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Backpacking Tent

Updated: Sep 20, 2021


My first tent memory was an early one, I wasn’t older than 7, and it was with a 1980’s orange tarp-bottomed dome style I dug out of my parents crawl space. The musty smell of dry-rot and the fiberglass slivers embedded into the meat of my thumb were a distraction, and this front yard show was enough to entice a neighbor kid to come help with the setup. We quickly became entrapped and claustrophobic – and he bit the back of my arm in his haste to exit. It’s a curious thing why I’m still drawn to tents at all, but I remain fascinated, nonetheless. Tents are just…cool.

Fast forward 25 years, and today’s tents are not only stronger & lighter, but better suited to keeping us dry, and thus more comfortable when we’re out there Combatting the Deficit.

Kelty is a staple brand when it comes to pursuing adventures, and they’ve built a longstanding following with their trusted backpacking & camping gear. If you heard “Full Throttle down the Rio Grande” where Bruce Matthews talks about his trip-of-a-lifetime while paddling, riding, and fishing the full length of the mighty river with his son and a friend, then you heard him praise the Kelty Gunnison series. We picked up a Gunnison 1 for this review.

Design: Kelty’s one-person version of the Gunnison is made for holing up solo. It starts with a smartly designed cube-style carry bag, which is suitable for real-world repeated stashing of imperfectly folded contents i.e. multi-day backpacking environments. The skeleton is a simple design, with no separate poles, everything’s connected via shock-cord, and the sections quickly & easily fit into a center socket to form a big “X”. Clips are designed to attach with a simple ¼ turn. The four aluminum cleats at the corners lock the poles firmly at ground level, and feature integrated attachment slots for the rainfly. The Gunnison features a color-coded system so the footprint, poles, tent and rainfly line