The REI Co-op Trailmade 2 replaced one of REI’s best-selling tents, the Passage 2, earlier this year. With a similar design, a very affordable price point, and exceptional durability, we decided to put the new Trailmade to the test to see how it stacks up against the competition.
WEIGHT: 5 lbs. 7 oz. (including footprint)
DIMENSIONS (L x W x H): 88 x 52 x 40 in.
Affordable – The Trailmade 2’s price point is one of its most outstanding features. This is the most affordable tent on our Best Backpacking Tents list by a longshot, and – unlike cheaply made tents with fiberglass poles and untaped seams – the Trailmade will last a long time and keep you dry. If you’re looking for solid quality at an unbeatable price, the Trailmade is a great choice.
Easy to use – The Trailmade has a classic design that’s very simple to pitch – you won’t even need directions for setting it up. With two identical tent poles and a fully rectangular design, there’s no need for color coding or tricky pole placements. Simply secure the poles into the corner grommets, cross them over the middle, and clip the tent body to the poles. Voilà. You’re done. The rainfly is just as easy to attach with simple buckle clips on the corners.
Durable materials – The Trailmade is built with durable polyester fabrics that will last a long time if treated with minimal care. This tent is built tougher than the typical backpacking tent and should withstand fairly hard use. Every tent will have its breaking point, but the Trailmade is among the most durable tents on our Best Backpacking Tents list.
Footprint included – The Trailmade comes with a footprint, which is a nice perk and adds to its already phenomenal value. A footprint goes between your tent floor and the ground to help reduce wear and tear – ultimately increasing the lifespan of your tent. Footprints aren’t strictly necessary, so you may want to leave yours at home to save weight on strenuous backpacking trips. But it’s always a nice option to have that extra bit of protection for your tent floor.
Two large interior & rainfly doors – The Trailmade has two large interior doors with zippers that function well. This is a must for any two-person tent. The rainfly doors on the Trailmade tent are also great and have a unique design compared to most backpacking tents. Rather than a straight zipper opening, the top section of the Trailmade’s rainfly doors curve to the side. This provides a large, high opening to move through. This makes getting in and out of the Trailmade comfortable and convenient at all times.
Adequate vestibules – The vestibules on this tent aren’t massive, but they’re large enough to store extra gear – like a mostly empty backpack – out of the elements. They also only require one tent stake on either side, which is our preferred design for backpacking tent vestibules.
Weather protection – This is another area where the Trailmade beats out other budget tent options on the market. This tent is actually designed to withstand rough weather and will keep you dry through downpours. There are four additional guyline tie-out points on the rainfly that can be used in windy conditions to provide extra support and stability in storms. The interior of the rainfly also has velcro connection points that attach to the tent poles, which further stabilize the tent in nasty weather.
Two ceiling vents – The Trailmade has two simple ceiling vents that help promote air circulation inside the tent and reduce condensation buildup on the interior of the rainfly. The vents have velcro struts that keep them open, and there’s no mesh covering them – which is good because mesh restricts airflow.
Adequate length & peak height – The length and height of this tent should be a good fit for users up to about 6 feet 2 inches tall. You could push it a bit, but once you get taller than that, things will start to feel tight in the Trailmade.
Limited headroom – The classic structure of the Trailmade is very simple and effective. One downside to that simplicity is this tent doesn’t have a ridge pole on top to pull out the sides and make the tent walls more vertical. Ridge poles generally create more interior headroom, which is a nice bonus for camping comfort with a partner. If you’re looking for more headroom and you’re willing to pay a bit more and carry a bit more weight, check out the similar and highly rated Trail Hut 2.
No head or foot guyline attachment points – This is a minor point, but we’d like to see it addressed and fixed on the next iteration of the Trailmade. The head and foot of the Trailmade’s rainfly don’t have guyline attachment points.
Including guyouts at these points would allow users to stake out the rainfly away from the tent body at the head and foot of the tent. This helps promote air circulation/ventilation and allows rain to drip farther away from the tent. You could easily sew or use strong tape to create guyout points on the rainfly, but you shouldn’t have to do that.
Minimal pockets – The Trailmade only has two interior pockets, and they’re on opposite sides of the tent. This means that if you and your tent partner are sleeping with your heads facing the same way – the most common choice – one person will have a convenient pocket by their head while the other only has one by their feet. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it’s also not ideal.
A bit heavy & bulky for backpacking – The total packed weight of the Trailmade 2 is 5 pounds 7 ounces. This ranks it as one of the heaviest tents on our Best Backpacking Tents list. The included footprint weighs about 7 ounces, so if you leave that home you’ll be down to 5 pounds total – or 2.5 pounds per person when split between two hikers.
That’s certainly a manageable shelter weight for backpacking trips, so the Trailmade passes that bar. That said, the longer and more strenuous your backpacking trips tend to be, the more we would recommend spending extra for a lightweight tent that will help reduce stress on your body and increase your overall enjoyment on backcountry trips.
The REI Co-op Trailmade 2 tent is an excellent option for hikers on a tight budget who want an easy-to-use, durable, and weather-worthy backpacking tent. This tent’s classic dome structure has been used for decades, and it’s a tried-and-true design that holds up well to long-term use.
The Trailmade will work well for both backpacking and car camping, though its slightly reduced headroom limits its car camping comfort. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money and carry a bit more weight, the Trail Hut 2 is another great budget option with more interior space. For a bit more still, the Half Dome SL 2+ tent is both lighter and roomier than the Trailmade, making it an exceptional tent for backpacking and car camping comfort.
If you plan to primarily use your tent for strenuous backpacking trips and you’re looking to go lighter, we recommend checking out the REI Flash 2 tent. The Flash is a step up in price, but it weighs a lot less, has a roomier interior, and compared to tents with similar specs, it’s an exceptional value.
With all that to consider, if you keep returning to price as the driving decision-making factor, the Trailmade 2 is an excellent tent that will last a long time and keep you well-protected at an incredibly reasonable cost.
We hope this review helps you determine if theTrailmade 2 tent is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions. And feel free to visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share it on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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