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Monday, July 15, 2024

MSR FreeLite 2 Tent Overview

The MSR FreeLite 2 is certainly one of our favourite light-weight backpacking tents for solo adventures. Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

The MSR FreeLite 2 is likely one of the lightest 2-person double-wall tents in the marketplace. It additionally has a roomy, absolutely rectangular ground, an easy-to-pitch semi-freestanding design, and offers the superb climate safety we’ve come to rely on from MSR over time. 

However how does the FreeLite 2 stack up in opposition to the opposite prime tent contenders? Can it really sleep two folks comfortably? Will its light-weight supplies maintain up over time? And in the end, is it definitely worth the pretty vital funding? 

We put the FreeLite 2 to the check in rugged circumstances to see how effectively it performs in comparison with the best-selling tents on this widespread class.

Fast Specs

MSR FreeLite 2

Good Steadiness of Weight & Livability for Solo Hikers




2 lb. 5 oz.

Dimensions (LxWxH):

84 x 50 x 39 in.



Flooring Space:

29 sq. ft.

Vestibule Space:

7.5 + 7.5 sq. ft.



Packed Dimension:

18 x 4.5 in.


  • Ultralight
  • Roomy for one
  • Two doorways/vestibules (a perk for solo hikers)
  • Handy pockets
  • Rainfly gutter prevents drippy entry

Although it’s a good match for 2, the FreeLite is spacious for One. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)



The FreeLite 2 weighs 2 kilos, 5 ounces, making it one of many lightest 2-person double-wall tents in the marketplace. The closest competing ultralight tents within the semi-freestanding class are the Massive Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 and NEMO Hornet OSMO 2  – each of which we additionally like. You’ll discover all three tents on our record of the Finest Backpacking Tents for barely completely different causes.

The FreeLite 2 is exceptionally simple to hold on path when cut up with a associate, however it’s additionally an important possibility for solo hikers since its weight is comparable (if not lighter) to lots of the prime one-person tents in the marketplace. For instance, the Massive Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 weighs in at 38 ounces, and the MSR Hubba Hubba 1 suggestions the dimensions at 39 ounces. All three of those shelters are comparable in weight and worth, however the FreeLite 2 has way more inner area.
You possibly can go even lighter by choosing a non-freestanding ultralight shelter or tarp, however these forms of tents have some downsides which might be dealbreakers for some backpackers – you’ll should handle inside condensation and they’re a bit extra cumbersome to pitch.


Saving area is almost as necessary as saving weight whenever you’re backpacking since a streamlined, non-bulky load is much more snug to hold. With the tent poles stashed in an exterior pocket, the physique and fly of the FreeLite 2 compress down very small. This makes it simple to stow away, even within the environment friendly 40-50 liter backpacks we sometimes use.

Not solely does the FreeLite pack down small however it can also match into tight campsites. – Photograph Credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

Roomy For One

The FreeLite 2 is designed as a two-person tent, however it actually shines as a solo shelter. This tent has a totally rectangular ground that doesn’t taper on the foot, so there’s loads of area to accommodate a large sleeping pad and any gear you need to stash securely contained in the tent. 

The FreeLite has fairly normal dimensions – with an 84-inch size and a peak peak of 39 inches – so it’ll be a comfortable match in case you’re taller than 6 toes. However the additional area – a few foot on either side of your pad – makes this tent really feel surprisingly spacious whenever you’re flying solo.

The modest forehead pole on the prime creates loads of shoulder and head area for one. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Simple to Pitch & Snug

The FreeLite is a semi-freestanding tent, which implies it depends on a easy pole body and 4 stakes on the corners for construction. Semi-freestanding tents are good as a result of they supply an important stability of weight financial savings, consolation, and ease of use. In contrast to a totally freestanding tent, you’ll all the time must stake out the corners of a semi-freestanding tent for a correct pitch, however we all the time stake our tent corners anyway.

With fast capturing pole ends and durable stakes, this tent is simple to pitch. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Two Doorways & Vestibules

One other helpful function of the FreeLite is its twin doorways and vestibules. Having two doorways is just about important in our ebook when sharing a tight-fitting backpacking tent with a associate, however it’s additionally a perk for solo hikers. Most one-person tents solely have one door and vestibule, however with the FreeLite you’ll get one on either side of the tent for full air flow, views, and storage.

The tent is small however the two aspect doorways are comparatively massive. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Reliable Climate Safety

The FreeLite has not allow us to down throughout testing in harsh climate circumstances. Even in a torrential multi-day downpour within the Wallowas, we felt assured on this tent due to its absolutely waterproof, seam-taped fly, double-wall design, and steep dome form that sheds water like a champ.

