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Backpacker Magazine – Editors' Choice 2011

Editors' Choice 2011: Kelty Salida 2 Tent

This sub-four-pound bargain brings ultralight shelter to the masses.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Kelty Salida 2 (Kim Phillips)
Kelty Salida 2 (Kim Phillips)

Tents tend to seesaw between weight and price: As one goes up, the other goes down. The light-load, low-cost Salida 2 turns that equation on its head. And there’s no tradeoff when it comes to a tent’s key function: weather protection.

The double-wall dome’s taut fly kept testers dry during storms on Vancouver Island’s notoriously soggy West Coast Trail, and the simple, sturdy two-pole support exhibited no ultralight shudders in gusty weather. And ventilation—sometimes a weakness in tiny tents—proved more than adequate, thanks to good airflow through the mostly mesh canopy. Testers reported only light condensation inside the fly after a night of wet snow in Capitol Reef National Park. The tough-enough 68-denier ripstop nylon floor withstood abrasive slickrock. And the Salida pitches fast—one tester did it for the first time in the dark.

So what’s the catch? To save weight without using expensive ultralight (or cheap and flimsy) materials, designers trimmed features and dimensions. There’s only one side door, which makes midnight exits a climb-over-your-partner hassle for one of you. Headroom and length are good for six-footers, but the 30.5-square-foot floor is cozy for two big guys. And the 10-square-foot vestibule, while big enough for a pair of packs and boots, leaves no space for sheltered cooking. $160; 3 lbs. 12 oz.; kelty.com

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READERS COMMENTS

TheMan
Dec 10, 2011

Turboherb - Don't compare your $500 Stephenson 2R to a $160 tent. OF COURSE your $500 tent performs better. If it didn't then they wouldn't sell any, would they?

And don't compare your Tarptent Contrail to a tent. Of course it's lighter. The people who built them didn't even include poles. Who wants to sleep in a tarp anyway? Silly hiker, tarps are for pickup trucks.

Jerry
Dec 10, 2011

Sometimes I see comments asking why only the top end, highest performance products receive the Editor's Choice Award. It seems that when a product is considered price is not used as a factor when determining Editor's Choice. It is only performance.

Well here we have a great example of a tent that seriously outperforms other tents at this price point and yet people are complaining about it because their pet favorite $300-$500 tent outperforms the cheaper tent. Really? Get a grip people. This made Editor's Choice because it is a damn good tent, possibly the best, for people who can't afford top tier equipment.

And please don't compare it to a Tarptent. This is a freestanding doublewalled tent with poles. It is not a tarp. A Tarptent will weigh less than any real tent because it doesn't even have poles. Compare apples to apples please. This is a tent, not a tarp.

Trevor L
Dec 02, 2011

For all of you bashing the Salida 2, I have one thing to say: you think you know better than Backpacker magazine's editors? Those guys put hundreds of miles and hours into testing their gear, they don't just let any piece of crap take the prestigious Editor's Choice awards.

Todd
Sep 04, 2011

Kelty has good quality affordable products! You just have to get the right one for what you need.

Turboherb
Jul 31, 2011

Cheap, yes, light - no way. Even my Stephanson 2R is lighter and much larger, warmer and much more durable. My Tarptent Contrail is about the same size and weighs 1.5 lbs. At almost 5 lbs ( if you add a footprint) its way too heavy.

Erin Brandt
Jul 18, 2011

What they don't tell you is that 3 lbs 12 ozs is without the rain fly (per Kelty Rep)...its 4 lbs 8 ozs with the rain fly. Still not bad, but not quite as good as it sounds. Seems like a decent tent though, taking it out for 22 days, so hopefully its awesome!

Erin Brandt
Jul 18, 2011

What they don't tell you is that 3 lbs 12 ozs is without the rain fly (per Kelty Rep)...its 4 lbs 8 ozs with the rain fly. Still not bad, but not quite as good as it sounds. Seems like a decent tent though, taking it out for 22 days, so hopefully its awesome!

Patrick
Jul 10, 2011

This was your EDITORS CHOICE? I find it hard to believe that Kelty tents made your list! Horrible tents!

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