The Aura 2P
The Aura 2P

What’s the best two- or three-person backpacking tent?

What's the right choice for a two- or three-person tent with a good balance of lightweight ventilation and privacy?—AllanSaraland, AL

The Aura 2P

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These days, there are quite a few out there, Allan. A really nice one is Marmot Aura 2P ($299). It’s a two-person tent that hits the five-pound mark. Its design has very steep walls, so the interior has a great feel of spaciousness. Doors on each side make access easy. It has full-mesh walls for great ventilation, but the fly offers great coverage and rain protection. So as far as privacy goes—so far as the fly is on, you’re covered. So to speak.

The Aura 2P The Aura 2P

There’s also Sierra Designs’ Meteor Light ($270), a tent that has been around seemingly forever but that keeps getting updated with newer, lighter materials. It offers a little more canopy coverage than the all-mesh Aura, but that also adds some weight, coming in at just under six pounds.

To really cut weight, look to superlight double-wall tents, or single-wall tents. In the former, REI’s Quarter Dome T3 ($299) is a three-person that still weighs less than the Aura. It also has a full-mesh canopy and a sturdy design that is extremely weather-resistant. Black Diamond’s Firstlight ($300), meanwhile, is a two-person single-wall that comes in at just under three pounds. It’s a bit snug, but you’d manage. Ventilation, though…not so good. Hard to beat a nice double-wall tent with a full mesh canopy for comfort in warm weather.

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