Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Written by  Ronald Lee
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Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

The Kelty Trail Ridge 6 man tent offers spacious shelter with lots of headroom for your friends, family and gear. It is very quick to setup with large easy access doors and comes with a footprint that neatly hooks into the poles for no-fuss no-muss car camping.

At approx 15 lbs the Trail Ridge 6 is slightly heavy to hump on a hiking expedition. Realistically for 4 adults, a 6 man tent is really a minimum for car camping purposes. When you’re solo or with a buddy/spouse/girlfriend, a 4 man will do. A 4 man tent typically will comfortably hold 2 adults and gear. It WILL hold 4 people but only if you sleep like you’re a corpse and all your gear is outside. For a 4, 6, or 8 man tent, subtract 2 people and you’ll have comfortable living quarters for the duration.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Trail Ridge 6 with no Fly attached

Specs and Features

The Trail Ridge series 6 man from Kelty is a sturdy 3-season tent with two large D shaped doors for easy entry and exit. Two fairly large vestibules (approx 17 square feet 2x) for storing your gear or keeping your chairs out of the rain for the evening. The Trail Ridge 6 offers 82 square feet of real estate and measures 120 x 98 x 72 in or 305 x 249 x 183 cm. At the center the maximum height is 74 inches. It will pack down to 29 x 10 x 9 in and comes with a convenient and spacious carry bag and footprint. Packed weight is approx 15 lbs.

The support poles are made of lightweight aluminum. The wall, floor and fly are made of 68D Polyester, 1800 mm. The mesh parts of the walls are made of 40D No-See-Um Mesh. The tent feels solid, just one slight bend in each of the aluminum poles, read more on that later.

Color Coded

The Kelty Connect System includes color coded clips and color coded pole ends make it easy to assemble the tent in short order. The Connect System also incorporates the fly lines as well to make it super easy to throw together. 6 storage pockets, noiseless zipper pulls, and gear loft and lots of loops inside to hang your lights or lightweight gear from.

The Trail Ridge comes with a footprint which is nice, no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a tent and then another 100 on a footprint that you really should have. Additionally, Kelty includes 12 kick ass beveled aluminum spikes, the kind I had to buy after market for my other tents.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Connect System

Setting up the Trail Ridge 6

We intentionally did not look at the instructions (not that there is much to follow on them). We wanted to see how quickly and easily the Trail Ridge series tent was to put together. Assembling the tent was very easy, approximately 12 min to completion.

Brush off, rake off, kick off debris from your area using the footprint to define the position of the tent. Lay out the Trail Ridge 6 so the corners match up to the footprint corners. There’s only 3 aluminum poles, two long and one short.

Assemble the two longer aluminum poles so that they are full length and slide them into the pole sleeves on the tent in an X pattern. Make sure that the color coded end of the aluminum pole matches the color on the corresponding corner of the tent. Insert one pole end into the Kelty Connect System little metal ground clip and repeat the process on the other 3 corners. It helps if you have a second person but wasn’t really an issue doing it with one.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Twist clips for main aluminum poles

Once you’ve seated the 4 corners, twist the plastic clips onto the poles in the sections that are exposed from the sleeves. Make sure the footprint loops are secured around each corner post and you can begin to pull the rain fly over the top. If you’re a shorty you might have a little bit of an issue getting the fly over the tent by yourself but still easy enough.

Each corner of the fly has cordage with a rubberized pull at the end of it. Take the rubberized pull and secure it under the metal cleat/clip that the aluminum tent pole end is seated in. Finally take your last and short aluminum pole and slide it across the remaining pole sleeve and seat each pole end into the metal clips, this allows the tent to expand and maximize the it’s volume. The system is intuitive and easy to understand without instructions.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Kelty Connect System and Rubberized Pull from Rain Fly

Items that Could be Improved

The rubberized pull on the end of the fly that connects to the metal cleat for the connect system fell off. It’s easy enough to put back on since just a knot is holding on there. However the rubber pull could have been designed so it would be a bit more durable. Just be careful not to try and pull the fly so hard that the pull slips off the line. You can also double up on the knot so it remains a bit more secure.

The aluminum poles once assembled to their full length are a bit long, as a result we experienced two sections, one on each, where the aluminum bent slightly from the curvature. While it isn’t a big deal, my concern would be that down the line that a section could potentially bend adversely. We will update the review if that ever happens. Upon speaking with Kelty support, this is apparently normal wear and should not diminish the durability of the Trail Ridge 6 tent.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Star Gazing Rain Fly

Camping Experience

Luckily we were able to avoid setting up in a rain and mud, but later that evening we experienced torrential downpour for about an hour. As expected the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 was as dry as could be.

It was a pleasure to know that the Trail Ridge features the all important factory taped seams, a full fly that extends to the ground and a footprint. I’m so used to running around with seam sealer when purchasing a new tent. You really have everything you need as far as the tent goes. The only additional item we used was to add a tarp to the vestibule area floor to keep gear off the ground and have a place to remove our shoes and a full size air mattress.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Inside the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Tent

The Trail Ridge 6 is a standard dome style 3-season tent and offers ample room. At 5’11” I’m able to stand straight up at the center and straight enough in the immediate radius from center. We were able to comfortably fit 2 adults and two 3.5 year old children with pads, sleeping bags, basically all our gear and left only our coolers in the car. There was plenty of room left over inside the tent for the coolers too.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Two large D shaped doors

The D shaped doors are very spacious and allow for ample room entering and exiting the tent. I did find that unzipping the tent door all the way, almost always required two hands as the fabric towards the corner didn’t have as much tension on it so the zipper action would fold the fabric as you tried to open it. I didn’t really experience any noiseless zipper pulling, it was fairly loud and normal to me.

Airflow and the sleeping experience was excellent. We had no condensation inside the tent, and the fly includes two triangular shaped ventilation areas that can be closed or prop them open with the attached semi-rigid Velcro support post.

Packing up the Trail Ridge 6 was effortless. Once we removed all the gear, swept out the floor, tear down took less than 8 min. The storage/carry bag that Kelty provides has ample space so you don’t have to fold up the tent perfectly to get it in there. Very convenient.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review

Inside the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Tent

Storage areas

There are a total of 8 storage pockets and a Gear Loft; 1 in each corner and another storage pocket in the center of the two walls without doors making it very convenient to roll over and stash something away. Additionally there are two triangular shaped sleeve style pockets on the upper corners, which are referred to as Night Light Pockets for more storage. I found this a safe place to store my sunglasses.

The material on the Night Light pocket is fairly opaque but white and allows you to diffuse the light a bit. Alternatively you can hang your lightweight lights on any of the fabric loops spread out around the dome area. An included Gear Loft easily ties to the loops for easy storage. Just make sure you put it on the right way as it will only really fit correctly in one direction.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Man Tent Review


The Trail Ridge 6 man tent from Kelty is a car camping gear winner. All things considered, the Trail Ridge is built very well with Factory Taped Seams and a full rain fly. It snugs down for high winds and includes a number of convenient features. The Trail Ridge 6 from Kelty also includes a footprint and 12 high-quality spikes so you have everything you need for some quick plug and play car camping action with ample room so you can bring your friends or family with you.

Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Tent with Footprint MSRP $399.00


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