Originally launched in 2015, Alpkit's Ordos 2 (RRP £169.99) has joined the ranks of the brand's popular backpacking tents, with scores of positive reviews online. This semi-geodesic design is a snug fit for two campers and packs down to be small and lightweight enough to work for hikers and wild campers. We popped it in a rucksack and headed for green spaces to test it out in fair weather and foul, and see if it's worthy of inclusion in our ranking of the best backpacking tents to buy now. Here's our Alpkit Ordos 2 tent review.
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Alpkit Ordos 2 review: design
Alpkit Ordos 2 review: specs
Pack size: 13 x 42cm
Pitch time: 5 minutes
Alpkit's Ordos 2 is a tent of two parts: a mesh inner tent can be used alone on hot dry nights, and also provides extra protection from insects, and an outer, waterproof flysheet can be popped over the top or pitched on its own with the tent's footprint (sold separately), saves on weight and space. This versatility is a useful feature if you want a tent that can come along on ultralight adventures when needed.
The hoop shape of the Ordos 2 is a tried-and-tested one we've seen in other backpacking tents. This semi-geodesic shape is designed to be weatherproof and fuss-free to pitch, and leaves enough room over your head to stop the tent feeling too claustrophobic, despite its small size. Once pitched, the Ordos 2 sleeps two side by side, with one door and a small porch at your head.
The Ordos 2 is available in red and green – we'd suggest choosing the green colourway if you're a keen wild camper, as it's more camouflaged in the landscape than the brighter red version.
Alpkit Ordos 2 review: pitching
The Ordos is simple to pitch, even the first time you try it – we had it ready to go in less than 10 minutes on our first attempt. The poles clip together into a pre-assembled cross shape, and it's the work of minutes to clip this frame onto the mesh inner tent. Then pop the outer fly on top (colour-coding makes this simple, and we wish all tents had this feature), peg out the corners of the tent with the provided pegs, which are pleasingly sturdy and reliable, and pull the tension cords to tighten up the tent, which helps keep things waterproof. We did notice on test that unless you're careful to pull the tent taught, some water can pool on the fabric fly.
It's just as simple to pack down the Ordos 2, and unlike some backpacking tents it's also easy to pop back in its storage bag. The packed tent is long and thin (Alpkit claims it packs down to the size of 1.5 litre water bottle, which is definitely an exaggeration on the small side!) and slides into a backpack or can be strapped to the outside of your pack.
The Ordos 2's footprint isn't included with the tent, but we think it's very much worth the £29.99 extra to add this one (even buying the tent and footprint together doesn't make this tent expensive, at under £200 for both components). The footprint helps with waterproofing and protecting the bathtub-style built-in groundsheet of the Ordos, which is quite lightweight and flimsy, and doesn't feel like it would be super durable if used on rocky ground. The footprint also provides a waterproof floor for the tent's porch, which helps make this small space more useful for storing kit and keeping it dry.
Alpkit Ordos 2 review: performance and comfort
The Ordos 2 is described as a two-person tent. While you can definitely share it with another person if needed, and there's room for two camping mats to fit side by side in the main bedroom space, there's really not much room to spare, and the bigger issue is that storage is limited to one small porch, which we found only big enough for one person's multi-day kit. That said, there's plenty of head room and the tent feels airy to sleep in, which isn't true of some very small backpacking tents. We reckon this tent is adequate for two people if you have smaller rucksacks, or positively palatial for just one person.
The Ordos 2 has a flysheet with a waterproofing rating of 3,000mm – we found it stood up to a prolonged pelting with rain at bay on test, as long as you ensure the fly is pulled tightly. The fact that you pitch the inner tent first isn't ideal for setting up in wet conditions, but it is still the work of just a few minutes to set the tent up, so things don't get too wet in the process. We were more concerned that the built-in groundsheet might let water seep in on very saturated ground, hence why we'd recommend spending extra on the footprint for added waterproofing and protection.
Ventilation is also limited to one vent and the front door, so some condensation may build up; this is a tent that you'll need to dry carefully before you put it away. High winds can also buffet the lower end of the tent around, which doesn't damage the tent but feels pretty loud and dramatic when you're tucked up inside, and means we wouldn't take the Ordos 2 into high, exposed mountain ground. Two other minor niggles – the ties for rolling up the door and mesh inner door are fiddly to use, and when brand new the tent has a strong and unpleasant plastic-y smell that takes a few days of use to fade.
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Alpkit Ordos 2 review: alternatives to consider
There's an Ordos 3 version of this tent from Alpkit that will fit three adults if you don't mind a bit of a squeeze, but that we think it's a better choice than the Ordos 2 for two people, even with a heavier weight of 2.1kg. We also rate Sierra Design's Meteor Lite 2 two-person backpacking tent, which has two doors and two porches for kit, making it a bit easier to share and more ventilated for a similar weight, at 1.63kg.
Alpkit Ordos 2 tent review: verdict
Pop Alpkit's Ordos 2 up and in minutes you've got a well-designed, waterproof backpacking tent that can fit two if you don't mind getting cosy, or that makes a very spacious home-from-home for one camper. We liked the versatility of being able to pitch just the inner or just the outer tent according to the type of adventure you're off on, and the Ordos 2 is also lightweight and packable enough to bring with you when you're travelling light. We've reviewed some better-quality and more durable backpacking tents, but they came at a higher price – the Alpkit definitely delivers good value for money at just under £200 when bought with its handy footprint.