I know this dosn't help your selection much but I have been real pleased with the Sierra Designs tents for the last 20 years or so. Good quality, thoughful design, and reasonable price.Sierra Designs
I see the six person tent we have (must have about 8 or 9 tents in my gear room) is no longer made, but they have other, newer, designs.
I don't know the Trail Ridge first hand, but I have a 6 person Kelty that I'm happy with so far. First time I used it, it started raining as I was putting it up and it rained pretty hard that night, no water came inside. I've been impressed. The REI may be better, I can't really say, but the Kelty tents seem to be great values- they are good tents for decent prices.
Vehicles: 2011 Ford Fusion (for car camping), 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C50 (motorcycle camping) Tents: Boulder Creek Hunter Ridge 4 (cheap 4-season tent from Bass Pro Shops), Alps Mountaineering Vertex 4, Kelty Grand Mesa 6, Big Agnes Fairview 4
Boy, did you just miss out. The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 was on sale at Sierra Trading Post for under $150. I bought the Trail Ridge 4 for $112 + shipping. The sale ended 3/30/2012.
I needed a new tent for a week-long motorcycle trip this summer. My 2-man is too small and the 6-man tents I have are way to big. I like the two doors, full vestibule and all the mesh. It's going to be a primarily warm weather tent so I wanted good ventilation. But, I also want to stay dry when the windy summer rains hit; hence the full vestibule. All for not much more than a cheapo, box-store tent.
The REI Kingdome looks like it would be a better all-weather tent, but is a lot more money and I would not want to set that up by myself.
68 Me & DW - 93 DD - 03 DD
06 F150 Screw, 6.5' Bed, 4x4, 5.4, 3.73
04 Tahoe 23RB-GL
01 VFR800fi A day without fusion is like a day without sunshine.
Personally having camped up here in Alaska as a kid in tents I would go with the Kelty based on the rain fly alone. Having a tent that has the ability to completely keep blowing wind off of you is huge. The REI Tent looks nice for the layout but would appear to me that in a blowing rain condition you might get wet.
2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 6.0, 3.73, Firestone Air Bags, CCSB LTZ
My service dog Beamer and I go on two or three car camping trips each year, for about a month at a time. We were making the trials for agility competition at first, and visiting our many national parks and monuments between them.
We had a Eureka Sunrise 9 for a couple of years and it was very adequate for our needs, and did very well in the rain (and even some snow); but the wind was a problem which caused it develop some hairline cracks in the fibreglass poles. But Eureka was really good and replaced them very quickly.
We then went with the Kelty Trail Dome 6, because of the aluminum alloy poles, for a couple of years. Our tent camping experience is for about a month at a time, in the Mountain West. We survived some very bad weather, including snow storms and the tent came through with flying colors. Blacier Park has that reputation of never knowing when it will get rid of the snow.
But, it was a freak micro-burst at Dinosaur national monument that did that tent in, something that anyone could have experienced. The tent had a tear in the fabric and mesh that might have been fixed but Backcountry Edge came through with an updated model. At least we did not have to suffer with Kelty's very slow warranty section.
We then went with that model for another 90 nights of camping and determined that a better camping experience could be had if there was a full fly. (I keep the Kelty as a back-up, when those very unexpected things can happen.)
We looked at the Marmot LimeStone and the REI tents before settling on the Big Agnes tents which have received some very good reviews. The Big Agnes Big House however did not have a full fly (you could get one for an additional cost), so it was rejected for our needs.
We ended up getting the Big Agnes Wolf Mountain tent and have found it to be a very good deal, and extremely weather resistent. While it is big (because of the two vestibules) it is very liveable and something that should be considered.
All in all, any of these tents would do well but a full fly really should be considered. Take your time, and don't let a cheap tent be your choice because any of these good tent makers have them at various prices from time to time. And, never leave your tent without the guylines being set out because you really can't rely on the weather that could destroy your camping trip.
In a couple of weeks we shall leave for another trip, this time down to Texas and New Mexico.
For nearly 20 years we have been a Kelty family, But our old Kelty mantra 5 had seen better days.. After searching the Kelty site.. I didn't like what I was seeing.. the tents had changes and they no longer made the mantra 5.
We hunted everywhere.. Our main goal was to find a sleek designed dome tent that my wife could stand up in without hitting her head.. The Kelty Mantra 5 offer us this options. Luckily, I narrowed down our selection to two tents.. One was made by Eureka and the other SlumberJack..
The one draw back I noticed about the eureka tent was the fact that the fly didn't cover the front door opening.. (for total coverage) At least in all the pictures I've seen of this tent.. So we opted for the SlumberJack..
We got the tent Monday of this week.. and I was very surprised at how small the box was.. but you know what they say.. Big things come in small packages.. My wife said wait for her to get home and then we will set it up.. In the basement no less.
And we did... the tent went up without a hitch.. clean lines, smooth corners.. I felt so good about it, I wrote a review on my blog and sent the site as well as the review to SlumberJack. As for a rating, I didn't give it a 10.. Just yet anyway.. haven't had a chance to go camping with it.. But soon we will.
So at this point.. I feel the SlumberJack trail tent 6 is your best option, for only $169.95.. I think it was and is a great bargain.
Updated: Just wanted to add here, places like REi have what they call, "Customer Bargain Days" this is where customers bring in their slightly used equipment as trade for new merchandise. Then their old slightly used items are placed in an area for persons like you and me the explore the goods.. Some items I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, while other items. I really need to get these early.