If you want more room and less weight when you camp or hike, the REI Quarter Dome 2 tent may be just exactly what you're looking for. The redesigned REI Quarter Dome two-person tent offers many new, improved, and highly desirable features. Among them, you'll find color-coded components and an extensive interior storage pocket along with two separate entrances.
The Quarter Dome 2 also boasts of a dual-hubbed pole and an improved design that makes it easier to put up and to take down. With a reinforced floor, larger side openings, more walls, and a much higher ceiling, it’s hard to believe that all of this weighs in at less than 3.5 easy-to-carry pounds.
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New Quarter Dome 2 Improvements
REI released the updated version of their popular Quarter Dome 2 in the spring of 2017. This updated version features a completely redesigned pole configuration, which REI claims increased the head and shoulder room by some 28 percent and increased the foot room by about 23 percent. The redesigned vestibule expands by 60 percent, which gives you plenty of space to keep your gear dry and safe.
Best of all, these improvements only increased the weight of the Quarter Dome 2 by a mere 3 ounces. The pack size of the Quarter Dome 2 decreased from 7.25 by 20 inches to 7 by 18.5 inches. The new version now has a red and white color scheme. All these features and upgrades are available with a price increase of only $45 to $55.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 tent has a double walled design. That means you can completely cover the inner tent with the rain fly. And since it's freestanding, the inner tent is easy to move around when setting up and trying to find the smoothest and driest surface.
Even though the main section of the tent is freestanding, the manufacturer recommends individually staking out the corners. After locating that sweet-spot, staking out the corners stretches your tent out to the most desirable size and secures it to the ground.
The Inner Tent
You suspend the inner tent from the single, multi-segmented pole. This pole has been color-coded with the blue section designated for the front of the tent, and the red section indicates the rear. This coding helps to ensure less confusion over parts. The color-coded pole can be somewhat inconvenient to pack. However, the fact that it consists of a single piece means that you don’t have to worry about misplacing individual segments.
Two cross pieces run horizontally across the Quarter Dome 2, maintaining the tent width. These two poles also result in nearly vertical walls at both ends of the tent. They attach to the two-colored, dual-hubbed pole in such a way that you will always install them correctly.
The Rain Fly
Another favorite feature of the Quarter Dome 2 is the roof vent of the inner tent that allows you to open and close the vent of the outer fly. That means that if it rains while you're already asleep, you can close the vent in the rain fly without going outside.
The rain fly, like most of the other components of the Quarter Dome 2, is color-coded for convenience. To install the rain fly over your tent, all you have to do is drape the rain fly over the inner tent and connect the corner clips. The rain fly also comes with Velcro straps to keep it secure in the wind. These Velcro straps also allow you to stretch it to its maximum size for complete coverage of the inner tent.
The side vestibules are very large on the Quarter Dome 2. They provide extra space for additional equipment storage as well as a quick and easy egress point. This extra room also allows you to remove shoes and wet and muddy clothing to keep your sleeping bag pristine. You'll need two stakes to deploy the doors of the vestibule fully.
Employing tensioners on the lines guarantees a tight and smooth tent deployment. Using these means your tent looks better and also prevents material from flapping around in windy weather, which can cause unwanted noise while you're trying to sleep. Even worse, it can work the tent pegs loose, which means you have to re-secure them in the wind and rain. Raining or not, getting out of a cozy warm sleeping bag to venture outside to drive pegs back into the ground in the middle of the night sounds like a whole big bunch of no fun!
Other Vestibule Advantages
The vestibule, with two separate and opposing doors, offers egress for each of the tent's two occupants. It also supplies excellent cross-through ventilation through the two doors on opposite sides of the vestibule.
Speaking of sharing your tent with a second person, I have learned through experience that having access to two doors is essential if you ever camp with a partner. Tremendous advantages come with having an entry for each of your two occupants. It may sound like an unnecessary luxury. However, this can be a very convenient feature. Not just for storing your shoes and gear, but more importantly, it can provide each person with their own exit if nature happens to call in the middle of the night.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 tent boasts of exceptional airflow. The one-hubbed pole helps provide adequate separation between the inner tent and rain fly, allowing air to circulate easily throughout the tent. It also provides an extra layer of air insulation between occupants of the inner tent and the glaring sun or plunging temperatures.
REI designed the Quarter Dome 2 with an external roof vent near the ceiling at the head of the tent. This feature allows the moist, humid air exhaled by the occupants to vent out of the tent. That goes a long way in preventing internal condensation that can raise the humidity of the tent interior. While this may also sound like a trivial feature at first, on hot nights in the woods with a minimum breeze, you want every advantage you can have to try to stay comfortable.
