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REI Quarter Dome T2 Review

   

Backpacking Tents

  • Currently 4.5/5
Overall avg rating 4.5 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: October 7, 2013
Street Price:   $230 | Compare prices at 1 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, strong, spacious, good value.
Cons:  Poor quality stakes, weaker vestibule guy cord.
Best Uses:  Three-season anything.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   REI
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 29, 2012  
Overview
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 It has been replaced by the REI Quarter Dome 2.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

Livability
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).

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REI Quarter Dome T2 door hanging before being tucked into the pocket.
Credit: Max Neale
Weather Resistance
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).

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REI Quarter Dome T2 on the east side of the Cascades, Washington State. Four corner guy points help to offset the limited support for the single primary pole that touches the ground at both ends.
Credit: Max Neale
Weight and Packed Size
The tent weighs 72 oz., or 4 lb. 8 oz. and is far from ultralight.

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Packed size comparison (all tents are brand new): Black Diamond Mesa, REI Half Dome 2, REI Quarter Dome T2, and Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2.
Credit: Max Neale
Adaptability
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.

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The Hilleberg Rogen and Anjan (left) are the only tents that pitch in a floorless configuration, which increases versatility and reduces weight, and is much stronger, lighter, and more weather resistant than "fast pitching" (right).
Credit: OutdoorGearLab and MSR
Limitations
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 Nail 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.

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Tent stakes,: MSR Cyclone (35g),Toughstake (33g), MSR Snowstake (22g), DAC Y (14g), Easton Nano Nail (9g), DAC V (11g), MSR Mini Groundhog (9g), Hilleberg Tri-peg (8g), Vargo 6.5" Titanium (8g), MSR Carbon Core (5.5g), Easton Full Metal Jacket (5.5g).
Credit: Max Neale
Best Application
Luxurious three-season adventures in mild to moderate conditions.

Value
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.

Other Versions
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.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 7, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (3)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 14, 2012 - 09:35pm
YY_nyc · Backpacker · Brooklyn
I have T2 plus (which is about 10 inches longer and 3 inches wider than T2). It is a great tent. The pitch is very taut and you can open and close the doors with one hand. The plus version is wide enough for 25 inch + 20 inch pad ( I am not sure if you could squeeze two 25 inch pads into it). The vestibules are roomy enough for 65 litter pack on each side. It also has a lot of headroom.
It stood up to four nights of rain and thunderstorms in ADK with no problem. In fact, we have slept through a pretty nasty storm with vents open. It can stand up to some serious weather, though I don't think the frame is mean for heavy snow load.


My advice is to go and check it out. I am guessing that T3 is the most versatile tent, but with plus sizes you can always find something that fits you.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Mar 2, 2011 - 04:45pm
brawa · Climber · SAN
Tents are one thing REI got right with their store brand line. I have the T3 version. Only complaint would be that it's a tight squeeze for 3, but awesomely spacious for 2. Stakes are crappy aluminum hooks, but that's sort of expected and not really a "con" for me.

Add in the fact that you can pick these up in perfect condition for half price or less at the used gear sales and you've got a deal. The silver/orange color coding makes setup a breeze in the dark or when you're brain's fried.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 7, 2013 - 04:23pm
ThatMariaChick · NW Georgia
I've owned this tent since early 2011. It has seen appx 50 trail nights each year. Out of my 5 tents, this has been my "go to" tent just for general ease of use.

I'm short so I cannot comment on the length since it suits me fine. I do like the fact that it is roomy in the head area when you sit up. I do not have to sit directly in the center of the tent (like you would a dome) just to have any headroom. I can sit next to the doorway and utilize the rest of the tent for any workspace.

The connected poles do take getting used to when setting up but once you get the hang of it, it's easy. I usually set the tent up at night since I usually venture out after work on Fridays. And as someone stated earlier, the color coded poles/grommets make everything that much easier.

It has spent countless days/nights in heavy downpour. And after over two years, it has now shown a leak spot. I attribute this to normal wear and use, and me being a bit rough on gear. It's nothing that can't be re-treated.

Vestibules could be bigger. Just enough for a pair of shoes. At least there are two. However, you would still either need to keep your pack inside your tent or strung up in a tree.

The small pockets at the top of the doorways are handy for either storing your mesh doorways out of the way or even holding a headlamp for illumination.

I would recommend lengthening the tie-outs. The stakes are your average aluminum stakes. Upgrade or don't. They do their job.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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REI Quarterdome 2
Credit: REI
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