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REI Kingdom 6 Review

A top-notch tent with tons of room and tons of versatility.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $469 List | $469.00 at REI
Pros:  Tall and long, barn-shaped, versatile front vestibule, adjustable room divider.
Cons:  Only one vestibule, back door is more exposed to the elements, more poles than most.
Manufacturer:   REI
By Wes Berkshire ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2019
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OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 10
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Ease of Set Up - 15% 7
  • Workmanship - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The REI Kingdom 6 has been a mainstay in our Editors' Choice list for some time, and for a good reason. It sets the standard for large, family-style camping tents. It's not flashy, it's not particularly innovative, but it's effective. Functionally, the Kingdom 6 covers all the basics well, and then adds ingenious small touches like inner ceiling zippers to make connecting those otherwise high ceiling clips significantly easier. Other critical additions like an adjustable room divider and more pockets than a Levi's store make the Kingdom 6 highly adaptable to whatever situation you find yourself in. REI seems to have designed a great tent, then gone through it for potential flaws and weaknesses, then directly addressed those. The Kingdom 6 provides great options and versatility and is simply a bomb-proof and reliable tent that will only improve your outdoor experience.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
REI Kingdom 6
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $469.00 at REI$329.00 at REI$499.95 at REI
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$399.00 at REI$339.00 at Amazon
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Pros Tall and long, barn-shaped, versatile front vestibule, adjustable room divider.Roomy feel with vertical walls, tons of storage space, good fly and vestibule.Easy, quick set-up, expansive vestibule, spectacular storage designFast set up, built-in large vestibule, lots of ventilation, tall ceiling heightRoomy, large vestibule, simple, classic design.
Cons Only one vestibule, back door is more exposed to the elements, more poles than most.Not the cheapest four-man tent out there, extremity poles are a little thin.Odd placement of interior pockets, more expensive than many of its contemporariesCan't stand in vestibule, limited views when laying or sitting, poor duffel/stuff sackNot overly innovative, could use more storage.
Bottom Line A top-notch tent with tons of room and tons of versatility.REI has taken the dome tent to a new level.One of the best tents on the market, the Tensleep has great features that are done well.This one of the best family camping tents we have ever seen at a reasonable price.The Marmot Limestone 4P is great at keeping it simple. A high-quality tent, with a design that will be familiar to experienced campers.
Rating Categories REI Kingdom 6 REI Co-op Half Dome 4 Plus Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 The North Face Wawona 6 Marmot Limestone 4
Comfort (40%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
Ease Of Set Up (15%)
10
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7
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
Workmanship (15%)
10
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8
10
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8
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9
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8
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8
Packed Size (5%)
10
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9
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7
10
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9
10
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9
10
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7
Specs REI Kingdom 6 REI Co-op Half... Big Agnes Tensleep... The North Face... Marmot Limestone 4
Weight 19.6 lbs 7.8 lbs 17.8 lbs 20.9 lbs 10.6 lbs
Max Inside Height 6 ft 3 in 4 ft 75 in 6 ft 6 in 8 ft 4 in
Floor Dimension 10' x 8'4" 7' 8" x 7' 8" 10' x 9'5" 5' 3" x 7'
Floor Area 83.3 sq ft 58.7 sq ft 90 sq ft 86 sq ft 59.7 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows 1 0 2 2 1
Pockets 22 16 4 6 8
Number of Doors 2 2 2 3 2
Room Divider Yes No No Yes No
Vestibules 1 2 2 2 2
Vestibule Area 29 sq ft 22.5 sq ft 38.5 sq. feet (front) 10 sq. feet (back) 21 sq ft; 44.7 sq ft 21 sq ft
Packed Size 9.5 in x 16.5 in x 25.5 in 7 x 24 in 5 x 15 x 27 in 9.5 in x 16.5 in x 25.5 in 27.5 x 10in
Floor Materials Coated polyester oxford 70D Nylon taffeta WP Polyester 75D polyester 150D Polyester
Main Tent Materials Nylon/mesh 40D Nylon ripsto/mesh Breathable polyester & polyester mesh 150D polyester taffeta 40D Polyester/mesh
Rainfly Materials Coated polyester taffeta 40D Nylon Polyester 68D polyester 68D Polyester taffeta
Number of Poles 2 Hubbed Sets, 1 Straight 1 Hubbed Set 4 4 4
Pole Material 6061/7001 Aluminum DAC Pressfit Aluminium Aluminum DAC DA17 14 mm aluminum
Pole Diameter 14.5 / 11 mm 12.8mm x 3, 11 mm x 1 14 mm
Design type Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding, dome Freestanding
Extras Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Kingdom 6 is the lion in our jungle and the Elvis of our rock and roll. It's been holding down the top of our large family tent category for a few years now, and for good reason. Well-thought-out design (like small zippers inside the roof of the tent to help you reach and attach clips to the higher spots in the exoskeleton) and a unique, barn-like shape set it apart from the competition. Our other top-rated six-man family camping tents, the Big Agnes Tensleep Station 6 and the North Face Wawona 6 are great and worthy competitors, but also very similar to each other. The Kingdom 6 is a genuinely unique tent, and REI has managed to maximize the impact of small touches and important features.

