My camping ritual began as usual, by getting out a chair and opening a beer and surveying the ground before me. It’s a very important thing, the careful consideration of location, orientation and procrastination in the hope that someone else will get bored and put the tent up for you; but alas I was alone and baking in a extra-ordinary June heatwave so I had to do it myself.
Unzipping the generously sized bag, the first whiff of a new tent never fails to dissapoint – a mix of coating chemicals and expectation. Casting the instruction booklet aside, because I’m a bloke, I unwrapped 2 enormous sails of canvas, some poles, and some really decent pegs. I had thrown in a mallet myself earlier.
Two very long poles, and two very, very long poles are supplied, and after the inevitable first wrong insertion, I got the hang of what should go where and within a couple of minutes found the handily coloured pole-sheaths and got the inner section up.
Now, a note on this inner section assembly malarky; all well and good in the summer (and thus I deem the Kelty GR4 a summer tent), but if it were raining, by this point my mesh-panelled inner would surely be ingressing somewhat.
A mighty beast, the GR4, it stands somewhere around 6ft tall, and this is where I encountered my only moment of difficulty. I’m not 6ft tall, and I do not have the arms of a basketball player, and as such the dragging of the flysheet up and over the inner was a ‘task’. Not a terrible task, but then not as easy as would be assembling a ‘fly-first’ tent.
Once the flysheet was spread correctly up and over the tent, attaching was easy. Colour-coded buckles clip together and tighten without need for thought, and everything’s intuitive.
Once up, the monolithic GR4 provides a single large living-space and a boot/beer/chair sized porch. I’m not particular fan of the subdivided tents which most of us are used to, so to have one large, unencumbered space was a refreshing change, and provided ample room for double Aerobed, a weekend’s provisions and dancing area for the effects of a little too much beer and music.
The flip-side of this is that the area of the tent is so large that it doesn’t heat up from your bodies overnight, so be prepared with a good sleeping bag and warm partner!
The GR4 weighs in at a hefty 10kg, which is two-thirds of a Collie dog, and packs in a bag the size of the same Collie, so don’t expect that this is the easiest tent to bungee to the back of a bike, or carry very far from the car.
SUMMARY: All in all, the Kelty Green River 4 is a superb, well made, tastefully coloured and intuitive bit of kit. I’d hesitate to use it in a wet winter due to the inner-first erecting which is why I’m scoring it as 4 Hammers, but then again, I tend not to go camping in such large scale in winter, when a cosy 2-man keeps the heat in and the weather out perfectly. And one thing I like – it has a generous carrying bag, no need for stuffing!
Note: this review was previously published on another site, but written by me.
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