Recently, I was talking to a buddy of mine about ICOC’s broad range of camping reviews, and about some of the awesome tents that we've been talking about.
He chimed in quickly, saying “We own an REI Kingdom 6. The wife and the kids love it!” He ranted and raved about how much he and his two boys (3-years-old and 1-year-old) had a blast in there.
Heck, they even had room for the dogs!
His love for this tent made me look deeper and deeper into all of the features it has to offer, and I figured you all may want to know a little bit about what I learned. Therefore, let’s journey through the outdoor kingdom with the REI Co-op Kingdom 6.
Tent Buying Considerations: The “Six S” Method
Before diving into the tent, let's look at a few buying considerations. Consider the “Six S” features of 6P tents to ensure that you choose the outdoor oasis that’s best for you, your family, and all your camping pals.
When it comes to six-person tents, you'll want as much space as possible. Considering an average amount of sleeping space is about 6ft x 2.5ft, this gives us about 15 sqft needed per camper (obviously this changes person to person). Add to that the amount of room each person needs to store their stuff.
One aspect of tent size that goes overlooked with these larger shelters is the maximum ceiling height. Unlike their smaller and shorter 2-person equivalents, you should be able to stand up (and stretch) in a 6-person tent. That way, you’ll be able to step over your tent mates with ease.
Typically, you aren’t going to journey into the depths of the tundra or trek into a monsoon with a 6-person tent, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore each shelters seasonal rating. Whether it be 3-season or 4-season, you’ll want to make sure that your final tent decision protects against water from entering the tent from the outside...
But also from the inside!
That’s why proper ventilation is key. The light breeze flowing through the mesh and vents in the tent helps to eliminate condensation from forming on the underside of the rain fly, which in turn helps to regulate overall warmth. A tent’s ability to control moisture is essential for a positive camping experience.
With smaller tents, you tend to see either an X-, or Y-shaped pole structure since only a few supports are needed to hold up the tent canopy. But with larger 6-person shelters, you may see some more complicated designs, like hoops, cross bars, reinforcements, and even pop-ups. All of these architectures affect setup difficulty.
Don't be deterred by the way a tent is pitched though. You should always (and I mean always) practice setting up your tent before you head to the campsite. Don't get caught fiddling around trying to pitch your tent when daylight begins to fade. It's a nasty feeling. Do it over and over again in the backyard until you no longer have to think about it.
Security means something different to every camper. For one, it may mean protection against the elements. For another, it just may be the feeling of being safe in the outdoors.
Personally, I feel security comes down to the feeling of knowing that your tent will hold up until morning. This comes down to durability.
You’ll want to look into features like the composition of the fabric and the poles, as well as all of the hardware that’s associated with the tent (guy lines, stakes, clips, etc.). If one of these items is faulty, it can turn a good sleep into a night of agony.
When you have half-a-dozen people’s clothes and personal items spread across the tent floor, available storage space becomes hugely important. Make sure that your desired shelter has enough interior storage pockets and nooks to cover the needs of your entire party, or you'll be left with a giant mess.
On top of that, if you are heading out into the backcountry, you’ll want a decently sized vestibule to store all of your wet, muddy gear. That way, you’ll have more livable room within the tent while still keeping your gear dry underneath the awning-like vestibule outside.
We always say that money isn't everything when it comes to tents. But if you long for a specific tent and just can't cut it financially, check out Craigslist or ebay. For bigger tents, try asking your local outdoor store for renting possibilities.
Or if you plan on camping with a few buddies, have them shell out a few bucks to split the cost.
Oh the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. Quality time away with the whole family.
The large, rectangular floor plan and 75” max center height will make you feel like you're living in one of those tiny houses, not a tent. Plus, there is even a room divider, giving you and your partner a little privacy while the kids take the other half.
Don’t forget about the factory-sealed waterproof rainfly, bug nets, stargazing abilities, and all-around livability!
Some features of the Kingdom 6 still fall short of its competitors. The overall setup can be challenging at first, but should a ten-minute job once you get used to it. The front vestibule is a little small, which is why REI sells a a “garage” separately. The extra awning gives you plenty of space to store your gear, cook in the rain, or simply relax in the open air.
It’s a little on the pricier side, but if you want to keep you and your family safe in the brutal outdoors, you can turn your tent into a castle with the Kingdom 6.
Size: Ample Living Space
Enough room for the whole family (and more), one of the top features of the REI Co-op Kingdom 6 is the spacious interior.
While the floor area itself is nothing too impressive (83.3 sqft is small compared to many tents on the market), the three-hoop design with center support allows for an incredible amount of usable volume. You can even stand up and walk around in this behemoth of a shelter without scraping your head on the fabric.
Season: Excellent 3-Season Protection
The Kingdom 6 is classified as a 3-season tent, and it lives up to that rating and more. The center divider (which is rip-proof) provides two separate rooms that offer different features.
The sleeping area is built mostly of thick, 75-denier nylon for warmth and privacy, while the other area is made completely of 45-denier nylon mesh for excellent ventilation. So you can either nestle into the bedroom to hideaway from those brisk summer nights, or lay back to stargaze in a bug-free breezeway.
Either way, you’ll have ultimate protection from nature’s everchanging elements.
Setup: Challenging At First But Difficulty Wanes Over Time
Unlike a simple X-shape tent, the REI Kingdom 6 utilizes a three-pole, hoop architecture with an extra support that runs vertical along the roof. If you are not used to pitching a tent, the inaugural setup will definitely be difficult.
Also, if you manage do get the initial canopy setup, you’ll still have to contend with an awkward rainfly. Overall, you’ll probably need two people to pitch the Kingdom 6, but over time, you may be able to set it up solo while the rest of the family preps for dinner.
