Camping is a popular pastime, with over 92 million Americans identifying as campers and 58 million heading out at least once a year. No matter how often or where you choose to camp, quality gear is a must-have. No one wants their tent ripping during setup.
Kelty is known for making affordable, quality tents and camping gear, all while inspiring users to live their best outdoor lives. The fun-loving outdoor brand strives to make camping accessible to novice and experienced campers a like. When I saw that Kelty's 6-person tent came in at under $200, I had to see if it was too good to be true. After using the tent to camp with my family, it turns out, a quality tent doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
$189.95 13 lbs 14oz 119"x 106" 68" peak One open compartment 3 season tent Dome 68D Polyester
Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 Tent Specs
13 lbs 14oz
One open compartment
3 season tent
Tent Set Up & Breakdown
I tested the Kelty tent in the Sierra Nevada Foothills over an unseasonably warm weekend at the beginning of spring.
First and foremost: Setting up this tent was a breeze—even with just one person—which cannot be said for all competitors. And even though I battled an actual breeze, I could still pitch the tent without help.
I like how easy Kelty made the setup process. The tent poles slide easily into the premade corner pocket, and the rainfly snapped into place with the color-coordinated clasps. (Since the top of the tent is mesh on all four sides, you'll definitely want the rain tarp if the weather looks uncooperative.)
With easy-to-follow features like those, the tent would be a great option for beginners.
That said, I did put the rainfly on backward the first time, so some amount of paying-attention is required.
We didn't need to use the pre-attached guylines, but it's certainly handy to have them strategically bundled up on each side if the need to use them arose.
Then, I found the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 was just as easy to take down as it was to set up. It took less than 10 minutes for me to take it down and fold it back into its duffle bag.
And while a small feature, I really loved the duffel bag. Its unique design made it easy to pack all the pieces up, even if you don't do a great job of folding like me. I also liked that it zips closed, keeping everything secure. I also was a fan of the duffles cross-body strap, making it much easier to carry the tent and other gear.
I was pretty impressed with how tall the tent was in the center. I'm just shy of 5'8" and could stand up completely at the tallest point. Since the tent has a dome shape, standing upright as you walk toward the corners becomes more difficult. But this certainly wasn't backbreaking like other tents can be.
This tent is rated for up to six people but it was really the perfect size for our four-person family with all our gear. That's the case for the vast majority of tents—they're quite uncomfortable filled with the amount of people they're actually rated for. In the Basecamp 6, I'd have difficulty seeing six people with gear in the tent unless it's all adults and minimal belongings.
I'd say the biggest downside I found to the Kelty Basecamp 6 is that the tent only has one door. If you're camping with your family, this might not be a deal-breaker. But if you're with friends, you may want a tent with more than one entry point to avoid any awkward climbing to get to the door in the middle of the night.
The Basecamp 6 also has some nice features, especially at this price-point:
I loved the vent on top of the door, though, and the option to zip back the entire door, allowing air to flow through with mesh keeping all the bugs out.
The interior pockets are perfect for stashing phones, accessories, and anything else you don't want to be lost in the shuffle.
Lastly, it is designed with a small, easy-to-set-up awning on the front of the tent to provide a small amount of shade and rain protection. However, I wish it had an extended vestibule, which in my experience over years of camping, I've found is crucial to prevent dirt from being easily tracked into the tent and for storing shoes, toys, and other outdoor gear outside the tent but protected from the rain. This becomes even more true if you're trying to fit six people in the tent and could use the space your gear is taking up inside.
Should You Buy It?
If you're looking for a simple, easy, and quick-to-setup tent, the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 is a great option. This is especially true if you are new to camping or a little impatient with long setups. The tent goes up in under 10 minutes if you are doing it alone, and even faster if someone else gives you a hand.
If you're a family of six with smaller kids, you may snuggle into the tent just fine. But, if you are looking for a tent that is comfortable for six adults, you'll want a bigger tent with a full vestibule for storing shoes and other gear and two doors smoother exiting.
However, if you're looking for a comfy tent for four with an easy setup and plenty of interior pockets, the lack of a vestibule won't deal breaker. When you're ready to move up to an intermediate tent, plenty of larger family tent options are available from Kelty and other quality tentmakers.
As long as the tent is cared for and stored properly, the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 is the perfect option for years of simple fun in the great outdoors, especially for a budget tent ringing in at under $200.