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Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Tent Review

Last updated on November 17th, 2016 at 05:55 pm

If you’ve already tried camping out, looked for good camping gear, or even just read about camping blogs and tips, there’s a big chance that you’ve already heard about Kelty. Since 1952, Kelty has established itself as one of the best camping gear brands providing high-quality tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and more. With 60 years of experience, Kelty’s products are some of the best camping gear around and are used by millions of users worldwide. Most of their gear is well suited for all basic types of camping, and one of their best camping tents is the Trail Ridge 6.

1. Comfort

The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 tent is your typical dome-shaped tent that can be used as a 3 season tent. It fits 6 people, but it’s not big enough to move around freely. If you like your space, then this tent is not for you. So if you’re planning to go for a luxurious family camping trip, then you can opt instead for cabin type tents. They’re bigger and more comfortable especially if you want more space. However, if you want a backpacking tent for your family or company of 6, then the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 is surely a good way to go. The Trail Ridge 6 is an ideal tent for family car camping, delivering a 3 season performance with a budget-family friendly price.

The Trail Ridge 6 has the following dimensions: 96” long, 120” wide, 72” high, and it can fit 2 full-size air mattresses. It has a center height of 6 ft, so you don’t have to crouch while entering the tent. As it’s a basic dome-shaped tent, the ceiling height is quite low as you approach the corners of the tent. If you’re a tall camper and have to take a corner area, you might have to crouch a little if you don’t want your head to hit the ceiling. However, the tent incorporates a multi-diameter configuration, which means the wall can stay steep while aggressively arching toward the top to provide a much larger livable space. As a result, the dome shape of the tent might not be such a huge problem.
If you’re worried about where to place your gear, the Trail Ridge 6 comes with 2 equal-sized vestibule areas with a dimension of 22 x 22 ft2. The vestibules are designed to add plenty of storage that will suit your camping needs, providing 44 additional square feet of exterior storage space that can also be used to store wet or muddy shoes or other gear. The tent also comes with 2 doors, allowing the campers to slip out on either side of the tent without having to climb over other sleepers, especially during the night.


The Trail Ridge 6 is a freestanding tent, which means that the tent can support itself. This could be a great advantage if you’re camping on deserts or mountains where staking the tent could be a problem. With deserts, the soil is not compact and dry and in mountainous areas, it’s mostly rocks and rough terrain so it would be hard to penetrate and get the stakes deeper into the ground. You could fix this by pouring water on the sand to somehow cement the stakes.

The best advantage of a freestanding tent is the convenience. It’s easy to set up and you can just simply stake it out to support the vestibule and pin down the corners. To add stability and wind-resistance, make sure that the tent is staked out so it doesn’t fly away in a strong breeze.

The tent is designed with a mesh ceiling combined with a venting in the rainfly in order to provide proper airflow, and to prevent a build-up of condensation inside the tent. On a clear night sky, you can go stargazing from the inside of the tent because of the mesh ceiling. The mesh also covers halfway through the tent body so you can also enjoy a great view of the surroundings on a clear day. Moreover, the mesh lets in a nice cool breeze if you set up the tent under a shady tree during the day. However, on a cold night, it would be best to cover the tent with the included fly so you can stay warm or dry when rain threatens.

2. Weather Resistance

According to some reviews, the tent can easily withhold up to 25 mph winds, and because it’s a 3 season tent, it can definitely withstand heavier rains and winds. It held up beautifully after a night of thunderstorms in the Adirondack Mountains based on another review I read on Amazon. The fly material of the tent is made of a 75 denier polyester that is 1800 mm thick. The PU-coated polyester taffeta rainfly will keep the inside of the tent dry while also providing UV protection from the sun. The tent fly covers the whole tent so you will be well protected from heavy rain.


Moreover, the seams on the floor and fly are taped so you won’t have to worry about leaks on rainy days. The rainfly is very easy to slip on over the tent and can be attached on the four corners of tent by one person. The tent provides full coverage which completely protects the tent from bad weather and is designed with vents to help control condensation. The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 comes with a patented factory sealed ArcEdge construction, wherein the taped floor seams are raised high above the ground, thus eliminating the potential for leaks inside the tent.

3. Workmanship, Quality, Material

kelty-trail-ridge-6-tent-small-7The quality of Kelty products is well known. People actually praise the quality of the products because they provide a ‘no compromise’ family tent with the best value.

The fly material of the tent is made with a 75 denier polyester, the wall material is made with a 68 denier polyester, and the floor material is made with a 68 denier nylon. The mesh wall panels offers great ventilation throughout the day. The tent comes with two nice size vestibules which provides enough room for extra storage. The rain fly covers the entire tent all the way to the ground so you don’t have to worry about getting any leakage around the bottom of the tent.

The tent comes with 4 large diameter DAC aluminum poles, giving the tent a sturdy appearance. The aluminum sections fit together perfectly, meaning you won’t have to worry about raised joining collars snagging up as you feed the aluminum poles through the sleeves of the tent. The tent sleeves are perfectly designed to produce a wrinkle-free, tight shaped structure and frame once the tent is up and standing. The sleeves are also perfectly made to ensure that the rainfly won’t sag or touch the main tent when installed. The space between the rainfly and the tent body is excellent for preventing condensation. This is important because condensation can mean more water inside the tent body than water from the rain outside the tent, which is something you can get from a poorly designed tent.

You need to find the ideal spot for your tent so you won’t spend an uncomfortable night sleeping over an exposed root or a rock on the ground. Because of the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 freestanding design, you can easily move it around your campsite to get the best possible camping spot.

4. Ease of Set–up & Takedown


Since the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 is a freestanding tent, setting it up is easy and painless. The tent is erected with 2 main poles made with DAC aluminum, a material that is lighter and stronger than fiberglass poles and can definitely perform better when it comes to rain and storms.

You can easily set up the tent in 10 minutes. You can pitch the tent body in about 5 minutes, and you can add the rainfly and the 4 stakes in another 5 minutes. Once the tent is set up, you can easily attach the rainfly by tossing it over the tent and securing it using the 4 nylon buckles. Then you stake out the guy lines of the tent for more security and stability. And the best thing is, you can set up the tent by yourself.

5. Product Specs

The color of the tent body is white. The rainfly comes with an off-white with light green and a hint of medium orange trims that gives it a stylish and tasteful look from outside. You will probably want to install the rainfly whether it’s raining or not (unless of course it’s really hot and you want better ventilation).

When it comes to mobility, you can easily carry around the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 tent. The tent weighs 14 lbs. at most when packed, so it’s a great tent to use when backpacking. The size of the packed bag is 9 x 25 inches. The packed size might come as a surprise because you’re probably expecting a 6-man capacity tent, but the size of the box that the tent comes in is relatively small. You wouldn’t think that this tent can really offer such a lot of space.

6. Key Accessories

The tent comes with 4 DAC aluminum poles with color-coded clip constructions that will help you easily identify which pole goes where.

It comes with 4 wire stakes so you can further secure the tent from being blown away by wind. You might want to consider upgrading the stakes to aluminum. The tent comes with a mid to low-end tent stakes. They bend easily and could hurt your palm if you try to push them further into the ground. You can buy a Y shaped aluminum stakes such as MSR Groundhogs, they are a better option than using the standard stakes that come with this package. However, every manufacturer seems to provide a standard wire stake, so if you own other tents, you might want to upgrade those too.

The rainfly of the Trail Ridge 6 covers the whole tent when installed and it can be used to provide some warmth and draft-protection in cooler weather. The fly also comes with vents so you don’t need to worry about feeling stuffy if you installed the rainfly. In addition, it also comes with taped seams for better leak protection and guyout points for better tent security.

One of the best features of the tent is the noiseless zipper pulls. You might not think this is a big advantage at first but wait until it’s the middle of the night and everybody else is sleeping and you need to take a bathroom break. On a standard tent, you would be slowly unzipping the door and hoping that you don’t wake up anybody else. With the silent zippers of the Trail Ridge, you won’t have any problem zipping and unzipping the doors. It’s really quiet and won’t be a concern to anybody else.

The tent also comes with gear loft loops and internal storage pockets. This would come in handy if you want to save some space on the floor especially if 6 people are going to be sleeping inside the tent. This is a great feature that increases your storage space. Furthermore, it’s also got a gear attic overhead where you can keep expensive or fragile items. This is especially helpful if you’ve got kids coming with you because this is a storage they can’t easily reach or access.

If you wish to extend the life of your tent, you also have to protect the floor of your tent. Buying an optional footprint can further protect your Trail Ridge 6 against ground water, roots, and rocks. Or you can simply cut out a polytarp and lay it beneath your tent to help preserve the nylon floor from abrasions or punctures. kelty-trail-ridge-6-tent-small-6

7. Pros

      • Can be setup in less than 10 minutes, even without help from others
      • Can be moved around after setup
      • 2 vestibules for extra storage space
      • Freestanding tent
      • Internal storage pockets
      • Noiseless zipper pulls
      • Stylish design
      • Factory taped seams with 1800mm coating
      • 2 Doors on opposite sides of the tent

8. Cons

      • Although designed as a 6-person tent, it is only truly comfortable for 4 adults
      • The vestibule doesn’t give enough room between the tent door and the vestibule door
      • Possibility of leaks when opening the rainfly on rainy nights

9. Consumer Ratings

Most reviews about the Trail Ridge 6 praise the design of the tent and its ability to withstand heavy rain and staying dry without any leak throughout bad weather.
However, even with the criticism against the tent, it received a decent amount of positive ratings from users so it’s something you can ponder on if you want to buy this tent.

Read more reviews here

10. Price

The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 tent offers a very family-budget friendly cost, although it might seem a bit pricey for some, but you totally get what you pay for. Kelty has already proven itself to be a great brand for your camping needs and many people can attest to the quality of the tents they manufacture.

Some camping gear sites offer the same product but, so far, Amazon offers the lowest price saving more depending on different offers in different seasons. Check the latest price here


For most people, the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 has two shortcomings. Firstly, 6 adult sized people won’t have a problem fitting inside the tent. However, the sleeping arrangements would mean that they will be packed in with little wiggle room. In order to get the best use out of this tent, it’s best suited for 4 people or 4 and a child. The second shortcoming is the rainfly. Although the rainfly is designed to cover the whole tent, it would be better if it comes with an extended peak over the door. As a result, you could sleep with the rainfly open even when it rains vertically.

These two shortcomings are not really anything to be worried about. You can just simply love the tent with everything it has, but it would be a nice improvement if the manufacturer implement these two points.

Overall, the tent is a very good, maybe close to perfect, tent to use for family camping or for backpacking. It’s a rather good tent to use and is packed with very good features like its ease of use, durability, design, and decent weight.

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