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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Car Equipment > Kelty Carport Deluxe Shelter > Test Report by arnold peterson

December 04, 2008



NAME: Arnold Peterson
EMAIL: alp4982(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 70
LOCATION: Wilmington Massachusetts USA
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
TORSO: 19 in (48 cm)

Backpacking Background: Presently almost all my experience has been hiking in New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado USA, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Canada using an 11 lb (5 kg) day pack. I have backpacked on Mt. Washington and at the Imp shelter located between North Carter and Mount Moriah mountains in New Hampshire. The gear I will be writing about has been used a lot hiking mostly all year around in New Hampshire. I have completed the forty-eight 4000 footers (1219 m) of New Hampshire. My day hikes have been as long as 12 hours covering almost 20 miles (32 km).



Manufacturer: Kelty
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$ 320.00
Listed Weight: 10.2 lb (4.6 kg)
Measured Weight: 10.5 lb (4.8 kg)
Listed Size: 126 in x 116 in (320 cm x 296 cm)
Model: Deluxe L
Poles: DAC DA17
Stakes: Aluminum
Shelter Fabric: Polyester Taffeta
Colors: Grey With Blue And Yellow Sleeves

Product description:

The product consists of poles, carport body, and a small stake sack. There are 5 types of DAC aluminum poles consisting of 2 short, 2 long, 1 long with "C-Shaped" intersections, 1 long top pole with hook and loop straps, spring pins and eyelets, and 2 staff poles. See pole picture below. The carport body is made with Polyester Taffeta, has 3 sides, and has 3 zippered windows, 2 small and a larger one. The smaller windows are shaped like an elongated letter D, with the straight side near and close to the vehicle. The larger window is rectangular with rounded corners and is placed centered on the side opposite the vehicle. The windows are screened and can be zippered to keep rain and wind out. The stake sack consists of 14 aluminum stakes and 4 guy lines with a Nitelze figure 9 part for each. The stakes are almost 8 in (20 cm) long and 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter with a slight hook at one end and a blunt point at the other end. See picture below.
stakes and guy lines

Nitelze Figure 9 Part


I was surprised that this small package weighed about 10 lbs (4.5 kg). I was expecting a more bulky package. I did have difficulty getting the carport out of the sack it came in. This might be me, since I find most sacks are a bit too small for me to be able to easily stuff things back in. This proved to be a challenge putting it all back in the sack. I liked the look and feel of the poles and stakes. I have used a similar stake and it works well in most ground. The material felt light and strong. There are several ways of securing the poles to the tent surface, this will be interesting to see how this all goes together. The material feels good and looks like it will dry quickly, however I will be testing to see how fast it does dry after getting wet.


The first 4 pages of the instructions were of warnings. The setting up the Carport is 6 pages long and I really needed the shelter with me as I read these instructions. After reading the instructions I was thinking this was not going to be easy to set up. I was beginning to think I would not be able to do it alone. I soon found my concerns were unfounded.


I felt I really needed practice before doing this away from home. I took the shelter and poles outside and started following the instructions. I was intimidated enough to follow each instruction carefully before proceeding to the next. At times I did feel I was doing something wrong, but as I proceeded to the next step things were taking shape. All was well until I got to the last part of step 10. I was having trouble and did not have someone to help. I created a helper by placing a plastic trash barrel under the carport. This worked well and I completed the instructions to the point of attaching it to a vehicle. My Silverado is temporarily not available so I went to my son's house and tried it out on his Suburban. This did work very well. I still may have to have instructions with me until I have set the Carport up several times. The instructions are longer than what I am used to, but they are clear and following them does work out well.
Kelty Carport Deluxe L


hook connection

"C-Shaped" intersections

spring pin connection

supported by plastic barrel

attached to Suburban


I will be testing in car camping areas in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and possible in Vermont and Maine. I will also be using the Carport at picnics and other social gathering with family and friends.

