Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gear Review // REI Taj 3 Tent

REI Taj 3

A perfect couple's tent: providing comfort, reliable durability, and spaciousness without sacrificing too much weight

The Stats:
Price: $166-233
Weight: 7lb. 13oz.
Seasons: 3 Season
Poles: Aluminum
Capacity: 3 Person

Pro's: very roomy, very durable, weatherproof, vents well, no condensation,  attractive design, spacious dual vestibules, sturdy in strong winds, compresses well

Cons: somewhat heavy for backpacking, difficult to set up

The Full Story:
The Taj 3 is simply put the master of compromises, roomy but light enough to bring backpacking, warm and weatherproof but won't form condensation, and sturdy but not too difficult to set up. It is the perfect tent for the uninitiated because of its versatility but won't satisfy the hardcore because of its weight. Still, it is plenty comfortable for car camping and light enough for moderate backpacking and for its space the weight is acceptable.

While the Taj 3 does strike the balance between weight and spaciousness very well it makes no compromises when it comes to weatherproofing. The peace of mind that comes with a tent that wont leak and wont form condensation on the inside is invaluable. If only all that defense was a little easier to set up this tent would move up to an elite level. Sadly the rain fly takes some work to set up and the whole thing really should not be set up in a storm (or broken down and packed away in a storm). Setting up the tent, the rain fly and staking everything down takes about ten or fifteen minutes even with practice. Once the defenses are up though REI has made a comfortable fortress to ride out the storm in.

In the end the compromises the tent makes in weight, size, and strength are its only limiters and the Taj 3 is perfect for those yet to fully warm up to the whole idea of camping. REI had designed a comfortable, durable, yet efficient tent that will last you through your first car-camping trips and keep you warm and cozy right into the back country.

Test Locations: Mt. Lassen Backcountry, Pt. Reyes National Seashore


  1. Great review, Chris!

    It's true - if a tent can keep even ME warm then it is definitely a winner! It is super easy to set up and break down, although I must say the only thing that is difficult is remembering which way the rain fly fits on. Something about it never seems quite "right" when putting it on.

    But nevertheless it has kept us dry and cozy in many a rainy night! It's definitely our home away from home!

    P.S. I definitely think getting a three-person tent was the way to go, even though it is really just for two people. It leaves enough room to comfortably house both of us and all our gear without feeling too cramped, and will allow us to accommodate a dog or other additions down the road...

  2. We have a three person tent, too, and it's perfect! We can stuff all of our gear plus Mops in there without feeling too claustrophobic. Definitely the way to go.

    Huckleberry sleeps in his crate in the back of the truck.