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Backcountry shelter has changed a lot in the 16 years since REI debuted the Half Dome 2. But this tent? Not so much. REI knew it had something good from the get-go: a tent that’s big enough, tough enough, and light enough, at a price that’s approachable for most backpackers.
That doesn’t mean the Half Dome hasn’t evolved. REI tinkered with this year’s design, boosting livability with a 44-inch peak height and near-vertical walls that increase elbow room. All that, and REI still managed to shave 3 ounces off the Half Dome’s fighting weight. “The biggest upgrade is the new fly configuration,” says a tester. “I love how the doors zip open from the side, rather than the middle, to create huge openings. And you can turn one side of each doorway into an awning using two adjustable trekking poles. On sunny days along Utah’s Green River, I just rolled the fly away to maximize the views.” Testers also praised webbing loops on the canopy and fly that make it easier to insert the brow-pole ends.
As in previous models, there are plenty of vents, storage pockets, and two large, 11.3-square-foot vestibules. Construction remains sturdy, and one tester says the Half Dome held up in 40-mph winds near Bishop, California. The 70-denier floor and 40-denier fly prioritize longevity over weight savings. Minor ding: You’ll need a couple extra stakes for a perfect pitch.
$229; 4 lbs. 14 oz.; Buy REI Half Dome 2 Plus Now