- Ball cap connector: The ball cap eliminates the tip and grommet at the end of ridge poles. The cap's unique shape allows the ball cap to pivot and rotate without release.
- SQ ring: The SQ ring attaches to the inside of the tent fly, where it easily connects to the ridge pole and tent fly without requiring Velcro or a pole end pocket.
- Bathtub floor: The tent's raised, taped perimeter seam keeps water from seeping in.
- Dye-free optic white canopy: Optic white canopies transmit light more effectively to create a brighter and more pleasant environment inside the tent. Sierra Designs produces the optic white canopy without the use of chemical dyes.
- RCT swift clip: This twist clip from DAC clips perfectly to any pole diameter and removes with a simple twist.
- S-Stopper with H-Clip: The S-Stopper provides an innovative means of tensioning the ridge pole and body while keeping the pole safely out of the way.
- Tunnel Dome: This innovative Sierra architecture combines the strengths of both dome and tunnel tents in a single unified design. Tunnel Dome tents borrow the freestanding ease of setup and large doors from dome tents, and the steep walls, covered doors, and spacious interiors of tunnel tents.
- Vented vestibule: The vented vestibule allows for additional air circulation.
- Visor Connector: The Visor Connector is a new connection point for poles that enables new and innovative tent geometries that were previously impossible. As a result, you can make 90-degree pole connections.
The Zeta 3-person tent with rainfly and vestibule.
- Trail weight: 6 pounds 9 ounces
- Fastpack weight: N/A
- Packed weight: 7 pounds 3 ounces
- Packed size: 22 by 6 inches
- Number of doors: 2
- Interior area: 43 square feet
- Vestibule area: 18.5 + 8 square feet
- Peak height: 46 inches
- Floor material: 70-denier nylon, 3000mm
- Body material: 40-denier nylon
- Fly material: 68-denier polyester, 1500mm
- Number of poles: 4 hubbed
- Poles: DAC Press Fit, 9.0mm
About Sierra Designs
Since 1965, innovative products have helped Sierra Designs to become one of the most renowned outdoor brands in the outdoor industry. With over 40 years of experience and an intense passion for the outdoors Sierra Designs has been able to create some of the best performance products. Not only are their products reliable enough to help thrill seekers like Eric Larsen summit Mount Everest and journey to both the North and South poles, but they promote a harmonious relationship with the environment we play in as well. If that's not enough; just ask the editors of Outside Magazine, National Geographic, and Backpacker Magazine. All of whom have presented Sierra Designs with numerous gear awards.
Amazon.com Tent Guide
Selecting a Tent
Fortunately, there are all kinds of tents for weekend car campers, Everest expeditions, and everything in-between. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Expect the Worst
In general, it's wise to choose a tent that's designed to withstand the worst possible conditions you think you'll face. For instance, if you're a summer car camper in a region where weather is predictable, an inexpensive family or all purpose tent will likely do the trick--especially if a vehicle is nearby and you can make a mad dash for safety when bad weather swoops in! If you're a backpacker, alpine climber or bike explorer, or if you like to car camp in all seasons, you'll want to take something designed to handle more adversity.
Three- and Four-Season Tents
For summer, early fall and late spring outings, choose a three-season tent. At minimum, a quality three season tent will have lightweight aluminum poles, a reinforced floor, durable stitching, and a quality rain-fly. Some three-season tents offer more open-air netting and are more specifically designed for summer backpacking and other activities. Many premium tents will feature pre-sealed, taped seams and a silicone-impregnated rain-fly for enhanced waterproofness.
For winter camping or alpine travel, go with a four season model. Because they typically feature more durable fabric coatings, as well as more poles, four-season tents are designed to handle heavy snowfall and high winds without collapsing. Of course, four-season tents exact a weight penalty of about 10 to 20 percent in trade for their strength and durability. They also tend to be more expensive.
Domes and Tunnels
Tents are broadly categorized into two types, freestanding, which can stand up on their own, and those that must be staked down in order to stand upright. Freestanding tents often incorporate a dome-shaped design, and most four-season tents are constructed this way because a dome leaves no flat spots on the outer surface where snow can collect. Domes are also inherently stronger than any other design. Meanwhile, many three-season models employ a modified dome configuration called a tunnel. These are still freestanding, but they require fewer poles than a dome, use less fabric, and typically have a rectangular floor-plan that offers less storage space than a dome configuration. Many one and two-person tents are not freestanding, but they make up for it by being more lightweight. Because they use fewer poles, they can also be quicker to set up than a dome.
Ask yourself how many people you'd like to fit in your fabric hotel now and in the future. For soloists and minimalists, check out one-person tents. If you're a mega-minimalist, or if you have your eye on doing some big wall climbs, a waterproof-breathable bivy sack is the ticket. Some bivy sacks feature poles and stake points to give you a little more breathing room. Also, if you don't need bug protection and you want to save weight, check out open-air shelters.
Families who plan on car camping in good weather can choose from a wide range of jumbo-sized tents that will accommodate all your little ones with room to spare. A wide range of capacities is also available for three- and four-season backpacking and expedition tents. Remember, though, the bigger the tent you buy, the heavier it will be, although it's easy to break up the tent components among several people in your group. It's also helpful to compare the volume and floor-space measurements of models you're considering.