REI’s Kingdom Series was created for families and groups whose priority is space, comfort, weather protection, and livability while camping. The Kingdom 6 feels huge and sturdy in camp, but packs down small for your car and storage at home. REI Kingdom Tents are our top all-around luxury choice on our list of the 10 Best Camping Tents.
WHAT WE LIKE
SPACIOUS – The Kingdom 6 feels very spacious, open, and even cavernous due to it’s tunnel-style design with a peak height of 6’3”. Near vertical walls and a rectangular floor plan maximize the space, making it comfortable and usable all the way to the edges. The Kingdom 6 offers plenty of room for a family of 4 to spread out (possibly up to 5-6 if some are small kids), but there are options to scale up or down with the 4-person and 8-person Kingdom models as well.
QUALITY POLES AND MATERIALS – Aluminum tent poles and high-quality fabrics makes the Kingdom relatively lightweight and compact, despite being large and inviting when pitched. The floor, rainfly, and mesh on the Kingdom are a big step up in quality from those typically used in budget tents, which adds to the kingdom’s weather-protection and durability. The hardware, including the zippers, rainfly attachment buckles, and pole clips also feel tight, secure, and user-friendly. Collectively, the Kingdom feels durable, well-constructed, and thoughtfully designed. Users that want to add additional tent floor durability can pick up the Kingdom 6 footprint (sold separately).
EXCELLENT WEATHER PROTECTION – The Kingdom is a comfortable, dry place to hunker down in a thunderstorm. It’s fully seam-sealed with a heavy-duty bathtub floor that keeps rising groundwater out and a full-length waterproof rainfly that covers the top, sides and front of the tent entirely. The back of the tent is not covered by the rainfly, but it is built out of waterproof fabric with a protected zipper window. For more weather protection and additional storage space, the Mud Room accessory can be purchased separately to create a vestibule off the backside.
DESIGNED FOR A GROUP – Clearly, REI had families in mind when they designed the Kingdom 6. It has huge doors on either side for easy access, large storage pockets all around the perimeter, and a center divider wall that can be clipped in to create 2 rooms. The room divider is really functional too; it has a center zip and handy tie backs on the sides to get it out of the way when it’s not in use. We love that the Kingdom is so versatile and can be arranged to suit 2 couples, a family with kids, or even a couple who want to have a bedroom and a screened in sitting area with chairs and a table.
2 LARGE DOORS – The Kingdom has 2 huge doors with 4 zipper sliders that make it easy and convenient for multiple people to enter and exit the tent without getting in each other’s way. Another benefit of having such large doors is that it’s easy to move air mattresses and furniture in and out of the tent as well. When the rainfly is on, 1 door has a large vestibule and the other a tiny overhanging awning to protect the doorway from drips. The zippers on the doors function very smoothly and there are handy pockets on each side to stow the unzipped doors conveniently out of the way.
LARGE VESTIBULE – The Kingdom’s single large front vestibule acts as a “ garage” to keep shoes and gear protected from the elements and out of sight when you’re not in camp. The vestibule can be zipped open halfway or all the way, and can even be turned into a small awning to shade the front entry with a couple of tarp poles and guylines (sold separately). Alternatively, the Kingdom porch accessory (or another canopy) can be set up in front of the tent to create a shaded living area.
GOOD VENTILATION – The Kingdom is highly breathable with the rainfly off and offers unobstructed star views through tightly-woven mesh paneling. The Kingdom has good ventilation with the rainfly on as well, since it has 4 roof vents designed to circulate air and control condensation. The vents are held open with “kickstands” that can be adjusted from the interior of the tent through smart zipper openings. The vent zips come in handy when the weather gets nasty and you need to open or close the vents without getting out of the tent. When the weather is fair, the rainfly can also be rolled back halfway for stargazing, or rolled up on the sides to adjust privacy and ventilation.
