The Kelty Shade Maker 2 is a free-standing dome-style beach canopy that has an open floor and open wall design. It provides a 100 square feet of shade and can easily accommodate three to four adults. Additionally, the Shade Maker 2 is the tallest dome style canopy that we tested, making it a great choice when seeking shelter from the hot sun. This canopy was the most portable model that we tested in this review, but it was also one of the least durable.If you're looking for dome-style canopy, we generally recommend our Editors' Choice winner, the Big Agnes Three Forks Shelter over the Shade Maker.
Kelty Shade Maker 2 Review
Cons: Challenging to set-up in windy conditions, nearly impossible for one person to erect alone
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Kelty Shade Maker 2 is the tallest canopy tested besides the PahaQue Cottonwood LT. It has a unique aluminum hybrid pole system: the poles are connected in the middle and when assembled form a very large "X". This canopy is relatively light, packs down small, and comes with a very cool backpack style bag.
At 7' 2" tall at its peak, the Shade Maker 2 is the tallest dome-style beach canopy we tested. Anyone can easily stand underneath it directly in the center. It is easy to enter this shade shelter via the front or the sides but not the back. The back wall is covered about one-third of the way down in order to provide better shade and shelter from the elements. Take care to be careful of the webbing that runs along the ground, connecting the four corners as it is easy to trip on, especially when erected over sand or dirt.
Ease of Set-Up
Setting up this shelter is somewhat similar to setting up a large camping tent, however, it was nearly impossible for one person to set it up alone. Although challenging with one person, this canopy is easy to set-up with two and takes under ten minutes to do so.
The Shade Maker 2 is very difficult to erect in the wind since the canopy has hug clips for the poles instead of sleeves to slide the poles into. If you are going to set it up in windy conditions, we recommend staking the corners in first.
This canopy catches the wind a slight bit due to its height and the drop down sections of the back and tops of the sidewalls.
We found that the aluminum poles of this shelter weren't very tough and became damaged and bent easily with normal use due to the heavy weight of the ends of the poles in the "X" system. The guy line connection points on the sides of the shelter are large and durable. Its canopy is constructed of durable 68D polyester 800 mm.
This shelter was the easiest to carry due to its awesome backpack style stuff sack. That said, it's not as light as the Lightspeed Quick Canopy or the Three Forks Shelter.
This shelter is great for seeking shelter from the hot sun and can fit a family of four with room to spare. However, the Shade Maker 2 is not the best shelter to seek refuge from the rain, as its sides are very exposed. We recommend this product for day use during beach, river, or lakeside outings but we don't recommend it for seeking shelter while sidelining at spectator sports because it is too tall and might impede the views of others.
At $200.00, this shelter is not cheap. We think that our Editors' Choice winner, the Big Agnes Three Forks (also $200), is easier to put up especially during windy conditions.
Weighing in at 9 lbs 11 oz, the Shade Maker 2 is the heaviest dome-style shelter we tested, but we didn't notice the extra pounds thanks to its convenient backpack style stuff sack. This very tall dome-shaped shade shelter is great for day use.
— Chris McNamara and Valentine Cullen