Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight, strong, spacious, good value.
Cons: Poor quality stakes, weaker vestibule guy cord.
Best Uses: Three-season anything.
The REI Quarter Dome T2 has been discontinued. It is still available on the REI website at a discounted price. It has been replaced by the REI Quarter Dome 2.
The REI Quarter Dome T2 is a moderately good value midweight two door double wall tent. It has a unique and innovative pole design that maximizes interior space without adding too much weight. In total, the tent weighs in a 72 oz., or 4 lb. 8 oz. It's far from lightweight and many other two door tents are lighter and stronger, but the Quarter Dome generally costs less and, for most people in most conditions, will perform nearly as well.
See how the Quarter Dome compares to the 23 other tents tested in our Backpacking Tent Review. Specifically, consider the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which we believe offers considerably more performance than the Quarter Dome (it weighs 30 ounces less) and costs only $5 more. Unfortunately the Double Rainbow is only available online directly from Tarptent in Seattle which can take weeks.
The Quarter Dome is currently unavailable from REI online so you may also want to check out the incredible Hilleberg Anjan 2 which is available at a number of retailers.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Quarter Dome competes with twelve other two door tents we tested that aim to provide the most space for the least amount of weight. This tent does OK when pitted against tents that cost considerably more. 30 sq. ft. of interior space and two small 6.5 sq. ft. vestibules give two people enough room to sit up comfortably and store a pair of shoes under the vestibule. Each vestibule is about the size found on ultralight single entrance backpacking tents; other tents that weigh the same amount have larger vestibules. For example, the Hileberg Rogen has nearly twice the vestibule area and weighs the same.
One of the Quarter Dome's largest drawbacks is its relatively short 84" length. The aggressive inner tent angle can make the tent cramped for people around or over six feet tall. During rain combining a tall person with a lofted sleeping bag can lead to either or both a wet head or a wet sleeping bag bottom.
We believe the Quarter Dome's best feature is the tear shaped doors that unzip and tuck into small pockets above the door. These make getting in and out of the tent effortless and also more sustainable (you're less likely to snag and tear the door if it's not hanging in your way).
The Quarter Dome offers solid protection from the elements in what we call fair to moderate conditions. The pole design is such that two of the three poles (the orange ones) only touch the ground once. This puts the majority of the stress on the primary pole that runs from one corner to the other corner and reduces the overall strength when compared to tents with two primary poles, such as the Hilleberg Rogen. The Quarter Dome does, however, have four corner guypoints that add a considerable amount of strength compared to tents with only two mid-level guy points (MSR Hubba Hubba, Carbon Reflex 2, Hoop, Sierra Designs LT Strike, etc.).
The Quarter Dome's polyurethane coated ripstop nylon floor and fly are the greatest area for potential improvement. They're excellent considering the cost of the tent, but we believe they're no where near as durable or as strong as silicone impregnated nylons, and are a far cry from the stunning performance of cuben fiber (found in ultralight tents).
Weight and Packed Size
The tent weighs 72 oz., or 4 lb. 8 oz. and is far from ultralight.
We give the tent a score of 1 here (the highest score is 3) because it must be pitched in the exact same way every time, which can be a drawback for long distance hikers or anyone forced to camp in sites that don't allow an optimal pitch. Ultralight shelters are much more adaptable. We don't believe fast-pitching (using the fly, an optional footprint, and the poles) is viable for serious backpacking. Nor do we recommend using footprints for backpacking. See our Buying Advice Article for more info on these topics.
The Quarter Dome includes very poor quality stakes that have low holding power and are heavier and harder to use than many other stakes that come with tents we've tested. We highly recommend purchasing better stakes. Consider the 6" Easton Nano Tent Stakes, a good value, or for the ultimate lightweight get the Easton Full Metal Jacket stakes. See the photo below. There's also not enough guy line for every point. Bluewater 3mm Niteline is a good value.
Luxurious three-season adventures in mild to moderate conditions.
The REI Half Dome 2 weighs only 13 ounces more and is stronger, more spacious and costs $90 less than the Quarter Dome. The Quarter Dome, therefore, saves 0.32 ounces per dollar. In contrast the Tarptent Double Rainbow, which is 30 ounces lighter, considerably stronger, and better for tall people than the Quarter Dome saves 0.45 ounces per additional dollar compared to the Half Dome. Thus, by our standards the Double Rainbow is a much better value than the Quarter Dome if saving weight is a top priority.
See our Price versus Value Chart to see how the value of all tents compare.
There are many sizes of this tent. The Quarter Dome T2 Plus ($299) is 10" longer, 3" wider and weighs 9 oz. more. We have not yet tested the one or three person version of the tent.
Remember that the REI Quarter Dome T2 has been discontinued. If you are still interested; it is available on the REI website at a discounted price. The REI Quarter Dome 2 has replaced this model.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 7, 2013
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