If you’re in the market for a small, compact, lightweight backpacking or bicycle touring tent, there are a number of good tents to consider: the Big Agnes Copper Spur, the MSR Hubba… and don’t forget, the REI Quarter Dome tent.
The REI Quarter Dome Tent:
The REI Quarter Dome tent is a major contender with its slightly smaller and lighter tent counterparts, but because it’s produced and sold directly by REI Co-Op, it costs significantly less.
While the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1-Man Tent is a superbly lightweight backpacking and bicycle touring tent, it costs more than $379 USD, which is out of the limits of many first-time tent buyers.
The REI Quarter Dome tent, however, offers a very similar tent design with a significantly smaller price tag – only $279 USD (which is exactly $100 USD less than the Big Agnes Copper Spur. Right away, you’ve saved $100 off the price of your new tent!)
And if you’re really looking for a deal on your new ultralight tent, don’t forget about the fact that REI members (it’s free to become a member) receive an additional $27.90 back at the end of the year when they buy the REI Quarter Dome 1-Man tent.
With the $100 you save by buying the REI Quarter Dome tent over the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL, plus the REI dividend you receive at the end of the year, you’re able to save $127.90 just by choosing the REI Quarter Dome tent over it’s biggest and best competitor. That’s a significant savings!
Of course, money isn’t everything you should pay attention to when you’re buying a new tent. It’s also important to pay attention to the tent’s pack size, its overall weight, and the quality of the tent itself. Luckily, the REI Quarter Dome holds up in all three areas.
When it’s packed up, the REI Quarter Dome 1-Man tent measures approximately 6 x 18.5 inches. The aluminum tent poles are the longest part of the entire tent design and they are a little bit longer than the poles you’re going to find on the MSR Hubba and the Big Agnes Copper Spur tents, however the size difference is minimal (2 inches or less).
As far as weight is concerned, the REI Quarter Dome tent weighs approximately 2 lbs. 14 oz., which is great for a small, lightweight backpacking/bicycle touring tent such as this. Any tent that is under that 3 pound limit is good in my book! Note, however, that the weight of your tent will vary depending on how you pack the tent, how many tent stakes you choose to carry, and which type of rain-fly you opt to use. You can make the tent lighter or heavier than its standard shipping weight by altering the way you chose to pack it.
Finally, when it comes to build quality, the REI Quarter Dome 1-man tent is right up there with its competition. This freestanding tent is made out of a high-quality, yet lightweight, waterproof nylon material that keeps the water and cold weather out, but is ventilated enough that condensation occurring inside the tent is never an issue.
While the material used in the construction of the tent is relatively strong, you’ll want to use a lightweight groundsheet of some kind to further protect the floor of the tent during your camping excursions. REI sells a groundsheet that is designed specifically for the Quarter Dome tent that costs approximately $39.95, but you can make a cheaper version of this groundsheet for yourself by simply purchasing some painters plastic from your local hardware store and then cutting it into the shape of the floor of your tent and placing it under the REI Quarter Dome each and every time you set up camp for the night.
While you wouldn’t want to use the REI Quarter Dome tent during a harsh winter storm, this 3-season, freestanding tent is perfect for most spring, summer and autumn camping trips. I’ve personally used this tent in rain, wind, snow and sun and it’s performed wonderfully in every situation.
Conclusion: REI Quarter Dome Tent Review
Overall, the REI Quarter Dome 1-Man tent may not be the smallest or the lightest 1-man tent currently on the market, but it’s likely the most affordable ultralight tent of its size, weight and build-quality anywhere in the world.
If you want a tent that is nearly as good as the Big Agnes Copper Spur or the MSR Hubba, but you don’t want to spend close to $400 USD for your tent, then the REI Quarter Dome 1-man tent is certainly a tent to consider. I’d highly recommend it!