Reviews You Can Rely On

Kelty Wireless 6 Review

Wherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall value
kelty wireless 6 camping tent review
Credit: Kelty
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $270 List | $201.93 at REI
Pros:  Spacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive
Cons:  Fiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly on
Manufacturer:   Kelty
By Rob Gaedtke ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 19, 2022
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 16
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 7.0
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Family Friendliness - 15% 8.0
  • Quality - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Kelty Wireless 6 offers an open and spacious sleeping area, dual vestibules, and solid stakes — all wrapped up in a clever carry case and at a very approachable price compared to the best camping tents we tested. This tent has 86.9 sq ft of sleeping area, two 14 sq ft vestibules, and 6'4" of headroom. Unfortunately, it does have some flaws: fiberglass poles, four pretty small corner pockets, and less than ideal ventilation with the rainfly on. And if you are shorter than 5'10", you might need to get a boost to snap the top clip when pitching. Those things aside, this tent is still a great choice for someone looking to maximize quality, ease of use, and budget.

Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Kelty Wireless 6 on April 19, 2022, with an unbiased assessment of value and a closer look at other comparable products.

Compare to Similar Products

 
kelty wireless 6 camping tent review
This Product
Kelty Wireless 6
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award    
Price $270 List
$201.93 at REI
$262.49 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$315 List
Check Price at REI
$112.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$160 List
$126.01 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Spacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensiveSuper light, very quick to pitch, amazing views with and without the fly, multi-use capabilitiesSpacious, easy to pitch, cabin-style provides extra spaceSimple, quick to set up, lightweightSuper easy set up, good views, very nice price
Cons Fiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly onSmall square footage, guyline stakes not included, very low ceilingHeavy components, windows don't have zippers, cheap flimsy stakesCheap poles, bad door zippers, small footprintLow headroom, poor overall construction
Bottom Line Wherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall valueA simple tent just big enough for car camping but arguably light enough for the occasional backpacking trip tooA traditional cabin-style tent with a massive footprint that is surprisingly easy to set upA classic lightweight 4-person dome tent that gives a little extra headroom and has a few nice featuresThis tent is fast, easy, and inexpensive, though it falls short in some key areas
Rating Categories Kelty Wireless 6 Mountain Hardwear M... Eureka Copper Canyo... Kelty Tallboy 4 Coleman 4-Person Ca...
Space and Comfort (35%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
Family Friendliness (15%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
Quality (10%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Kelty Wireless 6 Mountain Hardwear M... Eureka Copper Canyo... Kelty Tallboy 4 Coleman 4-Person Ca...
Weight 17.2 lbs 7.1 lbs 24.3 lbs 11.0 lbs 18.2 lbs
Max Inside Height 6' 4" 4' 0" 7' 0" 5' 10" 4' 11"
Floor Dimensions 9' 10" x 8' 10" 7' 6" x 5' 8" 10' x 10' 7' 1" x 8' 8' x 7'
Floor Area 86.9 sq ft 42.5 sq ft 100 sq ft 57 sq ft 56 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows Mesh top Mesh top Small mesh top Mesh top 3
Pockets 6 5 6 4 2
Number of Doors 2 2 1 1 1
Room Divider No No No No No
Vestibules 2 2 0 0 0
Vestibule Area (total) 28 sq ft 37.5 sq ft N/A N/A N/A
Packed Size 27" x 8" x 8" 7" x 25" ‎28" x 10.25" x 10" 24" x 7" x 10" 39.5" x 8" x 8"
Floor Materials 68D poly 1800mm 68D ripstop polyester 75D polyester 68D Poly 1200mm 150D polyester
Main Tent Materials 68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh 40D polyester mesh, 75D ripstop polyester 68D polyester no-see-um 68D Poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh 150D polyester
Rainfly Materials 68D poly 1200mm 68D ripstop polyester 75D polyester taffeta 68D Poly 1200mm Polyguard 2X
Number of Poles 3 2 6 3 4
Pole Material Fiberglass DAC Pressfit Steel and fiberglass Fiberglass Aluminum
Extras Pole pockets for easy setup Fly rolls back and secures halfway for stargazing, footprint included Zippered E! Powerport Lightweight Integrated rainfly protection

