The Kelty Salida 2 Person tent is a great value at a great price (MSRP is $150, without footprint.) It is very easy to set up and comes with standard features, like a gear loft, that other manufacturers make you pay extra for. At 3 pounds 14 ounces, it’s a good choice for car camping and backpacking trips, if you can split the weight between two people.
Pitching the Tent
The Kelty Salida 2 is a semi 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. Finally stake out the vestibule.
The beauty of tents like this 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 has a very distinct dome-like shape that is cut to fit over the inner tent like a second skin. Unfortunately, this can compromise airflow 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.
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.
Comparable Two Person Budget Tents
|Kelty TN||2||2||4 lbs 4 oz||$250|
|Sierra Designs Summer Moon||2||1||3 lbs 7 oz||$190|
|Kelty Salida 2||2||1||3 lbs 14 oz||$150|
|Big Agnes C-Bar||2||1||3 lbs 9 oz||$199|
|Eureka Spitfire||2||1||4 lbs 3 oz||$180|
|Big Agnes Frying Pan||2||2||4 lbs 5 oz||$250|
|REI Passage||2||2||4 lbs 13 oz||$159|
|MSR Elixr||2||2||5 lbs||$250|
|The North Face Talus||2||1||4 lbs 8 oz||$199|
|Marmot Catalyst||2||2||4 lbs 11 oz||$169|
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.
- 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
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: The author owns this tent and purchased it using his own funds.
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