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 if you happen to don’t use trekking poles. Priced at $399, the Flash Air 2 may be very straightforward to arrange with a spacious inside – even for tall individuals. Being a single-wall tent, the bath flooring and the rainfly are linked, making it straightforward to arrange dry even when it’s raining. The tent’s air flow, outfitting with line loc tensioners, reflective guylines, and vestibule area 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 assessment 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 folks with out a belief fund can afford it. Ultralight backpacking was by no means meant to be costly and elitist and I’m appalled that it’s turn into simply that.
Specs at a look
- Measurement: 2 individual
- Kind: Single-wall
- Structural: Trekking Pole Tent
- Printed Minimal Path Weight: 2 lbs 6.5 oz
- Precise Minimal Path Weight: 2 lb 4.7 oz consists of 2 required “gold” poles
- 2 Optionally available 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 Top: 47 inches
- Seam-taped: Sure
- Cloth: 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 if you happen to don’t have trekking poles, and a two-pole gold set that’s used on the ends to extend the depth of the bath flooring and create extra room beneath the rainfly above the pinnacle and toes.
Being a single-wall tent, the bath flooring and the rain fly are sewn collectively and arrange concurrently. That is very straightforward 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 may arrange this tent within the rain and it’ll keep dry inside.
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 may 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 might exacerbate inside condensation.
The tent comes with two non-compulsory black collapsible tent poles that can be utilized as a substitute of trekking poles to pitch the tent. These are useful if you happen to’re a bikepacker otherwise you don’t use trekking poles. They’re additionally useful if you happen to’re a base-camper that does use trekking poles as a result of it means you may arrange the tent after which go mountaineering along with your poles with out having to take down and arrange the tent every time you permit/return. For functions of packability, the longest phase on the black shock-corded poles is 16″ which can slot in most bike body baggage or panniers, though they won’t match horizontally in smaller ultralight backpacks if that’s how you like to pack your tent poles.
In the event you use trekking poles to arrange the tent, the ideas ought to be oriented up and slot into bolstered sleeves within the peaks of the vestibules. The identical is true if you happen to use the black pole set. The deal with finish of the trekking poles is held in place near the aspect of the bath 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 in order that they received’t slip out at evening.
The tent additionally comes with two quick (16 and 1/4″) gold-colored aluminum poles. These slot into bolstered sleeves and grommets on the head finish and foot finish of the tent. They assist create extra space above the pinnacle and the toes contained in the tent and assist to maintain the partitions of the bath vertical. They serve the identical perform 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 permit them within the tent completely reasonably than wrestle with them (I nonetheless can’t get considered 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 value changing with something lighter.
The inside of the tent may be very spacious inside and is broad sufficient to make use of 2 x 25″ broad pads, so long as they’ve a tapered mummy form. The tent can also be 86″ lengthy (we at all times measure the within of the tent), offering loads of further area for taller campers or to retailer clothes and additional gear inside.
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 function of this mesh is to create some slack between the rainfly and the sidewalls, like a floating flooring, that adapts to the terrain if you happen to arrange on an unlevel spot. This floating flooring characteristic is a signature characteristic of the category of single-wall tents referred to as tarptents (to not be confused with the producer named Tarptent), of which the REI Flash Air 2 is a member.
The important thing to avoiding inside condensation in a single-wall tent is to sleep with the vestibule doorways broad 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 bolstered 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 solution to sleep in a tent like this in good climate.
When the vestibules are totally rolled again, there will probably be some added slack within the massive panels above the pinnacle and foot ends of the tents. You’ll be able to remove that by including guy-out strains to the exterior loop above every of the gold finish poles, as proven above. It may additionally be value including a guy-out level to the massive ceiling panels for the reason that Flash Air 2 solely has guy-out factors positioned alongside the seams, however that’s a a lot larger job than meets the attention and would in all probability require some stitching and seam-sealing to implement.
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 typical supplies (20d ripstop nylon) to maintain its worth cheap ($399). The inside of the tent is sort of giant, with loads of area above the pinnacle 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 rationale we just like the REI Flash Air 2 is that it ticks a variety of bins for a extra conventional pair of backpackers seeking to shave some critical weight from their shelter with out sacrificing consolation and ease of use, and its broad availability at REI shops will hopefully assist to reveal a a lot wider viewers to ultralight backpacking. We notably respect that non-compulsory tent poles are included (as a substitute of getting to purchase them individually) to make use of on journeys whenever you may not carry trekking poles. For folk who’ve by no means used non-freestanding or trekking pole-supported shelters earlier than and are curious to strive them out, the Flash Air 2 is an effective entry level, as the essential setup is easy.
There actually aren’t that many aggressive tents to the Flash Air 2, if you happen to solely take into account single-wall tents, made with extra typical 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 facility seam-taped, it has much less room above the pinnacle 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 rather 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 creator owns this product.
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