REI KINGDOM 6 REVIEW: BEST CAMPING TENTS
Camping with a group has never been easier than when using the REI Kingdom 6 tent. While it isn't ideally suited for extreme weather or long trail camping trips, this six-person tent makes for a perfect base camp or car camping tent.
Its two-room design and optional zip-on garage give families and friends ample room for air mattresses and for playing cards on rainy days. A single large vestibule and numerous interior pockets provide plenty of storage. If you've been craving a tent that will allow you the luxury of spreading out and relaxing in comfort while enjoying nature, the Kingdom 6 should be at the top of your list.
Bottom Line: The REI Kingdom 6 Tent is a solid option for families in search of a roomy tent that can accommodate everyone and their camping gear. With two rooms, plenty of head room, and convenient backpack straps on its carrying bag, this tent offers lots of room to spread out but packs up small for easy carrying.
Ease of Setup
|Packaged Weight||19 lbs. 12 oz.|
|Packed Size||25.5 x 16.5 x 9.5 inches|
|Floor Dimensions||120 x 100 inches|
|Floor Area||83.3 square feet|
|Vestibule Area||29 square feet|
|Peak Height||6 ft. 3 in.|
|Number of Doors||2 doors|
|Number of Poles||2 hubbed pole sets + 1 crossover pole|
|Pole Material||6061/7001 aluminum|
|Pole Diameter||14.5/11 millimeters|
|Canopy Fabric||75-denier nylon / 40-denier nylon mesh|
|Floor Fabric||150-denier coated polyester Oxford|
|Rainfly Fabric||75-denier coated polyester taffeta|
When camping alone or with a significant other, it's possible to squeeze into the tight confines of a crawl-in tent and not feel too claustrophobic. But if you have a family, or if you often camp with a group of friends, nothing sours a camping trip faster than being crammed into a tent that is too small.
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The REI Kingdom 6 tent is one of a number of multi-person tents that solves this issue by dividing the main living space of the tent into two rooms. This is an especially practical design for families with children, as it allows for separate sleeping areas for the parents and children. Each room has enough floor space for either air mattresses or sleeping cots. Be aware that lower cots fit more compactly against the walls than sitting height cots in this tent. Each room also has its own entrance, so you need not disturb the occupants of the other room during night time trips to the bathroom.
If you plan on purchasing the REI Kingdom 6 tent, it's worthwhile to spend the extra money to purchase the matching garage attachment, too. It zips seamlessly together with the main body of the tent and creates a third room. If you use it as a seating or cooking area, awnings on the garage can be deployed for extra sun or rain protection. Alternatively, you can use it to store camping gear, wet clothing, or bicycles and other equipment. Either way, it significantly increases the usable space you'll have available.
The REI Kingdom 6 is a three season tent, and while it can handle a moderate sprinkle of snow, it's not designed to handle winter conditions. However, users have reported that in extreme downpours, the REI Kingdom 6 tent remained entirely leakproof even when standing water collected beneath the floor. Rest assured you and your gear will remain bone dry inside this tent.
One weak spot appears to be the rain fly awning above the main door. You may notice that rain can blow past the protective overhang of the rain fly and into the mesh window of the main entrance during particularly harsh storms, but this is not common.
A larger and more serious disadvantage of this tent is its ability to withstand high winds. The REI Kingdom 6 is designed to be a freestanding tent, but even when fully guyed out, it performs poorly under windy conditions. This is partly due to the pole design, but can also be attributed to a feature that many consider its biggest asset: the near vertical walls. Because this tent has been designed to have the most livable space and head room possible, its flat walls turn into sails when the wind pushes against them. While this may just mean dealing with the annoyance of moving walls during turbulent periods, in some cases, users have reported snapped or permanently bent tent poles and damage to the rain fly as a result of weathering a wind storm.
The second complaint many express when using the REI Kingdom 6 tent is that it comes with virtually no instructions on how to erect it. As a result, it may be tricky to set up the first few times you use it. You may always need more than one person to set up the tent given its size and height. However, once you know its tricks, it's entirely possible to set up this tent by yourself within ten minutes.
The pole structure is fairly straightforward and consists of a series of hoop-like aluminum poles connected to a crossover pole that attaches via hubs to create a tunnel-shaped space beneath. The rain fly attaches easily and can be rolled or unrolled in several configurations to allow for either maximum ventilation or maximum rain protection.
Unlike ultralight tents which sacrifice strength and durability to save weight, multi-person tents that are specifically designed to be used for car camping or as a semi-permanent base camp are made of more rugged materials which are better able to withstand scuffs and scrapes.
The REI Kingdom 6 tent is no exception, and its durable 150-denier coated polyester Oxford floor not only excels at keeping water and mud from oozing into the tent, but it is resistant to foot traffic and dog's toenails, too. As always, you should take precautions and clear the ground before erecting your tent to remove any large stones or branches which might pose a puncture threat to the floor. But the floor of the REI Kingdom 6 is as close to bulletproof as they come.
