REI Base Camp 6 Tent Review Facts
If you’re serious about camping, or you have a large number of people in your group, having a comfortable and roomy place to sleep and store your equipment is essential. Tents have come a long way over the years, and finding the best tent for your group, especially when it comes to the base camp can be a little tricky. As a camper, you need to consider quite a few different factors, such as overall size, stability, durability, and protection from the elements to name a few. There are a lot of choices available, and one of the most popular is the Base Camp 6 tent from REI. We’re going to take a look at it today, and try to determine why.
One of the nice things about this particular tent
is that it is fairly roomy, both in floor space and height. It boasts approximately 84 square feet in floor space, and at its peak, it’s just over six feet. While it is meant for a six-person sleeping area, we found that if you add in equipment, five adults would be the ideal number of occupants.
Of course, if you have more gear than usual, the number of people that can sleep comfortably in the tent does decrease dramatically. In some cases, depending on the gear, some people found that these tents actually comfortably slept only three to four people, which is a drastic change from what the tent is rated for. In any case, it’s important to actually see the tent set up prior to use to see if it is a good fit for your needs. Your five or six-man team with minimal equipment might easily fit into the tent, or you and your equipment heavy hiking buddies might want to go with another option for your base camp tent. It’s all a matter of personal choice.
Another nice thing about the overall size of the tent is that the vestibule area or area to store your equipment outside the sleeping area is relatively large. The vestibule area on one side is approximately 27 feet, while the smaller one still measures a respectable 17 square feet in size. In most cases, that’s more than enough room for our outdoor equipment, hiking gear, and extra boots.
Not surprisingly, this tent can withstand some serious wind and weather, and provide pretty decent ventilation. It’s rated for use in all four seasons but might have a bit of trouble keeping you warm and dry in the harshest winter weather. Essentially aluminum tent poles might bend under the weight of heavy snows, causing the tent to be less than taunt overall. If you know that you’ll be camping
in a high snow area, you might want to consider other, more winter friendly options. However, during the rest of the year, you should have no problem using it for shelter during your camping trip or week-long hiking expedition.
One of the areas where this tent really excels is in the level of protection it provides to the average camper
. The entire tent is made from a tough nylon material and polyester combination that helps to provide a great deal of protection from the elements if the tent is properly set up. The floor itself is coated with a material that is both puncture and abrasion resistant and the ample rain-fly is designed to not only keep water out of the tent but also to resist stretching and damage from UV rays.
The two relatively minor complaints that we had was that a footprint for the bottom of the tent is sold separately, and that rain was known to leak through the vestibule zippers from time to time. Other than that, we had no complaints of a soggy or cold sleeping area.
Time after time in the reviews we looked at, the overall durability of the Base Camp
6 tent was praised. There was little mention of rips or tears, and the combination of strong polyester and nylon material proved to be able to withstand not only the harshest weather that people encountered but even the occupants themselves. One reviewer even used the tent to house him and his dog during a mountain adventure and was amazed at the fact that no rips, tears or even scratches were seen by the end of it.
In addition to the tough material, the sturdy aluminum rods provide added strength to the mix, and their relatively lightweight nature doesn’t detract from their toughness.
As far as creature comforts are concerned, this tent does provide a moderate level of enjoyment. There is enough room for five adults and their equipment, and the relatively large vestibule area provides enough room for removing your equipment from a long day of hiking or being outdoors
. In addition, those of a taller persuasion won’t have to stoop that much when moving around the tent, and the dual entrances allow for relatively easy entering and exiting. In some cases, there have actually been reports of people practicing yoga inside the tent during rainy days to pass the time!
The portability of the Base Camp
6 tent, does, however, leave a bit to be desired. While it can be quickly and easily stored away in the accompanying backpack, it is a bit on the heavy side, at just over twenty pounds. It is nice that the backpack has compartments for the different parts of the tent, and break down is fairly simple, but the weight may be a bit much to handle, especially if the base camp is a good distance from where you’ve parked. Truthfully, this tent is better suited for use as a vehicle friendly base camp.
