About | Blog | Forums | People | Free Newsletter
Trailspace is a product review site for outdoor enthusiasts. Use it to find and share great gear.

Kelty Windfoil Ultralight

11 reviews
5-star:   5
4-star:   5
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
1

Mine is still going strong since 1997 through heavy…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: received it as a personal gift

Summary

Mine is still going strong since 1997 through heavy use and a fair amount of neglect. It's kept me bone dry except for the times the ground was too hard for stakes, and using anchors really harms the tent's ability to remain taut during a downpour. My only real complaint is that it becomes a sauna with the fly attached if the weather is above 60°F.

Pros

  • Long-term durability
  • Ease of setup
  • Warm in winter

Cons

  • Hot in summer
  • Condensation
  • Heavy compared to newer UL tents

Setup: It's a breeze to set up and take down, provided the ground isn't too hard for stakes. Total time from pack to fully set up takes no longer than three minutes if you're really trying to rush it. Making sure the head, foot, and guylines are taut is very important if you're going to be experiencing rain or wind.

I learned not to follow the provided instructions early on if you want to keep it steady:

  1. Insert the poles into the body, then stake the head and foot with as much tension as possible.
  2. Stake the sides.
  3. Attach the fly with the sides tightened as much as possible.
  4. Unstake the head and foot and restake after pulling out the slack.
  5. Attach guylines to the fly and tighten.
  6. Finally, tighten the head and foot of the fly as much as possible with the vestibule zipped and staked.

This is the only way I've found to keep the fly from sagging during snow and heavy rain. After that, it's bone dry with none of the fly touching the body.


Stability: See above. It's incredibly stable in heavy winds beyond 40MPH and a few inches of snow, provided you get it set up with no means to develop slack.

Weather Resistance: No issues, so long as you keep the fly away from the body. I had issues with water on my last trip due to an inability to use stakes, and woke up during a hard rain after feeling water seep through my bag. Other than that, it's never failed to keep me completely dry unless I toss in my sleep and touch the walls. The fly and floor have had no leak problems in 16 years.

Ventilation: The only weakness this tent really has. In hot and muggy Kentucky, it's hellish to be in during a rainstorm in the summer. This same weakness turns into a strength when the weather gets cold, as I usually have to keep by bag unzipped unless it dips below the 20's. Opening the door and vestibule only alleviates the ventilation problem so much.

Room & Storage: I've had little problem fitting two people inside, but three adults was an interesting experience. If you're by yourself as I usually am, I can fit all of my gear and myself inside with no problem at all. The vestibule is fairly small, and it's hard to fit much in that area without it touching the fly, thus collecting moisture.

Packability: Easy to take down and put away in a hurry, and it compresses to an incredibly small size if you store the poles separate from the body and fly.

Ease of Use: The easiest tent I've dealt with to get set up in a hurry, but as I mentioned, there are some tricks you need to use to make it steady in less than ideal weather.

Features: None to really speak of. It's a giant bivy sack with a tiny vestibule.

Construction & Durability: After 16 years, I can't complain one bit. I may reseal the seams this season, but that's more of a preventative measure.

Conditions: This tent has seen use all over Kentucky and Tennessee during 12 of the 16 years I've owned it, during all seasons and all weather conditions. It was used most recently last year.

This tent has served me very well for what is creeping up on twenty years, and I'm only now looking to replace it now that UL solo tents at half the weight are within my price range. I'll still keep it on hand, but it will only see use during winter trips and when I need to cram in another person. In 1997, just under six pounds for a two-man tent was considered UL.

0

I have had this tent for over 15 years and it still…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: 2-person three season
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: VERY easy
Weight: somewhere between 4 and 5 lbs
Price Paid: $99

I have had this tent for over 15 years and it still functions and even looks new. And yes, have used it quite a bit. Honestly, I have not had other comparable tents to compare to, so I cannot tell you how this rates against others. I can say that it has worked flawlessly every time I have used it without fail. Also, setup is very fast and easy. Kept me dry in countless rains when I saw newer tents my friends would use leaking like a sieve.

My only complains are: limited head room, not free standing (never been an issue though), and the zipper entrance could be bigger. And the biggest gripe I have is that it just won't die which prevents any reason to go out and purchase another tent.

0

I bought two of these tents at a great closeout price…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: three season
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Very easy.
Weight: 5 lbs., 11 oz.
Price Paid: $75

I bought two of these tents at a great closeout price (normally $185) planning to use them to pack in the Adirondacks with my son and nephew. Just got back from climbing Colvin, Nippletop and Dial in some fairly miserable rainy, cool, black fly-infested weather,and here's my feedback:

* Absolutely rainproof - it rained probably 60 of the 72 hours we were there, and the out-of-the-bag Windfoil was bone dry deluge after deluge. I didn't seal any seams, but did guy out all fly lines on the non-sagging poly fly.

* Lightweight - everything included was 5 lbs., 11 oz.

* Roomy - I slept in it alone, and had all kinds of room inside for my gear; this included my 4900 cu. in. backpack and boots in the mini-vestibule, although I could have easily stored them in the tent with me. My wife and I could sleep comfortably with all our gear, but a couple of larger folks (wider) might get a little cramped.

