The Kelty Salida 2 Person tent is a great value at a great price (MSRP is $160, without footprint.) As a freestanding tent, it is very easy to set up and comes with standard features, like a gear loft, that other manufacturers make you pay extra for.
However, it’s a bit heavier than I thought when I bought it, weighing 4 pounds 6 ounces rather than the 3 pounds 12 ounces Backpacker Magazine said it weighed (they gave the tent an Editor’s Choice Award in 2011), making it a better choice for car camping or short overnight hikes, rather than backpacking trips, even if you split the weight out between two people.
Here’s the Backpacker Magazine review which misquotes the tent weight. I expect the error occurred because Kelty supplied the information to the editor and Backpacker didn’t bother to fact check the manufacturer. If there’s a moral to this story it’s that you should double check manufacturer weights, if you care about them, and only buy products from retailers with a no-questions-asked return policy.
The Kelty Salida 2 is a two person, free standing tent with a separate inner tent and a rain fly. The inner tent has a PU coated bathtub floor but is almost completely made out of bug netting, with a large side door that opens into the vestibule. The rain fly drapes over the inner tent and provides a front vestibule and two doors which can be guyed out separately. The fly can also be pulled out a bit at the back of the tent to provide additional ventilation, but it is not accessible from inside the inner tent. While the fly is fully fully seam taped for better water resistance, the floor seams of the inner tent are not taped and should be seam sealed or used in conjunction with a footprint when camping in wet weather.
The total weight of the Kelty Salida 2 is 4 pounds and 6 ounces.
- Tent 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
If you want to shave the weight of the tent down immediately, you can eliminate most of the tent stakes, unless you plan on camping in high wind, or replace them with much lighter titanium sheep hooks. The stakes provided by Kelty are quite heavy, old style steel stakes.
Pitching the Tent
The Kelty Salida 2 is a free-standing tent making it very easy to pitch quickly. It includes two collapsible aluminum tent poles connected using shock cord which you expand and connect cross-wise to hooks on the inner tent body. After that, simply drape the shaped rain fly over the inner tent, connect it to the corner clips on the inner tent and you’re mostly done.
The beauty of free standing tents is that you can wedge them into tight spaces in the forest, set them up on frozen ground or on rock. They’re pretty quick to set up in the rain and you don’t need to spend an extra 30 minutes fiddling with guy lines. They can be heavier because you need to use collapsible tent poles, instead of re-using your trekking poles as tent poles, but they are very convenient for people who want an easy tent pitch.
The inner tent is spacious with ample room for people and their sleeping bags. The side inner walls are quite steep which adds to the feeling of spaciousness. The inner tent floor is also long enough to lie in a 6 foot sleeping bag without touching the end walls.
There are plenty of internal gear loops to hang lighting inside the inner tent and Kelty provides a gear loft with the base Salida 2, a very nice feature, particularly for drying out gear or wet clothing at night. Most tent manufacturers charge extra for a gear loft, so this is a very nice added feature.
In addition, the inner tent has mesh pockets sewn into the corners (you can see one above) which I like because it’s a good place to store my glasses or my watch when I want to wake up early in the morning. You’d be surprised how many manufacturers don’t include pockets like this inside of tents and it’s a detail I always look out for.
The Rain Fly on this tent is mediocre at best. It has a very distinct dome-like shape that is cut to fit over the inner tent like a second skin. Unfortunately, this guarantees horrible internal condensation if you have to sleep with the doors closed in rain or cooler weather.
There is a small vestibule area in front of the inner tent door, but I found it difficult to get a taught pitch with it due to the shape of the fly. Further securing the fly using the optional wind guy-outs didn’t improve the internal ventilation either and I woke up with a wet sleeping bag when I slept in the Salida with a closed rain fly.
The rain fly is also the heaviest component of this tent, weighing 24.6 ounces. If you want my advice, get rid of it and replace it with an 8 ounce 8′ x 8′ silynylon tarp, or a piece of Tyvek with grommets in the corners. If you pitch the tarp or Tyvek as an A-frame over the inner tent using trekking poles or trees, you can save yourself a pound of gear weight and preserve the fantastic ventilation provided by the inner tent.
If it doesn’t rain and you can sleep with the rain fly doors open and rolled back, then internal condensation will be less of an issue. But if you’re backpacking with this tent, you’ll probably have to contend with rainy weather at some point.
For $160, the Kelty Salida 2 is really an awesome bargain for a lightweight car camping tent or for short backpacking trips in good weather. If you plan on hiking in arid conditions, then the internal condensation issues caused by the skin-tight rain fly will be less of an issue because you can sleep without it or keep the doors open. However, if you plan on camping or backpacking in a rainy climate and expect to sleep in rainy weather some of the time, I’d recommend you find tent with a better ventilated rain fly or replace the rain fly with a tarp that to preserve the excellent ventilation provided by the Salida 2’s inner tent.
- Gear Loft included
- Lots of mesh ventilation
- Very easy to pitch
- Lots of internal condensation due to close fitting rain fly
- Not enough vestibule storage
- Too heavy
Specifications (per manufacturer)
- Seasons: 3
- Number of doors: 1
- Number of vestibules: 1
- Capacity: 2
- Minimum weight: 3 lb 12 oz / 1.70 kg
- Packaged weight: 4 lb 8 oz / 2.04 kg
- Floor area: 30.5 ft2 / 2.83 m2
- Vestibule area: 10 ft2 / .93 m2
- Length: 88 in / 223.5 cm
- Width: 55 / 45 in / 139.7 / 114.3 cm
- Height: 43 in / 109.22 cm
- Packed diameter: 7 in / 17.78 cm
- Packed Length: 22 in / 55.88 cm
Disclosure: SectionHiker own this tent and purchased it using his own funds.
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