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The REI Kingdom tents have been discontinued, and the updated REI Wonderland tents were introduced.
Curious, I decided to buy and test the REI Wonderland 6 for my YouTube channel (and this blog too!), and I was wondering what the differences were between these 2 tents. So, I did some investigating and go through all my findings in this article. But first, here’s a quick summary of the most important differences:
While the REI Wonderland Tent has double the number of windows, more mesh around the tent, and a 3-inch higher peak height, it lost the front vestibule, full length rainfly and backpack carry bag of the REI Kingdom Tent, and the number of pockets also dropped by more than half.
|Characteristics||Wonderland 6||Kingdom 6|
|Rainfly Length||Partial Rainfly||Full Rainfly|
|No. of Windows||4||2|
|No. of Pockets||8||22|
|Peak Height||78 inches||75 inches|
|Ease of Carry||Shoulder sling||Backpack style|
|No. of Poles||5||3|
|Packaged Weight||22 lbs. 15 oz.||21 lbs. 6 oz.|
Check out these tents on REI Co-op:
There are quite a few subtle differences between the REI Wonderland and the REI Kingdom, and we’ll go through that first.
After that, I’ll give you a quick summary on the similarities as well, before diving into my final thoughts and opinions on both tents.
But before we dive into it, you might want to open up both the sales pages for the REI Wonderland and REI Kingdom; it might help you follow along easier (both these links go straight to REI Co-op):
One of the biggest differences that I noticed between the Wonderland and the Kingdom is the vestibule. Or more specifically, for the Wonderland, the lack of a vestibule.
For the Kingdom, there are 2 doors to the tent. 1 door has a vestibule, while the other has a weather-protective awning.
On the other hand, for the Wonderland, while there are also 2 doors to the tent, both doors have only the weather-protective awning. And this is what the awning of each door looks like:
There is no vestibule for the Wonderland. However, you can go to REI with this link here, and buy a separate mud room, which will be your vestibule. That, however, costs extra, which is usually not a good thing.
Another difference that I noticed is in the length of the rainfly.
For the Kingdom, at least for 3 sides of the tent (the vestibule side, as well as the 2 lengths of the tent), the rainfly is full length and extends almost all the way down to the ground, except for a small gap at the bottom for some ventilation.
Here’s what my friend’s Kingdom 6 looks like:
Notice how the rainfly extends almost all the way down to the ground? Also, you can see the vestibule at the front of the tent.
As for the Wonderland, on the other hand, it has only a partial rainfly, which doesn’t extend all the way down to the ground.
In fact, here’s the exact area that isn’t covered by the rainfly:
Notice that the rainfly of the Wonderland has this upside down V-shape. Why? I’ll explain that down below in the ‘Windows’ section.
How does the partial rainfly of the Wonderland affect its rain protection?
Well, I put my Wonderland through an overnight heavy rain test of about 1 hour or so, and it tapered off to a light rain.
The next morning, I found that the divider loops at the bottom of the tent have started leaking water into the tent. This happened on both lengths of the tent.
The main reason for this leakage is because these 2 loops are right at the bottom of the tent, where the partial rainfly doesn’t cover the tent.
If the Wonderland had the same rainfly length as the Kingdom, which would have covered most of the bottom of the tent, I honestly think that this leakage wouldn’t have happened.
Why did REI choose to have a partial and not full rainfly for the Wonderland though? Well here’s the answer – windows.
I found that the Wonderland has 4 windows in total inside the tent.
2 of the windows are on the 2 doors, so 1 on each door. The other 2 windows are the triangle windows at the bottom (1 on each length of the tent). You can see 1 of each window in this picture below:
This is what REI markets as ‘360 views’. Basically, I was able to get views out of the Wonderland, no matter which wall I was facing.
And to get these ‘360 views’, the rainfly of the Wonderland cannot cover up the triangle window at the bottom. This is probably why REI gave the Wonderland a partial rainfly instead of a full rainfly.
On the other hand, for the Kingdom 6, instead of 4 windows, there are only 2 windows inside the tent, 1 window on each door.
When it comes to storage options, the Kingdom has a lot more than the Wonderland.
The REI Kingdom 6 has 22 pockets in total inside the tent. There are some pockets at the top of the tent, and the bottom pockets run all around the tent, except for where you have the doors.
This is the exact same pocket configuration as the current REI Base Camp 6.
The Wonderland, on the other hand, has only 8 pockets, which is less than half of the Kingdom.
Because of the rainfly length, REI couldn’t put the pockets around the bottom of the tent (like the Kingdom), otherwise the pocket seams would leak in the rain. So, they put the pockets beside the doors, like so:
If you look carefully, you can actually see the outline of the rainfly, and notice that the pockets are fully protected by the rainfly (i.e. no leaking pocket seams!).
The Kingdom 6 has a marketed peak height of 75 inches.
On the other hand, the Wonderland has a marketed peak height of 78 inches, or 3 inches taller than the Kingdom.
In fact, when I measured the peak height of my own Wonderland 6, I found it to be a whopping 81 inches, or almost 7 feet.
To reach the top of the tent, I have to not only stretch my arm upwards as much as I can, but I also have to stand on tiptoes at the same time, like what I’m doing in the picture above. This was definitely great for livability inside the Wonderland.
One of the bigger differences was in the design of the carry bag. And you might be surprised, but the new Wonderland carry bag was a huge downgrade.
The REI Kingdom 6 came with a carry bag that you could carry like a backpack. This felt super innovative, and is the only backpack carry bag I’ve seen so far.
So, ease of carry is definitely great.
