Gear Review: REI Passage 2 Tent

| | ,

The REI Passage 2 is a great 3-season free-standing tent for hiking, car camping, and backpacking. The construction is top notch, and it’s almost light enough to carry just about anywhere. It handles the wind very well, as I’ve found out by camping at the top of Cucamonga Peak and Mt. Baldy. It has nice ventilation for warmer days, but also seals up nicely for the cooler mountain nights. I’ve used this tent in the Eastern Sierra at Cottonwood Lakes, and at Flower Lake before Kearsarge Pass. The size is perfect, and fits two people comfortably with a little extra room to store gear. In all, this is a great tent for the price, and I hope to continue getting a lot of great use from it in the future.

REI Passage 2
REI Passage 2

I’ve taken this tent on numerous overnight backpacking trips now, and I have nothing but positive things to report. Yes, it could be a bit lighter, but for this price it’s hard to beat. The tent is also great for car camping, as it offers enough size to not feel cramped. I can fit two people and a dog very comfortably.

Cucamonga Peak Overnight
Said Dog

Price: $159.00

For this price point, it can be difficult to find a reliable and durable tent. There are a lot of far superior tents for two and three times as much money, but not everybody needs the additional features that those tents offer. If you’re looking for a good starter tent for an introduction to backpacking, or casual weekend adventures, the Passage 2 is tough to beat.

Size and Weight: 4 lbs. 14oz

I can carry this tent very easily in my backpack for miles, but opinions can vary on what constitutes a “heavy tent”. In my opinion, this tent would be in the medium weight category, as a tent weighing under 3lbs is my preference. I would definitely not recommend this tent for a thru hike, but for a weekend trip, or road trip and car camping, it’s close to perfect. The packaged size is 7.5 x 22 inches. This is pretty large for a backpack, so I tend to break things up separately. The tent body and fly pack down small in stuff sacks, and I’ll attach the tent poles and stakes to the outside of my pack.

REI Passage 2 Tent


I’ve had no rips, tears, or damage to poles to the Passage 2, and I’ve used it in some pretty rough terrain here in Southern California without a footprint. It’s funny that sometimes the cheaper, heavier products are the most durable. When you’re not trying to save space and weight, you can use some bombproof fabrics.

REI Passage 2 Tent
REI Passage 2 Mt. Baldy

Set Up

The set up for the Passage 2 is very quick and takes 1 or two minutes. It comes with two 7001 aluminum (8.5mm) poles that set up quickly. The tent floor is a symmetrical rectangle and the tent body has a bath tub bottom to prevent from splashes getting in. The rain fly goes on very easily, and has one corner marked black, just like the tent body to get things right the first time.

REI Passage 2 Tent
Set Up In Joshua Tree


The Passage 2 has 33.75 square feet of space at 90 x 54 inches. The outside vestibule area is 18.75 square feet, which I have found to be very useful for storing gear, without having to leave anything outside or exposed. The peak height in this tent is 42 inches, which leaves me plenty of room to sit straight up and change clothes very comfortably. I’m 5’11” and can lay down, with enough room for my dog to sleep comfortably at my feet. This tent easily sleeps two people and two dogs (dogs are 16 and 25 lbs).

Having two doors makes this tent ideal for two people, as you’ll never have to crawl over anyone to get outside at night. The fly has two vents that open with velco tabs to help control condensation. I don’t live in a humid area, so I can’t really attest to how well these work. Almost all of my camping is at very dry, high altitude, so condensation isn’t really a problem.