Performance Comparison


The REI Kingdom 6.
The REI Kingdom 6.

Comfort


At just over 83 square feet, the REI Kingdom 6 is not noticeably larger than any of the other tents we tested (in fact, it's technically smaller than some). But there's something about the long, barn-style design that makes it feel roomier. While most any family camping tent advertised at six-people is going to be cramped at capacity (and we typically recommend closer to four people), the Kingdom 6 might actually be the exception. Again, due to its longer design, you could put three people across on each end (each threesome with heads or feet at a door), and be as comfortable as any six-man tent on the market. Now, will it still be a little snug? Sure, but you'll be much better situated for the constant logistics of crawling over and around your tent mates.

While officially not appreciably larger than other family tents we tested  the extended length of the Kingdom 6 makes better use of the space  and ultimately the capacity.
While officially not appreciably larger than other family tents we tested, the extended length of the Kingdom 6 makes better use of the space, and ultimately the capacity.


As previously mentioned, both ends of the Kingdom 6 have near 360-degree doors that stuff neatly into a small storage pocket at the top, inside of each door. Moving air mattresses and any other large equipment (tables, chairs, etc.) into the Kingdom 6 will not be a problem.

A tent door that doubles as a highway tunnel. Plenty of room for unloading your gear into the Kingdom 6.
A tent door that doubles as a highway tunnel. Plenty of room for unloading your gear into the Kingdom 6.

Pockets! Pockets! Pockets! At our count, and we had to do this multiple times just to be sure we were seeing it right, the Kingdom 6 has a stunning 22 pockets! They ring the bottom of the tent (yes, the entire circumference), and then give you four more, one in each corner, up high. You could put each individual piece of clothing you've brought into its own individual pocket and still have room for your headlamp, car keys, phone, and toothbrush. Storage abounds.

Pockets  pockets  everywhere! Storage space is abundant in the Kingdom 6.
Pockets, pockets, everywhere! Storage space is abundant in the Kingdom 6.

For those who prefer the luxury of a two-roomed tent, or simply want to be able to shut yourself off (at least visually) from their kids, the Kingdom 6 comes with a handy room divider to give you your alone time. The room divider is a fairly common add-on in many larger family camping tents. What gives REI the edge here, however, is that there are multiple sets of loops to connect said dividing wall. That means that you can be a merciful camping God and divide the room evenly, or you can conquer more territory and spread out over roughly two-thirds of the total floor space, leaving your friends and family to crowd into the smaller, more peasant-sized end.

