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REI Quarter Dome 2 Review

A lightweight choice for a good value.
REI Quarter Dome 2
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Price:  $349 List | $349.00 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, strong, spacious, good value
Cons:  Fabric is not durable, complicated setup, low quality stakes and guy lines
Manufacturer:   REI
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 8, 2017
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The Skinny

Over the past several years, REI has tweaked and tinkered with the design of the Quarter Dome 2 to improve upon an already bomber product. REI put a lot of thought into redesigning the Quarter Dome line to improve its weight and comfort. This contender now weighs about 1.3 pounds less than the T2 (the original version) and has a larger interior. We love its almost vertical sidewalls that give it lots of headroom, allow for sitting up without crouching, and its great ceiling stash pockets. It is in the middle of the pack for its weight as well as its price.

Update - May 2017
Since our last hands-on review, REI redesigned the Quarter Dome 2! The latest model features updated pole architecture, which results in increased roominess, and 60% larger vestibules. To learn more about these changes, among a few others, scroll down.


Our Analysis and Test Results

New Quarter Dome 2 vs. The Old Version


REI updated the popular Quarter Dome 2 for spring 2017. The latest version features reconfigured pole architecture which, according to REI, increases head and shoulder room by 28% and footbox room by 23%. The dual-staked vestibules are also augmented to increase the room by 60%. Along with the space increase, the weight of the tent also went up by 3 ounces. Surprisingly, the packed size shrank from 7.25 inches by 20 inches to 7 inches by 18.5 inches. The latest version is identified by its red and white color combination and costs 50 bucks more than its predessesor.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest version pictured on the left and the older version shown on the right.
REI Quarter Dome 2
REI Quarter Dome

Here's a full summary of the updates:
  • Updated Pole Architecture — REI updated their pole architecture to increase head and shoulder room by 28% and footbox room by 23%.
  • Larger Vestibules — The dual-stake vestibules (one on each side) are augmented to be 60% larger than the prior version.
  • Color Update — REI updated the colors. The latest model is sporting a color combination of Red Hot and Seattle Mist.
  • Weight Increase — Along with the increased room, there's also a slight weight increase of 3 oz. The new version weighs in at 3 pounds 12 ounces (versus 3 pounds 9 oz).
  • Change in Packed Dimensions — The latest model packs down to 7 inches by 18.5 inches, which is slightly smaller than the previous version which featured packed dimensions of 7.25 inches by 20 inches.
  • Price Change As of 2017, the price for the Quarter Dome 2 is set at $350 (which is 50 buckaroos more than the previous model).

We haven't had the opportunity to test out this new version of the Quarter Dome 2 yet, so the main review text and ratings reflect that of the previous Quarter Dome 2 model.

Hands-on Review of the Original Quarter Dome 2


The Quarter Dome 2 is an excellent all-around backpacking tent, and is a good compromise for someone looking for a lightweight, comfortable tent for under $300.

Update for 2017: the Quarter Dome 2 now sells for $350.

The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a great backpacking tent. It's in the middle of the pack for its weight as well as its price.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a great backpacking tent. It's in the middle of the pack for its weight as well as its price.

Comfort


The Quarter Dome is a very comfortable tent for its weight. Even with its tapered floor design, it feels quite roomy. It is still a tight fit for two people, but the added vestibule room makes it very do-able.

The Quarter Dome is a bit of a tight fit for two people  but the added vestibule room makes it very do-able.
The Quarter Dome is a bit of a tight fit for two people, but the added vestibule room makes it very do-able.

We think it is more livable and comfortable than both the Hilleberg Anjan 2 and the Hubba Hubba NX because of its vertical sidewalls so both people can sit up at the same time without crouching. We like its large end pocket and two ceiling pockets to stash stuff like headlamps and sunglasses. The vestibules are relatively roomy and can fit a medium sized backpack and some shoes, but its walls start high off the ground and rain may be able to get into the vestibule during a windy storm. The Quarter Dome feels very well ventilated and airy, and much less claustrophobic than the slightly smaller sized competitors. A small but annoying detail we noticed is that the doors hang in your face when you are trying to get your shoes on or off, unless you take the time to tie them back each time.

We think The REI Quarter Dome 2 is more livable than both the Hilleberg Anjan 2 and the Hubba Hubba NX because of its vertical sidewalls so both people can sit up at the same time without crouching.
We think The REI Quarter Dome 2 is more livable than both the Hilleberg Anjan 2 and the Hubba Hubba NX because of its vertical sidewalls so both people can sit up at the same time without crouching.

Weather Resistance


REI's hubbed pole design seems like it is sturdy and would hold up well to strong winds. As with the MSR Hubba Hubba, we noticed a bit of squeaking in the wind when the fly was taught against the poles. Even though the Quarter Dome is well ventilated, it also has high nylon panels that will help protect the inside of the tent from splash-back and spindrift.

The Quarter Dome has ample guy points but only came with two supplementary guy lines and adjusters. We had to add our own cord to the tent, but when we did it seemed very sturdy and weather resistant. It also comes with low quality stakes, which we suggest replacing with something more solid. For stake recommendations check out our Buying Advice Article.