I will be looking at how easy it is to set up the Carport alone and with help. I will be looking at any difficulties in setting it up on various campsites. I will need at least 16 feet (5 m) of space on one side of my vehicle. This will possibly make some sites impractical to use. I will see when sloping sites becomes a problem. The windy season is approaching and I will be experiencing how well the Carport handles moderate wind. I will be looking at the ease of taking down the Carport and storing it back in the sack.

Over the course of the test I will report the stability of the Carport. I will look for bending in any of the poles. I will look at how well the stakes are able to hold the Carport in place during wind and rain. I will note any changes caused by the sun during the test period. There are several fastening devices and I will look into how well they perform.

How well will the zippers stand up to a lot of use? Will it be easy to open and close up the sides? Does the structure lose stability if the sides are in the up position? I will be looking at the stability of a properly staked carport.


If cleaning is needed, how easy will it be?


I like the idea that the package is light and fits in a small space. I like the feel and quality of the material and the assembled Carport. I think the Carport will accommodate several types of vehicles including my Silverado. I will be testing the Carport to see how it does work with my Silverado and with other types of vehicles I hope to be using.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Kelty and for the opportunity to test the Carport Deluxe L Shelter.



I used the Carport at my son's house in Rockingham County New Hampshire, my daughter's and granddaughter's houses in Middlesex County Massachusetts. The temperature range was from 90 F (32 C) to 60 F (16 C). There was very little wind but it did rain heavily for a short time at my daughter's house.


In addition to using the Carport on my truck I was also interested in using it with other vehicles. My first surprise came when I learned that not all vans and conversion vans had roof racks that could be used. On some vehicles the rails are placed too far from the back end of the vehicle to be able to attach them in a useful way. These vehicles usually have sliding doors and attaching the Carport to the side of the vehicle works well in either the up or down position.

I was at my son's visiting and it was too nice to be inside. It was sunny and 86 F (30 C). He has a nice location but there is no shade and the woods nearby have too many insects to deal with. I set up the Carport on the side of his Chevrolet Suburban. The rails were not close enough to the back to make it possible to attach it to the back. I set up the Carport to the side of the SUV and I left one side unstaked as that was the only way to get in and out of the Carport. This worked well as it provided adequate protection from the sun.

My daughter was having a birthday party for one of her grandsons and it was a cloudy day with occasional showers. The house is small for the number of people we had. So I set up the Carport on my granddaughter's Plymouth Voyager. The Voyager has sliding doors and the rails run in the same direction as the van. The rails do not extend close enough to the back of the Voyager to make it possible to attach it on the back. I set it up on the passenger's side of the Voyager. As soon as I had it setup, it started to rain heavy. We were 3 and sometimes 4 adults under the Carport but we had plenty of space to socialize. The rain came so fast I did not have enough time to stake the Carport. The result was 2 pockets of water that accumulated on the top of the Carport. There was no leaking under these pockets. I even ran my hand on the underside of the pockets and there still was no leaking. The area under one of the pockets was near a seam did get wet to the touch. I also noticed that during the brief downpour there was quite a bit of water flowing from the top of the Carport onto the top of the Voyager. The sliding door to the Voyager was open and no water entered the Voyager. There were a few gusts of wind but the weight of the water in the pockets prevented the Carport from lifting. My granddaughter expressed a desire to borrow the Carport after the testing was over. The Carport reduced the number of people in an otherwise crowded house.
attached to side of Voyager

We had a small gathering at another granddaughter's house. They have a one ton Chevrolet truck and I was able to attach the Carport to the side. I attached one of the straps to a bracket on the front side of the body of the truck. The second and third straps were attached to vertical supports on the truck body. I was able to slide the strap between the support and the truck body. This worked especially well. I tried the Carport in both the up and down position. It was too warm to leave it in the down position; however it was the best position to provide protection from the sun. The problem with a vehicle like this that the attach points are quite high, leading extra space at the bottom of the carport.
attached to one ton truck

To get practice for an upcoming car camping trip, I went to a field and set up the Carport on the side of my Silverado truck. Attaching the Carport to the sides of the Silverado interferes with the opening of the doors. The side turns out not to be the best position for the Carport. These doors open out and the Carport had to be pushed away in order to get in or out of the truck. This also meant we had less space under the carport for a table and chairs. When I attached the carport to the back of the truck there was room for a table and chairs and getting to the back of the truck was easy. We are now ready to do a car camping trip.

