The REI Quarter Dome 2 Person Tent ($349) is a lightweight backpacking tent with two doors that weighs 3 pounds 4.4 ounces. Newly redesigned, the Quarter Dome 2 sports a number of desirable features including much enlarged side vestibules, more vertical walls, and higher ceilings above the head and foot ends of the tent. The dual-hubbed pole, color coded components, and semi-freestanding architecture make it super simple and fast to set up, while lightweight 15d and 20d fabrics lighten your load on the trail.
Let’s take a closer look at this reimagined REI classic.
Specs at a Glance
- Trail weight (minus stakes and storage sacks): 52.4 ounces (3 lbs 4.4 oz)
- 1 pole: 16 oz.
- Rain fly: 19.1 oz.
- Inner tent 17.3 oz.
- Stakes included: 9 (a minimum of 10 are required, so you need to buy one)
- Rainfly- 15 denier
- Floor- 20 denier
- Canopy- 20 denier
- No-see-um mesh- 20 denier
The Quarter Dome 2 is a double walled tent that has a separate inner tent which is covered with a rain fly. The inner tent is freestanding which makes it very easy to move around (when searching looking for perfectly flat ground), although it’s best to stake out the corners to stretch it out to its full dimensions.
The inner tent hangs from a multi-segment pole which is color coded (blue for the front of the tent, red for the rear) to facilitate easy set up. The pole is a bit awkward and bulky to pack because it’s a single unit, but the advantage of having a single pole is that you won’t lose any of the segments.
For example, there are two horizontal cross pieces on the Quarter Dome 2 that are responsible for maintaining the width and creating near vertical walls at the head end and foot end of the tent. These cross poles are attached to the dual-hubbed pole so you know exactly where they go. Compare this pole architecture to the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 which requires two poles to set up, including a very short horizontal spreader pole that is easy to lose in forest leaf litter. Ask me how I know.
One very nice feature of the Quarter Dome 2’s inner tent is a roof vent which lets you reach through the mesh ceiling to open or close a vent on the outer rain fly. It’s nice detail that’s not normally found on other tents in this price range.
Setting up the Quarter Dome 2 rain fly is a breeze. Like everything on this tent, the corners are color coded. Simply drape the rainfly over the inner tent and clip the corners of the fly to the jakes feet connectors on the corners of the inner tent. Additional velcro tabs on the fly wrap around the tent poles to help hold it down in wind and stretch it out to provide complete coverage over the inner tent.
Next, stake out the side vestibules, which are enormous on the Quarter Dome 2, providing plenty of space for external gear storage and make entry and exit easy. While the vestibule doors require two stakes to set up, the use of lineloc tensioners (a feature common on ultralight tents) on the guylines makes it easy to get a taught pitch.
Air flow through the tent is excellent since it has two opposing doors, one for reach tent occupant. If you plan to sharing a tent with another person, I really recommend that you buy a tent with two doors, so you don’t wake your partner at night if you have to “go outside.” Having two doors and two vestibules also provides a lot more external covered storage, since most two person tents are still fairly cramped inside when you have two people, their sleeping pads, and personal items filling the interior space.
Air flow through the tent is still quite good even if you can’t sleep with the rain fly doors open at night. The hubbed pole architecture ensures good separation between the inner tent and rain fly so air can circulate. There’s an external roof vent above the head end of the tent to vent occupant exhalations (a key source of moisture that causes internal condensation) and a front air scoop under the fly to promote air flow.
While the tent is airy, solid panels below the mesh of the inner tent keep breezes off you while sleeping and add a measure of privacy if you’re camping near others.
The Quarter Dome 2 has near vertical side walls that the increase interior livability of the inner tent. This is the latest trend in lightweight double walled tent design and the Quarter Dome 2 is one of many tents that provide this feature.
When tent manufacturers measure cite tent dimensions, they usually quote the dimensions of the rain fly, not the actual usable space in the tent interior. Don’t ask me why. I’ve included REI’s measurements below in parentheses, so you can see the difference.
Here are the action Section Hiker dimensions of the Quarter Dome 2 inner tent:
- Length: 85″ (REI: 88″)
- Width at head end: 46″ (REI: 52″)
- Width at foot end: 38.5″ (REI: 42″)
- Peak height: 38.5″
As you can see, the interior is slightly tapered and best used with 20″ wide sleeping pads and not 25″ wide sleeping pads. I’d also recommend using sleeping pads that having a tapered mummy shape since the tent interior is tapered and not square. At 85″, the tent length is good for taller people. The height of the ceiling above the head and foot is also very good, although tapered down from the peak. This photo will help give a good idea of what it’s like.
Interior storage in pretty good. There are corner mesh pockets for each occupant and a wide mesh shelf over the head area for storing phones or media players. There are also plenty of interior hang loops.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a very solid value among lightweight, double-walled, two person tents that compares favorably with other good tents in the same weight and price range including the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL 2 mtnGLO ($349), the Big Agnes Happy Hooligan UL 2 ($399), and the Marmot Tungsten 2P UL ($299). Large vestibules, two doors, the semi-freestanding pitch, roomy interior and the color-coded set up make the REI Quarter Dome 2 an easy tent to like. It’s nice to see REI come out with a credible lightweight 2 person tent made with lightweight fabrics that is so easy to set up and use.
- Color coded components makes the tent very easy to set up
- Large vestibules provide huge amount of external, covered storage
- Vertical interior walls enhance livability
- Excellent airflow to prevent internal condensation
- 10 stakes are required to pitch the tent, but only 9 are included with the tent
- Interior is too narrow to fit 2 x 25″ wide sleeping pads
Disclosure: The author purchased this tent with his own funds.
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