Saturday, November 11, 2023
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REI Flash Air 2 Tent Evaluate

REI Flash Air 2 Tent Review

The REI Flash Air 2 Tent (considerably revised for 2023) is a two-person, single-wall trekking pole bikepacking/ backpacking tent that weighs 2 lbs 4.5 oz on our digital scale. It was two doorways and two vestibules and comes with 2 black collapsible poles to pitch the tent with for those who don’t use trekking poles. Priced at $399, the Flash Air 2 could be very simple to arrange with a spacious inside – even for tall folks. Being a single-wall tent, the tub flooring and the rainfly are linked, making it simple to arrange dry even when it’s raining. The tent’s air flow, outfitting with line loc tensioners, reflective guylines, and vestibule house make this a wonderful worth for an entry-level ultralight backpacking and bikepacking tent.

Sadly, REI utterly botched the Flash Air 2 product description on its web site, apparently chopping and pasting the descriptions of a number of tents collectively, so I hope you’ll discover this evaluate clarifying. I truthfully suppose the Flash Air 2 is a really good shelter and I actually like the truth that it’s competitively priced ($399) so that individuals with no belief fund can afford it. Ultralight backpacking was by no means meant to be costly and elitist and I’m appalled that it’s change into simply that.

Specs at a look

  • Measurement: 2 particular person
  • Kind: Single-wall
  • Structural: Trekking Pole Tent
  • Revealed Minimal Path Weight: 2 lbs 6.5 oz
  • Precise Minimal Path Weight: 2 lb 4.7 oz consists of 2 required “gold” poles
  • 2 Non-obligatory Trekking Pole Substitute Poles included (4.5 oz/pair)
  • Minimal variety of stakes to pitch: 6, really helpful 8
  • Doorways: 2
  • Precise Bathtub Flooring Dimensions: 86″ x 50/42″ (L x W head/foot) inches
  • Vestibule Quantity: 28.72 sq ft
  • Peak Peak: 47 inches
  • Seam-taped: Sure
  • Material: 20D ripstop nylon
  • Hydrostatic head: NA

The REI Flash Air 2 is a 2-person trekking pole tent with 2 doorways and two vestibules so occupants can have their very own entrance/exit and vestibule gear storage space. The tent comes with two units of two poles: a black set that’s inserted into poles sleeves on the prime of the vestibules and that can be utilized to erect the tent for those who don’t have trekking poles, and a two-pole gold set that’s used on the ends to extend the depth of the tub flooring and create extra room underneath the rainfly above the top and ft.

The bathtub floor is sewn to the rainfly so you set the tent up in the rain and it won’t get wet inside.
The tub flooring is sewn to the rainfly so that you set the tent up within the rain and it gained’t get moist inside.

Being a single-wall tent, the tub flooring and the rain fly are sewn collectively and arrange concurrently. That is very simple to do with the Flash Air 2 as a result of it has a rectangular-ish flooring plan, wider on the head finish. You merely stake out the nook guylines on a 45-degree angle, insert the poles into the vestibules, and tighten the pitch throughout utilizing the road loc tensioners on the tent’s guylines. Because the bathtub flooring and rainfly are a single unit, you possibly can arrange this tent within the rain and it’ll keep dry inside.

There’s plenty of space under the side vestibules for covered gear storage, even with one door tied back.
There’s loads of house underneath the aspect vestibules for lined gear storage, even with one door tied again.

The tent has 2 giant aspect vestibules which have loads of room for gear storage that doesn’t intervene with entry and exit. Each vestibule doorways have two-way zippers and velcro patches alongside the size, so you possibly can create a prime transom for airflow even once they’re closed.  In addition they have kickstand peak vents that may be opened to assist launch the nice and cozy air and moisture that may accumulate within the ceiling, notably when the vestibule doorways are zippered shut, which may exacerbate inner condensation.

If you use trekking poles, the handle is secure with this cord. When using the optional black poles, one end is secured in the grommet.
In the event you use trekking poles, the deal with is secured with this twine. When utilizing the elective black poles, one finish is secured within the grommet.

The tent comes with two elective black collapsible tent poles that can be utilized as a substitute of trekking poles to pitch the tent. These are helpful for those who’re a bikepacker otherwise you don’t use trekking poles. They’re additionally helpful for those who’re a base-camper that does use trekking poles as a result of it means you possibly can arrange the tent after which go mountaineering along with your poles with out having to take down and arrange the tent every time you allow/return. For functions of packability, the longest phase on the black shock-corded poles is 16″ which can slot in most bike body luggage or panniers, though they won’t match horizontally in smaller ultralight backpacks if that’s how you favor to pack your tent poles.

Peak vents help release moist air and reduce tent condensation.
Peak vents assist launch moist air and cut back tent condensation.

In the event you use trekking poles to arrange the tent, the guidelines must be oriented up and slot into strengthened sleeves within the peaks of the vestibules. The identical is true for those who use the black pole set. The deal with finish of the trekking poles is held in place near the aspect of the tub flooring with a loop of twine. In the event you use the black poles, the bottom of the poles slots right into a aspect grommet so that they gained’t slip out at night time.

The gold poles slot into a sleeve and grommet at the head and foot ends of the tent.
The gold poles slot right into a sleeve and grommet on the head and foot ends of the tent.

