Kelty Grand Mesa Tent Review 2p and 4p

a group of campers sitting in the grand mesa tent

The Kelty Grand Mesa has gone through a few changes in its time, but we’re excited to see where it’s at now. As a brand, Kelty have generally impressed us with their reasonable pricing, high-quality materials, and attention to detail. We want to see if they can keep up that winning-streak with another awesome backpacking tent that stands out from the rest.

Since they have quite a few backpacking tents and hiking tents in their range, we want to break down what makes the Grand Mesa such a hit, and why its considered one of the Best Kelty Tents on the market. This line has been modernized since its beginnings and seems to be geared more towards backpackers than before, as it used to be a little on the heavy side.

In order to find out whether the changes were worth it, we’re taking a deep dive into the Kelty Grand Mesa 2 person and 4 person tents from their most recent version. Keep reading to find out whether it will suit you for your next adventure.

Updated Grand Mesa Version
Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent (2020 Update) - 4 Person
Original 2 Person Model
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 2 Person Camping Tent
Original 4 Person Model
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 4 Person Camping Tent
Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent (2020 Update) - 4 Person
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 2 Person Camping Tent
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 4 Person Camping Tent
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Updated Grand Mesa Version
Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent (2020 Update) - 4 Person
Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent (2020 Update) - 4 Person
Original 2 Person Model
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 2 Person Camping Tent
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 2 Person Camping Tent
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Original 4 Person Model
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 4 Person Camping Tent
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 4 Person Camping Tent
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Grand Mesa 4 Person

 

Grand Mesa 4 Person tent

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Type

4 Person Dome

Dimensions

98”L x 80”W x 56”H

Minimum Weight

6.13 lbs

Price

$189+

Set Up Time

10-15 mins

Pack Size

13” x 15” x 4”

Fabrics

68D Polyester Wall

No-See-Um Mesh

68D Polyester Floor

68D Polyester Rainfly

Assembly

Quick Corners

2 Poles

Hug-Clips

 

Structure

DAC Pressfit Telescopic Aluminum Poles

Number of Vestibules

1

 

Grand Mesa 2 Person

Kelty Grand Mesa Tent

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Type

2 Person Dome

Dimensions

98”L x 44”W (at foot) 57” (at head) x 56”H

Minimum Weight

4.1 lbs

Price

$129+

Set Up Time

10-15 mins

Pack Size

12” x 15” x 4”

Materials

68D Polyester Wall

No-See-Um Mesh

68D Polyester Floor

68D Polyester Rainfly

Assembly

Quick Corners

2 Poles

Hug-Clips

 

Structure

DAC Pressfit Telescopic Aluminum Poles

Number of Vestibules

1

Overview of Key Features (Applies to All Sizes)

  • Quick Corners for rapid assembly
  • Color-coded webbing for rainfly
  • EZ-Zip vestibule is easy to reach
  • Lightweight & robust aluminium framework
  • Fully taped seams
  • 68D polyester floor with 1800mm waterproof rating
  • 68D polyester fly with 1200mm waterproof rating
  • No-see-um mesh walls
  • Freestanding design
  • Wide-stretching D-door
  • Interior storage pockets
  • Shark Mouth easy-stuff carry bag

 

First Impressions of the Kelty Grand Mesa Tent

grand mesa tent with 4 campers and dog

Let’s start off by clarifying which tents we are reviewing out of this line – we say that because there have been quite a few updates over the years. It seems that this line has had at least two upgrades since the first version.

There was a red and white version, a gray putty and white version with green and orange accents, and a yellow and brown edition. The latter is the most recent one, although it looks like you can still get the gray putty colored tent as well.

However they haven’t changed a tremendous amount over the years, still retaining its core features which helped it become a best seller for Kelty and keeping its quality in tact. The additions of extra features here and there have been sprinkled on over time, more likely trial and error testing to see what things could be implemented to improve the overall performance. 

We’re going to focus on the most recent edition (yellow and brown), but first let’s clarify the differences between the gray and the yellow and brown versions:

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Similarities:

  • X-shape frames
  • Single large D-door
  • Roof with two polyester panels and two mesh panels
  • 3-season
  • Color-coded webbing
  • Full-coverage fly
  • 1 vestibule

Differences:

Gray model:

  • Higher polyester panelling
  • 3 windows
  • 75D 190T PU poly-taffeta fly
  • Slightly heavier
  • PU nylon taffeta floor
  • Has a 3p version

Yellow & brown model:

  • 360° views
  • 68D polyester fly
  • 68D polyester floor
  • Different color theme throughout the material

From these similarities and differences, we can tell that the gray model is slightly thicker in terms of materials, but the newer version has used polyester instead of nylon to cut down on some of the weight across all three sizes. That’s also the reason why the gray version is more expensive by almost $80.

Either way, both versions are reasonably priced, but it’s clear that they’ve upgraded this model to appeal to the budget-conscious campers. With more mesh on the yellow and brown, it’s also clear that it’s now more suitable for warm-weather trips as there is more ventilation.

 

What We Love – Our Top 3 Features

grand mesa tent side view

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GOLD QUALITY – Roominess without Added Bulk

One of the hardest things to do with these small-capacity tents is making them feel roomier than they actually are, but without adding to the overall weight. That’s what this line does so well and is one of the reasons for their upgrade – to shave off some of that weight to make it more suitable for backpacking.

