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REI Co-op Trailmade 2 Review

A simple, nicely made, and spacious tent for beginners and short backpacking trips
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REI Co-op Trailmade 2 Review
Credit: Clark Tate
Price:  $199 List
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Manufacturer:   REI Co-op Trailmade 2
By Clark Tate ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 1, 2023
53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 5.5
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6.0
  • Space to Weight Ratio - 25% 2.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.5
  • Construction Quality - 10% 7.5

Our Verdict

A simple setup, a very reasonable price tag, and a fairly generous floor area make the REI Co-op Trailmade 2 a good choice for newer or less frequent backpackers who don't plan to go far. That's because the tent weighs 5.65 pounds. It might not sound like much, but after a few miles of carrying everything you need on your back, it starts to wear. Luckily, the tent is large enough to sleep two. It's a tight fit, but at least you can share the load. The Trailmade only has two small pockets for stashing your stuff, but it's spacious enough to tuck gear in by your feet. Or you can leave it in the vestibules. Overall, we're impressed by how well-made this tent seems, and we expect it to last.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Spacious
Well-made
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Limited headroom
Very limited pockets

Compare to Similar Products

 
rei co-op trailmade 2
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $199 List
$199.00 at REI
$429.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$299.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI$111.96 at Backcountry
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Bottom Line Simple and reliable in mild conditions, this is a good solid backpack tentThis tent offers enough room for three, without weighing you downThis comfortable, airy option can handle some abuse, though that durability adds weightWe like this comfortable tent when we aren't headed too far out, unfortunately some of the fabric seems less than robustA budget tent that tries to add convenience to your camping experience
Rating Categories REI Co-op Trailmade 2 Big Agnes Copper Sp... NEMO Aurora 2 The North Face Stor... Kelty Late Start 2
Comfort (25%)
5.5
9.0
9.5
8.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
6.0
7.5
6.0
7.0
3.0
Space to Weight Ratio (25%)
2.0
9.5
5.5
3.0
3.5
Ease of Use (15%)
7.5
9.0
6.0
6.0
4.5
Construction Quality (10%)
7.5
7.0
6.5
3.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Trailmade 2 Big Agnes Copper Sp... NEMO Aurora 2 The North Face Stor... Kelty Late Start 2
Measured Total Packaged Weight 5.65 3.81 5.51 6.27 4.93
Measured Floor Area., sq ft 30.21 39.20 30.33 29.26 32.44
Interior Floor Area to Weight Ratio, sq ft per pound 5.35 10.29 5.50 4.67 6.58
Measured Headroom Area, sq ft 4.86 25.04 25.28 16.33 9.03
Interior Headroom Area to Weight Ratio, sq ft per pound 0.86 6.57 4.59 2.60 1.83
Packed Size (length x diameter) 18 x 8.5 in 20.5 x 6 in 20 x (8 x 8) in 20 x 6.5 in 17 x 7.5 in
Dimensions (length x width x peak height) 87 x 50 x 40 in 89 x 68/59 x 43 in 84 x 52 x 44 in 86 x 49 x 43 in 86.5 x 54 x 40 in
Vestibule Area 19 sq ft 18 sq ft 9.2 + 9.2 sq ft 9.8 + 9.8 sq ft 7.9 sq ft
Peak Height 40 in 43 in 44 in 43 in 40 in
Number of Doors 2 2 2 2 1
Number of Poles 2 1 1 3 2
Pole Diameter 8.5 mm 8.7 mm 8.5 mm 8.5 mm Not provided
Pole Material Aluminum DAC Featherlite NFL Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Number of Pockets 2 8 4 4 3
Guy Points 4 4 4 4 4
Gear Loft No No No No No
Rain Fly Material Coated polyester Proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating 68D PU Polyester (1200 mm) 75D polyester, 1200 mm PU coating 68D Polyester / 1200 mm
Inner Tent Material Polyester/nylon Proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating 30D Polyester/ No-See-Um Mesh, 68D PU Polyester (1200 mm) floor
Fly Fabric Polyester,
40D polyester mesh,
75D polyester taffeta canopy,
68D polyester, 3000 mm PU coating floor
No-See-Um Mesh, 68D Polyester / 1200 mm
Type Two door freestanding Two door freestanding Two door freestanding Two door freestanding Two door freestanding

Our Analysis and Test Results

One of the least expensive backpacking tents we've tested, the Trailmade 2 is a straightforward throwback that focuses on all things functional. We appreciate that foregoing bells and whistles saves us money, which is especially important for newer backpackers who have a long list of trail-ready gear to acquire.

Performance Comparison


rei co-op trailmade 2 - the trailmade is roomy enough for two to sleep comfortably but in...
The Trailmade is roomy enough for two to sleep comfortably but in close quarters.
Credit: Clark Tate


Comfort


To gauge each tent's comfort, we measure its floor space and headroom, check for vents that increase airflow, and see how many places there are to stash gear.


The Trailmade earns only average scores in this metric. In comparison to most tents in the test, which offer at least four sizable pockets, this one provides only two, measuring just 5 x 13 inches each. And there are no internal loops to hang extra lines for additional organization. You'll have to keep most of your stuff outside, in the 19 square feet of vestibule space.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - two small pockets, one on either side of the tent, don't give you...
Two small pockets, one on either side of the tent, don't give you much in the way of storage.
Credit: Clark Tate

The Trailmade also lacks headroom. To set this tent up, you cross two identical poles in an X pattern and then hook the tent body to them. Almost all the other tents in our lineup also include a crossbar that rests horizontally across the top of the tent, holding the walls apart and creating much more space to sit up. Without it, the tent feels comparatively cramped.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - without a crosspole to pull the sidewalls apart, this tent does not...
Without a crosspole to pull the sidewalls apart, this tent does not give you much headroom.
Credit: Clark Tate

The floor space is fairly generous, though. At 87 inches long, there is space to put some gear at your feet, depending on your height. The 50-inch width works for two sleepers, but it is intimate. With two people exhaling humid air all night, opening the two vents at the top of the fly is nice. Held open by struts, they let warm, moist air escape the shelter, even in a storm.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - two vents with struts to hold them open let warm, humid air escape...
Two vents with struts to hold them open let warm, humid air escape the tent, even when it's raining.
Credit: Clark Tate

Weather Resistance


The Trailmade is a 3-season tent and isn't meant for use in the winter when the weight of snow could be too much for the poles to hold. So we tested its performance in the rain and wind.


