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REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent Review

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.

REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Spacious and a Great Value

The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is a spacious 2 person tent that's easy to set up with lots of storage space, gear lofts, and large vestibules. It's perfect for car camping and basecamp backpacking trips when you want more room and comfort in a package that is still light enough to carry.

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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

Tent Setup

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.

Large vestibules provide plenty.of gear storage without compromising access

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.

Pockets in the ceiling and corners provide loads of storage space for valuables

Tent Livability

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 interior of the tent is huge and dwarfs our gear, providing plenty of room to spread out or store your gear inside the tent with you,

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.

There are two kickstand ventilation ports over each door that help eliminate internal condensation.

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

 DoorsWeightFootprintPrice
REI Passage 224 lbs 13 ozno$150
MSR Elixr 225 lbsincluded$249
Big Agnes Frying Pan SL 224 lbs 5 ozincluded$250
REI Half Dome Plus 224 lbs 14 ozno$229
The North Face Talus 224 lbs 8 ozincluded$199
Marmot Catalyst 224 lbs 11 ozincluded$169
Big Agnes Blacktail 224 lbs 8 ozincluded$240
Big Agnes C-Bar 213 lbs 9 ozno$199
NEMO Galaxi 2P25 lbs 1 ozincluded$200
The North Face Stormbreak 225 lbs 5 ozno$159

Recommendation

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.

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6 comments

  1. Love my 1/2 dome 2+. Used in the north woods of MN for about 5 camping seasons now. Roomy and quick to set up/take down. We split up the rainfly and the tent body when we backpack it in. Helps to even put the weight, or one person carries the tent and the other carries the food. The angled zippers are only on the newer models, as my vestibule zippers are straight. Still enough room to stash your pack and boots overnight.

  2. Great tent for taller people. I’ve owned the Half Dome 2 Plus since 2014. I’m 6’4″ and wanted a tent with ample room to stretch without touching the end. The HD2 Plus fits the bill. Everything about it is solid – fabric, poles, etc. I’ve used it annually for weekend trips and loaned it out for several backpacking trips. The weight easily distributes between two people.
    I have a lighter tent I personally use for backpacking but it came at twice the cost. REI puts these on sale ever so often. If money is a consideration this is the best tent for taller folks.

  3. I have the last version. Obviously the vestibules/doors are different, any idea what other changes have been made? I recall the weight being a bit higher so I’m thinking lighter fabrics as well.

    • 1. There’s more mesh on the upper part of the inner tent (older versions had taffeta panels, the new version is entirely mesh except for, like, the bottom few inches.

      2. The vestibule design was changed: an additional stake-out point was added to allow it to be staked out trapezoidally.

      3. Inner doors were made bigger and have a nifty stuff-pocket in the ceiling.

      4. Sidewall angle was changed: it actually kind of slopes inward a bit (i.e. the ceiling is slightly wider than the base and has about a 1 inch overhang from side to side.)

      Gearjunkie has a fairly decent rundown of the differences between the 2018 and older version.

  4. I use both the REI Half Dome Plus 2 and Half Dome Plus 3 tents camping and backpacking several times a year. Great tents for the money and they are reliable for many years of use. The little extra weight for backpacking will be greatly appreciated in bad weather or extended trips where the extra room is greatly appreciated. Only wish the Half Dome 3 was 96 inches long like the Half Dome 2 Plus.

    • You realize that the 96″ is the length of the rainfly when set up, not the actual space in the inner tent. That’s why we measure it ourselves and list it in our specs section. I love REI, but they suffer from the same marketing spec creep that other tent makers fall into.

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