What’s the best lightweight, rugged two-person tent?

I need a new two-person tent (for my tall self and my gear). I spend a lot of time backpacking in wet, windy, and cold weather, so I don't mind spending $300+ if the tent is worth it. I had a Sierra Designs Half Moon Tent, but all my gear was destroyed in a house fire. Any ideas? Kerry Hannibal, New York


Wow, I’m sorry about the fire. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that tent technology has progressed quite a bit since the days of the Half Moon, which goes back a decade or so.

Hilleberg Nallo 2 Tent

Nallo 2 Tent

For instance, Sierra Designs now makes the Omega ($290;, a rugged, two-person tent that can take all sorts of severe weather. Its interior floor is more than seven feet long, so there’s plenty of room for you. And it has a big vestibule at the head of the tent for bad-weather storage. DAC Featherlight SL poles cut weight, but it’s still not svelte—between six and seven pounds, depending on how many stakes and so on that you carry. But the Omega can stand up to bad weather.

I also like Marmot’s excellent Swallow 2P ($360; It’s a touch heavier than the Omega, but also a little bigger, with more vertical sidewalls and a huge single side door that opens in an enormous vestibule. I like Marmot’s pumpkin-hued colors better than Sierra Designs’ cool white-and-blue scheme—the warm tones are more pleasant for long stays. The Swallow also has vestibule windows, which the Omega lacks.

Beyond that, I don’t mention Hilleberg ( tents enough. I think of them in this case because their design roots in Northern Europe make them excellent tents for lousy weather. The Nallo 2, for instance, is a true all-season, two-person tent, yet still weighs just over four pounds. It sheds rain or wind or snow like a turtle and has a single door and vestibule. But, at $455, cost can be an issue. Still, if you’re looking for a long-term investment in a tent that can take you anywhere, try the Nallo.

Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this season’s top gifts in’s Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.

Filed To: Tents
Lead Photo: courtesy, Hilleberg