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kelty Wireless 6 can be fully pitched, staked, and guy-lined in just over 6 minutes with a partner. And, thanks to some clever pole pockets, you can pitch this tent in a little over 7 minutes when solo. The classic dome shape provides stability in the wind but still gives 6'4" of headroom in the center — plenty of height to change and stretch without ducking. Solid fabric covers just over half the way up the sides and provides solid privacy. The rest of the way up is a very transparent mesh. This is truly the best mix of openness and privacy in our lineup. The biggest pitfall with the Wireless is the poles. While thicker than most budget tent poles, they still are fiberglass and clunky to connect. Another pitfall is the lack of storage space. But rest assured, these flaws are easily overlooked once you see the price.

Performance Comparison


kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - with both doors open, this tent is a delight to veg out in
With both doors open, this tent is a delight to veg out in
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Space and Comfort


With a 6'4" height profile, a floor plan that rivals all of the top contenders, and dual vestibules, this tent has loads of space. It easily sleeps a family of four with room to spare.


A twin mattress with two small sleeping pads leaves plenty of room for luggage, dog beds, etc. The dual teardrop doors are smooth to open and give almost total ventilation paired with the full mesh top.


However, with only six pockets, four of them quite small and made from much less durable mesh than the tent, you might need to keep your gadgets and small accessories in your bags.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - an aerial view of the space inside. this tent easily fits a twin and...
An aerial view of the space inside. This tent easily fits a twin and two small air mattresses
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

The two larger pockets found higher up on the tent have a translucent material made to help diffuse a headlamp or flashlight to provide more ambient light. A nice bonus – afforded by the high ceiling – should you forget your hanging lantern.


Where comfort was a little lost was in the vestibules. They are plenty large enough for storage or animals but don't plan on fitting a human in there. A small table fits perfectly and allows for morning coffee should you find yourself stuck in some bad weather.


And if you are lucky enough not to need the rainfly, laying in an open tent on a nice air mattress, staring up at the stars is about as comfortable as you will get with any tent.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - a small vestibule allows for light cooking in a pinch, but don't...
A small vestibule allows for light cooking in a pinch, but don't expect to fit inside
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Weather Resistance


The Wireless 6 has hot days dialed. The full mesh top with two huge doors allows air to fly through this tent. A fully covering rainfly with included guylines and a great dome shape make this tent a solid contender in both wind and rain. It only has two ventilation ports on the rainfly, and because the guylines are on the four corners of the tent, not much airflow comes in from the sides of the fly. If you find yourself in warm, rainy weather, be prepared to be a little toasty inside.


Because of the dome shape and well-angled vestibules, the tent didn't seem to catch light wind. However, the placement of the guylines on the corners with nothing to stretch out the middle does give some concern should heavy winds pick up. Add to that the weaker material of the fiberglass poles, and you may want to avoid any severe weather.

Outside of a major wind storm, the Wireless 6 is a well-made tent with the tools to keep your family happy in the elements. All of the seams are taped, so water coming in from the ground isn't a likely scenario. The included stakes are sturdy and handled the tough Sierra Mountain ground without bending or tweaking.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - nice strong stakes, adequate guylines with lockers, and a great...
Nice strong stakes, adequate guylines with lockers, and a great carry bag round out any quality tent.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke


Ease of Use


A major selling point of the Wireless 6 is a quick corner feature. A sleeve you slide the poles into on all four corners versus the more common slot or pin to hook into. This is one of those features that every manufacturer should consider. It does make pitching the tent with one person a breeze.


Kelty has also used side release buckles for decades on their rainfly, and while one can argue they are a weak point, they make connecting the rainfly a snap. Another feature unique to Kelty is the color coating of just one corner for the rainfly. There is no way to go wrong or second guess if you have the right side with only one clip color coated. There is, however, a pretty large flaw in the tent's setup.