REI Passage 2 Tent
Lots of Space


As I mentioned earlier, Southern California is dry. Therefore, I can’t really add anything into my gear reviews in regards to how things handle in rain and mud, as we don’t really get any. I can however give a lot of great feedback for how things handle in brutal desert, sandy shorelines, and rocky mountains. One things we’re never short of here when it comes to camping, is wind! It’s seems like the winds pick up and howl every time I make my way out to a summit for an overnighter. This is one area where this tent is lacking. It protects quite well from the wind (up to 60mph), and has never once buckled, so for that it gets an A+. Where it falls short is noise. It’s pretty difficult to get a nice and taut pitch, and there always seems to be just a little bit of extra fabric to flap around in the blowing desert gusts. This isn’t a huge problem, but you won’t find this being an issue on a more expensive tent. I’ve camped in this tent down to the mid teens on a High Sierra trip in October. Most of your warmth will be derived from the sleeping bag you use, but this tent does a decent job of keeping things warm, without letting any drafts in. Conversely, it also sets up well on hot days. It can be nice to leave the fly off completely, or you can attach it in a way that allows a little more airflow.

REI Passage 2 Tent
REI Passage 2 Tent

See images of the Passage 2 in the gallery below:

From REI:

The REI Passage 2 tent features a classic dome shape and offers a great value. With its low weight and simple setup, this backpacking tent optimizes livability for 2 people.

  • 2 side doors, each with their own vestibule?, provide easy access without the need to crawl over your tentmate; dual storage space is a real plus
  • Fully adjustable, ceiling-level vents mitigate condensation by drawing cool air under the fly from the lower perimeter and exhausting warm, moist air
  • Rectangular floor plan with end-to-end symmetry makes it easy to arrange sleeping bags and gear and provides organizational efficiency and comfort
  • Equal-length aluminum poles, color coding and pole clips facilitate a quick and easy setup
  • Insider floor provides the waterproofness of a bathtub floor and the taut pitch of a cut-in floor; tautness improves door-zipper operation and maximizes volume at end walls
  • Seam-sealed polyester fly and floor ensure a waterproof, durable and sag-free shelter
  • Multiple interior storage options are provided by various combinations of mesh side pockets and hang loops located throughout the tent
  • Save weight and create a minimalist shelter by using just the rainfly, footprint (sold separately), poles and stakes
  • Includes a compression stuff sack, 6 stakes and guylines with tighteners

5 Most Exciting Lightweight Hiking Shoes for 2015

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zissou 23 Sleeping Bag


12 thoughts on “Gear Review: REI Passage 2 Tent”

    • Thank you!

      The tent weighs 4 lbs. 14 oz. Not the lightest by any means, but not too heavy either. Set up is a breeze, the tent is usually up in less than two minutes.

  1. I have used this tent for nines days of camping in New Mexico (Philmont Scout Ranch). I also just got back from camping in the North Carolina mountains. I had three nights of steady rain and NO leaks at all. An occasional drip from the ceiling from condensation, but no water made it in the tent.

  2. I myself am a pretty avid backpacker (check out my IG: wesleywohlford) and I know the ins and outs of most of the gear. However, I’ve been having difficulty deciding what fairly inexpensive tent to buy for high wind situations (I normally just use the lightweight MSR Thru-Hiker), but man did this article help a ton. I just ordered it and plan to use it in the Adirondacks! And those pictures are fantastic, the aesthetics played a role in my purchase as well!

  3. I just bought this tent and I am really excited about it! I was worries about the size of the tent, but when you said you compress it (wasnt sure if that was ‘ok’) and stick the poles to the outside of your tent, that totally just saved my day! Thanks so much!!

  4. Hey Drew – I have the Passage 2 and agree with everything in your review aside from its pretection from wind. I feel like with the fly so far off the ground when it is staked down and the fact that there are two openings, there is a steady draft in the tent that can really make for cold nights. Do you have any tips or tricks to help protect against the draft?


  5. I purchased this tent in 2012. It has been several multi-day backpacking trips in the Sierras. I did really well in an unexpected mid-October snow storm in 2015. It is a bit on the heavy side but it works. However, this weekend we are going to Lake Cachuma for some car camping and the winds will have 40 MPH gusts. . . this will be a test. . . as they say when I walked the Camino de Santiago. . . Ultreia! (aka Onward!)


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: