Built for the cost-conscious campers, the Kelty Salida tents are go-to options for backpackers and hikers alike. This line is also popular with casual solo campers, couples, or even small families. They are marketed as a 3-season line, falling somewhere in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to price range.
In general, Kelty have never failed to impress us. We’ve reviewed many of their other tents, but we’re intrigued to get down to the nitty-gritty with this particular backpacking line to see how it differs from other top Kelty tents.
Today we’ll be reviewing the Kelty Salida 1 person, 2 person, and 4 person sizes that make up the entire line. Continue reading to discover each and every detail, hidden and all, so that you can decide whether it would suit your next trip into the wild.
Kelty Salida 1 Person Tent
- Peak Height of 38”
- Wide D-Shaped Door for Easy Entry & Exit
- Thin Overall Width for High Wind Resistance
Kelty Salida 2 Person Tent
- Peak Height of 43”
- Notably Lighter than Most 2p Tents
- Aerodynamic Design
Kelty Salida 4 Person Tent
- More of a Dome Shape with Wider Floor Area
- Taller Peak Height of 56”
- Longer D-Door to Avoid Crouching During Entry & Exit
First Impressions of the Kelty Salida Tent Line
Right off the bat, these tents don’t look like anything completely new. Don’t write-it-off just yet, because that is definitely not a bad thing. Simplicity can often outshine things that go overboard, especially when they’re done so well. With a classic dome shape and full-coverage rainfly, this line doesn’t look like it’s playing around with any frills or unnecessary embellishments that we’ve seen on some other tents in the same range. You’re looking at reliable materials, a budget-friendly price, and a lightweight construction made for those who need to keep their pack weight low.
What We Love – Our Top 3 Features
GOLD QUALITY – Assembly
For those who want the simplicity of an instant or pop up tent, but need more durability, the set up process for this line is truly one of the best we’ve seen. We love it so much because it’s extremely fast, can be done by one person (even if they’re inexperienced), and is also a cinch to take down again.
The hug-clips are probably the biggest standout for us in terms of the assembly. They completely eliminate the need for pole sleeves, which can become time-consuming and confusing, especially when you’re trying to assemble in bad weather or in the dark. They clip on smoothly and quickly, making it a freestanding design that is easier to move around once assembled.
SILVER FEATURE – Innovative Hug Clips
Instead of regular clips, Kelty have gone one step further by utilizing a different kind of clip design. The “hug-clips”, as they call them, have two opposing hooks, rather than a singular hook on one side. This means you have to twist them as they attach to the poles, which means you’re getting tons of added security and stability. We love this feature because it’s such a subtle design touch, yet it has such an effect on the overall durability and weather resistance.
BRONZE HIGHLIGHT – Privacy without Added Bulk
Want to get changed in your tent, but don’t have time to put on the whole fly? Or perhaps you just can’t be bothered? The polyester taffeta sidewalls are another highlight for us because they add convenience and comfort in one. Not only do you get more privacy from side walls, but they are still lightweight and breathable since they’ve got that taffeta blend.
This ensures you’re getting a fresh breeze coming through, which prevents condensation building up in the tent. Since these walls are lightweight, they’re not adding bulk to the overall weight, ensuring your pack stays light.
Reviews – Breaking Down Every Detail
Considering these are backpacking tents, it’s nice to see that they’ve used lightweight aluminum poles rather than their heavier fiberglass counterpart. Not only are these aluminum, but they are made by the Japanese company DAC – a big player in the tent pole game.
In this line they’ve used the Pressfit poles, which are crafted without glue to ensure a higher level of durability. These poles are long-lasting as well, so you don’t need to worry about breakage after a few uses.
Another interesting element of the framework is the fact that the poles are a little shorter than we’re used to seeing on some other backpacking-specific tents. Shorter poles allow for a smaller pack size, as they collapse into a more compact shape.
Inside you’ll find fully seam taped bathtub flooring. Bathtub is a design that consists of a high-profile floor edge, which stops leaks coming through from puddles or splashes of water. The flooring is constructed with 68D polyester, an inherently waterproof material, which is also rugged and durable to avoid tears and holes.
We like the addition of the polyester taffeta roof that sits right on the peak. It’s a smart design choice because it provides extra protection from any condensation build-up on the underside of the fly, or if you get caught in the rain and haven’t put the fly up yet. The rainfly is also fully seam taped and waterproof.
No-see-um mesh 360° panels generate a lovely cross-breeze from all angles of the tent. Even when the fly is on, you can roll back one or both of the vestibule panels to get some air flowing through.
Polyester taffeta is used for the walls, rather than full polyester, as it’s more breathable. This is great for letting some air circulate through from the ground even when you’ve got the fly installed.
Speaking of the fly, there are several guy-out points, including one specific one at the back area. After pulling it out it turns into a rear vent, so you can achieve a comfortable cross-breeze through there as well.
A side-access door is a highlight for us because it is much simpler to get in and out of when compared to a front door on the shorter side. Aside from being easily accessible, it’s shaped in a massive D-formation to prevent sore necks or backs. This door can be rolled and clipped back in a few seconds, giving you freedom of movement.
For such low-capacity tents, we’re happy with how spacious it feels inside. For instance, the 2p has enough room for two 22-inch wide sleeping pads, plus extra room for gear if you’re not going to use the vestibule.
Although the 1p and 2p aren’t super big (because they’re designed for backpackers and need to be lightweight), the 4p has a bit more space and feels roomy thanks to almost-vertical side walls.
The peak height is one of the most promising features, because it’s done in a way that doesn’t make things feel claustrophobic. Without adding to the overall weight, they’ve managed to achieve a comfortable peak height that stops you from hitting your head while sitting down – no more bending necks while getting dressed.
Inside you’ll find multiple storage pockets, ranging from corner ones to wall pouches depending on the size. There are also 5 loops at the roof, which are handy for hanging a gear loft or camping light.
Apart from the obvious vestibule storage space at the door, we love the hidden mini-vestibule located at the rear. We mentioned it above in the Breathability section – using a guy-out point, you can pull out a mini vent/vestibule and store some smaller belongings, like shoes.
Most Asked Questions – We’ve Got You Covered
Will it get stuffy inside with the fly on?
We’ve seen this question circle around quite a bit since there are no vents located on the rainfly. Humidity is never comfortable in a tent, which is why these models have included additional guy-out points along the fly. By stretching these out, you can create some air vents that will suck cold air from the ground and up into the mesh panels underneath.
Should I use my own stakes?
Each size in this range comes with a set of low-weight stakes made for backpackers and hikers. Although, we recommend taking your own heavy-duty stakes if there’s a possibility you could encounter high winds at your campsite.
As a solo camper, what size should I go for?
Of course, the 1p size is always going to suit a solo traveler, however we definitely suggest going for the 2p if you’re the type of camper that loves to sprawl out. That’s because the 2p has room for an extra body, so you’ll not only have extra space for stretching, but also for storing your gear if you don’t want to keep it in the vestibule.
Conclusion on the Kelty Salida Tent
Now that we’ve defined every detail of the Kelty Salida tent line, it’s safe to say these models favor simplicity and durability. These tents are perfect for those who are looking to forgo the bells and whistles of some other contemporary backpacking tents, and would rather keep things simple.
You’re getting a full-coverage fly with impressive vestibule storage space, plus near-vertical walls for increased interior room. The poly sidewalls offer some much-needed privacy, but you’re still getting airflow from 360° mesh panels. Overall, the Salida tents are ideal for backpackers who need something lightweight, without compromising on comfort.