Gossamer Gear has spent the last 20 years designing and producing functional, ultralight gear. They take ultralight gear seriously, and have been advocates for the lightweight backpacking movement.
As someone that is always looking to cut back on ounces in my pack, I was extremely excited when we were asked to test and review Gossamer Gear’s The Two, 2-person tent. With custom made lightweight fabric and a trekking pole setup, The Two was on its way to being one of the lightest tents we’ve tested. Read the review below to find out if this ultralight tent met our expectations and earned a spot in our packs!
- Shelter weight (including 6 guylines, does not include stakes): 29.6oz
- Doors: 2
- Floor dimensions: 52’’ W (narrows to 42’’ at foot) x 89’’ L
- Peak height: 46’’ when using 125cm poles
- Vestibule area: 32.4 sqft
- Materials: Custom formulated 7d (tent body) and 10d (floor) high tenacity nylon blended silicone/polyurethane coating that is waterproof to at least 1200mm.
- Non-freestanding, 2-person tent
- Trekking Pole compatible: if you want to hike as light as possible, the tent can be setup with 2 trekking poles.
- Ultralight! With lightweight stakes and trekking poles, the tent comes in under 2 lbs.
- Factory-taped seams
- Plenty of headroom and space.
- Two large vestibules to store your gear outside the tent and keep it dry.
- Bathtub floor will keep you dry in wet conditions.
- Interior clothesline that you can use to dry damp clothes or hang a headlamp/light from.
In the most simple terms, The Two by Gossamer Gear is an ultralight, single-wall, non-freestanding tent that is designed for backpackers. If you use your trekking poles as the tent support, the tent and stakes (you need a minimum of 6 stakes) easily come in at under 2 lbs. If you are a backpacker, you will definitely appreciate how light this tent is.
When looking at the specs, I was a little surprised at how thin the tent materials were. The floor of the tent is made of 10D silnylon, and Gossamer Gear notes on the product page that although the floor is reasonably durable for its weight, you might want to consider using a polycryo ground sheet to prolong the life of the shelter. The body of the tent is made of 7D silnylon. While testing The Two, we did carefully choose our tent sites and picked areas with grass that were not rocky. We did not have a polycryo ground sheet, but based on Gossamer Gear’s note on their website, we would probably use one if we were traveling in areas with less than ideal tent sites or backpacking in areas where the conditions were unknown. Despite these thin materials, it is worth noting that Gossamer Gear’s The One uses the same materials and has been used by many thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail without any major durability issues. The seams are factory-taped which increases the strength of the seams and keeps water out.
The Two also offers a clothesline at the top of the tent, which is a simple, yet great feature that allows you to hang up damp clothes, or a hang a headlamp to light up the tent at night.
This is where The Two really shines. Assuming you are using your trekking poles during the hike, all you will need to pack is the shelter and 6+ stakes (depending on how many guylines you are planning to use). Since the tent is a single-walled tent, you don’t need to worry about packing an additional rainfly, although you might want to pack a polycryo footprint, as noted in the section above. The shelter and stakes comes in at under 2 lbs, which is tough to beat for a two-person tent (excluding minimal tarp setups).
The Two is a non-freestanding tent. It gets its shape and support from tension created by staking out the guylines at each of the corners, and using two poles supported by guylines. At a minimum, you need 6 stakes to setup the tent: one for each corner, and one for each vestibule. However, due to the high profile of the tent, you are probably going to want to use additional guylines and stakes to keep the tent secure in windy conditions. We experienced some light to mild wind during our testing, and although the tent felt secure in these mild conditions, I would use additional guylines in the future especially when wind conditions were predicted to be stronger. With stronger winds, the additional guylines would definitely help the tent feel more secure.
To start, stake out all 4 corners of the tent making sure the tent is taut. Next, set your trekking poles to 125cm, and place the handle of the trekking pole in the small area on the top of the tent, and put the tip of the trekking pole into the grommet on the bottom of the tent. Stake it out with some tension so that the pole is angled slightly outward.
All of the guylines have ITW lineloc3 tensioners, which allow you easily increase the tension of each line and keep the tent taut and secure. Once you have one vestibule staked out, follow the same steps for the other vestibule.
There are an additional 6 pullout tabs that you can use to attach additional guylines. As mentioned above, we did not use any additional guylines, but we only faced light to very mild wind conditions. If the wind would have picked up any stronger, I would have gone out and attached additional lines to make the tent more secure.
The two large vestibules allowed us to store our gear on the outside of the tent, giving us plenty of room inside. With the tent pitched using 125cm poles, the ceiling at the center of the tent is 46’’. The poles stake out at an angle, which gives you plenty of shoulder room. I can’t stress enough that The Two felt very roomy!
One issue that we did have during our testing was condensation. We had rain during our trip, so I had both vestibules closed to keep me dry. The temperature at night was in the high-thirties / low-forties. I woke up in the middle of the night and touched the wall and ceiling of the tent above my face, and there was quite a bit of condensation. I did notice a few times that drops of condensation had dripped onto my sleeping bag. In better conditions with the vestibule doors open, condensation might not be as big of a concern, but we did experience it with the vestibule doors closed.
The Gossamer Gear The Two is currently listed at $380. This does not include stakes (you need at least 6) or tent poles, but assuming you have adjustable trekking poles, you are all set. You might also want to consider buying a polycro footprint, which is $8.46 from Gossamer Gear. For an ultralight, two-person tent, this price seems very reasonable, especially for backpackers that are looking to cutback on excess weight in their pack.
- Ultralight + full weather and bug protection
- Large vestibules to store all of your gear
- Thin material might require an additional footprint to protect the tent floor
- Condensation, especially when both vestibules are shut
- Due to high profile, additional stakes are required to tie out additional guy lines