Security: High-Quality Materials And Durable REI Craftsmanship
As with all REI products, the Kingdom 6 is constructed of quality materials to keep the whole gang safe at the campsite.
The 14.5 mm poles are constructed of durable, lightweight aluminum so you shouldn’t have to worry about them bending or snapping when you are struggling through the setup process. Also, the bathtub floor is constructed of a dense, 150-denier polyester Oxford fabric, which can even withstand the most rambunctious of kids.
In combination with the 75-denier waterproof polyester rainfly and quality tent hardware, the REI Co-op Kingdom 6 is like a campsite fortress, both inside and out.
Storage: Interior Pockets And Vestibule (With Optional Garage)
With the whole family at the campsite, it’s imperative that you remain organized, and the REI Co-Op Kingdom 6 provides you with plenty of storage options.
There are several mesh pockets scattered throughout the tent and a “Door Stuff Pocket” so that you can grab-and-go when leaving the tent. Although, one storage aspect that I would like to see improved in the next generation of Kingdom tents is the size of the vestibule.
I mean, 29 sqft is definitely not enough space for six people. Of course, you can by the “garage” separately, but that can be a drain on the bank account.
The REI Co-op Kingdom 6 comes in at a whopping $439. Yes, that may seem expensive, but think about all the great times you’ll have with your friends and the family as you all explore the outdoors, then retire to your campsite castle to relax and reminisce.
Since I like to be a good host to all you astute campers, I’m not going to leave you hanging with only my opinion of the REI Co-op Kingdom Co-op 6. Here's what other campers are saying about it.
Love it! I'm a single mother with a 13yr old boy. This tent was a breeze to set up and break down. My lil' guy and I were able to do it in 10 minutes. The first test was a trip upstate to NY where we encountered some intense rain & wind. We woke up dry and the Kingdom was just as solid as when we set it up!
Love the tent, it feels roomy. There are side pockets all around the tent which is very convenient. Minus points for the setup instructions! It's difficult to figure out how to set up the tent based on a few words on the tent bag. But once you figure it out, it's pretty simple.
We upgraded to this tent from a Marmot Limestone due to an upgraded family size. It has exceeded all expectations! We easily fit a family of 5 (one in a travel crib). Highly recommend the garage attachment, it's a game changer in bad weather. The tent withstood a sudden and serious storm even after we evacuated and thought it would be lost. Well done, REI.
Alternative Products to Consider
100 sqft with 72” ceiling
Easy once you get used to it
Single-wall design fully waterproof
Durable polyester construction
Thin polyester construction
Aluminum poles, durable polyester materials
Interior pockets, no vestibule
Interior vestibule + optional garage
Again, this is about your camping experience, not mine, so perhaps there is a feature or two that you may not like about the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. In that case, check out these alternatives.
Coming in slightly cheaper than the REI Co-op Kingdom 6, but with many of the same top-of-the-line features, is The North Face Wawona 6. This ultra spacious, ultra durable shelter will provide your family with ample protection from the elements.
Unlike its competitors, the North Face Wawona 6 is a single-walled 6-person tent as opposed to the more usual double-walled type. The single wall construction makes for stronger weather protection and easier setup (once you get the hang of it).
You would think that the heavy polyester walls would trap in moisture and make the tent impossible to live in, but no. This tent has been expertly designed to prevent condensation with several large vents. Unfortunately this design makes stargazing impossible.
Still, if you truly want to keep your family, and your gear, safe in the outdoors, all at a reasonable price, than you may want to consider looking into The North Face Wawona 6.
Big Agnes is a pioneer in the camping industry, and their Flying Diamond 6 is leading the charge in 6-person tents. The heavy polyester material and DAC Featherlite (but still oak strong) materials will provide your entire party with years and years of outdoor fun.
Marketed as a 3+ season tent, the Flying Diamond 6 can hold up to the harshest of weather conditions. With it’s bomber design, it can even withstand a snowy winter.
The reinforced tent architecture can cause some difficulties when you are trying to pitch it at the campsite, so make sure to practice.
The Flying Diamond 6 provides plenty of space to sleep with about 92 sq. ft. of floor area (about 10 sq. ft. more than the REI Co-op Kingdom 6) and is separated into two rooms, but it’s not the best “hang out” tent. The low-hanging ceilings and oddly tapered design limit the overall usable - and movable - interior space.
At nearly $700, the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 is one of the most expensive 6P tents on the market. A high price, but it comes with durable materials and ultimate protection from the elements. You shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing another family-style anytime soon. Check out this tent, and more of Big Agnes’ quality outdoor products here.
If you want to take the family to the campsite, but don’t know if it’s going to be a long-lasting tradition, then the Coleman Sundome 6 is your tent. This affordable shelter offers an ample amount of living space and simple X-shaped setup.
At under $100, it’s one of the most affordable tents on the market. Unfortunately, the low price point comes a reduction in overall quality.
The Sundome’s thin polyester materials are not up to snuff with the other tents on the market. The support poles are made from fiberglass and they are prone to breaking. So - not the best tent against harsh weather conditions.
Despite the negative aspects of the Coleman Sundome 6, it is still one of the most popular products on the market. Not least because the Coleman brand is generally a trusted quality brand.
If you simply want a weekend getaway - and aren’t expecting super harsh conditions - then the Sundome 6 may be your best tent option.
All in all, the Kingdom 6 is an excellent shelter to house the entire family, or close group of friends: it has a spacious interior, great protection from the elements, and REI’s high-quality materials. While it may take a toll on your bank account, you’ll be able to create priceless memories in the outdoors. You’ll definitely feel like royalty as you rule nature’s kingdom (or just the local campgrounds) in the REI Co-op Kingdom 6. Camp on!