Review: REI Trailgate Shelter

When camping in my Honda CR-V, I use the REI Trailgate Shelter to provide a large covered space for my camp kitchen.

REI Trailgate Shelter review

How I use the Trailgate Shelter

From late fall to late spring (aka… the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest), I camp frequently in my Honda CR-V and need a covered space for my camp kitchen. While intended for attaching to the back of a vehicle, I prefer to have it on the side. When I’m sleeping in my car, I enter and exit via the side back door, plus most campsite driveways would make it difficult to stake the shelter on the back, so this arrangement makes more sense for me.

The Trailgate Shelter provides a generous amount of protected space and is tall enough to stand and walk under. There’s plenty of room for my camp table, a large camp chair, and cooler – and there’s still room to open the car doors when needed.

View at REI

REI Trailgate Shelter review

I hang a lantern from the loop in the center of the canopy pole, and add a string of lights (using mini binder clips) for more light and cool camp vibes.

REI Trailgate Shelter review

Setup is fairly easy: insert the hoop pole through the sleeve and stake the sides and back, then attach the top of the canopy to the vehicle wheels via long straps with buckles. While not difficult to setup, it would be easier with two people. Regardless, I’ve set this up by myself every time so far. After inserting the pole, I set the shelter against my car, place the top of the canopy over the car roof and use the straps to attach it to the wheels. Once I have it attached, I position the shelter as needed and stake the back.

REI Trailgate Shelter review

So far, I’ve used this shelter on trips with rain and wind and it held up well in the inclement weather. I didn’t need to use the extra guylines that it comes with – but in heavy wind I would recommend doing so.

Specs

  • Fabric: 75-denier polyester with 1,500 mm polyurethane coating
  • Covered area: 99.2 square feet
  • Floor dimensions: 100.5″ x 93″
  • Peak height: 75 inches
  • Weight: 6 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Includes: 1 aluminum pole, 6 stakes, 2 guylines

View at REI

REI Trailgate Shelter review

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MY REVIEW POLICY

This shelter was provided to me by REI for testing. However, I’m under no obligation to give it a favorable review. As an independent gear reviewer, my policy is to review only items that I have used on multiple outdoor trips and that I feel are quality products worthy of recommending. If I don’t like a product, I send it back and don’t review or recommend it.

 

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