I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The moment spring hits, it takes a lot to keep me inside.  If Andy and I could go hiking and camping every day, we would.  (Here’s to hoping our shot on the Appalachian Trail will come eventually!)  Andy is my first camping partner and from the moment we set off, we’ve had the same tent: REI Co-op Passage Two Tent.20160903_195638

  • Pros
    • This tent is extremely durable.  We’ve taken it on every camp for the past two years and it still is as good as new — It’s still waterproof and there’s no damage such as rips or tears.  It’s truly my favorite tent.
    • The price is great: Whenever you buy REI products, the price is dramatically less than brand name ones.  This tent stands at $160 so you’re talking a major price gap for comparable tents that stand at $700, $600, and $400.  No thank you.  This one is just fine.
    • The epitome of a three-season tent: It keeps us super warm in the winter (It has been below freezing outside and I’m lying inside with my sleeping bag fully unzipped).  However, it is also really cool in the summer — Opening the vents, we have never been too hot inside.
    • Never leaked or been remotely wet.  I saw only one review of a person complaining of this: Learn how to set your tent up correctly and this will never be a problem.
    • Incredibly easy to set up: There are two poles of equal distance and they cross over to the corners of the tent.  Simple.  We’ve set this up in pitch black nights in a matter of minutes.
    • Adjustable ceiling vents.  This is a pro for two different reasons: One, they are large enough to release heat inside the tent in the summer.  Two, they are small enough to easily seal to keep us really warm in the winter.
    • Two large doors so it is easy to get in and out.
    • Love the rectangular floor.  I am a symmetrical person.  I don’t want the floor coming in where my feet are supposed to go.  I want as much room as possible.
    • Minor pro: I love the green that we purchased.  It blends in well with nature, which is appreciated when we wild camp, which is just about every time.img_0087
    • This seems silly but really makes me happy: The sack for the tent, the sack of the poles, and the sack for the stakes and rope actually fit.  I have another tent the annoys me to no end because the pole sack is way too slender and short — I have to pray and force and pray some more to get the poles in and even when I do, they still stick out.

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  • Cons
    • It is extremely difficult to get the rainfly lined up.  We have spent way too much time trying to get the rainfly to lay where it is supposed to.  It is as if the fly is one size too small.
    • Super small covered areas for gear storage outside.  It’s so small I’d say it is nonexistent.
    • Could be more headroom for a two-person tent.  If we put a light-weight light in the top mesh pocket, we are constantly hitting our head on it.
    • Mesh pockets are not deep.  We are continuously knocking our small items out of the bottom ones and hitting small items out of the top one.
    • This is more a complaint of all tent-making companies: Saying a tent fits a certain amount of people, literally means lying shoulder-to-shoulder.  Therefore, if you want a one-person tent, go for a two-person; if you want a two-person tent, go for a three-person.  Point blank: What you desire is way too snug so I’d always jump one up.  We cannot fit anything beyond ourselves inside this tent.

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  • Rating: IMG_2397IMG_2397IMG_2397IMG_2397 out of Five Vistas
    Note: This review does not count the footprint.  I chose not to buy it — See more below about what we suggest buying instead!

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  • Tips for tracking down your own tent

    • I’m going to make a bold suggestion here: Do not buy footprints!  Footprints are additional tent material that is placed under the tent to prevent wear and tear on the tent floor.  Instead, buy Tyvek.  Tyvek is a plastic material (made from teeny tiny fibers) that covers buildings when they are erected.  Here’s the benefits:
      • It is extremely strong and impossible to tear.
      • It is paper-thin, which means it is so light (much lighter than a footprint).
      • Lastly, it is waterproof — Again, we are talking about what is used to cover homes and buildings so there are not leaks.
      • Tyvek normally comes in a massive roll for about $60, which is more compared to a $30 footprint; however, you can cut multiple footprints and multiple rainfly covers and whatever else you need to keep you dry against strong rain.  Tyvek will outlast any footprint, positive.
    • When buying your tent, take it apart in the store and set it up before purchasing it.  Some tents are super complex and that’s the last thing you want if you’re trying to put up a tent in the middle of the night or in a storm.  The simpler the better.
    • I mentioned above to buy one-person up than what you think you need.  (Example — Buy a two-person if you aim for one person inside; buy a three-person if you aim for two people inside.)  It sounds like you’ll have an enormous amount of extra room but in reality you won’t.  It will comfortably fit items like shoes, clothes, and other gear inside instead of feeling that you need to lie upon these items when you go to sleep.

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Happy trails!

2 thoughts on “Gear Review: Tent

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