On top of that, the backpack carry bag has a super wide-mouth opening, and even has separate compartments for storing the poles, the stakes, and the fabric of the tent and rainfly.
The Wonderland, on the other hand, has a side-loading carry bag. This means that the opening of the carry bag is on the side, the opening is much smaller, it takes more time to squeeze everything back in, and it’s less user-friendly in general.
It also comes with a single sling, and this is what it looks like:
I wouldn’t say that this is a big deal, but ease of carry is not as good for sure.
Ease of Set Up
Number of Poles
To set up the REI Kingdom 6, there are 3 poles. One is a hubbed poleset that inserts into the four corners of the tent, to create the main structure of the tent. After that, there are 2 doorway poles to attach, which reinforces the main structure.
Here’s a video you can watch on how to set up the Kingdom:
On the other hand, the Wonderland comes with 5 poles instead of just 3 poles.
REI did away with the hubbed poleset. Instead, I first had to install the first pole across the length of the tent, right at the top, and then the other 4 poles came after that, for the walls of the tent.
Here’s my personal YouTube video on how to set up the Wonderland 6:
Set Up Timing
Most of the reviews I’ve seen online usually require 2 people to set up the Kingdom. And the set up timing comes in at about 10 minutes for a 2-person set up.
On the other hand, I was able to set up the Wonderland in just 19.5 minutes for a 1-person set up, and I found it incredibly intuitive.
So, I think the Wonderland is slightly faster (~5% faster) and more user-friendly when it comes to the set up. I don’t think I would have been able to set up the Kingdom’s hubbed poleset on my own without struggling.
Amount of Mesh
There’s also a slight difference when it comes to the amount of mesh on each tent.
The REI Wonderland 6 has an amazing amount of mesh once you take the rainfly off, and I would highly recommend doing so for hot sunny days.
I say it’s amazing because the mesh doesn’t just cover only the roof, it extends down the sides of the tent as well, and I think easily more than half the tent is covered in mesh.
As for the Kingdom, on the other hand, while there’s still plenty of mesh, the non-vestibule side of the tent actually has a fair amount of fabric, and not so much mesh.
As for amount of mesh on the tent for hot day ventilation, I think the Wonderland beats the Kingdom.
As for weight, the Wonderland is about 1lbs. and a bit heavier than the Kingdom. Here’s the packaged weight of both tents:
- Kingdom 6: 21 lbs. 6 oz.
- Wonderland 6: 22 lbs. 15 oz.
When I weighed my Wonderland 6, I found that it weighs about 23.6lbs., including all the provided stakes and guylines. So, just bear in mind that the packaged weight above may not be all that accurate.
Now that we’re done with the differences between the Kingdom and the Wonderland, what are the similarities between the 2 tents?
Here, I list some important similarities to take note of.
Both the Kingdom and the Wonderland are strictly 3-season summer camping tents. This is because both tents have a lot of mesh, which is great for ventilation in summer, but will not keep heat in for colder temperatures.
The floor dimensions of both tents are exactly the same, coming in at about 120 x 100 inches. This is the marketed floor dimensions by REI.
When I measured the length of my own Wonderland 6, I found it to be 120 inches, and I measured the width to be about 99 inches. This is pretty accurate, so a thumbs-up to REI for this.
The floor dimensions give both the Kingdom and the Wonderland a rectangular layout, which I much prefer (as compared to a square layout, which I don’t quite like).
This is because a rectangular layout will allow you to squeeze 2 queen beds into the tent, like so:
On the other hand, a square layout with the same base area will allow you to fit at most 1 queen bed into the tent, which was the case with my Base Camp 6:
As for the capacity or the total number of people you could squeeze into the tent, both the Kingdom and the Wonderland cap out at 6 people.
In fact, here’s what having 6 pads in the Wonderland looks like:
Just bear in mind that you won’t have much leftover space when you fit 6 pads into the tent, and you’ve got to sleep shoulder to shoulder with your tent mates too.
Both the Kingdom and Wonderland come with 1 room divider each, and this allows you to split the tent into 2 separate rooms for some privacy.
Here’s what the room divider of the Wonderland looks like:
I quite liked this room divider for a few reasons – the size of each room in the tent is big enough, there’s 1 door to each room, there’s a zip down the middle of the divider, it’s pretty opaque, and the gaps around the divider aren’t too big.
Both the Kingdom and Wonderland have the same vertical walls and amazing livable space. Although the pole set up has changed, the pole structure is still pretty much the same.
Basically, the side walls are pretty vertical, and the red arrow in the picture above is pointing to where it tapers off and becomes less vertical.
Overall, I think there have been some improvements in the Wonderland compared to the Kingdom, but of course there are also some things about the Kingdom that I wish REI had kept.
The benefits of the Wonderland over the Kingdom include the following:
- 4 windows instead of 2
- More mesh around the tent
- 3-inch more peak height
On the other hand, I wish REI had kept these Kingdom features:
- Front vestibule
- Full rainfly length
- More pockets instead of less
- Backpack carry bag
Ultimately, I do really like the REI Wonderland 6 because of the amazing ventilation, tons of mesh, 360 views and more livable space, and I would still certainly recommend it for hot summer days.
However, I hope they bring back some of the Kingdom’s features in newer editions of the Wonderland.
Bonus: Must Read!
But before you go purchasing the Wonderland, I highly recommend that you check out this post where I spent over $2,000 buying and 6 months testing the best 6-person tents on the market. And this, of course, includes the Wonderland 6.
If you’ve made up your mind though, go ahead and check out the Wonderland 6: