REI Grand Hut 4 Review
Cons: Uses a hub pole system, not wind friendly
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Grand Hut 4
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|$129.65 at Amazon||$69.99 at Amazon||$161.95 at Amazon|
|Pros||Spacious, lightweight, quick to pitch||Large vestibule, simple, excellent weather resistance, classic design||Super easy set up, good views, very nice price||Simple, very cheap, lightweight||Great fair weather vestibule, spacious interior, neat concept|
|Cons||Uses a hub pole system, not wind friendly||Low ceiling height, could use more interior storage||Low headroom, poor overall construction||Too simple, cheaply made, not durable||Hard to setup, doesn't do well in rain, poor quality|
|Bottom Line||This spacious and user-friendly tent is a feature-rich option that is very fairly priced||This is a high-quality tent with a simple design that will be familiar to experienced campers||This tent is fast, easy, and inexpensive, though it falls short in some key areas||A starter tent that works for those looking to get into camping on the cheap||While this tent looks good in photos, it performs poorly in weather resistance and general use|
|Rating Categories||REI Grand Hut 4||Marmot Limestone 4||4-Person Cabin with...||Coleman Sundome Dome 4||Coleman Evanston Sc...|
|Space And Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (10%)|
|Specs||REI Grand Hut 4||Marmot Limestone 4||4-Person Cabin with...||Coleman Sundome Dome 4||Coleman Evanston Sc...|
|Weight||13.7 lbs||11.3 lbs||18.2 lbs||9.8 lbs||20.9 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||6' 3"||5' 3"||4' 11"||4' 11"||5' 8"|
|Floor Dimensions||8'4" x 7'2"||8'4"x7'2"||8' x 7'||9' x 7'||10' x 9'|
|Floor Area||59.7 sq ft||59.7 sq ft||56 sq ft||63 sq ft||90 sq ft|
|Number of Doors||2||2||1||2||1|
|Vestibule Area||35 sq ft||21 sq ft||N/A||N/A||40 sq ft|
|Packed Size||24" x 10" x 10"||27.5" x 10"||39.5" x 8" x 8"||6.75" x 6.75" x 23.75"||27.4" x 14.8" x 10.31"|
|Floor Materials||150D coated polyester||150D Polyester||150D Polyester||Polyethylene 1000D-140g/sqm||WeatherTec|
|Main Tent Materials||Mesh||40D Polyester/mesh||150D Polyester||Polyester mesh 68D||Polyguard|
|Rainfly Materials||75D coated polyester||68D Polyester taffeta||Polyguard 2X||Polyester taffeta 75D||Polyguard|
|Number of Poles||1 hubbed||4||4||3||4|
|Extras||Ceiling zippers to reach top clips||Hidden key/phone pouch on fly||Integrated rainfly protection||E-Port||Covered vestibule with floor|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Grand Hut 4 is roomy and tall for a 4-person tent, and should the weather turn, the full-coverage rainfly will keep you and the crew dry. The ample headroom is thanks to the pole structure that includes a hub system. We will get into the negatives of that later, but it is a trade-off. Because of the 6' 3" structure with nearly vertical walls, wind and this tent also aren't the best match. But for the speed, weight, and size of this tent, you get loads of value.
Space and Comfort
The Grand Hut scores well here, especially considering it is a 4-person tent. Remember that many of the tents in our lineup are 6-person tents, so scoring this high against some larger heavy hitters is a bold statement. This is because the floor space, height, and vestibule of the Grand Hut make fitting a few extra people inside totally manageable. You will have plenty of stash spots with the eight pockets, and the huge doors with tuck-away bags make this a superb summer tent. REI decided to put a translucent white material around the bottom half of the tent, giving you some privacy should you choose to change when the fly is off, a nice feature for packed sites and families with bashful offspring.