The roof vent is very easy to open and close while inside the tent. Even though this makes the tent very airy, panels below the interior mesh will keep the wind off you if you don’t want it. They also serve to help you preserve your privacy when you are at a public campground.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 has side walls in the inner tent that are nearly vertical. These walls give you a bit more livable space, which can make a big difference when you have a tent-mate. While there is a considerable increase in area from earlier versions, you will still feel a bit crowded when you are sharing your REI Quarter Dome 2. That may not be an issue if you are out in the woods with your “significant other.” However, if you are hitting the woods with one of your drinking buddies, you may both have to be prepared to sacrifice a bit of personal space.
Don’t get me wrong. Overall, the Quarter Dome 2 has a reasonably spacious interior at the head and foot where it matters most. It also provides adequate interior storage space for campers. The corner mesh storage pockets for individual campers are high off the ground and surprisingly spacious. The wide main mesh pocket provides a perfect space to keep your electronics, wallet, and other valuables. With the addition of the included utility loops, you should have no problem finding a place for everything that needs to stay dry and secure.
Reviews and Ratings
Some assessments found at various evaluation sites had many positive and a few negative things to say about the REI Quarter Dome 2. Independent reviewers praised the improved peak height and open interior with a minimum weight increase. They mentioned the high-quality fabric, poles, and stakes, as well as the large vestibule. Another pointed out the easy setup and the spacious interior. They were happy with the multiple features that improved livability, like the two large doors in the vestibule.
One reviewer mentioned how easy it was to set up the first time and the safety aspects of the highly reflective guy lines. They found it roomy and spacious for campers and equipment alike. They praised the convenience of two exit doors for two campers and generous interior storage pockets.
Actual customers also voiced their opinions on the REI Quarter Dome 2. One typical customer on the REI website mentioned that he could fit two people comfortably. He also noted that the vestibule could fit a 75-liter bag without touching the rain fly or blocking the entrances. On the downside, the customer also mentioned that they didn't include the 10th stake and that 2 of the corners of his tent were beginning to wear where the stitching was too close to the edge.
One customer who had purchased his tent earlier that day said the setup was “easy and fast” -- more so than the original QTD2 he had purchased in 2010. Being 6 feet 5 inches tall, he was very pleased with the extra headroom.
Finally, other customers said it held up well in the wind and rain and praised it for being lightweight and easy to pack. Some said the poles took “a little getting used to.”
The REI Quarter Dome 2 vs. Other 2-Man Tents
With its sterling reputation, we've decided to compare the REI Quarter Dome 2 to other 2-person tents as a means of assessing its position in the market.
We based some of the information in this review on data collected from various camping equipment rating services as well as information gathered from the REI homepage. Most importantly, the ratings submitted in consumer reviews by actual owners of the REI Quarter Dome 2 (and the other tents we compared it to) weighed in heavily.
The Coleman 2-person pop-up tent sets up in about 10 seconds. It boasts preassembled poles that allow this tent to literally pop into place. While Coleman is an established brand with an excellent reputation, this 2-person tent is much heavier than the REI Quarter Dome 2. While the tent is roomy and provides excellent waterproofing, it may prove too heavy for backpacking. You'll also find that it's only suitable for warm-weather camping.
Naturehike designed the Mongar 2-Person Backpacking Tent to accommodate backpacking, car camping, and trail trekking adventures. Lightweight, but tough, the rain fly and the floor are both made of polyester rip-stop anti-stretch fabric. That helps to produce an ultralight and rugged shell and floor to stand up to rough surface and heavy weather conditions. While lightweight enough to carry for miles, the Mongar doesn't offer all the extra interior storage room for your gear like the REI Quarter Dome 2.
Both the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 and the REI Quarter Dome 2 are comparable in many respects. You'll find that both are lightweight backpacking tents. Both come highly recommended, and both are within a few dollars of the same price point. With that in mind, let’s look at the tale of the tape.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 is lighter and boasts of a smaller packed size, giving it the backpacker advantage. In floor area and head height, they both rate about even. But, the REI Quarter Dome 2 provides over 13 square feet more vestibule area and one additional door for greater air flow. Combine that with the double-walled and rain fly weather advantages of the Quarter Dome 2, and it comes out on top by the numbers.
The Bottom Line
REI not only designed and produced an improvement over its previous incarnation, but the Quarter Dome 2 also ranks among the most spacious and comfortable lightweight, double-walled, 2-person tents available for the price. Its roomy interior, two air-flow doors, and the freestanding pitch make it worth a serious look. The spacious vestibule, convenient color-coded setup system, and vertical interior walls put the REI Quarter Dome 2 over the top for novice weekend backpackers and serious trail trekkers alike. Share it with someone you love.