< Go to Backpacking Tents

Hands-on Gear Review

Kelty Salida Review


Backpacking Tent

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: May 10, 2015
Price:   Varies from $127 - $170 | Compare prices at 6 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.
User Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Kelty
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 10, 2015  
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.

New Version Update - May 2015
The Kelty Salida has been updated and the rainfly is now available in a new color. Keep reading for more information!

RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking tents

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The New Version of the Kelty Salida vs. The Older Version

The Salida's rainfly is now available in a green and grey color. Check out this quote from Kelty in regards to the newest additions to the Salida!

"The Salida has received minor updates in 2015, including color and styling. More canopy fabric has been added to tent body for privacy and warmth (but still with a good amount of mesh for air movement). Features include compact folding pole set, roll top cube carry bag, Kelty Hug Clip. Minimum weight 3 lb 14 oz."


Be sure to check back in this fall, as our reviewers are currently hard at work testing the newest model of the Kelty Salida!

See below for a side-by-side comparison, with the latest version shown on the left and the older model pictured on the right.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge 

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.

Click to enlarge
High Sierra meadows as seen from inside the Kelty Salida 2.
Credit: Max Neale


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.

Best Application

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

Click to enlarge
Kelty Grand Mesa 2
  • Small footprint
  • Single door with vestibule
  • 4 lbs 9 oz
  • heavy but inexpensive
  • $120

Click to enlarge
Kelty Trail Ridge 2 or Kelty Trail Ridge 3
  • Budget backpacking tents
  • Spacious design
  • super easy setup, free standing design
  • 4 lbs 15 oz for 2 person
  • 5 lbs 12 oz for 3 person
  • $200 and $250

Kelty Salida 2 Footprint
  • $40

Kelty Gear Loft
  • mesh hanging space for interior of tent
  • $15

Kelty J-Stakes
  • 6-pack of aftermarket, lightweight stakes
  • $15

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

Where to Buy?

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: May 10, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Apr 13, 2014 - 04:21pm
tomson75 · Snowboarder · Harrisonburg, VA
First of all, let me say that I found these tents at Dicks on clearance, so they only set me back $65 each. I bought two. They aren't going to be confused with high end backpacking tents, but for the cost, they're hard to beat. Both of the tents I purchased have been used about a dozen times, some car camping and some backpacking…and they've performed admirably in both situations. It's light enough to backpack, but it will take up a significant amount of space in your pack. I wouldn't opt for this for anything longer than a week long trek, but for a few days, it gets the job done. Especially at $65!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 

Have you used the Kelty Salida?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Kelty Salida
Credit: Kelty
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $127.46  -  25% off!
REI $149.95  -  12% off!
CampSaver $149.95  -  12% off!
Compare prices at 6 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Related Review
The Best Backpacking Tent Review

The Best Backpacking Tent Review

Over the course of several years we tested over 20 backpacking tents to find the most livable and most practical tents to bring in the backcountry.
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent

by Jessica Haist and Max Neale