* Condensation - none at all in the tent. The fly had some condensation, but I thought I'd be swimming after all the rain and wind - nothing. Great breathability with full-length mesh screens.

* Extras - wonderful hooded vent on the fly; super photochromatic windows which really worked (blue with the 6 hours of sun we had, clear after the clouds came back).

* Negatives - nothing outstanding. It's a 2-pole hoop tent with minimal height at the foot, but I could sit upright at the front (I'm 5'11"). The roof sagged a little, but no big deal and I understand that the newer version solves this with "Flyboy" technology.

Bottom line: a great backpacking tent for one or two people, lightweight and bombproof. You'd still be getting a good deal paying full price.

0

The Kelty Windfoil Ultralight is by far the most versatile…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: three season end staked arched
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: 2 minutes or less depending on weather
Weight: 4 to 4 1/2 pounds
Price Paid: $130

The Kelty Windfoil Ultralight is by far the most versatile tent I have used to date. The bathtub style flooring has held back water up to 2" deep, and with its ease of setup it makes it the tent of choice for long distance hikes where weight is an issue.I carry this tent in 2 two gallon zip lock freezer bags with the poles separate. This allows me to share the load with my son on our distance hikes, virtually cutting the carry weight in half. Two aluminum poles and approximately 12 ft. in length make this my first choice for people over 6' tall to sleep in and still have room to store (2) 3000 cu.inch packs inside the tent while the vestibule provides enough room for two pairs of shoes and a small stove.

0

EXCELLENT 1 man tent. Advantages: VERY roomy roominess;…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season hoop tent
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Extremely easy especially with the pole sleeves guiding poles into socket
Weight: 4 3/4 dry 5+ wet
Price Paid: $180

EXCELLENT 1 man tent.

Advantages: VERY roomy roominess; Very easy to setup. You don't have to climb back and forth to get the poles into the holes. You just stand on one side and the pole sleeves will guide the poles into the cup. Takes 2 stakes unless you expect heavy weather then use more one on each end. Vestibule is usable and pretty large. 2 large pockets inside tent. Floor is very durable. High head room allowing a 6 footer to sit up inside. One of the longest tents around.

Disadvantages: "door" is located on one side of tent. One person needs to climb over other more so than other tents.

0

I bought this tent in the mid to early 90s and have…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars

I bought this tent in the mid to early 90s and have used the heck out of it. Too bad Kelty stopped building it because my rain fly is about worn out and I need a new one!

This tent is a dream to put up. It has been though many thunder storms and I have remained dry in every one of them. It holds in some heat in the cold and also is a little warm in the heat. It does not vent well with the fly on (my only complaint). Great tent. If you can find a used one, buy it.

0

We bought two of these tents so I could have one and…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season hoop
Sleeps: 1-2
Ease of Setup: Extremely easy
Weight: 4.5 - 5.0 lbs
Price Paid: $130

We bought two of these tents so I could have one and my teenage son could use the other. It is just a little for a one-man tent, but the space you have more than makes up for the weight. I have shared the space with my wife (perfect) and one night with my son-in-law (never do that again). This tent is nearly 12ft long. A tall guy like me can really stretch out. Other tents I own: Timberline, Timberlite, Zephyr (I'm a scout leader). The one I usually pick up for a 50+ mile trip: Kelty Windfoil Ultralite.

0

This tent is great. It can withstand high winds and…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: very long and comfertable
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: my dog could set it up
Weight: 4'17
Price Paid: $130

This tent is great. It can withstand high winds and heavy rains, though it has one drawback. Some water will settle on the outside of the fly but it just drips down slowly. But hey, my friend's tent that costs two times as much does that too. I would not take this on a summer trip though.

0

This tent is not a summer tent. However in the rain…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season hoop tent
Sleeps: 1-2
Ease of Setup: Fair
Weight: 4lbs9oz
Price Paid: $190

This tent is not a summer tent. However in the rain and high winds it is great. The only problem with the fly is that it touches the side of the tent. It has poor ventilation. the vestibule is only enough for boots. You get a lot of condensation.

0

Lightweight, easy as the dickens to set up. Kinda…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: 3 season hoop
Sleeps: 1-2
Ease of Setup: two poles, two stakes (more if wind exists) and you are in
Weight: 5+ lbs
Price Paid: $120

Lightweight, easy as the dickens to set up. Kinda tight for two (though I have tried it with two and survived) but good with the wind.

One note this is a warm tent. the ventilation is good if you leave the fly off. But it traps the heat well.

0

An excellent, lightweight tent for backpacking; better…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: Three season; hoop
Sleeps: ONE
Ease of Setup: Very easy;
Weight: 4.5/5.0
Price Paid: $109 REI Special

An excellent, lightweight tent for backpacking; better suited for one person, rather than the two-occupant spec. by the mannufacturer. Recently, camped at 5800 ft. on a bald in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area (N.C.) the tent held up well against a night-long blow of 40+ mph winds.

Know someone who might be interested in this?
Share it on email, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.
If you've owned or used a Kelty Windfoil Ultralight, please share your experience.

Kelty Windfoil Ultralight

Discontinued

The Windfoil Ultralight has been discontinued.

reviewers paid:
$75.00 - $190.00

The Kelty Windfoil Ultralight is not available from the stores we monitor.

If you're looking for a new three-season tent, check out the best reviewed current models.