Hands-on Gear Review

Kelty Salida 2 Review

Kelty Salida 2
Price:  $150 List | $104.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, easy to set-up
Cons:  Wets out, condensation, not weather resistant, heavy, large packed size
Bottom line:  While the Salida 2 struggled in our review, taking home lower scores for durability and packed size, it's $150 price point means it's an attainable start for campers in fair-weather conditions.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Measured Weight:  4.56 lbs
Floor Area:  30.5 sq ft
Packed Size:  13 x 15 in
Manufacturer:   Kelty

Our Verdict

Offering a moderate 30.5 square feet of interior space with an additional 10 feet of storage space in its single vestibule - enter Kelty Salida 2. The tent struggled a bit in our review, earning a score of 4 for weather-resistance as the fly wet out during a two-hour spring rainstorm. In contrast, the Marmot Catalyst 2, in a similar price and weight range, was tested in the same conditions and received an 8 for weather-resistance. Breathability was a concern, as in damp, chilly (temperatures in the 40s and 50s) we woke to condensation on the inside tent walls. The heavy, loud fabric struggled to move air throughout the tent. Overall, this is a tent suited to car-camping in dry conditions.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Tents of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist and Jess McGlothlin

Last Updated:
Saturday
May 20, 2017

Share:

We struggled while testing the Salida 2. Tested in damp spring conditions, the tent fly wet out in a two-hour rainstorm. While we enjoyed the 10 square feet of vestibule space and easy set-up, the tent struggled with air circulation in damp environments — enough to cause condensation on the walls. We did value the high bathtub walls, which kept us dry from splashing rain. At a fully-packed weight of 4 lbs. 9 oz, the Salida can be spread between two hikers comfortably. Interior dimensions of 43" x 55" x 88" put it right in the middle of the pack in all the tents we tested for "roominess." As with all two-person tents with only one door, we missed having access on both sides of the tent, and the D-shaped door didn't offer quite as easy access as many of its competitors. The North Face Triarch featured gigantic, triangle-shaped doors that we loved.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


Our main issue with comfort in the Salida was in wet conditions. While the tent would be comfortable in dry, mild weather, in chilly spring rainstorms the fly wet-out relatively quickly (in a two-hour drizzle) leading to a damp, cold night. The tent also struggled to move air efficiently, leading to condensation on the interior.

The Salida 2 offered commutable living space.
The Salida 2 offered commutable living space.

That said, if you're heading to dry locales, the tent offers a category average 43" peak height, same as the Tarptent Double Rainbow, and is 55" across.

The Kelty Salida 2's half-solid walls offer some privacy  but limit airflow and breeze in hot conditions.
The Kelty Salida 2's half-solid walls offer some privacy, but limit airflow and breeze in hot conditions.

The 88" length was enough for a 5'10" hiker to lie down in, but not to comfortably store a 65L pack at the foot of her sleeping bag, but is a few inches shorter than many tents we reviewed, including the NEMO Dagger 2 and the REI Half Dome 2 Plus.

The Kelty Salida's classic two pole design is easy to set up.
The Kelty Salida's classic two pole design is easy to set up.

Ease of Set-Up


One thing we did love about the Salida was the user-friendly clips. The tent sets up relatively quickly (we wished the aluminum poles came tougher a bit easier; they felt a bit cheap, but were not bad for a tent coming in at $150), and the quick "snap-style" clips made clipping the inner tent to the poles quite easy.

Easy-to-use clips on the Kelty Salida 2 helped make set-up easy.
Easy-to-use clips on the Kelty Salida 2 helped make set-up easy.

Color-coded clip and fly attachments eliminated any guessing on how to align the fly, and four guy points were easy to guy out in windy weather. The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 and the REI Half Dome 2 Plus are other tents that we found assembled very easily; both these tents would be good options for kids going out in fair conditions; they'll be confidence boosters in tent-ability!

