Sometimes you just want a small tent, but is a one person tent going to be enough?
Two people can sleep in a one person tent, but it’s going to be a very tight fit. Tents made for two people can already be quite snug, so trying to squeeze two people into a 1-person tent will be even more difficult. However, it is possible to get two people into a single person tent if absolutely necessary.
Before trying to squeeze yourself and someone else into a 1-person tent, take some time to learn about how 1-person tents and 2-person tents compare. That way, you can set yourself up for the most comfortable and efficient camping experience.
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Can You Fit Two People In a 1-Person Tent?
There are many reasons you might find yourself drawn to the idea of using a 1-person tent rather than something larger. You may want to save money or space, or just have something light and easy to carry.
If you’re camping alone, then using a 1-person tent isn’t typically going to be a problem. Even those who don’t normally camp alone may be interested in enjoying some solo adventures.
As a side note: I spent 3 weeks on a solo car camping trip and it was one of my favorite experiences of my life. It can be scary to think of camping alone, but I have some tips for you if you want to try it--I really think it’s worth doing, even on a small trip. Take a look at our article on the subject here.
Anyway, those who normally camp on their own may not want to buy a 2-person tent on the occasion that someone wants to join them. However, fitting two people into a single person tent can be a bit of a challenge.
In short, it is possible to fit two people in a 1-person tent. However, there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider to make it happen. These include the sizes of the people sharing the tent, the dimensions of the tent, and any other gear you might want to keep inside.
A 1-person tent probably isn’t going to be a great solution for those who won’t feel comfortable with a tight fit. Even a 2-person tent can be a tight squeeze for those who want space for luggage as well as sleeping. They can work decently well for people who are backpacking but aren’t ideal in situations that require much more than a backpack in terms of gear.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to sleep with your food, even if there aren’t bears, there are lots of little critters that’d love an opportunity for a handout. Learn more about storing your food safely at our article here that talks about storing food in a car.
However, if you’re planning on spending the majority of your time outside the tent and just need it as a shelter to sleep in then you may not mind a tight squeeze.
Should I Get A 1 Or 2 Person Tent?
When you’re shopping for a tent, you’re sure to quickly find out that there is an immense selection of shapes, sizes, and levels of quality. It can be really tough to find a tent that will work perfectly for you.
Something that can aid in the selection process is gaining an understanding of how 1-person tents and 2-person tents compare to one another. Each can come with benefits and downfalls, especially when you’re trying to fit two people inside.
Let’s take a look into those pros and cons so that you can decide whether a 1-person or 2-person tent is ideal for you.
1-Person Tent Pros
There are a number of reasons someone might find the concept of a 1-person tent to be appealing.
To begin with, single person tents can be a lot less costly than larger options. If you’re camping on a tight budget, then paying less for a tent can be a huge benefit. This is especially true if you’re aiming for a higher quality tent over something with lower quality and more space.
If you’re unsure about how much you want to spend on a tent, our article on the topic is a great place to start. Check it out here.
Additionally, backpackers may be interested in a 1-person tent because they are much lighter and smaller than other choices. Consequently, they’re much less of a hassle to carry while you’re hiking or backpacking. The weight you carry is often a huge factor in how easily you’re able to get where you plan to spend the night.
I unfortunately know this from experience--the huge 8 person tent has a ton more weight that you have to carry--you might have tons of room when you get to your destination, but you might regret having to carry it to your campsite on a long backpacking trip. If you’re only going a couple miles, this isn’t a big deal.
A final benefit that some may not think of includes warmth. Campers who like to get out in the fall or winter may appreciate a smaller space. With two people sharing a small tent, it will be easier to stay warm and comfortable.
Our 2-person tent can get very hot, even if it’s in the low 80s outside. Our tent even has a mesh top, and it still captures the air and retains heat amazingly well. This works great for the winter, but not so well for the Summer.
1-Person Tent Cons
Before choosing a 1-person tent to carry off into the woods, it’s important to consider the downsides that might come with making that choice.
1-Person tents can be useful in a number of ways, but their small size can also make for an uncomfortable sleep for two people. Before choosing any tent, it’s important to consider the dimensions you would need for two people to fit comfortably. On top of that, you’ll need to make sure there’s enough space for your clothes and other personal items as well.
Another issue that 1-person tents can have is related to condensation. Often, tents include vents to ensure the carbon dioxide you breathe out can get out of the tent. When the ventilation a tent provides isn’t equal to the amount of carbon dioxide in the space, the humidity in the tent can rise. As a result, you can end up in a tent that is uncomfortably wet.
MSR provides this handy video which can aid campers in understanding condensation buildup in a tent as well as what tips you can use to keep your tent comfortable.
In short, if you have too many people in the same tent, you are likely going to have issues with condensation. So, even if you can technically fit 2 people in the same tent, you may wake up sopping wet (especially since you will likely be pressed up the sides of your tent).
2-Person Tent Pros
If you’re trying to find the perfect tent to fit two people, then the benefits of a 2-person tent are quite obvious.
A little more space will mean you can sleep more comfortably and have some space for backpacks or other items you need inside the tent. It may require a little more effort to carry and set up, but a comfortable sleep is well worth the added effort.
When a tent is designed for two people, it’s also more likely to offer enough ventilation to avoid excess humidity and condensation inside the tent. Overall, this really just adds to your comfort when you need to sleep.
Unless you plan on camping in freezing winter weather, a 2-person tent is also able to stay quite warm using just the body heat of two people. Tents can often be warmer on the inside than you might expect! In our article on the subject, you can learn all about what keeps your tent warm. Take a look at it here.
It can really be worthwhile to spend more or put in extra effort when it means you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep. If you end up with a tent that is too small, you may find that you saved money but paid a higher price in terms of uncomfortable, sleepless nights.
2-Person Tent Cons
While a 2-person tent can provide a lot more space and comfort to campers, they can also be more expensive. Those who are trying to find a tent on a tight budget may prefer to choose less space over a larger price tag.
2-Person tents can also be more difficult on hikers and backpackers. They can be heavier, larger, and more difficult to fit into a backpack alongside all of your other necessities. Some may prefer to deal with the single person tent or sleep separately. That said, it’s still possible to find a 2-person tent that will work perfectly well for backpackers.
The rule of thumb for how much weight a backpacking tent should be is to be at maximum 2.5 lbs per person. Our backpacking tent is about 5 lbs and it is a 2-person tent--which is about where you want to be.
Which Option Is Better?
Naturally, it’s up to each camper to determine what tent size will work best for their needs. There are so many unique situations out there that a single answer doesn’t really exist for everyone.
When it comes to finding a tent for two people, it’s important to take into account bodily measurements, excess gear, and the need for personal space. Just for the sake of comparison, something like the Kelty Grand Mesa (Amazon) can give you a good idea about the dimensions of a 2-person tent. On the other hand, this Ozark Trail Tent (Walmart) can show you what kind of dimensions a 1-person tent can have.
If you want to make sure you can get a good night’s sleep and don’t mind a slightly higher cost or packing a larger tent, then you really can’t go wrong with a 2-person tent.
However, if you’re looking for the lightest and most inexpensive option, you may want to go with a 1-person tent. Just make sure to choose an option with the correct measurements needed for two people.