Lightweight, strong, and reliable backpacking tent.
My last tent was an REI Half Dome and it happily traveled with me for five years. That tent kept me dry and comfortable on innumerable backpacking and camping trips and was my home for an entire summer split between Hawaii and Wyoming. It was probably the most reliable thing in my life during that time period. At the end of an extended nomadic period, the tent literally blew up outside of Moab and I ever so symbolically tossed it into the dumpster of the campground I was staying in.
To celebrate a new beginning and a new salary, I splurged on the super light Big Agnes Fly Creek Tent with dreams of hiking the John Muir Trail this summer. I had been lusting after its purported performance and scant weight for years so you can imagine how disappointed I was sitting in the tent absolutely drenched in the rainy Redwoods this Spring. The rain fly did essentially nothing and I woke up nearly floating on my sleeping pad in the middle of the tent. I couldn’t get to an REI store fast enough to exchange it for the REI Half Dome.
The Half Dome is easy to set up and plenty roomy for two people although it may be a little small for two guys. I love all the pockets in the corners and the roof, keeps the important things like headlamps, books, and the flask within reach. The rain fly is easy to secure although I haven’t tested it out in the rain yet seeing as I live in the desert. Other reviewers have said it kept them dry while also providing adequate ventilation although others have complained about it being leaky. I will update this post when I get the change to test it out in the rain.
Although the REI Half Dome is a little heavier than I would like for a backpacking trip, it is still pretty lightweight if you leave the rain fly at home or just bring along the footprint and rain fly to make a minimalist shelter. I would still like to pick up an extremely lightweight tent if I ever do the John Muir Trail. But for now, I really wanted the reliability and dependability of the REI Half Dome.
REI Half Dome Specs:
- 3-season, 2-person, backpacking tent
- Packed weight: 5 lbs. 10 oz.
- 2 side doors and 2 vestibules offer easy access and lots of storage
- Easy setup with color-coded poles and pole clips
- 4 adjustable, high-level ceiling vents reduce condensation
- Multiple storage options include corner pockets, roof pockets and hang loops
- Polyester rainfly holds a consistently taut pitch, is durable and resists UV degradation
- No-wick welded construction ensures that moisture won’t sneak through susceptible areas
- Includes guylines, stakes and pole repair tube; easy-to-stuff compression stuff sack, pole- and stake bags
Where to Buy the REI Half Dome?
- Only at REI