Finding a tent versatile enough to bridge the gap between all your outdoor pursuits is a daunting task. Those of us who use our tent for car camping, as well as for more rugged expeditions, don’t want to invest in two shelters. The Kelty Gunnison 2.1 has the roominess of a campground tent, yet is lightweight enough for a weekend backpacking trip.
Nobody wants to spend ten minutes trying to figure out which pole goes where, or untangle a web of cords, just to find out they have the tent set up backwards. For the tent-pole-challenged among us, Kelty utilizes a pole system that has two permanently connected poles that are the same length. This means that the tent will go up no matter which direction you install the poles. In addition to the simple design of the poles, color-coordinated tabs allow the rain fly to be snapped on quickly, even on the first try. In our testing, the Gunnison 2.1 was up in two minutes. Adding the rain fly took an additional three minutes, for a total set-up time of five minutes.Dryness factor
We put the Gunnison up in dry conditions, but the weather soon went south. A thunderstorm rolled in and produced heavy rains and lightning, the perfect testing environment. Everything stayed dry inside the tent during the storm, including items we stored outside under the fly (in the vestibule areas). This was mostly due to the rain fly’s seams, which are taped, creating impenetrable corners and edges on the fabric. In serious wind and rain it’s best to use the guy lines provided to stake out any loose sections of the rain fly.
DAC featherlite poles are some of the lightest and easiest to install in the tent universe. The weight of these poles, along with the polyester walls, make for a tent light enough to carry on a backpacking excursion, where ounces count. The Gunnison weighs just under six pounds when packed, and can easily be split up among two trekkers, dividing the load.
The two vestibules are not particularly large, but sizable enough to accommodate a backpack and boots on each side. The interior of the tent will sleep two six-footers snugly, but doesn’t leave much room for storing gear inside. This is where the gear hammock (seen at right) comes in handy. Headlamps, eyeglasses, and maps can be safely tucked away by hanging them in this lightweight attic.
The Kelty Gunnison 2.1 comes in at $190 and can be found at Kelty, REI, Altrec, and most major outdoor retailers. The main competition for the Gunnison is the REI Half Dome 2. The Half Dome 2 has a similar features listing, but at $199, costs slightly more.
The Gunnison makes for a great go-to tent for multi-sport outdoor enthusiasts. Performing equally well in the campground as it does in the back country, this tent can easily make the gear list of virtually any adventure trip.
For the true tent geek, we’ve listed the specs below.
Number of doors: 2
Number of vestibules: 2
Minimum weight: 4 lb. 14 oz. / 2.21 kg
Packaged weight: 5 lb. 9 oz. / 2.52 kg
Floor area: 37 ft2 / 3 m2
Vestibule area: 10.2 ft2 + 10.2 ft2 / 0.9 m2 + 0.9 m2
Length: 92″ / 234 cm
Width: 58″ / 147 cm
Height: 40″ / 102 cm
Packed diameter: 7″ / 18 cm
Packed Length: 25″ / 64 cm