Our take What’s the Holy Grail of backpacking tents? It’s a shelter that’s spacious, strong, and (relatively) affordable, and that’s the Quarter Dome 2. To achieve it, REI kept the conventional features we loved in the original (freestanding, double wall) and set about to give it more volume. The secret is in the new poles: They’ve all been slightly lengthened and pre-bent to prop the walls out, increasing space around the head by 28 percent and around the shoulders by 14 percent—without making the tent any taller. Good news: These changes only increased the weight by 4 ounces and the price by $50.
The details Color-coded poles correspond to both the tent clips and the metal grommets, making quick work of setup—one tester pitched it by herself on the first try in less than three minutes. Ditch the body for a fastpack option that saves a pound. Two massive vestibules (10.8 square feet each) hold oodles of gear and an internal zipper allows easy access to the fly vent. With it open, our duo didn’t see a drop of condensation during a 350F night outside Chattanooga. When they needed airflow circulation, testers rolled up the 15-denier nylon fly at the foot.
Trail cred “The extra storage space was key when we found ourselves housing a lost dog in one vestibule alongside a backpack and hiking boots,” says a contributing editor.