The New REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent


My old friend: The original REI Half Dome Tent.

Okay, so I don't always do well with change. Especially when I feel I’m forced into it when I was perfectly happy with what I had. I loved my cherished REI Half Dome tent. That tent had traveled with me to many interesting places. It had provided me with secure, comfortable shelter for hundreds of nights of camping for many years. I could set it up in a minute and take it down almost as quickly. It was like an old friend. 

But my old friend was showing signs of wear.  I had shipped the rainfly off for repairs twice in the past year and had begun to notice annoying leaks, drips really, from several of the seams. So when REI put its new Half Dome tent on sale, I reluctantly bought one.  I felt like a traitor! 


The new Half Dome arrived and I took an immediate dislike to it. The material was different and it had no window. The doors didn't open as wide, and the tent while longer, seemed narrower. But worst of all, I believe that it would take longer to set up because of a new design to its frame.  Why is this a problem?  Well, if you've ever tried to set up a tent in the rain or beat out an approaching storm you know that a quick setup is important.  My old tent had two arching poles that attached to opposite corners of the tent. These crossed at the top center through a single hub. To lock the poles in place you simply pulled the poles from their storage bag and grabbed the hub. A quick shake locked all the pole segments in place and you were good to go. 

This new tent has a parallel set of arching poles that connected to corners on the same side of the tent.  Each of these poles has a plastic hub at its top through which a third much shorter pole must be threaded between them.  The reason for this change in design is to give the new tent straighter sides, providing more shoulder and headroom inside. I wasn't sure if the trade-off in terms of speed versus head and shoulder room would be worth it. I have now pitched the tent twice and it is slower, but I think it will be faster with practice. That third short pole is a weak point, as I can see it getting left behind when breaking camp in a hurry or in the dark.  

I'm now in the tent for the first time.  There is no question that it is more spacious. The increased head and shoulder room does make a positive difference.  The vestibules are larger too, allowing for more covered storage than the previous tent.  And the extra length allows me to place all of my gear along a back wall with plenty of room below it for my sleeping bag and pad. 

I'm sitting comfortably in my Crazy Creek chair writing this without my head and shoulders crowded into The center of the tent. And, Despite the cold outside, it's pretty warm in here.  So, even though I don't always warm to change easily, this change may be alright.

My Initial review of the REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent.

 © Don Yackel 2020