REI Half Dome 2 Plus
In the never ending quest to find the best and lightest shelter types and methods, I started with the REI Half Dome 2 Plus. When I first discovered the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, it had the key features that a beginner backpacker feels are necessities; large vestibules on both left and right doors, a large rain fly that covers the entire tent with the addition of multiple pockets for all the extra unnecessary things I carried.
I have used this tent for many miles and loved every moment. The REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent is large enough for two friends to share and keep all of their belongings inside all night, without the feeling of getting too close for comfort. The tent is the perfect size for myself, wife, equipment and two 40 pound pups, with plenty of leg room.
The first adventure with the REI Half Dome 2 Plus was to Isle Royale National Park, where we got the chance to fully test the tent for 8 nights. During our trip we ran into a person using the same tent and another who owned the tent. Both truly liked their tents, but one stated that they began to grow out of the tent. With the backpack weight being close to 5 pounds, a long distance backpacker begins to search for lighter options.
The REI Half Dome 2 Plus comes with a durable rain fly that will stand up to the strongest of winds and rain, keeping you dry. With 4 large air vents that help vent condensation out the top giving you a fast and dry pack in the mornings. If the condensation begins to build up inside the tent, make sure to have the end of the rain fly stretched out and pulled away from the bug netting. The tent also comes with nice light weight aluminum stakes that make it an all-in-one ready for camping tent. REI does sell a Half Dome 2 Plus footprint, but can be replaced by the backpacker standard of Tyvek.
I would highly recommend the REI Half Dome 2 Plus for someone traveling with a partner, car camping with family, or want a very solid tent that will weather the worst storms and wind. With an affordable cost compared to similar tents on the market, I would recommend this for beginner campers and hikers. If you want a lighter option that can still fit 2 people snugly, REI offers the REI Quarter Dome.