The Quarter Dome has ample guy points but only came with two supplementary guy lines and adjusters. We had to add our own cord to the tent  but when we did it seemed very sturdy and weather resistant.
The Quarter Dome has ample guy points but only came with two supplementary guy lines and adjusters. We had to add our own cord to the tent, but when we did it seemed very sturdy and weather resistant.

Weight and Packed Size


We are impressed with how light the Quarter Dome 2 is. Its maximum weight is only 3 pounds 9 ounces, which puts it in the middle of our tested field. REI shed pounds with details such as tiny zippers and other lightweight features while using very lightweight fabrics. This is a tent we would carry around on longer backpacking trips. Its packed size is a little bulkier than some because of its awkward double hub pole design. The pole sections are all different lengths and the hubs make the single pole bulky. The REI Half Dome 2 Plus is accurately named, since it is almost twice as heavy as the Quarter Dome at 93 ounces.

Ease of Setup


REI has taken strides to create a very livable two-person tent while shedding some extra pounds. In the process they have created a unique pole design to create extra headroom. This design makes the tent very confusing to set up for the first few times. Its "hubbed" design is similar to the MSR Hubba Hubba, but slightly more complicated. The tent body has two clips that need to slide into the master point at each major hub intersection. These master points can be flipped the wrong way when you are inserting the poles into their corner grommets.

Once you figure this out and are careful to make sure the hubs are the right side down, it becomes less of a nuisance. We have discovered that you need to set the Quarter Dome 2 up in a very particular order for each piece to be able to snap in right. You have to make sure that all the single sections of pole snap into their little plastic keepers on the fly before you can attach the corners. All that says that the Quarter Dome takes a bit of time and fiddling to set up.

The Quarter Dome's body has two clips that need to slide into the master point at each major hub intersection. These master points can be flipped the wrong way when you are inserting the poles into their corner grommets.
The Quarter Dome's body has two clips that need to slide into the master point at each major hub intersection. These master points can be flipped the wrong way when you are inserting the poles into their corner grommets.

The Quarter Dome is not very adaptable. It is a double wall tent, so it can be pitched with or without its fly. We were disappointed that it does not have a floorless pitch mode. You have to buy the separate footprint in order to pitch this tent without its body.

Durability


We are concerned with the durability of the Quarter Dome 2. During our test period, we ripped apart the tent's stuff sack, which appears to be made from the same material as the fly. REI uses a delicate 15 denier ripstop nylon for the Quarter Dome's fly, which has a polyurethane waterproofing coating. This very lightweight material combined with the PU coating makes the fly material the most vulnerable to damage and deterioration — see our Buying Advice Article for more about these materials.

The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 also has 15 D weight material. However, we were definitely rougher with the stuff sack than we would be with the fly, and purchasing a lightweight tent is always a compromise between weight and durability. The Quarter Dome's tent floor is made from a more durable 30-denier weight fabric, so it should stand up to slightly more abuse.

We are concerned with the long-term durability of the Quarter Dome 2. While we were testing we ripped apart the tent's stuff sack  which appears to be made from the same material as the fly
We are concerned with the long-term durability of the Quarter Dome 2. While we were testing we ripped apart the tent's stuff sack, which appears to be made from the same material as the fly

Limitations


As we just mentioned, we believe the Quarter Dome's main limitation is its durability. This tent needs to be treated gently when setting it up and users should make sure it is not near something like a tree branch that could puncture its delicate fabric.

It has a strong pole design and seems to stand up to high winds quite well, but you will need to purchase more guy cord for all the guy points and consider purchasing higher quality stakes to make this tent as strong as possible.

The Quarter Dome 2 has a side ventilation opening that you can open and close from inside the tent.
The Quarter Dome 2 has a side ventilation opening that you can open and close from inside the tent.

Best Application


REI's Quarter Dome is a great all around backpacking tent. It is light enough to carry on long backpacking trips or other self-propelled adventures like bike touring. It would be okay for car camping, but we would suggest something more durable like the NEMO Galaxi 2 or one of our Camping Tents if car camping will be its primary use.

Value


The Quarter Dome is a good value, and after the Tarptent Double Rainbow, is the lightest tent for under $300 (okay, so it's $299, but still!). We think it is also the most comfortable tent at its weight. You will have to be gentle with it because we suspect its fly material is not as durable as some of its more expensive competitors like the Hilleberg Anjan 2 or the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a good all-around backpacking tent for a reasonable price, the REI Quarter Dome 2 is your tent. We think it is a very livable — but tight — shelter for two, or very roomy for one with its two doors and vestibules, great ventilation, and lots of pockets. The hubbed design is a bit tricky to set up for the first few times, but we believe it is very sturdy during bad weather and love the extra head room. We are concerned with its durability, but if you treat it carefully, it should be okay.

The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a great all-around backpacking tent that is a good compromise for someone looking for a lightweight  livable tent for under $300.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a great all-around backpacking tent that is a good compromise for someone looking for a lightweight, livable tent for under $300.


Jessica Haist