REI Co-op Base Camp 4 Tent Review – Spacious and sturdy car camping comfort

When it comes to outdoor adventure gear, few names are as trusted as REI Co-op, and their Base Camp 4 Tent is a shining example of why. Designed for rugged durability and versatile performance in three-season weather conditions, this tent is perfect for family camping trips, overlanding expeditions or a weekend festival. With its spacious interior, weather-resistant materials, and thoughtful features, the REI Co-op Base Camp 4 is a reliable and comfortable shelter. However, it isn’t without its flaws—the tent’s heavy weight, less-than-perfect stakes and the use of pole sleeves instead of superior pole clips hold it back from being truly great. Read on to discover more about this budget-friendly base camp tent and why it remains a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.

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Pros Cons
  • Spacious interior, high peak height
  • Large doors and vestibules
  • Multiple interior storage pockets
  • Heavier and bulkier than backpacking tents
  • Limited floor space per person
  • Use of tent pole sleeves

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The first thing I noticed when the Base Camp 4 arrived was its weight. There are a few types of tents and the tent I most recently tested, the Half Dome SL3+ falls into the category of backpacking tent. The Base Camp 4 is more of a car-camping tent. What is the difference you may ask? Size and weight. The Base Camp 4 is heavy compared to the Half Dome; more than three times as heavy. I’m definitely not going to be carrying this on my back, no matter how short the hike is to my backcountry campsite. That said, that’s not the point of this tent. The Base Camp, REI’s most weather-resistant tent, is heavy due to its durability, the incredible amount of features it boasts and its size, both footprint-wise and height.

Setting up the Base Camp 4 is straightforward, thanks to its five-pole dome design. The poles are color-coded, which simplifies the process, and the reinforced structure ensures the tent stands up well to high winds. That said, this is a tent that is best set up by more than one person. It may be straightforward to put up, but it does take some time, especially compared to the Half Dome SL 3+, which makes sense considering the size and complexity compared to the latter. As a solo camper, setup took much longer than it did when I was with others, and I found the stakes and poles in particular to be a bit more aggravating to use than those in the Half Dome. Also, the Base Camp 4 utilizes tent pole sleeves in addition to tent pole clips. The latter are both lightweight and easy to use, while tent pole sleeves are just light and incredibly frustrating to use. 

Key Specs

  • Packaged Weight: 17 lbs. 5.6 oz.
  • Capacity: 4 people
  • Dimensions: 100 x 86 inches (floor); 63 inches (peak height)
  • Materials: Polyester rainfly and floor
  • Features: 5-pole dome design, large doors and vestibules, multiple interior storage pockets 

Once set up, the interior of the Base Camp 4 is roomy and comfortable, with dimensions of 100 x 86 inches. The peak height of 63 inches allows for easier movement inside the tent, and most adults can stand up hunched over without feeling cramped. While it’s marketed as a four-person tent, it’s important to note that compared to the three-person Half Dome, you’re only getting about 22.5% more floor space, so each person will have slightly less room, making this tent perfect for a group of two or three who want a lot of space.

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Among the standout features of the Base Camp 4 are its large doors and vestibules. These provide easy access and ample storage for gear, helping to keep the interior clutter-free. The multiple interior storage pockets are a nice touch, allowing you to keep small items organized and within reach.

The Base Camp 4’s sturdy construction and five-pole dome design with a reinforced structure make it a reliable option in various weather conditions. The polyester rainfly and floor offer excellent protection against rain and moisture, and the tent performed well in high winds, providing a secure and stable shelter.

Good ventilation is crucial for a comfortable camping experience, and the Base Camp 4 delivers in this regard, even with the rainfly up. The tent features large mesh panels and multiple vents that allow for excellent airflow, reducing condensation and keeping the interior fresh. The vestibules can also be opened allowing for maximum airflow.

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I particularly enjoyed this tent’s interior storage options, of which there are plenty. These pockets provided convenient and easily accessible storage for small items like flashlights, phones, keys and camera gear. This organization not only helped keep the tent clutter-free but also made my camping experience more enjoyable and efficient, as I didn’t have to rummage through our bags to locate essential items.

While the REI Co-op Base Camp 4 offers exceptional comfort and durability, it does come with a few drawbacks, the biggest being its weight and bulkiness. At 17 pounds 5.6 ounces, this tent is significantly heavier than typical backpacking tents, making it less suitable for those looking to travel light or cover long distances on foot. Additionally, despite being marketed as a four-person tent, it provides less floor space per person compared to other three and four-person models, meaning that while the tent is spacious overall, the individual space allocation is relatively limited. This might make the tent feel a bit cramped, especially if all campers have a lot of gear. 

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The Base Camp 4 is priced higher than smaller, simpler tents due to its larger size and numerous added features, such as multiple storage pockets and a reinforced structure. This higher cost might be a consideration for budget-conscious campers, though the investment can be justified by the tent’s enhanced comfort and durability.

For those who prioritize comfort and space over weight, the REI Co-op Base Camp 4 is an excellent choice for car camping. Its sturdy construction, roomy interior, and thoughtful features make it a reliable and comfortable option for family camping trips or outings with friends. While it’s heavier and bulkier than traditional backpacking tents, the added space and durability make it well worth the investment for car campers seeking a high-quality tent.

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