Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Review: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

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Update for 2020: we still love and use this tent, especially in the warmer months. We’ve had more than 20 nights camping in this tent, and are happy to be able to give a great Kelty Trail Ridge 6 review.

Sadly, this is now one of the discontinued Kelty tents. We’ve done a little research and found there are 2 other great options available though.

The Kelty Wireless 6 is one of the newest models, but is out of stock on the Kelty website (at the time of publishing). Another similar model, the Kelty Sequoia 6 is available on Amazon. A similar stargazing roof makes this a great alternative.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Review

Why We Love It

The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 is a great family tent that makes you feel like you are sleeping directly under the stars. The trade-off, of course, is very little privacy, but with so many other great features in this tent, we are willing to work around that.

Pros

  • Light Weight
  • Great Waterproofness
  • Stargazing Roof
  • “Light” Pockets

Cons

  • Price
  • Zippers
  • Privacy

A Search For a New Tent

After 10 years (and three children) our beloved Eureka! Headquarters tent was on its last legs. 

There were mounting issues that kept popping up –  little holes in the floor, zippers not working properly, and seams that were starting to split. Despite all the small issues, that tent with loaded with camping memories, so we were going to delay replacing it for as long as we could.

But then came that camping trip with the wind and rain, and our tent was done.

Tent Research

We wanted a 6 person tent. That was about all we knew. With that as starting point, the search was on. 

And there were still over 70 tents.

Sifting through height, floor space, waterproofness, and more, we landed on the Kelty Trail Ridge 6. The biggest selling feature was the stargazing roof.

Putting the Trail Ridge to Use

Just a few short days after getting the tent, we put it to the test so we could give you our Kelty Trail Ridge 6 review. This tent was our home away from home on our summer road trip that brought us to 11 different campgrounds over 25 days.

Sleeping Capacity

While the sleeping capacity on this Trail Ridge ridge model is 6 people, you also have to take gear into account. As a general rule of thumb, the sleeping capacity should be reduced by 2 for any tent that sleeps 4 or more people. That means this family tent, rated for 6 people, sleeps 4 comfortably with gear.

Our setup includes a Coleman cot, two sleeping pads, and all of the other gear for a family of 5 (two of the kids sleep in their own tent).

The 82 sq ft of floor space is small compared to some other family tents, especially compared to the 100 sq ft of our Eureka! Headquarters. Floor space was our biggest concern with the Kelty Trail Ridge 6, but that extra space has not been missed yet.

This tent does come in other sleeping capacities of 4 and 8 people if you need something smaller or bigger.

trail ridge 6 camping tent set up
The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 is easy to set up and the views are fantastic

Waterproofness

The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 floor and rainfly have a waterproofness rating of 1800mm.  If that rating doesn’t mean anything to you, all you need to know is that the higher the mm number the better the waterproofing.

From our research, we consider 1800mm on the better side of waterproofness. (In our good-better-best rating of waterproofness, best is 2000mm and above, better is between 1000mm and 2000mm,  and good is below 1000mm).

The stargazing roof means mesh walls that offer no protection from the rain. If rain is in the forecast, the rain fly must go on. 

The Perfect Weather Test

While we had the misfortune of camping in a ridiculous downpour at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana, we now know this tent holds up in the heaviest rains.

It poured for over 2 hours and knocked out the power to the campground. And the inside of our tent stayed completely dry. I was shocked at how well the tent held up in the downpour.

Peak Height of the Kelty Trail Ridge 6

The tent felt much roomier than I had expected. 

The peak height in the tent is 72 inches (6 ft). I am 6 ft and expected to feel a little cramped for headroom. But I didn’t feel closed in at all and had plenty of room to move around. 

Tent Weight

This is a car camping tent, so weight is not a huge priority (unlike backpacking tents, where weight is everything). At 15 lbs 10 oz, the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 is a lightweight tent that is easy to pack.

The tent fits into a duffel bag a can easily be stored in the trunk or roof cargo box.

The weight and duffel bag storage are my favorite features of this tent.

kelty's trail ridge 6 packed in duffle
Ease of repacking into the duffle bag was a focus of our Kelty Trail Ridge 6 review

Other Highlights of the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Review

Stargazing roof:  This was the main selling feature for my wife. It is great for getting that outdoor feeling inside your tent. But there is a trade-off to that stargazing experience: privacy

trail ridge 6 stargazing roof
The stargazing roof is one of the favorite features

Aluminum Poles:  The strength and weight of the aluminum poles is an upgrade over fiberglass poles.

Color-Coded Connectors:  These make the tent easy to put up and position on the tent pad.  Set up is still a two-person job but the color-coding makes it easier.

Gear Loft:  A nice feature to have, though we never use it.

Two Doors:  I like the 2 doors as it allows for some flexibility in positioning and getting in and out of the tent.

No-see-um Mesh: This mesh material has holes that are smaller than a typical mesh material to keep even the tiniest of bugs out of the tent. 

Night Light Pocket:  I thought this was a little gimmicky at first but these pockets are pretty handy in lighting up the tent with a headlamp or the flashlight on your phone.

Noiseless Zippers:  This would be great for those early morning risers who want to quietly sneak out of the tent in the morning, but we really didn’t find the zippers any less noisy than in our last tent.  

Two Vestibules:  These add a little extra room around the 2 doors. The vestibules are created when the rain fly is put on the tent. While they are great, if you don’t have the rain fly on, you have no vestibules.

Price

The MSRP on the Trail Ridge 6 is $399.95.  This price puts this car camping tent in the high range of 6 person tents. We were able to find this tent for about $100 off that price, putting this premium tent into the mid-level of family camping tents. 

The Bottom Line

This is a great family tent and we couldn’t have asked for a better replacement for our 10-year-old tent. 

My wife loves the stargazing roof and I love the weight and duffel bag carrying case.  This tent easily fits into the duffel bag so there is not that packaging struggle every time we break camp. 

The waterproofness was fantastic, the rain fly and floor stayed completely dry during a 2-hour downpour. The vestibules give that additional space for gear and the night light pockets were an unexpected surprise.

All in all the tent has delivered so far and we can’t wait to get some more use out of it in the fall. 

We have yet to test it out in the Colorado mountains. We do a lot of camping above 8000 ft so I am anxious to see how it holds up with some colder conditions (and will post an update once we do).

If privacy is not a major concern for you, we highly recommend the Trail Ridge 6 tent.

Have you tried this tent? We’d love to hear your Kelty Trail Ridge 6 review in the comments!


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