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Backpacking is a great way to have true adventures while exploring the vastness of the Cascades. When looking for a tent, it's important to figure out what your personal goals may be.
It's safe to say that a two person shelter under 6 lbs qualifies as a good solid backpacking tent. There are lighter tents out there but with the savings in weight you tend to sacrifice durability, square footage and livability space. All the tents we tested are great for base camping & are still light enough for backpacking. To help demystify this complicated world we've field tested some of our four favorite 2-person backpacking tents for under $250.
Inspired by the roominess and some design features of Hubba Hubba the Elixr 2 offers a generous amount of livability space for the weight & money. The fly door is off-set from the tent body door & the fly even features a gutter over the vestibule door to allow proper ventilation during rainstorms. Small little venting windows on either end allow for great airflow.
Leave the tent body behind while using just the poles & fly and you'll have yourself an total weight savings of 1lb 1oz.
Low Down: Minimum Weight: 4lbs 10oz Fast & Light Weight: 3lbs 9oz - 2 doors 2 vestibules, color coordinated grommets, Fast & Light Feature, comes w/ footprint, air vents, rain gutters
The New Hampshire company, Nemo, has a reputation for unique & innovative designs. Out of all the shelters we tested, the Galaxi 2 was the easiest and quickest to set up - 1min faster than all the others. This roomy tent sports two doors & two vestibules with a magnetic connection to hold the mesh tent door open. The generous amount of Nemo's "no-see-um-mesh" on the tent body allows for great ventilation & is awesome for those cloudless & clear starry nights.
Low Down: Minimum Weight: 4lbs 15oz | 2 doors 2 vestibules | color coordinated grommets, comes w/ footprint, great ventilation.
The tried and true Marmot Limelight is roomier than ever with the body zone pre bending pole construction giving way to vertical tent walls. This tent features 2 doors and two vestibules to keep your gear clean & dry in foul weather.
Low Down: 5lbs 2oz | Unique pole design with Vertical walls | lots of head-room | Footprint
Coming in well below $200 the Marmot Catalyst is the most affordable of our featured tents. It's a great option if you're not wanting to break the bank while still wanting to stay comfortable and light. The Catalyst set-up was not s straight forward as the other tents but the extra cross poll provides a generous amount of extra headroom.
Low Down: 5lbs 3oz, Free-standing, 2-doors 2-vestibules, lots of headroom | Footprint