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

By Garrett Workman / September 26, 2016 / 11 Comments

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.…

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

By Andrew Skurka / September 5, 2016 / 18 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 25, 2016 / 1 Comment

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…

My guyline system for tents, tarps, and hammocks

By Andrew Skurka / August 22, 2016 / 127 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2016 / 21 Comments

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…

Reviews & commentary: Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2016 / 0 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / July 31, 2016 / 10 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / June 22, 2016 / 54 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / June 20, 2016 / 12 Comments

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.…

Biggest Loser: Putting the High Route Tent on a diet

By Andrew Skurka / June 19, 2016 / 4 Comments

The Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL is not a featherweight. That’s the cost of a full-sided, extremely liveable double-wall tent that is made of 20d and 30d coated nylons, not a Dyneema Composite Fabric (aka Cuben) at twice the price, or 7d and 15d nylons at a fraction of the durability and waterproofness. The specs on our…