Kelty Camping Gear Reviewed

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Flashlight – check. Bug spray – check. S’mores – check. You’ve got just about all the essentials for your next camping trip. But when was the last time you checked out your sleep camping gear? What is the condition of your tent? What do you sleep on? And does that ratty old blanket even keep you warm and dry? If you are second guessing any of these, then it might be time to swap out your old camping gear for new camping gear by Kelty.

Kelty camping gear is known for their top-of-the-line and state-of-the-art camping, hiking, and backpacking gear to suit any outdoor adventure. Read on to check out some of their top-rated products below.

3-in-1 Waterproof Blanket

Kelty Woodstock Outdoor Blanket
1 Reviews
Kelty Woodstock Outdoor Blanket
  • This Kelty outdoor blanket neatly zips into its own carrying case.
  • Ideal for concerts, picnics, and watching the stars.
  • Hidden storage pocket.
  • Self-stuffs into hidden, zippered storage bag.
  • Can be used as a seat cushion (when stored).

Ah, the joys of the holiday Yankee Swap! Also known as a White Elephant Gift Exchange, this event always brings big laughs at our annual family Christmas party. Some gifts are gag gifts (like the Bill Clinton corkscrew and the Hilary Clinton nutcracker that were a big hit last year), and others are coveted (among my handyman husband’s family anything involving tools or knives get stolen a lot).

This year, my young nephew opened up a Kelty 3-and-1 Waterproof Blanket, that didn’t light his fire like the Nerf gun his cousin had received. Not wanting my sweet nephew to be disappointed, I swiped the blanket from him.

He later scored an iTunes gift card. While I actually wanted the bottle of Colorado wine that went around a few times, nobody stole my blanket, so I came home with the item. This is not a bad thing; it’s just not an outdoorsy product we really needed.

That said, it might get some use on future road and camping trips. It’s made from waterproof nylon — and the exterior blue side is indeed waterproof (it passed the water-spillage test). The grey side is also nylon, but a bit silkier, and water doesn’t seem to repel like the blue side does. It’s filled with a thin layer of batting.

When open, the blanket spreads to five feet by six feet; when folded in its attached carrier, it’s closer to 18 inches square. The webbing handle is removable. Because of the thin and lightweight material, it can squish into a gear bag or in between suitcases in a car trunk.

Regarding the 3-in-1 aspect, I can see using this Kelty item as a blanket or as a sleeping pad (albeit a thin one) while camping. I suppose it can also be a pillow when stuffed in its case, or used as a padded seat at a stadium football game where the bleachers are hard and cold.

While it’s not something that I’d go out and buy for myself (goodness knows we’ve got plenty of sleeping bags, tarps and camping pillows), I’m not unhappy it’s been added to our stash of camping gear.

Sleep Eazy Inflatable Camping Mattress

Kelty Sleep Eazy PVC Free Queen Airbed
47 Reviews
Kelty Sleep Eazy PVC Free Queen Airbed
  • PVC Free.
  • Circular Coils for support.
  • 6V rechar geable pump with car and wall charger.
  • Includes Kelty Binto for storage.
  • Repair kit included.

The Sleep Eazy blow-up mattress from Kelty has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s eco-friendly, made with PVC-free nylon laminated to TPU (a type of rugged thermoplastic polyurethane known for its abrasion resistance). It’s also quite lightweight and it comes folded up in a zip-up tote bag for easy storage at home and for tossing in the car trunk.

Perhaps the feature I like best about the Kelty Sleep Eazy mattress is that it’s super easy (eazy!) to inflate. The Twist-Lock pump is rechargeable — no batteries required (another nod to the environment). Charge the pump via a car charger or wall outlet, then insert the pump into the valve in the side of the mattress. Flip the pump switch to “on” and the mattress inflates in about 90 seconds. The valve is self sealing, so when you remove the pump you won’t lose any air. Truly, this is one of the most convenient inflatable mattresses I’ve ever used. Deflation is equally easy.

Now, we’ve only used the mattress for tween sleepovers so far. While 11-year-old girls are certainly not the best judges of overnight sleeping comfort (their nimble bodies can’t compare to this 40-year-old frame), the two who slept on the mattress on a bedroom floor recently had no complaints! I wouldn’t hesitate to blow it up as firm as possible and sleep on the dimpled mattress on a camping trip. The mattress is thick when fully inflated, so I’d be sleeping five inches off the ground.

Purchase the Kelty Sleep Eazy queen mattress on Amazon.com. I also found it for sale on other online sites like Backcountry.com and REI. The twin-size mattress retails for about $10 cheaper.

