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REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Review

An excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer fun
REI Co-op Base Camp 6
Photo: REI Co-op
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $469 List | $469.00 at REI
Pros:  Huge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistant
Cons:  Runs warm, views are a bit more restricted
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Rob Gaedtke ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 5, 2021
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Family Friendliness - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The REI Base Camp 6 is a well-built, aerodynamic 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 still 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
REI Co-op Base Camp 6
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $469.00 at REI$449.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$499.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$270 List$69.99 at Amazon
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Pros Huge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistantSpacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high valueQuality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibuleSpacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensiveSimple, very cheap, lightweight
Cons Runs warm, views are a bit more restrictedNot the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bagHubebd poles, single door, awkward bagFiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly onToo simple, cheaply made, not durable
Bottom Line An excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer funThis tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gearAn ultra high-quality 4-person tent that makes great use of spaceWherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall valueA starter tent that works for those looking to get into camping on the cheap
Rating Categories REI Co-op Base Camp 6 The North Face Wawo... MSR Habitude 4 Kelty Wireless 6 Coleman Sundome Dome 4
Space And Comfort (35%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
Family Friendliness (10%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Specs REI Co-op Base Camp 6 The North Face Wawo... MSR Habitude 4 Kelty Wireless 6 Coleman Sundome Dome 4
Weight 20.625 lbs 21.9 lbs 12 lbs 17.2 lbs 9.8 lbs
Max Inside Height 6' 2" 6' 6" 6' 1" 6' 4" 4' 11"
Floor Dimensions 9'2" x 9'2" 10' x 8'6" 7'11" x 7'11" 9'10" x 8'10" 9' x 7'
Floor Area 84 sq ft 85 sq ft 62.4 sq ft 86.9 sq ft 63 sq ft
Seasons 3-4 season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows Mesh top 2 2 Mesh top 2
Pockets 14 6 7 6 1
Number of Doors 2 3 1 2 2
Room Divider No Yes No No No
Vestibules 2 2 1 2 0
Vestibule Area 40 sq ft 44.7 sq ft; 21 sq ft 23.5sq ft 28 sq ft N/A
Packed Size 11" x 24" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 23" x 9" x 9" 27" x 8" x 8" 6.75" x 6.75" x 23.75"
Floor Materials Polyester 75D polyester DWR 68D polyester taffeta 68D poly 1800mm Polyethylene 1000D-140g/sqm
Main Tent Materials Polyester 150D polyester taffeta 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh Polyester mesh 68D
Rainfly Materials Polyester 68D polyester 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 68D poly 1200mm Polyester taffeta 75D
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 E-Port

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.

Performance Comparison


The Base Camp 6 is a stout-looking tent that will stand firm through...
The Base Camp 6 is a stout-looking tent that will stand firm through inclement weather.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

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 really 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 a totally open ceiling mean both great airflow and stargazing.

The huge doors on the Base Camp make it super simple to go in and...
The huge doors on the Base Camp make it super simple to go in and out of the tent.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

The tent itself 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. The Base Camp has 14 pockets scattered pretty much everywhere you might want one, making it super friendly for organized chaos.

Weather Resistance


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. That said, 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 ceiling of the tent is outside access from two zippers. Should you get caught in the rain for an extended time and forgot 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.

All buttoned up for the night. Note the access zippers on the...
All buttoned up for the night. Note the access zippers on the ceiling for easy access to the rain fly vents.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Coming into warmer days is where this tent gets a slight knock. The thick rainfly causes a little heat build-up, even with the floor and ceiling vents open. However, once the fly is removed, the views open up, and the breeze can flow through all sides. Thanks to the completely open roof, stargazing is a great way to fall asleep if you are lucky enough to not need the fly.

The open ceiling gives a nice vantage point for stargazing when the...
The open ceiling gives a nice vantage point for stargazing when the sun goes down.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Ease of Use


Two people pitched this tent in just over seven minutes. There were no questions on what poles went where thanks to the color-coded sleeves, grommets, and poles. 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.

Aerial view showing both vestibules staked and ready to hold gear.
Aerial view showing both vestibules staked and ready to hold gear.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Durability


The Base Camp really nailed the durability 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 slide 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 to be found. 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.

The snaps on the Base Camp are extremely well engineered and very...
The snaps on the Base Camp are extremely well engineered and very easy to clip.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Family Friendliness


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.


Some 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 really help the flow of traffic when you have a tent full of people.

Camp life with the REI Co-op Base Camp 6.
Camp life with the REI Co-op Base Camp 6.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Value


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. You will get a very durable and well-designed shelter that can span a bit more of the year for the same cost (or less) as your average 3-season tent.

Conclusion


The REI Basecamp 6 is a great choice for campers looking for a tent that can handle more than a sunny weekend getaway. With a beefy 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 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.

A selfie shot showing our testing team and how safe and comfortable...
A selfie shot showing our testing team and how safe and comfortable we all feel in this tent.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Rob Gaedtke