When it comes to packing a family of four in this tent, don't plan on bringing everyone a blowup bed. The Grand Hut is best suited for two twins with some extra space for walking. We were able to fit a full and a twin, but that makes the interior 100% bedding and not super functional. The vestibule is also a little tight, and frankly, because of the large size of the tent, having a stubby tail looks a little awkward.
Hot days, no problem. Rainy days, this hut has you protected and well vented. Windy days, be warned.
Six-foot tall walls plus a plastic hub system are not a great pairing. Let's start with the walls. Assuming you have the rainfly on and the wind is blowing, you will see the sides trying to cave in. We would strongly advise always using the guylines that come with this tent. For poles, REI chose to go with a single hub-pole assembly, complete with a hub that isn't super intuitive. For the initiated, you know the drawbacks of a hub system; for the rest, a hub system is a way to avoid the typical dome shape that comes with crossing poles. The hub gives strength to the middle of your tent while allowing your walls to be much more vertical. The drawback to this is that you have a mess of poles that are all connected, and they tend to be weaker and have more points of failure. On the plus side, the Grand Hut comes with eight good-sized stakes and a pole repair tube that may just save you from a rough night in a broken tent.
Outside of a windy nightmare, the Grand Hut is fairly qualified in a diverse range of weather — just keep in mind when finding a campsite the height and vertical nature of the tent you are pitching. Use the guylines, put rocks on the stakes, and enjoy.
Ease of Use
Though the hub system looks and feels like a hot mess, the poles still go together fairly easily, and if you mess up and put the red poles in the grey holes, well, maybe don't blame REI. Once the poles are in, 16 snaps later, the hut is erected and ready. This setup is actually far easier and faster than many of the popular 2-person REI tents. So while the hub system isn't ideal, it is fairly easy to manage. We were pitched in just under 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
Teardown is about the same; however, if you are shorter than 5' 9", unbuckling the top clip will be a slight ego hit. Thankfully, getting everything back into the oversized carry bag is easy. The weight (13.7 lbs) and size of this thing when packed are also pretty impressive. You would get a few laughs pitching this at a backpack-only lake, but the lighter weight certainly means you can walk out farther from your car without breaking your back.
We might be sounding like a broken record here, but outside of the hub system, the Grand Hut has typical REI tent quality. Probably the highest quality item is the floor and the rainfly, two areas in a tent you don't want the manufacturer to skimp on.
The remainder of the tent looks and feels well-made, and the bug-free netting is also sound. All four corners are reinforced, and the tub flooring should keep groundwater from seeping in. The included bag isn't anything special but doesn't feel cheap, and the standard stakes and guylines are on par with the rest of the offering. All in all, the Grand Hut isn't winning awards for the highest durability, but it is on the winning end of the spectrum of tents we tested. Adding this tent to your camping gear collection will be a solid investment that should last a long time.
Two adults, two kids, and two dogs "fit" in this tent. However, it's tight. Each person may not have their own mattress (depending on size) and forget about cooking or sitting in the vestibule area. While there are definitely fancier and more spacious choices for a family car camping tent, this tent will get the job done. If you are planning good weather trips with tables and fires and can keep some of your clothing and gear in your car, you will find this tent completely adequate.
The translucent white walls that go ¾ of the way up the tent are a great privacy feature for changing, and four pockets in the ceiling and four on the floor mean all your keys, phones and headlamps will stay easy to reach.
The Grand Hut, despite its shortcomings in various areas, is of great value. A 6' 3" tent with a bomber rainfly and quality materials at a very affordable price is hard to beat. And when you pair that with its light weight, the pot gets even sweeter.
The REI Grand Hut 4 is a great choice for those looking to get an excellent tent for their money. It has good airflow on hot days and is well protected should you need to get the rainfly out. This tall outdoor hut is also light, simple to pitch (once you learn the hub system), and offers a good number of pockets. It's not as spacious as other tents, and the vertical walls aren't ideal in the wind, but when you step back and look at all the positives combined with the price point, this is still a great value snag.
— Rob Gaedtke