I upgraded my tent recently. I’ve been using an REI Quarter Dome T2 for a few years, but the waterproof coatings on the rainfly and tent bottom were delaminating. Now I’m using a new REI Half Dome 2 Plus, so here’s a quick review.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is currently the large, 2-person “roomy” backpacking tent, and I decided on it because it’s about the same class as the Quarter Dome T2. Unfortunately, it’s about 1 lb heavier, which I wasn’t excited about. However, the extra 1 lb gains you significantly more room in length, width, and head room, which is great if you bring your pack in the tent, or when you and your backpacking partner need extra room for a four-legged friend.
With a footprint of 92″ x 56″, it’s 8″ longer and 5″ wider, and the twin vestibules are each 12″ wider, which gives a lot more room for covering gear and entering and exiting the tent comfortably.
What I like
There’s a lot to like here, but the main reason I purchased it (and continue to purchase REI tents) is that REI continues to provide a very economical solution for backpacking. Here are some items I really like on this tent:
- Attic pockets on the inside of the ceiling
- Large vestibules.
- Built-in vent stands in the rainfly.
- Simple hubbed-pole setup means that you can setup your tent quickly and only keep track of one pole.¹
- New pole design adds a significant amount of vertical room in the tent.
- The quick snaps to attach the tent to the pole are light and easy to attach and detach.
Unfortunately, the tent is not without it’s flaws. First, the tent comes with 8 stakes, but in order to adequately stake-out the rainfly, you need at least 10. Second, tent compression bags used to come standard on REI tents. This tent bag does not have a compression strap, which I do miss from the Quarter Dome T2.
I tried it out on a whitewater rafting trip to the Gauley River in West Virginia in September and it proved to be very spacious for two humans. Here are a few photos of Kaylee and I using it a few weeks ago in Uwharrie National Forest, and it was much bigger than it needed to be for a human and a pup:
Overall, it’s a fantastic 2-person tent, though for solo trips (or trips with the pup) it’s probably bigger than I really need. Your mileage may vary.
¹ Here’s a tip for tents with a hubbed-pole system: stake the tent first so it doesn’t move, then set your poles up. Super quick!