REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Review – Your Reliable Backpacking Companion

Discover the versatile and spacious REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ tent, perfect for backpackers seeking comfort and durability in the wilderness.
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

Explore the Perfect Blend of Comfort, Durability, and Convenience with the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent
The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is a versatile and spacious tent that offers excellent comfort, durability, and ease of use, making it a top choice for backpackers.


Weather Resistance
Space & Livability
Weight & Packability
Durability & Build Quality
Ventilation & Condensation Management


  • Spacious interior
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy setup
  • Dual vestibules and doors
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Durable materials
  • Weather resistance


  • Packed size
  • Price
  • Limited color options
  • Ventilation during heavy rain


Brief Overview

The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is a versatile, lightweight tent designed for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts who seek a reliable shelter for their adventures. This tent is built to accommodate two people comfortably, with extra space for gear, making it ideal for extended trips in the wilderness. With its robust construction and thoughtful design, the Half Dome SL 2+ promises to deliver both comfort and durability in various outdoor conditions.

Initial Impressions and Context of Testing

Upon unboxing the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+, the first thing that stands out is its compact and lightweight nature. Weighing in at just over four pounds, this tent is easy to pack and carry, a crucial factor for backpackers who need to manage their load efficiently. The tent comes with a convenient carrying bag, stakes, and guy lines, ensuring that everything you need for setup is included.

For testing, we chose a multi-day backpacking trip in the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest. This region is known for its unpredictable weather, providing a perfect testing ground to evaluate the tent’s performance in rain, wind, and varying temperatures. Setting up camp in both forested areas and exposed alpine zones allowed us to thoroughly assess the Half Dome SL 2+’s versatility and resilience.

Overall, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ impresses with its blend of lightweight portability and robust construction, setting a promising foundation for a comfortable and reliable shelter on any backpacking adventure.

Technical Specifications

Key Features and Technology

The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ boasts several advanced features and technologies that enhance its usability and performance:

  • Hubbed Pole System: The tent utilizes a hubbed pole system made from lightweight yet durable aluminum. This design not only reduces the overall weight but also simplifies the setup process, allowing for quick and easy assembly.
  • Color-Coded Clips: To make setup even more intuitive, the tent features color-coded clips and poles, ensuring you can pitch your tent correctly even in low light conditions.
  • Dual Vestibules and Doors: The tent includes two large vestibules and dual doors, providing easy access and additional storage space for gear, making it ideal for two occupants.
  • Ventilation: Mesh panels on the tent body enhance airflow, reducing condensation and keeping the interior comfortable, even in warm conditions.

Design and Materials

The design and materials used in the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ reflect a balance between durability, weight, and user comfort:

  • Fabric: The tent body is made from 20-denier ripstop nylon and the rainfly from 30-denier ripstop nylon, both treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. This combination offers excellent protection against the elements while remaining lightweight.
  • Floor Material: The floor is constructed from 40-denier ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating, providing a robust barrier against ground moisture and abrasion.
  • Pole Material: The tent poles are made from DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum, known for its strength-to-weight ratio, ensuring stability without adding unnecessary weight.

Additional Specifications

  • Floor Dimensions: 90 x 54 inches (with a peak height of 42 inches), providing ample space for two campers and their gear.
  • Packed Weight: 4 pounds 7 ounces, making it a manageable load for backpackers.
  • Packed Size: 7 x 20 inches, which fits easily into most backpacking packs.
  • Ventilation: Includes large mesh panels and roof vents to promote airflow and reduce condensation.

Overall, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is meticulously designed with high-quality materials and user-friendly features, ensuring it meets the needs of avid backpackers looking for a reliable, lightweight shelter.

Performance Evaluation

Fabric Performance

  • Breathability: The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ excels in breathability, thanks to its extensive mesh panels. During our multi-day hike in the Pacific Northwest, the tent maintained excellent airflow, minimizing condensation build-up even on humid nights. The mesh upper allows for a good exchange of air while keeping insects out, making it ideal for warmer climates.
  • Waterproofing: This tent is designed to handle wet conditions with ease. The rainfly is made from 30-denier ripstop nylon with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, providing excellent waterproofing. In our tests, the tent withstood heavy rain without any leaks, and the bathtub floor, with its polyurethane coating, kept the interior dry.
  • Durability: The use of 20-denier and 40-denier ripstop nylon ensures that the tent is robust enough to handle rough terrain and frequent use. The fabric showed minimal signs of wear after our testing period, indicating good long-term durability.

