Kelty Gunnison 3.3
- Good floor space
- Most vestibule area in test set
- Second highest peak in set
- Heaviest in test set
- Not appropriate for extreme weather
- Bulky packability
The biggest limitation of the Kelty Gunnison was the heavy weight without the commensurate weatherproofness. It will serve well as a go-to car camping tent or short distance backpacking, given its large floor and vestibule space.
The Gunnison performs well in the shoulder room category, leading the test set in vestibule area and featuring the second highest peak at 49 inches, just two inches behind the Midori. It has an average amount of floor space at 45 square feet, third in this set. The body of the tent does have less mesh than other tents, which adds weight and decreases ventilation.
The Gunnison comes in a square roll-top bag, which can make weight-sharing easier, but doesn’t allow for quick storage of the entire tent on the exterior of a backpack. It’s trail weight of 5 pounds and 15 ounces is the second heaviest in the test set, and the maximum weight of 7 pounds and 6 ounces makes it the heaviest, which severely limits its deep-backcountry applications.
First time solo setup for our tester took 6:05, which helped the Gunnison’s score in this category. It is a simple dome with one aluminum pole and no threading, which means it can be easily set up by one person. The front door can be expanded into an awning with two trekking poles for more living space, although this is really only practical where there is no wind.
The Gunnison is a basic dome tent with high walls, which makes it inappropriate for really gusty weather. Each wall presents a large amount of surface area to catch wind and weather, which makes guy-line use essential for inclement weather. The body attaches to the poles with sturdy plastic twist clips, which are fast to use. The feet, where the body connected to the poles at the four corners, use a compact metal design that is much more reliable and durable than the plastic buckles that other tents use.
The corners of the fly attach to the metal feet of the body with a very simple and intuitive string cinch, which makes setup fast and tension adjustments easy. There are two doors. The smaller vestibule is 8.25 square feet and the larger is 16 square feet, the largest single vestibule in the test set.
Additional Product Specifications
Minimum Trail Weight: 5 lbs 15 oz
Max / Packaged Weight: 7 lbs 6 oz
Interior Floor Area: 45 sq ft
Vestibule Area: 16+8.25 sq ft
Peak Interior Height: 49 in
How We Tested It
The tents in this test were used throughout the spring of 2017, on multi-week mountaineering trips in the Pacific Northwest, along with additional testing in the central Sierra Nevada. The length and intensity of the trips allowed a close look at the performance of each tent, with a strong appreciation for the consequences of that performance.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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