Gossamer Gear The Two review: ultralight juggernaut or dud?

gossamer gear the two

Table of Contents

Imagine having a tent that is under two pounds, can be set up with your trekking poles, can be stored anywhere in your backpack, and doesn’t cost $600+.

The Gossamer Gear The Two delivers on all of those criteria and more.

It has become one of the most popular tents that I have seen out on the trails over the past few years, and this is not by accident.

Gossamer Gear products are known for being lightweight, durable, and affordable. These traits have made them a well-known brand that continues to grow in popularity among backpackers and hikers alike.

And The Two is no exception.

Gossamer Gear The Two review

Quick specs

Weight – 23.5 oz.

Packed dimensions – 11″ x 5″

Set-up dimensions – 135″ x 117″ (11.75′ x 9.75′)

Interior dimensions – 84″ x 48″ (head end width); 84″ x 44″ (foot end width)

Material – 10D Nylon, ripstop

Pros

  • Weight

  • Roomy vestibules

  • Easy set-up

  • Large interior space

Cons

  • Cost (relative to traditional backpacking tents)

  • Condensation

  • Need trekking poles or Gossamer Gear Two poles

quick overview of the two

Overview

The Gossamer Gear The Two is an excellent intro to the world of non-freestanding tents, (or trekking pole tents) but its quality is far from only “introductory” level.

The interior space is in line with other (more expensive options) in its class. If you are sleeping in your tent alone, The Two gives you plenty of room to spread out and not feel claustrophobic. You can easily fit a sleeping pad (even a wide one) inside with plenty of room left over for storing gear.

If you are using this tent for two people, you can fit two sleeping pads inside, but there will be little room left over for storage.

Luckily, The Two has two enormous vestibules (there are almost three feet between the edge of the main body and the tip of the vestibule). These large vestibules give you a lot of space to store your pack, shoes, or anything else that you want nearby but not necessarily inside your tent.

the two

At 23.5 ounces, The Two is not the lightest backpacking tent available, but you will certainly pay extra to get something lighter.

Predominately, you will see the lighter options utilize DCF (or other similar synthetic material) for the tent body and floor. This provides a little more durable and lighter-weight material compared to the ripstop nylon construction of The Two.

The Two uses 10D ripstop nylon on the walls and floor. For nylon, this is on the thin side of what you will see used for backpacking tents. This means that you do need to be aware of where you set up your shelter, especially if you are not using a groundsheet.

I recommend folks using this tent (or one with a similar material) use a groundsheet. If not, make sure to pitch the tent on a soft surface free from rocks, roots, or anything else your tent may snag on.

Being a single-wall tent, condensation build-up is a concern with The Two. If possible, leave one or two of the vestibule doors open for maximum ventilation. This will allow air to easily pass through the inner tent, reducing the amount of condensation building up and the risk of waking up in a wet sleeping bag.

gossamer gear the two

As it is a non-freestanding tent, you will need two trekking poles to set The Two up. If you do not usually use trekking poles, no worries, Gossamer Gear sells a pole set specifically for The Two. The pole set consists of fixed-length aluminum poles (specific for the tent) and they fold down to fit into your pack or outer pocket very easily.

All told, if you are looking for an ultralight tent or want to try out a single-wall, non-freestanding tent, The Two is an excellent option.

The Two ratings

Weight

the two weight rating

Weighing in at around 1.5 pounds (23.5 oz.), The Two is among the lightest two-person tents that you will find. This weight includes the tent body and pre-attached guylines.

Adding in the aluminum stakes, the stake stuff sack, and the stuff sack for the tent adds about 3.5 oz., keeping the total weight still well under two pounds. Even for single-wall shelters, The Two is among the lightest options you will find.

For reference, two similar-styled tents are the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Unbound 2P and the ZPacks Duplex, both of which are about double the price of the Gossamer Gear The Two.

The Unbound 2P weighs in at 24.0 oz., while the Duplex comes in at around 18.5 oz. For something closer to The Two’s price range, the REI Co-op-Flash Air 2 weighs in around 38.5 oz.

As you can see, The Two offers an ultralight tent option without requiring you to take out a mortgage to afford it.

Comfort

the two comfort rating

Coming off a year where I was using a 1-person tent, I was eager to transition back to a 2-person tent. The extra room of a two-person tent, in general, is worth it for me. It sounds a bit silly, but that tent will be your home for anywhere from 1 night to 6 months on the trail. You better be sure that you like being in it.

The Two feels very roomy when you are inside it. When I get a decent pitch on it, I can sit up while inside (6 feet tall) and I don’t feel like I am rubbing against the walls every time I move.

