REI Half Dome 2 HC


REI Half Dome 2 HC
Page Type Gear Review
Object Title REI Half Dome 2 HC
Manufacturer REI
Page By Arthur Digbee
Page Type Jan 30, 2007 / Oct 25, 2010
Object ID 2385
Hits 39088

Product Description

This is advertised as a moderately light, three-season tent for two people. It’s certainly all that, and in fact it’s also good for winter camping (see below).

It’s roomy for its weight and class, as I am a big 6'2" and I feel that I have plenty of room inside it. I have not tried this with two big people, but I wouldn’t have any qualms about it.

The tent has a lot of features that add a little weight - - the second door, the attic, two vestibules, some pockets in the walls and miscellaneous strings hanging from places.


The tent has two poles permanently attached to an x-shaped hub. The entire pole complex almost self-assembles when you shake it out.

The tent has one color-coded corner, and if you line that color up on the footprint, tent, and fly the whole thing sets up in a snap. My only complaint here is that the contrasting colors are orange and black, so there isn’t much contrast in moonlight, requiring use of a light.


We’ve put this thing through the standard paces for a three-season tent. We were snug and dry in a strong rainstorm on Isle Royale, and the vestibule was big enough to keep both packs dry too. The bathtub floor and the seams were all watertight, and we had no problems with rainfly leaks.

With guylines, the tent held down fine in 30-mph wind, with gusts, in the Tetons. We tied down to two trees with rope instead of using the included guylines, so I can’t vouch for those.

I use the tent for winter camping in the Midwest. I sleep warm, but my son does not, and we both stay warm in this tent down to the lower 20s. We haven’t tried it below that, but I would have no qualms about going down to the mid teens.

However, the floor of the tent doesn’t provide too much insulation, even with the footprint. If I put my hand flat on the floor of the tent, I can melt snow on the other side (but the hand stays comfortable). In the 20s, I bring two sleeping pads and I'm warm as can be in a three-season Slumberjack bag.

Specs and cost


Data here are from REI, not verified but they all seem right.

Minimum weight 5 lbs. 1 oz., average weight 5 lbs. 11 oz. with stuff sack, guylines and so forth.
Floor 90 x 54 inches, 34 square feet
Vestibule area 9.4 + 9.4 square feet
Peak height 41 inches
Two doors
Canopy fabric Nylon ripstop
Floor fabric Coated nylon
Rainfly fabric Coated polyester taffeta
Number of poles 2
Pole material DAC Featherlite aluminum
Pole diameter 9.9 / 8.5 millimeters
Packed size 7 x 23 inches


REI Half Dome 2 HC Tent, $169 online at REI
REI Half Dome 2 HC Footprint, $25 online at REI

Action shots!

Since you can't simply attach images on these gear pages, I'll add them manually. If you have shots of your Half Dome in action, give me the link and I'll post them here.

Here's my Half Dome in Iceland. Here it is in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness.

Poised above a cliff in Tennessee

And, pictures from other people:
Here it is at Hidden Lake -- the lake is hidden but the tent is not!

Here it is at Mt. Berman, Lower Phillips Ridge, Crown Mountain, and Carter Lake, all on Vancouver Island.

And here it is at Ceder Peak (UT)

And here it is at Canyon de Chelly



Viewing: 1-9 of 9

Smith93 - Jan 30, 2007 10:25 pm - Voted 5/5

Awesome Tent
I bought one shortly after I started working for REI, I used it all summer and loved it. It’s easy to set up with plenty of room for two full grown adults. I even have the older version of the tent, the Half Dome Plus 2 and that was such a great tent that I didn't hesitate to buy the newer version. Plus the price is good too.

Arthur Digbee - Jan 30, 2007 10:38 pm - Voted 5/5

Re: Awesome Tent
Yeah, I have the older version too and decided to carry two half domes for the family instead of one 4-person tent.

The older one does have a slight curve in one pole sustained in a different windstorm but is still structurally sound.

Travis Atwood - Feb 1, 2007 4:06 pm - Voted 5/5

2006 Model
I bought one of these early last year and have used it a lot. It's a bit heavier than some of the more expensive tents out there, but for the price, it can't be beat. Very easy to set up and it should prove to be very durable. It also seems to vent very well. I've used it in temps ranging from well below zero up into the 70's and condensation has been minimal.

skagitteam - Feb 4, 2007 2:44 am - Voted 5/5

2006 model
This is a great tent all around, I've never had a better one for the money. My only complaint is that the vents in the fly tend to flap a bit if you set up in the wind, and the zippers on the fly can be a bit hard to reach from the inside of the tent.

Arthur Digbee - Mar 15, 2007 5:14 pm - Voted 5/5

Re: 2006 model
True, the bottom zipper on the fly is a long way out. I have long arms, so it's OK, and obviously the space buys you vestibule room.

Also, just learned the hard way not to leave the rainfly vents open if the temperature is going to drop 35 degrees overnight. It wasn't quite so toasty in the morning as it had been at night!

2skinners - Jun 17, 2007 4:32 am - Hasn't voted

Great tent!!
My wife and I have had this tent for a couple of years now and we have no complaints. It is lightweight and comfortable. It has endured wind, rain, and snow and is still in great shape. It is light enough that when we accidentally set up camp in an RV campground in Bryce Canyon, we were able to just pick it up and place it on top of our car. We got some great looks but it was much easier than breaking it back down and putting it back together again. It takes only a short time to set it up and the vestibule in bad weather does a good job of keeping things dry.

I recommend this tent!!

norco17 - Nov 25, 2009 9:45 pm - Voted 4/5

Great tent but heavy
This is a great tent for general backpacking use. I have used it for winter camping with good weather and it was fine, but I have not had it out in an extreme winter storm although I would have no problem with doing so. It is water tight in harsh rain(4inches in a couple hours)

This tent is bombproof in the wind. I have been out with larger groups with around twenty people and the half domes were the only tents that were still standing after a harsh windstorm.

My only complaint is its weight, but for the price that is to be expected. Also I had a zipper fail on the rain fly, but it was still workable for several more trips before I returned it to REI for an exchange.

I would recomend this tent.

eyeonsky - Dec 5, 2010 12:56 pm - Hasn't voted

Older Model
I have one of the older models also. Very easy setup and the 2 doors is a great feature. It held up well in some very windy gusts in the Guadalupe Mountains. It looks like the 2010 model has some nice improvements.

mlt205 - Feb 16, 2012 3:09 pm - Voted 5/5

Half Dome 2
Pros: affordable, lots of pockets, good ventilation
Cons: no window in rainfly anymore

I bought this tent in 2009 and have spent more than 50 nights in it in every state from Maine to Florida in all 4 seasons. I usually share it with my girlfriend and my 50lb Australian Cattledog. This is my second backpacking tent.

setup is nice and quick and was done with no problems for the first time in the dark without reading the instructions. I am 5'11'' 200lbs and there is plenty of room for girlfriend, dog, clothes, books, and stuff sacks without touching the rainfly. the vestibules will hold a pack and boots and still give room to move in and out. The peak vents on the fly work wonderfully and can be opened and closed from inside without needing to be a contortionist. There are 2 mesh pockets on each side of the tent and 2 pockets at the peak for a total of 6, and they hold headlamps, cell phones, a deck of cards, without pulling the tent down. Headroom is good and the 3rd pole pushes out the sides and makes it a comfortable place to wait out a rain day even with gf and dog. Our dog sleeps between the bags at our feet and nobody ends up with a wet bag from being pushed into the rainfly. When guyed out (I used paracord so I cannot comment on provided line) it has handled a day of 40 mph wind with no damage. I have had up to 4'' of snow fall overnight in the tent no issues. It is not a 4 season tent so if expecting lots of or heavy snow I would not plan on sleeping much. In more than 4'' of snow I have had to get up every 2 to 3 hours and clear snow from the bottom of the fly for ventilation and knock it off of the sides to keep them from sagging into the canopy. As long as there is no wind I have comfortably slept in this tent in 10 degrees, but any wind makes the tent pretty cold in the winter.

Because of the mesh walls, I do not recommend setting up in the rain. It gets pretty wet inside pretty quick. I have not yet figured out a reasonable way to pitch it under the fly, but I am still working on it. The storm flap for the zipper on the fly seems to channel water and dribble it all down inside the tent when you open it during or right after rain. In very hard rain I have had water splash under the the sides of the tent without the vestibules, but not so much as to cause concern. I bought this tent because of experiences I had with a borrowed one and I was incredibly disappointed to find that the clear plastic window in the rainfly has been eliminated. The fly still provides a bright cheery color and good interior light, but the lack of window has taken away being able to look at the stars at night and aim it at the sunrise for a nice morning.

Yes I would buy this tent again, over 2 years it has been a trusty and reliable piece of gear. Yes I would recommend this tent to a friend.

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