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Gear Reviews

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Specs:
$259
7 lbs. 8 oz. (on BP Scales)
56 square feet
rei.com

Photos and text by Will Rochfort