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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > REI Dash 2 tent > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

REI Dash 2 Tent
Test Series by Theresa Lawrence
Initial Report - August 9, 2014


Name: Theresa Lawrence
Email: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Age: 36
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.


Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)
Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2014

Made in:
MSRP: $349 US
Listed Weight: 2 lbs 7 oz/ 1.1 kg (fly, tent, pegs, poles)
Measured Weight: Spot on and 2 lbs 14 oz/ 1.3 kg (with stuff sack & repair pole)
Listed Length:
90 in (2.29 m)
Listed Width (head/foot):
54 in (1.3m)/ 42 in (1.07 m)
Listed Floor Area:
29 sq ft (2.69 sq m)
Listed Vestibule Area:
5.3 sq ft (0.49 sq m) each
Listed Peak Height:
40 in (1.02 m)
Type/ Capacity/ Seasons:
ultralight, semi-freestanding, 2 person, 3 seasons
Color Options:
Beachstone/Cactus (comes in 1 color only)
Floor & Fly Material:
15-denier ripstop nylon
Canopy Material:
15-denier ripstop nylon/ 20-denier mesh
Pole Material:
8.5 mm (0.33 in) DAC aluminum

REI's Dash 2 tent is advertised as an ultralight, 2 person, 3 season tent. It is certainly the lightest 2 person tent I've ever had the chance to play with. The weight is spot on from what was advertised at a mere 2 lbs 7 oz (1.1 kg). The fly, floor and the non-mesh part of the body are all of the same material, which feels very light, silky and delicate. The manufacturer's website states this new REI 15-denier ripstop nylon is designed to minimize weight while retaining its strength. It came with three stuff sacks; one each for the poles, pegs and tent. It also came with an extra guy line and a pole repair tube. The tent has two side door entrances as well as two vestibules made out of the fly. Two small side pockets and one overhead pocket are available for storage inside the tent. There is also a hang loop on the ceiling for hanging items like a light inside the tent. The poles assemble into one long skeleton with a T-junction at the foot and a Y-junction at the  head. REI calls this their exclusive tension-truss architecture, which is supposed to allow for stable vertical walls maximizing the head space and minimizing the pole weight. There is a footprint available, but is sold separately.


An instruction sheet was provided with the bag that admittedly I didn't reference before diving in and 'winging' it. And apparently I didn't need the instructions because the tent went up as intuitively as I've ever experienced a tent assembly. I laid out the tent, put the poles together into one big skeleton, which could only go in one obvious configuration to the tent. The poles secured into the grommets at the corners of the tent and clipped into clips on the tent. The fly went on just as easy with tighteners at each corner. The interface where the fly meets the cross bar junctions gives me some concerns as the junction corners gives the suggestion that it will wear right through the fly at the designated reinforced spots. However, time will tell if I should have been worried. It is considered semi-freestanding because the front corners of the floor need to be pegged as well as the vestibules to get the full form of the tent. However, before pegging down, the tent could be picked up and moved around till the perfect spot is found. The fly appears to just cover the mesh areas of the tent creating what seems to be quite small vestibules. I am curious if they will be big enough to shelter my backpack and boots. Inside the tent is cozy, but has enough room for two adults to sit up comfortably. The truss-tension architecture was supposed to support vertical walls, but the walls as far as I can tell are definitely not vertical.


Overall, my initial impression of the REI Dash 2 tent is that it is a well constructed and designed ultralight tent. I liked that it has two side door entrances and two vestibules, one for each occupant. The tent is very compact and I am quite curious if the fly covers enough of the tent to keep me dry and shelter my belongings in the vestibule. I am pleased with the lack of weight I have to carry in my backpack and I'm curious how this light material will stand up to the Rocky Mountain weather and terrain over the next couple months of testing. It is definitely easy to set up, which is a plus and it can be used with or without the fly.

Thanks to Recreational Equipment Inc. and for allowing me to take part in this test series, stay tuned to hear my observations from
my backcountry adventures in about 2 months time.

Read more reviews of REI gear
Read more gear reviews by Theresa Lawrence

Reviews > Shelters > Tents > REI Dash 2 tent > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

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