Kelty TN2 Tent
Stated Weight: 4.25 lbs
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Poles: 526 g (1.16 lbs)
- Fly: 770 g (1.7 lbs)
- Body: 679 g (1.47 lbs)
- Stakes: 126 g (.28 lbs)
- Total: 2101 g (4.63 lbs)
- Length: 83 in. / 211 cm
- Width: 50 in. / 127 cm
- Height: 42 in. / 107 cm
Stated Tent Features:
- Freestanding design
- DAC Pressfit poles
- Color-Coded Clip Construction
- Taped floor seams
- Mesh wall panels
- Internal storage pockets
- Jake’s Foot pole attachment
- Noiseless zipper pulls
Stated Fly Features:
- Stargazing fly
- Taped seams
- Jake’s foot fly attachment
- Fly vents
- Welded clear windows
- Noiseless zipper pulls
- Guyout points
Reviewer: 6’, ~180 lbs
Test Locations: Teton Canyon, Wyoming; Dworshak Reservoir, Idaho
Days Used: 5
When looking for a new tent, it’s easy to fixate on stated capacity or seasons of use (2 people, and 3 seasons in the case of the Kelty TN2). But it is often more important to take a step back and evaluate what you actually intend to do with your tent. Did you just quit your job to hike the PCT? Are you planning to drive to the local lake and sleep next to the car with your kids? There’s a whole spectrum of reasons to spend your night in a tent, and your trip is going to be immeasurably better if you choose a tent best suited to those needs.
The Kelty TN2 fits somewhere between the two examples listed above — it’s not a cramped, expensive, ultralight tent, but it’s no generic sporting-goods-store hog, either. It’s aimed squarely at backpackers and campers who are looking for a spacious and packable tent that won’t cause too much back or wallet pain.
A quick skim of the instructions was all it took to set up the TN2. It’s worth noting that this tent is asymmetrical — there is a specified head and foot of the tent, so you’ll want to place the head of the tent on the uphill side if you’ll be sleeping on a slight slope.
To reduce confusion over what goes where, the two corners at the head of the tent are green, and the ends of the poles that match them are also green. So are the corners of the fly that clip into them. That helps minimize the web of poles and mesh that often occurs when you’re trying to figure out which end of the tent is supposed to attach to what.
There are three poles; the two main ones are permanently joined with a rotating hub, and a shorter one that sits across them and supports and spreads the ceiling. The poles snap easily into the Jacks Feet on the corners of the tent, and the mesh is suspended by hooks that twist onto the poles. There’s no complicated threading of poles through sleeves.
In a light wind I’ve found that I can get the TN2 assembled by myself in about 4 minutes. It takes a little longer to stake out the fly and fully attach it to the poles, but in an emergency, I can get the basic shelter up very quickly and without any frustrations.
At 50” x 83”, the TN2 is not the most spacious tent in this category, but its near-vertical walls help it feel big. While I’ve been in some two-person tents that felt more like they were designed for two 6th graders than two grown adults, the TN2 is comfortable with two people, and positively palatial if you are camping alone. I’m 6’0” tall, and I do find myself touching the ends of the tent when I stretch out too much, but it’s not enough to uncomfortable.
Because of its asymmetric nature, the foot of the tent is not as wide or as tall as the head. So if you don’t want to share the wonderful experience of post-freeze-dried-dinner lumpy-stuff-sack-pillow talk, you’re going to have to arm wrestle over who has to sleep with their head at the narrower end.
There are two pockets at the head of the tent, at the junction of the floor and the mesh. And there are loops in the ceiling for a hanging platform, but none is included. That is one thing I miss — I like being able to stash my glasses and headlamp up high where they are easily accessible when someone in the next tent over starts making bear noises.
The fact that there are two doors and two vestibules also makes sharing the TN2 easier. There is plenty of room for everyone’s gear outside, and there is no need to crawl over your partner when nature calls at midnight.
Kelty highlights several features in the TN2’s fly. It has what they call a “stargazing” mode, where it can roll up over the head of the tent to give you an unimpeded view of the stars. Kelty then claims that the fly can be rolled back down in the event of bad weather, without having to leave the tent.
I’ve made use of this feature a few times, once in real earnest. Camping alone in Teton Canyon, I was mostly asleep with the fly rolled out of the way. Sometime past midnight, a blast of lightning lit up every bear that I was sure was sneaking toward my tent. Then it started to sprinkle. Without reaching for my glasses or even a light, I unzipped the doors and pulled down and clipped down the fly, without ever leaving my sleeping bag. Impressed with myself, I returned to my dreams of deep pow and crispy french fries. But at about 3:30 am, I discovered one major downside of rolling down the fly without leaving the tent: you can’t stake it down. And thus, while you can essentially waterproof the tent, you’re simultaneously creating a giant flapping sail. So yes, you can roll down the fly without leaving the tent, but if there is any kind of wind, it’s worth actually getting out and staking down the fly completely.
There are two small windows / vents on the fly that can be adjusted to let in as much or as little air as you’d like, and the guy lines are all reflective, which I appreciate, even though it didn’t stop me from tripping over them when nature called.
The one problem I ran into with the fly involved the zipper. It’s had a tendency to catch on the protective flap, and finally, during one late-night emergency, the zipper became completely jammed on the fabric and I had to resort to cutting it out. This didn’t have any real performance impact on the tent, but it’s worth noting, and it’s worth taking extra care with the fly’s zippers.
NEXT: Packability, Durability, Etc.