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Hands-on Gear Review

REI Passage 2 Review

REI Passage 2
Price:   $159 List | $159.00 at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, roomy
Cons:  Cheap materials, weak poles and stakes
Bottom line:  An inexpensive tent that will not withstand extreme weather; we recommend car camping in sheltered locations.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   REI

Our Verdict

The Passage is REI's budget model for people who are looking for an entry level tent. It is roomy and comfortable, as well as easy to set up. We would hesitate to take it anywhere with strong winds as its poles are notoriously weak. We would encourage you to spend the extra money for the REI Half Dome 2+ for a much higher quality tent.

Check out our full Backpacking Tent Review to see how these tents compare to others. Consider an Ultralight Tent for ultralight backpacking.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
November 24, 2016

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A great tent for car and backyard camping, the Passage is too heavy and not strong enough to bring with you into the backcountry.

Performance Comparison



We recommend only using the Passage in sheltered areas where high winds will not be experienced.
We recommend only using the Passage in sheltered areas where high winds will not be experienced.

Comfort


The Passage is a roomy, comfortable tent for two. Its dimensions are 90x54, quite large in comparison to some of our lighter backpacking models although we think the NEMO Galaxi 2 is even more comfortable. The Passage has plenty of head room and two roomy vestibules to store any extra gear when it's wet outside. The fly has "pop vents" for extra ventilation.

The REI Passage 2 is comfortable and roomy for two people.
The REI Passage 2 is comfortable and roomy for two people.

We think this tent's two small pockets are inadequate because they are a strange, triangle shape that allows items to fall right out of them. We love the REI Half Dome 2+'s huge pockets. We also find the vestibule zippers rather large and feel very conspicuous getting out of the tent in the middle of the night to use the facilities when you have neighbors around.

The Passage's two pockets are inefficient because of their triangle shape  items tend to fall out.
The Passage's two pockets are inefficient because of their triangle shape, items tend to fall out.

Weather Resistance


As soon as we got our hands on the Passage's poles, we knew not to ever take this tent somewhere it would be exposed to high winds. It comes with no-name poles that are a skinny diameter and do not inspire confidence. The hubbed, high quality poles that come with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX and the Half Dome 2+ seem much more sturdy. When we used the Passage we were in sheltered, wooded area but there have been several reports in user reviews online of poles bending and breaking in high winds.

The REI Passage 2 stood up well to a light rain storm we encountered.
The REI Passage 2 stood up well to a light rain storm we encountered.

We did experience some precipitation in the Passage and it did a good job keeping the rain out. Although we suspect that in a torrential downpour some splash-back may get in the sides, unless you guy out the side point which does not come with line attached.

Weight and Packed Size


The Passage has intricate mesh/nylon patterns which may contribute to its heavy weight.
The Passage has intricate mesh/nylon patterns which may contribute to its heavy weight.

This contender is the 3rd heaviest tent we tested, weighing in at 5 lbs, 6.1 ounces. As we mentioned it is too heavy for backpacking and we would reach for the light weight NEMO Blaze 2p or the MSR FreeLite 2 instead. It has artistic mesh/nylon paneling in the body which looks nice, but could contribute to how heavy it is, as well as its low quality materials.

Set Up


The REI Passage it the easiest tent to set up with just two crossed poles.
The REI Passage it the easiest tent to set up with just two crossed poles.

The Passage is the easiest tent to set up in this review. It has just 2 crossed poles and then you stake out the two side doors. All of the other tents in this review have at least one more step, if not many for a perfect pitch including the Half Dome and The North Face Storm Break. The Passage is extremely straightforward to pitch.

Durability


The Passage has heavy, abrasion resistant coated polyester materials that are probably quite durable. However, with most cheap tent materials this polyurethane (PU) material is subject to degrading and breaking down over time. The Hilleberg Anjan 2 has extremely light weight but durable materials including high qulity silicone nylon coated fabrics and sturdy poles. Check out our Buying Advice Article for more details on this process. As we mentioned the Passage's poles are not very strong and are susceptible to breaking easily in high winds — so not very durable.

Best Application


We would recommend this tent for fair weather campers. Car, backyard and paddle trips where it will be set up in a sheltered location are best.

The REI Passage 2 is the least expensive and lowest quality tent in this review.
The REI Passage 2 is the least expensive and lowest quality tent in this review.

Value


At $150, the Passage is the cheapest tent in this review, and we mean this in all respects. We would rather pay slightly more for a product like the REI Half Dome 2+ and get a product that will last us much longer and is more reliable when the weather gets bad.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a super cheap, roomy tent to set up in your backyard for your kids to play in, this could be a good choice. We would not take the Passage out on any trip that we were expecting windy weather but this could be a good choice for summer camping trips in the woods. We were disappointed, (but not surprised) in the quality of this tent's poles and stakes based on the price point of the Passage.

The REI Passage 2 Has large  roomy vestibules.
The REI Passage 2 Has large, roomy vestibules.
Jessica Haist

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 6, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Apr 6, 2017 - 10:47pm
Rapunzel · Denver
The only reason I would not recommend the Passage 2 is because there are definitely lighter tents out there. That being said EVERYTHING else about this tent is amazing. I am extremely disappointed to see this reviewed as a 'fair weather' tent. I used this tent for an entire through hike of the Appalachian trail and met two other couples who had the same tent and were extremely happy. It survived many a driving thunderstorm and hail and kept us cozy and dry for six months. I referred to this tent as the 'super romance deluxe 2' because of how cozy my boyfriend and I were and how we never had to worry about weathering a storm.

The first 3 weeks of our hike we had a tarptent which fell to pieces and could not weather a storm so switching to this tent and sacrificing weight to be dry and comfortable was a godsend. Roomy vestibules for gear storage and cooking in the rain too.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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