The REI Half Dome 2 Tent is a great backpacking/kayaking tent if you’re looking for a lightweight but roomy option for the wilderness.
What We Like:
The 2010 Half Dome 2 is a redesigned version of the wildly popular earlier incarnation. Despite numerous negative (and erroneous) reviews on REI.com (many who somehow reviewed the product prior to its release), this is a solid tent. First, I wanted to replace the 10lb+ car camping tent I had been hauling along on trips with something much lighter. 5lbs was a nice amount of weight to shave off the total kayak girth.
Next, I wanted a freestanding tent. We often camp on sandbars where stakes don’t always hold well. It’s a personal preference but I like a tent to stand on its own for security in high winds (and for cleaning it out… just turn it upside down and shake).
I was also looking for the right length. I’m 6′ and actually considered getting the longer REI Half Dome 2 Plus because it adds another 10″ and thought I’d be much more comfortable. I’m glad I chose to stick with the base model as it’s plenty of room and a little lighter than the Plus model. In fact, I didn’t even think about the room I had when I was in it so I was worried for no reason. Inside, you’ll find plenty of pockets on the sides and two larger pockets on the ceiling that act as a gear loft. I added a small carabiner to the loop in the center of the ceiling to hang my headlamp from.
Setup is really easy. It’s 2 long poles with 2 hubs. The third shorter pole connects through the 2 hubs and you’re up in no time. Everything is color coded and simple to attach and adjust from the straps on the rainfly to the straps on the footprint (which you have to buy separately but I do recommend with any tent).
The 2 vestibules are roomy enough for gear. In fact, having 2 doors and 2 vestibules is awesome.
I wanted a two person tent because I like extra room and I’ll carry the added weight for comfort. If 2 people were to share this tent, it could get a bit cramped with the added gear. For a 1 person tent, it’s a mansion. Also, we didn’t experience any terribly bad storms so we’ll see how it holds up in the long run (and I will update this if my opinion changes).
The Final Word:
REI makes functional and well thought-out gear. I purchased this with the intent to test it and return it (with the great return policy) if it didn’t meet my expectations but it far exceeded them and I’m looking forward to spending many nights in it.
Sleeping Capacity: 2
Fly / footprint Pitch Weight: 3 lbs. 13 oz.
Average Minimum Weight: 5 lbs.
Average Packaged Weight: 5 lbs. 8 oz.
Floor Dimensions 88″ x 52″
Floor Area: 31.8 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area: 7.9 + 7.9 sq. ft.
Peak height: 40″
Canopy Fabric: Ripstop Nylon/Mesh
Floor Fabric: Coated Nylon Taffeta
Rainfly Fabric: Coated Polyester Taffeta
Pole Material: Aluminum DAC NSL
Packed Size: 6″ x 21″