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. The Arete is an affordable, spacious 2 person tent that is best used for summer mountaineering or winter camping close to the tree line. The Arete is a great “bang for your buck” tent that will get you started at higher altitudes.
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.
The 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.
The Arete ASL only has one vestibule and one door sitting at the head of the tent, which can be awkward to get into and out of with two people. The vestibule area is close to 9 square feet (1 sq. m), which is small in comparison to some other four season tents.
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.
With a large mesh canopy that can be zipped or unzipped depending on the weather, as well as a large mesh panel on the door and at the foot of the tent that can be closed, the Arete has a relatively versatile ventilation system, which 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 tents ventilation is that all of the mesh on the Arete is Bluesign approved, meaning it was made with practices that reduce water and energy use in production.
Compared to other mountaineering and winter backpacking tents, 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.
The Arete is “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 made to be durable yet lightweight, and to sag 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.
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 is one of the easiest four-season tents on the market 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.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and packable
- Good value for price
- Great for taller people
- Not suitable for winter and mountaineering adventures
- One door
- Smaller vestibule
Rate the tent (1 to 10) on each of the following criteria:
|Comfort and Space||7|
|Ease of Setup||10|
|Size and Weight||7|