Kelty TraiLogic TN2 Review
Cons: Difficult to set up with cold fingers, few pockets
Bottom line: A solid tent with good features at a reasonable price.
Floor Area: 27.5 st ft
Packed Size: 11 x 14 in
The Kelty TN2 is a solid, relatively inexpensive tent that can handle a variety of conditions well. If you are a stargazer, we think you'll love its mesh canopy and adaptable rain fly. It's comfortable, and its two side doors make it very livable. It's a little heavier than we would prefer, but it's a good value for car campers and weekend backpackers alike.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Tents of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The TN2 is heavy on features that we think car campers will enjoy. It is fairly comfortable, not because of its dimensions, but owing mostly to its exceptional door design, head room, and vestibule shape. It was also fairly easy to set up once we got the hang of it. On the other hand, its 5+ pounds make it one of the heavier tents in the review, and some nights spent watching rainwater pool on top of the fly gave us pause about its weather resistance.
The TN2 has a few features really going for it. It has two side doors of different sizes. Though still plenty functional, one of them is smaller than those on the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and the Nemo Dagger 2P. The other door is massive, taking up almost the entire side wall of the tent, which our taller testers appreciated. It also makes it very easy to maneuver in and out without disturbing your tentmate. The two corresponding vestibules also offer plenty of room to store gear outside of the tent.
For everything the TN2 does right though, it seems like there is a detail that diminishes what could otherwise be a stellar tent. It measures in at 84 inches long, but the gentle angle of the end walls make it feel even shorter than that. Our 6" tall testers found that their heads and feet were often dubiously close to the ends of the tent, which was primarily problematic in the rain.
Kelty advertises its Stargazing Fly-- meant to facilitate taking in the nighttime scenery before bedtime, with the ability to roll it down without getting out of your tent. While this claim is technically true — it is easy to roll down the fly — it's not that easy to clip it back into place at the tent corners, and not even really possible to stake out the vestibules again without leaving the tent. On warm, clear nights, the TN2 can be a dream, but if weather rolls in fast, you better be prepared to do a little work.
We also feel that the TN2 could use some more interior storage pockets. There are two at the head of the tent, which each accommodate a headlight, and that's about it. Given that this model is already pushing five pounds and isn't a lightweight contender, it's a little puzzling that Kelty chose to opt out of a couple of extra ounces of mesh for a few more pockets.
Ease of Set Up
Kelty has some innovative design features, but not all of them were easy to use. We love that it comes with enough substantial Nobendium stakes (ten of them, in fact!) to stake out the entire tent, including the two guy points at the ends of the fly. The tent is asymmetrical though, which means the orientation of the poles and fly matter. They are color coded, which is nice, but it takes a few tries to feel confident that everything is lined up correctly when pitching it.
The TN2 also has tent-to-pole "hug clips" that are meant to attach the tent body to the poles very securely, which they do. We were scratching our heads a little though because clips rarely, if ever, come undone from a pole while the tent is pitched, so the feature isn't really an improvement over what is already on the market. In fact, we found that they could be difficult to attach, and the fly clips at the corners were sometimes challenging to detach, especially with cold hands and fingers.
The TN2 has some weather resistance issues. The vestibules succumb to a similar issue as those on a few other tent flies. Namely, the geometry never seems quite right — it's hard to get both sides of the triangular vestibule taut at the same time. In a rainstorm, this means one side is going to sag and/or flap in the wind.
The fly also only comes with two small vents, one above each door. Because of the amount of mesh, we didn't find that condensation inside the tent was a big issue, but the underside of the fly gets pretty damp. The top of the tent is also relatively flat. With a hard enough rain, water will pool on top. Similarly, condensation on the inside of the tent will collect around the underside of the same area as well.
This tent stands up decently well to regular use. Its 70D nylon floor will get you plenty of good use. The one weak spot we can point to is the plastic, primary-pole intersection connector. In addition to making the poles a little ungainly, it can also be bent and distorted. It creates a pivot point, enabling the poles to move like a pair of scissors. If the poles are spread apart in the wrong direction, the connector may break. Though the piece isn't essential for setting up the tent, it acts as the attachment point for the top of the canopy.
Similar to the Nemo Dagger 2P, it comes in a relatively stealthy green and grey, which some of our testers happen to be fond of.
Weight and Packed Size
The TN2 comes with a stuff sack that is less cylindrical and much more square than most other tents. Its 5.12 lbs make it a fairly heavy contender as well. In this weight range, we would opt for the extra ounces and go for the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, which offers a ton of extra room and avoids some of the other weather resistance issues of the TN2.
The Kelty TN2 is a solid choice for car camping or short backpacking trips where stargazing is a regular activity. If you are planning on spending a ton of time in the backcountry, we would recommend the lighter and roomier Nemo Dagger 2. If weight isn't an issue, then the REI Half Dome 2 Plus offers much more room and storage at a similar price.
This tent is a good value for someone looking for a relatively inexpensive, but functional model. At $250, it offers a good suite of features at a reasonable price.
The Kelty TN2 offers a handful of features that increase the livability of the tent. We got the impression that some of the features, like the "hug clips" and Stargazing Fly were gimmicky, which is too bad because they sully what is otherwise a really solid tent.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch
≪ Go to our review of Backpacking Tents
Hands-on Gear Review