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REI is known for having quality gear at a competitive price. In 2010, REI's Half Dome 2 Plus Tent won "Gear of the Year" from Outside Magazine for creating a top-notch tent at a low price. The Half and Quarter Dome tents are 3-season tents with aluminum poles. Before purchasing a tent, research the details and specifications of different styles and brands. Your needs will dictate the style and size of tent you should buy.
The Half and Quarter Dome tents are different weights, with the Half Dome being slightly heavier than the Quarter Dome. The weight difference is due to the Quarter Dome having more mesh in the body than the Half Dome.
The poles on the Half and Quarter Dome tents are assembled differently. Depending on the number of people intended to sleep in the tent, the poles for that tent are set up differently. For example, the Half Dome 2 Plus has two poles that crisscross from the four corners and another pole that creates the peak on top. The Quarter Dome T2 Plus has two poles that diagonally connect two corners and another pole that creates the peak by connecting the other two corners.
REI makes the Half Dome tent series bodies with ripstop nylon/mesh. This material is tough and prevents snagging and holes. The Quarter Dome tent series has a body that is completely no-see-um mesh. No-see-um bugs received their name because they are almost impossible to see flying around. They live around rivers and swamps and can penetrate standard mesh and mosquito nets. The outdoor industry developed no-see-um mesh for those that primarily canoe, kayak and backpack in dense jungle areas where no-see-um bugs are prevalent.
REI makes the Half Dome tents in two-person, two-person plus and four-person capacities. REI offers the Quarter Dome tents in one-person, two-person, two-person plus, three-person and three-person plus capacities. Many backpackers will only sleep two people in a three-person tent to allow more comfort. The two-person plus tents offer a bit more room without having to fully upgrade to a three-person tent.
The rainfly for the Quarter Dome is the same material as the floor, a high quality, coated ripstop nylon. The rainfly for the Half Dome is a thinner, coated polyester taffeta.
The Quarter Dome tents are more expensive than the Half Dome tents. This is due to the more expensive no-see-um mesh, higher quality floor and rain fly materials.