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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Tent > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter


March 06, 2010


NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: chad (DOT) poindexter (AT) yahoo (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. Initially I have obtained slightly heavy gear, but I am making efforts to go lighter. I love my tent and appreciate a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. So far my distance has averaged around 10 mi (16 km) per day, depending on terrain. I usually hike with my wife or my son however I am currently planning my first solo hike!


Courtesy of Kelty

Manufacturer: Kelty
Model: Grand Mesa 2
Year of Purchase: 2009
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: (US) $ 139.95
Listed Packaged Weight: 4 lb 10 oz (2.10 kg)
Listed Minimum weight: 4 lb 2 oz (1.87 kg)
Measured Total Weight: 4 lb 9 oz (2.07 kg)
Listed Length: 82 in (208 cm) ~ Measured: 81 in (206 cm)
Listed Width at Head: 58 in (147 cm) ~ Measured: 57 in (145 cm)
Measured Width at Foot: 43.75 in (111 cm)
Listed Floor area: 29 ft^2 (2.7 m^2)
Listed Height: 44 in (112 cm) ~ Measured Accurate
Number of poles: 2 ~ 9 mm DAC Press-fit Poles
Number of vestibules: 1
Vestibule area: 6 ft^2 (0.6 m^2)
Number of doors: 1
Seasons: 3
Wall Material: 68D 190T polyester taffeta
Floor Material: 1800 mm PU polyester taffeta
Fly Material: 75D 190T, 1800 mm PU polyester taffeta

At Sipsey Wilderness

Kelty notes that the Grand Mesa 2 tent (hereafter referred to as the "tent") is made with "high-quality" materials and is offered at a "great value." The tent is marketed as a two person, 3 season tent. The Grand Mesa 2 is a free standing, single-door, front-entry, double-walled tent with a single vestibule located at the front. Included in the box is the tent body, the fly, 2 DAC Press-fit poles with stuff sack, 12 aluminum "J" tent stakes measuring 8 in (20.3 cm) with stuff sack, 4 black rounded nylon guy-out cords measuring 78 in (198 cm), and a large stuff sack to fit everything in. Of course care, maintenance and assembly instructions are included in the box as well.

IMAGE 4The tent is easily set up by 1 person. First I lay the tent out flat and then assemble the poles. I lay the poles across the top of the tent in the shape of an "X" and then begin inserting the ends of the poles into the grommets on the nylon straps located at each corner of the tent (see picture to left). IMAGE 5 (Note: these same nylon strips are also used to secure the fly using the buckle style clip as well as anchor the tent down using the loops at the end with the stakes.) Next I lift the tent body by the hooks found in the center of the tent body and connect the hooks to the poles where the poles cross one another (at the "X") and then begin hooking the remaining hooks (picture to right) on the tent body to the poles. After this is done I position the tent where I want it and then I use 4 of the stakes to pull the tent taut and then anchor the tent down.

Upon erection, the tent is a burgundy color near the bottom and an off-white color at the top and there is mesh on both of the side walls of the tent as well on the back and the door (which can be seen in the picture at beginning of review). There are two mesh pockets located inside the tent at the front corners and a nylon loop sewn into the inside top of the tent which allows lights or what-nots to be hung from. There is a seam that runs horizontal across the middle of the floor which is completely taped. The Kelty logo is imprinted on the bottom right hand corner of the front of the tent (facing), just below the door.

Vent on back
The fly is a tan color and has the same Kelty logo (only larger) printed on the front left side (facing) with the zippered door opening on the right. There is a strip of a burgundy colored material which covers the zipper and aids in keeping the water from leaking through the zipper. All seams on the fly are taped on the underside. Located on the back side of the fly is a beaked opening which correlates with the mesh on the back of the tent body and allows the tent to ventilate while the fly is in use (as seen in picture to the left).

