Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $128 - $136 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight for its price, good value, gear loft, easier to set up and lighter than Marmot Limelight.
Cons: Moderate quality materials, hard to reach vestibule zipper from inside tent, small pockets, single door makes two-person entry/exit hard, low quality stakes.
Best Uses: Budget backpacking.
The Kelty Salida 2 offers budget multi-day backpackers the best bang for the buck. A simple pole design, moderate quality materials, and a reasonable weight (4 lb. 8 oz.) make the Salida an excellent choice for multi-day trips where keeping costs down is a priority. The tent's main drawbacks revolve around its single entrance on the side, which makes it difficult for two people to enter and exit at the same time.
The Salida's nearest competitors are the Marmot Limelight (higher peak height and more interior volume) and the REI Half Dome 2 (much more interior space, two doors, two vestibules, more pockets, steeper walls, stronger). We prefer the Salida to the Limelight because it's eight ounces lighter and easier to setup. And, in most circumstances, we prefer the REI Half Dome 2 to the Salida, because it's more versatile. The Half Dome is good for both car camping and for backpacking. Unless you only plan to backpack (multi-day trips) with the tent, the Half Dome will likely be a better choice because it's more versatile.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Kelty Salida is the best budget backpacking tents we've tested. The tent is best for multi-day backpacking- not car or basecamping. It's a great choice for people looking for a first tent or one for occasional use.
The Salida 2 employs the most basic pole design known to tent design: two poles cross corner to corner. It uses moderate quality poles and textiles- on a quality scale they lie roughly halfway between those of gigantic cheap car camping tents and the top-of-the line silicone coated nylons found on Hilleberg tents.
The Salida has one door and one vestibule, both of which lie on one side of the tent. The tent most directly competes with the Marmot Limelight 2, which has a very similar design. The differences between the two are: the Salida is 2" shorter in height, has walls that are slightly less steep, and has 2.5 sq. ft. less interior space, has a larger gear loft, and most importantly, weighs eight ounces less than the Limelight. Since both tents are best for multi-day trips we prefer the Salida because it weigh less. Its interior volume is slightly less, but that's a mute point because the difference is small and you don't spend much time inside your tent while on multi-day summer backpacking trips.
There are several drawbacks to the Salida single entrance: 1) two people can't enter and exit at the same time. The person farthest from the door needs to crawl over the other person if they want to get out and the other person doesn't. Thus, the person who's most likely to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night should sleep on the outside. 2) The vestibule zipper lies far from the inner tent- you need to reach really far, or if you have shorter arms, possible kneel inside the vestibule, in order to fully close its zipper. Both of these drawbacks are negligible if you aren't spending much time inside the tent. Car campers, who may live out of a tent for extended periods, will want something with more space and with two doors. The REI Half Dome offers just this, costs roughly the same amount, and weighs one pound more. We suggest the Half Dome 2 if you want something for both car camping and backpacking. But for backpacking only (or primarily), the Salida is a killer deal.
Budget backpacking, first tent.
The Salida is the best buy for people looking for a tent to go backpacking with. If you want something for car camping and backpacking go for the REI Half Dome 2.
Other Versions and Accessories
Kelty Salida 2 Footprint, $35.
Kelty Salida 4, $250.
Kelty Trail Ridge 3, $240.
If you're looking for something larger, consider the Kelty Parthenon 8, $630.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 13, 2014
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