Be honest for a second. What are you looking for from your outdoor adventure?
Do you want to dive deep into the depths of the wilderness, journeying down unforged paths like a tiny forest-Columbus?
Or do you just want to hang out with a couple of good friends around a cozy campfire adventure with a couple of friends, a bottle of whiskey and a bunch of smores?
Depending on the day of the week, I want one or the other or both.
Let me tell you: finding one tent that fulfills all my outdoor ambitions is almost impossible.
Yet, I may have stumbled across exactly that: the REI Co-Op Quarter Dome SL 2.
REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 Tent
Whether you’re a car camping king (or queen), backpacking buff, or weekend wilderness warrior, the REI Co-Op Quarter Dome 2 may be your best tent option to enjoy the outdoors.
This spacious, 3-season, lightweight shelter will provide you with ample weather protection and stability in most outdoor conditions.
Unlike its “big brother,” the Half Dome 2 Plus (our review), the Quarter Dome 2 has more of a tapered shape which saves on overall weight at the cost of some headroom.
REI constantly improves their products based on camper feedback. The older Quarter Dome 2 added 28% more headroom, 23% more foot area to stretch out, 60% more vestibule room to store your gear, and streamlined tent access with larger doors.
After all that redesign, and it still only resulted in an additional 3 oz. to the overall weight. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
As always though, there are a few downsides: the low-density ripstop nylon seems flimsy and some of the hardware (zippers, guylines, stakes, etc.) are not constructed of the highest-quality material.
Still, with a tried and trusted brand like REI, you’ll be able to easily reach customer service if any issues arise.
All in all, the Quarter Dome SL 2 is a stellar, versatile option for anyone hoping to achieve their camping dreams.
Size: Ample Interior Room With Near-Vertical Sidewalls
The near-vertical sidewalls allow for an ample amount of usable volume so that you and your partner have the option to simply chillax within the spacious interior.
And if you are feeling cramped, you can always unzip the two large, D-shaped mesh doors and stretch out into the vestibules.
Even more impressive, than the already decent interior volume, is that it comes without sacrificing too much weight.
Sure, it’s not the lightest of all the shelters on the market, but at a packed weight of 2 lbs. 14oz. (and a packed size of 20” x 7”), you should have no trouble storing it in your backpack on long hikes or simply tucking it away in your trunk.
Season: Double-Walled Shelter With Excellent 3-Season Protection
REI has outdone themselves with the Quarter Dome’s top-notch 3-season protection.
The unique reinforced hubbed-pole structure allows for superb stability in the toughest of winds, although the tie downs and stakes are not the best quality.
If you are expecting intense gusts at the campsite, I would suggest investing in high-end set of tent stakes.
Apart from its above-average stability, the Quarter Dome SL 2 will keep you dry, both inside and out.
The full-coverage, polyurethane-coated rainfly guards against water from entering the tent from above, while the one-third nylon walls and waterproof bathtub floor prevent water from entering below.
Plus, the top two-thirds of the canopy is mesh, and in combination with the two side doors and multiple vents, you should have plenty of ventilation to prevent condensation from forming on the underside of the rain fly.
Click here to get your own Quarter Dome today…
Setup: Easy Color-Coded Pitch, But You May Struggle At First
So, you rushed out last minute to grab a tent and didn’t have time to practice pitching it in the backyard.
Well, with the REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2, you’ll have no problem assembling the tent on the first try with easy-to-follow features like a color-coded pole system and rain fly buckles.
Okay, maybe you’ll look a little silly on your first few attempts, but you’ll eventually be a able to single-handedly pitch this tent in no time.
Unlike many of its semi-freestanding competitors (who utilize a simple Y-shaped pole structure) REI has added a few extra secure points to ensure that your tent is stable.
The crossbar on the roof not only creates near-vertical sidewalls, but allows the Quarter Dome to transfer some of the force to the fabric itself, rather than relying on the pole structure alone.
Also, the star-shaped design at the footbox gives the tent a sturdy, solid base.
One downfall of the hubbed pole system is that it is shockcorded together in one piece, so it may be difficult to actually assemble it together or tightly pack it up.
But hey, look on the bright side, you won’t lose any little pieces since they are connected.
Security: Thin Materials Lead to Questionable Durability
The pole structure of the Quarter Dome SL 2 is stable and light thanks to the use of aluminum poles, rather than the less-durable fiberglass materials that come with many cheaper tents.
Still, you’ll want to be careful when pitching the tent because aluminum fatigues over time and it can be hard to recapture the proper structure if it gets bent too far.
Apart from the poles, when it comes to the long lasting durability of the fabric, the Quarter Dome falls short… or should I say thin.
The combination of 10D, 15D and 30D nylon may be ideal for cutting down weight, but since the material is so delicate, it is prone to rips and tears.
I would suggest being extremely cautious with this tent – ensure there are no sharp rocks on the ground, be careful entering/exiting the shelter, and as I always say, save your floor by purchasing a footprint!
Storage: Dual Vestibules and Several Interior Pockets
The REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 2 is truly made for two people.
The two large side doors and two 10+ sq. ft. vestibules will give you ample storage to keep your dirty gear away from the clean living space.
Although, you’ll want to be careful with the zippers on these doors, since they can be finicky and get caught in the fabric.
There are three large pockets built in the ceiling of the canopy. But, who wants to do sit-ups in the middle of the night, reaching for your precious phone?
Well, that’s why REI has incorporated two corner pockets in the head of the tent so that you don’t have to get out of your sleeping bag to get your stuff.
$$: Affordable Compared to Many Competitors
It’s going to cost you a lot more than a quarter to own the Quarter Dome SL 2, but don’t let the price tag scare you.
Instead of crossing this tent off your “wish list,” you should understand where exactly your money is going.
You spend it for outdoor memories with your loved ones and the opportunity to connect with nature.
Cheesy? Maybe. But the cost of a Quarter Dome 2 is reasonable compared to many of its competitors.
Add in REI’s world-renowned craftsmanship and you’ve got a moderately priced tent that will have you yearning to head back into the wild.
Wrapping It Up…
The REI Co-Op Quarter Dome SL 2 is a sufficient option for ALL 3-season campers.
The ample amount of usable interior volume, excellent weather capability, and large storage area will provide you and your camping buddy, with a hassle-free outdoor experience – considering you’ve practiced pitching it beforehand.
Enjoy the lightweight versatility of the Quarter Dome SL 2 as you keep your outdoor aspirations free of boundaries.
As I always like to say my fellow outdoor enthusiasts: camp on!