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REI Quarter Dome T2+ tent: “Alpine Superstar” by Nutnfancy

When the hike is steep and long, experienced hikers will look to shave weight.  A key target:  your choice of shelter.  Some will go minimalist with just a tarp or rain fly but I always prefer the tent for its comfort, bug, snake resistence, and total wind and weather proofness.  So for these hikes a very light tent is in order.  All manufacturers lowball their tent weights; I find them to be about 1 lb underrated.  Therefore a quality 2-person tent often weighs about 6.5 lbs.  The REI Quarterdome T2 Plus (extended version of the regular Quarterdome) breaks those ranks with a 5 lb tent (about 5 lbs 5 oz after stake, footprint, guyline upgrades that I do).  For a tent providing 35 square feet of livability and 15 square feet of vesitbule storage area, that is an achievement (the T3 Plus will have 47+15 sq ft but is heavier).  The Quarterdome T2 Plus packs small and carries easily in its compression strap equipped olive drab stuff sack.  The 94″x54″ living area is size efficient (rectangular is my favorite) but may lack the ultimate room that heavier tents provide, especially noted in the width dimension. This floor plan pitches more easily in confined areas.  The ventilation of the Quarterdome T2 Plus (and all Quarterdome tents) is outstanding and the 100% clip pole attachments help here.  There is excellent mesh integration along with impressive and functional fly vents with stable velcro “standoffs” which are adjustable and keep them open.  Zipper quality, overall stitiching, stress reinforcements, the webbing, reflective cord (Kelty Triptease line), and all the fabrics used all are of superb quality.  This will translate into many years of durability if the tent is cared for.  The bathtub floor features heavy duty waterproofing and factory seam sealing.  The nylon (not polyester) tent fly is perfection:  amazing attention to detail, superior quality stitching, webbing, and fit.   Though not tested on this particular outing, I expect 4-season capable performance with this low slung fly and its rigid attachment.  Two mesh doors and separate side vestibules are provided.  Colors used as of 2010 are ideal:  light mossy green with light grey (also carried over to the fly) which give a cheery interior but help make your camp less noticeable.  The tent lacks an integral gear loft but the many pockets and gear loops throughout help compensate  (it’s a weight savings measure).  The Featherlite DAC aluminum poles are the best in the industry and are indeed light.  These poles remain connected together which is irritating until you understand and can replicate the setup geometry.  Then setup goes fast.  This 4-pole design creates a rigid tent that is more resistant to wind and snow loads than comparable weight 2-pole designs.  The clip attachments pull the tent body taut with no sagging noted.  The light weight and the excellent quality of the Quarterdome T2 Plus is not cheap if you pay full price:  about $300.  This is the only notable downside in this outstanding tent (size is to be expected for this POU).  But this entry fee will get you a durable, well-featured, perfectly-colored, well-ventilated tent that weighs about a pound less than its similar competitors.  The Quarterdome T2 Plus therefore is an impressively high quality backpacking shelter that carries more easily than many in-class competitors.  But despite this lightweight, it’s  ready to step up to the rough conditions that may show up on your next wilderness adventure. /////////////////////////////////////////Nutnfancy LIkability Scale:  8.5 out of 10 (price considered, if at $200 price point:  9.5 out of 10) /////////////////// Though this review concentrates on the T2 Plus model, all points apply to other Quarterdome modesl with variances of size and weight
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