Sierra Designs Antares 3
Design: three-season freestanding
Ease of Setup: Easy - 2.25 poles and clips - 5 minutes by yourself
Weight: 8 lbs.
Price Paid: $199
I'm a light three-season camper that appreciates good design and product quality. Overall, I like Sierra Designs tents - good quality, great utility. The Antares looked like a great tent online (gearx was selling floor models at a great price) and set up in my living room - I was happy with the quality of the material and workmanship, the two large doors and vestibules (no more climbing over my sleeping boyfriend in the middle of the night) and the large mesh area.
The gear loft is a nice feature I use quite a bit; the many mesh slots on it and the walls of the tent are very handy. I don't use the drink holders, but for someone that drinks coffee in their tent, I'm sure it's a nice feature to have.
Now for the problems (which outweigh the benefits) in order of importance to me:
1. When the fly is wet, water drips into the tent as the door is being unzipped because the top of the fly door is closer to the center of the tent than the tent floor at the bottom of the tent door (the tent slopes outwards from the center).
2. On the two sides where there are no vestibules (head and feet), the fly does not have any points from which to pull the fly away from the tent and the fly is shorter than the tent, resulting in water getting in at those points. My tent does not have the points labeled Q and R in this document: http://www.sierradesigns.com/pdf2006/Antares_2006.pdf
3. The material around the zippers on the fly catch in the zipper when trying to open or close it - several times as the zipper is on a curve. Annoying.
4. The plastic windows on the fly vestibule doors has begin coming off the vestibule. I believe I can return this to Sierra for service/replacement - I'll need to wait until the dead of winter because I understand it takes some time.
5. The footprint doesn't stay clipped to the tent poles - it always falls off. Not a biggie, just wanted to mention it.
I'm surprised that this tent made it through Sierra Designs' testing phase. I'll look more closely at tents before I begin using them in the future.
Anyone want to buy a gently-used tent? :)
Design: 3 season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: extremely easy
Weight: probably 8-9 pds
Price Paid: $235
I have had this tent for over a year and have spent about a total of 15 days living in it.
First, it is very easy to set up. This last trip I arrived at Yosemite campgrounds at 2:30 in the morning. It was pitch dark. I got the tent up in a short time with no problems.
Second, I have been in the tent during a couple of rainstorms, one was quite heavy. Not a single drop inside. And not a single drop of condensation. I also have been in the tent when the temp was about 20 deg F. The wind on a couple of nights sounded like a freight train. I was snug as a bug.
Third, the vestibules are great. They are very nicely sized. I was able to fit a box of firewood, my large backpack, my Camelback day pack, and my boots onto one side. When you have a second person in the tent, each person has a door and a large vestibule. This helps out a lot. Each person has their own space and can exit/enter the tent w/o bothering the other user.
Fourth, this tent has lots of stash places in it. There is the large loft and 6 other places to stash your odds and ends. The loft is high enough that no one has banged their head on it.
Fifth, love the color and the reflective points on the tent. Makes it easy to spot when you are fumbling around in the darkness.
Sixth, I like the fact that both doors and vestibules have hi/lo zippers. This is quite convenient.
Love this tent... would recommend it to anyone.
Update: July 2, 2010
I have now used this tent for about 35 nights. I love it!
On my last trip, 3 of us used the tent for car camping and backpacking in Alaska. Altogether, we put up/took down the tent 6 times. It is very easy and very fast.
At one point, while backpacking we had to assemble the tent in cold, hard rain. We actually did it without getting the tent and the gear wet. (And everyone but me stayed dry....lol..I didn't get under the rainfly in time.) Love the fact you can throw down the footprint, put the tent and gear on /next to the footprint, throw the rainfly on top, climb under, and assemble the tent w/o getting wet. The fact the tent clips onto the tent poles and the rainfly sits on the poles (attaches with velcro loops) makes this a cinch. We spent hours inside this tent during a bad thunderstorm with high wind/rain without a drop of rain inside and the tent hardly moved. Even with 3 of us in the tent for hours at a time...no condensation...all that mesh helps.
We also ran into a large amount of mosquitoes in the backcountry. A LOT of mosquitoes. Once you zip the mesh doors....no mosquitoes get inside. The doors each have 2 zippers which can overlap at the top of the door. I had never noticed this before (never had to fight off an onslaught of mosquitos while in this tent.) This is a very nice touch.
It is spacious and all the gear pockets (6) and pocketed gear loft help keep you organized. Plus, the colors of the tent help keep the inside bright. (since we were in Alaska in June it never gets totally dark outside, thanks to that and the tent color..never used a flashlight once in the tent.0
We also used the poles to hang dry our clothes.
I like the 2 vestibules. We kept 3 backpacks, 3 pairs of boots, trekking poles, and rain gear in them....and still had room to get in and out.
Also, have to mention that the rainfly dries rather quickly.
I would recommend this tent to anyone. It has served me well thru some nasty weather. There is just a lot of nice touches on it which really do serve to make life easier when you are confined to the tent for hours on end.
Price Paid: $400
I have no idea why people are complaining about this tent. We have owned one for a couple of years now. We live on North Vancouver Island in B.C. Can. This tent is bombproof!!!
We encountered what the experts call a "weather bomb" Which set a record for a overnight rainfall in our rain forest. By far the harshest rain storm I have been through. That is saying a lot from where I am from. As well as crazy winds, The tent held up fine. Not one complaint.
Set up time is 5 min. Great air movement and NO condensation. Enough room for myself 6ft, my girlfriend 5ft 10 inch and our rottweiller. As well as our packs in the vestibules. Trust me it can handle any rain and wind you throw at it.
Design: 3 season, freestanding
Ease of Setup: very easy
Price Paid: Approx $200
I bought the Antares last year on sale and did not have a chance to use it until this season. I took it on a 4 night backpack into the Lost Coast of Humbolt County, CA. The tent, like most Sierra Design tents was a snap to set up. It was roomy and I liked the layout. I use it for two, not three people.
The problem was that winds came up, they were approximately 30 mph or less. One pole bent to more than a 45 degree angle and the tent collapsed. I straightened out the pole best I could and the tent make it through the trip. I returned it once I got back. I have used other Sierra Design tents in the past and love them...not this one.
Price Paid: $199
I have used this tent for going on 3 years. One time a major storm hit us. 50 mph wind, very heavy rain for hours. We were in the tent bone dry. And the tent held very good in the wind. I have been in many storms with the tent.
I got it on sale. $100 off. Great deal. Good strong gear. And a name one can trust.
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