Both the rain fly and walls of the tent are made from 75-denier nylon, and all seams are factory sealed. All in all, you shouldn't have many issues with rips or holes under conditions of normal use.
The REI Kingdom 6 tent weighs in at just under 20 pounds, which makes it heavier than some of the lighter six-person tents available such as the Eureka Midori Basecamp 6. However, it's nowhere close to being among the heaviest tents in its class. Given the amount of room available, this is a more than acceptable weight-to-space ratio.
Should you want to take the Kingdom 6 tent off the beaten path, its pack comes with backpack straps, making it easy to walk to a favorable camping location. When packed away, it measures 25.5 by 16.5 by 9.5 inches.
At the end of the day, a tent is merely a shelter from the elements, but it's a tent's features that make it more livable and practical than only using a tarp. The carefully designed features of the REI Kingdom 6 set it apart from its competitors in several respects, but one of the most notable attributes of this tent is the center divider wall. If you choose to use the tent as a conventional six-person tent, you can keep the divider down. But when desired, the wall quickly zips into place and neatly divides the tent into two living areas. You shouldn't have any difficulty fitting a queen sized air mattresses into each of the rooms.
Another feature which makes the Kingdom 6 tent stand apart are the large mesh walls which not only allow for maximum air flow but also offer unobstructed views of the surroundings. In the back of the tent, the mesh extends to the ceiling and during clear weather you can truly sleep under the stars while remaining protected from insects.
The optional garage sold by REI is the third unique feature of the Kingdom 6 tent. While the large vestibule which protects the second door offers plenty of storage space for gear, large groups may find the additional space vital for hanging wet clothing or storing mountain bikes and sporting equipment. Alternately, the garage can be used as the tent's kitchen, providing a place to cook and eat meals during inclement weather.
It should be clear given the shape and weight of this tent that it is not designed for extreme conditions or long treks. Since it is a three season tent and given the large mesh panels in the wall, its performance in cold weather is doubtful. There are four season geodesic tents that will better serve your needs if you need a true mountaineering base camp tent.
Without a doubt, the best application for the REI Kingdom 6 tent is a car camping tent for a family of four to six. Its flexible living space and multiple entrances mean that kids and pets can be under the same roof instead of in a separate tent.
Even if you plan to use this tent by yourself or with a partner, you'll enjoy the extra space available to store gear or move around on rainy days when hiking isn't possible. The head room also makes it an excellent choice for anyone who prefers sleeping on an air mattress or a cot rather than a typical camping pad.
Since the Kingdom 6 tent has a large amount of mesh in its walls and doors, it's a great tent for summer and for warmer areas where ventilation is essential. Additionally, the light color of the tent material will help reflect the sun and keep the interior cool. On clear nights, keep the rain fly off, and enjoy the night sky through the mesh ceiling.
REI's Kindom series of tents comes in two sizes in addition to the six-person version shown here. Like the Kingdom 6, the Kingdom 8 tent has a divider to separate its interior into two rooms if desired, but the Kingdom 4 tent has only one room. All three tents in this series can connect to the REI Co-op Kingdom Garage for an additional 61 square feet of shelter from the sun and rain. If you choose to purchase the garage, plan on also buying the matching adjustable tarp poles specifically designed to keep the awnings of the garage secured open.
REI also sells footprints for each of the Kingdom tents, a useful investment if you plan to camp on muddy or stony ground.
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At only 12 Pounds and 7 ounces, the Eureka Midori Basecamp 6 tent is one of the lightest six-person tents on the market. While it doesn't boast the multiple rooms or high headroom of other tents in its class, its simple pole structure and comparatively low weight make it ideal for groups on the move.
When every ounce counts, the Eureka Midori will outperform tents designed for car camping, but keep in mind the limited square footage and sloped walls may make it feel claustrophobic on rainy days.
For campers on a budget, the Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 is an affordable yet feature-packed option. With clever touches such as its dark interior which blocks up to 97.5% of sunlight and a large mesh room that doubles as extra sleeping space, you won't find it difficult to relax while enjoying your next camping trip.
At half the price of most of the other tents in its class, the Carlsbad Fast Pitch does have some drawbacks. Many purchasers complain of small quality issues on individual tents. Also, the dark color of the tent may make it unsuitable for warmer, sunnier camping sites.
With 97 square feet of living space, and additional 27 square feet of gear storage in the vestibule, the Nemo Wagontop six-person camping tent has the most room in its class. Also, the pole design allows for nearly vertical walls and 6 feet 8 inches of headroom.
Big screen windows and a mesh porch allow for plenty of ventilation and a home-like feel. It's much heavier than many other six-person tents, but if your group is planning for an extended campground stay, the Nemo Wagontop is an excellent home away from home.
In an age when everyone seems to be locked to their small blue screens, I am vehemently passionate about getting more people outside to enjoy the wonder of nature. I hope my posts are informative for both the grizzled veteran and the complete novice alike.