Two  even-sized bedrooms? A larger bedroom and a smaller sitting room? However you'd like to divvy out your inside space  the Kingdom 6 gives you options to adjust the dividing wall.
Two, even-sized bedrooms? A larger bedroom and a smaller sitting room? However you'd like to divvy out your inside space, the Kingdom 6 gives you options to adjust the dividing wall.

But wait, there's more! The room divider has a handy zip up the middle meaning you can open, close, and even secure it with loops on the side of the tent to accommodate all situations without having to crawl or limbo under the divider.

A handy zipper in the room divider makes it easier to spend more time with your tent neighbors.
A handy zipper in the room divider makes it easier to spend more time with your tent neighbors.

Weather Resistance


By the time you start to feel like the REI Kingdom 6 is failing you weather-resistance-wise, you're likely to be floating away somewhere downriver. The Kingdom 6 will keep you comfortable and dry in all but the heaviest extended downpours. The fly covers the entire tent, side-to-side, all the way to the ground. It also has pop-up Velcro vents in the ceiling of the fly (accessible through the ceiling zips in the main tent) to increase airflow and keep things from getting too muggy when it rains.

Full rainfly coverage on all sides but one  and a good-sized vestibule.
Full rainfly coverage on all sides but one, and a good-sized vestibule.


On one end the Kingdom 6 has a decent-sized vestibule; enough to store shoes and other smaller items, but not quite enough to sit comfortably in. A two-zipper design, meeting at the top-center on the front of the vestibule, gives you a multitude of options. You can open just one side of the vestibule for some sun-relief or adapt to any side-winds. You can keep just the sides up to create a more cave-like entrance area to the tent. Finally, those who enjoy the shade of a covered porch at home will feel equally at home under a shaded front veranda that can be created using a pair of hiking poles (or similar — REI actually sells adjustable poles for this, too) and staking/guy-lining out the main flap of the vestibule at a more horizontal angle. Voila! Instant camping porch. Add the lemonade or other beverage of your choice.

Some hiking poles  a couple guy lines  and you've got yourself a proper front veranda.
Some hiking poles, a couple guy lines, and you've got yourself a proper front veranda.

The other end of the Kingdom 6 is somewhat exposed. The fly only covers the outer edge, leaving the majority of the door open to the elements. While we don't doubt REI's claims of water-resistance in the polyester tent fabric, we also know that "resistant" isn't proof. That said, the fly does cover the top edge of the door, creating a drip line that should keep things relatively dry. Sideways rain could still be a problem.

The only shortcoming of the rainfly is that it doesn't give full coverage to the back door.
The only shortcoming of the rainfly is that it doesn't give full coverage to the back door.

As for stability, there are three cross-poles that stretch the length of the Kingdom 6, providing strength to the overall structure of the tent. Multiple loops on the fly along with guy lines also help to secure your wilderness home.

Ease of Setup


At first look, the Kingdom 6's longitudinal, barn shape we've been raving about thus far looks like a setup nightmare. Fear not. A two-part, two-hubbed pole supports each end of the tent, and then three more poles; one across the middle and one at each end to keep the doors vertical, complete the setup. Sounds like a lot, right? It's really not, so while it's not the fastest up and down of the tents we tested, it certainly won't keep you at it all night or have you swearing at the surrounding pine trees.

The Kingdom 6 isn't the fastest tent to set up  but it's not complicated either.
The Kingdom 6 isn't the fastest tent to set up, but it's not complicated either.

In our tests, it took two people 10-15 minutes to set the Kingdom 6 up and take it down each time. What you'll appreciate is that it's very straightforward and easy to figure out. No complicated poles twisting and crossing at odd angles to leave you feeling like you just bought something from IKEA.


We'll admit to occasionally being enamored with small details. One of our favorite features of the Kingdom 6 is the small zippers in the ceiling of the main tent. At first, because we typically ignore the directions, we were confounded. Zippers in the ceiling? Weird. Then the lightbulb came on. The zippers make reaching the high, center clips on the tent massively easier. Just connect the rest of the hooks, then step inside, unzip, and reach through to connect the highest clips with ease. Absolutely genius.