BACKPACK CARRY BAG – The Kingdom’s backpack-style carry bag makes it easy to transport your tent to and from your campsite regardless of the terrain. You don’t have to roll the Kingdom up perfectly either since the bag is generously sized. The built-in pockets in the carry bag also help keep its poles, tent stakes, rainfly, and tent body organized and make misplacing them less likely.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
EXPENSIVE – The Kingdom comes with a pretty steep price tag and we wish it was more affordable. But it’s also far from the most expensive camping tent on the market and it’s made with quality materials and has a great design. For those who intend to get a lot of use out of their camping tent, we think the Kingdom is priced fairly. And compered to budget camping tent options, the Kingdom will provide much better weather protection and long-term durability. The Kingdom’s price point may put it out of reach for budget conscious campers though, and there are other great budget-friendly options (like the REI Grand Hut) for those who can’t invest as much, or only plan to camp once or twice per year. Check out our Best Camping Tents list for other solid options.
CAPACITY OVERSTATED – The Kingdom 6 is rated for 6 people, but we think that estimate is unrealistic unless 2 or more of those people are small children. We can’t knock the Kingdom too much for this though, because pretty much every camping tent on the market does the exact same thing. The Kingdom 6 would make a luxurious shelter for 4 adults on air mattresses, wide sleeping pads, or cots. It would also be comfortable for up to 5 people side-by-side on regular sleeping pads. 6 people could certainly fit in a pinch, but it would be a pretty tight squeeze. And remember, there are also 4-person and 8-person versions of the Kingdom if you need more or less space.
WON’T FAIR WELL IN HEAVY WIND – Due to its high peak height, the Kingdom is ill-suited for very windy conditions (like almost all tall tents). We recommend completely staking down the Kingdom and all its guy-out points to minimize the risk of damage in big storms (but you’ll need extra tent stakes and guylines to do that because the Kingdom only comes with enough for a basic pitch). Since the Kingdom’s poles are thick aluminum, they will hold up far better than cheap fiberglass poles, but there is still potential for them to bend and break in really nasty conditions. If you frequently camp in places that are exposed and windy, a hearty 4-season tent or low-profile tent will perform better. But for the typical fair weather and sheltered location camping that most do, the Kingdom will work great.
SLIGHTLY CUMBERSOME SETUP – There is a slight learning curve to setting up the Kingdom the first time since it has multiple hubbed poles, pole clips and sleeves, but it’s still pretty easy, especially with a couple people. After you figure it out once, it goes up fast and easy (about 10-15 minutes). REI recently made several updates to the Kingdom that make setting it up easier, including color coding on the tent, rainfly, footprint and poles.
GUYLINES NOT PRE-ATTACHED – A staked out tent has more interior space, looks much sleeker, is far sturdier in wind, and has zippers that function better. But to stake out the Kingdom you’ll have to attach all its guylines on your first use. This isn’t a huge deal, but we wish REI didn’t pass this task off to the customer. The best way to attach guylines is with a bowline knot, which is one of the most handy knots for camping in general.
SHORT A FEW STAKES & GUYLINES – It’s sadly common for tent manufacturers to skimp on tent stakes and guylines, and the Kingdom is no exception. The Kingdom 6 could use up to 8 additional tent stakes and guylines for all of its guy-out points. We recommend picking up some extra tent stakes and guylines for full weather protection in windy/nasty weather.
More Kingdom Photos
The Kingdom 6 is a generously-sized, weather-worthy camping tent with practical features that make group outings fun, comfortable, and safe. We love how roomy and convenient the Kingdom is, and its combination of excellent features landed it as a top pick on our 10 Best Camping Tents list. The biggest knock on the Kingdom is it’s steep price tag, but we still think it’s a fair value for frequent campers, considering it’s durability, quality materials, and excellent design. So if you’re in the market for a top-quality, long-lasting camping tent, we highly recommend checking out the REI Kingdom Tents.
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