For years, REI’s Quarter Dome Tent has been popular among campers. New this year, the concept gets suspended in the brand’s first hammock tent.
We got a first look at the QD Air last spring and have been testing it all summer. Here are the highlights.
REI Quarter Dome Air Review
Hammock vs. Tent Mode
This is my favorite part of the QD Air. When you don’t need the bug net you can just flip the hammock over and it’s a comfy spot to lounge as a hammock. When it’s time for bed just flip It back over, attach the tarp, and climb in.
It’s designed to keep the bugs out and does just that. The sewn in no-see-um netting has a full-length zipper on one side for easy access. There are bungees at each end that tighten the netting to keep it off your face.
Setup & Suspension
To save weight and add adjustability, REI added a double whoopie sling suspension. A whoopie sling is formed with a single piece of hollow core braided rope to form an adjustable loop. You feed an end of the rope through the hollow core rope and it constricts on itself like a finger trap. They’re one of the most adjustable and lightest ways to suspend your hammock.
To set it up, you girth hitch the strap around the tree, clip the loop to a carabiner, and then adjust by pulling on one side of the whoopie sling.
I love whoopie slings but including two on each side is overkill and makes it more confusing than it should be. There was a lot of tugging and pulling until I got it figured out. The learning curve was quick.
The suspension is longer than average so you need trees that are further apart than normal. The trees have to be at least 13 feet apart and can span as far as 23 feet.
Instead of being a square piece of nylon bunched and tied on the ends, the QD Air has panels and stitching. This gives it a unique shape that allows you to lay flat with no work or wiggling. I found it very comfortable laying on my back or my side (side-sleepers rejoice). It’s a comfy hammock and is even comfier when you’re sitting upright in it.
In an effort to keep the hammock tent roomy, REI included spreader bars. The bars combined with the unique shape has eliminated the “hammock burrito” feeling. You know, where your shoulders are scrunched toward your chest and the hammock fabric is wrapping around you. Sleeping burrito style is no fun.
The downside to the spreader bars is that it makes the hammock a bit more tippy. I never flipped over but I was more cautious getting in and out of the hammock. Personally, I prefer a structural ridgeline to spreader bars because it’s more stable and lighter.
Detachable, Lightweight Rainfly
For years I was too cheap to buy a real rain fly and lugged blue, hardware store tarps on camping trips. I finally caved and, trust me, a lightweight Sil-nylon tarp is worth it. I was excited to see the QD Air comes with a nice rain fly that’s super easy to attach to the hammock tent. REI was kind enough to include a few stakes as well.
Like a tent, the QD Air has mesh storage pockets to stash your things while you sleep or lounge. No more rummaging for your phone or headlamp as you sleep!
Ultimately I really like this hammock and am happy to see REI get into the hammock scene. It’s a good choice for campers and short-distance backpackers. Those looking for comfy camping shelter should consider it.