Review: MSR FreeLite 2P Ultralight Backpacking Tent

The MSR FreeLite 2-person ultralight backpacking tent is a high-quality semi-freestanding tent built to withstand the demands of professional guides.

By: Chris Engelsman + Save to a List

Backpacking can provide solitude and a perfect time to rejuvenate your soul. With the right equipment, you can focus on the things that matter like epic vistas, babbling brooks, and sipping camp coffee as the sun rises. 

Enter MSR’s FreeLite 2-person ultralight backpacking tent. This semi-freestanding tent (needs stakes in addition to poles and to stand up), is built to handle the day-in-day-out abuse of professional guides. It’s the little details like the lightweight aluminum eyelets to secure the tent poles. And the reflective guy lines so that you don’t trip over them in the dark of night. And the Easton Syclone poles which look like carbon fiber but according to MSR, they’re aerospace composite materials that resist breaking high winds. All of this plus a durable 15D nylon ripstop rainfly, and it only weighs 3 pounds and takes up just over 4 liters in your backpack. 

Besides the durability and lightweight features of the MSR FreeLite tent, what are the creature comforts of the tent? Let me tell you. First, the large dual doors are a must when camping with two people. Who wants to climb over their partner to get out of the tent? Not me! Inside, the MSR FreeLite offers 29 square feet of floor space. Plenty of room for you, your partner, and even your dog! There are webbing loops to hang gear and a handy pocket by your head to store your essentials. Outside, two large vestibules offer up a total of 17.5 square feet of space for your backpack or other items you don’t need in your tent. The FreeLite uses a ton of mesh, which is fantastic to view the Milky Way on clear nights. 

The burrito stuff sack is ingenious and could easily be used to strap to your handlebars for a bike-packing trip. With individual stuff sacks for the pole and stakes, you can easily divvy up the MSR Freelite between you and your partner to lighten up your load. I’m 6’2,” and the only complaint is the head height is a bit lower at 36 inches compared to other tents in the same category with 39 inches.

What does all of this mean for you? Simple, the MSR FreeLite tent is going to last you a long time with proper care. It’s also going to allow you to use a smaller, lighter backpack, which makes hiking much more enjoyable. Get out there! 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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