SlingFin Portal 2 Review
Compare to Similar Products
SlingFin Portal 2
|Price||$540 List||$374.89 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$449.96 at Evo|
Compare at 4 sellers
$329.00 at REI
|$337.46 at Evo|
Compare at 4 sellers
|Pros||Lightweight, high peak height, excellent storage pockets, detachable kickstand vents||Massive storage pockets, sturdy vestibule shape, dual-tone privacy mesh||Lightweight, good lateral headroom, large side doors, large overhead pocket||Spacious, affordable, included footprint||Lightweight, good headroom for its size, double side doors, massive storage pocket|
|Cons||Expensive, shorter length, thin rainfly||Comparatively narrow, expensive, difficult to get into stuff sack||Small vestibules, tapered footprint reduces interior space||Heavy, bulky poles||Odd door configuration, delicate materials, expensive|
|Bottom Line||With two large side doors and plenty of headroom, this lightweight tent is a great balance between comfort and weight||This tent is an exceptional balance between weight and comfort features with one of the best shapes around||A comfortable, lightweight tent for up to three people, great for a weekend or a week||This inexpensive tent is spacious enough for laid-back car camping and light enough for short to moderate backpacking trips||This is a lightweight tent for a long-distance backpacking duo that still wants the comfort of a double-wall shelter|
|Rating Categories||SlingFin Portal 2||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||REI Co-op Half Dome...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||SlingFin Portal 2||NEMO Dragonfly Osmo 2||Big Agnes Copper Sp...||REI Co-op Half Dome...||Big Agnes Tiger Wal...|
|Packaged Weight||3.18 lbs||3.29 lbs||3.88 lbs||4.82 lbs||2.50 lbs|
|Floor Area||27.45 sq ft||29 sq ft||41 sq ft||35.8 sq ft||28 sq ft|
|Packed Size (length x diameter)||14 x 5 in||19.5 x (5.5 x 3.5) in||21 x 6 in||20.5 x 7 in||18 x 5.5 in|
|Dimensions (length x width x peak height)||85 x 51/42 x 44 in||88 x 50/45 x 41 in||90 x 70 x 43 in||92 x 56 x 42 in||86 x 52/42 x 39 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||8.4 + 8.4 sq ft||10 sq ft||18 sq ft||22.5 sq ft||16 sq ft|
|Peak Height||44 in||41 in||43 in||42 in||39 in|
|Number of Doors||2||2||2||2||2|
|Number of Poles||3||1||1||1||1|
|Pole Diameter||8.7/9.3mm||8.7 mm||8.7 mm||2 mm||8.7 mm|
|Number of Pockets||7||4||5||6||4|
|Pole Material||DAC Featherlite NFL, NFL||DAC Featherlite||Aluminum||DAC featherlite NFL aluminum||DAC featherlight NFL aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||10D Nylon 66 Ripstop Sil||0D OSMO Ripstop||proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating||40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm)|
|Inner Tent Material||15D Nylon mesh||10D Nylon Ripstop||proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating||40-denier taffeta nylon||Ripstop nylon, PU coating (1200 mm), polyester mesh|
|Type||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door freestanding||Two door semi freestanding|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With 8.7/9.3mm diameter DAC Featherlite poles for durability and 10D and 20D ripstop nylon for the fly and floor, respectively, the Portal 2 is a shelter that expertly balances comfort and weight.
The SlingFin Portal 2 will have you sleeping soundly in the backcountry. Though it is a slightly below-average 85 inches in length, it makes up for it with width at the head where it matters and cuts down on weight by tapering to 42 inches at the foot. Best of all, the 44-inch peak height at the center leads the pack. With a cross pole that expands this ceiling space laterally, it makes all the difference when you and your partner need to sit up and move around at the same time.
The two side doors aren't the largest we have encountered, but they are still generous enough to make getting in and out easy. The pockets inside the Portal 2 are dynamite. With seven in total, it has the most of any model in our lineup, and they are evenly distributed throughout the tent, meaning it is easy to store and reach for your items no matter where you are.
There are some sneaky good weather resistance features built into the Portal 2. It has a standard triangle-shaped vestibule geometry, but the tent comes with outrigger attachments at the two ends of the cross pole. This makes it possible to stabilize the whole structure with two trekking poles and improves its ability to resist wind and snow.
This tent comes with two kickstand vents that prop open the fly zipper while keeping the fly in place. What makes them different from other models is that they are fully detachable, as opposed to embedded in the fly itself. Though you could certainly keep them attached, we appreciate the detail-oriented level of thought that went into keeping them separate. Furthermore, in addition to its impressive 10 external guy points, this tent comes equipped with pre-attached interior guylines at the foot, which can be tightened in windy conditions to take in any slack and minimize wind whip.
Technically, the Portal 2 can be pitched fly-first so it doesn't get soaked in the rain. It's a great thought, but in practice, we found that it is more cumbersome to do the setup work underneath the fly as opposed to just setting it up normally and moving quickly.
At 3 pounds and a couple of ounces, the Portal 2 is worth its weight. Not only is it already in the top half of the category for its low weight, but it also has weather resistance and durability features that make this figure even more impressive.
As usual, if the package is split between two people, then you will be hard-pressed to find a lighter tent that is explicitly equipped to stand up to four-season camping.
This tent also has understated durability. Though the fly and floor are relatively thin 10-denier and 20-denier ripstop nylon, respectively, it is the complement of additional features that make it stand out. The Portal comes with a second set of zipper pulls already installed so that if the main set fails (which is usually one of the first spots on a tent to become irreparably damaged), you can slide them out of the way and deploy the second set. Fortunately, we didn't need to use these during testing, but they are ready to go when needed.
The Portal 2 also has an available upgrade for heavy-duty poles if the standard 8.7mm isn't burly enough for what you have planned. Though these thicker poles are sold separately, we haven't even seen this option available in other models. And, though it seems like a small thing, the tent comes with 10 stakes, which is more than it needs for a standard pitch in calm weather conditions and enough to help batten down the hatches when you need to deploy the extra guy line.
Ease of Set-Up
The standard pitch for this tent is very similar to many other models. The pole segments in the main structure are elastic-bound and click together in a few seconds. Each of the four corners slides into a grommet at the corners of the tent, and clips connect the tent body to the poles. Simple enough.
The sleeves that hold the cross pole on the Portal are some of the easiest to attach to. We never had to wrestle or pull an excessive amount of tension to get the second side in (as is often the case with this particular feature on many models). Though the loops at the corners of the fly are color-coded, the red/black scheme is the same as the rest of the tent and somehow didn't stand out quite as much to us as other models that use color-coding, so it's not that hard to misalign the fly the first time around.
This tent is already lightweight, but somehow it seems to pack down even smaller than we expected. The included stuff stack has some of the smallest dimensions in the category — and it's not even difficult to get the whole thing back in the bag.
Similarly, the 10D fly and 15D tent are both very thin (though not too delicate) and stuff easily into the bottom of a backpack.
Should You Buy the Slingfin Portal 2?
The Portal is a lightweight and comfortable two-person tent with enough storage for all your gear inside and out. It is great for those focused on ounce-cutting but not quite ready to go with a tarp or even smaller tent. It is a pricey investment, but one that is well worth it for the pair of backcountry hikers who want to move quickly during the day and sleep well at night.
What Other Backpacking Tents Should You Consider?
If you like the features of this tent but want a little extra assurance of weather resistance and durability, we suggest the Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2. The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is an even lighter option that has a little more floor space. If you want to go even lighter and don't mind a slightly tighter space, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Solution Dye is a must-try.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More