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REI Co-op Half Dome 4 Plus Review

REI has taken the dome tent to a new level.
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Price:  $330 List | $329.00 at REI
Pros:  Roomy feel with vertical walls, tons of storage space, good fly and vestibule.
Cons:  Not the cheapest four-man tent out there, extremity poles are a little thin.
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Wes Berkshire ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 17
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Ease of Set Up - 15% 7
  • Workmanship - 15% 7
  • Packed Size - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The REI Half Dome 4 Plus is the absolute Cadillac of dome tents. That "Plus" isn't just hyperbole. REI has taken the standard dome tent they (and many others) have churned out for years and tricked it out nicely. From a single, spider-like pole that pulls the tent out to noticeably more vertical walls (meaning noticeably more interior room), to a plethora of multi-compartment pockets and gear lofts, and a fly that gives you a healthy-sized vestibule, this tent is well equipped for whatever camping adventure you may have up your sleeve. For a smaller family tent, you could do a lot worse than the Half Dome 4 Plus.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $329.00 at REI$469.00 at REI$499.95 at Amazon$398.95 at Amazon
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$259.45 at Amazon
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Pros Roomy feel with vertical walls, tons of storage space, good fly and vestibule.Tall and long, barn-shaped, versatile front vestibule, adjustable room divider.Easy, quick set-up, expansive vestibule, spectacular storage designFast set up, built-in large vestibule, lots of ventilation, tall ceiling heightRoomy, large vestibule, simple, classic design.
Cons Not the cheapest four-man tent out there, extremity poles are a little thin.Only one vestibule, back door is more exposed to the elements, more poles than most.Odd placement of interior pockets, more expensive than many of its contemporariesCan't stand in vestibule, limited views when laying or sitting, poor duffel/stuff sackNot overly innovative, could use more storage.
Bottom Line REI has taken the dome tent to a new level.A top-notch tent with tons of room and tons of versatility.One of the best tents on the market, the Tensleep has great features that are done well.This one of the best family camping tents we have ever seen at a reasonable price.The Marmot Limestone 4P is great at keeping it simple. A high-quality tent, with a design that will be familiar to experienced campers.
Rating Categories REI Co-op Half Dome 4 Plus REI Kingdom 6 Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 The North Face Wawona 6 Marmot Limestone 4
Comfort (40%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Workmanship (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Packed Size (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs REI Co-op Half... REI Kingdom 6 Big Agnes Tensleep... The North Face... Marmot Limestone 4
Weight 7.8 lbs 19.6 lbs 17.8 lbs 20.9 lbs 10.6 lbs
Max Inside Height 4 ft 6 ft 3 in 75 in 6 ft 6 in 8 ft 4 in
Floor Dimension 7' 8" x 7' 8" 10' x 8'4" 10' x 9'5" 5' 3" x 7'
Floor Area 58.7 sq ft 83.3 sq ft 90 sq ft 86 sq ft 59.7 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows 0 1 2 2 1
Pockets 16 22 4 6 8
Number of Doors 2 2 2 3 2
Room Divider No Yes No Yes No
Vestibules 2 1 2 2 2
Vestibule Area 22.5 sq ft 29 sq ft 38.5 sq. feet (front) 10 sq. feet (back) 21 sq ft; 44.7 sq ft 21 sq ft
Packed Size 7 x 24 in 9.5 x 16.5 x 25.5 in 5 x 15 x 27 in 9.5 x 16.5 x 25.5 in 27.5 x 10 in
Floor Materials 70D Nylon taffeta Coated polyester oxford WP Polyester 75D polyester 150D Polyester
Main Tent Materials 40D Nylon ripsto/mesh Nylon/mesh Breathable polyester & polyester mesh 150D polyester taffeta 40D Polyester/mesh
Rainfly Materials 40D Nylon Coated polyester taffeta Polyester 68D polyester 68D Polyester taffeta
Number of Poles 1 Hubbed Set 2 Hubbed Sets, 1 Straight 4 4 4
Pole Material DAC Pressfit Aluminium 6061/7001 Aluminum Aluminum DAC DA17 14 mm aluminum
Pole Diameter 14.5 / 11 mm 12.8mm x 3, 11 mm x 1 14 mm
Design type Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding, dome Freestanding
Extras Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

As far as smaller, four-person family camping tents go, the REI Half Dome 4 Plus is the tent you're looking for. It's our top-rated four-person tent. It's not flashy, it just utilizes its features in the most functional way. For instance, while most dome tents have a solid slant to their walls (it's what makes the dome shape), REI chose to stretch those walls out using accessory poles to make them more vertical, thus giving you more room inside the tent. The Marmot Limestone 4P is a stable, reliable tent; and the REI Camp Dome 4 is an excellent entry-level dome tent, but the Half Dome 4 Plus stands head and shoulders above them all.

