The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a luxurious, but surprisingly affordable two-person camping and backpacking tent with an extra-large interior that’s perfect for couples who want more room to spread out and relax. It has a dome shape with two doors and two vestibules for easy access and gear storage. Storage pockets in the walls and ceiling provide plenty of gear storage, while ceiling vents in the rain fly help improve ventilation and reduce internal condensation. But best of all, this tent is well-built and a solid value that should provide years of use if cared for properly.
Specs at a Glance
- People: 2
- Doors: 2
- Vestibules 2
- Colors: 5, including blue, green, orange, white, and yellow
- Type: Dome, Semi-freestanding (doors must be staked)
- Interior Floor dimensions: 91″ x 54″ (actual)
- Interior Peak Height: 42″ (actual)
- Trail Weight: 4 lbs 11.9 oz (actual); 4lbs 14 oz claimed
- Inner Tent: 28.7 oz
- Rainfly: 27.7 oz
- Poles: 19.5 oz
- Floor: 70-denier taffeta nylon
- Canopy: 40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh
- Rainfly: 40-denier nylon
- Minimum number of stakes to set up: 4
The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a double-wall two-person tent with two doors and two vestibules. The inner tent is freestanding with a single multi-hubbed pole that slots into corner and ceiling grommets for setup. The clips and poles are color-coded to make setup self-documenting. The inner tent hangs from the poles with hooks making setup quick and easy once the poles are in place. The rainfly drapes over the inner tent and connects to the corners with quick-release buckles. The only part of the tent that has to be staked down are the two vestibules which require two stakes each. I’d still recommend staking out the corners because you’ll get a more rigid structure and the tent won’t blow away if you’ve stepped out and the wind starts to blow.
The upper part of the inner tent is mesh for enhanced breathability and ventilation, while the lower half is solid for better privacy. The interior is factory seam-taped and made with 70 denier nylon, which you should be able to use without a tent footprint unless you camp on abrasive sand or rock.
All of the stakeout points on the tent have lineloc style guyline tensioners, which makes them easy to anchor and tighten without having to move your stakes. The guylines are thin cord and best staked out with tent stakes that have a hook on top. REI includes a set of generic steel stakes with the tent which are usable but comparatively heavy: do yourself a favor and don’t push them into the ground with your foot to avoid bending them.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is a spacious tent with a 54″ x 91″ interior that has enough room for wide sleeping pads and tall occupants. The floor is rectangular and not tapered so you can sleep with your heads together, at either end. There are four large mesh pockets in the corners of the tent and two gear lofts, segmented into three separate sub-pockets each, which is a lot of storage. The peak height of the interior is 42″ which is also high for a two-person tent, and sitting up or kneeling inside is easy.
The doors of the inner tents similarly oversized, with dual zippers that make them easy to open and close. They open onto large vestibules which are big enough to store gear without compromising access to the inner tent. The vestibules also have two bi-directional zippers, so you can open them partway to create a top-down opening for ventilation.
There are two kickstand-style ventilation ports over each vestibule door that you can prop open for additional airflow. They work brilliantly to reduce internal condensation by minimizing the temperature gradient between the inside and exterior of the rainfly which causes condensation. You can also reach up and close them from inside the tent if you get cold.
The vestibule doors are angled and require two stakes to anchor. These stakes provide additional support for the zippers, helping to reduce snags, and give the vestibule a corner wall and roof that deflects wind and light rain, even when the door is open. However, given their shape and design, it can be hard to tension the vestibules drumhead tight when staking them out. This is mostly cosmetic and doesn’t diminish their effectiveness in wind and rain.
Comparable Budget Backpacking Tents
|REI Passage 2||2||4 lbs 2 oz||included||$159|
|Eureka Midori 2||2||4 lbs 13 oz||no||$170|
|Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2||2||5 lbs 2.7 oz||included||$250|
|REI Half Dome Plus 2||2||4 lbs 14 oz||no||$229|
|Marmot Tungsten 2||2||4 lbs 13 oz||included||$214|
|Marmot Catalyst 2||2||4 lbs 11 oz||included||$183|
|Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 2||2||5 lbs 9 oz||no||$250|
|REI Trail Hut 2||2||4 lbs 14 oz||included||$199|
|NEMO Aurora 2P||2||4 lbs 9 oz||included||$250|
|The North Face Stormbreak 2||2||5 lbs 5 oz||no||$159|
The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a well-designed tent that provides an enormous amount of bang for your buck. While it probably won’t appeal to ultralight fast-packers, it’s spacious interior and abundant internal storage are a real eye-opener if you’ve struggled with a cramped 2-person tent in the past. The vertical sidewalls, numerous side and ceiling pockets, roof vents, and large vestibules give the tent a feeling of spaciousness that you seldom experience in other 2 person tents. Plus its interior dimensions give you enough room so you can use extra-large sleeping pads or chair kits inside for added comfort. If you plan to backpack with the Half Dome 2 Plus, I’d recommend splitting the tent into its constituent parts so they can be shared by two people or repacked in a “rounder” stuff sack that is easier to fit in a backpack than the stuff sack that the tent comes in.
All of the REI tents we’ve reviewed are excellent values and best-of-breed. If the REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a little too heavy for you to carry, we recommend the REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent which is closer to 3 lbs in weight. If you want something a little less expensive, check out the REI Passage 2. Both of these are great tents but have less interior volume than the Half Dome 2 Plus.
Disclosure: REI provided a tent for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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