At 5'9" the reach to clip the center was a bit harder than it should...
At 5'9" the reach to clip the center was a bit harder than it should be
Even with on pole down, unclipping the last clip proved just as hard...
Even with on pole down, unclipping the last clip proved just as hard as clipping it
Exposing the high quality mesh top after a warm nights sleep in the...
Exposing the high quality mesh top after a warm nights sleep in the Kelty Wireless 6.

This tent is over six feet tall in the center, and the recommended method of erecting the tent is by putting both poles up first and then clipping the center clip. While this is easy enough in concept, you might have to lean in pretty far or get a child on your shoulders to clip that center. But once clipped, the twist connect attachment points go very fast, and the rest is simple enough to finish.


The teardown is nearly the same; unbuckling that top clip is the hardest part, and you might not want to have any witnesses while you flounder to get it undone. Rolling up the tent is fairly easy, though it does hold air like a lot of cheaper tents, so take your time. Even without a super tight roll, everything fits into the Shark Mouth bag well (we guess they call it that because of how wide it opens). And while trivial, the carry strap has a handy adjuster helping it fit comfortably on your shoulder. The total weight is just over 17 pounds and packs down very well for a six-person tent.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - the kelty quick corners make pitching this tent a breeze, even when...
The Kelty Quick Corners make pitching this tent a breeze, even when solo.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Family Friendliness


Bring them all. Two adults, two kids, and two dogs will have plenty of room on a weekend campout. You can even pack an additional friend if they don't mind sharing a twin. If you ditch the twin air mattress and just go with sleeping pads, both kids could bring a friend. However, because the vestibules are not large enough for a chair or proper cooking, getting stuck inside during a rainstorm wouldn't be ideal and might lead to some ex-best friends. But if the sun is out and the rainfly is still packed in the bag, a gaggle of friends or a large family will love the Wireless 6.


The Wireless 6 walls were made to maximize privacy while changing and still minimize view obstruction. We love this, but keep in mind that storage is a little light for a family larger than four. With only six total pockets, four of which are pretty small, this tent could use a few more storage options.


On the other hand, the dual vestibules allow you to not only enter from both sides but shake off clothes and ditch dirty shoes before entering.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - tip to tail, this tent packs just enough of what you need in an...
Tip to tail, this tent packs just enough of what you need in an inexpensive package
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Quality


Kelty is well known in the market as one of the best in the budget category. Their tents are quality made without going over the top. Outside of the fiberglass poles and cheaply crafted corner pockets, the Wireless 6 is no different. The floor and fly are made from 68D PU-coated polyester material; the walls are also a 68D polyester and 40D No-See-Um Mesh. Sturdy materials, all taped at the seams for added protection and durability. The included stakes handled a rock beating quite well, the guylines have included plastic lockers, and the bag is cleverly built and ready to get thrown in and out of the car a zillion times.


The Wireless 6 isn't going to beat out the top brands in our review for quality, but it stands well above the lower pack and should handle the beatings of nature and families. If you are worried that a budget tent will leave you high and dry, this tent will correct that notion and restore faith that you don't have to buy the best to get good quality.

kelty wireless 6 camping tent review - the third pole that spans the top helps add more room inside and...
The third pole that spans the top helps add more room inside and breaks up the standard dome shape
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Should You Buy the Kelty Wireless 6?


The Kelty Wireless 6 is a great value pick for someone looking to get a six-person tent without breaking the bank. With amazing views and airflow on hot days and solid coverage in the rain, this tent is ready for three seasons of car-camping adventures. As with any value buy, there are some limitations. The most notable downfalls are fiberglass poles, a shortage of storage, some ventilation concerns, and a complication for shorter people in pitching. However, when you look at this tent's overall performance matched with the price point, you will be hard-pressed to find a better 6-person budget tent.

What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?


This tent is all about value: what it lacks in quality and features, it easily makes up for in price. The next step up in terms of functionality, weather resistance, and durability is the The North Face Wawona 6. But once you start getting into that price point, it's easy to talk yourself into a top-of-the-line tent like the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 or the award-winning Marmot Halo 6.

Rob Gaedtke
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