Weather Resistance


The Salida earned a score of 4 for weather-resistance as the fly wet out during a two-hour spring rainstorm. The fly's 75D polyester fabric with an 1800mm PU coating just didn't bear up against a continual wetting. We'd be concerned using the tent in wet conditions, and the fabric was also quite noisy in windy weather. If you're looking for a true foul-weather tent, the highest-scoring in our review were the Hilleberg Anjan GT 2, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 and the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO.

Durability


The Salida's wall fabric boasted a mesh upper and a solid lower, making the tent walls less susceptible to snags and pulls. As noted above, we were not big fans of the breathability or weather resistance of this tent, and campers would need to carefully dry both the inner tent before storage to prevent mold. The Salida and the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2 both scored low for durability. Our favorite pick for life-long durability was the Hilleberg Anjan GT 2, Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO, the NEMO Galaxi, and the Marmot Catalyst 2.

Kelty Salida 2 with fly open.
Kelty Salida 2 with fly open.

Weight and Packed Size


The stuff pack for this tent was a disappointment — bulky and awkward, it offers no compression and makes the tent look far more like it's designed for casual car-campers. The effects of this impotent stuff sack show in the measured packed dimensions for the Salida 2 — 13" x 15". In comparison, many tents in a similar weight class came in with a much smaller packed size. The Eureka Midori weighs 2 oz. less and packs down to 5" x 18".

The packaging for the Salida 2 felt like car-camping material — we would not take this tent on the trail without repackaging it.
The packaging for the Salida 2 felt like car-camping material — we would not take this tent on the trail without repackaging it.

We'd much rather pack around a tent like the Midori or the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, which packs down to 6" x 18", saving valuable pack space on backcountry trips. For the ultimate tent that excels in both weight and packed size, consider the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV or the Tarptent Double Rainbow.

All of our contenders. From left to right: NEMO Galaxi  Alps Lynx  REI Half Dome 2 Plus  Eureka Midori  Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight  Big Agnes Copper Spur HV  Hilleberg Anjan  NEMO Dagger  Tarptent Double Rainbow  Kelty Salida 2  and Marmot Catalyst.
All of our contenders. From left to right: NEMO Galaxi, Alps Lynx, REI Half Dome 2 Plus, Eureka Midori, Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV, Hilleberg Anjan, NEMO Dagger, Tarptent Double Rainbow, Kelty Salida 2, and Marmot Catalyst.

Best Applications


Due to a concerted lack of foul-weather performance, we'd recommend the Salida for hikers and casual car campers in dry, warmish conditions. A large stuffed sack size (13" x 15" does not lend itself well to backpacking), making this not a good fit for those seeking to shave weight and save space on the trail. A few other tents in our review were also better-suited to car camping, including the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and the NEMO Galaxi 2, with the NEMO Dagger 2 and Big Agnes Copper Spur HV taking the cake - and the Editors' Choice awards.

The Salida 2's half-solid sidewalls limited breathability in warm weather.
The Salida 2's half-solid sidewalls limited breathability in warm weather.

Value


At $150, the Salida does offer reasonable features for an entry-level tent. We'd like to see improved waterproofing and greater circulation with the fly deployed, but for a beginning camper in fair weather, this is a fair value. Other value-driven tents in the review included the Marmot Catalyst 2, the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 and the Eureka Midori 2, all of which retail for under $200.

Inside the Kelty Salida with the fly on; we like the spaciousness of this bargain-level tent  but it's not a good choice for wet conditions.
Inside the Kelty Salida with the fly on; we like the spaciousness of this bargain-level tent, but it's not a good choice for wet conditions.

Conclusion


While the Salida struggled in our review — taking home scores of merely 3 for both durability and packed size, it's $150 price point means it's an attainable start for campers in fair-weather conditions. The interior space of 30.5 square feet offers enough room to comfortably sleep two, while an additional 10 square feet of vestibule space accommodates gear comfortably.

The Kelty Salida 2 offers a single door and vestibule space.
The Kelty Salida 2 offers a single door and vestibule space.

Jessica Haist and Jess McGlothlin

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: May 20, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...