REI Co-op designed the affordable, yet high-quality Grand Hut 4 and Grand Hut 6 to make camping comfortable while keeping nasty weather out. The Grand Hut has lots of headroom and will allow you to fully stand up inside, but it also comes in a compact, easy-to-pitch package. We like the Grand Hut so much and think it offers such great value, we put it on our list of the 10 Best Camping Tents on the market.
What We Like
AFFORDABLE - The Grand Hut is an exceptional value considering how long it will last due to the quality of its materials and its weather protection. You can surely get a lower-quality tent for less money, but if you plan to use your tent a lot throughout the coming years, getting a tent with solid poles and good fabrics like the Grand Hut is a smart choice. Closely competing tents are often $50-$100 more expensive than the Grand Hut and we consider it to be a fantastic value after comparing it with a whole bunch of other tents ranging from top-of-the-line to budget.
QUALITY MATERIALS - Extra stout aluminum poles and high quality fabrics made the Grand Hut stand out among the camping tents we’ve tested. The mesh, ripstop sidewalls, bathtub floor, and rainfly materials all feel durable and ready to face serious rain, (which can’t be said about all tents). The hardware, including the zippers and rainfly attachment buckles, also feel tight and secure while being exceptionally user-friendly. Overall, the Grand Hut is relatively simple, but performs well in most 3-season conditions without being overly heavy/bulky or unnecessarily complicated.
QUICK AND EASY SET UP - The Grand Hut’s freestanding design features a single hubbed pole assembly with color-coding on the poles and clips for a simple intuitive set up. A couple of us were able to pitch the tent in just a few minutes even though we had to tie on all the guylines before staking the tent out the first time. Breaking down the Grand Hut was also very quick and easy, maybe even easier than the “instant tent” we tested. If you despise tents that are time-consuming and frustrating to pitch, the Grand Hut will be a breath of fresh air.
SPACIOUS - With plenty of headroom for standing up and stretching, the Grand Hut 4 is far more comfortable than a cramped basic dome tent. The ceiling is 6’3” high, so changing your clothes is much easier, and near-vertical walls make the space usable all the way to the edges. We found the Grand Hut 4 to be a good size for 2 or 3 adults or a small family with kids, but a 6-person version is also available for those who need more space. We’re also impressed by the 100 inch width, which is gives tall people (over 6’2”) plenty of room to lay down (parallel with the doors) with more than a few inches at the head and foot to spare.
2 DOORS - The Grand Hut features 2 huge, D-shaped doors with low door sills that make getting in and out nice and easy. Especially for groups, we’ve found that having 2 doors makes a tent much more livable since people can conveniently (and harmoniously) access doors and vestibules without stumbling over each other or waiting for tent mates to clear a single doorway. The zippers on the doors also function very smoothly and there are strategically-placed pockets on each side to stuff the unzipped doors into to them out of the way.
2 LARGE VESTIBULES - The Grand Hut offers 2 generously-sized vestibules for storing backpacks, gear, and shoes outside the sleeping area. The vestibules are easy to access from the large doors on either side of the tent and make it easy to protect your gear from weather and keep it out of sight in busy campgrounds.
FULL RAINFLY - Unlike most cabin-style tents that have rainflies that only cover the top of the tent and leave the sides exposed, the Grand Hut features a full-length, waterproof rainfly to keep you dry. The rainfly is made of 75-denier coated polyester, which is lightweight, compact, and portable, but heavy-duty and durable enough to make you feel fully-protected even in a downpour.
GOOD VENTILATION - The Grand Hut features low and high vents in the rainfly designed to circulate air and control condensation with a chimney effect. The top vents are held open with small “kickstands” and can be adjusted from the interior of the tent through zippered openings if the weather changes. When the weather is fair, you can also open and roll back the 2 huge doors for even more ventilation and excellent views.
ORGANIZATION POCKETS - With two door stash pockets, four triangular pockets in the corners, and four triangular pockets on the ceiling, the Grand Hut 4 offers a lot of convenient storage for small items like phones, wallets, keys, headlamps, sunglasses, etc. There are also gear loops around the top for attaching lights, though a headlamp placed face-down in one of the ceiling pockets can also be used to illuminate the tent.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
CAPACITY OVERSTATED - Though the Grand Hut 4 is rated for 4 people, we think that estimate is a bit unrealistic unless 1 or more of those people are kids. We can’t knock the Grand Hut too much for this though, because almost every camping tent on the market does the same thing. The Grand Hut 4 would make a luxurious shelter for 2 adults on a queen air mattress, wide camping pads, or single cots. It would also be comfortable for up to 3 adults side-by-side on wide sleeping pads. Four adults could fit with regular width sleeping pads, but it would be a tight squeeze. And remember, there’s also a 6-person version of the Grand Hut if you need more space.
WON’T FAIR WELL IN HEAVY WIND - The Grand Hut won’t perform very well in high winds due to its height. Like most other camping tents of a similar size and shape, the Grand Hut flexes under heavy winds and will be susceptible to damage in big storms. We recommend firmly staking down the Grand Hut and all its guy-out points to minimize risk in heavy weather. Since the Grand Hut’s poles are aluminum, they will hold up far better than cheap fiberglass poles, but there’s still potential for them to bend and break in extreme conditions. If you frequently camp in places that are intensely windy, a tent with a lower-profile design will perform better. But, if you usually setup in sheltered locations like most campers, the Grand Hut should be plenty sturdy.
GUYLINES NOT PRE-ATTACHED - A staked out tent has more interior space, looks much sleeker, and is far sturdier. It’s not a dealbreaker, but the guylines don’t come pre-attached to the Grand Hut, so it takes a little extra time to tie all the knots and stake it out the first time you set it up. The best way to attach them to the rainfly is with a bowline knot. Some tents pre-attach guy lines, and we wish REI did that with the Grand Hut.
NEEDS MORE STAKES - It’s sadly common for tent manufacturers to not include enough stakes for a full pitch, and the Grand Hut is no exception. At least 2 extra stakes are absolutely needed to pull out the sides of the rainfly for proper ventilation, but really the Grand Hut could use up to 8 additional tent stakes for all the storm guy-out points. We recommend picking up a set of aluminum tent stakes, which are lightweight, strong, and inexpensive. You may also want some extra guylines, so you can fully secure the Grand Hut in nasty weather.
More Grand Hut Photos
The Grand Hut 4 has a superb balance of quality to affordability as well as an excellent amount of interior space for how light and compact it is. The Grand Hut has a lot of features that make it feel more livable than other tents, but it’s also one of the quickest, easiest, and most intuitive tents to pitch and pack up due to it’s hubbed single-pole assembly and color-coded materials. On the whole, the Grand Hut stands out to us as having the excellent traits of weather protection, affordability, durability, spaciousness, and practicality, which is why it’s our top all-around value choice on our Best Camping Tents list.
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