Kelty Late Start 2 ($160)

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4 lbs. 8 oz.

85 x 54/45 in.

1P, 2P, 4P

Inexpensive, durable, and lightweight.

No rainfly vents and all-mesh body suffers in high winds.

Kelty’s Late Start backpacking tent is a good option for those who are on a tight budget. The tent has a simple design with an all-mesh frame and bathtub floor, simple crisscrossing metal structure and a single door and vestibule. The Late Start is easy to set up, with pole sleeves at all corners (although this is a little archaic but it gets the job done). At just 4-and-a half pounds, the Late Start is very lightweight, thanks to its 68-denier fly. It’s an ideal choice for summer backpackers looking to reduce their pack weight.

The Late Start is ranked at the bottom of our rankings because of a few factors. The Kelty does not come with a footprint, unlike Stormbreak and the Passage. We would not hesitate to pitch this tent directly on the ground in most cases (the 68D floor is thick and strong enough to resist contact with sharp rocks or branches), but it is a notable omission. The Late Start has a tapered floor that limits interior space and forces you to sleep shoulder to shoulder with your partner. The all-mesh canopy can be a problem in high winds and condensation can get trapped in the fly. We recommend propping the door open in dry weather. The Late Start is a backpacking tent with a lower price and lighter weight than others.