Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Tall throughout tent, big doors on each side, rainfly versatility, huge vestibule, durable floor, lots of pockets, two rooms inside, backpack style carrying bag.
Cons: Only one vestibule, barnhouse style is bad in high winds.
Best Uses: Camping with big groups in spring, summer and fall.
The Kingdom 8 wins our Editors' Choice award because it's the most comfortable tent we tested and comes loaded with great bonus features. It features best-in-class head room, convenient dividers, and a huge vestibule for organizing your groups gear. It's easy to set up and packs down into an awesome backpack style carrying bag. It's also a solid value.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
With its huge ceilings and spacious cubic design, this tent is the king of comfort. The 6'5 tall ceiling throughout the tent allows multiple people to be standing at once, and creates space in an otherwise crowded environment. This tent is also fitted with mesh walls and ceilings, allowing the tent to breathe and keep the air moving on those hot days when you just want to read in a bug-free shaded zone. The rain fly is very versatile as well. With several attachment points around the tent you are able to roll up the rain fly on the sides in the middle of the day to cool off, and easily roll them back down at night to keep the heat inside.
The Kingdom 8 also has an internal divider in case you want a little bit of privacy every now and then. It can also be fun for kids to feel like they have their own room in the tent with their very own door, or you can use one half for all your gear and the other half as a clutter free sleeping space.
This tent has several different accessories you can buy to make it even more comfortable. REI sells an extended vestibule that you can attach to either side called the connect tech garage. This gives you a nice awning in front of the tent, which can be nice if its raining and you want to dry off before you enter the tent, or in case you want to store extra gear.
The Kingdom's barn house style frame is not ideal in high winds. If you don't take the time to properly stake out the tent and attach all guy lines, the wind will turn the tent into a dancing caterpillar. In all camping situations you should look for a wind-protected site and orient the tent so the widest part is not perpendicular to the prevailing wind. With the Kingdom 8, this is particularly important. In our testing in Joshua Tree (famous for high winds), we found that as long as it was staked down and had all the guy-lines out, then it was fine unless the winds were exceptionally strong.
As for rain, this tent's rain fly covers the entire tent and will keep you dry in a storm. Although it only has one vestibule, REI sells an additional one that you can buy for about $40 to cover both doors completely. Without this extra vestibule, you want to be sure the vestibule side is oriented into the prevailing wind.
If you are looking for a more bombproof tent that is a little less comfortable but will be able to withstand more powerful storms, then check out the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8.
One thing that really stood out with this tent was the floor. It's made out of a 200 denier nylon material, called nylon oxford. The floor is also a bucket style that comes up about a foot on each side of the tent. The rest of the tent is also fairly durable. From the pole clips to the zippers on the doors, this tent is well made and in the seven months we've had it we haven't had a problem. You should also know that this tent doesn't come with a footprint; you have to buy one separately.
Ease of Setup
The first time we set up this tent out of the bag without reading the directions we were pretty confused. This is a unique design that most people are not familiar with. But, like most things, once we practiced enough, we found the tent fairly simple to assemble. Something to note for those who aren't very tall: it may be difficult to attach the pole clips on the top of the tent and put the rain fly on without help. We also recommend that you have at least two people when setting up this tent. We were able to set it up with one person but for the safety of yourself and the tent, please do not try that. It can be very damaging to the tent poles.
With two people, this tent took us about 15 minutes to set up and about 13 minutes to take down and put away completely.
This tent has the best carrying bag we've seen. REI essentially created a backpack carrying bag that is genius and makes carrying the heavy tent around a lot easier. This bag has four compartments – two big sleeves, one for the tent body, and one for the rain fly. One slot in the middle is for the tent poles, while the outer pockets hold the stakes and guy-lines.
The Kingdom's packed size is 25 x 17 x 9.5 It's the third smallest of the tents we tested. We like the compact cube shape that is much easier to pack in a car or the garage than the long cylinder shape of most other packed tents.
— Devin Chance
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 9, 2013
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