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BACKPACKER PHOTOS

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REI Half Dome 4 Tent

If a two-person Half Dome can win an Editors' Choice Award, can the four-person be twice as nice?
Photos and text by Will Rochfort
  • Modeled after <a href="http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-2010-rei-half-dome-2/videos/132">REI's Half Dome 2</a>, which is one of our all-time favorite two-person tents, the Half Dome 4 is also a great combination of weight, livability, and price.
  • It's tough to beat 56 square feet of living space at less than 2 lbs and $65 bucks per person. You can also easily split that weight between mom and dad for those of you looking to start bringing the kids backpacking too.
  • We fit 4 adults shoulder-to-shoulder on a long weekend in Yosemite with nary a complaint. Immense doors and ample headroom eliminated any feelings of claustrophobia, and the vestibules easily protected everyone's packs and boots during a rainstorm.
  • There's even enough space to have company over in the event it gets too cold to stay outside.  We fit five adults inside at the top of Yosemite Falls for game of cards; the sole problem occurred when the guy in the single tent didn't want to leave.
  • With an interior height of four feet, you don't have to worry about sitting up and bumping your head on the ceiling. Some of my shorter tentmates were even able to engage in some elaborate stretching; regretfully they requested it not be documented here.
  • Despite its high profile, this tent can take a beating. It endured hail and overnight gusts of 80+ mph at this campsite in the John Muir Wilderness, which is much more than I would expect from a tent in this class.
  • Multiple internal storage options kept the clutter of four folks' sundry personal effects at bay. The two middle people particularly appreciated this gear attic, as it's much more accessible to them than the corner gear pockets.
  • Three separate poles easily attach together here to create a hubbed design. The brow pole extends far enough to create nearly vertical side walls, which made a big difference for those positioned against the doors.
  • The fly didn't let in a drip of moisture after a stormy night in Yosemite, and thankfully no seam sealing was required either (it is fully taped). Two vents at the top (see photo 3) provide additional ventilation in case of a steamy and rainy evening.
  • <b>The Specs:</b> <br> $259<br> 7 lbs. 8 oz. (on BP Scales)<br> 56 square feet<br> rei.com
Modeled after <a href="http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-2010-rei-half-dome-2/videos/132">REI's Half Dome 2</a>, which is one of our all-time favorite two-person tents, the Half Dome 4 is also a great combination of weight, livability, and price.
Image 1 of 10

Modeled after REI's Half Dome 2, which is one of our all-time favorite two-person tents, the Half Dome 4 is also a great combination of weight, livability, and price.

READERS COMMENTS

Page 1

Love my HD4! The set up is so freakishly simple. They don't mention how easy it is to set up with just the footprint and fly if bugs are a non-issue. Yeah, it's a little heavy, but the price is so very nice.
— Mike

you say "the vestibules easily protected everyone's packs and boots during a rainstorm."sorry not seing it that is a tiny vestibule. Also I couldn't help notice all your pictures are of s tent in amazing places not in an actual campsite. If you are going to start shilling you should say so. you know a little disclaimer . the following is a paid advertisement.
— Thomas B.

Image 5 - WOW! Where did they get an apparently fully grown woman that's only 4-foot tall? The answer: they didn't.

The tent has 48" of interior height, yet the image shows a woman standing erect inside of it. If you look closer, her head and hands are lifting the tent top and sides up while only the floor directly under her feet remains on the ground. Too bad the cropping of the photo removed the corners of the tent from being seen. The resulting optical illusion is misleading - most adults will not be able to stand erect inside the tent.

BTW, my girlfriend is 5'1", 100 lbs. and has a similar build to the lady in the tent. If the tent lady is only 4-foot tall, then she must only weigh 75-80 lbs. Four adults of that size could easily fit into my 2-person tent!
— Anonymous

How does a single 4 person tent compare to two, two person tents for family camping? Does the extra height and ability to sit together make up for the lack of privacy and easy of caring? All of the 4 person tents I've seen make a fairly large bundle to tote around, and I'm not too sure how to split it between two people.
— rentzk

Folks,
Thanks for your comments on the tent! To answer a couple of your points:
@Rentzk: I've split this tent between two, three and four people. Personally I like the community aspect of sharing a tent with more than one person because I enjoy the company, but others prefer the privacy and not having to deal with three other people. It's really a personal preference.
@Thomas: I personally took all of those photos on gear testing trips that I scheduled and planned myself. The one of the tent under the full moon is from the top of Yosemite Falls in April (trying to catch a moonbow), the snowy one is from below Kearsarge Pass in May, and unfortunately I didn't get to include the photos from Olympic NP's coastline (which were spectacular as well). I am in no way compensated by REI for these photos, and neither is BACKPACKER. The scenery is just that good. As for the vestibule, we really did fit four packs and four pairs of boots (two in each vestibule). We even fit three of each on one side when we had to use the other for cooking while in Olympic.
@Anonymous: You're right, the camera angle is misleading, and I apologize for that. I thought the comment of the the tent being four feet tall would make it obvious that anyone over that height wouldn't be able to actually stand up, but I should have been clearer. The photo was really intended to be visual hyperbole. All the same, we still fit four full grown adults comfortably in Yosemite :)

WMR
— Will Rochfort (The Tester)


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