REI Trail Hut 2 Tent Review

REI Trail Hut Tent Review

The REI Trail Hut 2 is a two-person tent double-wall tent with two doors and two vestibules. It’s exceptionally easy to set up with a freestanding dome structure and includes a ground cloth to protect the floor from abrasion. Priced at $199, it’s a great tent for car camping or short backpacking trips where you want a tent that’s a no brainer to set up, but has comfortable interior space and good internal ventilation.

REI Trail Hut 2 Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Great Value

The REI Trail Hut is a freestanding tent that's great for car camping and on the trail. Spacious and well ventilated, it's great for couples camping or when you want to bring along a furry friend. The tent comes complete with a footprint so you don't have to spend extra to buy one to protect your investment.

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Specs at a glance

  • Capacity: 2 people
  • Type: double-wall
  • Freestanding: yes
  • Doors: 2
  • Poles: 3
  • Ground cloth: Included (optional and removable)
  • Tent stakes: Included
  • Minimum trail weight: 4 lbs 14 oz
  • Floor dimensions: 88 x 52 inches
  • Peak height: 40 inches
  • Materials: PU coated polyester (66d floor and groundsheet), (68d rain fly)
  • Seam-taped: Yes
  • Hydrostatic head: 1500mm
  • For complete specs, visit REI.com

The REI Trail Hut has a simple dome-style architecture that’s pitched with three tent poles: two that criss-cross over the inner tent and a “brow” pole that’s laid perpendicular to the doors to create more interior headroom. The ends of the poles slot into grommets at the tent corners while the brow pole slots into grommets in the ceiling. The inner tent is then clipped to the poles which create the freestanding dome structure.

Horizontal brow pole helps create vertical sidewalls
Horizontal brow pole helps create vertical sidewalls

The rainfly comes with pre-attached clips that clip to the corner grommets, which really makes set up a snap. Simply align the rain fly doors with the inner tent doors and connect the corners. The rainfly only requires two tent stakes, one for each door, and you’re good to go.

The rainfly clips to buckles on the inner tent corners easing setup
The rainfly clips to buckles on the inner tent corners easing setup

The rainfly doors have a center two-way zipper, which lets you open the zippers from the top for added ventilation. There are kick-stand vents in the rain fly ceiling that let fresh air into the mesh ceiling of the inner tent and help vent moisture to reduce internal condensation. You can also reach the vents from inside of the inner tent to prop them open or close them.

The inner tent has two D-shaped doors, so you don’t have to crawl over your partner to get out at night for a pee. The tent interior is pretty spartan but there are pockets at the head ends where you can stash valuables and fragile items, like glasses, you don’t want to roll around on the floor. Ceiling hang loops are also provided for handing a headlamp. Where the inner tent really shines is on interior space, since you can fit two 25″ wide sleeping pads side by side inside and still have extra width left over. The interior is also quite long so tall people will also find it comfortable.

Kick-stand ceiling vents help prevent condensation buildup even when the tent doors are zippered closed
Kick-stand ceiling vents help prevent condensation buildup even when the tent doors are zippered closed

The two vestibules provide extra storage for gear or wet shoes you don’t want to store in the inner tent. The vestibule zippers are also bi-directional so you can unzip them from the bottom to the top or from the top to the bottom if you want more ventilation without giving up on privacy.

Comparable budget tents under $250

 DoorsWeightFootprintPrice
REI Passage 224 lbs 2 ozincluded$159
3F UL LanShan 2 Pro22 lbs 0.3 ozno$195
Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 225 lbs 2.7 ozincluded$250
REI Half Dome Plus 224 lbs 14 ozno$249
Dan Durston X-Mid 121 lb 11.7 ozno$225
Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo11 lb 10 ozno$230
Paria Outdoors Zion 2P24 lbs 2 ozincluded$170
REI Trail Hut 224 lbs 14 ozincluded$199
NEMO Aurora 2P24 lbs 9 ozincluded$250
The North Face Stormbreak 225 lbs 5 ozno$159

Recommendation

The REI Trail Hut 2 is a great tent for car camping or short backpacking trips because it is so easy to set up. It also comes with a footprint that’s pre-attached to the tent floor (though removable), so you don’t have to pay extra for one. The interior of the Trail Hut 2 is oversized, making it very comfortable for two, with plenty of room for wide sleeping pads and internal gear storage. In addition, the convenience of its freestanding structure can not be overstated, particularly if you need to camp on a tent platform or hardened tent site. At $199, it really is a good value if you want a comfortable tent without spending an arm and a leg.

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent.

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Last updated: 2021-03-07 01:14:27

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5 comments

  1. Looks like they took the REI Passage and gave it the Half Dome’s pole structure and fly, then knocked about fifty bucks off the price.

    • Yeah, sort of. It’s not a bad deal and it’s pretty huge inside.

    • The current Trail Hut 2 is basically a deluxe version of the current Passage 2 adding a cross pole to the basic X pole structure to expand the body’s ceiling. They share the same footprint and max peak height probably using the same X poles. Like many budget 2P tents, these tents are set up for a head to toe sleeping arrangement when used for two because the two doors on the tent are identical rather than mirrored. Something to consider if you plan to use this as a tent for 2. Could be good or bad depending on who you are sharing with.

      The Half Dome is a different and more unique design. It has a one piece hubbed pole structure and is a larger taller tent with many convenience features.

      In my view the only reason not to spend the extra $50 to buy a Trail Hut2 rather than an HD2 is that, currently, only the “Print” version of the HD2 is available which might be unacceptable for some…a retro somewhat garish orange desert scene on the fly. As I understand, the HD2 is getting a refresh this winter so we will have to wait and see what that brings…an included footprint is one thing I heard. Also if you needed it now you might buy a TH2 if you can only afford a Passage 2 since that tent is only currently available as part of REI’s Backpacking bundle. That includes a pad and sleeping bag you may not want for the better part of $100 more than the TH2…and the TH2 is a very much nicer tent than it’s ultra budget sibling, the Groundbreaker 2.

      • I can think of a few other reasons to not spend that extra $50, especially if you’re camping on a budget. :) And the poles aren’t hubbed either, which would appeal to some people I know, who find the Half-Dome’s hubbed poles clunky to pack away.

        Would be interested to see where the new Half-Dome ends up: whoever’s in charge of REI’s in-house gear line seems to have a talent for balancing affordability and features.

  2. I bought a Trail Hut 2 this summer as my first backpacking tent, so I have no basis for comparison. I’ve used it twice and am very happy with it. The quick, easy setup is no exaggeration and was a big reason I chose this tent, along with the weight. Had to take the tent down & pack it up during a heavy rain, and I really appreciated how fast the process was. My wife & I are both above average size (I’m 6’2″ and she’s 5’9″) and it was big enough for us, even with our 37-pound Aussie insisting on sleeping in the small space between our sleeping pads.

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