The REI Base Camp 6 is a well-built tent, ready to take a family of four through all three seasons plus maybe a tad more. This tent has a great structure that brings height and width to the interior while keeping excellent, wind-friendly angles on the exterior. The extra-large vestibule easily fits two chairs and a small cooking table, and we were able to fit a full and a twin air mattress inside with plenty of room left over for gear, dog beds, and more. Add to that a ton of pockets and hang loops, and you have a very versatile and strong almost-year-round tent.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 on April 19, 2022, with an unbiased assessment of value and suggestions for other comparable products.
REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Review
Cons: Runs warm, views are a bit more restricted
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Base Camp 6
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|Pros||Huge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistant||Spacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high value||Quality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibule||Spacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive||Simple, quick to set up, lightweight|
|Cons||Runs warm, views are a bit more restricted||Not the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bag||Hubebd poles, single door, awkward bag||Fiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly on||Cheap poles, bad door zippers, small footprint|
|Bottom Line||An excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer fun||This tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gear||An ultra high-quality 4-person tent that makes great use of space with quality components||Wherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall value||A classic lightweight 4-person dome tent that gives a little extra headroom and has a few nice features|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||The North Face Wawo...||MSR Habitude 4||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4|
|Space and Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Base Camp 6||The North Face Wawo...||MSR Habitude 4||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4|
|Weight||20.6 lbs||21.9 lbs||12 lbs||17.2 lbs||11.0 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||6' 2"||6' 6"||6' 1"||6' 4"||5' 10"|
|Floor Dimensions||9' 2" x 9' 2"||10' x 8' 6"||7' 11" x 7' 11"||9' 10" x 8' 10"||7' 1" x 8'|
|Floor Area||84 sq ft||85 sq ft||62.4 sq ft||86.9 sq ft||57 sq ft|
|Windows||Mesh top||2||2||Mesh top||Mesh top|
|Number of Doors||2||3||1||2||1|
|Vestibule Area (total)||40 sq ft||44.7 sq ft||23.5 sq ft||28 sq ft||0 sq ft|
|Packed Size||11" x 24"||9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5"||23" x 9" x 9"||27" x 8" x 8"||24" x 7" x 10"|
|Floor Materials||Polyester||150D polyester||DWR 68D polyester taffeta||68D poly 1800mm||68D Poly 1200mm|
|Main Tent Materials||Polyester||150D polyester||68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU||68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh||68D Poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh|
|Rainfly Materials||Polyester||75D polyester||68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU||68D poly 1200mm||68D Poly 1200mm|
|Number of Poles||5||4||3 hubbed||3||3|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||14 mm aluminum||7000-series aluminum||Fiberglass||Fiberglass|
|Extras||4-Season||Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop||Porch Light||Pole pockets for easy setup||Light weight|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Base Camp is all about performance. It sports a 6-pole structure for the main tent with an extra pole for the large, 40 sq ft vestibule. This, combined with a thick rainfly and a 150-denier polyester oxford floor that touts being abrasion and puncture-resistant, makes it one tank of a tent. It looks strong, it feels well made, and it comes from a brand well known for quality tents.
Space and Comfort
The sheer size of the tent interior and two vestibules put the Base Camp in the 130+ sq ft usable space arena. That means you will have plenty of room to fit all of your gear, family, and pets.
The height allows for easy changing and a roomy feel when moving about the cabin. The width will accommodate a full and a twin blowup with lots of extra floor space.
In the comfort category, the Base Camp also shines. Just try and find a spot that doesn't have a pocket, a vent, a door, or a hang loop. REI took every opportunity to sneak in organization wherever they could with this tent. Huge teardrop doors with zippable privacy covers, floor vents on each side, and an open ceiling mean great airflow and stargazing.
The tent has an 84 sq ft floor plan with a max height of 6' 2". The two extra poles that help with rigidity also help pull out the sidewalls, giving more space and that expedition-style tent vibe.