Having used a 1-person tent for a while, I had forgotten what it was like to actually enjoy getting into my tent each night. More power to those who happily use a single-person tent, but I will trade a few ounces for a substantially more comfortable experience.

If you plan to use The Two for two people, it will be tight. The average width of the tent is about 45″, so you can fit two sleeping pads inside, but there will be little room left over. But, I have easily fit my extra gear into one vestibule so each person should be able to do the same.

Durability

the two durability rating

When I think of durability, I think of how long the shelter will last and how it holds up in adverse weather. (rain, high winds, etc.)

On both counts, I think the Gossamer Gear The Two is good, not elite.

The nylon, while not the lightest material option, provides a long-lasting product without adding too many ounces. A thicker layer of nylon along the floor would have me bump the rating up a little bit. Though, I have been using The Two for a couple of years now and have not had any tears or holes develop.

I do put a little bit more thought into my site selection with The Two, particularly to avoid things like rocks, roots, uneven ground, etc.

As for holding up in weather, I have experienced multiple rainy days/nights in The Two. Being a trekking pole tent, you want to make sure that you have a nice, taut pitch, especially in less ideal weather. Having too much slack in the walls will allow water to pool up, letting the walls start to sag.

I have not experienced super windy conditions while in The Two, but considering how well it held up in rain storms, I think that will translate well to very windy conditions. Again, you would just want to ensure that you have a nice, taut pitch to maximize its durability against the weather.

Packability

the two packability rating

The Two is not quite as packable as the Hyperlite Mountain Gear or ZPacks comparable tents that I mentioned earlier, but compared to a traditional backpacking tent, you will love The Two. Being a single-wall shelter, the packed size of the tent is noticeably smaller than most other backpacking tents.

Last summer I did a weekend trip using The Two with the Gossamer Gear G4-20, and they worked together incredibly well. I was able to pack The Two into the front mesh pocket of that pack, with the stakes and poles in one of the side pockets.

Whether you like to pack your tent in the main body or on the outside like me, you will be pleased with how well The Two packs down.

Value

the two value rating

Dollar for dollar, I think The Two is among the best value tents out there.

To get a lighter tent, you will be paying top dollar. Although, The Two weighs in toward the low end of the two-person tent class. Even if you bring along every stuff sack, stake, and guy line, you will still have a tent under two pounds. Particularly noteworthy for such a roomy tent.

As with any trekking pole tent, durability and longevity can be a concern. Particularly if you are not used to the world of thin, ultra-strong materials.

The ripstop nylon construction makes for a durable material, but the 10D thickness is not quite as thick as other similar tents.

Overall

the two overall rating

This would be one of the tents I would recommend to someone looking for a two-person shelter that is lightweight and won’t break the bank.

It delivers all the standard options you need in a backpacking tent (bathtub floor, sewn-in bug netting, comes seam sealed, etc.) while keeping the weight and price to a minimum.

I view the Gossamer Gear The Two as a do a lot of things well, but not anything the best type of tent. In some instances that could be viewed as a negative, but not in this one.

Could you save 4-5 oz. with another tent? Can you get a bit more durability out of a similarly styled tent? Could you find a tent with a little bit more interior room?

The answer is yes to all of those, but you will either sacrifice another aspect of the tent or pay twice the price tag as The Two.

FAQ

With its low weight, high level of comfort and roominess, and being cheaper than most comparable single-wall tents, The Two is a great option for a backpacking tent.

Dollar for dollar, The Two is among the best values for ultralight backpacking tents.

Yes, you need two trekking poles to set up The Two. If you are not usually a trekking pole person (like myself) Gossamer Gear offers a fixed-length folding pole set designed specifically for The Two.

Conclusion

The Gossamer Gear The Two has become a staple out on the trails for backpackers looking to shed some weight from their pack. (and not their wallet)

You can find cheaper, lighter, more durable, etc. But I think you will be hard-pressed to find an ultralight shelter that gives you as much in all categories as well as The Two does.

Plus, the level of comfort that comes from the spacious interior cannot be overlooked. There is plenty of room to sprawl out to wait out an afternoon storm. Plus, enough head room for the tall people out there who are not used to being able to sit up inside their tents.

If I could only recommend one tent to someone new to the backpacking world, The Two would be among the 2-3 options I would consider suggesting. This tent packs a lot of punch at its price point, and it should be on your shortlist to try out soon.

arizona waterfall

Want a new tent for this backpacking season?

The Gossamer Gear The Two is the perfect balance of weight, cost, and quality

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