User Review: Kelty Gunnison 2
Design: 3-season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: 5 lbs and some ounces
Price Paid: $150
I took this tent on a 4-day trip on Oregon's section of the Pacific Crest Trail and it held up well until the last day.
In the process of shopping, I looked at Marmot's Limelight and Titan 2 tents, and Mountain Hardwear's Drifter 2 tent. They were all in the same general price range and pretty similar construction.
I liked the overall Kelty tent design better (because it has "windows" and vents), and I happened to find a good deal on it. I was a little skeptical about those stupid Jake's Foot attachments for the poles because they are plastic and just seemed ripe for breaking at the worst time imaginable.
I did not test my Kelty in very harsh conditions on the PCT, by choice. It rained all day on the hike into Three Sisters Wilderness and the tent did keep me dry during the time was erect for bad weather. The temperature hovered above freezing at night and the zippers froze the next morning. I stayed dry, even after setting up shop in the dripline of some trees (needed thermal protection).
The weather cleared the following day and it was great for the rest of the trip. As such, I can't really speak on how durable my Kelty is in the heart of the rainy season here in Oregon or how sturdy it is in strong wind. I think it will do fine in most all conditions (within the recommended season of use) and it is easy to stake out the guylines for extra support.
Weight-wise, I don't think this tent is any heavier than my partner's REI Half Dome 2 (or any other like-construction tent), so I do not have any complaints there. You can pay more and certainly get lighter tents, but this one is not a back breaker if you're just an average packer. I stuffed the poles into my pack and lashed the tent and fly in a stuff sack on the back of my pack. It rode just fine for me.
All in all, I'm satisfied with my purchase. I would be FAR happier if the folks at Kelty used regular old grommets for the tent pole attachments versus those stupid Jake's Foot.
I can only describe a Jake's Foot as something like a ball and socket joint. You insert the "ball" part of the tent pole into a plastic piece attached to the tent corners that has the "socket". Aside from the socket, the plasic tent corners also have a place for the rain fly to snap onto.
The last day of my trip, I'm breaking camp and pull the shock cord from the Jake's Foot, so the ball part is sitting in the socket. The shock cord retracts and I have pole sections at my feet. The sad part is the ball part of the assembly is held tight by a small knot using the cord tension, and you have to apply some pressure to remove the Jake's Foot.
Remember the ball part does snap into the socket part and it is pretty secure when it's in there. Meaning, you have to snap it right back out versus just wiggling it through the grommet hole.
To me, that is a product designer trying to be too innovative and make their tent "extra" different. Grommets may not be new or original, but they work and I never had a pole break threading it through a grommet.
I would also prefer male/female attachments on the rain fly because the existing plastic feels weak for a structure that gets a fair amount of usage. You do have to pull the rain fly tight and if the small plastic connector breaks, the rain fly is useless. Male/female attachments are at least stronger, more durable plastic pieces.
Aside from the horrible choice in tent pole attachments (Jake's Foot over grommets) and rain fly issues, this is otherwise a pretty good tent. I do like it and I'm not going to buy another tent yet. I will get mine fixed and we will see what happens next season.
I am leery about the Jake's Foot deal, but I'll use it until it either redeems itself or reveals itself to be a POS and I say screw Kelty's frail, useless crack-pot innovation.