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Hands-on Gear Review
Kelty TN 2 Review
Cons: Small interior, small pockets
Bottom line: A great choice for short backpacking trips, paddling trips or car camping.
The TN2 from Kelty is their newest addition and it has a lot to like. We took it with us on a month-long road trip in Washington State and loved its easy setup and the roll back fly that allows you to look at the stars - while still having some privacy. It is a bit bulky and heavy for a backpacking tent, but could be a good choice for short forays in the backcountry.
Check out our full Backpacking Tent Review to see how these tents compare to others. Consider an Ultralight Tent for taking ultralight backpacking to the next level.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Backpacking Tents of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
A small enough package to toss in the roof box, the Kelty TN2 was a great choice as our car camping trip on our West Coast road trip this year.
Kelty makes an effort to make the TN2 TraiLogic livable with the rollback Stargazing Fly, the most obvious luxury feature. We were skeptical at first because technically we could roll back any fly of any tent, but Kelty makes this process easy and intuitive. At busy campgrounds we would position the tent so that the open side faced away from our neighbors for privacy so we could still look at the stars. The TN2 has two different door zippers, one your average "D" shape and the other opens all the way across the bottom of the tent, which is a nice feature for loading in blown up air mattresses. The steep walls of the head side of the tent make it feel extra roomy inside, and the vestibules provide lots of space for gear storage.
It is a good thing for the high interior walls and large vestibules, because the interior of the tent is surprisingly small. We were a bit disappointed to discover that the interior dimensions of the tent (83x50) are on the smaller end of the tents we tested, compared to the luxurious Nemo Galaxi (90x54) or the even bigger REI Half Dome 2 Plus (98x56), the TN2 is smaller than some of the lightweight backpacking tents we tested like the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 (92x54-42). We were using two Therm-A-Rest Luxury Map pads and they filled the entire floor of the tent. We also think the TN2's pockets were lacking. It has just two small pockets that barely fit an iPhone each. To make this tent more livable Kelty should consider adding more pockets or a gear loft.
The TN2 stood up well to consistent northwest rain storms and kept its contents dry. However, we did not experience high winds in this tent and suspect because of its relatively high walls and peak height it may get buffeted around significantly. The North Face Stormbreak 2 also has a high peak height and we suspect would perform the same. The MSR FreeLite 2 has a much lower peak height and sleeker design and does well in high winds.
Weight and Packed Size
Weighing 77 ounces, the TN2 is on the heavy side of middle of the pack and would only be suitable for shorter backcountry trips. For extended trips we would reach for the Nemo Blaze that weighs a scant 39.7 ounces. Kelty has made the TN2's pole sections quite short, which makes them easy to pack in any sort of bag. The included stuff sack turns this tent into more of a block shape versus a tube like most of the others in this review — which works fine to throw in the car and you can always take it out of the sack to stuff it in your pack.
The TN2 is very easy and intuitive to set up, with two crossing poles and one that spans the top for extra headroom. It has color-coded pole ends to match up with the correct tent feet, although we found it hard to see the green color in anything but the brightest of daylight. The first time we set this tent up was in the dark and it only took us a few minutes — that says something about the ease of setup!
This shelter has a high quality 40D Sil Nylon fly that is relatively thick, but what makes it durable is the material will not degrade as quickly as a cheaper PU material like the REI Passage is made from. The floor is made from even burlier 70D material to withstand any pine cones or rocks you may set it on. This does not come with a footprint, and we don't think you need one.
As we've mentioned, we loved having the TN2 along on our road trip and set it up at many campgrounds and Forest Service back road sites. We think this tent would also be a decent choice for short backpacking or paddling trips.
The TN2 is an okay value for $250, although we would probably reach for the roomier, more featured Galaxy for the same price. (Unless you're really set on the Stargazing feature).
We were pleasantly surprised by Kelty's TN2, it was easy to set up and comfortable for two people on a road trip. We stuffed its vestibules full of gear when we went out for the day and it stayed dry. We wish it had a bit more room inside so we could have some of that gear in the tent with us, and it could use bigger pockets. At 77.6 ounces, it is a bit heavy for backpacking.
Other Versions and Accessories
The TN2 is in Kelty's TraiLogic Line and comes in two- and three-person versions and all the way up to an eight-person version that comes with an included footprint.
— Jessica Haist
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