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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.