Gossamer Gear The Two Review
Cons: Condensation issues, hard to set-up on rocky terrain, need poles for set-up, bulkier than most
Manufacturer: Gossamer Gear
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gossamer Gear The Two is a trekking pole tent that features HUGE vestibules and large quantities of headroom and space. While its single wall construction doesn't offer the best ventilation, it provides excellent weather resistance at a good price. In the world of ultralight tents, this is a superior steal of a deal that you need to check out. No wonder it's a favorite amongst thru-hikers and backpackers that like to use trekking poles.
Wow! We are super impressed by how liveable this ultralight tent is! It's super spacious with ginormous vestibules to fit everything you need. Unfortunately, it does gather condensation (despite all the ventilation), the pockets are in an odd location, and the pull-back for the door and interior mesh is a little inconvenient. But these minor flaws pale in comparison to the luxurious space it has to offer.
When using poles that are at least 120 cm, you can sit up comfortably, fit two people easily, and store all your gear in the super spacious vestibules. One of the reasons we love and recommend this tent is because it's one that we'd feel comfortable setting up as a base camp for its luxurious amount of space. Stuck in a rainstorm? No problem! You can easily cook your meals in the vestibule, read a book, write a story, or stretch out the body.
One of our testers is 6'5, and he was able to sit up easily and layout completely without touching the sides of the tent. Our only caveat with liveability is the tent's breathability. The construction is single-walled, with a sewn-in bug liner. On the doors, no condensation builds up as there are two layers with the liner and vestibule.
However, on the walls of the tent, there is a single layer, which means moisture collects from our breath and begins to bead on this single layer along the main walls. Be prepared to deal with this issue, or open the doors to promote more ventilation and less condensation build-up.
Another caveat is the pockets. While the pockets easily fit a headlamp or phone, they are located towards the middle of the tent instead of towards the edges where you lay your head. We found this a tiny bit inconvenient as we had to sit up to reach them when looking for our headlamp during a midnight pee break. Aside from these minor criticisms, this is one of the most liveable tents out there. We love the enormous vestibules and space inside.
While this isn't the smallest or lightest of tents in the ultralight category, it still doesn't feel heavy in the pack. It comes with a single body, six stakes, extra cordage, and storage bags. All weigh just under two pounds.
The packed size is larger than the lightest of the tents, but in comparison to other backpacking tents out there, it's still relatively small. It requires two trekking poles to set-up, so this is best for those that like to hike and explore with a pole in hand. Overall, it's not the lightest of light but offers a considerable space to weight ratio.
This tent uses a heavier Nylon construction with a SilNylon finish for additional waterproofing. It does well in the wind, water, and light snow. We had the privilege of testing this tent in the deserts and mountains of the San Juans through the Winter and Spring. We pitched and slept in it through snowstorms, rains, and windy beachside backcountry spots. In all conditions, this tent held up, retaining its shape, and keeping us safe and dry.
During rain, the water wicks off, while the catenary cut promotes good drainage that doesn't build. It's important to ensure the tent is completely taut to ensure this type of performance. When taut, it does not billow or catch in the wind. The fabric does ripple and wave, but the material is heavy enough that it doesn't make a whole lot of noise. It holds its shape but does require re-tensioning once the fabric is completely drenched, which is easy with the adjustable guylines.
While this is a tent we'd recommend for three-season use (since there is only bug mesh inside), you might get caught in the occasional snowstorm. One night, we had over a foot of snow. After the storm, we noticed the walls shed the snow well, but collected a little right at the base. The walls were pinched in under the weight, but nothing we couldn't easily punch off from inside. For a light snowstorm, it'll stand up, but this is not a tent built for alpine or four-season use.
Given that this is a trekking pole set-up tent, adaptability is a bit limited. This tent needs soft ground that'll easily sink a stake to ensure a good set-up. While it does come with extra guylines for added guy points, we'd recommend bringing a few sections of cordage if you plan on camping on hard, rocky ground.
Since the tent is completely enclosed with a floor, flat, open sites are best for this tent. You'd find it hard to set it up on uneven ground or where a tautly tensioned condition is hard to achieve. It doesn't have any modular components and comes with sewn-in bug netting to keep you protected from flying and crawly critters. Overall, it's not the most adaptable tent out there because it's not freestanding and requires staking and tensioning to work well. All components it comes with should be brought on the trail with you and can't be stripped down further.
Ease of Set-Up
Every tester appreciated how easy this tent is to set-up on flat, soft ground. The construction is simple and easy to figure out without any instructions. After a few tries, we were able to set this tent up in under four minutes. Make sure your trekking poles are at least 120 cm in height. The taller the poles, the more headroom you'll get! We were able to insert a pole as tall as 150 cm for HUGE space and living room. This is a huge advantage, as many tents don't offer much flexibility in height.
To set it up, simply stake down all four sides tautly. Then, adjust your poles to 125 cm. There is a small grommet at the base of the tent that your pole tip can insert into, while the handle holder is at the top. We tested this grommet with several different poles. Many of them did not work, as the tips were too thick and the grommet was too narrow. If you purchase this tent, make sure you have a trekking pole with a tapered tip that'll lock into it nicely.
The handles are inserted into the top of the tent. From there, pull the guylines tight, peg down, and adjust all the way around. If you have taller trees around, use the additional guylines to provide more points to keep the walls from falling inward — especially in wind and rain.
This tent is of excellent price and qualified in our consideration as a best buy award winner. While it's not the lightest, it offers a nice balance of performance and excellent liveability, all at a good price. It comes highly recommended to any backpacker that doesn't mind carrying a couple of extra ounces as a tradeoff to saving a chunk of change and living in luxury. In the ultralight tent world, this fully enclosed, trekking pole tent-set up is on the lower end of the price spectrum. Its nylon construction also offers superior durability in comparison to other lighter tents that use much more delicate materials.
The Gossamer Gear The Two is a favorite amongst thru-hikers and the average backpacker for its super spacious and reliable design, which is an excellent value. While it's not the lightest option out there, it weighs in at just about two pounds, which feels like a water bottle in your backpack. It's one that we'd recommend to most friends because of its durable construction. Plus, the price is right for its excellent performance.
— Amber King