REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 Tent: Honest Review

The REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 is the “float like a butterfly” of four season tents; lightweight yet durable enough to take a beating from some inclement weather. It is an affordable, spacious 2 person tent that is best used for summer mountaineering or winter camping close to the treeline.

After some careful research, here’s what we think about the REI Arete ASL2 tent.

Comfort and Space

In terms of livability, the Arete is pretty average among other four season competitors. The Arete has a length of 88 inches (223.5 cm), making it a great tent for taller campers. It fits two average sized sleeping pads side by side with its widest point clocking in at 60 inches (152 cm), which makes it a cozy space for two people.

The tent has a peak height of 44 inches (112 cm), which is again pretty average in terms of its competitors. With an asymmetrical dome shape to help withstand heavier precipitation, the Arete does not feel super roomy on the interior but has enough space for two people to cuddle up and find refuge from the elements. 

Storage pockets inside the REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 tent

We like that interior of the tent has pockets for storage and a loop at the top for a Moji light or headlamp to illuminate the space at night. The pockets are located at each corner and on the roof, and the corner pockets can be used to hold the door.

A loop at the top of REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 tent

A potential downside is that the Arete ASL only has one vestibule and one door sitting at the head of the tent. This can be awkward to get into and out of with two people.

Another thing we weren’t impressed with is that the vestibule area is close to 9 square feet (1 sq. m). This is small in comparison to some other four-season tents. 

ALSO SEE: Best Tents With a Screened Room: Enjoy Bug-Free Camping

Breathability and Ventilation

The Arete has recently been updated to provide more ventilation and breathability, which is a necessity in any mountaineering or winter backpacking tent. 

A large mesh panel on the door of REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 tent

We were impressed by the Arete’s versatile ventilation system. A large mesh canopy can be zipped or unzipped depending on the weather. There’s also a sizeable mesh panel on the door and at the foot of the tent that can be closed. This allows you to hunker down in colder weather but also open up and let in a breeze when necessary. The placement of the vents also allows for good cross ventilation!

Keep in mind that even with the updates that help ventilation, this tent will not be ideal for summer camping below the tree line. 

An honorable mention about the tent’s ventilation is that all of the mesh on the Arete is Bluesign approved. That means it was made with responsible practices that reduce water and energy use in production. 

Weather Resistance

Compared to other mountaineering and winter backpacking tents we tested, the Arete isn’t quite as weatherproof as some of its competitors. This is not to say it will not hold up in some high winds, rain, and snow. There are just other tents that might be able to handle more. 

The asymmetrical dome shape is great for stabilizing the tent in high winds. But since it is a taller mountaineering tent, it does take a beating when the wind gets extra rough. The shorter pole that creates the awnings is great in terms of shedding rain and snow from the roof of the tent. But when wind speeds pick up, they do cause the tent to flex significantly.

The double-walled construction makes it better at handling heavy downpours. The tent also has a no wick welded construction to help support areas of the tent that are susceptible to leaking.

While the Arete comes with guylines, it could have used quite a few more to handle those really brutal weather situations.

The Arete is a great tent for most adventures in the US, excluding a trip up Mt. Rainier or Denali. 

Durability

In our tests, the Arete was “middle of the road” in terms of durability. For a mountaineering tent, the aluminum poles are flimsy compared to similar tents, and could have benefited from a thicker construction. 

The tent body is made of nylon, the floor of nylon taffeta, and the rainfly of 40-denier nylon ripstop. The rainfly is durable yet lightweight, and sags less in rainy situations. 

The Arete should still hold up well over time, but if you push the tents limits and take it in extreme conditions, it may not have a long life among your other gear.

RELATED: What Are Tents Made Of? Tent Materials Explained

Ease of Use

Like most REI tents, a lot of thought went into making the Arete easy to set up. It has dead end pole sleeves that are color-coded, so it’s difficult to mess up the setup process. One end of each pole has a rounded tip, making it easy to slide through the pole sleeve. The smaller pole that creates the awning is clipped in. 

The reflective guy lines are also helpful in both setting up the tent in darker conditions as well as not tripping over them when coming back from the bathroom.

Overall, the Arete was one of the easiest four-season tents to set up. 

Packed Size and Weight

The minimum trail weight of the tent is 5 lbs 10 oz (2.55 kg), which is a great weight for the price range that the Arete falls into. It is also one of the lightest double wall tents with similar construction. When packed down, the Arete is easy to carry and get into your pack. 

REI Co-op Arete ASL 2 tent packed size

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight and packable
  • Good value for price
  • Great for taller people

Cons

  • Not suitable for winter and mountaineering adventures
  • One door
  • Smaller vestibule

Rating

Comfort and Space7
Weather Resistance6
Durability7
Ease of Setup10
Size and Weight7
Alex Buchnev

Alex Buchnev

Alex loves kayaking, fishing, and all things outdoors. When he's not out there in the wild, he's probably typing away at his laptop or trying to be the world's best father for his two lovely daughters.

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