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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.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $160 List | $159.00 at REI
Pros:  Two side doors, easy to pitch, large trapezoidal vestibules
Cons:  Doors can be annoying, heavy
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2019
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The REI Passage 2 is a great choice in the world of budget backpacking tents. It wins our award for best overall in the budget category, thanks to its comfort, ease of setup, and weather resistance. Its two large side doors make entering and exiting the tent a breeze. We are also impressed with the fly, which tensions well, and the trapezoidal vestibules, which provide plenty of storage space for gear you don't want in the tent itself, like packs and boots.

While this model is a rockstar, if you want to maximize headroom, we would recommend The North Face Stormbreak 2. However, we wouldn't hesitate to take this tent on our next weekend adventure.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award   
Price $159.00 at REI$158.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$199.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$169.00 at REI$200 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Two side doors, easy to pitch, large trapezoidal vestibulesHeadroom, large tent doors, ventilationLightweight, easy to pitchRoomy, two doors, included footprintEasy to set-up, lots of features, roomy
Cons Doors can be annoying, heavyHeavy, unsteady in high wind, cheap stakesSmall interior, single door and vestibuleSmaller vestibules, small pockets, no top ventsHeavy, flappy vestibules
Bottom Line This basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budget.This spacious tent makes the most of its dimensions and offers plenty of features that will have you camping in comfort.A budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfort.A comfortable camping tent that serves well in both the front and backcountry.This tent includes a great feature set and a spacious interior to create a model worthy of car camping luxury.
Rating Categories REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face Stormbreak 2 Big Agnes C Bar 2 Marmot Catalyst 2 Mountainsmith Morrison Evo 2
Comfort (25%)
10
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8
10
0
9
10
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4
10
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8
10
0
9
Weight (25%)
10
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6
10
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5
10
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9
10
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7
10
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6
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
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8
10
0
7
10
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7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
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9
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9
10
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8
10
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7
10
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7
Durability (10%)
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
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7
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7
Packed Size (10%)
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5
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8
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5
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6
Specs REI Co-op Passage 2 The North Face... Big Agnes C Bar 2 Marmot Catalyst 2 Mountainsmith...
Measured Packaged Weight (pounds) 5.29 5.89 3.96 5.19 5.47
Floor Area (Sq ft) 33.75 30.5 28 32.5 36
Packed Size (inches) 7 x 22 7 x 22 6 x 19 7 x 21 8 x 17
Dimensions (inches) 88 x 52 x 40 87 x 50 x 43 86 x (52 x 42) x 4 88 x 53 x 44 92 × 56 × 43
Vestibule Area (Total, Sq Ft) 18.75 19 7 16.2 19
Peak Height (inches) 40 43 41 44 45
Number of Doors 2 2 1 2 2
Number of Poles 2 4 2 3 2
Pole Diameter 8.5 mm Not provided Not provided 8.5/9 mm Not provided
Number of Pockets 4 + 2 door stuff pockets 4 3 2 + light pocket 4 + gear loft
Gear Loft Yes No No No Yes
Pole Material 7001 aluminum Aluminum DAC pressfit aluminum Velocity HD aluminum 7000 7000 Series Aluminum Alloy
Guy Points 4 4 7 4 2
Rain Fly Material Coated polyester taffeta 68D lightweight polyester taffeta, 1200 mm PU Polyester taffeta 68D polyester 68D polyester
Inner Tent Material Nylon/Taffeta Mesh 68D polyester taffeta, 1500 mm PU coating Polyester & mesh 40D/68D polyester 68D polyester
Type Freestanding Two door, freestanding Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our testing indicates that this tent is just an all-around solid option. It is 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.

Performance Comparison


The REI Passage 2 takes the top spot in our scoring and earns best overall for its comfort, easy setup, and weather resistance.

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 two side doors are always an excellent feature as well. However, in this case, the doors are oriented such that they open all the way around and are attached to the top of the tent. There are door storage pockets in the canopy (which are great for maximizing the scenery if it isn't buggy), but if you are just trying to get in and zip it up again, the door is…in the middle of the door. It becomes an inconvenience if the fly is wet and you have to contend with both the fly door and the tent door at the same time.


The storage pockets are great. There are four (or six) of them — one on each side and two overhead (in addition to the two-door stuff pockets, which can be utilized for gear as well if the doors are closed). We found that we had enough room for all of our stuff sacks, socks, gloves and lights that we needed to keep accessible. The headroom is more than adequate, even for six-foot folks. It does taper just a little steeply at the top as a consequence of not having a crossbar to spread out the upper canopy. If you are looking for exceptional headroom, check out the The North Face Stormbreak 2.

The large circular side doors are a little unusually shaped but still make getting in and out really easy.
The large circular side doors are a little unusually shaped but still make getting in and out really easy.

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

The privacy panels on the sides come about midway up the sides of the tent (a little lower at the head and foot ends).
The privacy panels on the sides come about midway up the sides of the tent (a little lower at the head and foot ends).

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 clips to the poles. The fly attaches to each corner with buckle clips, stakes out easily and can easily be tensioned — a feature that we found is surprisingly challenging to get right.


Instead of hub at the point where the two poles cross, they are connected by a large hook. If you are looking for other easy-to-pitch models, take a gander at the The North Face Stormbreak 2 or our bargain basement Best Buy Award winner REI Camp Dome 2. The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 is an excellent option with a lot to like as well, but we found its fly to be finicky.

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 of the best weather resistance in the fleet. Though its basic pole design doesn't provide the most rigid structure against the wind, the fly with its trapezoidal vestibules offers excellent protection from precipitation. It runs low to the ground as well, so splashback from the vestibule sides is not a problem. We also appreciate that a tent like this 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 decently large vents at the top with kickstands to prop them open. The dual zipper vestibule doors can also be unzipped (if it's not raining) to create a nice cross breeze and to increase ventilation without having to roll up or unstake any part of the fly.

The fly door opens up fairly wide so it is easy to get a good breeze on a humid day.
The fly door opens up fairly wide so it is easy to get a good breeze on a humid day.

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. Having said that, 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 are the easiest to replace.


For other durable models, we would point you to the The North Face Stormbreak 2 and Mountainsmith Morrison 2.

The clips and other hardware on this tent are not premium parts but they are still solid.
The clips and other hardware on this tent are not premium parts but they are still solid.

Weight & Packed Size


The weight and packed size of this model are what hold it back from being even more awesome. At 5 pounds, 5 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 7" x 22" packed size also makes it one of the bulkier models in this review. If you are planning to take this tent out for a few nights, we certainly recommend splitting the pieces between two people.

The Passage 2 (middle) beside the Big Agnes C Bar and Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight.
The Passage 2 (middle) beside the Big Agnes C Bar and Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight.

If you want a lightweight wonder to compete with some way more expensive models, check out the Big Agnes C Bar.


Best Applications


As with most budget backpacking tents, this one is slightly limited by its weight. However, we found that it is an excellent option for weekend trips and car camping. It is also a great model to have on hand if the kids want to have a sleepout in the backyard.

This tent offers nice skyward views (as long as you close up the doors  which are stored in the door stuff pockets in this image).
This tent offers nice skyward views (as long as you close up the doors, which are stored in the door stuff pockets in this image).

Value


At $160, 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.

Conclusion


If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to a $400 backpacking tent, this Best Overall Award winner should be on your short list 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.

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