REI Co-op Quarter Dome 3
- Second lightest in test set
- Good vestibule area
- Easy to set up
- Least floor space in test set
- Second lowest peak in set
- Not great in gusty weather
The REI Co-op Quarter Dome 3 landed neatly in the middle of the test set and is the best value. It is a reliable tent, with its biggest strength being its appropriateness for a variety of situations. It’s most urgent limitation is its small size, which negatively impacts comfort.
The Quarter Dome 3 is limited chiefly by its floor space; at 39.4 square feet it is the smallest of the three person tents in the test set. Within that, it also seems to be a long but narrow layout, which is good for tall and lean hikers but makes for some very close relations with tent mates. Also, despite its high walls, it has the second lowest peak height in the set. With that being said, it is a boxy interior with steep walls, so it doesn’t rob the sides of headspace in the way that some tents with lower profiles do.
With this tent, REI saved a bit of weight with less durable fabric, for the stuff sacks, so users will need to tread carefully to avoid a split sack in the field while stuffing. It rolls into a cylinder and is the second smallest package in this test set. It is also the second lightest tent that we looked at, which is an achievement given how much pole it has.
First time solo setup for our tester was 6:30, which sets it at about the median for this test set. It is an intuitive setup, although first time users should set this one up at least once at home ahead of time, because the Quarter Dome 3’s single lightweight aluminum pre-connected pole set can seem baffling at first. The tent feet are color coordinated, and the asymmetrical pole is distinguished by a blue side and orange side.
One big limitation of the Quarter Dome 3 are the high walls and exposed profile of the tent, which limits its application in gusty, unpredictable weather. It has the profile of a much beefier tent, while still trying to be light enough to be carried on overnight trips. The intricate pole design gets it halfway there, but it’s sides are still high and flat enough to be concerning in wind. The floor is made out of a lightweight fabric, which means most users will want to lay a ground tarp down to protect it (REI offers a footprint sold separately for $60), which also adds to the weight. There are also small plastic buckles that raise concerns about durability, though no issues were encountered while testing. The body of the tent is mostly mesh, which gives it good ventilation.
The Quarter Dome 3 has two large doors and a healthy amount of vestibule space on both sides. There is a medium sized cargo net in each of the four corners, giving a bit of space to everyone for fragile and small items they want accessible, such as a headlamp or glasses. There is also a zippered vent on the top that allows access to the outside.
Additional Product Specifications
Minimum Trail Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz
Max / Packaged Weight: 4 lbs 3 oz
Interior Floor Area: 39.4 sq ft
Vestibule Area: 6.7+6.7+5.6 sq ft
Peak Interior Height: 42 in
How We Tested It
The tents in this test were used throughout the spring of 2017, on multi-week mountaineering trips in the Pacific Northwest, along with additional testing in the central Sierra Nevada. The length and intensity of the trips allowed a close look at the performance of each tent, with a strong appreciation for the consequences of that performance.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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