Sierra Designs Alpha CD
Design: 3-4 season convertible free-standing
Ease of Setup: very w/out fly
Weight: 9lb packed, we were just over 8 w/ footprint
Price Paid: borrowed
Highly versatile as advertised. Wonderfully crafted, with straight stitching, quality clips and poles. My brother and I set it up our first try without directions--very easy.
The open panel on the top near the head of the tent makes for lovely star-gazing, and then seals up with the zipper when the wind really starts to howl and chill.
It is a 3-person tent only if your pads and bags are mummy style and you are small people. We are/had neither.
My only change would be to have the mesh door on the outside so that the solid door doesn't unzip onto the ground and get dirty or caught on something abrasive (or sharp like my son's trekking-pole tip...).
The weather on this trip was dry and clear (and cold) so we left the fly at home...it takes the weight well in excess of 8 lbs when included. With the 6 pt. tie down we employed, wind-flap was non-existent, even with gusts to 30mph.
Headroom is ample. Get aftermarket stakes, as these are inadequate needle style with loops. These stakes would not hold up in bad storms or snowy conditions.
My brother in-law (owner who loaned it to us) has camped in the snow in Norway using this thing and swears by its robust construction and versatile design. I came away impressed and pleased myself.
Design: 3-4 Season Convertible
Ease of Setup: Really easy, 5 min by myself.
Weight: 8 to 8-1/2 pounds
Price Paid: $320
I bought this tent as I wanted something lighter than the 4+-person 20-pound family car camping tent that I humped on our last backpacking trip that my two small boys and I went on. I also wanted something versatile enough for planned future winter camping/mountaineering trips. At 8 to 8-1/2 pounds, the convertible Alpha CD, 3-person tent seemed to fit the bill.
I’ve never owned a 4-season tent before so I wondered about the design of the doors. The screen is on the inside, the storm flap on the outside and each has its own separate zipper. I understand that this is probably the best design for winter, but in the summer the space between the two tends to collect sand, dirt, leaves, etc. Other than that this is an awesome tent. It’s light, roomy enough for my two boys (ages 9 and 6) and our two small dogs (poodle and a whippet). I would caution however that it would be a tight fit for three adults, but it would be entirely doable.
The zip out panel on the top provides excellent ventilation in hot weather, just as good as any three-season tent I’ve been in, even with the fly on. It has a fully vented door on each end, so the rather small vestibule is not a real problem as one could stack gear in the vestibule and use the other door for entry. The clip-on design of the poles really works well, no threading poles through sleeves and getting them stuck halfway through. I can put the thing up in five minutes by myself. It hasn’t seen severe weather yet (or even a heavy rain), but the fly fits very snugly and I think that it would hold up well. I highly recommend this tent as a versatile, relatively light 4-season tent that could accommodate three adults if needed.
Price Paid: $299
Not sure if its the very best tent on the market, but this is a very good one. I've slept through 35 degree rains and stayed warm and dry, and in summer it converts to a very breathable shelter. My only real negative is the zipper setup on the solid doors -- not the most user friendly. I would buy another. Also, I've had good experiences with Sierra Designs' customer service.
Design: 3-4 season convertible
Ease of Setup: you can set this tent up in no time,even alone
Price Paid: $299
I love the tent in all conditions. My only gripe however, I wish it had an extra pole option for the vestibule. There are times I wish it had a little more headroom within this area.
Price Paid: 550 CAD
I absolutely loved this tent until it rained. This tent is great, but it is absolutely horrible in the rain. It is not waterproof in the slightest.
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