Gear Guide 2012: REI Quarter Dome T1 Tent

This spacious tent provides stability and protection while weighing less than three pounds.

[best all-around]

Hikers who want conventional convenience—freestanding pitch, ample elbowroom, double-wall protection—in a solo-sized tent praised the redesigned Quarter Dome. Setup is quick and easy, thanks to the single hubbed pole and clips.

This year’s version uses asymmetrical pole geometry to position the 37-inch high point over the sleeper’s head rather than in the middle, which makes the tent feel roomier when you’re sitting up and creates more space for changing clothes. That, along with expanded dimensions (39 inches wide at the head and 85 inches long), makes this three-season dome 37 percent more spacious than its predecessor—while still weighing less than three pounds. (Ounce saver: The 20-square-foot floor tapers to 24 inches wide at the foot end, which trims space where it’s least useful.)

“I’ve always had to carry much heavier tents to get this kind of head and shoulder room,” says our 6’3” tester, who found it a stable, protective refuge in 20-mph wind and rain in Colorado’s canyon country. “The fabric panels along the bottom edge also prevented sand from getting blown inside,” he reports. Large mesh panels on the tent body and a closeable rainfly vent facilitate ventilation: In most conditions, testers experienced little to no condensation.

The vestibule over the single side door is just big enough for pack and boots. Downside: Exiting the vestibule’s smallish door is a little cumbersome, and you can’t avoid brushing against wet rainfly fabric after a rain. $219; 2 lbs. 14 oz.;

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