The fly is attached four different ways for complete security. First the corners of the fly clip into the buckle style clip found on the nylon strips at each corner of the tent (again, seen in picture above left). Next there are four hook-and-loop fasteners sewn into the underside of the fly which lines up and loops around the poles and assists in holding the fly on the tent. Now the fly can be guyed out using the nylon loops sewn into the bottom edges of the fly, found midway on each side as well as on the back. These guy out loops are also used to control the proximity of the fly to the tent body wall, which helps control the amount of ventilation while using the fly, and ultimately affects condensation. Lastly there are four more nylon loops sewn into the outside of the fly and located about midway up the tent at each of the four corners (these can be seen in the picture below). These are to be used any time, but more importantly during times of heavy winds to help hold the entire tent in place.



I have carried this tent with me on every trip that I have been on for the last year now except for one in which we stayed in shelters, which comes to approximately 15 + nights on the trail and many more overnight car camping trips. Not to mention the nights set up in and around my home! I have carried the tent with me on trips to Big Hill Pond State Park in Tennessee, Sipsey Wilderness in Alabama, Chickasaw State Park in Tennessee, on the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia and other various camping grounds and back woods in northeast Mississippi.

At Blood Mountain

I have used the tent during times of rain and times of clear skies. I have used it in temperatures right at 10 F (-12.2 C) on the river banks of the Sipsey Wilderness in Alabama to nights near 85 F (29.4 C) or above at Big Hill Pond State Park. I have used the tent in a variety of elevations ranging from 500 ft (152 m) at Big Hill Pond State Park to 4,450 ft (1356 m) atop Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.


Upon tearing it out of the box the first thing I noticed was how soft and slick the material felt, also how thin it felt, even the floor! I am used to the thicker rougher feel of the cheaper tents typically found at department stores and of course the tarp-like floor, so I was completely amazed at the materials used for the Kelty Grand Mesa 2 tent. The poles are thin and smooth, but sturdy feeling. The first time I set it up it went together very easily and smoothly. Success was sweet!

The first trip I took it on was an overnight trip to Big Hill Pond State Park with my son. It was a wet hike in and I was a little worried since this was the first time I was really using this tent, and it was raining. That night as I lay inside the tent and listened to the rain fall harder I kept hoping that the tent would keep the water out. The next morning I woke up dry as a bone, and it was still raining outside.

The tent accommodates two snugly. I have found that while two sleeping pads and bags are inside the tent, the sides of the bags will lay up against the sides of the tent. Also, my regular size sleeping bag will just hit the front door and back wall of the tent. This doesn't make things necessarily uncomfortable, however if condensation is going to be a problem I will usually lay my rain jacket around the foot of my sleeping bag to help keep some of the moisture off of my sleeping bag.


While there is a fair amount of mesh on the tent, proper ventilation techniques must still be used to minimize the amount of interior condensation. If at all possible I try to use the tent without the fly on to utilize the maximum amount of ventilation. At times I have even left the door partially or fully unzipped. For those times that I was not sure about the night I would attach the fly to the back side of the tent and let it lay on the ground so that if I needed to I could jump out and pull the fly over the tent and make the needed attachments quickly.

I have come to like this tent very well. There are a few things that I wish were a little different, but for the price and the overall durability of this tent I have no room to complain. The tent is well made however there are some loose threads here and there but have caused no problems except for maybe with appearance (no affect on me). I will make note that I replaced the provided aluminum "J" hooks with a complete set of Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Groundhog stakes. I used the provided stakes for the first couple of months and then decided to replace them. I did bend one of the provided stakes slightly while trying to drive it in some rocky ground. While the provided stakes are more than adequate for soft soil, they would not prove the same in much harder rock laden soil.

This is my first backpacking tent. With this tent I have learned more about tents so that the next tent I purchase I will know things to look for in particular. I cannot condemn this tent for not meeting all of my expectations when I didn't know them myself. So for this tent, for what it is, it is a very reliable tent. I feel very comfortable recommending the tent to others, however I can give them more info than what I had when buying. This is a great little tent that I plan on using for many more trips to come.


The quality of the tent is not perfect, but very nice.
Its size makes it a great solo tent, but still quite effective for two.
It keeps the water out very well.
It is very easy to set up.
The price was easy on the wallet.


The only concern I have with it is some of the loose threads, however they have caused no real issues of concern.


Chad Poindexter

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