Whether you’re trekking or wild camping, these two-person tents will make nights under canvas (or nylon) reassuringly dry and comfortable. Reviews by Jonathan Manning
Vaude Taurus UL 2P – £390
If we had to put money on which of these tents will still be going strong in five or 10 years’ time, we’d bet on the Taurus because of the feel of its fabrics and poles. Certainly, when the weather took a turn for the worse overnight it proved to be a cosy sanctuary. It pitches outer first, so it’s fine to put up in the rain, and it’s easy to erect – this was the easiest tent with which to achieve a taught flysheet. Despite the largest exterior volume on test, inside it feels smaller because of the sag in the inner, I had expected more headroom. The pre-fitted short vertical poles in the rear corners are a neat feature to add extra foot space though. There is plenty of room for two side-by-side, and the porch is a decent size for stowing boots and backpacks. The pack-down size is something of an issue at 50x16cm, unless you can share carrying duties with your companion, one taking the poles and the other the tent.
Verdict: Strong, spacious and easy to pitch, but its pack-down size makes it less competitive.
Nordisk Halland LW2 – £480
It’s the transformation from tiny (45x10cm) pack size to spacious tent that makes this such an impressive piece of kit by Nordisk. It packs down smaller than the Vango (below), weighs just 1.5kg, yet builds into a tent that’s spacious enough to accommodate two people with ease. It also has the biggest porch on test, capable of stashing two large rucksacks plus boots. There’s enough head room to sit up straight inside, and if the weather were ever to be truly lousy it would be possible to cook in the porch, although personally I never trust open flames with these types of fabrics. The Halland is simple to pitch, with just two poles to give it structure, and pegged out tightly it coped with serious North Sea winds, while rain pinged off the flysheet. The pegs are almost identical to those of the Vaude, finding the sweetspot between lightweight and reassuring strength, unlike the titanium pipe cleaners we’ve seen on some ultra-light tents. If your budget stretches this far, don’t hesitate.
Verdict: Its tiny pack-down size and light weight make it a rival for one-man tents, yet it’s spacious for two people.
Vango Bora 200 – £130
The Bora represents astonishing value for a sturdy backpacking tent, and it would be easy to shave weight off its 2.1kg weight with a lighter set of pegs. It’s pack size (45x14cm) was only a slightly larger volume than the Nordisk, yet its flysheet felt much more robust. The Bora pitches inner first, which does mean a frantic process in the rain to avoid everything getting wet before the outer could offer waterproof protection, but once up it feels solid and unflinching, even in the face of stiff gales. Interior space is cosy, to say the least, however, and if you weren’t on familiar terms with your backpacking partner before a trek, you soon will be. There’s not really space to lie side-by-side, it’s more of a top and tail affair, although twin side openings avoid clambering over each other. Headroom is limited too, and I was forced to stoop while sitting up, and a little more storage space would be welcome.
Verdict: A great price for a tent that would be brilliant for one person, but it’s a squash and squeeze for two.