Kelty Salida 2 Review
Cons: Wets out, condensation, not weather resistant, heavy, large packed size
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Jessica Haist and Jess McGlothlin