Contributed by Padillac
As a husband and father who puts in an 80 plus hour work week, I prioritize family over fishing. In order to get my fishing fix I incorporate it into family time. Whether I take the family fishing with me or fish while picnicking with the family, I combine them to maximize my time off. Luckily, my family enjoys lounging around the water and fishing from the bank. I do not always get the kayak out, but it is fishing none the less. I have small kids, and I am always on the lookout for a tent or cabana to provide them reprieve from the sun, wind, or rain. I never wanted a full out tent for a day at the beach, and I often find cabanas turn into saunas for toddlers.
As a product reviewer and smart consumer, I always read reviews prior to purchases. I found the Kelty Mirada while searching online but noticed there were no reviews on it. Kelty at the time had not even provided an instructional video on how to set the tarp up. They now have one which is included in this post. I decided to pick up the Kelty Mirada, give it a try, and a review.
Most tarp shelters do not come with poles and usually require additional purchases to have a complete set up, or a wooden area to provide structure. The Kelty Mirada comes with required poles, stakes, and necessary guy-lines. It has a fully seam taped construction and repositioning side walls making it a three season shelter. The backpack style carry bag makes transporting it down to the fishing spot easy. The bag is long and narrow causing it to be little uncomfortable to carry for shorter or broader people. Like most tents and tarps, it does not quite go back in the bag as easy as the manufacturer placed it in there.
Set up is quick and easy. I can do it by myself in just minutes. Windy conditions make it difficult to layout the giant sail in preparation for staking, but once the four corners are staked the two poles go in easily. Follow that up with the remaining stakes and the tightening of guylines, and the shelter is ready to go. Once up the Mirada is up, it stands up to the wind quite well despite being 83 inches high at the highest point. Make sure you put a side wall or the rear in the direction of the wind unless you want a large breeze through the tarp. The directions do not depict it well, but the shorter rear pole goes outside the shelter in the metal grommet. DO NOT place it in the plastic grommet on the inside or the pole will tear through your tarp.
The Kelty Mirada has ventilation built into the side wall and has closeable vents towards the top to increase air flow or decrease condensation. This makes it a great place to hang out for toddlers who can overheat quickly. Though there are no “doors,” the two side walls can be repositioned to close the shelter further protecting the occupants from the weather. The Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) demo days in Austin, Texas on 16 and 17 April 2016, were plagued with rain. The Kelty Mirada kept the weather out and the gear dry.
Though I found a few minor improvements, the Kelty Mirada is a great option for a family shelter. Nothing on the market is a 10/10, and you should look for what fits your needs in your budget. At $119.95 it is a little pricey, but doesn’t require any additional purchases. If you are an REI member you can get the 10% back on it with your dividend. It exceeded my expectations, and it will be helping me get close to the water and spend time with my family. It is a good place to sit while fishing for catfish at night, and provides a shade spot while watching the kids play sports. The 124 square feet provide ample room for chairs and coolers, or a place for kids to crawl and play. The 83 inch peak allows for standing and comfort. Comfort being the key to keeping the enjoyment in family trips. Especially when seeking a spot to change diapers, or feed kids worn out from playing in the sun.