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Backpacking Tent - 1P or 2P?

Since all y'all have never given me bad advice (that I am aware of), I'll ask another question.

I'm about to purchase a new tent for backpacking and I found two I want. As part of my "decision making process" (or, as my wife calls it, my "inability to make a decision without over-thinking it" process), I thought I'd take a quick pole (yes, I know it's supposed to be "poll" but since we're talking about tents, I thought I'd throw a bad pun in there).

  • Option A - 1 person tent that's 4 lbs, 2 oz 
  • Option B - 2 person tent that is 5 lbs, 8 oz

They're from the same manufacturer and boast the same features except for the weight and size. Yes, they're priced differently but both are within my budget so I don't care.

Would you save weight and get the smaller one, meaning your pack would have to sit in the vestibule or would you keep your pack in the tent (and off the ground) and pay the price of another pound and a half on your back?

P.S. - I know there are lighter options out there but I've decided on a freestanding tent because my hiking goals this year include places where I can't guarantee a place to hang a hammock or stake a semi-freestanding/trekking pole tent. And lighter freestanding tents are not within my budget.

I now eagerly await your wisdom  (AKA, thanks, as always)

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
14 Replies

Seems I may be wrong about NEMO having a fly first option.  They don't mention it and there are no clips on their footprint to enable it.  With the BA and REI tents that have the feature you clip the fly to the footprint instead of the body.

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@Dad_Aint_Hip 

I know this thread is a couple of weeks old, however, I'm excited to let you know that REI has released an updated version of the REI Co-op Half Dome tent this year! It is called the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint and is now available to purchase. It still has everything you love about the Half Dome tents: livable space, simple assembly, and the 'plus' length that gives a bit of extra space for tall hikers and/or a four legged friend, however, our designers have managed to shave almost an entire pound off of the minimum trail weight (now 3 lbs 15 oz). Plus, you get great value with the footprint included in the price!

Feel free to check it out and I will tag the other folks in this conversation as well.

@OldGuyot @John @hikermor @Rob6 @Gary2 

Hopefully this helps, come back and let us know what you chose!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks @REI-JohnJ ! After reading the replies in this thread, I opted NOT to purchase one of the two tents I originally referred to earlier. 

I’ve  looked at the new Half Dome and really like it. Now to be patient until the members’ sale later this Spring!

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@Dad_Aint_Hip The new HD 2+ seems nice and a good price. It is lighter that the previous version by maybe as much as a 1lb assuming the included footprint is part of the packed weight spec...but at 4 lbs. 13.5 oz. packed, it is still heavy...Based on prior QD footprints that probably weighs about 8oz or so.  REI have thinned down the floor to 40D from 70D so you will want to use the FP in more places.  The HD 2+ is a generously sized 2P tent which is good if you are tall or big or are mostly going to use it for 2 people but otherwise it is probably bigger and heavier than you'd want/need for solo carry.

One thing that stands out is that innovative and symmetric doors the HD 2 used to have, are replaced by the cheap seats "opposite" doors typical on budget tents which is only an advantage if you plan to sleep head to toe in 2 person use.

Personally I'd wait and see what this season's Quarter Dome SLs bring an hope for the sale to get the price you want. 

  

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Hi @Dad_Aint_Hip , hopefully I'm not too late to the party.

This is a great question! I would say that to come to the answer of your question, you should think about the following things:

  • How tall are you? Would you have ample room (for you) in the one person tent, including with whatever gear you want to place inside with you?
    • Personally, I am 5' 5"-6" and about 145 pounds, and find that a one person backpacking tent is a great size for me. I love being able to sit up and not have my head hit the ceiling. The one person tent I have also allows me about 2 feet of extra foot or head space that I can use as gear storage. Thus, I am able to fit my entire pack inside with me if I desire.
    • Think about how much room for movement and comfort you would like to have inside the tent. The two person will obviously give you more, but if the smaller tent still gives you enough room, cut the weight and get the one person.
  • What sort of weather will you potentially encounter when using this tent?
    • If you think there's even a slight chance you will encounter rain (that's more than a sprinkle), and you can't fit your entire backpack inside the one person with you, go for the larger tent. You may add 1.5 pounds to your back, but imagine how much weight you save by not having to carry a bunch of soaked gear (which can happen, even if you place the pack under the tent fly).
  • Is there a possibility that someone else might join you on the trail and share your tent?
    • If you think you might bring someone along with you, and that a two person tent could fit both of you, get the two person tent.
    • If you think you will be alone or have someone with you but in a different tent, get the one person.
  • Do you have room in your backpack?
    • Remember that getting a two person tent instead of a one person will not just increase the tent's weight, but its volume as well. Make sure you have space that you can set aside in your pack for the larger two person tent.

 

These are just a couple of things that I think about and suggest anyone thinks about when deciding between one and two person tents for solo backpacking. Hope this helps!

www.brynsharpphotography.com

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.