Ceiling zippers in the top of the tent make attaching those high  hard-to-reach clips super easy.
Ceiling zippers in the top of the tent make attaching those high, hard-to-reach clips super easy.

With a peak inside height of 6'3", and those clips another couple inches above that, being able to reach directly up, as opposed to over and across the outside of the tent, is truly huge. The Kingdom 6 is the antithesis of the Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO in this regard. Where the Titan was awkward, even difficult to reach the high clips, REI solved the problem with a couple of small zippers.

Packed Size


Let's be fair, this is a large, six-person tent, it's going to occupy some space, even when packed. The REI Kingdom 6 packs down to roughly a normal suitcase size, not drastically smaller or larger than its contemporaries here. What it does have going for it though, is plenty of room in the storage bag (no stuffing your tent while huffing, puffing, and swearing), separate compartments for the tent, the fly, and the poles, and a few outer pockets for other accessories.

Size comparison. The REI Kingdom 6 and the Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO.
Size comparison. The REI Kingdom 6 and the Big Agnes Titan 6 mtnGLO.


Finally, the coup de grĂ¢ce, the Kingdom 6 has two shoulder straps that essentially turn your tent into a backpack. Say goodbye to the days of humping an awkward hot-dog-shaped monstrosity from your car to your tent site. The Kingdom 6 actually adds some range to your potential camping spots. You can walk it into stated "walk-in" sites with relative ease. Don't worry about pulling the car up right next to where you're going to set this one up, you're good to go the distance.

With dual compartments for the tent and fly  and backpack-style shoulder straps  the packing and storage of the REI Kingdom 6 is impressive.
With dual compartments for the tent and fly, and backpack-style shoulder straps, the packing and storage of the REI Kingdom 6 is impressive.

Workmanship


REI has a long history of making quality, durable tents. The Kingdom 6 is no exception. With a rainfly that sports a 75-denier thickness, and a tent floor at double that, damage from tree roots and rocks should be few and far between. The main, two-hub poles are thick enough (14 millimeters) to stand up to a strong breeze. The other accessory poles, while thinner at 11 millimeters, are still adequate and should benefit from the support of the thicker main poles. Seams are sealed to keep you dry. Cared for properly, the Kingdom 6 should last you many seasons of wilderness adventure.

The dual-hub pole design (similar to the REI Half Dome 4 Plus)  except that the main pole splits in the middle. The Kingdom's poles are also noticeably thicker than those for most of the other tents we tested.
The dual-hub pole design (similar to the REI Half Dome 4 Plus), except that the main pole splits in the middle. The Kingdom's poles are also noticeably thicker than those for most of the other tents we tested.


Best Applications


The REI Kingdom 6 should be a no-brainer for mid-sized families or those who like to go camping with 3-4 friends. It's going to perform well in most any condition. It gives you tons of space in a well-designed layout, and it comes loaded with enough small touches to meet everyone's needs. While it's not the cheapest tent on our list, it's far from the most expensive, and if you consider that it should last you many seasons, it's a worthy investment.

The REI Kingdom 6 is a do-it-all tent.
The REI Kingdom 6 is a do-it-all tent.

Value


Because REI sells its products directly to their customers, they tend to be a better value than many of the other big tent brands. At $470, it's solidly in the middle of the tents we tested price-wise. However, when you consider what that middle-ground price gets you, that's where the Kingdom 6's value begins to shine. It has been a consistent Editors' Choice here at Outdoor Gear Lab and doesn't stick it to your wallet for the privilege. Sure there are cheaper tents out there, but you're going to sacrifice the brilliant features and high-end quality you get out of the Kingdom 6.

Conclusion


The spacious and well-designed REI Kingdom 6 is one of our favorite tents, year-in and year-out.


Wes Berkshire