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Kelty Salida vs Grand Mesa

Struggling to decide between the Kelty Salida vs Grand Mesa? After comprehensive researches, we have collected what each model has to offer and laid it down for you.

Kelty is probably the best outdoor brand when it comes to providing good quality at a pocket-friendly price. Its finest models Salida and Grand Mesa are perfect for those who’re on a budget.

Both tents have different sizes, in this guide I’ve compared two-person versions of the tents but you can use this guide whether you’re looking for the four-person versions as well.

In summary, Kelty Grand Mesa 2 is a newer and improved model, it is the superior one for most of the features, it is more breathable, easier to set up, and packs down much smaller. On the other hand, Kelty Salida 2 is the better option for tall people and for those who seek a bigger vestibule area.

Go straight to the detailed comparison.

Kelty Salida 2 Review

Kelty Salida 2 is a 3-season, freestanding, cross-pole structured tent, and it offers great features at a relatively low price.

It has a tapered floor with the dimensions of 55″ at the head side and 45″ at the feet side. It’s 88″ long which can be considered proper for tall people. It provides 30.5 sq ft of floor area, and 10 sq ft vestibule area. Lastly, it 43″ tall (which is bigger than its alternatives on the market).

The great thing about Kelty Salida is, its floor and fly fabrics are respectively made of 68D nylon and 68D polyester which makes it more durable than most of the other backpacking tents in the market, and also it has 40D polyester mesh around the sidewalls to increase breathability.

It weighs 4 lbs 9 oz and packs down to 13″ x 15″. It’s not an ultralight tent, but 4 lbs 9 oz of weight is good enough considering its price & features.

The downsides of Kelty Salida are, it has only one door and one vestibule, therefore, you need to wake your partner up if you want to leave the tent, and since it has one vestibule there is not much room to keep gear of two people.

Check out the latest price of Kelty Salida on Amazon.

Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Review

Kelty Grand Mesa 2 is a pocket-friendly, durable, 3-season dome tent. It has a very high mesh ratio, almost all of the side canopy is with mesh, therefore it provides great breathability.

Its fabric and floor are made of 68D polyester 1800mm which is a very high denier for a backpacking tent. 1800mm waterproofness rating is a very good value considering its price, and it’s enough to keep you dry on rainy days (not in winter with hard rains though).

Grand Mesa offers a very wide floor, the dimensions are 57″/44″ (Head Side /Foot Side), it’s 85″ long which is a bit short, but if you’re not taller than 6 feet it shouldn’t be a problem. And lastly, it’s 43″ tall, therefore it provides a very liveable space.

The downsides of the tent are, unlike most of the backpacking tents, it has one door which is not a deal-breaker since it’s placed at the narrow wall, but still, it’s worth mentioning.

And the other downside is, it has a really small vestibule with the area 6 ft sq which is not enough for two people, you’ll most likely keep most of your gear inside the tent.

Check out the latest price of Kelty Grand Mesa.

Specs: Kelty Salida 2 vs Grand Mesa 2

 Kelty Salida 2 Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Kelty Salida 2Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Minimum Weight3lbs 14oz4lbs 1oz
Packed Weight4lbs 9oz 4lbs 12oz
Pack Size13" x 15" x 4"Ø7" x 16"
Floor Dimensions88" x 55" (Head Side) x 45" (Feet Side)85" x 57" (Head Side) x 44" (Feet Side)
Floor Area30.5 ft²30 ft²
Vestibule Area10 ft²6 ft²
Pole Diameter9 millimeters9 millimeters
Canopy Fabric
40d Polyester Mesh | 68d 100% Polyester Taffeta40d Polyester Mesh | 68d 100% Polyester Taffeta
Fly Fabric
68d Polyester Taffeta 1800 mm68d Polyester Taffeta 1800 mm
Floor Fabric68d Polyester Taffeta 1800 mm68d Polyester Taffeta 1800 mm
FootprintNot IncludedNot Included
Check PricesCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

Detailed Comparison

Interior Volume

Winner: Kelty Salida 2

Both tents offer a big interior volume. Since they are 43″ tall they provide decent headroom. The difference between Salida and Grand Mesa here is the floor dimensions, Salida is 88″ long whereas Grand Mesa is 85″, if you’re shorter than 6 feet, it shouldn’t cause any problem, you can go with either Grand Mesa or Salida. But if you’re taller than 6 feet though, I recommend going with the Salida.

