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REI Base Camp 4

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: REI Base Camp 4 three-season tent

A very strong family/base camp tent with an excellent backpack style carrying bag. Due to privacy walls, the mesh screens are higher up and there is reduced airflow in hot weather.

Best in inclement weather or where you might experience wind/rain. The fly is color coded but the footprint does not come with tent. Need two people to install. Best for 2-3 adults or comfortably two with cots.


  • Strong and able to withstand 30+mph wind gusts
  • High ceiling and roomy
  • Vestibule on one side


  • Heavy and pole installation not as intuitive as the REI Kingdom series
  • Low airflow at night in hot weather
  • Guy wires are black colored and not visible at night

As a long serving (suffering?) Scout leader, I've got tents galore. I own an REI Kingdom 8, Base Camp 4, Half Dome 4, Half Dome 2 Plus, several different different Kelty and Eureka 3-4 person tents and a North Face Mica 2 (lightweight). My wife thinks I should own a secondhand camping store :) (Or maybe sell all of my bags)

If I'm base camping for 3+ nights by myself with Scouts in tow, I'll bring the Half Dome 4 for my comfort and my boys will be with their patrol. If I'm camping with my wife and children, I'll bring the Base Camp 4 and put the kids in the Half Dome 4 or in their Eureka patrol tents. If we are camping 5+ nights, I go with the Kingdom 8 or Base Camp 4 plus the Half Dome 4. The reason is simple, Base Camp 4 (like the Kingdom 8), is basically the camping version of a condo (and the Kingdom 8 is definitely the Taj Mahal). I've used the Base Camp 4 for several years now, including the San Gabriel mountains, Grand Canyon, western Sierras, Zion NP, Sequoia NP, and countless Cubscout and Boy Scout camps/Camporees.

It's heavy with a backpack, so car-camping only. The included steel stakes are sufficient for everything except sand and snow. There is one vestibule and you can get an extra garage. I love the privacy of the tent with high walls and an upper mesh. I can nap with the fly off and not have other campers staring at me. One caveat, in hot weather (ala Zion NP this summer), the high walls meant reduced airflow. Wife and I slept with the fly off and while the stars were visible, it made for long nights without enjoying the canyon breeze.

In rain, drizzle, or heavy downpours, the fly without guidewires will keep the rain out. With guidewires in use, the interior condensation won't drip on you. The bathtub base has kept me dry even in very heavy rain.

I've substituted the guy wires for homemade ones with reflective strands. The guy wires are black and in the middle of the night I've tripped (or my kids have tripped). Boy Scouts bothering me in the middle of the night have tripped on them until I swapped for the reflective rope. The backpack style bag makes packing and unpacking a breeze. Love the extra pockets for everything.

There is room for four sleeping bags or two cots. You can squeeze two sleeping bags and one cot but the people on the floor really won't like you. There are plenty of mesh pockets and I especially love the ceiling mesh pocket with a zipper. I can unzip and open the ventilation flaps without going outside.

The ceiling is high so people can nearly stand without discomfort. The vestibule is lower so you wind up ducking down to enter and exit.

One minor complaint: It is a pain to clean given the large footprint and fly.

My opinion: Great three-season tent. Don't use it in the winter or when the weather drops below 30 degrees. It's too roomy for four people and the tent remains very cold all night long. But I'm from California and 30 degrees = Arctic conditions :)

Happy Camping! 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300 after 20% off REI member coupon

Set up initially at home in the yard -- setup is average, pole tips design very nice, as it does not snag on mesh sleeves. Couple days later we took it on an overnight "try-out." The tent is roomy enough. The door design makes getting in and out of the tent a bit of bother, as you have to stoop quite a bit. The storage areas on the tent wall should be used with caution. They are sewn on very tight and are very deep. Reaching to retrieve an item really put a lot of strain on the tent wall.

Rained pretty steady throughout the night. It rained in at several locations -- all of which have to do with an elastic fastener for both vestibules (a total of 8 locations). All of the fasteners acted as "wicks" and produced constant drippage into the vestibules. Needless to say, the vestibules were useless in terms of storing gear. Furthermore, you had to close both mesh windows in the doors, as the drippage would hit those and spray the sleeping gear.

And now for the kicker! We heard that REI had exceptional customer service. This was their response to our complaint: Uhhhh....hmmmm...why don't you put a tarp over it? Needless to say, REI will NEVER get our business again.

Design: four season freestanding with full rain fly
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: Average set-up time
Weight: 15 lbs
Price Paid: $289

I bought this tent before a trip up to Black Rock Mountain State Park (GA). I was looking for a car-camping tent that would hold two people + gear comfortably and would stand up well to inclement weather. The Base Camp 4 performed admirably.

It was easy enough to set up, and can be done by one person. There was ample room for a queen size air mattress, two packs, and plenty of other random gear. The large front vestibule was a godsend. It stormed all weekend, and not so much as a drop made it into the tent. All the gear in the vestibule stayed dry and protected as well. After three days of rain, only the Base Camp remained 100% dry inside. The other tents (a North Face and a Eureka) both had minor leaks, although not bad. Overall I am very pleased with this purchase.

Design: 4-person freestanding rectangular footprint
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: Simple for 2, Doable for one
Weight: 17 lbs
Price Paid: $239

I am not sure what the first reviewer is talking about. This is a great tent with nothing to complain about. I have also had to deal with REI customer service before about another product and I was shocked at how great their customer service was. Because of this, we always shop at REI.

We have owned this tent for a couple of years.  We have used it in the spring, summer, and fall.  It holds up perfectly even in the rain or snow.

It is very easy to setup and it is a very roomy tent.  It is very durable. We have used it dozens and dozens of times and it still looks new.

This is the best base camp tent we have ever owned!  I would highly recommend it. 

Price Paid: $300

Just completed a 20 day, 6,000 mi. camping tour and encountered all weather conditions other than snow from 60 mph winds in the Badlands to thunderstorms and heavy rain in the Rockies. The REI Base Camp 4 performed flawlessly.

Barely vibrated in the wind (using guylines), no leaks in the rain, plenty of ventilation in the hot, humid Great Plaines. Tall enough at 5 ft. to set up a camp chair inside and read during the rainstorms. Very easy set-up. Everything fits easily in the bag provided. I really like this tent.

I would suggest, though, that the tent will really only accomodate two adults unless you are all very close friends. It will only accomodate two twin-size air mattresses.

Design: three-season, freestanding dome
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Price Paid: $300

I am suprised at the prior review. I've been camping in the Colorado Rockies for over 15 years and this is the best "family" tent I have owned. Very good construction and well designed. I could not be more pleased.

Design: three-season freestanding geo-dome
Sleeps: 4
Ease of Setup: Average
Price Paid: $199

Great tent for family of three. Traded in a Taj 3, which was too small. Easy set up. Kept us dry for ten days in Alaska. Lots of room for gear, good ventilation. Couldn't have been happier.

Sleeps: 3
Price Paid: $310 + 30

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Price MSRP: $349.00
Historic Range: $183.93-$389.00
Reviewers Paid: $199.00-$340.00
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