Over the summer I went on a backpacking trip in Mt. Rainier National Park (which was awesome, but more on that later). Rather than using my REI Half Dome 2+ Tent, I instead tented with someone else who had an REI Quarter Dome UL Tent, which was lighter and more suitable for the 5 day backpacking trip. The tent worked very well and kept us warm throughout the trip, despite rain and cold weather.
At just under 4 lbs and packing down to a size of 7 x 20 inches, the REI Quarter Dome UL Tent lives up to its name. It’s a great backpacking tent for 1 or 2 people, depending on how big they are, and is very light; when divided into two backpacks it really is “ultralight”. I say it may fit 2 people depending on their sizes because it doesn’t have an abundance of floor space. The floor is only 85 x 52 inches (7’1″ x 4’4″). While this may work for many people, it will be pretty snug for two people with broader chests.
The tent is very durable and easy to set up. The footprint for the tent is very well made and, as with any tent, should be bought as soon as possible to extend the tent’s working life and prevent the floor from being torn up. The tent is very simple to set up and can easily be set up in a few minutes by one person. It also features Dead End Pole Sleeves, which help speed up set-up.
As with many other REI tents, the Quarter Dome UL has two doors and two vestibules, a plus for a smaller tent. Nobody has to crawl over someone else to exit or enter the tent and dirt encrusted boots can be left under the rain fly on one’s own side of the tent. The two roof vents prevent condensation from building up in the tent, keeping the interior dry. Mesh walls provide for good ventilation in warmer weather. Additionally, the floor has a waterproof seal, so the floor on the inside remains dry on damp ground.
The nylon rainfly doesn’t leak, is simple to set up and is very durable and light. Velcro pieces allow you to attach the rainfly to the pole sleeves on the tent, which lets you keep the rainfly attached to the tent when taking it down. This makes setting up the tent later in the day on a backpacking trip easier and faster. Furthermore, the rainfly corners are color coded to match the corners of the tent, which eliminates any confusion when attaching it to the tent.
The tent comes with guylines and tighteners, stakes, bags for the stakes and poles, a pole repair tube, and a compressible tent stuff sack. The stakes are durable and don’t bend easily, and the guylines keep the rainfly taught and away from the sides of the tent, keeping the tent sides dry. The pole and stake bags provide for efficient organization and easy packing.
All in all, the REI Quarter Dome UL Tent is a well-built, durable tent that’s great for backpacking trips. I would recommend it to someone who’s looking for a lightweight, 1 or 2 person tent and who doesn’t mind a little reduction in space.