Also, the floor dimensions of the tents are slightly different. Compared to Kelty Salida, Grand Mesa is wider at the head side but more narrow at the feet side. Here’re the dimensions:

Kelty Salida vs Grand Mesa dimensions

If you want an even bigger tent with a close price, take a look at the article where I review Marmot Tungsten and Fortress.


Winner: Kelty Grand Mesa 2

For breathability, Grand Mesa is the clear winner, it has a very high mesh ratio, almost all of its canopy is with mesh, Salida on the other hand, also provides a 360° mesh canopy, but it is not as breathable as Grand Mesa.

Kelty Salida 2
Kelty Salida 2
Kelty Grand Mesa 2
Kelty Grand Mesa 2

Weight & Packed Size

Winner: Kelty Grand Mesa 2

Although both tents are a bit heavier compared to their alternatives such as Big Agnes Copper Spur or Nemo Hornet, they are light enough for backpacking and big enough for car camping.

For the Kelty Salida vs Grand Mesa comparison, Grand Mesa weighs only 3 oz heavier than Kelty Salida, but it packs down much smaller. The packed dimension of Kelty Grand Mesa is Ø7″ x 16″ whereas Kelty Salida packs down to 13″ x 15″ x 4″.

Ease of Set Up

Winner: Kelty Grand Mesa 2

Even though both tents are very easy to set up, Kelty Grand Mesa is the winner here due to its clever design, when you place the poles of Kelty Grand Mesa to its quick corners it stands up hands-free, then pitching the tent takes only 2 minutes.

Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Setup Process
Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Setup Process

Quick Note: it’s very easy to setup Kelty Salida 2 as well, it only takes 5 minutes.

Durability and Weather Resistance

Winner: Tie

Both tents are made of the same high denier material, their fly and floor fabric are made of 68D polyester 1800 mm, and their canopy is a combination of 68D polyester / 40D polyester mesh. Therefore, one is not better than the other for durability and longevity.

The same goes for the waterproofness too, both are laminated and have 1800mm of waterproofness metric (which is around the industry average for a backpacking tent).

Here are some other backpacking tents and their materials so you can get the idea.

Canopy FabricFloor FabricFly Fabric
Kelty Salida 2 & Grand Mesa 240D No-See-Um Mesh 68D Polyester68D Polyester68D Polyester
Marmot Tungsten & Fortress 2P40D No-See-Um Mesh 68D Polyester Taffeta68D Polyester Taffeta 190T 2000mm68D Polyester Taffeta 190T 1500mmReview
Nemo Hornet 210D Nylon Ripstop/ No-See-Um Mesh30D ripstop nylon 3000mm20D ripstop nylon 1200mmReview
MSR Freelite 210D polyester micro-mesh15D ripstop nylon 1200mm15D ripstop nylon 1200mmReview
Nemo Dagger 215D Nylon Ripstop/ No-See-Um Mesh30D PeU Nylon Ripstop (3000 mm)15D Sil/PeU Nylon Ripstop (1200 mm)Review
MSR Hubba Hubba Nx 215D nylon micromesh30D ripstop nylon 3000mm20D ripstop nylon 1200mmReview

It’s also important to mention that the tents don’t come with a footprint, and I strongly suggest to get a footprint with your tent to increase longevity. Check out the latest price of the Kelty footprint.

Final Verdict

They have very similar features, but Kelty Grand Mesa is a new and improved model. Kelty Salida is the better option only if you’re a tall person, and if you want a bigger vestibule area, whereas Kelty Grand Mesa 2 is the superior one when it comes to ease of pitch, packed size, breathability, and every other feature.

Check out the latest prices of Kelty Salida and Kelty Grand Mesa.

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