TraiLogic SB20 Sleeping Bag and PDa Pad

Kelty Women's SB20 20-Degree 800-Fill DriDown Sleeping Bag
11 Reviews
Kelty Women's SB20 20-Degree 800-Fill DriDown Sleeping Bag
  • DriDown stays driers, keeps you warmer and dries faster than regular down.
  • Waterproof treatment at hood and foot of sleeping bag.
  • Total Weight: 2lb 1oz (.88kg).
  • Fits up to 5 Feet, 8 Inches.
  • Stuff Size: 7 x 13 Inch.

I’ve been intrigued by Kelty’s TraiLogic system for a while now, both because of its innovative packing system and individual components. Basically, TraiLogic products are meant to fit together ‘intelligently’ to make packing and unpacking (and finding what you need when you need it) easier. Travelers and backpackers can either go in, purchasing the whole system of pack, pad, and sleeping bag, or utilize the pieces individually.

Since I’m still deeply in love with my Osprey Aura multi day pack, I opted to try out the TraiLogic SB20 Sleeping Bag and PDa Pad. Both fit better with my Osprey than any other sleeping components I’ve owned.

The SB20 bag features 800 fill power and is rated to 20 degrees (it’s right in the name, of course), and is made of DriDown, which is natural down insulation improved with a hydrophobic finish. This keeps rain and melting snow from soaking in, while still allowing internal moisture to escape.

It’s by far the lightest bag I’ve owned, and fits into a compression stuff sack (included) to a size 1/3 smaller than my old bag (standard NorthFace down bag). I love that Kelty also includes a mesh storage bag. Because of its size and weight, I can easily fit the SB20 in my pack instead of on the outside, freeing up room for a tent or two (I backpack with my whole family).

The bag weighs in at 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and features a tapered fit (standard mummy bag). The zipper has been snag-proof so far, and can be zipped up or down with one hand. In my opinion, this simple feature should be standard across the industry, but alas, this has not yet been the case.

Kelty PDa Air Chamber Pad
17 Reviews
Kelty PDa Air Chamber Pad
  • Mummy shape.
  • Super light and compact design.
  • Air-chambers provide 2″ of pneumatic support.
  • Very high comfort to weight ratio.
  • Inflates in 4-5 breaths.

The PDa Pad is a tubular design (air-chamber), but unlike most in the industry, it folds into a rectangular shape to pack flat instead of a roll. Again, this makes it possible to fit in the pack proper, or attach to the outside without gaining extra bulk.

Just last week, I took both the pad and bag on their maiden trip into Northern California’s Trinity Alps, and loved how streamlined my pack was. I even had room to attach my favorite camp chair because I had so little bulk. The flat, rectangular pad fit well on the outside back panel of my Osprey, and the bag fit completely under my top panel.

The air-chamber pad inflates and deflates via a mouth-inflating valve (like your standard pads), but features an ergonomically designed shape; these pads almost mimic the shape of the SB20 (standard mummy bag shape), which makes it far less likely that you’ll roll off your pad in the middle of the night. Plus, this shape cuts back on the overall weight and bulk.

If you use the pad and bag with the Kelty TrailLogic pack, they have specific placement, with the overall system designed to save you time and effort when setting up your camp or arriving at your destination. However, I wouldn’t hesitate in buying the components individually; everyone has preferences when it comes to packing their backpack, and with the SB20 and PDa Pad designs, you certainly have more than one option. Try it out and save your back a few ounces!

The Hula House

Kelty Hula House 6 Basecamp 6 Person Tent
11 Reviews
Kelty Hula House 6 Basecamp 6 Person Tent
  • Packaged Weight 19 lb. 6 oz..
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 126 x 126 x 76.
  • Number of Poles: 3 Type: DAC DA17 Aluminum.
  • The angled hoop design creates a tall tent opening for easy entry/exit.
  • Taped seams on floor and fly.

We had a brief window into spring couple weeks ago — the yard dried up enough to spend some time outside, and the sun was out for more than an hour. I took advantage of that time to pitch the Kelty Hula House 4 in the back yard — you don’t want to pitch a tent for the first time in the rain, right?

Kelty’s Hulu House is a tall, roomy, lightweight car camping tent. It comes in two sizes, four and six. We like a four for car camping because there’s extra room for stuff in side and we’re not up against the nylon when the weather goes bad.

The tent is almost all netting, meaning it’s got lots of ventilation — you absolutely want the fly on if you’re going to be someplace where there’s fog or condensation, but for hot dry places, you can leave it off and see the stars. (We once camped at the Green River in Utah under a bright full moon, this is the tent I wish we’d had then.)

Pitching the tent is easy enough. It’s your classic two pole dome tent with an extra hoop (hence the “hula” in the name) that goes over the top. Once the two cross bars are up and the sides clipped in place, you drop the spring-loaded hoop over the top and clip the tent on at additional points.

This makes the sides of the tent stand out well away from the cross bars, giving the tent more of a house shape than your classic half dome. It feels very roomy inside, the husband and I could both stand up inside without hitting our heads. (Okay, I’m short. He’s just under 6 ft.)

