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REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent Review

The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a spacious two person tent that's lightweight enough for comfortable backpacking
The REI Quarter Dome 2 is a spacious two person tent that’s lightweight enough for comfortable backpacking.

REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent

Comfort
Ease of Setup
Weather Resistance
Durabilty
Weight
Packed Size

Very Good

The Quarter Dome 2 is comfortable, easy to setup, and light weight making it an excellent value for couples who want to reduce their pack weight.

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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)
  • Fabrics:
    • Rainfly- 15 denier
    • Floor- 20 denier
    • Canopy- 20 denier
    • No-see-um mesh- 20 denier
While the inner tent is freestanding, it helps to stake out the corners to expand the dimensions to their full extent and secures it to the ground.
While the inner tent is freestanding, it helps to stake out the corners to expand the dimensions to their full extent and secures the tent to the ground.

Inner Tent

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.

While bulky to pack, the advantage of having a single color-coded poles is that you can't misplace a segment
While bulky to pack, the advantage of having a single color-coded pole is that you can’t misplace a segment.

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.

Horizontal struts keep the walls of the inner tent nearly vertical to increase internal volume and enhance livabilit
Horizontal struts keep the walls of the inner tent nearly vertical to increase internal volume and enhance livability.

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.

The REI Quarter Dome 2 has a zippered opening in the inner tent so you can adjust the vent in the rain fly without going outside
The REI Quarter Dome 2 has a zippered opening in the inner tent so you can adjust the vent in the rain fly without going outside.

Rain Fly

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.

The side vestibules on the Quarter Dome 2 are enormous and provides loads of external gear storage
The side vestibules on the Quarter Dome 2 are enormous and provides loads of external gear storage

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.

Having two doors is essential if you plan to camp with a partner
Having two doors is essential if you plan to camp with a partner.

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.

An overhanging roof vent is easy to open and close while you're inside the tent.
An overhanging roof vent is easy to open and close while you’re inside the tent.

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.

Interior Livability

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.

Interior view with fly pulled back. While REI increased the interior volume of the Quarter Dome with more vertical walls and more more space above the head and foot, you still need to be on friendly terms with your tent mate.
Interior view with fly pulled back. While REI increased the interior volume of the Quarter Dome 2 with more vertical walls and more space above the head and feet, you still need to be on friendly terms with your tent mate.

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.

The Quarter Dome's interior is quite spacious above the feet and head end of the tent
The Quarter Dome 2’s interior is quite spacious above the feet and head end of the tent.

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.

Recommendation

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.

Likes:

  • 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

Dislikes:

  • 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

For full specs, see the Quarter Dome 2 at REI. 

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent with his own funds. 

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19 comments

  1. hi Phil,

    Love your site, keep up the good work! BTW, it’s “taut pitch” not “taught pitch”.

  2. How do you feel this compares with the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2?

    • Very comparable. The copper spur has bigger doors which are nice, but it also has an easy to lose short pole segment. The Quarter dome has much better and bigger vestibules and is a little easier to pitch. I think of it as the value version of the copper spur. Less expensive and nearly indistinguishable. If your familiar with the REI Dash 2, the quarter dome fixes a lot that was wrong with that tent while using some of its innovations, particularly in terms of fabrics.

  3. If you already addressed this, sorry, I missed it. I’m sure I already know the answer anyway, does it still require the footprint to set up fly first in the rain?

  4. Philip, would you recommend getting the quarter dome 2 or going up a size to the quarter dome 3 if going car camping/backpacking with the wife? It sounds like this is a tent that is the jack of all trades between weight, space, durability, and airflow and that would definitely check all my boxes. When I go backpacking I typically hammock with a Warbonnet tarp, but car camping sites are never made with hammocks in mind so I’m looking at picking up a good tent.

  5. Phil,

    How does this one compare to the Nemo Hornet 2? How much extra space/comfort does one get for the extra 18-20 ounces?

  6. REI admits on it’s own web site that additional stakes are needed to tie out all guy wires. How much could a few extra stakes cost? They should correct this problem now.

  7. hands down Nemo equipment is making the best tents in the game right now. the attention to detail is unbelievable. on my fourth night in one of their tents I was still noticing cool design details. they just design things from the user’s point of view. anyway, i don’t usually write reviews but i cant help but promote their stuff i have been so pleased. sorry about myfailure to capitalize i am on an ipad and sipping woodfords.

  8. Kurt in Colorado

    Man, I loved my old Quarter Dome because it was tight, roomy, and affordable. The new one sounds even better (except for the “affordable” part).

    I now use the Tarptent Double Rainbow, and after a few key modifications (including velcro sewn to the walls to hold them away from your face), the Rainbow is hard to beat.

    The Double Rainbow has more floorspace, more height, ample vestibules, and it weighs a whole pound less than the Quarter Dome (after it adds stakes and stuff sack).

    And it’s more affordable: for $289, Henry and his crew will make one for you! (No, I’m not a paid endorser for Henry!)

  9. I got the REI “Camp Dome” 2 a few years back with my dividends, pretty nice for a small budget backpacking tent. I think it only listed for about $130.00 back tghen and I got it for $30 with dividends. I have used on lots of weekend overnight BP trip, its compact, pretty light, fair amount of room for 2, also two doors, but a short rain fly. still a good 2P tent and 1/3 of the cost of quarter dome. But, with the mini fly, you give up pack storage, but I just tree my pack on a line anyways, so no loss for me.. Thanks REI product is always good.

  10. Great review. Any word on how it handles (out of the box so to speak) in the rain? REI says it’s factory seamsealed. Any word on how well it holds up or would additional sealing be needed? Thoughts?
    – Dave

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