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Gear Junkie: Camping above the ground

REI’s Quarter Dome Air holds up to 250 pounds. (REI / Courtesy)
REI’s Quarter Dome Air holds up to 250 pounds. (REI / Courtesy)

Have you considered camping in the air? A growing trend, “hanging tents” meld hammock features with bug mesh, zippers, and a fly.

With a rectangular base and more support than a regular hammock, REI’s first hanging shelter hits the market this summer. The Quarter Dome Air is dubbed a minimalist alternative to a tent.

At $219, you get a three-season, one-person home built to hold up to 250 lbs. The base is 81 inches long (and 23 inches wide), so it’s big enough for people over 6-feet-tall.

A removable rain fly is included, and the bug net can be zipped off to stow along the base. Fly, stakes, and tent body pack down into a stuff sack that weighs 3 lbs., 2 oz.

The base’s form uses two integrated, horizontal shock-cord poles. These create the rectangular shape and stiffness.

I found the setup comfortable. There wasn’t the trademark “taco-ing” of most hammocks, but there was enough give to feel cozy while swinging slightly above the dirt.

Lines at the corners use tension locks. These slide back forth, adjusting the tilt of the base.

The interior has an A-frame feel. There is one door, ceiling loops for storage, and a mesh pocket designed to fit a water bottle.

Try the REI Quarter Dome Air if you’re looking to get off the ground this summer. You can sleep and sway all night long.

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