REI Passage 2 Backpacking Tent

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Ohhh, my very first backpacking tent... that I never actually took backpacking! I still did get about ~1 week of usage out of it, and have some thoughts, so read on for my take!

Name: REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent

Specs: 

  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Seasons: 3-season
  • Size: 2 person
  • Doors: 2
  • Weight: 5 lbs, 3 oz
  • Poles: 2, aluminum
  • Tent material: Polyester
  • Set-up: Freestanding
  • MSRP: $160

What I Like:

  • Ease of set-up: If you've never, ever set up a tent before, it literally doesn't get easier than this. It take about 2 minutes to set up. The poles are laid diagonally across the body, just snap the hooks to the poles and push the poles up and click them into the reinforced holes and you're set!
  • Shape & Space: The rectangular shape without any taper is really nice and makes the tent feel so much roomier. It's nice to have plenty of room at your feet for extra gear or your pack. This also makes it easier to actually have 2 people use this tent. It is a little cozy, but having used this tent with another person for almost a week, it really wasn't that bad. 
  • Durability: So, I haven't used this tent that much. But, I can tell because of the material that this is definitely a heavy-duty backpacking tent and can take a beating. I can't imagine tearing this fabric very easily, of the tent or rainfly. It is much thicker than other lightweight tents I've used.
  • Doors: Having two doors really is a god-send. If you are using this tent for two people, it makes a difference in comfort for each person to have their own door and vestibule.
  • Freestanding: This is convenient if you find yourself in an area where you can stake out the tent well, or maybe you're sleeping on a non-dirt platform (like I was). But, I usually need to stake out a rainfly anyways, so this doesn't really matter to me.
  • Cost: One of the reasons I purchased this (and did absolutely zero research on it beforehand) was because of how cheap it was! The current version is $160, but I think it was cheaper when I purchased it in 2014. So, its definitely a great deal for a good backpacking tent.

What I Don't Like:

  • Weight: This is a big one, and its the main reason I never used the tent after the first trip. It is just way too heavy. Newer technology has given us light and strong tents, and I can't imagine carrying a 5 lbs tent into the backcountry by myself. Plus, the footprint (sold separately) is a whopping 8 oz! Half a pound for some ground cover is a little ridiculous, so at this point you're pushing 6 lbs for one tent. I guess if you're splitting the weight of the tent with someone else, it's better, but I didn't see myself continuing to use it for legitimate backpacking.

Overall, this is a solid tent, that is ideal for beginners who maybe aren't as concerned about pack weight, or those who will be splitting the weight of this tent. The price is hard to beat, plus you get REI's warranty and return policy. For me, I bought this tent for a study abroad trip to the Peruvian Rainforest, and we were required to bring a backpacking tent. Since I never actually had to hike with it (no more than 0.5 miles), the weight didn't even cross my mind when purchasing it. But since I've turned more ultra-light and started doing longer backpacking trips, I knew it was time to part with this tent.