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What's the best way to pack my 2018 Half Dome 2 plus Tent?

Hi there,

I'm trying to determine how to best pack my half dome 2+ tent for a thru-hike. The storage pack it comes is obviously large and for longer term storage, but do you have any suggestions for accessory storage/compression bags to use for short-term thru hikes (3-5 days) so that I have ample room in my pack for food, sleeping bag, and additional gear in a 55L bag?

7 Replies

@tjiganti Thanks for reaching out!

There are a lot of different ways to approach this and hopefully you'll get some other folks weighing in to this 'debate' with good advice. Everyone will likely agree that the best place to start is to separate your poles, fly, and tent body and divide them among the group if you are going with other people. Also, it is much easier to fit the tent in your pack by stuffing the fly or tent body in there around your other gear. Your tent poles are pretty easy to strap to the outside of your pack if you're able to do so. 

We also recommend checking out this thread started by @nathanuTent. Stuff it or roll it?  It's a great discussion and has lots of good tips.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@tjiganti I definitely prefer to separate things and keep the poles on the outside of my pack.  I stuff the fly and tent body in the tent stuff sack and store it on top of the compactor bag in the bottom of my pack with my dry stuff in it.  Just kindof works and means I can pack my dry clothes and such while I'm still inside the tent.

Happy trails!!

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I recommend what @REI-JohnJ said, I would try to stuff it, except if it's damp in the morning or after a rain, I would then only put in the top of my pack, over my closed bag liner.

Unfortunately that's one of the heaviest tents around, pushing 5lbs, (ok, 4lbs, 12oz), if you continue with your backpacking career, I advise saving your pennies and getting a 2-3lb tent.

You may be forced to get a compression sack to squeeze that puppy down.

good luck!


REI Member Since 1979

@tjiganti Similar to what others have said, I separate the poles from the rest of the tent and put them down the outside of my pack under the compression straps. They also end up sitting in one of the side pockets so I know I am not going to lose them.

I then stuff the body and rain fly of the tent, around my sleeping bag in the very bottom of my pack. They are light weight and can fill in the space around the sleeping bag well. 

I do this even when the rain fly is damp, because I keep my sleeping bag in a waterproof compression stuff sack. 

You can try out several of these options and see what works best for you. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hey @tjiganti! This is a great question that gets everybody's wheels turning. Which trails are you hiking? 

I just thought I would weigh in and give a different approach. What backpack are you using? Do you have straps on the very bottom of the pack to accommodate gear? 

I've found myself in a lot of wet weather, so I've transitioned away from keeping my tent in my pack. Instead, I put my tent on the outside of my pack at the very bottom, attached with the gear straps. I do this because if I wake up and it's pouring down rain, I can literally pack my entire backpack up inside my tent and remain dry while doing so. It also keeps things a little drier inside my pack. 

In the mornings, I'll pack up, throw the rain cover on my pack so it doesn't get wet while I'm breaking down my tent, and then (begrudgingly) exit my tent, break it down, and then just attach it to the bottom of my backpack, replace the pack cover, and hike on. This also makes it really easy to access my tent when the sun eventually comes out, so that I can lay the rainfly out and get everything dry. It also saves at least 10L of space inside my pack... with a 55L pack, every liter is precious! 


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Actually a pretty good idea, I would add that you don’t want to forget it’s there when you set your pack down on sharp rocks or sharp anything for that matter 

REI Member Since 1979

A half dome 2 plus is a nice tent but it is fairly bulky heavy tent.  You can split the load if you have a companion but if you are soloing so I would pack it in  a 55L pack by getting a lighter more packable tent personally.  

You can find decent solo hiking pole tents in the $200 to $250 range and maybe less. The half dome 1 is more than 1lb lighter and ~$150 currently...more packable because it is smaller.

You may have to look outside of REI to get a tent that is lighter and cheaper....My first solo tent was lighter and cost $40.  It was adequate for the good weather trips I used it on. 

Depending where you are going and how comfortable you are sleeping outside, a tarp setup can also get you out there for a lot less weight and bulk for not too much.  Not a recommendation but as an example...You can get tarp poles you don't use hiking poles but I recommend using hiking poles in any case.