View Full Version : Kelty Salida 2P review...

05-20-2011, 02:30
Hi all,

This Spring, my 5-year old daughter expressed a desire to begin backpacking with me. I have a host of really nice tents and I have to confess that I gulped more than once at the thought of her inadvertently trashing them due to inexperience and/or just being a kid. So I went on a hunt for an acceptable 2P tent that would not break the bank (or my back). Luckily, I had just picked up the latest BP Mag awards issue, and saw the props dished out for the Kelty Salida 2P. I could not find one local to set up or even purchase, so went ahead an nabbed one on Amazon. $128 dollars, and one day later (Yes... I've got the Prime account - love that!) it arrived. After putting it to use on several quick trips with my daughter, including one very windy overnight at Angel Island out in the San Francisco bay, I can say without issue that this tent is a steal!

Here are my thoughts:

The Salida 2P is the tried and true two-cross pole design that utilizes clips rather than sleeves. There is no brow pole to complicate or add weight. Because of this, the upper portion of the tent is narrower than many of today's more sophisticated tents, but in all honesty, I never felt cramped in any way. In fact, the tent feels plenty spacious. There is lots of mesh on all 4 walls to keep things well ventilated, but also has nicely placed solid nylon walls on the lower portion of the tent body to keep out breezes, dust and debris. There are two side pockets at the head end of the tent, and Kelty even included a mesh gear caddy that you attach at the top center of the ceiling (imagine that at this price!) and there is also a additional loop at the center of the ceiling for hanging a lantern. To help keep weight down, you only have one door, but the zipper works without issue and the it is nice a wide. The single vestibule is plenty large for two packs and boots, and opposite the door is a large stakable vent to further help keep air moving. The fabrics are tried and true basic nylon (to keep the price down) but they performed just fine, had no issues fending off the rain we had on one overnight, and simply give the over-all impression that they don't need to be babied. The poles are basic but tried-true DAC Pressfit aluminum. Again, nothing fancy, but more than sufficient and acceptably lightweight at a measured 16 oz.

Speaking of weight, Kelty's spec'd trail weight (tent, fly, poles) of 3lbs, 12 oz was a bit optimistic, as mine weighed in at 3lbs, 15.5 oz trail weight. 3.5 ounces is a bit of a bummer, but honestly, we're talking about legit backpacking tent under 4lbs for a mere $130 (retail is $159) so I was still left with a smile on my face.

So... The Salida 2P packs reasonably small, goes up easily, is sturdy (a night of 15 to 20 MPH winds off of San Francisco bay on Angel Island barely caused a flinch), was perfectly waterproof in an overnight rain storm, has had zero condensation issues over 4 nights, and has stood up to my daughter and her friend's less-than-gently playtime antics without flinching. It is plenty roomy inside, offers all you need and nothing you don't.

Issues are minor, but the fly drapes a bit too low at the door and I wish Kelty had put guy loops on the head/foot of the fly to make for a more taut setup and even better ventilation. Additionally, the pole clips are a bit stiff and hard to remove and the included guylines and tent stakes are of the cheap, "leave at home" variety. Other than that, I'm really hard pressed to find anything else at fault. This is the perfect tent for first-time backpackers, those on a tight budget, backpackers with kids or pets, etc. At under 4lbs, and solid performance, you'd never have to hang you head in shame. Kelty did good with the Salida 2P.

It actually has me wondering what would happen (and how much more it would cost/how much less it could weigh) to take this design and apply some higher-end, lighter weight materials. Hmmm... :rolleyes:

FYI... the sleeping pads in pic 9 are 20" wide Thermarest and that is my little adventurer sawing logs early in the morning on Angel Island. We're had a blast in this tent! :D

Basic specs:

88 by 55 by 43 inches (L x W x H)
30.5 square feet floor area, 10-foot vestibule

Freestanding design
Color-coded clip construction
Taped floor seams
Gear-loft loops and Gear-loft included
Mesh wall panels
Internal storage pockets
Noiseless zipper pulls