REI Quarter Dome SL 1 Tent Review

The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 is a one-person double-wall tent that only weighs 31 oz. Despite its low weight, the interior is remarkably livable, with vertical sidewalls, numerous internal pockets to keep you organized, and a roof vent to help minimize internal condensation. A large vestibule provides plenty of extra gear storage, while the dual-zippered door makes it possible to vent the top while keeping the bottom sealed for wind protection and better privacy.

Specs at a Glance

  • Trail weight: 31 oz
  • Capacity: 1 Person
  • Type: Double wall
  • Design: Semi-freestanding
  • Doors: 1
  • Poles: 1 hubbed poleset
  • Dimensions of  inner tent: 31″ x 25″ x 83″ (long) x 39″ (height) as measured by sectionhiker.com
  • Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 6, 7 recommended
  • Materials: PU-coated 15d nylon ripstop fly and floor
  • Color: Olive
  • Footprint: Sold Separately (30d nylon ripstop)

Semi-Freestanding Tent Design

The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 is a double-wall semi-freestanding tent. The tent has a single hubbed pole with three arms: two for the back corners and one for the middle of the front side, with integrated two rooftop arms to create vertical sidewalls. This means that the inner tent can stand up by itself, although the front corners should be staked out to maximize the interior space. The tent will still stand if you don’t stake out those front corners (like on a wooden platform), although it won’t be as spacious or strong.

The tent has a single hubbed pole set with roof poles designed to create vertical sidewalls
The tent has a single hubbed pole set with roof poles designed to create vertical sidewalls

The poles slot into color-coded grommets at the base of the tent and the fly drapes over the top, secured with clips (called jakes foot connectors), while the front of the fly can share the stakes used to peg out the corners of the inner tent. Line locs adjusters on all of the fly guy outs ensure a tight pitch. It really is a very fast and easy tent to pitch.

The front of the fly clips to the center pole while the corners can share the stakes of the inner tent.
The front of the fly clips to the center pole while the corners can share the stakes of the inner tent.

Door and Vestibule

The Quarter Dome SL 1 has a large D-shaped door which makes it easy to get in and out of the tent. The door does not block the vestibule storage, so any gear you store under it can still stay dry if it rains.

The tent has a large side door which makes access easy.
The tent has a large side door which makes access easy, while still providing plenty of vestibule storage.

The vestibule door has a two-way zipper so you can open it a crack for added ventilation or to peek outside without having to open the door all the way. This provides additional privacy, a better sense of security at night, and weather protection.

The two-way zipper lets you open the top of the door for greater airflow without sacrificing privacy.
The two-way zipper lets you open the top of the door for greater airflow without sacrificing privacy.

Livability

The interior of the Quarter Dome SL 1 is roomy, with room for a wide sleeping pad if you have one. There are two pockets in the rear corners for storing items up off the floor as well as two ceiling pockets which can be used to hold a headlamp or other small items. Gear loops hanging from the inner tent seams provide still more storage, while vertical sidewalls provide an air of spaciousness.

There's plenty of room above your feet to relax.
There’s plenty of room above your feet to relax.

The floor is tapered with the greatest width at the “door-end” (31″) and the narrowest at the foot-end (25″), providing more than enough space to store your shoes, clothes, and the contents of your pack if you want to keep them inside the inner tent with you. The length of the inner tent is 83″ and the peak height is 39″, making it very easy to sit up in the tent or change clothes without giving yourself a black eye or punching a hole in the ceiling.

If you’re wondering why our dimensions are different from those cited by REI on the tent’s product page, it’s because we base our measurements on the size of the inner tent (covered, usable space) and not the area covered by the rainfly, which is usually greater. Most tent manufacturers measure tent sizes this way, but that doesn’t make it right or useful.

The rear wall of the Quarter Dome SL 1 can also be staked out for added ventilation. While this creates a space that's large enough to store gear in, it is not accessible from within the inner tent.
The rear wall of the Quarter Dome SL 1 can also be staked out for added ventilation. While this creates a space that’s large enough to store gear in, it is not accessible from within the inner tent.

Footprint

There is a footprint available for the Quarter Dome SL 1, although it is sold separately. If you camp on abrasive surfaces like sand, rock, or pressed dirt campsites, I’d consider carrying a footprint to protect the bottom of this tent which is made with fairly thin material. The footprint also lets you set up the tent without the inner tent if you wanted to use the fly as a lightweight shelter, like a tarp.

Comparable 1-Person Backpacking Tents

Recommendation

The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 is a great backpacking tent because it can fit into a lot of smaller tent sites, including wild sites, that larger tents won’t fit. I really like the olive colors that the tent comes in because they blend in better with the landscape, which is good for privacy, and they’re darker, which helps me sleep better. The Quarter Dome SL 1 is easy to set up and has plenty of interior space inside to spread out and relax. Plus it packs up really small, which lets me use a smaller and lighter-weight backpack to carry my gear. I think that the REI Quarter Dome SL 1 a solid value for the money, especially since it’s less expensive than many other tents that are quite similar to it.

Disclosure: The author purchased this tent.

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Last updated: 2020-09-27 17:19:19

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