Kelty is a brand that aims to keep parents of young children participating in outdoor activities. As a perfect example, our recap of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2017 highlighted Kelty’s insanely amazing looking new Perfect Fit Elite child carrier backpack. Another pre-release Kelty product that caught our eye was a very impressive looking family-oriented tent called the Alpine. Kelty’s reps said the Alpine would be available for spring 2018, but that another somewhat comparable model called the Grand Mesa 4 was available for review.
Eager to get our thoughts and to “keep my family outdoors”, Kelty sent us over a Grand Mesa 4. We tested it out in Jackson, Wyoming for the solar eclipse and at Strawberry Reservoir right outside of Heber, Utah. Here are our thoughts:
- Ease of Construction: The basic design of the Grand Mesa follows the tried and true blueprint of your typical two-pole, four corner freestanding tent. Where it shines is in the ease of construction. Insanely lightweight aluminum poles not only interlock with ease, but attach to the tent meshing by way of simple pre-positioned twist clips. Clip-on corners for the rain fly also feature strap tensioners give a tight fit without much extra work. Full set up time was around 12 minutes.
- Durability of Material: Kelty clearly uses top-notch material to build their products. The meshing around the tent, the flooring section and even the footprint are built to last. And let’s be honest, with toddlers in the tent, it’s not the force of mother nature that will be testing the durability out…
- Inside Space: Ample, with plenty of standing room especially towards the edges. Kelty claims the floor area is 54 square feet, but how does that translate with actual use? Fitting four fully grown adults would definitely verge on tight. But for two parents and two young kids, the space allows for lots of wiggle room and places to put toys, stuffed animals and all of the logistical items that are required to bring kids camping.
- Convenience Items: Dual pocket mesh sacks on each side are excellent. This is such an insanely basic feature that not many other manufacturers provide, and is especially helpful for the panicked parent looking for a spare binky in middle of the night when baby starts crying. Also, Kelty’s flat top roll up bag for the Grand Mesa 4 is the greatest thing about this entire product. Everyone has done that thing where you open up a new tent or sleeping bag for the first time, nicely and perfectly rolled up to fit in its container. And after one use, it’s damn near impossible to get it back in that small container bag. Kelty’s bag is heavy-duty, spacious, and features a clipping top much akin to a drysack. It’s the most surprisingly delightful part of the Grand Mesa tent.
- Price: MSRP for the Grand Mesa 4 is $219, but can typically be found from retailers around the $170-$180 mark. In Kelty’s 4-person tent lineup, that price sits squarely in the middle. (Use our handy lowest-price search tool below to find the best deal. Buying through those links will help support Outdoor Gear Reviews too!)
Kelty’s Grand Mesa 4 doesn’t represent a radical shift in new tent design. Rather, it shows how attention to detail can come as close to perfection as possible on a design that is nothing short of tried and true. It’s a great product with virtually zero drawbacks or negatives to prevent the outdoor-longing parents of small children from pulling the trigger.