In the summer of 2000, I lived in my car. That's how I like to tell the story. The truth is, I lived in my tent. I bought a Kelty tent because I recognized the brand name and knew it'd be a reliable alternative to sleeping in my Subaru 4WD wagon as I solo-toured the desert Southwest.
50 Cent Tour
When our pals at Kelty said they'd love to show us around their Boulder, Colo., operation, well, we were so delighted we videod the experience! We learned plenty about this legendary brand, which also happens to be one of our favorites at Sierra Trading Post. (Not that we play favorites, but we've been working with Kelty for more than a decade!) Kelty has been around since 1952, and in that time has left an indelible mark on the industry and the way even the most common camper adventures!
History of a Brand
Like a lot of mountaineers in the 50s, Dick Kelty struggled to find the best gear for his pursuits, so he made it. It didn't take long for his packs to become the mountaineer's go-to. Famous American climber Jim Whittaker used a Kelty pack to ascend Mount Everest in 1963.
Truth be told, Dick Kelty changed backpacking forever with his motivation for innovation, giving us the world's first aluminum frame backpack. It's an idea that continues to stand the test of time: Kelty and many others still make external frame packs today.
In 1952, Dick Kelty sold just 29 of his hand-crafted packs. They featured aircraft-aluminum contoured frames, padded shoulder straps, waist belts, clevis-pin attachment of pack bags, nylon pack cloth, zippered pockets, hold-open frames, and nylon back bands. The first shoulder straps were produced using wool carpeting for padding. The original clevis pins were made from aircraft rivets.
Did you know Kelty designed and produced the first stainless steel quick-release waist belt buckle for a backpack? They did exactly that in 1970! Can you imagine a backpack without a quick-release buckle now?
Continuing a Tradition of Innovation
As you might guess, Kelty has continued innovating with its tents and shelters, backpacks, sleeping bags and camping accessories. Just how does that innovation happen? Well, customer feedback and actual testing by real people behind the brand. That combination leads to great reviews like this one: One Amazing Tent!!!!
One of the things Kelty focuses on is delivering the best possible outdoor experience so the novice can camp confidently and the mountaineer can make history eagerly. In our afternoon at Kelty headquarters, we learned how they test and measure a tent's efficient use of space so your three-person tent doesn't feel more like a one-person-and-one-yorkie sized deal.
We spent a bit of time in Kelty's Advanced Development Center where camping and hard sciences meet. Watch as we show you how Kelty uses a unique (and super smart!) means to measure a tent design's livable space.
Think about it. Your tent has to let you do three things: crouch, sit up and lay down to sleep. You need it to be stable and withstand major winds and rains so you can actually enjoy your adventure.
Kelty Giveaway from Sierra Trading Post