Submitted by: Chris - Gambrills, MD
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Reviewed by: teenhikerTents are arguably the most important items for camping and backpacking. This makes getting the right tent that will perfectly suit your needs very important. My family and I have stuck to tents from REI for a long time, as they are very well made and are both comfortable and durable. Currently, I have the REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent. I’ve had this tent for a couple of years now and it has held up very well both on camping and backpacking trips. I really like the design of the Half Dome 2 Plus and its features make it a very good tent. Set Up I really like how easy it is to set up the tent and it usually only takes a few minutes for me to set it up by myself. The poles and the points of attachment on the tent and ground cloth are color coded, which makes determining the correct direction to lay everything out a breeze. Hooks on the side of the tent allow you to simply hook the tent onto the poles. Here’s a little extra info about the pole structure from REI: -Advanced frame design combines DAC® Pressfit poles with a unique dual-hub architecture to provide area-wide headroom with nearly vertical side and end walls -Exclusive Tension Truss architecture leverages bound seams to provide low-weight structural stability and to increase interior volume Design The tent design is very nice, as I mentioned earlier. The way that the tent attaches to the poles creates a lot of room inside the tent. The mesh windows that cover much of each side of the tent allow for maximum ventilation and the doors are built very well into the tent. There are two doors, which is great for people tenting with others because it eliminates the need for people to crawl over each other to get to their sleeping bags. The design of the doors’ shape and zippers works well, as the zippers can be used single-handedly, which makes getting in and out of the tent is very easy. REI has some things to say about the bottom of the tent: “Hybrid floor combines sealed seams and bathtub curves to create a waterproof floor that stays taut for easy door zipper operation and to maximize volume at end walls”. I find this to be very true and there is absolutely no leakage of water into the tent. There are also multiple areas inside the tent to store gear. There are two mesh pockets at one end of the tent and a mesh pocket on the roof of the tent. (The mesh also makes it easy to find your gear in the pockets). There are also a few loops that can be used to suspend gear from the top of the tent. Rainfly The rainfly is very easy to put on the tent and when staked in to the ground with guy lines, it becomes very taut. This diverts rain very nicely. Additionally, the rainfly is resistant to UV degradation. Finally, there are four ceiling vents on the rainfly. These have Velcro on them and can easily be opened or closed to control ventilation for camping in hotter weather. Additional Parts The Half Dome 2 Plus comes with guy lines and stakes, which are used to secure the tent. There is also a pole straightener tube that allows you to fix any bent poles. The poles, ground cloth, and stakes all have their own bags (the guy lines are stored with the stakes) which makes organizing the tent materials and packing/unpacking the tent a lot easier. Now, you may be wondering what the difference is between the Half Dome 2 and the Half Dome 2 Plus tent. The Half Dome 2 Plus is in fact 10 inches longer and 4 inches wider than the Half Dome 2, which makes it a better choice for people over 6 feet tall. Otherwise, the extra 10 inches is great for extra storage room for gear you don’t want to leave under the rainfly outside. The extra 4 inches on the width (although not a big difference) make the tent more comfortable for 2 or 3 people. I have never had any problems with the Half Dome 2 Plus tent and it has been a great tent for both camping and short backpacking trips. I few friends of mine also have the Half Dome 2 Plus and they have also been very happy with it. If you’re looking for a good tent for multiple uses and all weather camping, definitely take a look at this tent. It may be the one for you, too!
Q.} I am 6'7'' and an active outdoorsman year-round. Which 20ish degree bag has the most shoulder space and is still rather light?
Submitted by: Chris - Gambrills, MD
A.} To get the best answer for your question, I went to two BACKPACKER staffers who can relate: Jon Dorn and Ben Fullerton, both 6’6”. Here are a few of their three-season picks.