View Full Version : Best 2-Person Tent at REI for $280 or Less?

Rock Lobster
03-27-2016, 14:35
My wife and I just got our REI member rebates and 20% off coupons, and last year we returned our 2-person Half Dome after we realized it wasn't waterproof anymore on the JMT last year. So we're looking to replace it. We have a budget of $280 total from our rebates and discount and must use it at REI, obviously. The main features we want are durable, comfortable (dry and spacious), and easy setup. We have a Tarptent for more major expeditions and want this one for basic weekend trips. Not too concerned about weight (last trip we carried our 4-person Coleman after remembering too late we'd returned the Half Dome!)

I was going to go right to the Half Dome and replace it with an even swap, but some of the reviews there hint that the new design is a bit flawed and that the hubs and horizontal supports tend to break. Not sure if that's a major design flaw or some isolated incidents, and I could always return it to REI, so I'm first wondering if anyone has had that experience.

I also want to compare to other tents available at REI - any recommendations? Price range is firm--we wouldn't be buying a tent right now if we didn't have the rebates.

Looking forward to the group's wisdom - Thanks!

03-27-2016, 20:16
I just bought the half dome two plus (so I am also interested in what people will say), used it less than a handful of times and never in rain yet, but I bought it after looking at all they had and found it to be the best bang for the buck, plus I got it for a steal with the deals around Christmas. But I was also looking at Sierra designs lightning if that helps.

03-28-2016, 09:54
I just went through the same decision and purchased the MSR Elixir 2. It hasn't arrived yet but from my research it seemed to be the best of the 2 person tents at REI for under $250. I was debating the Passage 2 and the Elixir. I have used the Passage 2 and feel it is a great tent, however I am hoping the Elixir is better quality, lighter and although the floor space is smaller the geometry of the tent seems like it will feel better inside since the walls are more vertical. Good luck,

B.j. Clark
03-28-2016, 10:54
I would look at the Sierra Designs tents. I think they check the boxes you described. There are a couple of last years in the outlet that are way under your max as well as one or two of this year's models. Easy entry, easy setup with good volume for a 2p tent.

05-17-2016, 08:16
Have you considered getting the Quarter Dome (https://www.rei.com/product/862423/rei-quarter-dome-2-tent?cm_mmc=aff_AL-_-156994-_-195914-_-NA&avad=195914_bb4b8f1f&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Fproduct%2F862423%2 Frei-quarter-dome-2-tent%3Fcm_mmc%3Daff_AL-_-156994-_-195914-_-NA%26avad%3D195914_bb4b8f1f&avad=195914_bb4b8f1f)? It's lighter, and with REI's Anniversary Sale starting on Friday, it should be fairly inexpensive (compared to other options).

05-17-2016, 08:50
FWIW: The pole breaking problem on the REI Half Domes is from too many people not getting the top cross poles slid all the way in on the hub so the poles were breaking at the base of the pole because they were only slid about 1/4" onto the hubs. I think REI has now updated the design to make it harder to miss-install the poles. That may be a sticker attached to the poles to remind users to follow the instructions, but, I think it is actually a slight change in design of the base of the poles that are breaking to make it harder to install them improperly.

I've never used the Half Dome, but they sure look like a great tent for the money for someone that isn't super weight conscious, but still wants a backpacking type tent. If you aren't backpacking with it, you might consider one of the bigger Half Domes or even one of the REI Camp Domes and have money left over for some other toys.

05-17-2016, 09:48
I have the Half Dome 2 plus. It is a very good tent -- very spacious and stays solid dry, which was great while holing up and riding out long rains in Maine. But it is really heavy. I agree it is a great value, and I believed that the benefits were worth the weight, but I won't take it on anything but short (2-3 day) trips now. I would say it is only a good backpacking tent if the rest of your stuff is significantly lighter, or you are only hauling a couple days of food (food weight is totally underestimated) -- I would not recommend it for any long haul or thru attempt.

Also, keep in mind that the footprint for this tent (i.e., the space it takes up on the ground) is pretty big, and that can be an issue when setting up in some areas. It's also not the easiest, fastest tent to set up, even with practice. The pole set up is a little awkward (but so am I...so there's that), and this all becomes a drag REAL quick when setting up in the rain.

05-17-2016, 09:52
Forgot to add that I am currently looking at tents from Big Sky International, in particular the Revolution 2p.

05-17-2016, 10:06
Why don't you use your TarpTent all the time? Which model is it?
I'm shopping for a tent and I can't find anything in the REI catalog that beats the TarpTents.
I would use the $280 for other needs.
By the way, there will be deeper discounts than the standard 20% coupon. I bought my Xtherm at 30% off during one of these sales a couple years ago.


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05-17-2016, 11:51
Rock Lobster - curious, where did that tent leak from? Are the seams not taped? How many nights in the tent?

05-17-2016, 12:30
If you add another $20 to the mix (and if the price/availability doesn't change), try looking at the MSR Mutha Hubba NX (https://www.rei.com/product/108055/msr-mutha-hubba-nx-tent).
The Mutha Hubba is a 3-person tent that weights about the same as the Half Dome.
The current listed price in the Outlet is ~$375. The up-coming sale includes 20% off 1 item in the outlet as well. So if the price holds, the final price would be ~$300.

05-17-2016, 14:31
I've been shopping long and hard for a new tent.
First of all, as many before me have said, "There's no Best anything."
In the $280 price range, the TarpTent Double Rainbow offers a lot of tent at a reasonable weight for 2 people. Use your REI bucks for other new gear that will lower your pack weight.


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