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I am comparing the Kelty Gunnison 2.1, sold everywhere ($189.99) with the Kelty Zenith, sold at Target ($59.99). The basic dimensions are the same and there are a few obvious differences, but how can the price be so different?
Submitted by – Chris – Lawson, MO
Great question, Chris. Sometimes the specs can be a bit deceiving. The dimensions on this tent may seem similar, but a few inches can actually make a big difference. The Gunnison is 10 inches longer than the Zenith and 5 inches wider. That amounts to quite a bit of extra room. (The peak height on the Zenith is actually 3 inches higher.) But the price difference really amounts to other aspects.
First off, the Gunnison has two doors and two vestibules, a huge convenience feature that ups the price of a tent because of all the extra materials and labor. The Gunnison also has aluminum poles, while the Zenith has fiberglass. Not only are aluminum poles much stronger, they are also substantially lighter, too, which is why the Gunnison, despite being bigger and more feature-rich, still weighs less than the Zenith (by almost a pound).
The Zenith is, no doubt, a fine bet for casual users, but if you’re a backpacker concerned with long term livability and weight, the Gunnison is a worthwhile investment. Check out our 2009 review.