REI Half Dome Review

I’ll admit, I’m a gear junkie. One of my favorite items is the tent, so I tend to be quite picky.

Up for review is the REI Half Dome Tent.

Overview

The Half dome is a spacious two  man, with vertical walls for extra headroom. Average price is around 189$. Two large vestibules and a ton of interior space really make this tent it’s own. A variation of the traditional two pole system, with the addition of a horizontal pole and hub system allow for more interior room and extra durability.

Design

As far as general design goes, this guy nails it. The doors and zippers are well placed, the vestibules are the biggest I’ve ever used, and the canopy in the top of the tent allows for ample space for lamps and other get to quick items. The floor space is massive. 4  people can easily huddle up during a storm and play a game of cards. Two vents on the top, and plenty of all around ventilation means you won’t be fighting condensation on those soggy nights. It pitches fast and easy, with color coded poles and rain fly. Included a roomy cinch sack for zipping it down when packing. On a side note, it looks pretty good too.

Build

The REI tents in general tend to be built very well, and this on is no exception. Strong poles, and thick tough rain fly/vestibules make this tent stand out. The downfall is it’s a bit heavy, at over 5 1/2 pounds packed. The tents stakes are mediocre, but I won’t fret too much about that one. The materials used are durable and have held fast during some brutal storms. The lightweight mesh walls are nice on a warm breezy night.

Performance

This guy can take it. I’ve had it in some pretty rough wind storms, and it barely budged. Never have I had a tent that moved so little against the wind. The rain fly and vestibule stake out tight and don’t flap in the wind.  Condensation has never been a real problem on the trips I’ve used this tent on. I’ve never had a drop of water wiggle it’s way into this fortress either. It’s a bit heavy, but it’s worth the trade off if you want room and durability. The zippers rarely hang, and there aren’t any creaky noises from the poles in the night.  Freezing water and snow haven’t slowed down this 3 season tent either. Even after over a years use of heavy pounding, it’s holding great.

Overall.

Overall, this is a great tent. Durable, quick to pitch, reliable, and convenient. The only downfalls, it’s a bit heavy and bulky to pack. If you’re into room, and reliability, this is your tent. If you’re an ultra light kind of backpacker, you may want to spend a few more bucks on something a bit lighter. However, at around 189$, it’s really hard to beat in terms of shear value.

Highly recommended.

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4 thoughts on “REI Half Dome Review

  1. I am a gear junky my self and so far I love this tent! I got the “Plus” version that adds a few extra inches of length to the tent. This was for 2 reasons, 1 I am 6’2” and I cant stand tents where my head and/or my feet hit the tent wall all night long. And 2, when local I bring my dog, a 100 pound Great Dane so the extra foot space makes some room for him!

    This tent could not be easier to pitch and like you said it even looks kinda nice. Pictures of our big group trip in June should be funny, there will be 3 tents, all 3 of them REI Half Dome.

    I was able to get some of the weight down by removing all the stuff sacks and swapping out the stakes with MSR Mini Ground Hogs.

    So far I have used it in good weather only, I am happy to hear it has held up for you and I am excited to put it through some more abuse!

    Nice Review!

    • You know you’re stuff it seems.
      Yeah, its’ a fantastic tent. I’m actually testing out two more right now, and those reviews will be up soon.
      The Ground hogs are what I use too, just not the mini. I tend to end up in some pretty rough storms, and I need all the ground hugging I can get.
      How long are those anyway? Still 3 sided?
      It’ll take anything you throw at it (half dome).
      For easier packing, pack the poles on the outside of your bag and fold the tent inside your bag. Takes up much less room, and you don’t need the large tent stuff sack.

      • The Mini’s are identical to the full size, but only 6 inches long and thinner. So far I am happy with them.

        As for packing, I do the same thing. Tent and Fly are in the pack and the poles are lashed across my sleeping pad outside the pack. I cut out all 3 stuff sacks and saved a few ounces.

      • 6 inches should be plenty long enough in most situations. Let me know how they hold up in rough weather.
        Ah, nice. I actually slide mine behind my cinch straps vertically down the side of my pack, allowing the bottom to rest in the meshy bottle pocket on the side. Keeps them from hanging up on anything.

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