They’ve achieved this through creating straighter walls and an almost-vertical front door. That’s combined with a vast floor space that is longer on the 2p and wider on the 4p. The doors are still large, but don’t stretch as far as the gray version, so there’s less weight from the zipper. Increased mesh paneling also makes things feel super breezy and spacious.

SILVER FEATURE – Speedy & Simple Set Up

The Quick Corner system is one of our favorite set-up features we’ve seen. It’s such a simple concept, yet has such a significant effect on the length of time it takes, as well as the stability of the tent.

Hug-clips are another standout feature which speed up the assembly process. They slide right onto the pole without needing to stretch and fumble with the pole to get a good grip. In terms of the fly, you’ve got color-coded webbing that lets you get the alignment right every time.

BRONZE HIGHLIGHT – Versatile Rainfly

While it may look like an average full-coverage rainfly at first glance, this fly has several features that seriously streamline the whole process.

First there’s the inner Velcro loops that take seconds to secure and add tons of stability. Then there are the guy cords that are already attached to several guy-out points – that will save you a lot of time rather than stumbling around trying to attach cords (a savior when it’s raining out or super windy).

The vestibule is not only comfortable to sit underneath while soaking in the views from your tent, but it gives you extra storage space and dual door configurations. An EZ-Zip on the vestibule makes it so much easier to unzip from the comforts of the tent.

 

Reviews – Breaking Down Every Detail

grand mesa tent mountain view pic

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Easygoing Set Up

There are multiple elements of the installation process that have been specially designed to make things as uncomplicated and easygoing as possible.

As we mentioned in our Top Features section, the Quick Corners are simply awesome. They are basically super-short sleeves that sit closer to the ground, making sliding poles through sleeves smoother and faster. These Quick Corners also make the tent stand up handsfree, so connecting the hug-clips takes barely any time at all.

The fly has color-coded webbing on the corners and gets secured with side-release buckles. Interior Velcro loops fasten in seconds, whilst adding more stability.

Lightweight Yet Protective Materials

grand mesa tent clip on ropes

Even though the previous gray version used thicker materials, we’re actually pleased by the use of more lightweight options in the newer models. Polyester is still an effective and weather-resistant material, plus there’s still a waterproof rating of 1800mm across the fly and flooring.

More mesh paneling means more ventilation and a more lightweight body, so those are both wins in our book. The fly still comes down to the ground quite a bit, so you’re getting great protection against rain and winds. Also, this mesh is no-see-um, which means it’s resistant to large and small insects, like mosquitos.

DAC Poles

grand mesa tent clip on feature

DAC are a Japanese company who has been crafting tent poles since 1991. They have several types of poles in their line, but the Pressfit are used for this model. Pressfit poles are actually built for winter and expeditions, but they’re still lightweight to suit the needs of backpackers and hikers. Basically, you’re getting the robust nature of aluminum (which is less prone to breakage) without compromising on its lightweight properties.

Giant Door & EZ-Zip Vestibule

grand mesa tent carry bag

While there is only one door on each size, it is seriously big. It reaches to the roof and all the way down to the ground (almost) so you barely have to duck when you’re getting in; at least not as much as you would with some doors we’ve seen on other 2p and 4p tents.

We love how seamlessly the door lines up with the opening at the vestibule. This opening is equipped with the EZ-Zip, which sits closer to the door to allow you to open the vestibule from inside the tent. This design, in combination with the big door, makes things feel spacious and like you’ve got room to breathe.

Full-Closure Fly

grand mesa tent half open

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Rain, wind, sand, sun – the full-coverage rainfly is a glorious thing to have no matter where you’re camping or the weather outside. It gives you flexibility to choose when you’re camping, since you’re not limited to clear blue skies and barely-there winds. A full-coverage fly will keep you protected for those unexpected downpours or windstorms.

This fly in particular also has a few highlights when it comes to add-ons. The pre-attached guy cords add heaps of convenience when you’re trying to guy it out in bad conditions, and let you adjust the tautness of the tent for better wind resistance and airflow.

Portability

To avoid those times trying to stuff a tent into a tiny bag and sweating in the process, the Shark Mouth bag that’s included with this model is a lifesaver. Shark Mouth refers to the design of the opening of the bag – it’s much wider than a typical cylinder-shaped tent bag and thus much easier to stuff the tent into.

 

Most Asked Questions – We’ve Got You Covered

Is there much ventilation?

Since all the walls are covered in mesh, there is significantly more airflow than the previous gray version which had mesh less than halfway down the interior tent. A lack of vents on the fly is made up for with the guy out adjustments on the rainfly – you can make them more or less taut to control the ventilation levels. When there’s no rain, but you still want the privacy of the fly, you can even leave one-half of the vestibule open to let in plenty of air.

Can it be used in cold weather?

It is possible to use these models in colder weather, but not where it’s cold enough to snow. That’s because there is an opening at the bottom of the vestibule on the fly, which lets in some cold air from the ground. There is quite a bit of mesh on the inner canopy, so these are more suited to 3-season camping.

Should I use a footprint?

It’s always a good idea to use a footprint with any tent in order to increase its longevity. You can buy footprints separately that are made specific to this model. The footprint will help prevent rips or holes, which thus prevents leaks.

 

Conclusion on the Grand Mesa Tents

The Kelty Grand Mesa tent line is absolutely packed with value and functionality. After dissecting each and every detail, we are definitely impressed by the changes they’ve made to the upgraded yellow and brown versions. With stacks of mesh paneling, a full-coverage fly, vestibule storage space, an improved lightweight structure, and an effortless set up, these tents are perfect for those looking for reliability wrapped in a decent price.

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