Performance Comparison


The REI Half Dome 4 Plus.
The REI Half Dome 4 Plus.

Comfort


We always have to point this out, and the Half Dome 4 Plus is no exception, the stated capacity comes with the assumption that you will be quite cozy at full capacity. While the floor space, at 58.7 square feet is just smaller than the REI Camp Dome 4 (which we also tested), it seems roomier because the poles are designed to expand the walls more vertically, cutting down on the slanted walls you've come to expect in a dome tent.


Walls that pull out more vertically than your typical dome tent make the Half Dome 4 Plus noticeably roomier.
Walls that pull out more vertically than your typical dome tent make the Half Dome 4 Plus noticeably roomier.

With a two-hub spider pole spanning the top of the tent from door to door, two longer poles then branch out on either end, rather than crisscrossing like a typical dome tent. What this means is that you end up with a more barn-shaped tent than a standard dome shape. That being said, we would be a little cramped sharing this tent with more than three reasonable-sized adults. Two adults or two adults and a child would be ideal.

The Half Dome 4 Plus has a two-hubbed pole design that gives it a more barn-like shape than the square dome you'd expect otherwise.
The Half Dome 4 Plus has a two-hubbed pole design that gives it a more barn-like shape than the square dome you'd expect otherwise.

With two doors, you should have no problem getting in and out of the Half Dome 4 Plus, regardless of where your camping buddies lay their sleeping bag. The doors also feature dual zippers that meet at the top (and a handy storage pouch sewn into the inside top of the tent to stuff the doors when fully open. This means a 360-degree door which makes taking your bulkier items like sleeping bags and mattress pads in and out of your tent an easy task. Being able to store away the fully opened door also clears up some space and potential clutter should you want to leave a door (or two) open to let an afternoon breeze pass through.

The dual zippers meet at the top of the door  which can then be stored conveniently out of the way in a dedicated door storage pouch (which then doubles as another pocket when the door is closed).
The dual zippers meet at the top of the door, which can then be stored conveniently out of the way in a dedicated door storage pouch (which then doubles as another pocket when the door is closed).

The Half Dome 4 Plus sports mesh siding from about 30% of the way up, all the way to the top, meaning you'll have no problem with fresh air, light breezes, or seeing the stars at night (when you remove the fly).

With mesh comprising the upper 60-70% of the tent  ventilation is plentiful.
With mesh comprising the upper 60-70% of the tent, ventilation is plentiful.

Storage? Oh, you won't be disappointed. In addition to the door stuff pockets (which can be utilized when the doors are zipped), there's also a good-sized pocket in every corner as well as a compartmentalized strip of pockets across the top with six individual pockets on each side of the tent. Snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, keys, jewelry, headlamps, wallets, whatever else you need; there are enough pockets for all of them. The cast of Storage Wars will be envious of all the places you have to stash things in this tent.

Rows of individual storage pockets line the crest of the ceiling.
Rows of individual storage pockets line the crest of the ceiling.

Weather Resistance


With the exception of full-on expedition tents that are built to withstand the howling winds and snow squalls of the Himalaya, the Half Dome 4 Plus is about as weather-proof as you're likely to find in a smaller family camping tent.


The extensive fly goes down nearly to the ground around the entire tent and has a nice-sized vestibule outside each door. You could easily keep your shoes and a backpack or two out of the tent, but also out of the elements given the size of the vestibules. Stakes and guy lines ensure that the fly stays taut and water won't pool up anywhere during a true downpour. Some of the larger six-man tents we tested had more luxurious vestibules, some all the way to the point of basically becoming sitting rooms unto themselves, but that also comes in a far larger and bulkier tent, and usually at a notably higher price.

