REI Co-op Skyward 4 Tent Review

REI’s new camping tent isn’t the most weather-worthy option, but it sets up quickly and offers a very expansive and
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Table of Contents

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60 sq. ft.

78 in.

13 lbs. 11 oz.

4P, 6P

Expansive interior, sets up fast, and reasonably lightweight.

Lacks a full-coverage rainfly and only has one door.

(4.1/5)

Performance

Interior Space

As with the extinct Grand Hut, REI Co-op’s Skyward 4 Tent stands out with its high and wide interior. With its near-vertical walls and pre-bent poles and dome-shaped roofs, The tent is spacious and provides ample space for small groups and families (as you’re not averse to the one door). In addition, there is a commonality between the six-person and four-person models sharing the same height of 78 inches (not all camping tents 4P are the same height as their counterparts for the 6P) This allows for easy moving about and switching. The floor space is also spacious: Its dimensions are 100×87 inches (60 sq. feet.) I was able to fit a big two-person camping mattress (NEMO’s Roamer Double) in addition to an additional one-pad (Therm-a-Rest’s MondoKing). Also, for families that bring cribs or cots for their portable the Skyward’s upright form allows you to easily arrange things close to walls.

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In the larger market for camping tents and the price of $349, the Skyward 4 offers a lot of room for its money. It’s more spacious inside than rivals such as $375 for the North Face Wawona 4 (which is only 68 inches. at its highest, with 58.1 sq. feet. of floor space) as well as Marmot’s 389 Limestone at its highest (61 in. the peak in. and 59.2 sq. feet. of floor area). In actuality, we discovered it to be as livable with REI’s new 499$ Wonderland 4P (75 in. in. and 69.4 sq. ft.). However, the single door has a significant impact on living and could give an advantage over any of the three tents for certain camping enthusiasts (ourselves including).

Furthermore in spite of the Skyward 4’s large living spaces for four, families that are more than four (especially adults) might want to expand to a 6-person model. For clarity Skyward 4 is a great option for families. Skyward 4 can fit four regular sleeping pads side-by-side in a pinch, however, it’s a bit cramped and offers no space around, which is a major disadvantage when camping with children or dogs. So, we concluded that it to be the Skyward 4 is best suited for campers with two to three children as well as a dog that is well-behaved.

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Weather Protection

The inside space is clearly a feature of Skyward 4’s interior space, Skyward 4, we can’t help but feel like REI made a change in regards to weather protection. The main issue we have is due to the new rainfly that only covers the top of the tent’s mesh. It does provide adequate protection from the front of the vestibule that is attached however, it leaves three walls that are single-wall open. If you’re planning to go out in severe rain, which is a common occurrence for travelers throughout areas like the Pacific Northwest and many areas of the nation–you’ll be required to put an enormous amount of trust in the fabric’s quality and seam tape. These walls of the Skyward are waterproof and the window at the back is reinforced although there’s no doubt it’s less protected than a double-wall configuration. For those who want more protection, there are two options: the Marmot Limestone 4P and The North Face Wawona 4 are both superior to the Skyward.

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It’s not surprising given its high and upright design The Skyward isn’t designed to be well in the event of a storm, and we were forced to take out the lines to ensure it was secure with moderate winds. Positively there are four stakes and enough guylines (10 in total) to ensure a tight as well as a level pitch (many tents aren’t equipped with stakes that are sufficient to set up a simple arrangement). However, you’ll need to think about how you place the tent (if you’re willing to make that decision) when the wind is expected to be a problem during your travels. The tent buckled at the sides when it was hit by strong winds, and needed to be restructured to ease the pressure. The end result is that fair-weather campers might not see these issues to be significant issues, especially in the case where the spacious interior is attractive. If you’re looking for the flexibility to camp even in the event of a weather forecast that is uncertain or even worse, we believe it’s worthwhile upgrading to a stronger and more weather-proof design like Marmot’s Limestone or REI’s base camp 4. Camp 4..

 

Ventilation

With a Fair-weather orientated design in mind, the REI Co-op Skyward 4 is well-equipped to be used for camping in warm weather. The entirety of the tent’s body is covered in mesh and the minimal rainfly ensures that plenty of air circulates even when the fly is on. The upper part of the doorway is made of mesh and you can remove the curtain on the back to reveal more mesh. When everything is open–including closing the vestibule performs admirably at making you as comfortable as it can be in summer temperatures. However, in the event that temperatures drop as it did in Moab with temperatures as low as the 30s for two nights in the summer, the Skyward could feel a bit airy. However, if you’re outside in hot weather it’s worth considering the Skyward is among the top options available that can keep the air moving.

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Storage and Organization

To store things The REI Skyward 4 has a functional, but minimalist design. Starting at the front of the door, there is an enclosed vestibule with a zipper just in front of the huge D-shaped door. With 19.5 sq ft, the vestibule’s space is close to average, and we found it adequate to store bulky objects such as an average-sized cooler in the corner (and away from the path of the door within the door itself). However, it’s not enough for you to stay in for long periods of time. It’s suitable for taking off your shoes and getting in and outside the tent however, it’s not much more.

