What Is The REI Tent And How Does It Work? – Public Perception

rei tent

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has been around since 1938. This company is known for its own branded gear and clothing made for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. There are three different types of REI tent for your camping and hiking needs: camping, backpacking, and roof-top.


REI Tent Review

Camping tents are meant to be your home while you’re outdoors. These tents are meant for folks who plan to stay in a campground and near their car. They were designed to provide more comfort and space. With room for all the extra items, you’ll inevitably bring in. Camping tents are easy to pitch, using lightweight aluminum poles and waterproof nylon taffeta. For example, REI has tents that fit from 2 to 8 people. REI’s 2-person tent has two doors for easier access and meshes windows. Along with awnings and ventilation so that you can be protected no matter what the weather is. At the other end of the spectrum, the 8-person tent lets you keep your family and friends together. Even allowing for a divider to split the space into two rooms. While the larger tents are heavier, they allow for more personal space and interior storage.

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Backpacking tents are for those who plan to spend the night in the backcountry. Because you’re most likely going to carry the tent on your back, these tents need to be lightweight and portable. Having mesh for air circulation is important, especially if the tent is small. Knowing the seasonality of the tent is also crucial, as you do not have a nearby car to protect you from the elements. For instance, choosing a 3-season tent works well for spring, summer, and fall to help you withstand rain and even light snow. You may wish to have a tent with a rainfly, which is the waterproof outer layer of double-walled tents that keep rain from getting into the tent. If that rainfly also comes with a vestibule, this feature will provide a cover for storage or cooking during a rainstorm.

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Roof-top Tents of REI Tent

Roof-top tents are a relatively new phenomenon that allows campers to sleep above ground, particularly if they are seeking to avoid insects or have an affinity toward treehouses. Having these tents allow you to set up anywhere you please where you can park your car, as long as your car has an adequate roof rack that the tent floor can bolt onto. The roof-top tent usually comes with a very plush foam mattress and tends to have a stronger floor, poles and fabric since construction is highly important here, and the tent needs to withstand the elements as well. While more expensive than camping or backpacking tents, it is cheaper than buying an RV.

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What Makes REI Tent Unique

The REI tents are known for providing good values for the money and have consistently been made with good design, features, and materials in mind. REI offers a good variety of options, even having sizes beyond the standard for those who want or need a longer, wider tent to accommodate their physical comfort and storage needs. The camping and backpacking tents are made to be lightweight to make transport, either by car or on someone’s back, easier. REI tents are also considered more versatile and durable, with a long track record of being able to hold up through various weather conditions up to light snow.

Pros

  • Strong and durable
  • Waterproof nylon 
  • Good design and features

Cons

  • Lighter materials made
  • Expensive
  • Larger windows

Pricing

Here are some examples of REI’s bestselling tents, their notable features, and how much they cost.

The Grand Hut 6 Tent, which fits six campers, is a free-standing camping tent that is known for having walls that are nearly vertical and sturdy. It provides a lot of headroom to allow campers to stretch, stand and be comfortable. The floor plan is rectangular to allow for optimum living space. The tent only requires one pole and pole clips and comes with two large doors for easy access. Mesh walls provide ventilation and bug protection, and ripstop panels allow for privacy and protection against winds. The rainfly is waterproof and comes with a vestibule. The tent has multiple storage pockets and has gear loops that let you attach lights.

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The Kingdom 6 Tent, which has space for six people, has a room divider in the center, which lets one tent have two rooms. This tent allows for either a separately-sold vestibule or a garage piece to be attached using the tent’s Connect Tech Zipper so that you can have more space to store gear or have space where you can cook in case it rains. The walls are vertical, and the freestanding design uses two pole assemblies, pole clips, and sleeves. The doors are large and located on both ends. The rainfly is customizable and is secured with Velcro closures.

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The Base Camp 6 Tent, which can accommodate six people, has a dome shape and is made to be more rugged and sturdy to protect against the elements. This freestanding tent has five poles, making this the best REI tent option for camping in areas with high winds. There are also vestibules on both ends to allow for more space, storage and a cooking area in the event of rain. Despite the lack of vertical walls, this tent is still roomy, with extra wide doors for easy access. The rainfly is UV ray and stretch-resistant, and there are two roof vents to help control condensation.

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The Half Dome 4 Plus Tent is a hybrid or crossover tent, combining the benefits of camping and a backpacking tent. This tent provides increased interior space, a feature of camping tents. It is wider and longer than standard-sized tents, which increases the typical floor space, and only comes in “Plus” versions. The pole design allows the tent walls to be almost vertical for more open space so that campers have more shoulder and headroom. Besides protection from rain and providing ventilation, this tent also features ripstop panels that keep out dust and dirt. A lightweight tent is a good option for families or groups that want one tent to handle both camping and backpacking needs.

