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REI Co-op Passage 2 Review

This basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budget
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $159 List | $159.00 at REI
Pros:  Two side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibules
Cons:  Heavy, not so stable in high wind
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 24, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Packed Size - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Passage 2 is an excellent choice in the world of budget backpacking tents. It wins our award for best overall, thanks to its comfort and ease of setup. Its two large side doors give each sleeper their own entry and exit point. The vestibules also provide plenty of storage space for the gear you don't want in the tent itself, like packs and boots. This tent is for the budget-minded backpacker who prioritizes comfort and a fast pitch. This model is a discount rockstar that we would not hesitate to take out on our next weekend adventure in the wilderness.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This tent is an all-around solid option; it's easy to pitch and comfortable to sleep in. It offers good protection from the elements and should stand up to years of use. It's a bit on the heavier side, but for short trips and car camping overnights, this model is our number one choice. The REI Passage 2 takes the top spot in our scoring and earns best overall for its comfort, easy setup, and weather resistance.

Performance Comparison


This award winner is great for lakeside camping and weekend adventures.
This award winner is great for lakeside camping and weekend adventures.

Comfort


This tent offers more comfort than most others in our review. Its 88" length accommodates even tall sleepers easily, and its 52" width fits two standard sleeping pads with a little extra space. The vestibules are also each large enough to easily protect a pack and boots. The two side D-doors are an excellent feature as well. They are easy to open and allow for each person to easily enter and exit the tent without disturbing the other. The two doors are oriented in opposite directions, so sleepers are meant to be head-to-toe.


The two side storage pockets are located at opposite corners at the head of each person. Instead of the typical mesh, they are made from an opaque white fabric that diffuses light if you need to use it to hold a lantern. We found that they are large enough to store most of our stuff sacks, socks, gloves, and lights that we needed to keep accessible, but we wish that this tent had an overhead pocket as well. There are gear loops at the top to attach some extra line or hang items that have hooks. The headroom is more than adequate, even for six-foot folks, and two people can both easily sit up at the same time. The tent does taper just a little steeply at the top as a consequence of not having a crossbar to spread out the upper canopy.

The large side doors make getting in and out really easy and can be tied back to maximize cross breeze.
The large side doors make getting in and out really easy and can be tied back to maximize cross breeze.

The composition and placement of the tent body fabric is nice as well. The mesh canopy makes for excellent open sky viewing if you remove the fly, and the sidewalls are high enough that they provide decent privacy from other people that are sharing the campsite.

The wide mesh canopy makes for some solid star gazing.
The wide mesh canopy makes for some solid star gazing.

Ease of Setup


This tent is simple to set up. It has a straightforward X-pole design; stake the corners out, slide the ends of the poles into the grommets at each corner and clip the tent clips to the poles. The fly attaches to each corner with buckle clips and can be tensioned easily. The tent and fly are symmetrical so as long as you line up either tent door with either fly door, the whole thing will pitch properly.


Instead of a hub at the point where the two poles cross, they are connected by a large hook. We did find that using the velcro pole wraps attached to the underside of the fly helped quite a bit in terms of stabilizing the tent and preserving its interior space. Otherwise, the two poles tend to get pinched together by the tension of the fly. All in all, we appreciate how quickly this tent can go up, especially for the days when you roll into camp in the rain.

With just a couple of long poles  this tent comes together in a couple of minutes.
With just a couple of long poles, this tent comes together in a couple of minutes.

Weather Resistance


The Passage 2 offers some decent weather resistance. Though its basic pole design doesn't provide the most rigid structure against the wind, the thick polyester bathtub floor, fly, and footprint offer great protection from precipitation. The fly runs low to the ground as well, so splashback onto the sides of the tent is not a problem. We also appreciate that it includes the guylines already attached; we find that we use them more this way. It comes with four standard guy points, one at each corner.


From the inside of the tent, there are nice condensation management options as well. The fly includes two large vents at the top with kickstands to prop them open. The dual zipper vestibule doors can also be unzipped to create a nice cross breeze and to increase ventilation without having to roll up or unstake any part of the fly.

The fly runs low to the ground  minimizing splashback from precipitation.
The fly runs low to the ground, minimizing splashback from precipitation.

Durability


We don't have any major concerns about the durability of this tent. The hardware is in line with other models at this price point — that is to say, you sort of get what you pay for, and what you pay for is good enough.


These parts are inexpensive because they are bulky, not because they are fragile. The tent and fly materials, poles, clips, and grommets will all get the job done for years to come. The stakes are certainly basic, and we have bent our fair share of this particular variety over the years, but as far as less durable parts go, these stakes the easiest to replace. One perk of this model is that it comes with a footprint. This not only protects sleepers from a soggy bottom but also keeps the floor from getting worn down from rocks and pierced by debris.

The tent comes with a durable ground cloth that protects the already beefy floor.
The tent comes with a durable ground cloth that protects the already beefy floor.

Weight & Packed Size


The weight and packed size of this model are what hold it back from being even more awesome. At five pounds, four ounces, it's in the scale-tipper range. However, so are many of the tents in this review. We think that there is enough to like about the Passage 2 that we wouldn't let the weight and size hold us back.


Its 8" x 18" packed size also means that it is bulky. If you are planning to take this tent out for a few nights, we certainly recommend splitting the pieces between two people. If you are primarily planning to use it for car camping, even better.


Chunky hardware like the center pole hook adds to the heft of this tent.
Chunky hardware like the center pole hook adds to the heft of this tent.

Value


This tent offers exceptional value. It is just about an average price for our budget tent review but offers performance far above that. Despite its weight, we think that however, and wherever you choose to use it, it is well worth the money. The included footprint is a real bonus and adds to what is already a good deal.

There is decent interior space for two people.
There is decent interior space for two people.

Conclusion


If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to a wallet-crushing backpacking tent, this Best Overall Award winner should be on your shortlist for consideration. It is comfortable, easy to pitch, and stays dry when the rains come. It's on the heavier, bulkier side, but that sort of comes with the territory of budget backpacking tents. We will absolutely take it on our next summer excursions, especially if we are going out with the family or some friends on a car camping adventure.

This inexpensive  livable tent is a great choice for the thrifty backpacker.
This inexpensive, livable tent is a great choice for the thrifty backpacker.

Ben Applebaum-Bauch