REI Quarter Dome 3 Backpacking Tent

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The purchase of this tent was a direct response to my complaints of my Passage 2 tent. I wanted more room for a second person, with less weight. I own the previous version (2014) of this tent.

Name: REI Co-op Quarter Dome 3 Tent

Specs:

  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Seasons: 3-season
  • Size: 3 person
  • Doors: 2
  • Weight: 4 lbs, 9 oz
  • Poles: 1, aluminum
  • Tent material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Set-up: Freestanding
  • MSRP: $399

What I Like:

  • Space: Like most people (I think?), I like the idea of buying a tent for one more person than you'll actually be sharing the tent with. AKA, a "3-person" is a "2-person + gear" tent. Even with the 2014 version, this tent is super spacious for 2 people, and I can see that yes, 3 people could fit, but it would be tight. The headspace is really nice. Since there are more "arms" on the pole that connect to tabs on each side of the tent, it creates a lot more horizontal and vertical room, so you can easily sit upright from almost anywhere in the tent. I noticed that REI re-designed the foot-end poles to create even more horizontal & vertical space near the foot area, which is really nice.
  • Durability: I've taken this tent on a few trips and it has help up pretty well. The mesh parts feel strong, and the ripstop nylon also feels strong. I can't attest to how it holds up over long periods of time, but I have a feeling it will last.
  • Set-Up: The first time I set this up, I was slightly confused. There seemed to be too many sections/ poles and two of them swirled around (2014 version). However, after putting it up a second time, it was super easy. When I had to deploy it for 5 nights in a row, it was just second nature.
  • Doors/ Vestibule: 2 doors, 2 vestibules. It just makes life so much easier when you've got multiple people using the tent. Plus, the vestibule doors are really easy to open and secure back, which is always a plus.

What I Don't Like:

  • Weight: So, the above weight doesn't include the footprint. The footprint is an extra like, 5-6 oz, so you're definitely looking at an almost 5 lbs tent at that point. But, I would never use this tent by myself, so someone else could help share the weight, so it's more like 2.5 lbs per person, which isn't too bad. Plus, it is freestanding, so the weight is understandable.
  • Weathering the Weather: OK, I haven't used the tent so much in bad weather. But, I've noticed on particularly cold nights/ mornings, there is a considerable amount of condensation on the inside of the tent fly, and sometimes the tent itself. I actually think it does fine in the rain, but the condensation issues are annoying. It looks like the 2017 version has more venting, so maybe its a little better now.
  • The "Third Door": So there's an odd zipper on this tent that you can unzip to expose mesh & vent, and if you use the other set of zippers, can use to open the body of the tent. It's honestly kind of like a doggie door and I don't really understand why it exists. The 2017 model doesn't have this bizarre feature, instead opting for the top half - 1/3 of the body to consist of mesh, so its unnecessary. 
  • The Cost: $400 (+$60 for the footprint) seems kind of steep for a non-ultralight backpacking tent, but you get REI's return policy and warranty, and a solid tent, so I guess it's fine. But, if you're a penny pincher, cheaper alternatives can be found.

This is my favorite 3 person backpacking tent. That being said, I haven't used any other 3-person backpacking tent intimately. Still, I think this is a solid tent that most people will be happy with, especially beginners. Its spacious, light enough, and easy to set up. Plus, you can easily score a deal on this tent if you're an REI member: those member coupons are gold!

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