The Best Kelty Tents in 2021

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Kelty has been a popular choice among budget-weary campers ever since the company got its start in 1952. Their gear, tents included, is designed to be easy to use so you can spend more time enjoying yourself outside.

The company boasts an impressive line up of tents, so it can be tricky to know which one is right for you.

There are 3 key features that make for a great Kelty tent :

  • Easy set up. Nearly every Kelty Tent features their Quick Corner technology, which allows for fast and simple set up on the go
  • Budget friendly. Kelty is known for its line up of affordable camping gear, and their tents are no exception
  • Appropriately sized. With Kelty, you can choose from a range of different tent sizes for your needs, from a 1 person shelter to 6 person home away from home

Read More : Kelty Tents Buyer’s Guide

To ensure that you get the right Kelty tent for all of your upcoming trips, we’ve put together this list of the 7 best options available. We’ve also included an informative buyer’s guide so you know what to look for as you shop.

Here are the 7 best Kelty tents for your camping adventures.

Tent ModelBest For DimensionWeight
Kelty Cabana Shelter Day trips, beach 116” x 76” 7.3lbs / 3.3kg
Kelty Late Start 2 2 person, easy set up 85” x 54” 4.5lbs / 2.0kg
Kelty Night Owl 3 3 person, stargazing 90” x 73” 6.7lbs / 3.0kg
Kelty Discovery Dome 4 4 person, budget friendly 99” x 81” 9.5lbs / 4.3kg
Kelty Grand Mesa 4 4 person, lightweight 98” x 80” 7.5lbs / 3.4kg
Kelty Tallboy 6 6 person, comfort 105” x 118” 14.1lbs / 6.4kg
Kelty Wireless 6 6 person, maximum interior space 118” x 106” 17.2lbs / 7.8kg

Kelty Cabana Shelter

Kelty Cabana Shelter Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 116” x 76”
  • Center Height : 4’ 5”
  • Weight : 7.3lbs / 3.3kg

Designed for trips to the beach and sunny sporting events, the Kelty Cabana Shelter is a go-to option if you need portable shade from the sun.

This budget-friendly sun shelter tent can be set up in just a few minutes, thanks to Kelty’s Quick Corner Technology. Its fiberglass poles snap into place quickly using the included quick clips.

Meanwhile, when it comes to relaxing outside, this shelter has a 68D polyester fly fabric that’s water-resistant for those occasional sun showers. For added breathability, it also has 3 large mesh windows that provide ample airflow and bug control on those hot and humid days.

Plus, the Kelty Cabana Shelter can be used as a privacy shield if you want to change out of your swimsuit. All you need to do is flip up the front portion of the floor and close up the windows for a convenient changing area, wherever you might be.

What We Like

  • Highly affordable. Budget-friendly shelter solution.
  • Great airflow. 3 large mesh windows for breathability.
  • Quick pitch design. Can be set up in minutes.

What We Don't Like

  • Not waterproof. Designed as a daytime shelter, not a sleeping area.

Kelty Late Start 2 Tent

Kelty Late Start 2 Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 85” x 54” 
  • Center Height : 3’ 4”
  • Weight : 4.5lbs / 2.0kg

User-friendly to the core, the Kelty Late Start 2 Tent is an ideal shelter for anyone that prioritizes simplicity in their gear.

Boasting Kelty’s Quick Corner Technology system, this tent can be set up in a matter of minutes so you can enjoy your trip, rather than worrying about your gear. Its pre-bent poles also reduce set up frustration, all while increasing the tent’s overall interior living space.

This shelter has a classic dome-shape design, which provides good performance in windy conditions. When combined with its full-coverage 68D polyester waterproof-treated rainfly, this tent is burly enough to hold up in a storm.

For a 2 person tent, the Kelty Late Start 2 has a fairly high center height. Its large front vestibule also provides additional gear storage so you can make the best use of your interior space for relaxation.

What We Like

  • Easy set up. Has Quick Corner Technology for fast pitching.
  • Weatherproof. Full coverage rainfly and dome shape for foul weather.
  • Gear storage. 1 large vestibule for added storage space.

What We Don't Like

  • Only One Door. Limits entry and exit.

Kelty Night Owl 3 Tent

Kelty Night Owl 3 Person Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 90” x 73”
  • Center Height : 3’ 7”
  • Weight : 6.7lbs / 3.0kg

Featuring a spacious interior and a simple design, the Kelty Night Owl 3 Tent is a quality shelter for backcountry travelers.

Thanks to its 2 door design, the tent is easy enough to enter and exit, even with 3 people inside the tent. Each door is also covered by a vestibule, which provides ample gear storage space so the inside of the tent can stay clutter-free.

