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Rated 5 out of
Initial ImpressionsA couple of years ago I picked up the Quarter Dome T2 Plus tent and and really liked it's spaciousness, durability, and easy set-up. However, the doors of the T2 were difficult to get in and out of and as I began to move toward lighter weight bike touring its 5 lb weight became harder to justify. I was resigned to switching to a non-free standing single wall tent when the 2014 Quarter Dome 2 came along earlier this year. I have not field tested the tent but below are my initial impressions.
Set-up: The instructions are concise, set-up was fairly intuitive, and the tent went up quickly. You'll want to familiarize yourself with the location of the "rip and stick" wraps on the fly (easy to forget) as well as how to tension the fly and vestibules. The tent comes with 8 stakes but you'll need 2 more if you want to guy it out fully. In my brief experience with camping I've found it's a good idea to practice the set-up of any new tent so you don't have to figure it out during adverse conditions.
Size/Construction: The tapered width of the tent is just about right for me. At 6', 2" I had about 1-2 inches of extra space lengthwise when laying diagonally. (The tent was taut but not staked out). I have a very long torso and still had about 4-5 inches of extra headroom when sitting on my (bottomed out) inflatable pad. Given the reduced floor space in this tent compared to my previous tent I will probably keep my panniers in the vestibules rather than in the tent. There is plenty of room however to store some gear in the corners of the tent and in the mesh pockets. I would imagine for "double occupancy" both people would have to be very easy going and 20 inch wide pads would be required. Head to toe sleeping might be a challenge given the tapered floor plan. Regarding the construction of the tent, an acquaintance of mine who is very knowledgable about textiles and tents called the Quarter Dome 2 "a work of art" and said that its workmanship and stitching were "impeccable."
Weight/Pack Size: I am very happy with the weight of this tent. To save 1.5 lbs over my previous tent in one fell swoop is satisfying. Another ounce or so can be saved by buying lighter weight tent stakes. The fly only pitch (2 lbs, 6 oz) may also be an option in certain conditions. The reduced pack size of this tent is also very nice. When compressed by hand the volume of the tent and fly easily reduces to about the size of a volley ball. This allows more storage in my compression sack on the back of my bike, freeing up more space in my panniers. The folded tent poles are about 21 inches long. These will hang a few inches off the back of many bike racks and partially obscure the lighting from rear mounted tail lights or blinkies. For this reason I might carry the tent poles in a pannier.
Rain Fly: The 15 denier fly is very thin. You can easily see the tent poles through the fabric. I would imagine that one might wake earlier with more sunlight shining through the tent. Because of the lightweight nature of the fabric and potential for UV damage I will take care not to have the tent up too often in the noontime sun. I will also use a heavier denier stuff sack for UV protection. Note that the tent is grayer than the studio shots on the REI website. The large orange vent and the lower exposed parts of the the tent body aren't the best for stealth camping but this is not a deal breaker for me.
Floor: The bathtub shaped floor has seams in it. I am not sure how much the seams or UL fabric compromise protection from heavy rains but with proper site selection this doesn't seem like a huge issue. An oversized foot print folded back and under the tent will further help to prevent heavier water flow from getting under the tent.
Doors/Pockets/Vent: The doors of the tent are easier to enter and exit compared to the doors of the Quarter Dome T2 Plus. The zippers on the doors are very lightweight and should be maintained and treated with care. The pocket at the head of the tent seems like it will be handy when pawing around in the dark for frequently used items. The large vent has zippers on both the fly and mesh of the tent allowing adjustment of the venting from inside the tent.
At this stage the Quarter Dome 2 looks like a great tent for my needs. I'll update my review after a trip or two with further comments. Feel free to leave any questions if you need any info to help with your buying decision.
Date published: 2014-04-14
Rated 4 out of
Nicely doneAbout a year ago I bought an MSR carbon reflex 2, mostly because of its 3lb weight. I had some misgivings about it, not free standing, inside pockets were unusable because of bad opening angle, tent corners were flattened and cramped. All the fittings were plastic to conserve weight and though there were no failures they made me nervous. Worst though was when a pole failed and MSR told me to mail it to them and they'd decide whether to send me a replacement, leaving me tentless. That was the last straw and enough to send me looking through the store and finding this Quarter Dome 2. Same weight and floor space, but the all 4 corners are near vertical where the tent body connects, the pocket storage inside is awesome (may need a velcro in the middle on the lower pocket), its freestanding, has metal grommets and pole tips. Minor issues: I'll supply my own pegs, need a 3rd guy line and none are reflective, and the directions are laminated to the stuffbag which seems to add 2-3 oz of weight so I'll supply my own stuffbag. Note I haven't camped in it yet but its design is superior to the MSR Hubba Hubba and Carbon Reflex in my opinion. I used a North Face Tadpole for many years and this is just as rigid but far lighter. I'm very critical and have never bought anything that I thought was perfect. This tent after I replace the parts I've mentioned I think would be 5 stars.
Date published: 2014-04-14
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