The fly stakes out in front in such a way that there’s a little vestibule or front porch and there’s a little window in the doorway too. I wanted extra poles to stake out the door way so it could serve as a sort of awning or shade protection, but I suppose you could tie out to some nearby tree if you’ve got them.

On it’s own, you don’t have to stake the tent, you do need to stake the fly. The tent stakes aren’t the sturdiest, but that’s typical for tent kits — we usually carry plenty of extras for when ours bend or break in hard ground.

Pulling the tent down was a little bit more difficult. It’s all doable by one person — I did it — but the hoop was so tightly spring loaded that I couldn’t get it to collapse. It’s not clear if there’s a release point on the hoop; this might make it a bit easy.

It’s a clever design — the hoop is entirely shock corded, just like the tent stakes, but it took some fussing to get it to release. The whole kit rolls up into a nice bag. It’s not super compact, but it’s not meant to be, either, it’s a family car camping tent, not a back country ultra-light.

There are a few things I questioned. Camping in the wet as we do, I’ll be watching to see how the seams hold up on the floor — I prefer a bathtub construction floor and the Hula Hut doesn’t have this, it’s got taped seams.

Because the tent is all mesh, there’s no pretence of privacy without the fly. All that netting might mean that if you have to pitch it in the rain, you run the risk of getting water inside the tent if you take too long to get it pitched and covered.

I’ve no doubt that it will keep the rain off from above once it’s up, the fly covers properly and if you pitch the tent nice and tight, you’ll stay dry inside.

The Hula Hut passed the backyard sunny day test quite easily. We’ll see how this roomy portable house does in the rain later this summer. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a new car camping tent, check out the Hula Hut.

Trail Ridge 3 tent

$63.00
Kelty Trail Ridge 3 Tent
132 Reviews
Kelty Trail Ridge 3 Tent
  • Polyester mesh.
  • Trail-worthy tent designed for performance on your next backpacking adventure.
  • Dual doors offer convenient access without having to climb over your partner.
  • 2 vestibules provide convenient and protected gear storage.
  • Freestanding design is easy to move around for ideal campsite placement.

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 (mentioned above) 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” 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 moveability 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 at Kelty, which, incidentally, is one of my top favorite backpacking supply companies for their quality products with no-nonsense pricing.

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.

Discovery 2-Person Tent

$24.95
Kelty 2 Person Tent
42 Reviews
Kelty 2 Person Tent
  • 75D Polyester.
  • Packed Weight: 7lb 8oz / 3.4kg.
  • Minimum Weight: 6lb 9oz / 2.98kg.
  • Floor Area: 32ft2 / 2.9m2.
  • Vestibule Area: 13 + 10ft2 / 1.2 + .93m2.

The Kelty Discovery 2-person tent offers no more and no less than exactly what you need in an entry-level, all-purpose backpacking tent. With just two poles, it’s the simplest tent I’ve ever set up.

Turns out, this is a good thing, because the first time I erected it found me chaperoning an entire class of 3rd graders on an overnight in the Siskiyou Mountains. It took me only two minutes to set up, even allowing for time to rescue a spider from the kids’ tent nearby.

The Discovery 2-person features a standard rectangular dome footprint, with one (wide) door. I didn’t miss having windows, because the entire top half of the tent is mesh, giving it a very open and breezy feel.

It’s freestanding, which means it doesn’t take three hands to set up, and in normal conditions, the included guy lines aren’t necessary. You get a full rain fly with vestibule, and the clip-only pole system means you’re done in a snap (pun intended).

The entire Discovery line, in fact, is back-to-basics, which I really appreciate. Sure, sometimes we want all the bells and whistles, but most of the time, most of us just want a high quality tent that’s simple, to the point, and priced reasonably.

Like most 2-person tents, the Discovery will fit two adults very snugly, one adult and one child reasonably, and one adult very nicely. I slept in it solo, and enjoyed having space for my pack inside the tent at night. I opted not to use the rain fly, but if I had, I would have had room for my pack and shoes in the vestibule.

The Discovery 2-person isn’t the lightest tent you’ll ever pack in, weighing in at 6 pounds 7 ounces. In fact, for a 2-person, that’s pretty high. If you’re car camping or walking in to your site, you’ll be sitting pretty with the Discovery, but I’d think twice before hiking more than a few miles, unless you conserve weight elsewhere.

It’s a nice length for attaching to a pack at 22 inches, and fits in just about any site space. If you’re looking for a larger–yet lighter–Kelty tent, re-read my review of the Kelty Trail Ridge 3 above.

The Discovery fly attaches with easy to use buckles, and you get velcro tabs at the guy out points. The entire tent is seam-sealed, and I was very happy with the quality. The Discovery makes for a great entry-level tent for first timers, or as a back up to have in your garage, ready for adventure.

Mine will be used primarily by my teen son, who is starting to assemble his own gear inventory.