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REI does not produce a roof-top tent but offers them for sale for those who want to camp above ground and not be limited to a campground or the backcountry. This tent from Tepui is REI’s bestselling roof-top tent, which has netting on all doors, windows and waterproof zippers. Its total weight is 125 pounds, which includes a telescoping ladder to take you from the ground to the vehicle’s rooftop. The polyester and cotton material for the canopy is strong to protect against heavy winds and rains, and the high-density foam mattress provides home-like comfort. Universal mounting brackets help mount the tent to roof racks and roof bars.

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Public Perception (Other REI Tent Reviews)

The Half Dome Tent is REI’s bestselling backpacking tent, that can also be used for camping. Reviewers like the easy setup, its durability, and the storage pockets. They also appreciate how well it holds up in wind and rain, as well as its light weight and roominess. It’s a popular tent for backpacking and car camping, and all the tent’s components fit well in the provided stuff sack. Users also appreciate the enlarged vestibule size. Some reviewers have commented that the tent is heavier than expected and that the one continuous tentpole makes setting up the tent awkward and difficult. A previous version had poles that were too weak, often tearing, breaking, cracking or splitting at the ends.

REI’s Grand Hut tent is considered the bestselling camping tent because of its durability and price point. Reviewers like that it is effective in protecting against the elements but may not necessarily fit all the people the tent is rated for. They like the headroom, the doors on both sides, the ventilation features and the vestibule. The tent is easy to set up, but besides possibly being tight on its ability to house people, the same sentiment also applies to storage. Some users felt that the tent was not as lightweight as it could be and that packing up the tent can be challenging.

Roof-Top Tents of Other Brands

REI sells roof-top tents from other brands, with Tepui’s Kukenam Sky 3 Tent being the most popular. Reviewers like the durability of the tent and its good price point. This well-designed tent has kept them warm and dry and is made from good materials. The fabric is suitable for year-round use and the components are high quality. The tent space is roomy and tent setup is relatively easy. There are also plenty of large windows to allow you to take in the views. Some criticisms include leaks caused by defective materials or broken seams, difficulty in removing rainfly props, and lack of compatibility with the brackets and the bolts on some vehicle models.

How It Compares The REI Tent

One of REI’s highest-rated tents is the Kingdom 6. Two other similar tents are the Marmot Halo 6 and the Coleman Sundome 6. They are similar in floor area and height. But upon examination, these tents are quite different from the REI Kingdom 6.

Marmot Halo 6 Tent

Marmot Halo 6P
  • One Super-Sized Double Door and One Side D Shaped Door with Large Front...
  • Interior Pockets for Small Gear Organization
  • Zip Open / Close Canopy Panels

The Marmot Halo 6 is the more expensive tent at $599, compared to the $439 cost of the REI Kingdom 6. Both tents weigh around 19 pounds and have two doors. At 96.7 square feet, the Marmot has more floor area than the REI, which has 83.3 square feet. The Marmot is also six inches taller than the REI. It’s an ideal tent for car camping, interior space, and superior weather protection. Like the REI, the mesh panels allow for ventilation and viewing. However, the Kingdom has a larger vestibule than the Halo. For the price, you are paying for excellent construction, particularly the pole design that withstands high winds well.

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Coleman Sundome 6 Tent

The Coleman Sundome 6 is at the inexpensive end of the pricing spectrum at $79. At 100 square feet, it has a larger floor area than the other two tents featured here. It's also lighter, weighing in at 16 pounds, 10 ounces, but a bit shorter, at 72 inches high. The tent only has one door. Making access a little more difficult. For the price, you are not getting the same features or quality. As you would with the REI or the Marmot. It’s a tent that’s meant for one or two summer uses in good weather conditions. The materials, from the fabric and poles to the clips, are inferior. Leaving the body covered but some of the sides exposed. So this tent would not be good to use in the rain or through winds. The tent does provide ventilation and has large windows and easy setup.

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What We Think of REI Tent

Depending on what your camping needs are, any of the tents listed would be a good choice. For the most versatile option, we recommend the REI tent for either backpacking or camping. Since REI’s tents are made with value and quality in mind. The tents will last for years, are relatively lightweight and comfortable. And can hold up to varying weather conditions in the spring, summer and fall months.

Coupons and Deals

REI periodically has sales, but its best deals are offered to its members. To become a member of the REI Co-op. It only costs a one-time fee of $20, and you are an REI member for life. Sometimes, $20 bonus cards are offered to new members who buy a membership and make a $100 purchase. Every spring season, REI gives its members an annual dividend. Members also get access to in-store sales on used and returned gear. As well as special pricing on classes, events, gear rental, trips and ski and bike shop services.


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