We brought the Kelty Trail Ridge 3 along on our 4 day, 3-night backpack trip through Yosemite National Park last July, putting it through its paces strapped to my pack, as well as in three distinct campsites: on a rocky lake shore, adjacent to a woodsy creek, and in a busy backpackers camp.
I brought the Trail Ridge on the trip right out of the box–I hadn’t even tried setting it up before packing it for our trek–but I didn’t even need the pitching instructions to set it up. It’s very intuitive: just three pole units that create the dome and an extension, with a rain fly that clips on with color-coded snaps. I set it up solo in just 5 minutes on my first try, and improved my time thereafter.
The Trail Ridge 3 is meant to sleep three people, and we found this to be true…provided the three people are pretty short. We slept myself (5’4″) and my two oldest kids (ages 13 and 11), and we could sleep three across as recommended, but my feet hit the end of the tent. My 6’3″ husband could never have fit. Had he been in the tent with us, we’d have slept two people in the ‘long’ direction instead.
Favorite features of the Trail Ridge: We loved the design of the Trail Ridge 3. The mesh walls come almost all the way down, affording you excellent visibility (but little privacy…the rain fly fixes that problem). The dome is high for a lightweight backpacking tent, allowing for better movability inside, and internal storage pockets are built-in (as well as a gear loft which can be attached or detached). There are two doors (as well as two windows), making it easier on traffic control, and when the fly is in place, there’s ample room for gear in the space between the fly and tent on both ends.
The details: The Trail Ridge 3 weighs in at 5 lbs 12 oz, and has a floor area of 44 square feet. The length is 88 inches, and the width is 72 inches. When packed, the tent is 24 inches, which fits easily on an outer backpack strap along with a sleeping bag or pad. The tent is polyester, and the poles are DAC pressfit. Frankly, I’m not sure what that means, but they’re very light and flexible.
You can pick up a Trail Ridge 3 for $199.95 at Kelty, which, incidentally, is one of my top favorite backpacking supply companies for their quality products with no-nonsense pricing. It’s also available on Amazon, Altrec, Moosejaw, and CampMor. If a three person tent isn’t quite right for you, the Trail Ridge is also available in a two-person or a four-person and even six-person base camp tent.