When I first started camping, I realized that Andrew’s old two man tent just wasn’t going to cut it for me. The tent both narrowed and got way lower closer to your feet, which is fine, but only had an initial height of about 32″ – hardly enough to sit up. It was also moderately heavy, at about 7 pounds.
In May of 2014, we purchased the REI Quarter Dome 3.
We love this tent! You can find it at REI here for $370. We picked ours up during the anniversary sale last year when it was on sale for $300. You get the tent, the rainfly, and some (crappy) stakes for your money. I highly recommend the footprint ($35, or you can make your own). We replaced the included stakes with some MSR Groundhogs that Andrew had used with an older tent. For us, the total weight of this setup (tent, rainfly, footprint, stakes, stuff sacks, paracord for tie outs) is 5 lb 1.5 oz. For the two of us, that’s a little over 2.5 lbs each, and if you were going to use it for three people, that puts you at a little over 1.5 lbs a person.
The best part of this tent is how roomy it is – for two people it’s an absolute treat. It’d be tight with 3, but doable.
- Large vestibules. There’s two doors and two really generous vestibules at each one. They each easily fit a full pack and pair of boots. There’s also a vestibule at the “head” of the tent that has a zipper so you can access it from inside the tent itself. If you have a third person, you could put a pack there. We usually put our boots “behind” the tent because we wear camp shoes during the afternoon/evening and it keeps them out of the way.
- Good gear space. There’s a lot of pockets inside of the tent for easy access things like sleeping bag stuff sacks, Kindles, headlamps, and glasses.
- High ceilings. Andrew and I can sit face to face and play cards if it’s storming.
- Good use of space. The tent does narrow at the feet, but not much. You can fit 3 20″ sleeping pads in the tent if you don’t mind being cozy, and 3 mummy ones would fit easily.
- Rain performance and lack of condensation. We had one night on the trail with a major thunderstorm and pouring rain. We had kept the top zippered vent open when we went to sleep, and I felt a few drops on my face as the wind picked way up. I love that I was able to stick my arm out the top of the tent and quickly close it up. After an hour or two, the rain had died down and it was starting to get a bit stuffy, so we opened the vent back up. We must have had more than two inches of rain that night and the bottom and inside of the tent were comfortable and dry. We’ve only had one day where there was any condensation in this tent, and it was below freezing that night.
- Versatility. This is another piece of gear that works great for both car camping and backpacking. You can also do a “fast fly” with just the fly and the footprint. We haven’t done that yet to actually sleep, though we did pitch the tent fly first when backpacking to avoid getting the inside of the tent wet in a rainstorm, which was great.
- Easy setup. One pole is kind of weird at first, but we’re experts now! Check out a video below. This was taken over the course of 6 minutes.
- Durability. This tent is extremely thin, which is how they made it so light. A footprint is essential.
- Awkward to carry. The poles for the tent, because they all go to one hub, are slightly different sizes. It can be really difficult to find the right spot for them in your pack, so we usually carry the poles separately.
- If you don’t want to sacrifice weight or comfort, this is the tent for you.
- It’s not the best for those who don’t care about weight – far too expensive if you don’t care.
- This is one of my favorite pieces of gear that we own. I’d buy it again in a heartbeat. 5/5.
- Will we carry this on the JMT? Absolutely.