Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) was founded in 1938 to provide outdoor climbing gear to adventurers. Over time, the company’s focus expanded to include offering gear to mountaineers and backpackers and eventually to selling equipment and clothing to family campers, bicyclists, kayakers, skiers, and other outdoor sports enthusiasts.
REI is known for its camping tents, which are well-designed and offer numerous features, such as weather protection, ample storage, comfort, spaciousness, good construction, and ventilation. One of the most popular is the REI Kingdom 6 Tent, a camping tent that has received rave reviews from outdoor enthusiast publications and campers.
What to Look for in a Tent
When looking for a camping tent, you’ll need to have an idea of how you intend to camp. Is camping something you’ll only do during the summer or will you be camping during the spring and fall months too? Is the focus of your adventure the campground itself, or is the campground just a base camp for other activities nearby?
The first thing you need to know beyond that is how many people will be sleeping in a tent. After you’ve determined that number, you must decide how much gear you plan to bring and store and whether your pet dogs will be sleeping inside the tent with the guests. You also need to consider the size of the people who will stay in the tent, particularly if they are large, which means you may need tents that are wider and taller. In addition, knowing the habits of your guests will determine how much room you need, such as those who toss and turn at night, suffer from claustrophobia, or simply require more sleeping space to be comfortable.
Some tents are designed to work in three seasons while others can work through all four seasons. The three-season tents, meant for spring, summer, and fall use, are more lightweight, keep out bugs, have generous mesh panels for ventilation, and protect against elements such as wind, rain, or light snow.
The four-season tents have stronger fabric, use more poles, and have fewer mesh panels. These tents are designed for heat retention and less exposure, in the event of moderate to heavy snow and harsh winds. Four-season tents tend to be rounded to avoid the accumulation of snow on the tent roof.
What Makes the REI Kingdom 6 Tent Unique
The REI Kingdom 6 Tent offers an excellent combination of comfort, protection, and durability. Its interior is roomy and it comes with a room divider so that the tent can have two rooms to use as you see fit. You can use one room for sleeping and the other for storage, your guests, your kids, your pets, or for relaxing. The rainfly provides excellent coverage to keep you dry in your tent and works in conjunction with the zipped doors. The walls are vertical to allow for greater head and shoulder room. The wall panels are made of bug-proof nylon mesh, which allows for ventilation. There is ample interior storage and two large doors for convenient access.
The tent also comes with a vestibule and a rain-blocking awning so that you can store other gear or use the area for covered cooking, in case it rains. The vestibule or a garage, which is sold separately and gives you additional space, if needed, can be added using the proprietary Connect Tech Zipper.
This three-season tent is freestanding and uses two hubbed pole assemblies, pole clips, and sleeves in its construction. The tent is relatively lightweight at 19 pounds, 12 ounces and can be stored in the included backpack, which has pockets for stakes and poles. A pole repair tube and six guylines with tighteners are also part of this package.
Public Perception (Other REI Reviews)
The general impression about the REI Kingdom 6 Tent is that it is an excellent camping tent, even one of the best that’s available on the market. It’s considered a good overall tent that maintains durability and weather resistance and provides multiple uses. It ranks high in comfort and workmanship. Professional reviewers note the tent’s spaciousness and comfort, with testers praising its wind resistance and ability to keep campers dry during heavy rains.
The room divider is a unique feature that was highly appreciated, along with ventilation for warm nights and added privacy. Reviewers also commended the rainfly because it is easy to attach to side poles, ends with Velcro closures, and can be rolled up for extra ventilation. The rainfly also covers one end of the tent to form a vestibule when space is needed.
And that’s not all
Tent users have rated the Kingdom 6 Tent highly for its quality fabric and construction, which holds up well through rain and wind. Though it’s primarily a camping tent, some have used it for backpacking and felt that its nineteen-pound weight was not a hindrance. The tent is easy to set up and breakdown and its bag is well organized to make packing simple.
Though some felt that putting six people into this tent was a tight fit, four seemed to be a good number to have were all felt comfortable. Reviewers appreciated the storage options in the interior, which they felt was roomy enough to allow them to stand. The tent has been called long-lasting and functional, yet elegant and beautiful.
How It Compares
North Face Wawona
One of the Kingdom 6 Tent’s competitors is the North Face Wawona. It has good ventilation with two large picture windows, as opposed to the Kingdom 6’s one window, vents at the top, and good weather resistance. Like the Kingdom 6, it has quick and easy setup. It also has a vestibule that is spacious and comes with a large door. One of its drawbacks is that the vestibule lacks good ventilation, which may require you to open the door if you are cooking in the rain. It does not have an awning to provide cover like the Kingdom 6 does.
Another disadvantage is that it does not allow for a vestibule attachment as large as the Garage for the Kingdom 6. Also, it is less spacious, particularly for people taller than five feet, six inches, who won’t be able to walk or stand inside this tent. It is less expensive than the Kingdom 6.
Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent With Footprint
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A popular starter camping tent for six people is the Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent With Footprint. The footprint is included with this tent. REI sells the Kingdom 6 footprint separately. The tent comes with a rainfly, storage pockets, two windows, and two vestibules, unlike the Kingdom 6, where you have to buy the Garage attachment to get the second vestibule.
However, the Garage is known for its roominess. Though this tent weighs 15 pounds, it is not recommended as a hybrid option for backpackers. Made from aluminum, the poles are compact and foldable.
Coleman Sundome 6″
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One advantage of this tent is that it has a large floor area at 100 square feet, which is more than the Kingdom 6’s 83.3 square feet. It is also around three pounds lighter than the Kingdom 6, making it a definite lightweight option. However, the height at 72 inches is three inches shorter than the Kingdom 6.
There is only one door, as opposed to the Kingdom 6’s two doors, which makes tent access less convenient. While the tent is easy to set up and has large windows and ventilation, its materials for the pole, clips, and fabric are second-rate. The tent’s rainfly is not designed to cover the entire tent, which leaves the main tent body covered but exposes the sides, making this a poor choice for use beyond one season and during rainy weather and windy conditions.
What We Think
We believe that the REI Kingdom 6 is the best six-person tent available because of its reputation for quality, excellent construction, and the number of features. It’s a tent that will last for years and can be used through three seasons: spring, summer, and fall. It protects campers through winds and rain, even up to light snow.
The Kingdom 6 is spacious, allowing for storage and comfortable sleeping arrangements, fitting six standard sleeping pads. Campers can easily stand and walk around in the tent, which is meant primarily for camping but can be used for backpacking purposes.
The vestibule options allow for added storage and ventilation, and are well-considered and designed, especially when one needs to cook during a storm. This is a tent for frequent campers who will appreciate its durability and ruggedness and are willing to spend money on a product that’s made to last. It is not the best option for casual campers who only participate in outdoor adventures once or twice in the summer and may not wish to spend hundreds on a seldom-used tent.
The more we know
While the footprint is not included with the REI Kingdom 6, we generally recommend having a footprint or a ground cloth with your tent. The footprint extends the tent’s lifespan by protecting the tent floor from wear and tear and abrasion.
Using the footprint specifically designed for the tent ensures that the dimensions are correct for the tent and that the grommets can attach directly to the tent poles. The Kingdom 6 footprint is designed to be smaller than the tent floor to keep water from collecting underneath the tent during any rainstorm. Its webbing stake-outs at the corners make attachment easy.