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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Single door makes it difficult for two people, moderate quality materials
The Kelty Salida is a basic budget backpacking tent. It has few bells and whistles and creature comforts, but could be a good starter tent for someone wanting to get into backpacking or camping at a low investment price. The single side door entrance is a bit of a nuisance when two people are using the tent, but otherwise it is spacious and comfortable.
The Salida's nearest competitors are the Marmot Limelight (higher peak height and more interior volume) and the REI Half Dome 2 Plus (much more interior space, two doors, two vestibules, more pockets, steeper walls, stronger). We prefer the Salida to the Limelight because it's 19 ounces lighter and easier to set-up. And, in most circumstances, we prefer the REI Half Dome 2 Plus to the Salida because it's more versatile and higher quality.
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking tents
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This inexpensive tent could be a good choice for one or two people looking to get into camping or backpacking.
Ease of Set-up
The Salida is one of the easiest tents in this review to set-up. It has a simple two pole design, just snap them into their grommets and you're set. The Salida has "Kelty hug clips" for attaching the fly to the poles, which are more difficult to use than the traditional style of clips, but once you get the hang of them they're not bad. The stakes have convenient pull cords, but this makes them heavier.
The major drawback to this style of tent is the single side door entry. If two people are sharing this tent it forces one occupant to crawl over the other to get in and out. This is our least favorite door configuration. We prefer a single front door like on the Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL 2 as a weight savings compromise. Otherwise the Salida is more spacious than the Kelty Grand Mesa 2 and has a slightly tapered shape, but is not as spacious as the Mountainsmith Morrison 2.
The Salida handled high gusting winds well and kept the inside of the tent try during driving rain. Its solid nylon interior panels come high up on the tent walls and help protect the inside from splashback. We like that the Salida comes with 4 long pieces of adjustable guy line, but wish that it had enough for all the points, including the back and sides to pull the tent fly away from the body. We think doing this is especially important for weather protection and ventilation. We wish the Salida had vents on the fly, as it is now there are none. It makes the inside feel claustrophobic (especially because there is only one door) and contributes to condensation accumulation.
The Salida is not very adaptable. You can take the fly on or off, that's about it, and we have given it a score of 1 in this category for that reason. The most adaptable tents we tested were the Hilleberg Anjan 2 and the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
The Salida is relatively durable, but it's 68D fabrics are not as strong as the Sierra Designs Flashlight 2. These cheaper materials are prone to degradation over time and not as durable as a silicone treated Nylon.
Weight and Packed Size
The Salida weighs in at 4 pounds, 6.6 ounces, which is a decent weight for the price of this tent, although its space-to-weight ratio is pretty low. We're not sure how we feel about Kelty's new stuff sack design – their "roll top cube carry bag" makes this tent's packed size very large. It is easier to pack up, great for car camping, but bulky for packing in a backpack – better just to stuff the individual pieces into your pack without the stuff sack.
The main limitation of this tent is its single side door as we discussed in the livability section, as well as its low quality materials.
This is a great starter tent for someone who wants a low budget backpacking tent for one or two people. Could be a good car camping tent for one person.
For $150 this is a great value tent.
Although it is not the flashiest or highest quality tent, Kelty makes decent, functional camping supplies for the low budget camper. If you will be backpacking and sharing a tent with another person, consider checking out the Kelty Grand Mesa 2, its front door design might be good for your sanity.
Other versions and accessories
Kelty makes the Salida 1 and Salida 4 person versions.
Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Kelty Trail Ridge 2 or Kelty Trail Ridge 3
Kelty Salida 2 Footprint
Kelty Gear Loft
— Jessica Haist
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 22, 2015
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