Kelty Salida 2 Tent Review

There are endless options for overnight shelters, and choosing just one can be unnecessarily difficult. If you're a casual camper looking for a versatile, quality tent that'll work well for car camping and short backpacking trips alike, then the Kelty Salida 2 might just be the tent for you. 

Kelty Salida 2 Tent

PROS

  • Quick set-up
  • Bathtub-style floor
  • Trusty rainfly

CONS

  • Relatively heavy
  • Floor seams are not sealed
  • Smaller vestibule

Things to Consider

Most people that choose to camp need a simple shelter in which to spend the night. Consider which form of shelter you need, as there are some different options:

A tent provides a little more comfort and space than a tarp. However, buying a new tent is an investment that should take some thought. Think about what size you might need. Always allow a one person allowance for your gear, i.e. a two person tent should be big enough for just you and your gear.

Do you want space to stand up in? A higher tent will be more resistant to wind (it will catch more wind), but it will also provide better ventilation. Decide which seasons you will be camping in. If you want to do winter camping, then you will need either a four-season tent, or a separate winter tent. These are all things to think about before you select and purchase a tent.

Breakdown of the Kelt Salida 2 Backpacking Tent

The Kelty Salida 2 is an excellent option if you are looking for a tent that will keep you cozy and sheltered from spring to fall. Rated as a two-person tent, there's just enough room for two sleepers, or just a larger, more comfortable space for yourself and your gear. It is also a freestanding tent, meaning it can be moved around after being constructed, in the case that you discover some sharp rocks poking you in the back in the middle of the night.

A separate inner tent constructed largely of bug netting provides a light shelter that can be used on balmy and rain-free nights. Included is a rainfly which is the tent's water- and wind-proof layer. When in use, the rainfly also provides an extra vestibule that can be used to store gear and shoes, as well as two doors which allow access from the front and the back. The fly can be guyed out at the sides to allow for extra ventilation.

Excellent for campers who appreciate a quick set-up, the Salida 2 features only two compact folding poles. The inner tent provides more comfort and protection from the elements with a bathtub-style, PU-coated tent floor. One important note to make is that the floor tent seams are not sealed, and should be sealed by you to ensure complete barrier against moisture. A footprint (not included) may also be used for especially wet conditions, or in case water might run through your camp site.

Features & Benefits

​Weight

​Coming in at a total weight of 4 pounds and 6 ounces, this is not a tent that is suitable for longer backpacking trips, even when split between two people. The weight means that it is not suited to be carried in far distances, and works better as a car camping tent, or for shorter hike-in camping sites.

The break down of the tent by weight is as follows:

  • ​Stuff Sack: 1.3 ounces
  • Inner Tent: 1 pound 8.6 ounces
  • Rain Fly: 1 pound 4.5 ounces
  • Tent Pole Stuff Sack: 0.4 ounces
  • 2 Tent Poles: 15.9 ounces
  • Accessory Stuff Sack: 0.2 ounces
  • 10 Tent Stakes: 5.7 ounces
  • Guy Lines: 1 ounce
  • Gear Loft: 0.5 ounces

An easy way to shave some weight off of this tent would be to replace the tent stakes, which are not essential unless you are camping in high winds. Since the tent stakes are made of a steel alloy, they are rather heavy - if you want to keep them in the kit then consider replacing them with lighter aluminum stakes.

​Pitching the Tent

​Modern free-standing tents are easy to assemble, and the Kelty Salida 2 is no exception. With only two compact, foldable DAC PressFit aluminum poles, once the cloth is laid out it is only a matter of inserting the two poles and lifting them. Pitching this tent can be done by yourself.

Shock cords attached to the poles lift the fabric of the tent in an efficient way. A small detail that adds a lot of ease to pitching is that the tent fabric snaps onto the poles - no cloth tunnels to thread them through which adds an unnecessary layer of difficulty.

Once the inner tent is raised, simply drape the rainfly over the frame and connect to the inner clips. Free-standing tents are excellent for placing in smaller spaces outdoors, such as between trees or boulders. Although the weight is significant, this is a great tent for those who want an easy and straight-forward pitch.

Inner Tent​

​The most important part of the tent is the inner shelter, and this one is spacious enough for two people, their mats, and sleeping bags. It is long enough to allow larger 6 foot long mats and sleeping bags without touching the walls - an important detail for added comfort and a good nights' rest. The inner tent space comes in at an impressive 30.5 square feet, with an additional 10 square feet of vestibule space.

​Large mesh panels on the inner tent allow for stargazing in good weather conditions, as well as allowing for a comfortable breeze while retaining the coziness of a shelter in the great outdoors. Zipper pulls made of lightweight rubber are another small detail that seems insignificant, but on a windy night they prevent noise as well as damage to the tent.

​Another great feature of this tent is an included gear loft, which is often only seen in higher-end tents. Gear lofts are great for storing more stuff, or even for drying wet clothes and gear. It is strong enough to hold a lantern at night. The inner tent also has sewn side pockets on the inside, placed right below the mesh.

These are perfect for storing smaller essentials like a headlamp, snacks, earplugs, phone, etc. Many of tents on the market surprisingly do not include these simple pockets, and it makes a world of difference to have a devoted pocket with easy access to important personal items. Additional gear loops and a flashlight hold are thoughtful and efficient additions to the inside of the tent.

​Rain Fly

The rain fly on this tent is a good mid-quality option. It provides a waterproof layer that keeps you dry and comfortable in wet weather, providing adequate ventilation at the same time. This is a fine line to balance, and Kelty has done it well with this rain fly.

One of the worst things is waking up wet because the lack of ventilation has built up condensation inside your tent, soaking you throughout the night. The fly is a light color, which means that it reflects sunlight preventing the inside of the tent from becoming an unbearable temperature during the day.

Additionally, the material is resistant to UV rays which increases the durability and life span of the tent. Connections on the rain fly can be guyed out for stability in windy conditions, as well as increased ventilation to prevent condensation. However - the rain fly is the heaviest component of this tent, which is a potential downside to consider.​

​Alternative 2 Person Tents To Consider

​Bryce 2P Ultralight Two Person Tent

bryce 2p tent

A ​little more expensive than the Kelty Salida 2, this tent also includes some extra features for the increased price tag. It is very lightweight at only 3 lbs, 14 oz, light enough to be carried by one person, and especially to take backpacking. Quality fabrics are used in its construction, including ripstop nylon - so you can be sure it will last you a long time. Excellent ventilation.

​Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent

This tent is a good alternative - it is about half the price of the Kelty Salida 2. However, it does lack ventilation as the walls are made of nylon, and there are only two mesh windows.

This might cause problems with condensation inside the tent. It is also a heavier tent, coming in at 7.17 pounds. A pro for this tent is that it is easy to set-up, and an excellent option for car camping.

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An outdoors enthusiast who runs this website. As a kid I got to go on many family camping holidays. As an adult I still enjoy camping and hiking but also spend a lot more of my free time mountain biking on the local trails and snowboarding when I can afford it.