The simple, two-pole structure doesn't give the Trailmade much strength against the wind. Four guyline points on the fly attach to the tent poles with a hook and loop strap. These provide some extra support in blustery weather, but the four paracord guylines that come with the tent do not arrive attached to it. You'll have to remember to do so before you head out into the hills.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - while the simple design is easy to set up, it doesn't provide much...
While the simple design is easy to set up, it doesn't provide much stability in a windstorm.
Credit: Clark Tate

This tent fairs better in the rain, where the sturdy coated polyester rainfly repelled water for three days during our testing period. We didn't notice any moisture on the underside of the fly or on the floor, even after pitching it on wet grass. The included footprint puts two layers of poly-nylon fabric between you and the wet ground; just be sure water doesn't funnel into it and fill up like a kiddie pool.

The Trailmade stayed dry during three days of rain.
Credit: Clark Tate

Space to Weight Ratio


To help us understand how much space you get per pound you carry, we measured each tent's square footage and the square footage where you have enough headroom to sit up straight. Then, we divided both numbers by how much the tent weighs. This provided us with some idea of what you're getting for your hard work.


While the Trailmade has an impressive 30.2 square feet of floor space, that works out to only 5.4 square feet a pound due to its hefty 5.7-pound pack weight. The best tents in the test offer 10 to 12 square feet of space per pound, though their fabric is often much thinner and requires more care.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - everything that comes with the tent, including four guylines that...
Everything that comes with the tent, including four guylines that you can attach to the fly to stabilize the poles.
Credit: Clark Tate

When you look at how much headroom you get per pound, the results are even worse — a scant 0.9 square feet per pound. One of our favorite tents provides over 6.5. If you're spending less time in the tent, though, this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - despite it's lack of headroom, the tent doesn't feel overly cramped...
Despite it's lack of headroom, the tent doesn't feel overly cramped, especially on nice days when you can go without the rainfly.
Credit: Clark Tate

Ease of Use


To compare how easy these tents are to use, we timed their setup and takedown and took note of how easy it was to enter and exit and how well features like toggles, zippers, and pockets worked.


With its straightforward design, the Trailmade is a cinch to set up. The poles, tent, and fly are all symmetrical, so keeping everything oriented correctly is easy. Just put the end of the poles in the corners of the tent, clip on the tent, toss the fly over, and fasten it down. Deconstructing the setup is similarly simple. In fact, it took us less time to set this tent up than nearly any other in the test.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - the fly clips into the poles and stakes for an easy assembly.
The fly clips into the poles and stakes for an easy assembly.
Credit: Clark Tate

Daily use is also pleasantly effortless. It only takes one hand to open the doors on the fly and the tent, and all the included features are pretty obvious. When it's raining, there isn't enough room to duck under the fly as you open the inner door, but that's a pretty minor complaint.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - the mesh door to the inner tent is long, and hangs awkwardly in the...
The mesh door to the inner tent is long, and hangs awkwardly in the tent, even after you tie it back.
Credit: Clark Tate

Construction Quality


We inspected the fabric, poles, zippers, and stakes of the Trailmade 2 to determine how sturdily it's built, which indicates how long it might last. The results are promising.


The footprint, tub bottom on the tent, and the rainfly are all made of relatively thick polyester and nylon fabric that showed no signs of wear and tear when we scraped it with the end of a paperclip (and none too gently). We could slide the metal clip between the seams, but we weren't able to pull them or bunch the fabric.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - we checked all fabrics, seams, poles, zippers, and stakes for signs...
We checked all fabrics, seams, poles, zippers, and stakes for signs of weakness. We didn't find anything concerning.
Credit: Clark Tate

The tent stakes are thick, simple hooks. This kind of old-school design has served us well in the past, and we expect it will here as well. The aluminum poles seem hardy and have fewer complexities and weak points to worry about.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - we love a room with a view, and the dark mesh on this tent is easy...
We love a room with a view, and the dark mesh on this tent is easy to see through in low light conditions and at night.
Credit: Clark Tate

Should You Buy the REI Co-op Trailmade 2?


Experienced backpackers or those planning to head out more than a few dozen miles will probably want a lighter-weight tent with more structural rigidity to withstand unexpected storms. For those who car camp and want to take their tent into the backcountry on occasion, those new to backpacking who aren't sure how much they'll like it, or those who don't mind a heavier pack and don't intend to go far, this tent is an excellent value option.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - the doors to the tent and rainfly open easily with one hand.
The doors to the tent and rainfly open easily with one hand.
Credit: Clark Tate

What Other Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?


The Kelty Late Start 2 is another spacious and likable budget backpacking tent. It didn't perform as well in our rain tests, though, so we wouldn't recommend it for any kind of wet weather. If you're willing to invest in a tent that is likely to serve your needs longer, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ weighs less than five pounds and is a more comfortable tent with much more headroom.

rei co-op trailmade 2 - a single loop in the ceiling is enough to hang a light.
A single loop in the ceiling is enough to hang a light.
Credit: Clark Tate

Clark Tate