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If the weather was nice however the vestibule proved to be quite versatile with two zippers that let you open the door completely and open the door. This makes it much easier for moving in and out of the tent, and can also help keep fresh air moving in warm weather. If you decide to purchase or have a set of adjustable poles for tarps ( REI sells some for just $40) You can transform the vestibule into an umbrella to provide shade in from the front. A final point about the vestibule: At the door’s top is a U-shaped pole that spreads the rainfly across the door to stop water from pooling and spilling down as you exit or enter. This was a problem that we experienced with the first-generation Grand Hut, and it’s good to know that REI has addressed the issue this time.

Inside the door is four pockets that are located along the door. Two of the pockets are higher in the tent, and the two others are placed low enough to be accessible even while sleeping (if you’re close to your door). We were not thrilled with the design because it restricts the amount of space you have access to during the night. A second mesh hanging pocket on the end or at the side of the tent would increase the overall comfort. On the bright side, you can find plenty of hanging loops on the ceiling and the one right to the center is the perfect spot to attach an outdoor lantern.

 

 

Build Quality and Durability

REI tents usually provide plenty of value for the buck, however, this brand new Skyward 4 strikes us as being less valuable that we’re used to from the company. The positives are that the material seems to be at par with the usual quality standards (including the seam tape in the interior) as well as the 150 deniers (D) polyester flooring has proven to be hard to believe without a footprint. Additionally the poles made of aluminum appear quite sturdy and the zippers are able to operate with ease and the tent’s mesh body is of a high-quality appearance and feels.

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We’re not sure about the Skyward 4’s price of $349 cost ( $449 for the 6P model). Since the tent doesn’t have an all-weather rainfly and a rainfly that covers the entire area, it appears like a low-cost one (similar to the numerous Colemans that you’ll find scattered across the campsite) which is simply made of better material and fabric. There aren’t any notable improvements in weather protection, whether for rain or wind, and storage facilities aren’t much to boast about either. Although some campers may like the Skyward, the blue and tan scheme isn’t especially modern or exciting. Our opinion is that Skyward Skyward isn’t the most affordable in comparison to what you get. It could be much more appealing for $50 to $100 less.

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Weight and Packed Size

Camping tents can exceed the 20-pound mark, and it’s interesting to note that this Skyward 4 tips the scales at 13 pounds, 11 ounces, all in. It’s a bit cheaper than other REI products, including the larger Wonderland 4. (21 pounds. 11 oz.) and more durable Base Camp 4 (16 lbs. 14 oz.) in addition to stacking similarly to The North Face’s Wawona 4 (13 lbs.). The Marmot Limestone 4 is lighter at 10 pounds 13.5 ounces, however, it is less roomy with a height of 61 inches (although the floor area is almost the same at 59.2 sq. ft.).

While the weight is not too heavy, however, this Rei Skyward 4 still proves to be a hefty burden to transport and carry around. The main issue we have is that the bag requires a meticulous folding and rolling process to fit all the elements. We would prefer that our camping tent has large storage bags and the Skyward doesn’t. We had to make a few attempts to put the tent in its bag at the time that we had to leave camp, and was an ongoing annoyance every time we had to pack it for transportation. The bag’s size could be increased (it is roughly 9.8 inches x 27.5 inches.) could go a long way in streamlining the packing process.

 


Setup and take Down

Our group was able to meet at the end of the day in Moab and Moab, we faced the daunting task of installing Skyward 4 for the first time in darkness. However, it was relatively easy and REI has instructions inside the bag that clearly explain the steps to follow. While the bag has seven poles the basic arrangement is a basic form, and the sleeves built-in do a great job in guiding the poles in the right direction. The process of securing the rainfly is quite simple after you determine how the tabs attach to the edges. In all, it’s something anyone could master in approximately 10 minutes (not forgetting to secure the guylines). If you’re using the size of a tent for camping in a car it’s a breeze.

Other Capacity ReI Co-op Skyward 6.

The 4-person Skyward is on the line in this review as well as REI also offers the Skyward in the bigger capacity of six people at $449. As we mentioned in the previous paragraph Skyward 6 has the same 78-inch height as the 4P version, however, it has a significant increase in floor space (83 sq. feet.) through upgrading. Also, the Skyward 4 can fit four standard sleeping pads side-by-side However, the groups that are more than four (especially adults) or more may need to upgrade.

 

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Sustainability

REI often incorporates eco-friendly practices into their products including their Skyward 4 Tent is no different. In this instance, the tent is made of solution-dyed mesh that requires less energy and water in the process of manufacturing. We’d like to have included other measures, such as recycled or bluesign-approved material however, it’s an excellent and welcomed improvement over the old Grand Hut.

