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Biggest Loser: Putting the High Route Tent on a diet

By Andrew Skurka / June 19, 2016 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / June 20, 2016 /

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.…

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

By Andrew Skurka / June 22, 2016 /

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…

Backpacking instructional video series: Navigation, 5-star camps, fire-starting, & more

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 /

Sneak peek and behind the scenes at the @andrewskurka video shoot. Stay tuned! #sierradesigns #milesfromordinary A photo posted by Sierra Designs (@sierradesigns) on Apr 27, 2016 at 8:03am PDT This spring Sierra Designs and I filmed seven instructional videos. The first was launched last week, and the remainder will air every other week through the…

Map & Compass: Adjust for declination & orient the map

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 /

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills.…

Reviews & commentary: Sierra Designs High Route Tent 1FL

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2016 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2016 /

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…

Map & Compass: Find & transfer bearings in the field & on a map

By Andrew Skurka / August 11, 2016 /

This is the second of a 7-video instructional series from Sierra Designs. This one, as well as the first, are dedicated to map and compass, which is a subcategory of navigation. If you haven’t already, learn to adjust for declination and to orient a map. Got it? Good, let’s move on to a more advanced…

My guyline system for tents, tarps, and hammocks

By Andrew Skurka / August 22, 2016 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 25, 2016 /

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…