Take into account that the FreeLite is an ultralight shelter made for three-season circumstances and all the time do your greatest to pitch it on excessive floor in moderately sheltered websites. If you happen to try this, you’ll be pleased with its efficiency.

This tent didn’t allow us to down in moist climate when it mattered probably the most. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Rainfly Gutters

The FreeLite’s vestibule doorways have small channels to direct rain away from entry factors. This helps stop water from dripping onto you and your gear when coming into and exiting the tent. Small particulars like this really matter within the backcountry when it’s vital to maintain your camp garments and sleeping bag dry.

Good Worth

The FreeLite 2 at present retails for $450, which is aggressive with the equally outfitted NEMO Hornet 2 and Massive Agnes Tiger Wall UL2. If you happen to’ll put it to good use, a high-quality tent just like the FreeLite is effectively definitely worth the funding because it’ll final for years of journey.

The Freelite is priced competitively when in comparison with comparable tents in its class. – Photograph Credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)


Tight for Two

The FreeLite 2 will work tremendous for 2 individuals who don’t thoughts getting up shut and private, however we like more room in our 2-person tents. Many hikers even bump as much as a light-weight three-person tent for the additional sleeping pad and equipment space for storing.

Tents with longer forehead poles throughout the highest really feel extra spacious for 2 hikers sitting aspect by aspect because the sidewalls are extra vertical, much less slanted, and maximize area on the head and shoulders. The FreeLite has a comparatively brief forehead pole, which is why we prefer it higher for solo use. If you happen to principally plan to sleep two folks in your tent and also you’re in search of a bit extra headroom, the Tiger Wall UL2 is an efficient possibility, as is the very spacious NEMO Hornet OSMO 3.

There’s loads of room for one plus a ton of substances however two folks side-by-side is a good match. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Pitch Wants Consideration

Semi-freestanding fashions just like the FreeLite 2 perform greatest with a taut pitch. As a result of nylon tent materials stretch out a bit when chilly and moist, you’ll need to make sure that to re-tighten your guylines in adversarial climate circumstances. With out a taut pitch, semi-freestanding tents usually tend to blow round within the wind.

Like different comparable tents, the FreeLite can sag and look sloppy with snow, ice, and Rain. – Photograph Credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

Heavier than Some

The FreeLite is an extremely light-weight backpacking tent however it’s heavier than a number of the main non-freestanding shelters. An excellent streamlined tent just like the Zpacks Duplex weighs solely 18.5 ounces (not together with trekking poles and stakes). For some hikers, it’s effectively price coping with the drawbacks of a non-freestanding tent to cut back pack weight by over a pound. Nonetheless, the FreeLite is an efficient stability for many who prize comfort and weight financial savings equally.

Storage Pockets Missing

The pockets within the FreeLite are pretty primary, which is fairly typical for ultralight tents. There are triangular pockets on the head and a small gear loft on the prime of the tent. They’re satisfactory, and provide some group for a cellphone, headlamp, and many others., however they’re fairly minimal. We’d want a big prime pocket just like the one on the Tiger Wall to stuff extra clothes or gear and stick with it off of the ground. Although we want the FreeLite had barely higher pockets, we will’t knock it an excessive amount of since these issues would all add weight to the design.

With only a few small pockets, we want there was extra storage on this tent. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)


The FreeLite is a minimalist tent and its rainfly lacks strutted air flow ports to cut back weight. Not having built-in vents restricts the tent’s condensation management capabilities. The rainfly doorways unzip from the highest and backside which helps flow into air, nonetheless, such vents aren’t optimum throughout heavy rainfall.

The MSR FreeLite 2 is a strong light-weight one-person possibility. – Photograph credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Backside Line

The MSR FreeLite 2 is a wonderful selection for anybody seeking to cut back their pack weight with out sacrificing the conveniences and climate safety of a semi-freestanding double-wall tent.

We actually like this mannequin to be used on solo adventures, and it’s certainly one of our favourite 1-person tent selections. The FreeLite’s specs are aggressive with a number of the hottest 1-person tent choices, however it has much more room for sleeping and equipment storage. 

We really feel that the FreeLite 2 can be a bit comfortable for a lot of mountaineering pairs because of the steep slant of its sidewalls. That stated, in case you’re okay with extra restricted headroom, the absolutely rectangular ground area of the FreeLite offers sufficient room for 2 to lie down and sleep comfortably.

The FreeLite ticks lots of bins for us: It’s versatile sufficient for all types of journeys and affords an important combo of consolation, weight, ease of use, and reliable climate safety. Total, we view this as a high-quality possibility. If it’s the correct match for the kind of backpacking shelter you’re in search of, we predict you’ll adore it.

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