Ease of Use
One of the nice things about this particular tent is that it is truly easy to set up with a two-person team, and can even be done with a single person given ample time. The poles themselves are color-coded, making it quick and easy to see what exactly goes where and how to put things together. In addition, the rain-fly is easy to employ correctly, and once everything is set up, tying down the tent
is a relatively simple process. Once the trip is completed, take down and storage in the specific bag is quick and painless.
While the durability and strength of this tent are hard to beat, there are certainly lighter options available. At just over 20 lbs, this tent is a bit on the heavy side and may become a bit of a burden to the average hiker. If you have to travel long distances via foot to your base camp, you might want to consider a tent
that is a bit lighter. However, if driving to your destination is possible, this is a great tent to have as a foundation for your outdoor adventure.
Given its roominess, toughness, and overall ease of use, the price range for this tent isn’t unreasonable, even if it is a little on the expensive side. Prices for this tent range in the $400 to $600 dollar range at most retailers, and should be thought of as a true investment.
Access to the interior of the tent is fairly straightforward and easy. Two zippered doors, which are strategically placed provide ways to enter the vestibule and sleeping areas without disturbing the inhabitants too much. If you have to make a nightly exit, allowing your companions to sleep in relative peace won’t be too much of an issue.
Often, when you use a tent such as this for your outdoor adventure, you and your companions will have quite a few pieces of equipment. Thankfully, this tent has quite a few different features that allow for the easy storage of your equipment and supplies. A total of six pockets are available for use inside the tent and vestibule area, as well as a number of hanging loops, which are sturdy enough to hang either equipment or wet clothes. The floor is tough and relatively easy to clean, often only taking a sweep with a broom to remove debris and dirt that may be tracked in during use. In addition, the vestibule area is fairly large, providing ample room for larger pieces of equipment, so the sleeping area doesn’t become too cluttered.
In all honesty, this is one of the more sturdy tents that we’ve seen on the market today. Once set up correctly this tent can easily withstand winds up to 30 miles per hour, and some torrential downpours. It has been used with a good deal of success in a wide range of environments, from the grassy plains where strong winds are a potential problem to more mountainous regions where storms are fairly frequent. While it may not be the best choice for use during extreme winter weather or in dangerously cold climates, for the most part, this tent and it’s geodesic design has proven to be remarkably tough.
The Base Camp 6 tent from REI is certainly constructed to withstand a great deal of abuse, and one of the reason it works so well is the relatively tough material used to make it. The nylon and polyester mix of material is designed to not only repel moisture but also to resist tears and abrasions during normal use. Short of taking a knife to the tent wall, or setting it on fire, chances are you won’t find a way to truly damage the tent.
The construction of this tent is fairly straightforward, and it’s easy to see how the designers took into account the needs of the average or even above-average users. The overall geodesic design allows for the maximum efficiency when it comes to space, and both the vestibule areas and the large rain-fly make it easy to keep both you and your equipment out of the elements without sacrificing too much comfort. The relatively lightweight frame is surprisingly sturdy and can easily withstand high gusts of winds or significant precipitation without too much of a struggle. In addition, the chimney like ventilation system and strategically placed doors provide good overall airflow, so overheating isn’t too much of a problem.
Comparison to Other Brands
As expected with the popularity of base camps and group camping growing every year, the number of tents that are designed for larger groups is growing as well. While the REI Base Camp 6 might not be the most luxurious choice out there, it is by far the best we’ve come across when it comes to overall stability and strength. While it doesn’t provide as much protection as Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 6 person tent, it certainly does the job in most situations quite well. The REI Base Camp 6 is also a bit more expensive than a lot of tents out there but still doesn’t compare in price to the Marmot Halo 6.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a tent that is designed to keep you and your companions both comfortable and dry while camping in the great outdoors, and you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, the Base Camp 6 from REI is certainly a viable option. Its advantages include a relatively roomy sleeping area, a sturdy overall construction, and an easy setup and take down. Of course, like all tents, it does have a few disadvantages as well. It’s not the best choice for extreme winter camping, it can be a bit heavy to carry over long distances, and it is certainly one of the more expensive tents on the market today. Overall, though, for the average camper, the REI Base Camp 6 may be a good option.