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Why The REI Base Camp 4 Is The Ultimate Camping Tent

Our REI Base Camp 4 tent is the closest thing to having a portable cabin when it comes to comfort and durability. When you need to stay stay warm and dry, this tent for you. I have made many poor choices when it comes to camping tents.  The lessons from the poor choices have taught me what to look for when purchasing tents. Using a bad tent will make your entire trip nearly unbearable since you spend at least 30% of your entire camping trip inside the tent.  Having a great tent will ensure that you and your campers have the most  enjoyable experience.

Have You Ever Experienced The Following Camping Scenarios Because You Bought A Cheap Garage Sale Tent?

  • Water leaked through the walls of of your tent and and your sleeping bag absorbed the water like a diaper.
  • Your Kids were searching for YouTube videos on how to set up a tent.  What an embarrassment!
  • Your discount tent collapsed in the middle of the night while you were in a deep sleep.  Your beautiful wife had to wake you up and tell you to fix it.

The first family camping trip with my wife and 2 kids was not a major success. I bragged to my wife that I was an expert camper. I was a Boy Scout. I lived on my bicycle for 6 months and camped out every night as I traveled across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. I quickly learned that camping with adults and experienced campers was much easier than teaching my own family how to camp on the fly. Like any good husband trying to economize, I bought an inexpensive 8 man tent at Target that ripped while putting it up. My wife was not happy.  Less than half the tent was usable. That was the last crappy tent that I have owned.

I don't mind buying a high end tent on sale at REI or Any Mountain Sports.  A few years back, I bought an REI Hobitat at their garage sale for $100 and used it for a weekend trip and sold it on Craigslist for $10 less than I paid for it.  This tent sells for approximately $300. We used the tent while camping out at Disney Land.  It's a great tent with enormous amount of room.  If you camp in areas where it will not rain, then I would highly recommend it. It's almost like a carnival tent.  It's just not a tent that  is going withstand the high winds of thunder storm in Yellowstone or the Tetons.  I  prefer the sturdiness of the Base Camp 4 tent.

The Eureka Timberline was my first choice when I was on a cross country bicycle trip with my buddies.  It was a 2 person tent and we often squeezed 3 people in it. The tent was completely free standing and only needed to be anchored with tent stakes when we were not sleeping in it.


After the disastrous tent that I bought at Target ripped on the first camping trip, I was able to find a Eureka 4 person tent at Target similar in design and construction to the my first Eureka Timberline.  I paid less than $100 for the tent and it's still being used today by some friends of our family.


The Base Camp 4 Has Plenty Room To Wiggle

REI says up to four adults can fit comfortably in the 60 square feet of living space. It's 5 feet tall at the highest point. Even with me being over 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, our family of four sleep in luxerious comfort. We like to fill up the extra space with duffel bags so our air mattresses don't move around. I have no problem stretching out inside the tent even though I am tall. My biggest gripe is that I am too tall to stand up in the tent because it's only 5 feet tall.  Since I do not sleep standing, this have never been an issue.

The REI Base Camp 4 Tent Can Be Set Up By One Person

Do you detest setting up tents with that require a degree in mechanical engineering? My  rule of thumb for setting up a tent is 12 minutes or less. If it takes longer, then it's a no-go situation. Why spend all your  valuable time trying to set up your tent?  I am so lazy when it comes to setting up a tent, that I have considered buying one of those tents that have the poles pre-attached to the tent. If they were not so heavy, I  would own one!

REI color coded the poles and attached them together with elastic shock cords for easy set up. The storage bag of the tent has the instructions sewn so you don't have to worry about the instructions that you either lost or left at home.

Tents like the Base Camp 4 are referred to as "free standing". A free standing tent can be set up without stakes which is very useful when the ground is either very hard or rocky. Even if you have a free standing tent, it's always best to anchor with your gear or to something heavy. I left many tents without stakes only to return and find them blown a few hundred feet away. The benefit of free standing tents is the ability to set up the tent and not use stakes to anchor it into the ground.

If You Like To Star Gaze At Night, Then You Will Like The REI Base Camp 4

Having the ability to watch the stars at night was a big selling point for me when I purchased the Base Camp 4.There have been many nights that we did not attach the rain fly so we could enjoy the moonlight and stars. See through mesh screen keeps the bugs out and let's the light shine through.

Tent Storage Pockets Help You Keep Your Camping Items Organized

I like keeping my car keys and wallet secured in the storage pockets while I sleep. If you like having a place to store your loose items, then you will appreciate this tent. The vestibule is large enough to hide our cooler and water dispenser during the daylight hours.  We keep extra LED flashlights, pocket knifes, gloves, hats, etc. in the storage pockets.

REI Base Camp 4 Cons

We don't live in a perfect world.  My likes are different that my neighbor.  I have gone on and on about the virtues of this tent.  But REI needs to address some valid concerns.  This tent is heavy weighing over 16 pounds when fully packed. Ditch the heavy military grade metal stakes for light weight stakes.   It's like the Hummer of family camping tents.  While it's not bullet proof, it's pretty close!

The tent is bulky and requires a good amount of storage space. If you are car camping, then you need to pack everything tight and not take things such as all your kids toys, trikes, bikes, etc.  Never sell yourself short on your sleeping arrangements.  Comfort is king!

The door zippers are much too tight to operate. If it was not for the 100% satisfaction guarantee on this tent, I would have been reluctant to keep it because I often fear that the zipper is going break This tent has survived over 5 camping seasons and is holding out strong.

The benefits of this tent are so numerous that I tell my friends that this is a great car camping tent. This tent is built for the woods. REI sells tents that will satisfy you for life-guaranteed.  BTW, this is not an advertisement for REI.  I buy my equipment for a lifetime and they happen to meet my requirement.


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