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REI Grand Hut 4 Review

A super friendly combo of simplicity and space at a very fair price
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Price:  $299 List | $299.00 at REI
Pros:  Tall and roomy, lightweight
Cons:  Difficult pole set up, flimsy
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Rick Baraff ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 15, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 14
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Packed Size - 5% 8

Our Verdict

For over 80 years, the REI Co-op has been making a something for everyone who even looks outside, and the Grand Hut 4 carves out a nice spot in their tent arsenal. Appealing to the taller set, those seeking a simple, lightweight, breezy affair with which to conduct proper outdoor activities should find this a lovely, affordable option. Contrary to its flyweight tent construction, it does come with a more than adequate fly, so you're both covered (or uncovered!) for hot days at the beach as well as cooler evenings in the forest.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

While not an award-winner, the Grand Hut 4 still offers many fine (and some not so fine) features for campers looking for a tent on the simple side that can withstand a decent variety of conditions. The all-in-one, spider-like pole structure is one of the not so fine points, but the height, weight, packability, open mesh top, and potential to employ the full-fledged rainfly are all top counterpoints.

Performance Comparison


The Grand Hut 4 looking... grand!
The Grand Hut 4 looking... grand!

Space and Comfort


Vertical space is where this tent has its moment in the sun — literally and figuratively. The interior height and vertical walls give the moderately sized floor (about 8.3' by 7') the illusion of more space. As with practically all 4-person tents in this review, the Grand Hut really only comfortably fits 2-3 adults for un-squished sleeping. Families with smaller members (i.e., kiddos) shouldn't have much of a problem at four heads, but if you're going without the fly on, there's little option for storage or getting things off the floor.

Gopher's eye view of the breezy Grand Hut 4  sans rain fly.
Gopher's eye view of the breezy Grand Hut 4, sans rain fly.

With two giant D-shaped doors and a top half that's all mesh (including the ceiling), this is one of the most "comfortable" tents for enjoying the breeze and gazing around on nice days… but then there's the issue of "comfortable" on not-so-nice days. We found the Hut a bit unstable in winds, and many others report folding sides and failing poles as all of them are integrated into a top hub that's pretty unforgiving.

The tall profile of the Grand Hut 4 where the top half is all mesh for views and the bottom half is opaque for privacy.
The tall profile of the Grand Hut 4 where the top half is all mesh for views and the bottom half is opaque for privacy.

Weather Resistance


While the fly is pretty substantial and fully covers this otherwise insubstantial tent, there are a few design issues with the way the doors on the fly unzip that allow rain to run in through the mesh. So as an actual water repellent, the fly works fine; it's just not the best design when you need to get in and out during the rain. Beyond the fly, the poles are not the sturdiest, and the integrated hub design doesn't help, so the Grand Hut isn't super resistant to wind either.

Unfortunately  rain got into the tent because unzipping the fly allows the water that beads on top to run in through the mesh window.
Unfortunately, rain got into the tent because unzipping the fly allows the water that beads on top to run in through the mesh window.

Ease of Set-Up


Unfortunately, the wonky pole design — which we like to call the Spiders From Mars design — makes this tent quite the, uh, animal to wrangle. Once you start to unfurl the giant all-in-one, "spider-like" structure that holds this thing upright, you'll feel as if you're in a bad 1950's sci-fi movie wherein the citizens are attacked by giant spindly-legged creatures from outer space.

Attack of the Giant Spiders From Mars! Or just setting up the unwieldy spider-like poles of the Grand Hut.
Attack of the Giant Spiders From Mars! Or just setting up the unwieldy spider-like poles of the Grand Hut.

With two (or more) people, this becomes exponentially easier to wrangle. So, if you're not left diving at the legs by your lonesome, this tent will go up in a scant amount of minutes. All kidding aside, it was a mere 5 minutes for a solo tester to put this up for the very first time — but there is a bit of a learning curve.

Ziggy Stardust would be proud of the Grand Hut and its giant "spiders from Mars" integrated hub pole design that can confound a single setter-upper.
Ziggy Stardust would be proud of the Grand Hut and its giant "spiders from Mars" integrated hub pole design that can confound a single setter-upper.

Durability


This is not the best attribute of the Grand Hut. Outside of the awesome, bend-proof steel stakes (why aren't ALL stakes like this?), the overall durability is questionable as it's a pretty thin-walled tent. Many others report bent poles (and collapsed tents!) in moderate to high winds, and we'll corroborate that the "spider" pole system isn't the most stable by any means.

4 ball in the corner pocket.  One corner of the Grand Hut featuring a small slash pocket and bathtub style floor.
4 ball in the corner pocket. One corner of the Grand Hut featuring a small slash pocket and bathtub style floor.

That said, the fly is much thicker and abuse-ready, so if you get this staked down well in bad weather, you'll have a fighting chance. Unfortunately, while the stakes can be run over and survive, they don't include enough of them! This contributes to a lack of durability when your tent starts taking abuse it can't handle due to lack of ground contact. So please purchase a few extra.

The bamboozling  unwieldy all-in-one pole design on the Grand Hut.  Yes  campers  this is all attached together.
The bamboozling, unwieldy all-in-one pole design on the Grand Hut. Yes, campers, this is all attached together.

Packed Size


The Grand Hut gets stuffed into a standard, old school heavyweight stuff sack that has ample room if you do a half-decent job of rolling the tent and fly tightly together (we recommend rolling one inside the other, like a layered burrito, cuz it's easier to stuff one item rather than two). The poles and stakes jam in with minimal grunting, and you haul it all away with a slightly thin grab handle. The whole thing weighs just over 14 pounds, so no one will be in danger of throwing out their back.

Rather frill-less classic stuff sack for the REI Grand Hut 4P.
Rather frill-less classic stuff sack for the REI Grand Hut 4P.

Value


While at the top end of moderately priced tents, there's plenty of value in what this tent IS good for. As a warm-weather, sunny-day, mild-breeze place to hang your hat for a few days, it's excellent. The fly is something you'd get on more expensive tents for sure, so if you can survive any potential weather by getting it all staked down (with extra stakes), this can last you some time.

Looking through the back door and vestibule of Hut.
Looking through the back door and vestibule of Hut.

Conclusion


An entry-level to moderately adept camper-level tent, this isn't for burly adventures afield or places you'll run into tons of inclement weather. Where it carves out its campsite is with a simple, modest, open design that fits into the broad range of easy-breezy summer tents for beaches, lakes, and established campgrounds.

REI's handy hand access zipper on the roof allows you to get to the pole clips on the top of the tent as well as the kickstand air vents.
REI's handy hand access zipper on the roof allows you to get to the pole clips on the top of the tent as well as the kickstand air vents.


Rick Baraff