Kelty Discovery Trail Tent Review

The Kelty Discovery Trail Tent is not the lightest or most compact choice, but it none the less promises quick pitching time and comes from a well-known brand who back it with a lifetime warranty.

Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent, Lightweight and Easy to Setup Backpacking Shelter with 2 Aluminum Poles, Single Door Single Vestibule, Stuff Sack Included

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Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Spacious interior
  • Quick, simplified setup
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Very heavy and Bulky
  • Design compromises have been made
  • Similarly priced alternatives use lighter materials


The Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking tent is not the lightest or most compact when packed down – and that’s not just when it’s compared to much more expensive alternatives (the Naturehike Cloud Up is a similarly priced alternative).

However, what it does offer is a combination of a good price point combined with the reputation of its manufacturer, who back it up with a lifetime warranty, plus it promises to be quick and easy to pitch. This could make the Kelty Discovery Trail Tent a more attractive proposition for you than a tent from an unknown brand.

If you’re an occasional camper or not hiking a long way to camp, then the Kelty Discovery Trail Tent is still an attractive proposition.

Compare to Similar Products

Analysis and Test Results

Kelty are a well-known brand with a reputation for making good quality gear. The Discovery Trail Backpacking tent promises quick setup, a good degree of weather-proofing and a larger than average interior all for a very attractive price and backed with a lifetime limited warranty.

That all sounds fantastic, but then we look at the raw stats and see that this tent is also substantially heavier and has a higher packed size than many of the others we have assessed – and not just others that come in at a much higher price. So, with this tent, the buying decision comes down to how important the Kelty name is for you? That’s a tough one to judge!

Performance Comparison


The first thing we noticed about the Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent was that it only had a single entrance door (surely a deliberate choice to reduce material used and save weight – though as we’ll see later this tent in neither particularly light or compact).

This might not seem like a big deal, but, if there’s two of you sharing the tent, then it can have some very real comfort implications – notably if the person on the non-opening side needs to get out of the tent, they need to clamber over the other occupant. Of course, this means there’s only a single vestibule area too.

This can make a real difference to the perceived comfort of the tent in real world camping situations. Beyond this, the tent features a symmetrical footprint and decently sized interior – indeed it’s a little larger than some of its competitors in this regard.

You can’t really describe any of the tents in this round up as spacious, and any assessment made here is very subjective, but the Kelty Discovery Trail holds up well here.

Weather Resistance

The Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent has a main body that makes extensive use of breathable ‘No-See-Um’ mesh, but it forgoes the ripstop nylon used in many of the lighter (and more expensive!) tents in this round up in favour of 68 Denier Polyester.

This heavier fabric still offers a good degree of water proofing (Kelty claim up to 1200mm), and we don’t think this fabric choice will impact the weather resistance of this tent in comparison to other, more expensive options.


Weighing in at 2.21kg (4lb 14oz) complete, the Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking tent is noticeably heavier than many of the other tents we have assessed. If it was rated as a four season tent, this weight penalty might be easier to accept, but that’s not the case and the Discovery Trail is rated as a three season tent.

Many of the lightweight tents in this round up from the likes of Big Agnes, MSR and Near Zero come in at roughly between 500g and 1kg (approx. 1-2lb) lighter than this Kelty, and that is very far from a trivial weight difference.

However, these tents also come with a substantial price premium and the Kelty is a fraction of the cost of any of these. Where things get a little muddier is when we compare the weight of the Kelty to the Naturehike Cloud-up – here, the Naturehike still have a roughly 500g (1lb) weight advantage, but the prices are much more evenly matched – indeed, in the US, the Naturehike is a cheaper option.

Packed Size

The Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent packs down to 55.8×15.2cm (22x6in). That’s one of the largest packed sizes of any of the tents we’ve assessed. It’s certainly clear that the reduced cost of the Kelty comes at the expense of physical size and if you want to prioritise light weight and low volume you would certainly be better served looking at one of the smaller packed size tents in our back.

It’s also worth noting that the higher packed volume might necessitate bringing a larger (and heavier!) backpack to accommodate the packed tent – this can have a cascade effect on increasing the overall weight and bulk of your total camping equipment setup.

We have also assessed the Kelty Far Out Backpacking Tent, which packs down to a far smaller size than the Discovery Trail. The key difference between the tents is the pole setup and it’s clear here that the two pole system used by the discovery trail is one of the key factors in the packed volume of the tent.


We don’t think there’s any reason to doubt this tent’s long-term durability. The materials used are all solid and the simplified poles are, we think, a real advantage in term of durability.

Kelty back this tent with a lifetime limited warranty. The also offer DIY repair guides on their website and offer spare and replacement parts for sale – though the order process requires filling in an information request form, so isn’t as streamlined as it could be.

Ease of Setup

Kelty makes a big deal about the ease of setup of the Discovery Trail Backpacking tent. Whilst other manufacturers have opted for an approach using a single piece pole assembly, this Kelty tent uses two separate poles that you cross in an x-shape and which form a dome shape when inserted into the inner tent body. This two-pole approach has its advantages – you don’t need to wrestle with a ‘metal jellyfish’ of poles to assemble to tent frame as you do with some other models and Kelty claim the Discovery Trail tent can be pitched in as little as two minutes.

We’d take this claim with a pinch of salt, but there’s no denying the approach is appealing and the instructional video Kelty provide certainly makes the process look easy!


The real advantage of the Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking tent is its price. At the time of writing, this is £127.99 in the UK and $129.95 in the US. That makes it one of the least expensive tents we’ve assessed – it’s less than a quarter the price of some of the more expensive tents we’ve looked at and most of the other tents in our round up that come in cheaper are from relatively unknown brands. When you consider that this tent comes from a well-known brand with a reputation for making good gear and who back it up with a lifetime warranty, then the cost is even more appealing, and we think that the Kelty’s ace is its value proposition.


Outwardly, this Kelty Discovery trail Backpacking tent has a lot stacked against it: Design compromises that normally save weight and bulk (i.e., a single entrance) have been made and yet this tent is still one of the heaviest and bulkiest we’ve looked at.

However, Kelty make up for this with a very attractive price point, and, whilst we’ve considered tents that are far cheaper than the Kelty, these all come from relatively unknown brands. So, the Kelty’s selling point is that it’s a bargain choice from a reputable brand.

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