Over the Labor Day weekend (2019), Stella and I had laid the groundwork for an awesome kayaking/camping trip that included an overnight stay at the Roaring Fork Campground. Because we were kayaking to the campground, we needed a form of shelter that we could easily transport on our kayak. Thus, our search for a tent had begun, and I decided upon the REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus tent.
Recently, a friend and coworker of mine, Dave, completed a backpacking trip up to Lake Verna inside Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). That experience has left me with the ability to write a comprehensive review for the REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus tent. This tent has been used for a kayak trip and a backpacking trip where it was strapped to my Osprey Kestrel 38 pack. On the backpacking trip, we had hiked over twenty miles in two days, so I can certainly attest that the tent travels well. The carrying weight is close to six-and-a-half pounds, which may or may not be suitable for those seeking a lighter weight option.
SET UP: One of the benefits of this tent, is the ability to pull it out from the bag and have it setup within ten minutes (the first step is to lay down the footprint). The Half Dome 3 Plus tent uses a hubbed pole assembly, which allows you to quickly place the tabs into the corners of the tent. Then connect the orange center pole, which acts as a truss. Once connected to the applicable tabs over the center of the doors, you quickly finish by connecting the outside tabs to the outer poles – and you’re done! Securing the rainfly to the top of the tent is just as quick. However, one draw back to the hubbed pole assembly is that it packs a bit awkwardly into the bag because of the “hubs”, versus a pole-only system. But that same hubbed system also provides a very sturdy structure for the tent.
DURABILITY: Weather permitting, you could completely remove the rainfly and gaze at the stars through the top of the tent since it is all mesh lining. The rainfly is designed with open vestibules to allow for air to pass through, plus there are four ceiling vents to reduce/prevent condensation. During inclement weather, the rainfly will zip up tight to provide protection against the elements.
The REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus tent is only rated for spring, summer and fall use. But, I can personally vouch that this tent can even hold up to snowy conditions, which we had experienced on our backpacking trip to Lake Verna in Oct 2019. That evening, winds had gusted in excess of thirty five mph throughout the night, in addition to snow. Upon waking, temperatures had dipped to just below zero. This tent shed the snow and the fly prevented any snow from entering the tent. Though we had not slept much on that trip, we had both been very comfortable and well protected from the elements.
CONSTRUCTION: The floor fabric of the REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus is made of durable 70-denier taffeta nylon. The canopy consist of 40-denier ripstop nylon/20-denier nylon mesh. The fly is constructed of 40-denier nylon. During setup and tear down I was not overly concerned with damaging the tent. The seam construction and the adjoining tabs are solidly sewn into the fabric.
SPACE/ROOM: The REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus tent is designed for a maximum of three people, providing slightly more than fifty square feet of floor space. However, for three adults, plus gear, the space would be tight. However for two people, perfect, there is ample room for packs, food and enough space to comfortably spread out.
BOTTOM LNE: Wether you are a first timer with setting up a tent or a seasoned professional looking to replace an older tent, the REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus tent would be a solid choice. The setup is super easy and the hubbed pole system, though slightly awkward, provides great support for both the tent and the rainfly – even in very windy conditions. I highly recommend purchasing the REI CO-op Half Dome 3 Plus Footprint as well. The footprint will provide additional protection between the ground and the tent floor.
Overall: Great Purchase
Price paid: $209.19 (25% off the Regular Price $279), Footprint $39.95
Place purchased: REI
Link to REI website: REI Co-op Half Dome 3 Plus Tent
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