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!

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