A few Friday nights ago, we excitedly packed up the Subaru Outback for a fall camping trip to try out our new Kelty Discovery 4 Tent. We purchased this tent because we wanted a large enough and study enough tent so that our 110 pound Adventure Dog could come along on our adventures. Once loaded, we headed to northeastern Wisconsin to camp at 12 Foot Falls Park in Marinette County, WI, and while arriving after dark (at 9:30 PM), we were treated to a cool crisp night, about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, with a clear sky for star gazing. Perfect sleeping weather in our Whiskey Park Zero Degrees Sleeping Bag by Big Agnus.
When arriving, the Gear Guys split up duties while Adventure Dog quickly began his task of securing the perimeter of the campsite not leaving one leaf un-sniffed, and all tree bases were check for messages left by past camping doggies while the balance of the team started a fire and pitched the tent.
The Discovery 4 has a packaged weight of 10 lbs. 7 oz with ample room in it’s stuff -sack to fit a footprint. The Discovery 4 does not come with it’s own footprint but the REI Dome 4 footprint fits very closely and is quite workable. The minimum trail weight of this tent is 9 lbs 1 oz. so it is most defiantly a car-camping or overlanding style tent, and that was our goal with this product. Setup is extremely fast and can be effortlessly done by one person. The two 9.5/11 millimeter Fiberglass poles slide very well through the enclosed sleeves and secure nicely in their designated grommets at the base.
The rainfly is 68-denier polyester (same fabric thickness used throughout the tent) and also is a snap to set in position and buckles quickly and securely in place with its adjustable webbing. The rainfly has a pointed vestibule over the one D shaped entry door in the front. The vestibule is a little touchy to set up your first time; it would be wise to practice at home before heading out.
With the tent set up, we noticed right away that it was a solid tent and with its multiple permanently attached guy-lines this tent was going to hold strong and steady in heavy winds and blowing rains. The tent as a whole is designed heartily with ample protection designed into the tent to keep the water outside.
The tent has a very nice sized D shaped door and great zipper protection as the zipper lies deeply under the orange trim surround the door. We do wish the tent had another door on the opposing side as then we would not have one camper getting crawled over by the other if the inside person wakes first. One more point of the design we were unhappy with is the mesh vent at the top of the door. The door does not come with a full screen but rather only the small section at the top which Can be opened for airflow.
This view of the tent shows that it has a nice and high tubbed floor to keep out the water if it should start to build up around the tent in a storm. We will admit this tent was designed very well to keep out rain / water.
Here is a view of the back side of the tent, and again we wish they would have opted for another door rather than a privacy wall.
Size consists of the floor dimensions of 98 x 84 inches / floor area total lying 57 square feet and we found that to be perfect for two six-foot plus guys and a full size mountain dog. It actually was perfect as we were able to put Adventure Dog right between us with his bedding…we all shared warmth and no one had to sleep with a face full of dog hair since there was ample room.
The tent is designed as a four person tent but we feel it might be a little tight for that…we can see three fitting perfectly with room left for inside gear storage.
Once again the tent is built very well structurely as the floor has taped seams to keep out water and the corners are very nicely reinforced with extra material.
The peak of the ceiling has a nice utility loop that works very well for hanging a light or lantern. The sides also have pockets which are very nice to keep phone, flashlight, car keys and the such. Nothing worse then frantically digging around the floor, under sleeping bags, or under an overtired dog, looking for your flashlight!
Overall, it is a great value as we purchased it from REI for under $100, so the price-point is good for a hearty tent. We do find it to be a tent that would be best used during mild weather, especially as we woke with heavy condensation and water drops all over our gear. We needed to sleep with the rain fly on since there was a solid chance for rain that night. We used the vents as instructed by Kelty; we had called Kelty to be sure we had a proper setup for our situation. The Gear Guys would recommend this tent for campers who are going to camp in conditions above 40 degrees to prevent condensation that we experienced at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. We feel had Kelty added the full screen to the one door there may have been ample air flow to help push out the warm moist air during the night, resulting in less of a condensation problem.
The Gear Guys feel this tent is a good value for entry level campers but not a tent for advanced campers in cold weather situations. Giving this tent a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.