The tent additionally comes with two quick (16 and 1/4″) gold-colored aluminum poles. These slot into strengthened sleeves and grommets on the head finish and foot finish of the tent. They assist create extra space above the top and the ft contained in the tent and assist to maintain the partitions of the tub vertical. They serve the identical operate because the pitchlocs utilized by the tent producer Tarptent. As soon as inserted, these gold poles are VERY tough to take away and I counsel you allow them within the tent completely moderately than battle with them (I nonetheless can’t get certainly one of them out). They don’t have an effect on packability that a lot. They solely weigh 0.6 oz every and aren’t actually price changing with something lighter.

The gold end poles raise the ceiling so there is more room above your feet and head.
The gold finish poles elevate the ceiling so there may be extra room above your ft and head.

The inside of the tent could be very spacious inside and is huge sufficient to make use of 2 x 25″ huge pads, so long as they’ve a tapered mummy form. The tent can be 86″ lengthy (we all the time measure the within of the tent), offering loads of further house for taller campers or to retailer clothes and additional gear inside.

The mesh band between the ceiling and the side walls helps the tent adapt to an uneven surface.
The mesh band between the ceiling and the aspect partitions helps the tent adapt to an uneven floor with out deforming the ceiling.

When it comes to air flow, the sidewalls of the tent are strong mesh and there’s a strip of mesh positioned between the ceiling and the aspect partitions on the head and foot ends of the tent. Whereas the latter does present some air flow profit, the actual goal of this mesh is to create some slack between the rainfly and the sidewalls, like a floating flooring, that adapts to the terrain for those who arrange on an unlevel spot. This floating flooring characteristic is a signature characteristic of the category of single-wall tents known as tarptents (to not be confused with the producer named Tarptent), of which the REI Flash Air 2 is a member.

The views from inside the tent are quite pleasant.
The views from contained in the tent are fairly nice.

Greatest Practices

The important thing to avoiding inner condensation in a single-wall tent is to sleep with the vestibule doorways huge open, so there’s solely insect mesh between you and the wilderness. To do this, I counsel taking two of the additional guylines included with the tent and tying them to the strengthened loops on the prime of the vestibules. This may allow you to stake out the tent, however roll again each halves of the vestibule, enabling most airflow. That is my favourite approach to sleep in a tent like this in good climate.

For maximum ventilation, guy out the vestibule peaks and roll both doors back.
For max air flow, man out the vestibule peaks and roll each doorways again.
New Abilities: Single-wall tents are extra susceptible to inner tent condensation than double-wall tents however you possibly can remove or reduce the quantity of condensation that happens by studying new campsite choice expertise, retaining all of the vestibules open for optimum air flow, and by bringing a small camp towel to wipe it down if it will get dangerous. See Tips on how to Stop Tent Condensation.
When the vestibule doors are rolled open, it helps to ad a guyline above the gold poles to stretch out the roof of the tent.
When the vestibule doorways are rolled open, it helps so as to add guylines above the gold poles to stretch out the roof of the tent.

When the vestibules are absolutely rolled again, there can be some added slack within the massive panels above the top and foot ends of the tents. You possibly can remove that by including guy-out traces to the exterior loop above every of the gold finish poles, as proven above. It may additionally be price including a guy-out level to the massive ceiling panels because the Flash Air 2 solely has guy-out factors positioned alongside the seams, however that’s a a lot greater job than meets the attention and would most likely require some stitching and seam-sealing to implement.

The edges of the rain fly are cut with catenary curves to save weight and enhance wind stability
The perimeters of the rain fly are lower with catenary curves to avoid wasting weight and improve wind stability


The REI Flash Air 2 is an ultralight trekking pole tent with a minimal tent weight of 36.7 oz (on our digital scale) and is made with extra standard supplies (20d ripstop nylon) to maintain its value affordable ($399). The inside of the tent is kind of giant, with loads of house above the top and toes. The tent units up quick as a result of the rainfly and bathtub flooring are all one piece so you are able to do it within the rain with out getting the inside drenched.

The explanation we just like the REI Flash Air 2 is that it ticks numerous packing containers for a extra conventional pair of backpackers seeking to shave some severe weight from their shelter with out sacrificing consolation and ease of use, and its huge availability at REI shops will hopefully assist to reveal a a lot wider viewers to ultralight backpacking. We notably recognize that elective tent poles are included (as a substitute of getting to purchase them individually) to make use of on journeys if you won’t convey trekking poles. For folk who’ve by no means used non-freestanding or trekking pole-supported shelters earlier than and are curious to attempt them out, the Flash Air 2 is an efficient entry level, as the fundamental setup is easy.


There actually aren’t that many aggressive tents to the Flash Air 2, for those who solely contemplate single-wall tents, made with extra standard supplies, and less costly Dyneema DCF:

  • The Gossamer Gear “The Two” (23.5 oz) is a spacious single-wall tent with a two-pole design. Made with Sil/PU coated cloth and manufacturing unit seam-taped, it has much less room above the top and foot ends in comparison with the Flash Air 2 and doesn’t include any accent poles (offered individually). It’s additionally made with 10d cloth which is way more fragile than the 20d ripstop nylon used on the Flash Air 2. $375.
  • The Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Explorer(45 oz) is made with siliconized nylon (silnylon) and is a spacious two-pole, two-vestibule single-wall tent with good air flow. Sadly, it’s a lot heavier and have to be seal-sealed earlier than use. $395.

Disclosure: The writer owns this product.

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