And let's not forget the bonus back vestibule, allowing for an additional exit and storage space.
Now let's not kid ourselves; this is no high-end winter excursion tent. And at the current price point, we wouldn't expect it to be. It is built strong enough to give light winter camping a try without a second's hesitation. The extra two poles and super thick rainfly should be able to handle a minor snow pileup (please note: we haven't tested this application) and hefty winds. REI even made the vestibule stake-out loops large enough so you can use your skis or split board as anchors.
Winter scenarios aside, the Base Camp will crush shoulder season camping. The extra warmth from the fly paired with the ability to withstand some serious rain and wind should give you a peaceful experience inside while the rest of the world deals with the harsh conditions outside.
A somewhat hidden feature on the tent ceiling is outside access from two zippers. Should you get caught in the rain for an extended time and forget to open the vents, just unzip, and you have easy access to the top vents on the rainfly from the comforts of your living room. A great addition that we hope other brands start to incorporate into their designs.
The thick rainfly causes a little heat build-up, even with the floor and ceiling vents open. The views open up once the fly is removed, and the breeze can flow through all sides. And stargazing is a great way to fall asleep, thanks to the completely open roof.
Ease of Use
Two people pitched this tent in just over seven minutes. Thanks to the color-coded sleeves, grommets, and poles, there were no questions about what poles went where. The fly slides on super easy and attaches with color-coded plastic clips. The tent also comes with enough stakes, guylines, and tighteners to fully lock it to the ground, and the storage bag is good quality and plenty big enough to re-stuff after use.
All of the doors are large, easy to zip, and (because there is both a front and back vestibule), you can sneak out at night to use the bathroom without stepping on your kid, dog, or friend.
The Base Camp is a bit on the heavy side compared to the other tents we reviewed, coming in at just over 20 pounds, but for a 3-season+ tent, that is still pretty light.
This tent is deceptively large inside. The organization options, the ability to use the front vestibule for cooking if needed, and the privacy doors all make for a great family-friendly tent. The ease of setup will also help keep the family calm.
Other bonus family-style features include solid fabric on the doors for privacy, some reflective trims on the fly to help you find your tent after a quick potty break, and dual vestibules and doors to help traffic flow when you have a tent full of people.
The Base Camp has 14 pockets scattered everywhere you might want one, making it super friendly for organized chaos.
The Base Camp nailed this category, coming in among the top performers. Just unpacking this tent, you can tell it is a step above your typical (albeit great) REI tent. It shares the same heavy-weight 150-denier polyester floor as the Wawona, but also claims to be abrasion and puncture-resistant — and we didn't see otherwise during our testing period. The poles are thick aluminum that slides together smoothly and feel built to last. And the fabric, seams, and zippers all scream quality.
When you pitch this tent and stake it all out, there are very few wrinkles. Though not a true sign of durability (this could have just been three perfect pitches), the fact that the tent's rainfly almost automatically aligns sure gives you the feeling of durability and excellent design.
Should You Buy the REI Co-op Base Camp 6?
The REI Basecamp 6 is a great choice for campers looking for a tent to handle more than a sunny weekend getaway. With a sturdy 4-pole main structure and thick, abrasion-resistant materials, you can feel confident putting this tent up to some challenges. Thanks to dual vestibules, you'll have plenty of space to keep you and your gear out of the elements. Just understand that there are a couple of tradeoffs: you won't get as much of that wonderful open mesh feel, and if you don't like the heat, this one can get a little warm in the sun. But if wind and rain and perhaps even light snow are possible, you won't be sorry to have this shelter.
What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?
If you have ever looked to purchase a tent for camping in places with more challenging weather (like the Pacific Northwest), then you will understand the value this tent brings to the table. If you're looking for a giant vestibule, then the The North Face Wawona 6 is the tent you want. But we also recognize that these tents are expensive – if you are shopping on more of a budget, consider the Kelty Wireless 6, our top choice for overall value.
— Rob Gaedtke
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