Disclaimer: I am not being compensated by Kelty at all for this review, and the tent I am reviewing is one that I purchased. I do, however, have an affiliate agreement with Kelty, and if you follow links in the article and make a purchase, I will receive a commission, which helps to keep this site up and running.
Earlier in the season I provide a first look at the new Sequoia tent by Kelty. I purchased one for our family campouts, and have been able to use it on two trips so far this summer. We experienced a range of hot temperatures, and rainy weather that gave the tent a pretty good workout, so here is the scoop on one of Kelty’s latest models.
I have been using Kelty tents for close to 20 years now. For the last 7 years, I have been using their Gunnison model which has been a fantastic tent in all kinds of weather from light snow storms, to all out monsoons! When I saw the Sequoia announced this spring I decided to give it a try. It’s tall, and allows you to stand up in it. For an extended campout by myself, I can put a cot in it and get off the ground. I can stand up to change clothes or whatever I need to do with the 78″ interior height in the 4 person model. When camping with my wife, she is much more comfortable not having to crawl in and out of the tent.
The first impression I had of this tent overall was good. It’s not as quick to set up as the Gunnison. The poles actually have to be fed through the tent rather than just using clips, but with a tent this large I would expect that. That being said, I set it up the first time by myself in about 15 minutes. The poles can be a little awkward, and if you have a friend to help set it up it goes quicker.
Compared to the Gunnison, I don’t think the Kelty Sequoia is as well ventilated. It seems to take longer to cool it down after a hot day unless you take the rain fly completely off. There is one vent on the back side of the tent, and of course the door in the front. When you close it up at night, or in the rain, there is less air flow than the Gunnison. But overall, I think it’s enough. Unless the weather was really bad, I would leave the door in the rain fly open some, and that helped out a lot. We had some hot sunny days in the mid to upper 80 degree range, and overall it did well and we were able to sleep well.
We had a couple of pretty heavy rain storms, and the interior stayed nice and dry. I did not add any water proofing, or do anything with the seams. On our second outing, the tent was close to a low spot in the ground. I had avoided the low area because it looked like there had been standing water there, but when severe thunder storms came through the first night, it filled up more than I expected, and one corner of the tent ended up in a couple inches of standing water. By morning the water had drained from the temporary pond. Since I hadn’t really put this tent through really bad conditions yet, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the inside of the tent was still perfectly dry, even after being somewhat submerged.
The one complaint I have about the tent in these rain storms is that it allows water to pool up on the top of the fly, right above the entrance. It doesn’t seem to hold a lot of water, not enough to make the tent sag anyway. However, with the location of it, you need to remember it’s there, or you could end up taking an unplanned shower when you unzip the tent entrance. Once you get in the habit of draining that before you go in or out, it’s not a problem. But if you forget, you will most likely get wet.
Overall, this tent is made with the same quality I expect from Kelty. This tent is definitely not for backpacking, but it is a great fit if you need a large and comfortable tent for car camping. Aside from the water pooling over the doorway, I had a great experience with it. It kept our gear dry in some pretty wet conditions, and that’s why I buy Kelty tents rather than cheap tents from a big box store. Rainy campouts can end up miserable if your clothes and bedding get wet. I would rate this tent a solid 4.5 out of 5.