Perhaps the most unique part of this tent is its Stargazing Fly. The fly can be opened and closed from the inside of the tent so that you can sit back and look up at the millions of stars dotting the night sky on a clear evening.

Additionally, within the Kelty Night Owl 3 Tent is a set of night light diffuser pockets. When you insert your headlamp into one of these pockets, it disperses the light throughout the tent for simplified overhead lighting in camp.

What We Like

  • Large doors. Provide easy entry and exit.
  • Stargazing fly. Open from the inside for views and ventilation.

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky. Fairly large packed size for a 3 person tent.

Kelty Discovery Dome 4 Tent

Kelty Discovery Dome 4 Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 99” x 81”
  • Center Height : 4’ 11” 
  • Weight : 9.5lbs / 4.3kg

One of the most budget-friendly 4 person tents on the market, the Kelty Discovery Dome 4 Tent is a comfortable option for car camping trips at your local campground.

It features a freestanding design that’s easy enough to set up with its 3 pole frame. Thanks to this 3 pole frame, the tent has a fairly high center height so everyone can have enough head space when lounging around at night.

For those hot summer evenings, Kelty designed this tent with a mesh window on the door. The window also has a zippered panel for battening down the hatches if it starts to rain.

Within the Kelty Discovery Dome 4 Tent, there are also multiple loop-style attachment points where you can hang up small items or add-on a gear loft for added storage.

What We Like

  • Budget friendly. An affordable option for small groups.
  • Breathable. Large window for added airflow.
  • Simple set up. Allows for faster pitching in camp.

What We Don't Like

  • No vestibule. Doesn’t have external gear storage.
  • Weather limitations. Top-only rainfly limits use to nice weather conditions.

Kelty Grand Mesa 4

Kelty Grand Mesa Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 98” x 80” 
  • Center Height : 4’ 7” 
  • Weight : 7.5lbs / 3.4kg

For backcountry camping trips in a small group, the Kelty Grand Mesa 4 is a highly functional option.

This time-tested tent has a surprisingly lightweight for a 4 person shelter, thanks to its compact folding aluminum poles. These poles quickly unfold and snap into place using Kelty’s Quick Corner Technology for a faster pitching process.

The tent is decidedly simple, in the interest of weight savings. But, it does have a burly 68D polyester rainfly that’s PU treated for maximum waterproofing.

Featuring a full-coverage rainfly and a dome-shaped construction, the Kelty Grand Mesa 4 is designed to handle wet and windy conditions. It also has a large front vestibule for quickly stashing your gear without taking up space within the tent.

What We Like

  • Large vestibule provides ample gear storage.
  • Lightweight for a 4 person tent.
  • Made from durable materials for great weather protection.

What We Don't Like

  • Only one door limits entry and exit at night.
  • Limited breathability especially when pitched with the fly.

Kelty Tallboy 6

Kelty Tallboy 6 Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 105” x 118”
  • Center Height : 6’ 0”
  • Weight : 14.1lbs / 6.4kg

On car camping trips where comfort is key, the Kelty Tallboy 6 is a fan-favorite.

As the name suggests, Kelty designed this tent with a tall 6’ (1.8m) center height, so it’s high enough for many campers to stand up inside. This added headroom is a result of the tent’s dome-style ceiling, which is made possible by its fiberglass X-pole construction.

Within the tent, you get a large open floor plan that offers enough space for 6 campers. A single large door opens up to the inside of this behemoth tent which also has some interior pockets for added gear organization.

The Kelty Tallboy has large mesh paneling throughout the interior canopy for added ventilation on hot evenings. It can be pitched with or without the top-only rainfly for even more breathability in muggy, yet dry conditions.

What We Like

  • Tall center height adds comfort to any camping trip.
  • Large open floor plan. Plenty of space for 6 people.
  • Very breathable. Large mesh paneling for ventilation.

What We Don't Like

  • Waterproofing limitations. Rainfly is not full-coverage.

Kelty Wireless 6

Kelty Wireless 6 Kelty Tents
Photo Credit : Kelty
  • Floor Dimension : 118” x 106” 
  • Center Height : 6’ 4”
  • Weight : 17.2lbs / 7.8kg

Weekend family camping trips demand comfort and functionality, which is precisely what the Kelty Wireless 6 delivers.

This tent has a staggering 6’4” (1.9m) center height so almost everyone can stand upright comfortably when inside. It has 2 doors so everyone can enter and exit with ease without crawling over their fellow tent mates.

Unlike many other budget-friendly 6 person tents, this model also comes with a full-coverage rainfly and 2 seam-sealed and waterproof vestibules. That makes it possible for you to store your gear outside the tent to limit clutter on the inside without worrying that your gear will get wet in the rain.