Rainfly coverage on the Half Dome 4 Plus is extensive. You'd never even know this grey tarp was hiding a tent and its occupants underneath it.
Rainfly coverage on the Half Dome 4 Plus is extensive. You'd never even know this grey tarp was hiding a tent and its occupants underneath it.

Of course, in any extended rain, it's bound to get a little muggy sitting inside a tent. REI thought of that too. Dual vents on both ends of the tent give heat and humidity a way out and cooler air a way in. As an added bonus, they also make the Half Dome 4 Plus look like an alien space ship.

Dual vents  or Star Trek space cruiser  you decide.
Dual vents, or Star Trek space cruiser, you decide.

Ease of Setup


At first glance, the Half Dome 4 Plus is likely to scare you a little. The single, two-hubbed pole and the myriad of hooks do look complicated and daunting, but they're not.


While the poles setup may look complicated  it's still just a rectangular design with a pole in each corner. Color-coded poles and rivets help to clarify things  too.
While the poles setup may look complicated, it's still just a rectangular design with a pole in each corner. Color-coded poles and rivets help to clarify things, too.

REI has color-coded the poles and the rivets on the tent, so it's easy to figure out which pole end goes where. We just launched right in (do some people read all the instructions?) and had it up in no time.

It's an easy one-person job, but a faster two-person job. All told, one person could have the Half Dome 4 Plus up in roughly five minutes. Like most tents nowadays, it's a pretty simple task of getting the pole ends in and then attaching the plastic hooks that pull the tent out to its full capacity.

Packed Size


The Half Dome 4 Plus comes with the standard cylindrical storage bag, but similarly to the REI Camp Dome 4, REI has given you just a little extra girth, making the packing pretty easy. You shouldn't be huffing and puffing to cram the last few feet of the tent into the bag. We prefer to roll the tent and fly together with the poles in the middle, but folding the tent or just stuffing it like a sleeping bag in a stuff sack went equally easily.


From top to bottom  the Marmot Limestone 4P  the REI Camp Dome 4  and the REI Half Dome 4 Plus. All packed  post-use.
From top to bottom, the Marmot Limestone 4P, the REI Camp Dome 4, and the REI Half Dome 4 Plus. All packed, post-use.

As we also noted with the Camp Dome, at just over seven pounds, you could take this on short overnight backpacking trips too. Hardcore through-hikers will roll their eyes, but for a beginner backpacking trip, where you're not covering 20+ miles a day over months, the Half Dome 4 Plus would provide an enviable amount of comfort and space in the backcountry.

Workmanship


We found the Half Dome 4 Plus to meet our needs durability-wise. The 70-denier nylon floor is thick enough to keep all but the most jagged rocks from poking through, while the 40-denier nylon sides will easily hold their own through the expected pulling and shifting of set-up and takedown.


The black poles that run to the ground corners were slightly thinner than the orange spine pole. Big deal? Probably not  but worth noting.
The black poles that run to the ground corners were slightly thinner than the orange spine pole. Big deal? Probably not, but worth noting.

The only minor thing we noticed was that the black poles that come off the end of the main, two-hub pole were a little thinner than some we tested. That's not to say they were flimsy or wouldn't hold up just fine for a good many years, it just caught our attention as something we could see getting warped with extended use. Of course, the Half Dome 4 Plus, like all REI products, comes with a one-year full-refund guarantee, and beyond that, REI repairs anything that goes wrong at a reasonable rate, so if our slight fears do come to fruition, you'll still be in good hands.

Value


At $329, the Half Dome 4 Plus isn't the bargain basement tent you're going to pick up on the cheap. It also doesn't perform like that level of a tent. It's most obvious comparison in our testing is the REI Camp Dome 4, which comes in at a healthy $130 less than the Half Dome. That being said, that extra $130 delivers. For the features and small, thoughtful extra you get out of the Half Dome, we think it's worth the upgraded price. It's certainly a good value when you compare similar, small, family tents from the larger manufacturers.

Conclusion


The REI Half Dome 4 Plus is a feature-heavy, dare we say luxury tent and a more modest price than you'd expect.


Wes Berkshire