Are REI Tents Worth The Money? (The Unbiased Truth!)


Recreational Equipment Inc. or REI is a well-known company in the outdoor industry. One thing you may have noticed if you have visited their stores is that their outdoor equipment tends to be on the pricier side of things. Sometimes this means higher quality, and sometimes it just means higher marketing hype.

So, are REI tents worth the money? Rei tents are highly praised as high-quality items and they are worth the price if you are a regular tent camper.

While REI tents are generally worth the money, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs an REI tent. Beginners and occasional campers might be better off getting lower cost, but still good quality camping gear.

By the way, If you are in the market for a new tent, then you should click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.

Who Is REI?

Recreational Equipment, Inc or REI for short is an outdoor recreational company specializing in offering high-quality goods and services that are outdoor based. You can shop both in-person and online in many locations across the United States. If you need to locate a store near you, they have a really handy tool for that

Are REI Tents Good Quality?

A quick search on the internet will show many happy REI customers, especially when it comes to their tents. Their beginner and starter tents can sometimes be 1.5 to 2 times the price of a starter tent that you will find on Amazon such as the one I have. However, there are many advantages that purchasing an REI tent comes with besides the high quality, which is often touted by more avid campers.

Why are REI Tents So Expensive?

REI Tents Are Good quality

Let’s get this feature done first. Higher quality materials, higher quality craftsmanship, and higher overhead costs lead to REI tents and other camping gear to come with a price tag that is appropriate. When you choose something that is higher in quality, you can usually expect that item to last longer (As long as you take care of it) and that can definitely be said about tents.

Higher quality materials can also lead to your gear performing its intended function better than inferior products. For example, a higher quality rain fly is probably going to keep rain from getting into your tent longer and better than a lower quality rain fly. Another example could be the tent’s zipper. A high-quality zipper tends to last longer and make it easier to zip and unzip your tent’s doors and windows.

REI Has A Great Return Policy

Many REI customers tout the company’s amazing return policy by often saying things like “no questions asked” and “100% satisfaction guaranteed”. Most stores have return policies lasting 30 days, especially for cheaper camping gear. REI says that they offer a return or replacement for one full year on most outdoor gear, 90 days for electronics. Having a generous return policy isn’t cheap to maintain, and so some of this guarantee is built into the price of their tents and other equipment. You can read their full return policy here.

Knowledgeable Staff

REI takes pride in hiring staff that is knowledgeable about outdoor sports. They want their employee’s values to match the company’s values. Hiring knowledgeable staff doesn’t come as cheap as hiring just about anyone. The increased labor cost of hiring an outdoor savvy staff is reflected in the price of their products.

REI Has A Membership

Memberships drive consumer loyalty. REI has a one-time membership fee that allows “members” to receive 10% back on some of the purchases that they make every year. Creating this membership loyalty allows REI to charge a higher price since they have a more dependable customer base. You can learn more about their membership here.

Who Should Get REI Tents?

If you are an avid camper that camps more frequently than the average campers then it may be better for you to use a higher quality item like an REI tent. This concept is similar to pretty much anything else. If you are more serious about a hobby then you should be using better quality gear. More frequency of use requires higher quality gear.

If you have a lot of disposable income and won’t really be affected by the price difference with REI products when compared to the competition then why not get a tent that is most likely higher quality than a cheaper tent. A good example of this can be with can openers. You can get the cheap can opener for $1 that is a pain in the butt to open cans, or you can spend $5 to get one that will seamlessly open any can you need it to. The difference to most of us between $1 and $5 is not much, so why not go with the higher quality if the price difference is negligible to us.

Who Shouldn’t Get REI Tents?

A beginner that doesn’t have much time camping probably shouldn’t get an REI tent of they are unsure if they want to even get into camping regularly. At the same time, someone with not a lot of disposable income should probably not get an REI tent because there are much cheaper tents that are still high in quality and certainly good enough for most campers.

As previously stated, an REI tent is more suited for someone that could easily afford to get one, and/or someone whois more serious about camping and wants to camp more frequently, for longer durations, and for more intensive camping styles such as backpacking. If you don’t fit that category then consider checking out the tent that I use, which is very low price and high in quality.

What About Other REI Products?

Similar things can be said about other REI outdoor products, not just their tents. When you buy something from this company, you can rest assured that the product will be of good quality. If it is a product that you will be using frequently, or need something to rely on then spending the extra cash on an REI product is usually not a bad deal, especially because of the company’s values and generous return policy that I mentioned earlier.

Bonus Tip

If you purchase something from REI, they also have another sweet deal where if the price changes for the same item that you purchased in-store or on their website then they will refund you the difference if the time frame is within 14 days. This helps you rest assure that you are getting a good price, even if the price happens to drop less than two weeks later. You can find this pricing deal on their website.

Price vs Quality In A Tent

It is always important for you to find a good mix of price and quality of an item based on your individual tastes and circumstances. Not everyone needs the highest quality tent, but at the same time, no one should be stuck using a tent that doesn’t get the job done. The same goes for all of your camping gear and even other things that you own.

You and I may not need to have the biggest, the fastest, or the most expensive car, but we both probably need a vehicle in order to get us from place A to place B. It’s the same when choosing a tent. You and I may not need the highest quality tent in order to enjoy some occasional car camping in moderate to good weather. When it comes time for you to choose a tent, keep the price vs quality in mind and pick one based on what you personally need and desire.

If you haven’t already, I still think you should visit this page to see what tent I use and recommend, because It might be the best tent for you too.

Related Questions:

What is the best tent for the money?

The best tent for the money is going to depend on what kind of camping you will be doing, how often you will be camping and your individual needs. I highly recommend you check out the tent that I use and recommend.

What is the easiest tent to put up?

The easiest tent to put up is going to be some type of “instant” tent. Instant tents come all connected in one piece and can be set up very quickly, sometimes in less than a minute.

My Favorite Camping Gear

  • Air Mattress: click here to check out my favorite on Amazon.
  • Tent: click here to see my favorite tent available on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Pad: click here to check out the one I love on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Bag: click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.
  • Camping Stove: click here to see the best camping stove on Amazon.


Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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