Weather Resistance

  • Wind Resistance: The tent’s hubbed pole system and DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles provide strong structural integrity. During high winds in exposed alpine zones, the tent remained stable and secure, thanks to its sturdy design and well-placed guy lines.
  • Temperature Regulation: The combination of mesh panels and a solid rainfly offers flexibility in temperature regulation. On colder nights, the full-coverage rainfly helps retain warmth, while in warmer conditions, the mesh allows for significant ventilation.

Practical Features

  • Vestibules and Doors: One of the standout features of the Half Dome SL 2+ is its dual vestibules and doors. These provide easy access and ample storage space for gear, enhancing the overall camping experience. The vestibules are spacious enough to keep backpacks and boots dry without cramping the living area.
  • Interior Pockets and Loops: The tent includes several interior pockets and gear loops, which are practical for organizing small items and hanging lights or other accessories. This helps keep the living space tidy and functional.
  • Ease of Setup: The color-coded pole and clip system makes setting up the tent straightforward and quick. Even in low light conditions, the intuitive design allows for fast assembly, a crucial factor when setting up camp after a long day of hiking.
  • Ventilation: The large mesh panels and strategically placed vents on the rainfly promote excellent airflow. This design feature reduces condensation and ensures a comfortable sleeping environment, particularly in warm weather.

Overall, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ performs exceptionally well across various parameters, making it a reliable and practical choice for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its balance of breathability, waterproofing, and user-friendly features make it a standout option for those seeking a versatile and durable tent.

Fit and Comfort

Sizing and Fit

The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is designed to provide a generous amount of space for two occupants, making it a comfortable option for both solo adventurers who prefer extra room and pairs who need to share the tent. With a floor dimension of 90 x 54 inches and a peak height of 42 inches, the tent offers ample headroom and sleeping space. This ensures that even taller campers can stretch out without feeling cramped.

The tent’s interior space is optimized to accommodate sleeping pads and gear without crowding. For two people, the layout provides enough width to avoid the feeling of being on top of each other, and the dual doors prevent the need for one person to climb over the other to exit, adding to the convenience.

Comfort During Various Activities

  • Sleeping Comfort: The tent’s design facilitates a good night’s sleep, crucial for long backpacking trips. The spacious floor area allows for comfortable sleeping arrangements, whether you use a single sleeping bag or two. The smooth, durable floor fabric provides a solid base, and when paired with a quality sleeping pad, it offers excellent comfort and insulation from the ground.
  • Living Space: Beyond just sleeping, the tent offers a livable space for other activities. The dual vestibules are a significant comfort feature, allowing each occupant to have their own storage space for gear, which helps in organizing and keeping the interior uncluttered. This is particularly beneficial during rainy weather when you need to keep wet gear outside the sleeping area.
  • Ventilation and Climate Control: The Half Dome SL 2+ excels in maintaining a comfortable interior climate. The large mesh panels facilitate excellent airflow, preventing the tent from becoming stuffy, even on warm nights. The rainfly can be adjusted to improve ventilation without compromising on weather protection, ensuring a balanced environment inside the tent.
  • Entry and Exit: The dual-door design enhances convenience, allowing each camper to enter and exit the tent without disturbing the other. This feature is particularly appreciated during nighttime bathroom breaks or early morning departures.

User Experience

The overall user experience with the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is positive, with thoughtful design elements that enhance comfort. The tent’s interior pockets and gear loops add to the comfort by providing accessible storage for small items like headlamps, phones, and glasses, keeping essentials within reach. Additionally, the ease of setup and takedown contributes to a stress-free camping experience, allowing you to focus more on enjoying your adventure.

In conclusion, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ offers a well-thought-out balance of space, convenience, and comfort, making it an excellent choice for both solo backpackers and pairs looking for a reliable and comfortable shelter.