What We Like

  • The near vertical walls and pre-bent posts and a tall dome-shaped roof provide a comfortable and large interior.
  • Very light at just 13 pounds and 11 ounces. It’s it is easy to set up the size of a camping tent.
  • It’s a breeze due to the heavy mesh construction with a convertible vestibule, as well as the window at the back.
  • The cabin is built well, with sturdy flooring, strong aluminum poles, and silky zippers.

What We Don’t

  • A little sloppy in terms of protection. The rainfly protects the top of the tent’s mesh, and its upright, tall design isn’t able to withstand severe winds (you’ll have to rig it out correctly).
  • A single door is difficult for multiple campers to get in and leave, which greatly reduces overall ease of use.
  • It’s not a great value at $349, especially when you consider the mediocre storage and protection.
  • Stuff sacks are small, and it requires careful folding and rolling to fit the entire tent’s contents.
  • Colors that are dull make the Skyward style and look.
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Comparison Table

TENT PRICE FLOOR Height CAPACITIES WEIGHT SIZE OF PACKED DOORS
REI Co-op Skyward 4 $349 60 sq. ft. 78 in. 4P, 6P 13 lbs. 11 oz. 9.8 8.8 x 27.5 in. 1
Marmot Limestone 4P $389 59.2 sq. ft. 61 in. 4P, 6P, 8P 10 lbs. 14 oz. 9.4 26 inches. 2
The North Face Wawona 4 $375 58.1 sq. ft. 68 in. 4P, 6P 13 lbs. 10 x 27 inches. 2
REI Co-op Wonderland 4 $499 69.4 sq. ft. 75 in. 4P, 6P 21 lbs. 11 oz. 12 x 32 inches. 2
Kelty 4 $190 59 sq. ft. 59 in. 2P, 4P, 6P 11 lbs. 14 oz. 8 x 24 inches. 2

The Competition

REI’s latest Skyward 4 offers impressive livability due to its high and wide interior, but there are many top-quality camping tents that will be available by 2022. The most popular one is the Limestone 4P from Marmot priced at $40 more than REI and is shorter at height, but it stands over the competition in almost every other class. Similar to the REI and the REI, the Marmot provides a spacious space (59.2 sq. feet.) however, it also has two doors, which is a significant improvement in efficiency, and more space for the vestibule (30.1 of total square. feet.) It also offers an evident boost in weather protection with a rainfly that is fully covered and the sturdy DAC poles. The Limestone is also less heavy than Skyward by about 3 pounds and is of a smaller size. If the high peak height is the primary factor that determines you, we believe that it’s the Limestone is the more balanced camping tent, and is worth the extra cost.

 

 

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At the same price as The Skyward 4, The North Face’s $375 Wawona 4 is a good combination of quality of construction in terms of weight, livability, and quality. The interior is equally large, with 58.1 sq ft of flooring space as well as a 68-inch high, though there are two doors to allow easy access and exit. We also appreciate its internal storage area, which has numerous pockets, including on the back of the door for distributing small objects. In addition, even though the rainfly on the Wawona isn’t able to protect the lower area in the tent but it offers better coverage than the Skyward’s. The bottom line is that there is no perfect tent but the Wawona appears to us to be somewhat less fragile in comparison to the REI.

Another indoor option to think about: REI Co-op’s Wonderland 4, which replaces their famous Kingdom series for the year. As with the Kingdom and Skyward, Wonderland is notable for its near-vertical walls and a lot of mesh to allow for ventilation and tunnel-like shapes that offer the best living. In terms of dimensions of Wonderland, Wonderland has more floor space than Skyward (69.4 square. feet) and has a comparable 75-inch height at its peak. It also comes with storage space with lots of pockets throughout the interior, along with two large doors that make getting in and out effortless. However, the rainfly on the Wonderland has no area for the vestibule (a Mud Room add-on is available for purchase, but it will cost an additional $125) however it’s expensive at $499. The Wonderland is a bit heavy and heavy at more than 21 pounds when all in. It’s a tight race between these two models, however, the second door of the Wonderland as well as a more durable rainfly and a more practical interior make it the better choice for us.

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Not to be left out last but not least the Kelty Wireless 4, which is the least expensive of the bunch with a price of only $190. However, despite the price savings however, the Wireless is quite equipped and comfortable with two vestibules and doors and a rainfly with full coverage which is more secure than the Skyward, and a large interior (59 square. feet.) that includes a central ridgepole which extends the walls out and out. But, the height of 59 inches is on the lower side, and its fiberglass poles don’t last as long as well as the floor, as well as rainfly, are noticeably smaller as well as less sturdy than Skyward’s 75D and 150D floors. Certain campers may appreciate Skyward’s improvements however, we believe the Wireless gives you more bang for your buck.

Editor’s note: We typically provide a live price comparability table in our reviews of outdoor gear however Skyward is a product sold exclusively by REI Co-op. Skyward is exclusively sold through REI Co-op. It is possible to visit the Skyward 4 Tent page here and help us out by purchasing it. Thanks!