The MSR Freelite 2 is a lightweight double-wall tent weighing 32 oz with a rectangular floor plan that is wide enough to use with two 25″ wide sleeping pads. Newly updated in 2022, it is 9 oz lighter weight than the previous model making it suitable for couples or solo backpackers who want extra space to spread out. The tent features durable aluminum poles, a well-ventilated micromesh inner tent complete with gear lofts and media pockets, dual doors, and spacious vestibules.

Specs at a Glance

  • Minimum Trail Weight: 32 oz (910g)
  • Actual Weighed Trail Weight: 31.3 oz (881.7g)
  • Type: Semi-Freestanding
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 4
  • Double-wall: Yes
  • Doors: 2
  • Vestibules: 2
  • Poles: 2
  • Inner Tent Dimensions: 82″ x 50″x 39″ (measured)
  • Materials: 15D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield, 10D Micromesh
  • Footprint: MSR Universal 2 Footprint (sold separately)

The newly updated Freelite 2 is a semi-freestanding tent that is 9 oz lighter weight than the previous version, making it much more competitive with the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 (33 oz) and the Nemo Hornet 2 (31 oz). We particularly love the Freelite’s improved inner tent which is more spacious, better ventilated, and more livable than the previous version.

The inner tent has even more mesh than previously for enhanced ventilation and nighttime star gazing.
The inner tent has even more mesh than previously for enhanced ventilation and nighttime star gazing.

Like the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 which was also updated for 2022, the Freelite 2 boasts a truly rectangular floor plan that is wide enough for two people to use wide 25″ sleeping pads. That’s pretty unique in the lightweight tent category and one of the outstanding attributes of these updated MSR tents. That feature, together with dual doors and vestibules make this an excellent tent for couples to share.

The solid fabric is higher at the head end of the tent (top)
The solid fabric is higher at the head end of the tent (top) to prevent cold drafts from chilling you at night.

The Freelite 2 is semi-freestanding which means the inner tent is suspended under poles and two of the four corners must be partially staked out. This keeps it easy to set up while reducing the number of pole segments and added weight that would be required if it were truly freestanding like the Hubba Hubba 2. A minimum of 4 tent stakes are required to pitch the Freelite 2: two on the corners and two to stake out the side vestibules. Additional stakes and extra guylines are also included to secure the tent in windy or more exposed conditions.

The Freelite 2 comes with two tent poles: one is a 3-way hub and the other a cross-pole that is laid on top, horizontally, to increase headroom and create near-vertical sidewalls. It’d be nice if the second pole was attached to the first with a hub, but it was left off in the name of weight savings and packability. That’s an understandable compromise given the lightweight emphasis of this tent.

The short horizontal cross-pole increase interior headroom and creates near-vertical side walls.
The short horizontal cross-pole increases interior headroom and creates near-vertical sidewalls.

The interior of the tent has two built-in gear loft pockets and media pockets in the corners with media/power cord slots. The tent is sided, meaning that you need to pay attention to where the head and foot-ends of the tent are oriented so you set up the tent in the right direction.  Just remember that the “high” side of the inner tent, that’s only half-mesh is the head end. This is to prevent cold wind from chilling you at night.

The Freelite 2 comes with MSR Needle States which have specially designed heads to stake out the tent’s cord-based guyout points without slipping.
The Freelite 2 comes with MSR Needle States which have specially designed heads to stake out the tent’s cord-based guyout points without slipping.

The ends of the poles slot into aluminum grommets which can be staked out using MSR Needle stakes. MSR only bundles their needle stakes (8g each) with their tents, but it’s a big value-add because they’re lightweight, nearly indestructible and they have great holding power when use to guy out the Freelite’s corded guy-out loops.

Large side vestibule provide extra room for gear storage
Large side vestibules provide extra room for gear storage.

The inner tent has new lighter-weight zippers that are easier to find and operate in the dark. These open onto two large side vestibules that provide plenty of gear storage without blocking door access. The vestibule zippers are also bi-directional, so you can vent the top of the tent with kick-stand vents where internal water vapor collects. They’re oriented to run along the sides of the tent and not down the middle of the vestibule, making it easier to get in and out of the tent without having to crawl over your gear or brushing against a wet door.

The vestibules provide plenty of gear storage without blocking inner tent access.
The vestibules provide plenty of gear storage without blocking inner tent access.

The Freelite 2 has 15D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane & DWR floor (same as the previous model), so we recommend using a footprint if you pitch the tent on abrasive campsites or ground. MSR doesn’t sell tent-specific footprints anymore to reduce waste, but they do offer a compatible MSR Universal 2 footprint that fits the Freelite 2.

Comparable Two-Person Lightweight Tents

Recommendation

The MSR Freelite 2 is a semi-freestanding two-person camping and backpacking tent with a roomy interior that is exceptionally easy to set up. Featuring a truly rectangular floor that can fit two 25″ wide sleeping mats, near-vertical sidewalls, and dual doors, the attention to detail on this tent makes it extremely livable for two people out to enjoy a backpacking or camping trip. Weighing just 32 oz, the Freelite 2 is an outstanding tent for lightweight backpacking for couples or individuals and one that we ourselves look forward to using this spring, summer, and fall.

We also recommend checking out the 2022 MSR Freelite 1 (26 oz) and MSR Freelite 3 (38 oz) tents if weight savings is a priority. Older models of all of these tents have white rain flies, while the 2022 models have camel-colored ones.

MSR donated a tent for this review. 

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Last updated: 2022-02-27 15:08:14

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