Pros and Cons


  • Spacious Interior: The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ provides ample room for two occupants, with generous floor space and a high peak height, ensuring comfort and ease of movement inside the tent.
  • Lightweight Design: Weighing just over four pounds, this tent is lightweight and easy to carry, making it an excellent choice for backpacking trips where every ounce counts.
  • Easy Setup: The hubbed pole system with color-coded clips makes setup quick and intuitive, even in low light conditions, reducing the hassle after a long day of hiking.
  • Dual Vestibules and Doors: The dual vestibules offer convenient storage for gear, while the dual doors allow for easy entry and exit without disturbing your tent mate.
  • Excellent Ventilation: Large mesh panels and strategically placed vents enhance airflow, minimizing condensation and keeping the interior comfortable in various weather conditions.
  • Durable Materials: The use of ripstop nylon and DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles ensures the tent is durable and capable of withstanding harsh outdoor conditions.
  • Weather Resistance: The tent performs well in adverse weather, with effective waterproofing and strong wind resistance, providing reliable shelter in the wilderness.


  • Packed Size: While the weight is manageable, the packed size of 7 x 20 inches may be slightly bulky for ultralight backpackers who prioritize minimal pack space.
  • Price: The Half Dome SL 2+ is a bit on the pricier side compared to some other two-person tents, which might be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Limited Color Options: The tent is available in limited color options, which may not appeal to users who prefer a wider range of aesthetic choices.
  • Ventilation During Heavy Rain: While the ventilation is generally excellent, during prolonged heavy rain, managing airflow without letting in water can be challenging if the rainfly is not adjusted correctly.

In summary, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ offers a host of advantages, from spaciousness and lightweight design to ease of setup and durability. However, it does have a few minor drawbacks, such as its packed size and price, which potential buyers should consider. Overall, its strengths make it a highly recommended choice for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Comparative Analysis

When comparing the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ with the SlingFin Portal 2 and the Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2, several differences and similarities emerge, highlighting unique strengths and potential considerations for each.

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ vs. SlingFin Portal 2

The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ offers a spacious interior with a peak height of 42 inches, which is slightly more generous than the SlingFin Portal 2. The SlingFin Portal 2 is known for its exceptional durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, thanks to its robust construction and reinforced pole structure. However, the Half Dome SL 2+ stands out with its dual vestibules and doors, providing superior convenience for two occupants.

While the SlingFin Portal 2 is slightly lighter and more compact when packed, making it a better choice for ultralight backpacking, the Half Dome SL 2+ offers a more affordable option with comparable durability and weather resistance. The ease of setup with color-coded poles and clips in the Half Dome SL 2+ also adds to its user-friendly design.

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ vs. Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2

The Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2 is another excellent competitor, known for its ultralight design and innovative features. It weighs significantly less than the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+, making it ideal for ultralight backpackers who prioritize weight above all else. The Dragonfly Osmo 2 also features large vestibules and excellent ventilation, similar to the Half Dome SL 2+.

However, the Half Dome SL 2+ offers more internal space, which can be a deciding factor for those who value roominess and comfort during extended trips. Additionally, the Half Dome SL 2+’s dual doors enhance convenience, whereas the Dragonfly Osmo 2’s single door might be less practical for two occupants. The REI tent’s price point is also generally more accessible, offering great value without compromising essential features.

In conclusion, while the SlingFin Portal 2 and Nemo Dragonfly Osmo 2 offer lightweight and durable options for specific needs, the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ provides a balanced mix of space, durability, and affordability, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of outdoor adventures.


The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ is a standout choice for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable, spacious, and user-friendly tent. Its generous interior space, dual vestibules, and doors offer exceptional comfort and convenience for two occupants, making it ideal for extended trips. The lightweight design, coupled with robust materials and easy setup, ensures that it performs well in various weather conditions, providing excellent ventilation and weather resistance.

While it may not be the lightest option on the market, its balance of durability, space, and affordability makes it a compelling choice. The Half Dome SL 2+ is particularly well-suited for those who prioritize comfort and ease of use without compromising on essential features. Overall, this tent delivers great value for its price, making it a highly recommended option for both seasoned backpackers and casual campers alike.

Further reading