I have a friend that comes and visits occasionally and it's so much nicer to be able to sit outside. Although it was not that warm it felt very hot under the sun. I set up the Carport in a free standing mode with some chairs and we had a good place to socialize. It did get hot inside, but when I opened all the windows in the carport it was comfortable.
in free standing mode


It was nice to know that when my Silverado was not available, I could use several types of vehicles that existed within my family. This Carport sets up in about half the time of my screen houses and I can easily do the task without additional help. It is a lot lighter and takes less space for storage. It is more adaptable to uneven ground. The down side is insects can be a problem and most campground picnic tables would be larger than the protected area provided by the Carport. As we approach fall the sun shines at more of an angle and the Carport in the up position provides less sun protection.


I will continue to use the carport for family functions involving outdoor activities, outings, and other outdoor activities that may happen. Some car camping and backpacking trips have been planned and I will be using the Carport on these trips. The Carport can be used on the backpacking trip as a staging place, in the parking lot in case of rain. I will also be looking at using the Carport with my Toyota Scion Xa.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long term Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Kelty and for the opportunity to test the Carport Deluxe L Shelter.



I car camped on 2 occasions, each for three days, in Harold Parker State Forest, Massachusetts. Temperatures were about 60 F (13 C) during the day and about 50 F (10 C) during the night. On the first car camping trip it rained both nights. On the second camping trip there was no rain and the temperatures were a little cooler during the day.


We arrived at Harold Parker State Forest and registered for 2 nights of camping. The site we chose was large and relatively flat. The forecast was for rainy nights and cloudy days. We got a late start, but did manage to get set up before the rain. This time, I attached the Carport to the back of the Silverado. This allowed us to enter the cap on the back of the truck without getting wet. It also provided a place to eat when it was raining or drizzling. It rained heavily both nights and we stayed dry entering and exiting the back end of the truck. The Carport was staked out so that there were no puddles on the top surface of the shelter.
Carport with Silverado

car camping in style

On the second 2 night stay at Harold Parker, we took the Toyota Scion. Since the Scion is a compact car and does not have a roof rack, I used the Carport in standalone mode next to the Scion. This worked well both from the sides and the back of the car. When positioned in the back of the car, I could open the hatchback and in the open position it did not interfere with the Carport.
Carport with Scion

The Carport is proving to be a welcome addition for car camping, if there are relatively few insects. It could take the place of tent for use with a sleeping bag. The Carport could also serve as rain protection for entering or exiting any tent or bivy whose entrance could be placed under the Carport. One of the limitations of trying to car camp in a compact car is being able to have enough space to store enough equipment. On some trips the Carport would replace a tent and screen house, thus saving a lot of space.

Other car camping trips had to be canceled due to changes in the weather and the lateness in the season. In Massachusetts almost all tenting campgrounds close after Columbus Day weekend. When the temperature goes below 50 F (10 C) and there is wind and rain, it is not comfortable enough for me to use the Carport.


When rain arrives during the day at a campground, a tent is too confining and even screen houses are somewhat confining. Changing the Carport from an attached mode to a standalone mode is quick and easy. The Carport is quick to set up, does not take a lot of space, stores easily, and is adaptable to many types of vehicles as well as a stand alone shelter for a picnic. The Carport provides a place to socialize and be protected from the sun and rain in a back yard.


I will be taking the Kelty Carport on my car camping trips, using it at family gatherings, and using it in my yard during the summer for protection against the sun and rain.

My thanks to Kelty and for the opportunity to test the Carport Deluxe L Shelter.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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