new tent, first night setting up and sleeping in it. a long way from a review, but some first impressions.
first, it's not shooting for people who want lighter weight. 5 1/2 pounds with the storage containers and included footprint. if you want or like REI brand tents and want to save weight on a 3 season, look at the quarter dome 2 SL, it's less than half the weight - and more than twice the price.
second, it's easy to pitch, with some advance thought. basic 2 pole dome, tent attaches to them via one large plastic center clip and 4 sets of smaller clips. the tent comes with its own footprint, pre-attached with loops over toggles; each corner has a metal grommet to receive the tent pole ends. you could remove the footprint to save some weight, but it's helpful if you want to use the footprint that you can leave it attached if you want. the fly has 4 plastic clips, one at each corner, to attach to the tent near the grommets; four guy lines with plastic pulls that make them easy to tighten; and two straps that pull the vestibules tight. the fly also has hook/loop closures to secure the fly to the tent poles. slight modification if pitching in the rain: lay out the tent with the fly laid on top; assemble the poles beneath the fly; attach the fly to the poles first, then deal with the tent under cover. I used a headlamp last night, but I'm confident that after using it a few times, I could assemble it essentially blind.
the tent is free-standing and comes with 6 wire stakes - for the guy lines and vestibules. if you expect to use this in windy places, worth getting 4 more stakes and securing the corners of the tent as well...or looking at a more expensive tent with a better, stronger pole system.
my suggestion from pitching it in the dark last night: assemble the collapsible poles, attach the tent's main center clip to the poles to keep them in place, then put the fly on and secure the hook/loop closures to the poles first. THEN attach the smaller clips to the poles. otherwise, it's not so easy to get the fly lined up well. after that, it's easier to guy out the fly and vestibules. it took me less than ten minutes to set up, in the dark, first time with the tent. that should get easier as I use it more.
third, it works nicely. good-sized doors on either side, each with its own vestibule that's large enough to stow 3 season gear. the vestibules both zip up in case you get a rainy night. on the flip side, the fly has two top vents you could pull open to vent some heat and moisture on a warmer night. the top 60% of the tent's. height is mesh, so ventilation is good. zippers run well; it's worth zipping and unzipping each of them a few times at first, they work a little easier after that. a couple of small-fish pockets sewn into the sides easily stowed three stuff sacks, headlamp, watch.
Fourth, it's a decent-sized tent. I used a very cumbersome (but comfortable) REI camping pad - rated to R7 or R8, heavy, wide, and the basic Marmot 650 fill down mummy bag I have used for 3 season for years. on the other side, I spread a fleece blanket and a fleece jacket, and the puppy crashed there. BUT, could have had another big, wide pad on the other side. it's long enough that I could have stowed some smaller gear at my feet (no need, this was a one-night test run), and it's definitely wide enough for two adults. nice height - sitting up, I had plenty of head clearance.
Fifth, like any basic 3 season tent (this retails for $159, I saw it discounted $30 and used a paltry REI discount to get the price below $100), it will have some limits, weather-wise. the poles are aluminum and not particularly robust. without a third pole, and better poles, I expect this would get shaky on windy nights. I wouldn't think this could bear much weight in an unexpected snowfall, either. hard rain, the fly/vestibules zip tight and come to within a few inches of the ground, so it should be fine for that.
I slept great in it, breezes around 10 mph, low 40s. Ruby the puppy enjoyed it too, her first night sleeping in a tent.
I'll review after using it more.