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Making camp in Alaska's Hayes Range during peak bug season.

Buyer’s Guide + my Go-to Systems: Backpacking tents, tarps & hammocks

There are literally thousands of backpacking shelters — multiple styles of tents, tarps, hammocks, and bivy sacks, plus accessories like guylines and stakes — from which to choose. How is a new backpacker, aspiring thru-hiker, couple, Philmont-bound Boy Scout, or even a veteran looking to upgrade, supposed to sort through the paralyzing volume of options […]

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The black rubber around the perimeter is very durable, and the colored rubber is more sticky. The flaw is the strip of foam between the rubber compounds -- the shoe would fall apart here first.

Long-term gear reviews: Product insights after a 100-day Appalachian Trail thru-hike

Intro by Skurka. After his recent 100-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, Garrett contacted me with some gear reviews, some about products I have written about previously. I thought his insights were valuable, due to his extensive use and to his unbiased viewpoint, and asked his permission to share them. If you have questions for Garrett, leave a comment. […]

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To use the High Route as a 2-person shelter, leave the inner tent at home. Instead, use a bivy sack (as Amanda has), a ground sheet, and/or headnet.

Two snug: Can the High Route Tent 1FL be used as a 2-person shelter?

For a one-person backpacking shelter, the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL is palatial. Its footprint is 36 square feet and its minimum peak height is 48 inches. In comparison, the two-person Big Agnes Copper Spur 2UL has a 38-square-foot footprint, with a maximum interior height of 42 inches. And the two-person MSR Carbon Reflex […]

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Tighten the webbing grommet to its max. To remove leftover slack from the door panel, extend the trekking pole.

Wind advisory: Tips for using the High Route Tent in high winds

How can you maximize the performance of your Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL in high winds? 1. Find a good campsite. I will intentionally select an unprotected campsite in only a few situations. If: The conditions are warm and calm; A breeze will keep grounded a hungry hatch of bugs; and/or, I’m willing to compromise sleep quality for campsite aesthetics. Otherwise, whenever […]

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Tie-off to a horn-like growth on a cottonwood tree

How-to video || My guyline system for tents, tarps, and hammocks

The guyline and tensioning systems normally found on backpacking shelters (including tents, tarps, and hammocks) share two flaws: Insufficient cordage is provided. This limits stake-out locations, which is especially problematic in rocky or hard-packed ground. Natural anchors like trees, downed logs, exposed roots, and large rocks cannot be used, nor can deadman anchors in the winter. These anchors […]

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For extra wind-resistance, use the tie-out above each side door. Add reinforcement by tensioning it off a stick or ski.

Performance assessment: High Route Tent 1FL meets Glacier National Park

Last month Dave Chenault and I used the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL* while attempting the Glacier Divide Route, a rugged 125-mile traverse of Glacier National Park that is largely off-trail and above treeline. We experienced some of the exact conditions for which the HR1 was designed: on the first night we had marble-sized […]

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The Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL perched at 7,500 feet on the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park (undesignated camping). It was designed for such conditions, but it's acceptably light for milder trips, too.

Reviews & commentary: Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL

I’m biased about the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL, since I sketched its original design and then field-tested extensively each prototype. Do others think I have a future as a tent designer? I’ll be updating this page as we find out. Customer reviews at SierraDesigns.com For reviews by “regular” users, go here. Highlights: Once I […]

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Ascending the snowfield on Thunderbird's north ridge. So long as the snow has not frozen hard overnight, it could be done comfortably in trail runners. But the precipice below the run-out is good motivation to wear crampons.

Notes for next time: Gear, logistics, & snow travel || Glacier Divide Route

For my next trip on the Glacier Divide Route, what should I remember from this past one? Logistics The drive to Glacier National Park from Colorado is intimidating — about 15 hours, depending on the final destination. But it wasn’t terrible, and it’s eye-opening to know that I can reach Glacier in 1.5 days even if I’m […]

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What are you willing to sacrifice to save weight? Space, storm resistance, condensation management, modularity, price? The ZPacks Hexamid weighs half as much as the High Route Tent.

Imperfections: A self-critique of the Sierra Designs High Route Tent

It’s not perfect, and — depending on your trip conditions, personal preferences, and recreation budget — it may not be the most appropriate shelter for you. In a perhaps refreshing change of tone, I’d like to discuss real and perceived flaws of the Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL, and in some cases explain why they […]

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Bring it!

Pitching instructions & tips: Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL

The Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL has a unique but straightforward pitch. After one or two backyard practice rounds, you probably will be comfortable with the basic configuration, especially if you have previously pitched an A-frame tent or tarp, or a pyramid tarp with a square- or rectangular footprint, or both. Of course, practice makes perfect. […]

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