful! Thank you.

4 Replies

If you’re planning a 2022 thru hike…I suggest you decide pretty soon, lol

Best wishes and good luck 

REI Member Since 1979

Mistyped.... 2023! Hehe

I have not hiked on the AT so these comments are only in general.

If you are looking at the semi free standing Hornet you should consider the BA Tiger Wall 2P. It is similar and 8oz lighter than the CS 2P. Another similar tent is the REI Quarter Dome SL2. Semi freestanding tents usually have a tripod pole system and require more staking out than freestanding tents. That can be annoying on hard ground. It think that is not too much of an issue on the AT but you do have to do it everyday. I added adjustable guys to my Tiger Wall 2P to provide a bit more flexibility.

These tents are made with lightweight fabrics and should be used with a ground cloth (aka footprint). I recommend the factory footprint but you can use Tyvek or polycro cut to size. They each have their pros and cons.

If you are well organized and don't feel the need to spread out, the 1P versions of those tents have a smaller footprint so easier to squeeze into smaller spaces which can be an advantage on the AT.

Many people use hammock systems on the AT because finding tent sites can be challenging in parts and it apparently has trees or shelters all the way. Hammock systems are more complex to pitch and can be heavier than UL tents but people who like them swear by the comfort.

If you want sub 2 lb tent then you should consider a trekking pole tent. If you have the bucks, the 2P Zpacks Duplex or for a smaller footprint Zpacks Plex Solo would be the place to start looking. DCF is expensive but lightweight, very waterproof and doesn't sag when wet. On a budget the Six Moon Luna Solo (similar design to the Plex Solo) is worth considering. I have one. It is a 1.5 person tent and very roomy for a single pole tent. Sil/Sil Polyester doesn't sag when wet as much as nylon so it may perform better than other similar tents made with nylon. Sil/Sil polyester must be manually seam can order it that way for a bit extra. Its 3/4 length vestibule means it can be a bit drafty in unprotected sites or if you judge the wind direction wrong.  It doesn't have the smallest footprint for a 1P tent. These kinds of tents take a bit of practise to pitch well. Pitch site selection can be a bit more important.

There are of course many other choices.



Besides the weight, are there any specific features that you want (i.e., large vestibule)?

I think if you are looking at sub-2-pounds.  You will likely be looking at fewer tent options, maybe a 1-person tent, a tent manufactured using the Dyneema material, or tents using some Dyneema.  @OldGuyot referenced one of those manufacturers (Zpacks).  also, it is possible that if you do not want to use your trekking poles for the tent (or you don't use trekking poles at all) to purchase poles or even a free-standing pole kit for some of those ultra-light tents.  Zpacks Duplex is one where you can purchase a free-standing kit (add 10.2 ounces) the Duplex can weigh either 18.5 or 20.2 ounces (you will see those on the website when you chose the color).  So, even with the free-standing kit those that tent would be under 2 pounds.  Zpacks also has the FreeDuo (freestanding/maybe semi-freestanding) which would either be 30.1 or 32.1 ounces (just under or just over 2 pounds).

Of course, the moment you are looking at just over 2 pounds there are more options.  As @OldGuyot noted there is the Big Agnes Tiger wall (which would likely be a few ounces [3-8] over 2 pounds).  And, the Nemo Hornet that you mentioned.  The 1-person is noted as 2 pounds and the 2-person is noted as 2 pounds 6 ounces (Nemo's website and packed weight).

I usually compare tents using the packed or packaged weight as it can be difficult to determine what is included (or NOT included) in minimum and trail weights.  And, a tent should not be significantly heavier than that stated packed/packaged weight.