Plus, although it’s a bit on the heavy side, the Kelty Wireless 6 also packs down into a convenient shark mouth style duffle for easier transport to and from the campsite.

What We Like

  • 2 vestibules. Plenty of gear storage space.
  • Full coverage rainfly. Waterproof for stormy weather.
  • High center height provides added headspace while camping.

Kelty Tents Buyer’s Guide

Kelty has dozens of different tent options available so it’s critical that you know what to look for as you shop for your next camping shelter.

Here are the most important things you should know about Kelty Tents before you buy.

Kelty camping tents range

Kelty’s tent range is organized into different model lines to make it easier for you to find the right option for your needs.

This is what you need to know :

  • All Inn. The All Inn line-up features lightweight camping shelters that don’t skim on creature comfort in the backcountry. These tents have hubbed-pole designs that make set-up easy and reduce your pack weight at the same time.
  • Dirt Motel. With the Dirt Motel line of tents, you get a backcountry camping shelter with a spacious interior. Each of these tents has a hubbed pole design, high ceilings, and oversized door for added comfort on the trail.
  • Night Owl. Kelty’s Night Owl line, which includes models like the Kelty Night Owl 3 Tent, is all about taking advantage of the wonders of sleeping under the stars. This line of tents features Quick Corners pitching technology and Stargazing Flies so you can stare up at the starry night before you head to bed.
  • Grand Mesa. The Kelty Grand Mesa range, which includes models such as the Kelty Grand Mesa 4, contains a great assortment of affordable options for backcountry campers. Each of these tents has simple, yet functional constructions with Quick Corners poles and a single large vestibule for storing all your gear.
  • Late Start. Simplicity is everything with the Kelty Late Start series. This line of tents, which includes the Kelty Late Start 2 Tent, is all about keeping things as simple as possible so you can roll into camp, pitch your shelter, and get right to enjoying the great outdoors.
  • Tall Boy. With the Tall Boy range of tents, you get a budget-friendly car camping shelter, like the Kelty Tallboy 6, that doesn’t slack off on livability. Although these tents don’t come with vestibules, they do have surprisingly tall center heights for tents at this price point.
  • Wireless. For top of the line performance in car camping situations, the Wireless line, including the Kelty Wireless 6, is all about ensuring that you can camp comfortably, regardless of the conditions. These spacious tents all include full-coverage rainflies and large vestibules. While they’re a bit heavier and pricier than most Kelty tents, they make up for it with their functionality.

Tent capacity

Kelty, like many gear manufacturers, offers tents in a variety of different maximum sleeping capacities from the 2 person Kelty Late Start 2 and the 4 person Kelty Discovery Dome 4, all the way up to the 6 person Kelty Tallboy 6.

The company also offers a range of day-use shelters, like the Kelty Cabana Shelter, which is designed to protect 1 person from the sun.

When it comes to tent capacity on your Kelty tent, the most important thing is that you get a model that’s appropriately sized for your group. Keep in mind that for car camping applications, many groups opt to get a tent that’s one size bigger than they actually need for added comfort while outside.

Where to buy Kelty tents?

Kelty is a major brand name in the outdoor industry, so their tents are stocked by all the biggest retailers.

Here are some good places to get a Kelty tent :

  • REI has been a big player in the outdoor retail industry since it got its start back in 1938. The company has brick and mortar stores across the United States and has a big online retail presence for anyone that likes to shop from home. Plus, any products sold by REI – including Kelty tents – are covered by their 1-year no-questions-asked satisfaction guarantee, so long as you keep your receipt.
  • Backcountry is an online-only retail outlet that specializes in outdoor gear. They stock most of the major brand names, including Kelty, and they allow you to return your new, unused gear, without question at any time. Used and undamaged gear bought through Backcountry.com can also be returned up to 30 days after delivery for store credit.
  • CampSaver is a popular discount outdoor gear outlet that’s been offering bargain deals since 2003. They have a great satisfaction guaranteed policy for up to 60 days on all products, including Kelty tents.
  • Walmart. One of the biggest box stores in North America, Walmart is a major retailer of pretty much anything. In their camping section, they often stock Kelty tents, which you can sometimes get at a great price.

Kelty tents warranty period

All Kelty tents are covered under their limited warranty policy. This policy is valid for the lifetime of the tent, which is generally about 5 to 10 years.

However, like pretty much every warranty policy in the business, Kelty’s tent warranty only covers manufacturing issues, not damage due to normal wear and tear.

Additionally, Kelty requires a receipt from an authorized retailer (such as those listed above) before they will process any warranty claims. To make it easier for you to submit a warranty claim, should a problem arise, Kelty also allows you to register your tent after purchase.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.