The Half Dome 2 Plus is roomy, making it an excellent choice for car camping. This would also be a good option for the occasional backpacker (and a friend), someone who's extra tall, or a couple with a small child or pet.
The REI Half Dome 2 Plus scored high in several of our performance metrics while maintaining an affordable price tag, earning it one of our Best Buy awards.
On comfort, the Half Dome 2 Plus rises above the competition. Its considerable interior space allows for much more stuff to fit inside, and room to spread it all out. It has two large roof pockets, two small side pockets, and two large vestibules that give you an extra 20.4 square feet of covered storage space.
The extra length could be the difference between a tall person's feet touching the end of the tent and getting wet from condensation — or not. The two large teardrop doors also make entering and exiting the tent a breeze.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is luxurious on the inside and out. It features two side doors, two large vestibules and plenty of interior space for 2 large people.
The Half Dome 2 Plus has lots of mesh for ventilation, but also nylon panels around the base for just a bit of privacy. We like the extra headroom this pole design offers. Its four kick-stand vents in the top of the fly keep the air flowing in the tent, but the rain stays out.
This tent has a variety of convenient pockets, both on the sides and overhead, as well as loops for hanging lanterns.
It also comes in several snazzy color selections so you can choose from antique moss, blue heaven, kabocha orange, or light spirulina — we opted for the stealthier antique moss.
Ease of Setup
Although the three-pole construction looks complicated at first, we found it to be intuitive and, after a bit of practice, relatively easy and quick to set up. Two hubs connect all three poles, one across the top and two down the sides. They have color-coded ends that match the webbing with grommets at the bottom of the tent body. Once you have the pole ends inserted into the grommets, everything else is pretty standard for setup.
The Half Dome 2 Plus' clips and poles are color coded for very easy set up.
We like the cord locks on the vestibule doors, but have difficulty getting the vestibule doors guyed out properly. The fly always looks a little floppy and is not as taut as we would like for rain and wind protection.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is adaptable in that its size allows for more flexibility. You can squeeze three small people inside in a pinch, or bring your 6'5" friend along with no problem. There is extra length, so if you bring your dog, they can sleep at your feet. The Half Dome does have a fast-pitch setup option, but that requires you to buy a separate footprint. We are not crazy about this setup, and we talk about the follies of fast-pitching in our Buying Advice Article.
The Half Dome 2 Plus fares pretty well in this metric. Though the fly touches the inner tent on the head and foot ends unless it is staked out, it does have trapezoidal vestibules, which provide more stability in heavy wind. Guy lines come included. We also noticed that water sometimes pools on the roof of the Half Dome 2 Plus when the kickstand vents are open.
This tent kept us dry in wet weather. The metal pole hubs are a little chunky, but sturdy as well. The Tarptent Double Rainbow is much less reliable in the wind than the Half Dome 2 Plus.
At bottom, the fly has 2 guy points for added wind protection, addressing a weakness of previous versions, which relied on just one.
As with the other budget tents in this review, the Half Dome 2 Plus has lower quality, polyurethane-coated fabrics that are more susceptible to degrade with repeated use. However, as long as you dry and store it properly, this should not be a problem for the first few years of its life.
The materials of the Half Dome 2 Plus are relatively durable but heavy, using sturdy fabric and quality poles.
Testing the limits of this tent. Daylight shines through after a night of wet, heavy late-winter snow in the White Mountains. The fly sagged significantly, but the inside stayed completely dry.
Weight & Packed Size
Weighing a hefty 5 pounds 5 ounces, this award winner is one of the heaviest tents we tested. Anecdotally we have heard of people taking it on long hauls, but if you are looking for a lightweight shelter, this isn't it.
On the left, the Half Dome 2 Plus has more mesh at its apex for better star gazing. On the right, an older version, discontinued in 2017, is a few inches longer.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is bulky, at 7" x 20.5". We would not want to carry this one on our backs for extended periods, but splitting it up with another person for shorter backpacking trips would be fairly reasonable, and it comes with a budget price tag.
This model (far right) is the bulkiest of the bunch.
The Half Dome 2 Plus is a great value, and it's an inexpensive tent that surpasses expectations. As long as you know what you are getting into in terms of the weight commitment, we think you will want to take this model out again and again.
This is the most luxurious tent in this review with its extra space, plentiful pockets, and excellent ventilation. It did keep us dry in the rain but would benefit from more guy lines and stakes. We recommend purchasing better quality stakes and additional cord. The Half Dome 2 Plus's value can't be beat, especially when you're looking for a tent that has extra interior room and storage space. We give it a Best Buy Award for being a livable, affordable tent.