BEST FOR: Budget-minded versatility.
THE TEST: In 2011, we gave the redesigned Half Dome our Gear of the Year award. Several tweaks for 2013 make this three-season workhorse even better. The airflow, which was already good, is improved by a roomier fly and two additional vents. It was enough to keep us dry on muggy nights that soaked other tents in our test. Our only complaint is the integrated three-pole design, which is tricky to figure out. “It took me half an hour the first time,” said one tester. “It gets easier.” Still, the Half Dome 2 sheds weather and offers impressive living space, with near vertical walls.
THE VERDICT: There are lighter, more intuitive tents out there, but the Half Dome 2 still offers the best combination of low cost and high quality. 5.1 lbs